Harts Ortiz owns a successful portrait photography business. The
HartBass Company is a premiere photography and photo-design company based in New York City. They are dedicated to offering the modeling experience to all individuals, whether you intend to enter the modeling field or just want the experience of having a professional model-style photo-shoot. Their clients are from all walks of life and you are not required to have any modeling experience to
participate in one of their shoots.
Everyone is welcome and the motto is: “ANYONE CAN MODEL”.
Each and every photo-shoot is directed personally by Founder,
President and Photographer Harts Ortiz. The Beauty Director Anne
Robles is always on-hand to provide personal attention to every
client and to help create the art that exists in every photograph.
The Operations Manager, Christine Ramos, carefully selects and
tailors the photography location to each client and also personally
ensures that while on-site the clients have a premium experience.
In addition to the personal touches by the leaders of the company,
the entire HartBass Crew, that comes to every shoot along with the
leaders, work behind-the-scenes on everything from lighting to
wardrobe. There is nothing short of intense effort in ensuring that
every client feels like a celebrity. With HartBass, you get the star
treatment and extreme care is given to making sure your experience
is nothing but positive.
They state that an experience with HartBass will change your life.
Many of the clients discover something new about themselves through their photographs and photo-shoots and all leave knowing they are beautiful. The proof exists in the pictures that result. Each photo is timeless and can only be described as a work of art.
Tell us a little about yourself and your photography.
My photography is about Hartbass. It’s definitely evolved over time
since I started shooting, but the idea of what I wanted to capture
has always relatively been the same. Capturing the essense of a
person, so they can see themselves in ways they haven’t. Ways that
even other people imagine they CAN be. I put a little bit of myself
in each picture, as strange as that sounds, because I direct all of
them. I’m a middle aged dad and husband, who lives like anyone else,
but with a camera superglued to my hands.
Why did you start taking photos?
When I first started, I was actually a graphic designer. I honestly
didn’t feel like photography was an art of any sort. But when I went
to my first shoot with my mentor, Alexi Taylor, and I saw how he
worked, how he molded regular people to create different ideas, to
spread a message without talking, while retaining it’s own sort of
beauty in the images, my mind changed. I saw how people reacted when they saw the finished pieces, and they were always so amazed and taken with how they COULD look that, it felt nice, I liked seeing
how a person’s face could light up, and I wanted to do that.
To say that you have an unusual concept for a photo studio –
is putting it mildly! What inspired you in your business founding?
People usually relate getting their pictures taken to catalog stores
portraits, the classic, cheesy smiles and wearing their sunday best
or what not. It seemed so plain and cliche to me. I had this old
friend, who browsed this magazine and said how much she wished she could look like this glamourous model in the pages, and I didn’t
really see why she couldn’t. With the right approach, anyone could.
I started to focus the way I approached taking portraits, with that
ideal. Average people, living through the magazine photography
process, to feel like a world renown model, even if JUST to get
You work with clients from all walks of life – and turn them
into models! Tell me about the challenges you have with that.
Wow. Well like any dream or idea there’s challenges. This one makes
me kind of laugh because of the flashbacks of all the people I’ve
worked with. From the easiest to hardest to work with. But I would
have to say the biggest thing that has come to be a challenge for
me, is self esteem. The pure fact that most people have their own
self image issues, and are convinced they look one way, or can’t
look another, or overthink how they move or how they look to other
people, is something I have to coach most people through. Forget
what you think you know about yourself. Your probably wrong. You see your biggest flaws, you CREATE your biggest flaws. It’s a poison the world is filled with is bad self imagery. Everyone is beautiful in
their own ways, I just want to enhance your own specific natural
How do you capture true feelings and personality?
True feelings and personality, everyone has them. I’m myself as much
as I expect no less from my clients, being an average easy going
person, helps them see this isn’t something to fear. I talk with you
about how your day is going, I’ll ask a little about you to get to
know you better. Usually I stay in touch once a person has booked
with me, on exchanging ideas or questions, that usually give me a
better idea of what kind of stuff they’re into. I call it my
research. It helps me feel like I’m capturing as much about their
true personalities as possible.
Every model seems to get a royal treatment, with settings
and props, what is the idea behind that?
I go through the same process with all models, from newbies to what
I call my regulars. Regulars started off as newbies at one point. I
had to ease them out of their nervousness, cause it’s funny how most
people get when OTHER people take their picture as opposed to them taking their own. But I’ve done my research by this point, and we already should have a general idea of where we’re going with it. We have a focus or an idea or theme in place, and we just flow with it.
I ask them to bring as much of their own things as possible, to
capture the best amount of who they are as an individual, that’s
where most of the props are from.
What are some other photographic projects you enjoy working
I don’t like to get into too many things at once or I have no good
amount of energy to share between everything. But at the moment,
Hartbass does contests to encourage reactions from the fans.
Depending on what the contest is, they’ll submit pictures of
themselves, or vote on ideas. I also have this project called
“Fashion is…” that I’ve created, as a mini-series of fashion,
somewhat editorial-like shoots outdoors, with some clients.
What kind of a camera and lenses do you primarily use and
how do you select your equipment?
I’m a big Sony Head. I use a Sony A900 camera. My favorite lense to
use is a Sigma17-70 mm F/2.8-4 DC macro os. I’ve just always found
it has the perfect range for me to capture people’s expressions and
emotions. Up close and personal. I’ve chosen to use KinoFlo- lights.
I choose to use continuous lighting over strobes because I’ve had a
bad experience with an epileptic client. It’s not something I’m
willing to risk anyone’s health or safety for. This is my equipment
and it’s working for me.
Can you name some tips for those who want to start in the
Be true to what you want to portray. Don’t let others,
photographers, family, strangers, stop your vision, just because
they say they don’t like it. Don’t stop until you have what you want
to achieve. The best tip I can really give, is don’t be scared to
mess up. At the end of the day, you learn from your mistakes, and it
allows you to grow. There is no negative in what you do.
WOW the photos are really incredible!
Thanks Harts for sharing your amazing photography and for the
insight into capturing the true essence of people.
Take a look for yourself, because this is a just a tiny sample of
Harts’ unique work: