John Gastaldo Photographer


Thank you for finding me here. Photography is my life.              

I took my first photos in the 1970s and 1980s while growing up on the Lower East Side of New York City, following the path of a mother who always documented the lives of her children with a Kodak Instamatic and later, a Minolta SLR. That same Minolta helped me get my first photo published on the front page of The New York Times. After attending college in upstate New York and several years of newspaper photography in New Jersey and Connecticut, I left the East Coast to work as a staff photographer in San Diego, California from the mid-1990s through 2016. After more than two decades at the San Diego Union-Tribune, curiosity led me to learn all I could about the drone industry, finding side work inspecting utility lines, teaching others, and working with clients like the Chula Vista Police Department on their drone-as-first-responder team, all the while acquiring flight hours and experience, and continuing as a freelance visual specialist, taking still photos and creating video documentaries for ever-diverse clients. I've been fortunate to have my images appear in National Geographic, LIFE, Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press, Paris-Match, Stern and local Southern-California TV broadcasts.  

Collaboration is at the heart of why I do what I do. Preconception is great, but listening and learning need to happen too.  Let's do it together. Let's plan the shoot, discuss the possibilities: locations, timing, situations, props and poses. Endless options make for better photos. I plan extensively, offer suggestions, yet go with the flow to make memorable images and video.


4462 Sapphire Lane Oceanside CA 92056   619-742-2760
©2024 John Gastaldo