From Student to ‘Top Photographer’

Finding your focus is an essential part of the art of photography. For Academy of Art University alumnus and photographer Scott Borrero, it is exactly what helped him rise to the top.

In Fall 2016, Borrero was named the first-ever winner of AdoramaTV’s original reality photography competition series Top Photographer with Nigel Barker. Among the five finalists competing for the title, Borrero went on to win a gallery showing of his work in New York City and a grand prize package valued at more than $50,000.

Initially studying marketing at California State University, Long Beach, Borrero found his footing as a photographer after witnessing the way his friend manipulated light during a photoshoot.

“My whole career as an artist started out as a kid and I loved to draw. When I got into college, I kind of lost track of my artistic side,” Borrero said. “Once I saw how my friend was using light to create these dynamic shadows and highlights, it really got me thinking that’s something I could do.”

Working as a freelance commercial photographer since 2014, Borrero has built a successful portfolio that includes shoots for Canon, Nike, Jeep, Ram, and many others. His work includes large scale projects, environmental portraiture, and branded social campaigns.

“I enjoy light and experimenting and bringing out colors you would never see or imagine there,” he said. “It’s my view on the world.”

Borrero enrolled at the Academy’s School of Photography and later secured an internship at fashion startup Le Tote after receiving a lead from the university’s career board. During his time at Le Tote, he worked his way up to become the company’s Director of Photography before deciding to become a freelance commercial photographer.

“Everything that I learned at the Academy really helped put me above the competition in the field that I’m in,” he said. “It is the school that is going to push you to be the best artist that you can be. Every time I shoot, there’s something that I’m using, the knowledge from the Academy is there every single time.”

To view a collection of Borrero’s work, visit his website at

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