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How PRIV and BlackBerry Software Helped this Pro Photographer Grow His Business AND Catch ‘Em All

09.04.16 / Nicholas Greene

Roberto Vasquez PRIVWe have a responsibility to stay physically healthy, and to make sure our employees and co-workers do the same. It isn’t just a matter of personal care, either – the healthier you are, the more productive you become. But does anyone really have the time for fitness in today’s enterprise?

Yes, actually. As demonstrated by 24-year-old professional photographer and urban explorer Roberto Vasquez, keeping healthy is often just a matter of giving employees access to the right combination of device and apps. In Roberto’s case, that combination was PRIV, BlackBerry apps, and the global phenomenon called Pokemon GO.

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Roberto started playing the augmented reality game – which tasks players with seeking out and capturing digital monsters scattered throughout the real world – about a month ago. Since then, he’s walked 266 kilometers, lost 25 pounds, and was the first in North America to capture all 142 of the creatures currently available.

(Read our other account of why the secure PRIV is the perfect phone for catching ’em all.)

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Roberto and talk to him about Pokemon, his profession, and his PRIV. Here’s what he had to say.

Roberto isn’t the only one who chooses PRIV. Other users include this life-saving oncologist, this cutting-edge legal professional, this landscaping and construction business owner, this punk rocking media pro, this author, marketer, and entrepreneur, this aerospace engineer, this TV chef, this best-selling author and pastor, these twin fashion moguls, this entrepreneurial lawyer, this teenage tech CEO, this sports editor, this TV presenter, this consulting firm CEO, this Irish entrepreneur and tech blogger, and this insurance manager. He also shares his longstanding passion for BlackBerry with this Hollywood actor, this rising NBA star, these world-champion athletes, this Las Vegas music promoter, and this young entrepreneur

PRIV Camera Black & WhiteNick: Tell us more about your career – how did you end up working as a professional photographer?

Roberto: When I was in high school, I joined a photography course, as it seemed fun. There, I met a great friend of mine who introduced me to Night Life photography, where you basically use your camera to document bar and nightclub culture. Even though I had to basically sneak into a lot of those 19+ clubs, it was worth it – to see the reaction on those people’s faces when they got to share those special moments with their friends; I never wanted that feeling to stop.

From there, I got into more events and joined TOM TORONTO Men’s Fashion Week, where I discovered my passion for Commercial and Fashion Photography.

Nick: How does PRIV help you with that career?

Roberto: It saves me a ton of time. The mix of the touchscreen keyboard and slider keyboard has drastically sped up emails and notes on the go, and the quality of the screen has also been great when reviewing images and video clips for work. Lastly, nothing can beat the BlackBerry Hub – it’s truly genius when it comes to organization.

Nick: What else do you love about PRIV?

Roberto: Besides it being produced by a Canadian brand, my favorite thing about the device is the build quality, but it was Android that first made me decide to purchase the phone, since it would allow me to expand my business by using apps. The camera quality was also a major bonus to me.

In my opinion, the best thing about PRIV is the security features that BlackBerry has built in. They work flawlessly with Android, and knowing which apps have access to certain files helps me keep all my data safe. The simplicity of the interface is also incredible, and after booting up the phone it only took me a few minutes to get everything up and running.

PRIV by BlackBerry, camera, Schneider-KreuznachNick: Let’s talk a bit about the camera – what are your thoughts on it as a professional photographer?

Roberto: It’s definitely a major stepping stone forward from the Q10. The Custom Manual feature allows you to get whatever shot you want properly while using it, and adding features like HDR has helped bring out more details, to truly create more ‘pop’ in the image.

The 18 MP resolution also helps when photographing scenery and landscape images, and the sharpness of the Schneider Kreuznach lens makes everything in focus when it needs to be. It’s also great for capturing shots outdoors, especially where capturing color tones is concerned – something that’s very important in my line of work.  Not only that, auto focus is incredibly helpful in capturing fast-moving subjects.

I would like to see different photography grids aside from the rule of thirds, like the golden ratio, which would help change the perspective when aligning shots. And a portrait mode that slightly smooths out the face and adds a warmer tone would be helpful as well, along with a RAW format, uncompressed mode for saving images. Finally, it would be incredible if images could be saved at 300 dpi.

These are all minor issues, though, and all things that can be fixed through software.

Nick: Back to Android, what apps do you find yourself using most frequently?

Roberto: In my industry, social media is very important. Apps such as Instagram and Snapchat are probably my most-used. Other great apps I use along with my photography would be VSCO, Facetune, and Touch Retouch. Combined with the PRIV’s camera, they help me make all my social uploads look great.

Nick: Have you been a fan of BlackBerry for long, or have you just recently started with us?

Roberto: I’ve been using BlackBerry since the 8000 series in 2006 – the Pearl, to be exact. The keyboard and the design attracted me initially. It just felt right.

So far, the PRIV has been one of the best BlackBerries I’ve owned so far. I’m really excited to see what’s next for the company!

Nick: What sort of reactions has your PRIV gotten from friends and family?

Roberto: People are always shocked when I pull out my phone, due to the slick design and the slider keyboard. They’re always curious to find out what phone it is.

Nick: Overall, how would you rate PRIV?

Roberto: I’d say the PRIV is overall the best BlackBerry on the market. It’s a major stepping stone for BlackBerry’s device division, in my opinion.

Nick: Last but not least, how’ve you been finding Pokemon GO on the PRIV?

Roberto: It’s been such an amazing experience, and the battery life has definitely come in handy when travelling across the city. The game itself has been incredible too; I ended up getting into it because of my best friends, they came over one night and showed it to me. It brought back a lot of old memories of watching the show and playing the card game.

I’m glad to have had the experience, and happy that it’s on PRIV.


Visit to pick up PRIV, our new US$299 DTEK50, and our BlackBerry 10 smartphones such as Passport, Classic and more.

About Nicholas Greene