You all know him, chances are you have seen his recent behind the scenes video from a recent tennis shoot. if you haven’t seen it head over to his blog and check it out. So let’s dive into the world of Commercial, Advertising and Editorial photography with Mike.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Originally I’m from the plains of Western Kansas but have lived all over the western half of the US over the last 15 years. I’m currently based out of Salt Lake City, Utah and have been working as a freelance photographer full time for the past 8 years.
What made you get into photography?
My love for photography actually started with a love for exploring the world in which we live. Since I was young I’ve always spent time a fair bit of time outdoors–mountain biking, hiking, climbing, skiing, sea kayaking and trail running we my activities of choice. Prior to becoming a photographer I worked as a wilderness educator teaching teens about life and the natural world though wilderness based activities. Photography was sort of a natural progression allowing me to share my love for adventure and wild places on a bigger scale.
How did you get started?
Initially I worked almost exclusively in the outdoor industry. Many of my first published images came from adventures with friends. At that time I was living in the Pacific Northwest and doing a ton of sea kayaking, hiking, climbing, etc. I used each success to built momentum and eventually started getting the attention of many of the top outdoor gear companies. As my career has progressed I’ve continually pushed myself into new areas and to learn new skills which I think this is super critical as an artist. This allowed me to expanding into high-end commercial and advertising work.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
In the beginning it was mostly adventure sports shot in a very photojournalistic style. The last few years I’ve been working with much larger companies in the outdoors/sporting/fitness industries. Much of the work I’ve been doing lately is much more produced–often bringing in studio lighting and a team of people to create the look/feel I am after. One of my favorite things about this industry and my career is the way it has evolved over the years. Regardless of what I am creating there is almost always some sort of adventure, fitness or active lifestyle theme in my work.
What gear are you using?
I shoot the entire range of Nikon cameras/lens including the D3x, D3s and D300 and lenses ranging from 10.5mm-300mm. For lighting it really depends on the job but mostly Profoto or Elinchrome strobes. I’m a huge fan of battery packs for location work. We also use California Sunbounce reflectors and scrims a ton.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Definitely my Nikon 24-70mm and 70-200mm 2.8 lenses. They are super fast, tack sharp and conducive to the type of work I create.
How are you marketing yourself?
I have a very well developed/planned marketing campaign and use most of the usual tools of the trade including traditional print portfolios, website/blog, social media, print and electronic promos and in-person meetings. Over the past year I have been working with a graphic designer and my consultant Suzanne Sease to really help elevate my marketing materials to the next level. I regularly send out e-mail promos, print promos and personally reach out to those clients I’m interested in working with. I also devote a fair bit of time/resources for in-person meetings as personal relationships are key in this industry. All of my materials are cohesively in their branding as well.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Work hard and shoot tons. Continually push yourself creatively and don’t forget about the business side of building a successful career. It’s important to wear both hats well.