So many web designers are either moving into photography as a full time job or have already made the transfer over, I mean look at me. Anyway this RAW interview is a photographer who takes processing to the next level creating some really interested photoshop work.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Just recently turned 25, and from a small town, Monticello, in Indiana. Graduated from Purdue University (West Lafayette main campus) with a B.A. in Computer Graphics Technology and a minor in Organizational Leadership and Supervision. This last January (2011), I moved to Jacksonville, Florida. I’m currently working as a UI/UX Web Designer for a company called WiseChoice on the southside.
I’m a pretty laid back individual that lives in the moment. I just like to have fun, meet as many people as I can in life, and I love learning new things.
What made you get into photography?
Well I wasn’t locked up in a dark room and forced into shooting. It was all voluntary. Dad had bought the family a starter dSLR. At the time it was a pretty advanced camera the Canon 300d rebel. I think it was the first in the rebel lineup at the time. I just picked up the manual one day and started reading about ways to control shutter and aperture. At the time I was shooting in the Program mode thinking all of my images were awesome. Once I started reading more I remember the first thing I started to experiment with, and that was the sink faucet. I would adjust the shutter to fast or slow, and try to stop the motion of the water so that I could see the separate drops coming out. I thought that was the coolest thing ever at the time. As time progressed so did my knowledge. I began to venture into the internet for more resources and mentors, and everything just fell into place for me. It’s like a musician told me once … “I just picked up my guitar and everything felt right. I just began to play it. I fell in love.” That’s pretty accurate of what happened to me and my camera. I just knew how to use it once I picked it up. Everything just felt right.
I shot with that stinking 300d rebel for 5 years, upgraded to a 40d when it came out, and then a year later bought the 5d2 a few months after it hit the market.
How did you get started?
I started learning by doing self portraits of myself. i would practice different lighting techniques and get a feel for how I could play with light. Once I felt I had that down i started to reach out to close friends to practice on, and then I started venturing into the business world. The more clients I shot, the more I improved (as I still am), and the more referrals I received from other clients.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
Everyone supposedly has a style for their shooting. I’m not sure if I have found mine yet. Other people may differ and can see a style in my images. However, I do not necessarily see it from my view point.
As far as the genre of photography, I will basically shoot anything that comes my way. I don’t restrict myself to specific genres, because it allows me to expand to new markets, and it keeps my skills refined. However 90% of my work is portraiture. I love doing those, but my FAVORITE thing to shoot is composites. I absolutely love coming up with radical creative concepts and piecing them together from multiple sources to create awesome imagery. You can view my composite set on flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/rohicks/sets/72157626171479738/with/4313382525/
What gear are you using?
All canon bodies, lenses, and speedlites.
So i shoot with a 5dmark2, 85mm f/1.2 L, 50mm f/1.4, 480ex2, and 580ex2. Soon to be adding a 24mm f/1.4 L to my lenses.
For my strobes I use alien bee equipment. I own an AB800, AB1600, and a vegabond2. Sometimes Elinchrom when it’s readily available to me. I will be purchasing my own set of Elinchrom equipment very soon. So no more borrow from my photographer friends.
I have multiple modifiers from many different companies. The main modifiers I use though are the 60″ softlighter2, 64″ PLM, and 28″ apollo westcott softbox. Occasionally a beauty dish (for hair light with a grid or for head shots), but that’s a rarity. A beauty dish only really comes in handy when your model has great skin. I’m mainly a one light guy. It’s great to engineer a complex photo with just one light; it really challenges your skills.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II. I think the images can pretty much speak for themselves – http://www.flickr.com/photos/rohicks/sets/72157624551702782/
This lens just has something magical about it, and besides my 5d2 purchase this lens was the next piece of equipment well worth the price tag. It’s the sharpest lens I’ve shot with besides the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS. Insane what this lens can produce in terms of sharpness and contrast on a full frame. I often find myself having to edit the sclera of my client’s eyes because it’s so sharp that you can see every little red vein in their scleras (whites of their eyes). It rarely leaves my camera body. A few downsides to this lens is the rear element is so close to the end of the barrel that you have to be careful not to scratch the rear element when taking it on or off. Makes it hard to switch lenses when in a fast paced environment like a wedding. The AF is also a little slow, but that is expected with the parts that are in this lens.
How are you marketing yourself?
Any and every social platform out there and word of mouth. Without facebook I’d be in a world of hurt probably. Networking with other photographers and models really helps as well. I get a lot of clientele from facebook. As I tell all my clients, if they have facebook to please add me so I can tag them in photos. Because once their friends see those photos they see me as the photographer, and come to me when they pictures. It’s just a big domino effect.
I’m also apart of a few photo forums and that’s a great way for me to network with other photographers in my area. I’m a big advocate of finding local photographers in your area to work with, and just pick their minds. Everyone can learn from each other, and it’s also another great way to gain access to more models and more friends. I have shared a lot of models with other local photographers which has enriched my model database. Very thankful for that.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
Probably my favorite and most powerful image taken was at Phil Fisher’s Military Funeral. He was a Vietnam Vet that flew medical helicopters into battle to retrieve the wounded. He died from a stroke.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Practice on yourself; find a muse and use her/he a lot. Learn as much as you can. Find a local friend that shots as well and do collab work. Come up with concepts together and find some models and go out and execute them together. Not only can you share equipment that you both don’t have, but you can share models, ideas, and locations. Don’t get caught up in all the technical stuff just yet, read, and then go out and try some things. You can’t learn sitting at the computer looking at things all the time. Study diagrams, look at the works of other people, and try to reconstruct how they shot that image. Find a mentor, find a muse, and just go shoot.