I came across Mike, when fstoppers posted a bts video of one of his shoots. Like all others a quick review of his website and we were getting the interview setup. So let’s get into it.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m 27 years old and reside in Seattle, WA.
I’ve always been the Jack of all Trades and the master of none. I see something that inspires me and I figure out a way to do it myself. This has helped me try a lot things and have a lot of fun over the years. However, it has also distracted me from doing any one thing great. Then came along photography. I can put all my creative energy into creating photos and video and never get bored.
What made you get into photography?
I was on vacation in Hawaii in 2006. I took a ton of pictures with my little Canon Powershot. Everything was beautiful. The sunsets, the sunrise, the people, the markets and the water. Everything was beautiful. Every picture looked great. I felt like a photographer. Then my world came crashing down after I dropped my camera in front of Bubba Gumps, trying to get a funny picture of my girlfriend. The camera still worked but only half the time. Since we had such a long flight home, I figured it was time to get some photo magazines and research my new purchase. After hours and hours of reading, I chose the Nikon D40x.
I was involved in the music scene pretty heavily so naturally I started snapping shots of artists and the rest is history.
How did you get started?
I started by simply doing it. I took on jobs that I didn’t have the skill set for which forced me to learn quickly. I spent a lot of time in Photoshop in the early years… I’ve always been good at connecting with people so there has always been someone who needed their picture taken. You have to take what you can get when you first start out and I can say I didn’t always want what I got.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I specialize in creative portraiture. I love telling a story. I love being able to set up a scene and create a message. I approach most projects with a lot of research figuring out who the audience is and the best way to tell the story. Most of my work is shooting musicians in the Seattle area. I would love to get into shooting more editorial and advertising though.
What gear are you using?
I shoot with a Canon 5dmk2. I use a Tamron 28-75 2.8 and Canon 50 1.4. I have 2 Nikon SB-28 Speedlights, an Alien Bee 800 and a White Lighting 1600 which are all triggered by Paul C Buff Cybersyncs.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
My favorite lens right now is my Tamron. I don’t love this lens because it’s not always that sharp but I love the focal length and overall it does the job. I would love to get my hands on a Canon 24-105.
How are you marketing yourself?
I market myself everyday. I use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and my blog. I have recently had a friend help out with shooting behind the scenes video of me during photo shoots. Everyone of these have been featured on fStoppers.com which has helped in a major way. It shows clients and peers how I work, why I do what I do and the images I create. I think it’s been one of the biggest tools yet.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
I’m going to attach a few since Jordan did…
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Take photos. Take a lot of photos. Get good with minimal gear instead of going out and buying a bunch of stuff. Get a camera with one lens and master it. Find images you really like and try to recreate them.