It was through tumblr that I discovered Will. Tumblr has been something that i’ve readopted over the past few weeks and i’m enjoying it. Anyway it was the simplicity of his compositions that stood out to me. Everything just kind of worked.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, I’m Will Manning. Right now, I’m a junior at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD, studying Creative Writing and German. My family calls Virginia Beach home. When I was growing up, I moved around a good bit. I actually lived in London, England for three years. My father has been the principal of my school since I was in third grade. He is also an English teacher, so that probably explains my obsession with spelling and grammar. I’m also really into music. I play a variety of instruments and am always writing new songs. If we’re friends on Facebook, you’ll probably see me posting videos of songs I’m working on!
What made you get into photography?
Photography was a part of my life from an early age, but I never seriously pursued it until the past year and a half or so. I remember taking a black and white film photography class when I was very young. When I was 14 or 15, my family gave me a Kodak Easy Share. I think it had fewer megapixels than the camera on my cell phone has now, but I still loved that thing. It didn’t teach me anything about manual settings, but I enjoyed walking around and composing shots. For my 20th birthday, my family gave me a Canon Rebel Xsi. Once I got the 50mm f/1.8 on that camera, everything clicked. What I love most about photography as an artform is that it revolves around capturing light and creating perspectives. The similarities between the camera and the human eye fascinate me.
How did you get started?
I started developing a strong interest in photography after I got my first dSLR. Surprisingly, most of my shots were not portraits. I would just walk around and take tons of photos of random things around school and my house. I have had my flickr account since January of 2009, and I still have a lot of those first shots up there. It’s been a great way to see my progression from the beginning, and it serves as a reminder of the learning process. I would really like to thank all of the people who have supported me along the way and all the amazing people with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working!
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
My concentration is definitely portraiture and fashion photography, but I enjoy and appreciate aspects of every genre.
What gear are you using?
I shoot with a Canon 5D MkII body, a Canon A2 (35mm film) body, and all prime lenses. I have the 28mm f/1.8, the 50mm f/1.2L, the 85mm f/1.8, and the 135mm f/2L. I also have a couple Alien Bees B800 strobes, but those haven’t received a lot of love as of late. There’s just no substitute for beautiful natural light!
Whats your favourite lens and why?
I am one of the few lovers of the 50mm f/1.2L. To me, this lens is the definition of quality in terms of its build and the images that it produces. I love the bokeh and narrow depth of field you get with this lens. Also, 50mm is my favorite focal length, because it is closest to the natural perspective of the human eye. 50mm is just the classic focal length. It’s perfect for everything. The 50L certainly has its haters, though. A lot of people claim it’s not worth the price tag, when you can get the 50mm f/1.4 for much less. I know some people have had some issues with the auto-focus, as well. Personally, I have had no issues with this lens whatsoever, and it stays on my camera about 75% of the time. The 135mm f/2L is usually on there for the remaining 25%.
How are you marketing yourself?
I know it may come as a shock, but I am mainly utilizing social networking sites. As others have stated, word of mouth is still an extremely valuable method of getting your name out. I just try to take any assignment I get and do it to the best of my ability. I love seeing a client who is really pleased with the work that we have done together. It’s just important to look for opportunities to get your name out and to take advantage of those opportunities.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
Whew… That is a very tough question! I am choosing this photo of my sister, Mary Heath, but I would not call it my favorite. I like it most, because it symbolizes something to me. This is the first photo that I really saw in my head and then executed. To me, this photo was a huge step in my evolution as a photographer. Before this photo, I had taken concepts from my mind and executed them. However, this was the first shot that turned out almost exactly as I saw it in my mind in terms of light, composition, colors, and tones. I don’t know how much sense that makes, but that’s why this photo is so meaningful to me. I think it’s good to be confident in your work but never satisfied. If you are completely satisfied, you will never improve. As some other photographers have stated in these interviews, it’s a good idea to be critical about your work to ensure that you’re always getting better!
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
The best tip I can give is to learn as much as possible about light, exposure, and the way the camera works in general. It is also crucial to develop your own style. Learning from flickr and other online photography resources (forums, etc.) is a great tool, but blatantly copying the style of established photographers is not the path to success. If you copy someone’s style, you’ll just be known as the person who copies. Creating something original and unique is what makes a photographer impressive to me. Photography is an art form and an expression of creativity. Doing new things, developing your own style, and getting your name out are the first few steps in becoming a memorable photographer.