Sometimes you come across someone that is so passionate and so grateful, that spending the hours that it takes to keep RAW running is all worth it. Jack is a young photographer that is moving in the right direction very quickly, at 17 he is already forging a little business in the portraiture space which I find astounding. Anyway time to have a look at what he has to say.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Well hello there RAW world! My name is Jack Strutz. 17 years of age. Senior in high school (for the next week or so anyways 🙂 ) and I just might be a photoholic. Currently based out of the Southern California city of Temecula. I am a complete goof 100% of the time and I talk too much. I’m a total nerd and when I’m not listening to music, taking photos or watching a movie, you can most likely catch me on my computer. Throw me any hip-hop with a smooth beat and superflow and that is my genre.
Dang, I don’t know what else to write about myself… I guess I’m just your average goofball blessed/cursed with attention deficit disorder, trying to have some fun taking photos and hanging with friends.
What made you get into photography?
Hahah this is kind of awkward. I initially got into photography because of another local photographer’s (Brandon Means) work. I was big into the biking scene then and he is definitely one of the up and comers on the photo and video side of that industry right now so he was the first one who really inspired me to start taking photos for myself. I’m pretty sure I annoyed the sh!t out of him hitting him up on Facebook constantly asking him questions about you name it but yeah, that was my initial spark. The flashy strobist style definitely caught my eye right after that and then before I knew it, I was $4000+ into photo gear hahaha.
How did you get started?
I got my first DSLR on November 29, 2009. For the avid shoppers out there, yes, that was Black Friday. Me and my mom braved the lines at Best Buy at 4:30 in the morning so that I could buy my very own Canon EOS Rebel T1i. I started off like any photographer who is serious about improving him/herself, table clothes and shooting a sibling hahah. I probably wouldn’t have been so motivated to improve myself if it weren’t for the help of my sister, Catherine. I feel like when you are just starting out, shoot EVERYONE who will let you point your camera at them.
Any high school student who is serious about photography will tell you that photo classes in high school are pretty much a waste of time. Luckily I was blessed to have Mr. Dave Carlson as a photography teacher. This man is INSANELY knowledgeable and was VERY helpful providing critiques when I was first getting started with photography.
Damnit I sneezed on my screen again….
Another big factor that helped me jumpstart my photography hobby was my background in graphic design. Nothing formal of course–just a few months of isolation from the outside world working on improving my designing eye (looking back, I would’ve never made it hahah). This extensive knowledge of Photoshop was crazy helpful for establishing my own style.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I shoot people and cars (ok fine I just started shooting cars). I have never taken a picture of a stinkin flower in my life (no offense macro-ers… I just don’t have the attention span for it). I shoot everything from corny stuff around school for my yearbook to fashion to maternity photos. I am normally a pretty introverted in that I don’t go out of my way to meet new people so shooting people has always been my way of getting myself out there and meeting new people.
What gear are you using?
Right now, my gear set up is:
Canon EOS 1D Mark IIn
Canon Powershot G10 (I actually use that guy more often than you would think)
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8
Canon 430EX x 2
Alienbee B800 x1
Softboxes and beautydishes and other fun things like that
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Well that’s an easy one. Just like every single predominantly-natural-light-shooter will tell you, a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 is practically a staple. To be honest, mine pretty much never leaves my camera. The bokeh it produces wide open is similar to the first night of your honeymoon, there’s pretty much nothing like it (look at the skinny little 17 year old white boy talking about honeymoons o.O).
But I gotta say, if you are going to be doing anything sports related or want to create some seriously creamy backgrounds, a 70-200mm f/2.8 pretty much can’t fail. For quite sometime that was my only lens. It’s definitely the most versatile lens I own.
How are you marketing yourself?
At this point, I get most of my shoots from Facebook or through friends. Model Mayhem has been mildly successful for me in the past but I have mainly just stuck to Facebook. My 365 project definitely has brought me a lot more attention from people. But yeah when you live in a town like Temecula, word of mouth and Facebook are pretty much all you need for marketing.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
Ooof. That is a tough one. Each one of my photos holds such a unique experience experience behind it. I’ve never been forced to choose. If I can, I’d like to go ahead and do my favorite black and white photo and my favorite color photo.
Anyways, for the black and white one, I have to go with this photo of my friend Xiang. I don’t know why this photo stuck to me like it did but it remains to this day to be some of my favorite work. The weird thing is that I took it across a dinner table a California Pizza Kitchen for our friend’s birthday dinner. Goes to show that you never know when a shot is lurkin right underneath your nose.
For the color photo, a photo of my friend Vanessa takes the cake. This style of editing has become a favorite in my photography so I thought it was a fitting representation of my work… Plus who can deny those EYEZ!?
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Never before have I seen a more accurate chart. I don’t know if it is true of all photographers but it DEFINITELY was true for me. When you are first starting out, DON’T ask your Facebook friends for their opinions on your photos and then take those opinions as a reflection of your photographic skill. DO post your photos up on photography forums so the forum members can viciously tear into your young, tender, noob photo’s flesh (obviously just kidding there haha) but allow them to break down your photo so that they can slowly start to build you back up as a photographer.
When I was getting started, I thought I was THE SH!T when it came to photos. It was then that I started realizing that I really, really sucked haha. It is that realization that ultimately allows you to really start building your photo skills up. Always know that there is someone out there who has been there, done what you’ve done and that if you want to pass that person up, you need to push yourself! Give yourself constant reminders that you really probably aren’t as good as you think you are. This humility allows you to see your photos more objectively and helps you to start to fix the errors that may have passed your eye previously.
Another thing that has been important in my photography has been post process. At least for me, this is the most important part of a photo. It’s what gives it character. Sure it has to be lit and composed correctly, but when it really comes down to it, the thing that is going to set it apart from the next guy’s photos is what you do with the photo AFTER the shutter snaps.