Fellow snowboarder, snowboard photographer and prime lens shoot Keito sent me an email and we got talking. He’s got some great work, worth checking out, plus he’s managed to start forging a career using the internet which isn’t as easy as it sounds. I think he also turned RAW into a dating site so I suppose if you share his passion for photography you may aswell get in contact with him lol 🙂
Tell us a little about yourself?
21 years old from Seattle, Washington. SINGLE, enjoy nice hot air balloon ride dinners over the beautiful northwest, hahaha but for real been living up here in the northwest for a while now love it. I love shooting portraits and sports like snowboarding and such. Love to travel hopefully this photo thing will help with that and get me to places I can only dream of shooting at right now. I am also a Young Life leader for my area!
What made you get into photography?
I went to Everett Community College for a about a year and a half and as originally going to major in fine art/painting then took a digital photography course to fill a slot and realized that taking a picture is much more efficient and less time consuming then spending 3 months or longer on one piece painting so from then on I was hooked I got into the photo game a little later then most I guess you could say. From then on I just kept taking photo classes at my college until I realized that the program was…well not up to par and wasn’t really taking me anywhere as far as letting me explore what I wanted to do with photo so I dropped out and started teaching my self.
How did you get started?
Aside from school projects after I dropped out I got myself a camera a Canon 50D. And from there on I got a flickr started to upload stuff to that. I was really not into posting stuff about myself as a photographer on Facebook and other networking sites for quite a while because I hated all the “photographers” in my area that knew absolutely nothing and were charging ridiculous amounts of money for photo shoots. So i just kinda did my own thing till I finally got to the point where I really truly appreciated my own work and thought I was actually getting decent. I think of it like girls and guys who post all over Facebook saying they model with some album titled “modeling”…lets be realistic you don’t model.
But aside from that just going out shooting all different kinds of things till I figured out what I enjoyed shooting I went out and shot landscapes for a little, then started shooting cars, sports, and models. In the end you gotta shoot what you enjoy shooting.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I try to stick to modeling and snowboarding, I know 2 very different things haha. I love modeling being able to control everything what kind of looks I want the location all of it. As for the snowboarding aside from carrying generators up the mountain and my huge studio strobes and stands and multiple extension chords. I love how creative you can be with it with huge set ups or really anything there are no rules, and I love snowboarding.
But lately I have been going more into lifestyle photography and hope to try to make my career out of that been inspired by a couple photographers like Nick Onken, Morgan Maassen.
What gear are you using?
White lighting 800×2
White lighting 1600
Paul Buff medium sofbotx x2
Paul Buff beauty dish
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Thats tough im torn between my 50mm and 135mm they both have their ups and not any downs haha. I love the 50mm wide open the harsh bokeh is awesome and its just the poster child of the portrait lens to use. I love the 135 though for its suuuuper creamy bokeh at f2 and being able to get that with a full body shot is awesome I like to think of the lens as my budget route instead of buying a 70-200 2.8.
How are you marketing yourself?
Well alot of it has just been work of mouth. Shooting senior pictures and such for people eventually people hear about you I haven’t really made a huge effort to market myself as I should that something im currently working on actually. I have gotten some business for my business cards getting around and lately I had vinyl stickers made of my logo which is a swan in a circle. Im working on getting my logo out there so when people see that they instantly think oh Keito Swan photo almost like when anyone see apple they say oh mac or something like that. But aside from those things Facebook and such are good. If you want it go get it be persistent.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
Oh man hmm well I like to think the my favorite photograph will be the next shoot I do because im always tryin to one up myself and push myself. But as for now it has to be this recent shot with this model Chael I have been working with, we recently just met and started shooting and she has been by far one of the best models I have worked with real trooper. I love the tones in this photo the facial expression which she had been practicing haha. The focus is right about where I want it and it really tells a story to me, theres emotion in it, its not just some photo of a gorgeous model posing. This emotion thing is something im really trying to work on with my shots to separate myself so it doesn’t get repetitive.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
The best advice I can give would be to shoot what your passionate about, what truly inspires you. Don’t get caught up in shooting a million different thing try to focus on what you really love and get good at that. Im not saying don’t explore but find what you love. Another thing would also be to study other photographers that shoot things similar to what you wanna shoot. I have spent countless hours on flickr and 500px surfing through pictures then adding the photographers as contacts then eventually adding them on Facebook and sending them messages saying how much I like their work and now I talk to them a lot and have actually met some of them. Also go through magazines you like and look through the photos a lot of them have the photographers name very small in the corner look them up too study their work add them on Facebook or flickr too.