They are getting younger and younger. Heres a bit of history as to how this 15 year old got on RAW. He’d been reading RAW for sometime and finally decided to send me an email. I get quite a few young guys and girls emailing me wanting to be on RAW. Unfortunately most of them aren’t that serious so they miss out. Anyway I was impressed that he had done a few shoots for companies and thought I’d email him back and find out a little more. I was so impressed that Michael was pushing hard to shoot for magazines etc… I thought it would be a great interview for some of the young guns out there to have a read of. Enjoy!
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a 15 year old photographer born and raised out of Whistler, British Columbia up in Canada. I love every detail about nature and mountains. Going in to the backcountry or hanging out with my girlfriend are things I could do forever. Growing up in Canada, and especially in a place like Whistler where everything involves the great outdoors, you definitely get a beautiful perspective on Earth. Since I was a little kid everything I did involved being out in the mountains, so that’s something I have always loved, I feel like I really try to show this through my images. I have also always loved to bike and ski, in my photographs I try to tell a story of the athlete. I’m about half way through my first year of photography and I’ve loved every second of it.
What made you get into photography?
Well my mom has always had a little Canon Rebel XTi with an 18-55 and a 75-300. About 2 years ago I went on a camping trip with my family and my dad and I went to a river and he was teaching me things like manual focus and such. Later that year I brought the camera to Crankworx (a bike contest in Whistler) and I spent the entire week of it shooting hundreds of photos. That was my first experience with photography, then in October of 2010 my parents (with some help from me) got a Canon 60D and since then I have gotten more and more serious with my photography. I’ve also always loved artwork and creativity.
How did you get started?
This is a hard one, for me. Getting started happened over a long period of time, I was always shooting pictures with my iPhone and my parent’s camera. Every time I took a shot with even my phone and just threw it up on Facebook then got feedback, it felt so good, and I knew with time and effort I could keep taking great photographs. The biggest thing was definitely this entire winter, my very first time doing ski photography, I got my photos into contests and showcased all around the world, I also got quite a few jobs.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I mainly do bike and ski photography, but since you can’t always do it then I am pretty much shooting portraits with my girlfriend Sarah and others. Another big thing that I do love to shoot is nature and landscapes, because I live in such a great place for it, and I LOVE the natural world. Another thing I have recently grown a huge amount of passion for is lifestyle photography.
What gear are you using?
Right now I’m shooting with a Canon 60D, 70-200 f/4L, 17-40 f/4L and a 50 f/1.8. Also an F-Stop Satori backpack, 27” iMac with Aperture 3 and PS CS5. It’s all a pretty simple setup but I like it that way, makes me work harder and gets me more creative with the gear I’ve got.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
That’s so hard, for most sports I like shooting with the 17-40 because I feel you get closer to the actions and the viewer will get more in depth to the athlete. Then for portraits it’s 100% the 50mm, I just love very shallow DOF, and it’s a great lens to do free lensing with (something I love). Then the 70-200 is more for when I can’t get close to the action, like off some jumps you just can’t be in the air with the athlete so being able to zoom in so close that you feel like your right up next to them, that lens is great. I am gonna have to say that the 50mm is my favourite though, it pushes my creativity everyday and I just love shallow depth of field, and who doesn’t love nifty fifties?
How are you marketing yourself?
The internet. 100%.
That is where I get all my marketing done. Sending out e-mails to magazines and companies, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook; that’s where I get all of it done, and it’s been working out pretty well so far. I do like getting out there in public though, social networking is great, but I do think that real life social experiences are being lost in our civilization.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
1) Great Photos: You got to, got to, got to get a good amount of photos that you love and want to show off to the world. Go out and shoot what you love and get the photo looking unique and how you vision it in your head, the camera is your paintbrush and Earth is your canvas. Always be unique and creative.
2) Network: Make a Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook page, 500px… Do all that jazz! It’s there and it’s free so why not use it to it’s fullest? Even if your getting by fine without it, it’s still another way to get your stuff known all over the world. And make a website! It’s a nice and simple way for people to see your work (I need to get on this haha…)
3) Jobs: Once your feeling really confident about your photos and your able to go out and capture what you see in your mind, start doing paid shoots! Anything! Stretch your skill from senior shoots all the way to wedding and lifestyle stuff. Jobs will get you the money to buy more and more gear and start it as a career. They also get you tons of publicity depending what your shooting!
4) For Sport Shooter: Sell your photos to companies and magazines! Magazines always need photos and companies always need a good photographer who is able to do what they need done quick and very well. Send photos to magazines, it will open many doors for you. Also, start event coverage, people always love those shots.