Chances are you haven’t heard of Steve Skinner, or maybe you have. Either way I can almost guarantee you have seen one of his photos, it would have been emailed to you, you would have seen it on websites and social networks. It happens to be the one that he submitted with his interview answers. Although Steve is not a “pro” he does make some money from micro stock photography ( might have to have a video chat to him about that 🙂 ). Enjoy.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a web developer and business owner, and an avid hobbyist photographer with a passion for creating art and capturing the interesting visual aspects of life all around us.
What made you get into photography?
I’ve always needed some sort of creative outlet, but about 6 years ago, I was inspired by many great photographers, both pros and hobbyists that I was watching on flickr. Part of it had to do with the idea that you had to go be in these amazing places and interesting situations to get the good pictures. Since I work a job at a desk all day, that really appealed to me. Photography seemed like a way to get more out of life, while capturing memories and creating art at the same time.
How did you get started?
I started by looking at the photos that interested me on flickr, examining the exif data of the photos and then trying to replicate the shots of these masterful photographers I was watching. As I got better, I realized I needed more gear, (lighting, tripods, etc.). I also made friends with an excellent photographer nearby, who sort of mentored me in learning about lighting with strobes, and much more about making the most of equipment I had. Once I had a better understanding of all that, things really picked up, which lead to me doing a 365 photo project last year (http://steves365.wordpress.com/).
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I really enjoy doing “scapes” – cityscapes, landscapes, etc. Within that style, I have also worked quite a bit on long exposures in low light or at night. I also really enjoy shooting portraits and am looking to get more involved with model photography.
What gear are you using?
I still have the camera that got me started – the Canon Rebel XTi, and I have a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens mounted to that. However, my main gear nowadays is the Canon 5D Mark II, used with these lenses: Canon 50mm f/1.8 (the nifty fifty), Canon 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 IS USM, and the Canon 24-105 f/4.0L IS USM – which is the one on my 5D the most.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
The 24-105 f/4.0L IS USM – because it’s an “L” lens. I need to get more of these… You can’t beat the build quality and optical characteristics. With that being said, people never look better than when I shoot portraits of them with the Canon 50mm f/1.8 nifty fifty!
How are you marketing yourself?
I use flickr, smugmug, 500px, twitter, facebook, google+, istockphoto, dreamstime, and I have a photo blog. This is just a fun thing for me so I’m not marketing myself in the same way I would if I was trying to make a career out of it. I do make money off of my photography, but it’s sporadic and not a priority. Most of the money I’ve made off photography has been on istockphoto.com
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
My award winning airshow picture of an F-18 near the sound barrier with a defined vapor cone. This was one shot in a burst of pictures as the jet crossed show center, and there was quite a bit of luck involved with capturing this. This shot has been on the National Geographic website, it was on the front page of Yahoo.com for awhile (featured in the news scroller), and it’s been published in a number of sources and newpapers around the world. It’s also my best selling photo on istockphoto.com.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Now more than ever, you’ll need to be excellent at marketing yourself. Digital photography has opened it up to a much larger field of photographers who are all competing for the same business. Other than that, photographers who focus on a specific style seem to do best – as opposed to trying to shoot all sorts of different things. If I were going to create a business out of photography, this would be my biggest challenge because I don’t have a specific “style” like most successful career photographers do.
Don’t forget to put your web/facebook/twitter details etc…