I’m always amazed at how photographs take on the action of breaking into the industry. When you look at Nick he basically uses free social networking web apps to host his portfolio, instead of having his own website. Is this a good way to go? Is this what you do? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a 19 year old guy from downtown Houston in Texas and but I currently live in the suburbs of Chicago where I’m a sophomore at Northwestern University studying journalism. I have a passion for exploring the world around me and just interacting with the environment and people who I see everyday. I’ve had a 90’s child upbringing so you could say that Disney has influenced my life significantly and I try to reflect that joy of wonder in my work. On campus I’m a band geek ( In the best way possible). When I’m not marching in a football game I’m either jamming with my friends or taking pictures for different publications on campus.
What made you get into photography?
I guess it’s in the blood. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve had to constantly pose for family pictures where my dad would meticulously adjust everyone’s face and body into these contorted poses so that we would look our best. Eventually I realized that my dad wasn’t torturing us but just posing us how he learned when he was doing his photography training. He was a studio photographer back in the day so we always had some SLR’s around the house where I learned to shoot film…well only when my dad was present. (He didn’t want me to break the cameras) In elementary school I joined the photography club where I just grew in appreciation of this artform. After that I dropped off from the film usage since who would use such old materials when these new digital cameras were coming out? My parents eventually got one for my brother and I to share and he quickly learned that he could only use the camera when I allowed him to. Let’s just say that my point and shoot was my best friend from like 6th grade till this time last year. I’ve taken it everywhere, to every major event in my life, and to Australia when I went in high school. Now that I’ve upgraded I miss the convienence of just taking it out of my pocket and shooting but hey I’m not complaining.
How did you get started?
People have always liked my pictures but I never realized the quality difference between the different types of cameras until I saw my friend post her pictures online and I wanted to get mine to look like hers. That’s when I realized I could no longer use my point and shoot and needed to get a DSLR. So all Christmas break I begged my parents to get me one and they did! I’ve had my Canon Rebel XS ever since and I’ve been teaching myself along the way using Flickr and Tumblr and inspiration and reading every how to article on the internet my work has come a long way. Can I just say I didn’t know what an f-stop was a year ago. #sadbuttrue
Once I learned how to use my new camera I started a 365, (which I am still in the process of finishing…) to help me learn what I could and could not do and it’s helped me grow as a photographer but also as a person. The way that I look at things now are in a completely different way than before and I can only attribute it to being able to see things that I never would have previously. Soon into this facebook album, my friends started asking me to take there pictures and then groups wanted me to shoot their events and now here I am.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
Portraits. I love how everyone is different and how there are so many aspects that you can capture in the different photographs you take. I also just really like working with people. I mean I like shooting pretty landscapes every once in a while but I feel like the human body shows so much more about where you were and what you were doing than any mountain or tree ever will. I’ve also been getting interested in conceptual shots ever since finding the work of Luke Sharrat (LukeTakesPhotos) and I’ve been trying my hand at street photography after seeing an exhibit on Vivian Maier. (Though I’m much to chicken-hearted to get good at it)
What gear are you using?
Currently I’m still working with my Rebel XS (but I really want to upgrade to a full frame soon!) which has my 50mm 1.4 permanantly attached to it. I also have the kit 18-55mm if I ever need wide angle shots for events as well as the kit zoom 55-250mm for whenever I know I’m not going to be taking pictures close to me. I also use my dad’s old Canon AE-1 (now mine hahaha) for whenever I want that film look without excessive editing. I know it’s a minimal set up but I tend to be pleased with what I can do with it.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
My favorite lens is definitely the 50mm 1.4! There is nothing bad about it at all. It is an amazing lens which I use for everything ever since I’ve gotten it. I’ve maybe switched lenses once in the
3 months that I’ve had it and I’m definitely glad I went ahead and spent the extra 300$ on this over the 1.8. The build is better and it’s just a more solid lens overall. I bought it because I usually don’t like the quality of flash photography and I wanted a lens that I could use in any situation plus the bokeh is just so delicious.
How are you marketing yourself?
I’m a social media fanatic. As soon as I got my camera I started a flickr where I post pictures that I like and the ones that I feel others will like as well. I also have a facebook page that I recently started where I’m getting a little more niched into my school community to maximize potential customers around me at the moment. I also blog on tumblr as well as share my photos on 500px. Most of my work has come from people seeing pictures from my 365 on my personal facebook profile and asking for me to take pictures at their event or headshots for groups to use on their websites. I want to get business cards because I think that they’re classy but so far I havn’t.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
Okay I’m sorry guys but I just had to choose 3 there is no way that I could just pick 1 haha.
These all pretty much show my style but at different levels of progression and I hope that anyone out there with just the basic set up will realize that they can still take quality photographs!
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Well like most will say, you really have to just keep taking pictures. Keep on snapping past the point where your friends threaten to break your camera. Keep shooting past the point where your parents want to disown you. But seriously try to keep an eye out for what actually makes a picture exciting. don’t just assume that having a fancy camera will make you a photographer. Look for the aspects of what makes a great photo in just the mundane. Once you develop your eye, go on and join groups online, blog, whatever it takes to start getting some work and it will all come together. I will not say I’m pro at all but I think this applies to anyone from beginners to pros.