Just a heads up, Sean is in the process of redesigning his website so it hasn’t been updated in awhile. If your looking for his most recent work then check out some of his other links. I really like this style of photography, from what I can gather it’s all natural light with a processing effect that is very similar to some of the ones I have used in the past from the premium presets pack.
Tell us a little about yourself?
The Name is Sean Gilliland, or Sean G. I am a 23 year old portrait/event photographer from the States, more specifically, Southeast Michigan. I live with my extremely supportive girlfriend and her daughter. I love ragin with my pals, cycling, kayaking, and pretty much anything outdoors. Traveling and backpacking National Parks/wilderness areas are a humongous part of my life, which I give tons of credit to pushing me to get serious about photography.
What made you get into photography?
Like I mentioned, my traveling shenanigans are a huge part of it. I took some photography classes back in high school, and I had always loved it, I just never really took the steps to pursue it back then.
How did you get started?
A few years ago, I started traveling the U.S, working seasonal jobs along the way. Before my first real road trip out to Utah to work at a ski resort, I decided to purchase my first DSLR (a Nikon D60) to document my travels. Me and my best pals Eric and Tommy hopped in my ever faithful Subaru and we drove. We covered 7,000 miles in ten days, visiting as many national parks as we could along the way. From there everything started falling into place. I started learning the basics of my camera and taking it more and more seriously every trip I took. Before long, I realized photography was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I started out doing landscapes and wildlife, and let me tell you, I wish I knew then what I know now. Today, shooting weddings are my all time favorite. I am still somewhat new to it, but nothing beats the feeling of nailing a wedding and knowing you are documenting what is one of the most important days of two peoples lives. Most recently, I have been trying my hand at commercial/lifestyle/fashion portraiture. I shoot a pretty even mix of natural light and strobist stuff. I find both to be interesting and challenging in their own way.
What gear are you using?
Nikon. I just recently went full frame and got myself a D700. It is beyond amazing. The lenses I own are the Nikon 28-70 f/2.8D and Nikon 80–200 f/2.8D. I also use White lightning and Alien Bees lights. I am big into DIY gear too. I made a battery pack which is very similar to the Vagabond II for on location shooting. I also made a super legit Beauty Dish, which I tend to use most of the time. Its a little on the heavy side and slightly smaller in Diameter in comparison to the Paul C. Buff BD but the quality of light coming out of it is awesome.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
I have found that since I made the switch to FF my 80-200 is my go to lens. The bokeh on it is amazing, it is reasonably fast for body driven AF and now that I have the FF field of view, it is perfect for portraits. My favorite lens that I don’t own is The Nikon 85mm 1.4. For a third party lens, Sigma’s 85mm 1.4 is a seriously sexy piece of glass as well. That will be my next purchase =D.
How are you marketing yourself?
The usual. Social Networking sites. Spamming the shit out of Facebook friend’s news feeds. Haha. I am also on Flickr and 500px. Also, what is probably the most important at this point, is word of mouth. If you satisfy your clients, deliver great work, and be professional, it will come back to you ten fold.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
This is always a difficult one. Every shoot I do, I feel I progress a little bit, which is why my newest photos are usually my favorites. Here are three that I am really fond of right now.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Practice. Don’t ever forget why you started pursuing photography as a career. The minute photography becomes more work and negative stress than enjoyment, you are in trouble. With that being said, find a balance between your professional life/career and personal life. Make time for personal work. It will help to keep you inspired and going even when things get hectic. It’s not always easy to pursue a photography career. Hell, I’m still new to all of this and I am still getting my business off the ground. It’s a long winding road but it is so worth it. Keep on pushing through when you become discouraged. It happens to all of us at some point. A big mistake I made when I first started out was trying too hard to gain recognition from the photo community. Sure it feels great to have other photographers that you look up to recognize your work as good, but they aren’t the ones that are going to write that check for the wedding you are about to shoot or the portraits you just took. I spent more time on flickr trying to gain approval from all the great photographers I had found when I should have been out shooting and pushing myself to progress. Get away from the computer screen and shoot. It’s the only way you’re going to get better. Also, learn the business side of things, you can be the greatest photographer in the world but if you don’t have any business sense, you aren’t going to get very far. Oh, and stay posi =D