Today’s interview is with lifestyle/portrait photographer Ryan Pavlovich. By reading this interview and checking out the photos supplied you might think he shoots mainly black and whites, but if you head over to his website you’ll see amazing colour images. Enjoy.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up a touring drummer but after picking up a camera I fell in love and was hooked. By showing the real, and raw side of the world I was around, my images tell stories only an insider can. I have an amazing family that lets me follow this crazy passion, exploring and capturing moments.
What inspired you to get started in photography?
I fell in love with photography the first time I watched a black and white print come up in the darkroom. Before that I remember watching my dad work on slide shows of his scuba diving trips, and cutting out skateboarding and snowboarding images from magazines. I got so inspired by the stories that my dad would capture, and mixed with the epic images of skaters and boarders I keep finding myself trying to create a mix of it all through my work.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
Lately I’ve been really just taking one camera and one lens around shooting most of my work. I’ve enjoyed the limitations that brings. When I’m on a bigger shoot the gear in my bag consists of:
Canon 5d mkIII
Canon FTB 35mm film
Canon 50mm 1.4
Canon 35mm 1.4
Canon 85mm 1.2
Canon 70-200mm 2.8
Random memory cards
a few cords, batteries, and other random things to add weight…
The lens I can’t seem to live without is the 50mm 1.4 that thing is a work horse for me. Sharp, takes a beating, and continues to work. I’m pretty rough on gear from time to time and though it’s been sent in for repair a few times, every time it’s gone I feel like I’m missing an eye.
What’s your favourite bag and why?
Bag wise hands down the best bags on the market for photographers are the Think Tank bags. Their designs are super simple, durable, and I love that they take advice from actual photographers. I’ve been loving the Airport addicted v2.0, and the laptop bag.
How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?
Marketing wise I’m playing the game like pretty much all photographers these days. Lots of phone calls, emails, and hitting the streets. I’ve been using Agency Access for a couple years and have loved it. Social media has been a huge thing for me for sure, even though I’m sure I don’t use it the way I should. I’m on Facebook, twitter, tumblr, and instagram mainly. It’s crazy how much the social medias have grown over the past few years, but it’s really cool how quickly you can get your work into the hands of people these days.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
One of my favourite shots I’ve taken is an image of my friend Luke running up a dirt hill. I love it for the moment, randomness and freedom it captured. Luke and I had a period of time where we would jump in a car and chase the sun until we found something we wanted to jump out and shoot. We saw this mound of dirt and decided to have a quick game of king of the hill, so as he ran up it I snapped two frames and got this. The image was over exposed but after pulling it back in post I loved the details I got out of it.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
The image of David Winnick taken in his garage space where he works on Airstreams was a really fun shoot. I wanted to light the space to look natural but of course it was pretty dark the day we were shooting him so we put one large octabank up to light him, another large ocatbank to light the back end of the trailer and fill the room up a bit, and two bare heads in the windows in the back to give a nice window light. This was pretty much how the image looked right out of camera, all that was done in post was some color correction and some slight curves adjustments. I try not to do a ton in post and this was part of a series that I wanted to have a very natural feel.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post?
Lately I’ve been using Lightroom 4 which has been great for editing. Typically I use Capture One’s software and Photoshop to edit. I’m certainly one that tries to get the image I want in camera but have become less and less concerned with nailing every detail for certain shooting and being more focused on catching the moment or expression I’m going for and tweaking what I need to in post.
What’s your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
I don’t really use a lot of accessories, so I’ll have to say aside from my iPhone the most important thing is having a pocket knife. I’m amazed at the amount of times having small knife has saved me on shoots.
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
I’m a big fan of Instagram and Tumblr. Instagram is amazing for its simplicity and ability to reach tons of people really easily. I like tumblr because of the clean layouts and the way it lets it’s users repost images is great. It’s all about making things quick and easy to get these days, if an image doesn’t grab your attention right away you’ll scroll right past it and never look back sadly.
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
Every photographer gets a creative block from time to time and I’m no exception by any means. I actually started a project called Keep Living in order to prevent myself from falling into that funk. Basically if I feel it coming on I force myself to break my routine and try something new. Even if it involves putting down the camera and just living, paying attention to whats around me without worrying about the camera really seems to help. I’m a big driver too, I’ll get in my car and just go… No destination no direction, just take off and get lost from time to time to clear my head.
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
This is a tough question to answer really. I think the path I’ve taken has really made me the photographer I am, but if I had to do it over again I would probably skip out on the college thing. Though I learned quite a bit in school, it was nothing compared to what I got from assiting and shooting on my own. A book can only teach you so much, at some point you just have to get up and try it for yourself.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
Shoot, shoot some more, then when you hate everything you just did shoot even more… Don’t get caught up in the gear game, just use what you have or can get your hands on and push yourself every time you have a camera in your hands.