An Interview With A High School Sophomore About Photography

An Interview With A High School Sophomore About PhotographyI was recently interviewed by a high school sophomore and instead of just letting the interview go into the abyss, I thought I would share the questions and answers here.

If you have any questions inspired by the ones you see here, please comment or send me an email.

I will do my best to answer them for you.

Thanks for reading!

When did you know photography would be a career of your choice?

I was in college of music and after realizing how much I disliked music theory a friend of mine asked if I enjoyed photography as much as music. I did. I used to photograph bands every chance I could get.  So I changed majors to photograph and haven’t looked back.

What type of photography do you do?

I consider myself an everyday photographer and not narrowing myself down to one specific area.  However, what I enjoy most is landscape photography.  Typically the paid work I get is family portraiture, individual portraits or headshots.

How do you come up with ideas for your photos?

My portrait work is typically done on site or in a studio environment. I rarely need to pre-plan locations as my clients usually have those already picked.  My landscape work is done while traveling.  So all I need to pre-plan for those is timing, like sunrise and sunsets.

How do you decide which camera and lens to use?

It all depends on the situation. If I am photographing an individual I will usually use my 85mm lens or 70-200, depending on how much I would be moving.  Choosing which lens to use comes with experience and education. Typically wide lenses are not attractive for portraits.   However, I do have a project where I photograph close portraits with a 35mm lens. (Faces in 35)

Do you have your own dark room?

Nope. I haven’t used a darkroom since college. Film is still fairly popular, but not nearly as it was. I still own film cameras, and still have film. But I have yet to have a client request film over digital.

What is it that interests you most about photography?

I love being able to share what I see, and how I see it.  I also love the theory behind much of photography. The little things, like how when you use flash the shutter speed controls the ambient light and the aperture controls the artificial light.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced while taking a picture?

Hard light and shadows are the worst. They can make or break a photo.  For example, I was recently in the Palouse, Washington area and during a stop at Palouse Falls the shadow was so harsh that it was nearly impossible to get 1 photo with a great exposure. It was either expose for the super dark shadow or the super bright midtones and highlights. There was no middle ground.

Do you prefer color photos or black and white?

I don’t have a preference, however I prefer one over the other depending on the photo. I always photograph in color so I give myself the option of converting to black and white if my mind sees the photo better that way. Sometimes while in the field I make mental notes if I think a scene will look better in black and white.

Some photographers say that they see the world different, and that they  have a different perspective on life.  What is your perspective on the world and life?

I think it’s true. I have friends who are legally blind, or can only see out of one eye. Myself and some friends are colorblind. So we see the world different as is.  Interpreting that into photographs can be challenging and rewarding. It can also make your photographs stand out in different ways. For example, my friend cannot see the color red. So you rarely see red in his photographs. And when you do, it’s always special.

Do you have a favorite picture and is it by some else or your own?

One of my favorite photos of all time is the photo on the cover of Robert Frank’s The Americans.  It’s a fantastic photo book in itself, but Frank’s cover photo says so much about American history and is one of the best black and white photographs of all time. I strongly recommend borrowing the book from the library, or picking up a copy.

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