I have been an artist and painter since I was quite young when I worked with pen & ink, marker, and acrylics. However, I have only been a serious photographer for a little over a decade.
Initially, I became interested in Photoshop over a decade ago when it still came on floppy disks. My motivation to focus on photography began when I realized that no matter how I modified an image, it was never truly mine, mentally or legally. I could paint or manipulate the image for hours or days and never actually own.
The decision to start shooting my own stock started me on the journey I am on today. My initial challenges were lighting related. I could envision the image I wanted and even sketch my idea, but getting real lights to cooperate was a constant source of frustration. To get past this, I shot as often as possible, and by changing small variables each time I learned how my alterations were affecting my images.
As a Physics major, I enjoy the technical aspects of photography. I like to know my camera settings, angles, focus depth, fall-off, as well as other elements of the scene that directly affect the result. By understanding how an image will look at 24mm versus 200mm, or when lit by a larger or smaller apparent light source, it becomes easier to make creative decisions.
In our studio challenge each other to set up complete scenes and take a single photo without test shots. This drill has dramatically improved our abilities to create successful scenes from our imagination, even on location or group shoots where planning isn't much of an option. We are always learning and trying new ideas.
Our challenges now lie in finding dependable muses, unique designers, and amazing stylists that can work in collaboration. I am quite blessed with a bevy of such individuals here in the Milwaukee area, where we can additionally pull talent from Green Bay, Madison, and Chicago when needed.
My latest passion in the last few years has been body painting. I have taken my artistic visions and applied to the subject of some of my creative works. I do quite a few commissioned paints each year and it has become an unexpected niche for my market.
Teaching others is something I also enjoy doing via workshops, speaking engagements, or traveling to shoots as often as possible. I also do themed shoots, seminars on lighting, posing, and post-production seminars that are open to the public at my studio.
I love passing on my knowledge to those who are now facing similar frustrations with the technical aspects of this excellent artistic outlet.