What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
I wear several different hats. My main job is a freelance photographer. Being a generalist, I am able to shoot sports for Inside Lacrosse Magazine one week, then shoot a corporate photo the next. Along the way, I use my experiences to write photography related articles for Photofocus and various software companies. I use this knowledge to teach seminars and workshops across the country.
What inspired you most to become a Photographer? Why did you pursue this as a career?
After a successful career as a Triple Crown Karate champion, I turned my full energy towards teaching. I opened my own karate studio. Money was tight so I had to learn ways to save money. The final realization came when my karate team did a performance for Sea World in Florida. The money we received went straight to the photographer and graphics artist. It was then I decided to get back into photography. I’ve always had a passion for photography and I was fortunate to have friends like Scott Kelby and Vincent Versace take me in and help me grow.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
REJECTION. You have to have a thick skin. When I competed on the Karate Circuit, I thrived on constructive criticism from people I respected. If I had a bad performance, I would remind myself it was the Performance, not the Performer (me) that was bad. I carried that over to my photography.
With all the new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
Lightroom has had the biggest impact on my photography. What use to take hours in Photoshop to edit an image, now takes minutes. Using Lightroom as a digital darkroom is amazing by itself, but as an asset management, it’s priceless. I’m able to organize my photos in ways I could never do before.
Photoshop is still a big part of my creativity. The use of smart objects with smart filters incorporated in my non destructive workflow has impacted my creativity.
What Photographers & Photoshop artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
Vincent Versace has always been an innovative photographer. Plugin companies such as onOne and NIK have turned to him for advice and use his knowledge in their products. Nikon proudly recognized him as a Nikon Ambassador. His knowledge and skill makes him a great choice for experience photographers. Vinny was the first to teach me how to hold a camera!
Jay Maisel sees the world in an amazing way. His new book Light, Gesture and Color says it all. I love his street photography and the way he captures interaction.
Joe McNally has a way to teach a difficult topic and make it easy to understand. His lighting skills and creativity make him a top choice to follow. Above all, he is motivational. His book “The Moment it Clicks” taught me so much about the psychology of photography.
Scott Kelby has made his career as a Photoshop educator. There are few instructors that can teach as well as he can. But what has really made me follow him over the years is his Photography. He embodies what it means to be a Generalist. He can photograph it all. When he doesn’t know how to photograph a project, he networks with those that show him how. When he gets a grasp of how it’s done, he has the ability to share it with the rest of us in an easy to understand way. He makes me look at the ordinary and say, hmmm what can I do to make this look amazing.
Helene Glassman is an old school photographer that has embraced the digital age bringing with her what most digital photographers have forgot; the basic fundamentals of photography. She is a master at posing subjects!
Mike Kubeisy is a Hollywood shooter. Another old school photographer, Mike loves to work with shadows to produce dramatic light.
Corey Barker is a Photoshop Guru. When I need to add an interesting look to a composite, I turn to Corey. I love how he can look at a movie poster and reverse create it, teaching how to do it along the way.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photography the best?
I use Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus to promote my work. Good examples of Photography can be found on Facebook Groups like Photoshop and Lightroom, Photofocus and a few local groups in my area for modeling. 500px, Deviantart and Flickr are great resource to view photos or ideas and inspiration.
What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
Social Networks will be around for a long time. The bad news for Photographers, there are so many people posting images with quick edits using instagram tools that people are use to and accept these as quality photographs. The literacy world is going through the same pains with text messaging and developing messages in 140 characters or less with Twitter. The good news, the pendulum will swing back. People will start to see quality Photography once all the bad is out of their system. New and current networks will capitalize on this and create improved services.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
That’s a tough one. I can’t imagine my photography workflow with out these two. Just when I think the programs have every tool, Adobe creates another tool that pushes my creativity. The new Focus Area tool is a perfect example. I used to dread masking hair for a composite, now it’s just a few clicks. Content aware fill was another one. In the past, when I shot street photography, I would wait for people to move so I could get my shot. Now I take the shot. If there are a lot of people, I take several shots over a period of time and use Image Statistics. This automatically removes the distractions.
I have a feeling Adobe will increase tools for camera shake and focus.