Posted by: Thursday Market in: Local Business Profiles
People aren’t products
Nearly thirty years later, John Wagner is thriving in the field of commercial lifestyle photography. He learned quickly that people aren’t products and that to infuse life and energy into his images, he needed to personally connect with the model. He recalled a challenging shoot with a four-year-old girl. “We all have a job to do,” he told the sobbing girl while kneeling down and motioning to the busy crew behind him. “But there’s no reason we can’t all have a good time while we do it!” Heartfelt encouragement, along with a relaxed attitude, puts the talent at ease and produces the most riveting images, according to John. “You can’t be afraid to make an ass of yourself to make people feel more comfortable.”
My, how photography has changed
John recalls a simpler time, before digital, when photographers were limited to 36 shots rather than being able to snap hundreds and instantly critiquing their quality. “The connection between the model and the photographer is much stronger when there aren’t a half-dozen others viewing the monitor and offering advice—as a result, some of the most compelling images have been produced before digital photography.” Digital is now king, and while John believes its benefits far outweigh its drawbacks, part of him yearns for the connection rarely achievable on today’s digital shoots.
Advice for amateurs
It seems everyone is an amateur photographer. DSLR’s are cheaper than ever, digital cameras don’t require film and provide instant gratification, nearly everyone has a smartphone in his or her pocket, and quality education is abundant online and typically free. While the field is more competitive than ever, John does have some advice for photographers who are just starting out. - Make sure to specialize. A jack-of-all-trades is a master of none. - Begin by shooting kids and weddings to build your skills. - Be intimately familiar with how your camera works. - Learn the art before you drop too much money on the tools (doctors don’t buy scalpels and figure it out as they go.) John Wagner is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has worked with a diverse array of clients in a variety of locations. Some of his clients include Macy’s, Target, Chanel, Interview, Estee Lauder, Bonton, Herbergers, and Mpls StPaul Magazine. John is available for editorial fashion and advertising assignments, in Minneapolis, around the country, and throughout the world. His shoots have taken him to Chile, Spain, Mexico, and beyond. To learn more about John Wagner and his photography business, visit his profile page here on Thursday Market or visit his website.