Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I receive:
DID YOU SHOOT ALL THESE PHOTOS? Yes. Everything on my tumblr was photographed by me.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW PHOTOGRAPHERS? Yes: have fun and take pictures that excite you. Never listen to anyone that offers a critique - NO ONE.
HOW OLD ARE YOU? I was born on December 8th 19XX. No worries about the actual age… just send me gifts on my birthday! :D
WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE? Right now I mostly use a Canon products (7d, 24-70mm L) with Profoto lights.
HOW DID YOU LIGHT A PARTICULAR SHOT? Usually I am only using 1-2 sources of flash, ambient light or a mixture. When I was a kid my mom told me to look at the eyes in pictures and I could tell how a shot was lit. That’s kinda true so if you’re looking at a shot and wondering how it was lit, look at the eyes and take cues from that.
WHAT BOOKS DO YOU SUGGEST I READ TO LEARN FASHION LIGHTING? None. At least not for fashion lighting. It’s great to learn how to light a photo and to understand light, but fashion always changes and great fashion images are about personal style. I’d rather suggest you read from Osho or Socrates so you can develop a relationship with yourself and the world and apply that with whatever understanding of light you learn along the way. Also, shoot every day in every lighting situation. Figure out ways to change the light to work for you and you’ll be set.
CAN I MAKE IT IN NY? I don’t know you so I can’t say. I believe anyone can make it here but it depends on your goals, your drive, your talent, your focus, your social skills, your openness to learn, your stubbornness, and so much more. Just remember: NY is the toughest, most competitive market in the world for fashion photography. Don’t expect to be given the red carpet but expect to find a lot of really creative and motivated individuals!
WHICH PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOLS ARE GOOD? I personally think all photography schools are awful scams. You’ll find a few people who succeed after leaving them, but those people probably would have succeeded regardless of their education. Really great photographers learn from just exploring their own curiosities, talking/working with other photographers, and doing their own thing. Why spend $120,000 for a 3 year education that you could get for free by wandering around with a camera and shooting your own assignments?
Also, photography schools only skim past business and they don’t teach you politics. Business and politics are as important to photography as the craft itself if you want to make it your business. You can go to business school or study politics in a school that specializes on them OR you can learn as you go. A former employer once told me I could learn more from 2 weeks hanging out at a great book store than I could from a year of sitting in classrooms.
DO YOU NEED AN ASSISTANT/INTERN? Please send your cover letter and cv’s to: info@MichaelDonovanPhotography.com
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR MODELS? CAN I MODEL FOR YOU? 99.9% of the models I use are from the top agencies in NY. I shoot with Marilyn, Women, DNA, IMG, Ford, Supreme, Trump, Elite, Next, etc.. I do shoot individual portraits; please email me for rates.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START? I’ve always held a camera since I was in High School. I shot for the yearbook and was the editor my senior year. Later I went to college and joined the newspaper as a photographer but I was more interested in graphic design and business. I dropped out of college to work as an Operations Manager for West Corporation and didn’t use a camera much during this time.
Later I moved to Portland, OR to become a realtor but grew tired of the idea and decided to become a standup comedian. I was shooting my girlfriend for fun as well as bridges, waterfalls and other things, but I wasn’t serious about photography yet. I eventually moved to Chicago to pursue my comedy career and brought three things: a laptop, a camera, and a suitcase of clothes.
I didn’t like the postcards being sold in Chicago so I started to shoot cityscapes to email friends. Eventually I started to sell a few of the pieces as wall art to Chicagoans and decided to spend less of my time doing comedy and more doing photography. I was dating a model who really inspired me and the Chicago market didn’t feel right so I decided to move to NY for bigger game.
Before moving to NY, I took a year off to do some soul searching and study art independently. I finally moved to NYC on May 1, 2009 with the sole intention of becoming a fashion photographer. I spent the first 15 months building an new book with some connections and started marketing in the late summer of 2010.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU SHOOT? I try to do 3-5 shoots per week.
WILL YOU SHOOT ME? My focus is on fashion and advertising so my time is very limited. I am always available for commissioned assignments - email me for rates.