hey i was just wondering what you think of the 24-70mm lens? ive heard alot of mixed reviews but i love your photography so i was wondering what you think?
Every person is going to have a different experience with each lens. Primes are obviously sharper, but I shoot fairly frantically to get certain emotions from people and I don’t have time to change lenses every time I get a new reaction. No one really notices the slight loss of sharpness when I’m already blurring out sections of the photos with slow shutters o jerky movements ;) I am looking at returning to primes for video and more street work, but I feel there is no “prefect” lens, just “the best lens for the job at hand.”
It IS more expensive than living in most other cities or in outer boroughs like Brooklyn but every day I’m learning it is less and less expensive to live here. I was really concerned with costs when I moved here - this is the highest I ever paid for rent - but I quickly found that living here put more money in my pocket. It gave me access to a lot of things and people I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Im 31 an also starting quite late on photography, which Ive like since I was a lil kid, but due economic problems I finally got a DSLR last year (I own a Pentax MX but when I had the money for the courses, all schools switched to digital, FML) I followed you because of the same thing the Mexico bud says, I search internet for inspiring photogs and its even better when they say inspiring words also to keep people hyped to do art/business. Thanks a lot for that.
Don’t let your age get in your way. Guys who get stopped by their age are not real men, in my opinion.
I think the thing that has been making the age issue foggy for the past few years has been hyped up attention on a few younger teenage photographers in the media. While some guys like Damon are making some really great things, most of the teenage photographers are producing work that shows lack of life experience. It’s good, but not great. They’re getting attention because “Meet the 17 Year Old Fashion Photographer” looks and sounds much more exciting on a blog headline and draws more attention than “Meet the 31 Year old Fashion Photographer.” It’s as exciting as the headline of “96 year old woman graduates from Harvard.”
Every time I talk to younger photographers I try to convince them to drop the age schtick. It’s setting most of them up for failure. It’s a crutch and often it is hard to get off crutches if you’ve been using them to walk. I believe someone like Damon used the age issue as training wheels and that is why he will do well - he is growing. He’s a great artist who happened to have been young when he started. But most of the younger shooters are not thinking the same way. They’re trying it out as a hobby, happen to have the balls to promote themselves, and are riding that wave. But do they have the fortitude to continue their careers in to their 20’s? Some will but many won’t. And the same goes for the guys in their late 20’s, 30’s 40’s or whatever.
If you have been living a life, then you’ve built up some experience. You’ve loved, hated, been in fights, had your heart broken, broken some hearts, failed, succeeded, travelled, took some risks, lead some groups, stood up for yourself and for others, laughed at others, have been laughed at, and have had so much more experience. The worlds greatest artists will pull from those experiences. You can be 16 or 32 or 64 and have had these experiences so apply those experiences to your art and make it great.
So remember (no matter what age you are): Your age does NOT matter. No one cares so you shouldn’t. The people who DO care are only caring because your age carries a few hits on someone’s blog or gets viewers to tune in. Focus on your work, not your stats.
Do you usually just go with the flow and see what ideas emerge on a shoot or do you have a concept in mind beforehand? Your work is wonderful and wild!!
It just depends on the project. Typically I have a concept developed and set for editorials and jobs. However sometimes I keep things very loose for portrait sessions with a general idea until of what I’d like to do until I meet the portrait subject.
Fist of all, happy birthday! I hope you had a wonderful day. I just wanted to get your opinion, i am planning on studying fine art photography somewhere next year, I'm from Australia but want to study overseas, if you were me where would you study? Id love your opinion, I'm really passionate about learning new things and continually allowing my creativity to grow and photography really draws me in so any advice would be incredible.
Right now I’m actually interested in SVA. But it will all depend on what you’re attempting to do. A big part of me still thinks photography is something you learn best by doing on your own or by assisting (and still shooting on your own while assisting)
Amazing Photographs! I really want to do fashion photography later too but I don't really know where to start. How did you get into fashion photography? Knowing the right people? Greetings from Germany
I had no clue about fashion or fashion photography when I started. I just new I liked to take pictures and I liked to shoot attractive women. I was debating whether to do cheesy glam or the smarter fashion work. I still battle these two inner thoughts and that has shaped my work along the years. Just shoot what you want to do and make connections as you grow. There are people who were born connected to the fashion world like Terry or Victor but even Terry and Victor had to pay their dues like everyone else and should be credited with that.
You're great, ur work is amazing, really inspiring but what i like the most is that u really are a truly sincere passionate person, beacuse u share ur experience and advices with us, u really take the time to answer, most of it i guess. I'm a 26 years old photgrapher, n i look forward to become a fashion/portrait photographer too, i hope its not too late to pursuit that dream because im barerly starting to get some portafolio done. keep sharing ur knowledge with us, regards from Mty México :D
It’s not too late. I started when I was in my late 20’s after a few other careers. I’m 34 now. I was living in Chicago and was told by a photographer with a similar name (this guy) that I’d never make it in NY because I was too old (I was 31 at the time). Well, he was dead fucking wrong. Look at it all this way: Photography is just art and just business. Artists make it all the time and businesses make it all the time. Sure, most fail, but many succeed. Just choose if you’re the artist/business that fails or succeeds and you’ll do it.
Hi Michael, I am a huge fan of your work! I am a teenage photographer based in NY and I was wondering if you could give me any tips on how you evolved from doing test to full on editorials using stylist and such? Everyone I talk to ask for money and I was wondering how you got started into shooting editorials and getting recognized by magazines?
It was a steady progression. Of course everyone is going to ask for money unless you are the prize, then they pay you.
My approach to everything was actually very simple and a little different than others:
I shot the shit for months/years without ever marketing. I’d just blog my work and share it with other bloggers. I basically gave my work away for free and only took money when people offered to pay or asked me for my rates. I was poor a lot of that time. I lived in my van for a few months, ate the shittiest food from dollar menus, and really dug deep in to my art. My work got better through my own personal sacrifices and I’d connect with other people who liked my work and who had work I liked. I felt my work should be special before I bugged people to work with me and I wanted to give the people a chance to watch my progress rather than stick them in a position of having to say “I will or will not work with you.”
Eventually my network grew to where it is now. Hair, makeup, styling, agents, editors, clients, etc…
I’m at the point where I want to shoot for some magazines like Interview, V, Vogue, Elle, etc… and work with clients like BBDO and W+K so I have to decide if I’m going to continue this approach or take the leap to marketing the traditional way.
The thing I’m getting at is: there is no right or wrong way. Just shoot and make work that people like and connect with. Connect with them in a way that is right for YOU. That’s all you can do.
I like working with friends the most. Cora Keegan is one of my closest friends so shooting with her is always a treat. We usually end up shooting just to shoot and the images never go anywhere, but it is freeing. It’s also been great to work with the girls who really hustle the camera: Hailey Clauson, Simona Andrejic, Sofya Titova, Jessica Bertoncelo, Meghan Collison, Imogen Morris-Clarke, etc….
As a photographer, sometimes I get a little nervous about the Photoshop work to the photos. I normally like to shoot in film, but in digital, do you feel it's important for the photographer to do the Photoshop work for a specific magazine, or does the magazine have their own graphic designer?
99% of my photoshop is my own. There are commissioned projects where a client takes care of this and it all comes down to the agreement you make with the client. In one case, it makes it SO much easier for me to have the client take over since most of the work is done in camera and I don’t want to be tasked with popping pimples in PS.
Michael - I really enjoy your photos, thanks so much for posting your work to tumblr. You may not be aware, but the tags you add to your photo posts don't carry forward when they're reblogged. So if you add comments to your photo posts (something as simple as 'Photo by Michael Donovan' with a link) it will help build recognition and drive traffic to your blog when fans reblog your posts.
Ah! That’s a good point! I thought the tags carried. I’ll change that on future postings! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!