Q: Can you offer tips for amateur/phone photographers and things to avoid for a great shot?
- Change your perspective. Get down low and/or get up high. We see everything at eye level so one trick to make a photo more interesting is breaking up the perspective at which it is captured.
- Keep it simple. Try to reduce the clutter in photos—either in the foreground or the background. That will make the resulting photo more appealing because the viewer will immediately go to the subject.
- Window light is your friend. Windows are a great way to easily illuminate a subject. Sometimes it’s easier to shut off lamps and just use natural light sources. The bigger the light source relative to your subject, the softer the light will be. So having someone stand close to a big window will result in very soft and flattering light most of the time.
- Be aware of where your light source is. Avoid shooting directly into the light or having the light at your subject’s back. Being able to see how light falls on a subject and how to manipulate its qualities is a great way to elevate the overall quality of your pictures.
- An expensive camera or camera phone doesn’t automatically equal great photos. I always say the most important part of any camera is right behind the viewfinder—you! I subscribe to the 10,000-hour rule made popular by Malcolm Gladwell. The upshot here is that like most everything else it takes practice to master photography. The more you do it, the more you’ll learn.
- Have fun! If you aren’t having fun taking pictures, you’re doing it wrong.
Q: What are some of your favorite photos (that you have shot)? Which photographers do you admire and why?
A: One of my favorite photos is a shot I captured of students having a snowball fight in Dunn Meadow back in 2009. I was a student at the time, and I got incredibly lucky seeing and capturing that moment. As a photographer for the university, I think it’ll be hard to top a shot of Brian Horne, the University Grand Marshal, leading the processional at commencement in 2016. Another example of being luckier than good on my part.
Contemporarily, I really love Matt McClain's work. He’s an incredible photographer at The Washington Post—and an IU Bloomington alumnus. I had the chance to meet him at a conference here on campus several years back and I’ve been a fan of his work ever since. I really enjoy the way he sees. Looking at his work you immediately get a sense of his personal vision.
Of the old masters, I’m inspired by work from Henri Cartier-Bresson, W. Eugene Smith, Dennis Stock and Vivian Maier. A common thread with all these photographers is their great ability to capture authentic, real moments. Since my background is photojournalism, that’s something that I’ve always been drawn to.
Q: What do you want people to know about your work at IU that they might not know?
A: One of my biggest personal missions is documenting Indiana University’s history. I spend a lot of time looking at old photographs in the IU Archives. I hope that someday someone doing the same thing will look back at my team’s work and see how much we loved our IU by how well we documented the institution and the student experience here through photography.
Bonus Qs: What’s your favorite place in Bloomington? Top five restaurants with kids?
I love the Clear Creek and Limestone trails. I love riding my bike around town and my favorite route encompasses both trails. It’s such a beautiful ride especially in the fall.
- El Ranchero
- Mother Bear’s