Every so often, we feature an active photographer on our site. Today, we’re featuring John Marcus—full-time UI/UX designer, part-time photographer. John has been a Kandid.ly photographer in the Austin area for several months now, and we’ve finally sat down with him and asked him about what inspires his creativity, and how he makes such brilliant portraits.
Current Camera: Nikon — is familiar Nikon D7000
So, what got you into photography?
How do I put this? Growing up, I liked taking pictures, but I never thought about photography as something I’d do professionally. That’s until college—which was right around the time Facebook was born, and with it, the infamous profile picture. It was my first visual outlet. I always had a new profile picture every week. I liked taking creative shots, and I practice taking photos of myself, which turned into me buying a camera and taking pictures of kids running for student government, which turned into other gigs. I’d take pictures of anyone who would get in front of the camera!
Does your design background inform your photos?
I use a lot of design sensibilities—it’s my foundation, but in college and after college I took classes online from different photographers online. I went to a headshot workshop in NY, hosted Peter Hurley. Working with him, and other photographers really helped me with my photographs.
So when did you start getting good?
I’ve always been confident. And I liked what I was doing—but as I look back on my older work, I’m like “Man, why did I do that?” I’m continually growing and learning. I’ll always be critiquing. But what it boils down to, is that if people are willing to pay me because they like my visual perspective, that’s good enough for me! At least for now.
How would you describe your style?
I like photography driven by emotion. When I shoot, I try to shoot from a perspective where the viewer feels like they’re involved. I want people to actually feel like they’re there.
When I see you work, I think of the words “clean and minimalist.” Would you agree?
Yes! That’s precisely how it translates. I like evoking the emotion—but in a focused way. I want it done in a such a way that viewers know what to focus on.
What kind of new photography do you want to try?
Events. I like the challenge of capturing the moment and what’s going on, and the overall vibe with multiple subjects. Just trying to capture everyone at the right moment, is a challenge… but I would love to try more events.
What’s the best way to people to relax?
In a portrait setting, when I’m one-on-one with a subject… I relate to them. I really try to get to know them when I’m in a shooting session with them. If i’m looking for a specific look, I try to do things that they like that they like and respond to.
I’ve heard that people’s personalities come out more when they’re in front of a camera. Would you say this is true for you when you’re behinda camera?
This was something my mentor, Peter Hurley brought up. When I’m behind the camera, I’m more open and relaxed. Normally I’m a bit reserved, but when I’m behind a camera I feel more in my element. It’s like a new personality.
What do you like about Kandid.ly?
I really like the fact it brings photographers and clients together. There’s tons of people looking for photos, and tons of people who want some sort of photography coverage… it’s it can be hard to connect, if you’re not a full-time professional photographer. In Austin… almost everyone you know there’s someone a photographer, so it’s great place where there’s vetted photographers to see who’s style is best from them.
What do you think about our mantra, “Be inthe moment”?
I like that Kandid.ly is capturing people in the moment… and that’s not something you can do with a selfie… you have to pause the moment the moment to capture of the selfie. You can enjoy this and be in the moment at the same time. And they’re better photos!
How do we get people to rethink when they use photographer?
I don’t want to go on an anti-selfie campaign. Sure, ultimately you’re missing out when you’re taking a selfie, but I think they need to see more examples. Hey! You can have a photographer for having your child ride a bike. We need to push the fact that that photography isn’t just for special occasions, it’s for life. It’s memories you get to keep with you forever.
What would be your advice for people who want to learn photography?
Learn how to see in terms of your own personal style. And once you have your own personal style down and learn your perspective, then learn the technical things. It’s a mixture of art and science, and it’s important not to forget the artistic side of it. You can’t teach someone the artistic side of it, so, I think really focusing on that artistic side first.
What does photography mean to you, and your specific identity?
I really enjoy seeing the look of people’s faces when they see themselves in a photo. When I was growing up, I wasn’t the most confident or popular, but once I started taking pictures of myself, it boosted my confidence. From there, I realized that I like boosting the confidence of others. I like making people see themselves in their best light.
Sometimes I think we can get caught up in negativity. In photography, this is especially accentuated because we have individual features that we may not like or take for granted. Yet through photography we can expose all those things and embrace them. That’s another aspect of photography that makes me passionate about what I do.
If you’re interested in being featured, or you’ve had an amazing experience with one of our photographers and you think the world needs his/her camera skills, feel free to contact us at email@example.com