Welcome back to another installment of Portrait Photographer Portfolios. Just about all of the photographers we have interviewed thus far make some use out of digital post processing techniques, but today’s photographer is truly an expert, holding a full time position with a design studio! Though his pictures already speak for themselves, we can assure you that today’s guest, Ed McGowan, is not only a professional designer, but also a master of photography. Be sure to check out Ed on his blog, flickr, and twitter pages.
I am the Director of Design @ PlainJoe Studios in Southern California. Back in March ’08 I decided to pick up the studios DSLR and I’ve been hooked ever since.!
I see that you have made a career our of graphic design. How has this had an impact on your photography?
Working in design day-to-day, I think I have garnered a general sense of composition which has given me an advantage in photography.
From a photography perspective, how much time on average do you spend post-processing, and what software do you use?
Each photo is different and I approach it as such. I can spend anywhere from 5 to 45min in front of the computer screen. I use Lightroom and Photoshop.
How did you get into photography, and have you had any formal training in photography?
I have not had any formal training in photography. The Design studio had just bought a Digital SLR. I picked it up and started shooting….several months later I started a 365 project on flickr and it kind of started from there.
Do you do any professional photography? Have you ever implemented your own photography into your design work?
I will do professional work if a cool project comes my way. Since I do not do it as my job, it’s nice to choose what to work on. I do use my photography in comps for clients and occasionally my photographs will find their way onto the final product.
What equipment do you use? Specifically, camera body, lenses, flashes, strobes etc.
I like buying budget gear. My main gear: Nikon d3, sigmas 14mm f2.8, nikon 35mm f2, 50mm 1.4G, 85mm 1.8. Flashes: sb-800×2, sb-28, alien bee b1600, abr800
I see that you do portraits, nature, architectural and several other types of photography. Which is your favorite?
Portraits by far is my favorite to shoot. If I could only shoot portraits I would be fine with it.
Which photographer has influenced you the most?
If you had only one lens to use for the rest of your photography career, which would it be?
35mm f1.4 (if i could afford it)
This is one of my favorite photographs of yours:
Can you talk a little bit about the moment you took it? Did you intend to get that great flare in the corner?
Interesting you picked that one. Because one of the main camera’s I use is a D3, I would get a lot of comments like “well you are using a d3″. So during my 365, I decided to dedicate a whole week around Point & Shoots. This was the first shot in that series. I took my nikon coolpix and went out and shot my daughter. The lens flare was a result of where I placed her in relation to the sun for a good exposure. I liked the flare so went with that shot.
[Editor's Note: Wow, this was taken with a point and shoot!]
Which photograph that you have taken is your favorite?
I think everything fell into place…I love this look. We stood around for a while waiting for the clouds to roll in. Prior to this, the sun was out.
Have you ever taken photos of strangers on the street?
Yes, but without them knowing it. I’d love to have the guts to ask people if i could take their pictures.
Do you prefer natural lighting or some form of strobes/flashes?
I like shooting both..but if i had to choose, I would prefer portraits with strobes that are well balanced with ambient light.
What is the best advice you would give a photographer just starting out?
Shoot as much as you can! The more you shoot = more post processing = more technique you pick up a long the way.