Michael Woloszynowicz, like many of the other talented photographers out there, started with humble beginnings, honing his craft and developing a personal style. Portraiture started out with basic tools like speedlights and small softboxes, photographing family, friends and anyone else I could find. I became fascinated with light and how to shape it and play with it and drew lots of inspiration from photographers like Joe McNally and John Wright who seemed to be able to produce incredible results from one or many lights.” For Michael, it wasn’t so much about creating light, but rather working with what he had. He adored those complicated sets, but wanted his style to focus on multiple exposure and digital blending techniques. “Ultimately both genres pushed me to explore Photoshop and what is possible in post processing and I soon became recognized for that. Lots of people had Photoshop related questions so I began a YouTube channel to share tips and ideas which has now – a little over a year on – grown to 30,000 subscribers and nearly a million views and completely surpassed any expectations I had for it. At this point I spend an equal amount of time shooting, retouching and teaching, both independently and through Retouching Academy.”
Our eyes respond to differences in our world. It is these contrasts that Michael loves to work with in his photography. “My style is best defined by texture and contrast. No matter what I’m photographing I strive to create contrasts – both through lighting and using techniques like dodge and burn – and use a variety of approaches to enhance interesting textures present in the photo.” He straddles the line betwen realistic and surreal through building depth and playing with contrast. He likes to give an “image an almost CGI sort of feel while counteracting that with strong textures. The style is of course just an overlay on top of capturing the essence of my main subject, be that the model, clothing, building or landscape. If you don’t bring out the nature and beauty in your subject, all the technical stuff you do is largely irrelevant.”
Michael primarily focuses his photography on portraiture, beauty and fashion, but he doesn’t let himself stay shoehorned by it. “I can’t resist taking photos of beautiful locations when I travel. I’m fascinated by architecture and cityscapes so I enjoy capturing them as a change of pace. I enjoy the interactions involved when photographing people but I also find the solitude of architecture of landscape photography to be highly therapeutic.”
When Michael works, he sees the finished product during the process. That finished product will undergo his careful eye in post production. “No matter the subject I’m photographing, everything is ultimately linked at the post processing stage where I take a very meticulous approach to finishing my images.”
Michael sees the world for what it is, and what it can be. “I’m inspired by just about anything around me but it often just boils down to the subject that’s in front of me. Everyone and everything is inspiring in some way, you just have to find it.” Michael’s goal is just to continue doing what he loves while balancing all of the challenges of running his own business. “Too often we get overwhelmed by all the administrative and supplementary work that’s needed and forget why you fell in love with photography in the first place. I try to reserve time in my schedule for personal projects and travel which helps to keep that passion alive.”
Michael’s Favorite Gear
Elinchrom Quadra Ranger + Small Octa
Elinchrom BRX Strobes
Elinchrom D-Lite 4 Strobes
Elinchrom 7’ Octa
Elinchrom 1×3’ strip boxes
Elinchrom 17” gridded beauty dish
Michael’s Advice to Emerging Photographers
“If you want to pursue photography as a career there are two approaches: you either figure out where you can make money and become good at that genre, or you find what you love to shoot and figure out how to make money off your passion. The first is generally more lucrative, the second is usually more satisfying. Sometimes you get lucky and the two are actually the same. Regardless of which route you take, you have to hustle, refine your skills and then work hard.”
Beyond your skill and vision as a photographer, I think this quote from Thomas Edison sums it up well: ‘The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.’”
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