Dane Sanders is the author of the critically-acclaimed Fast Track Photographer. The book and his approach are aimed at wedding photographers who want to expand their work and their financial success, but the lessons he gives in the book apply to any photographer who is either a pro or thinking of going pro. Photofocus would like to welcome Dane to the interview.
Dane Sanders: I am a late bloomer. I didn’t start shooting professionally until I was 33 years old. I was teaching at a liberal arts college and was able to take free classes as a result. It started with Black and White Photo 101, then Photoshop… and then I just worked my tail off.
Dane Sanders: Probably the shanty towns outside of Cape Town. The work felt so raw and important. I’ve always been inspired by the James Nachtwey’s of the world and having the chance to work in that environment was moving. Same thing in rural India. Both experiences really influenced my wedding work in my ability to look for life on people’s faces and subtle actions. I like taking pictures of my kids too :).
Dane Sanders: I think it was a picture in my backyard of my son. I had just figured out how Aperture effected Depth of Field and had a shallow plane of focus for the first time. I felt like I discovered something and ran around telling all my friends like it was a new idea. Pretty funny.
Dane Sanders: In many ways, I wish I had. The technical know-how that some of my colleagues have inspires me. The challenge it seems is what comes with that kind of training. Sometimes it appears as though students are force-taught to be grumpy in those places. I realize that’s a gross generalization but that dynamic seems pretty consistent to me and affirmed by my many of my more formally schooled friends.
Dane Sanders: I can wear both hats but I’m probably more artistic at the end of the day. I’m more of a Wannageek. I admire those people.
Dane Sanders: I mentioned Jim Nachtwey already. I’m not sure if he or others influence my work or just inspire me. I’m pretty moved by guys within wedding shooting like John Michael Cooper, Jessica Claire and Parker Phister. Elizabeth Messina and Vicki Taufer make me want to throw my camera against the wall too. They’re pretty amazing.
Dane Sanders: When Mother’s of the Groom who 45 minutes before are totally mom-zilla’s come running over to me in tears because they just saw the slideshow at the reception. Those are good days that always take me by surprise.
Dane Sanders: Fun, modern, sexy. I tend to be more journalistic in my approach but I enjoy coaching people to get their more fun/artistic sides to show up. If my subjects are comfortable, it makes my work pretty easy.
Dane Sanders: It’s more intuitive than pre-determined. I do try to shoot for the story line of their book but when I’m at my best, the individual picture comes to me more than I go after it.
Dane Sanders: My work with other photographers is my favorite. I love empowering the best out of people… helping them discover what’s inside so they can help their clients discover what’s inside. That dynamic is what inspired my new site… http://danesanders.com
Dane Sanders: Since I shoot LIVE events most often, I would love to understand how to shoot concept work better. Commercial work by guys like Nick Onken and Chase Jarvis really inspire me.
Dane Sanders: I don’t. When the light goes on for clients or for photographers, I still get the same rush. It gets me up in the morning.
Dane Sanders: Haha… I shoot Canon… the 1D Mk III and the 5D Mk II primarily. I shoot with prime lenses a lot more than I did at the beginning. I think I’m getting spoiled.
Dane Sanders: I tried to fake it early on. That was dumb. Being myself, despite myself, was the best marketing move I ever made.
Dane Sanders: Read Photofocus and follow you on Twitter. No kidding. You are doing so much for our industry Scott. I know I’m a face in a very large crowd that are grateful for your leadership. Keep at it man… and thank you.
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