This week we’re getting to know community member, Steven Gotz.

Steven is primarily a Zootographer. Meaning, he makes images that zoos and wildlife parks can use for social media and print campaigns. The image above of the lions was used for the annual report and made it into Photoshop User Magazine, then into the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) 2017 calendar.

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How did you get started in photography?

I started with video in 2001, but I got involved with photography in 2012 when I shot a pretty decent photo with my phone while on vacation and began to wonder what I could do with a “real camera.”  I know how silly that sounds now, but I didn’t at the time. I figured a camera that shot video but also photographs would be interesting. And it was.

What was your first camera?

My first digital camera with interchangeable lenses was a Panasonic GH3, which I bought primarily to shoot video and then fell in love with shooting photographs. I didn’t have to wait for anything to move! That camera lasted me three years while I studied photography and practiced as much as I could at my local zoo. I still use it to shoot behind-the-scenes videos on occasion.

Who is one photographer that inspires you and why?

If I have to pick just one photographer who inspires me, that would be Joe McNally. The man can do it all. I am especially fond of the way he puts strobes outside windows to make it look like natural light. And his philosophy of how photographers are problem solvers appeals to me. But there are many others who inspire me to be better at shooting wildlife.

What’s the first thing you look for in composing your image?

The first thing I look for when composing an image is probably “Can I fill the frame.” If I can, then I do. If I can’t fill the frame with the subject then I look for ways to position the subject in a way that is appealing. The rule of thirds, or making room for the subject to leave the frame, that sort of thing.  The rule of odds is one of my favorite compositional techniques.

Join Steven and others in the Photofocus Community!

If you’d like the opportunity to be featured like Steven, join the community here. More than that though it’s a great place to meet other photographers, share images and talk all things photography.