Bruce Wolf is a photographer based in Portland, Oregon and New York City, with a host of credentials; he has shot editorially and commercially for a number of years. His greatest ability is in bringing life, articulated lighting and emotion to each of his thoughtfully created photographs. Bruce and I got to talking today and he offered some pearls of wisdom I'll share with all you shutterbugs, professionals and aspiring photographers.
First and foremost, Bruce was quick to point out he was unsure that our casual conversation could be called "pearls of wisdom" as I referred to them after the fact, but was game enough to allow me to summarize some of the salient points we discussed. For that I am grateful. Bruce has been shooting for many years, even photographing John Lennon early in his career. His architectural photographs have such a feeling of life, mystery and narrative; he imbues the picture with wonder, subtlety and interest. I love that about his work.
Thanks so much for sharing these pearls, Bruce!
Advice for beginning photographers from Bruce Wolf
1) People want to see one another succeed; be nice to people on jobs and they will hire you, want to work with you and maybe even become your friend.
2) Treat every job like it has the potential to become the next best image in your portfolio, even if it's for next to nothing or absolutely no pay. There's an opportunity to create a great image there.
3) Assist or don't assist more experienced photographers. You may assist and learn a lot or you may not and it's okay to forge ahead on your own. If you do help a professional photographer, try to learn what you can but don't pick up any bad habits.
4) You're doing something wrong if your knees aren't knocking from time to time on a job (see above paragraph and shooting John Lennon at a young age! My knees would be shattered).
5) EDIT. Look at your portfolio or site. Can you stand behind every photograph in there and love it, not for emotional reasons, but for the picture itself? if not, its out!
6) Cultivate personal projects. Make work that you are curious about seeing realized and assign it to yourself.
7) Each photograph is an opportunity to solve a problem.
8) Don't be afraid to bother people. Art directors, blog editors, whomever you'd like to work with, make them aware of your latest and greatest projects. Don't think you're being a pest.
9) Say yes to everything in terms of jobs that may seem small, but seek out images that can define your point of view. Make the shoot work for you.
10) There are no secrets.
(Images: Bruce Wolf, used with permission)