I have been a photographer since 2003. My absolute favourite style of photography is with models and commercialised style work. I hold a bachelor degree in graphic design with experience working in web design and development.
Photography for me is about painting with light. I'm good at producing portraits with bright, even light, and I have fun when I have the opportunity to create dramatic shots with creative lighting techniques.
My speciality, portraits, people, and things. In my heart, I'm a collaborator. I love input and ideas during shoots, so don't be afraid to speak up!
Our readers would love to get to know you more Justin. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you, your brand or the services you offer?
I've been told by experienced models that my style is something they greatly enjoy. They like how relaxed I am on a shoot, making them feel comfortable and calm while we are producing excellent images. Poses are essential, but not at the expense of looking natural. I believe in capturing natural motion, and the closer I can get to photographing someone in their natural state, the better photograph I will get.
Justin, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Photographer?
I started by taking a class in college. I wasn't particularly interested in photography; I just knew the professor was from my small hometown of Mt. Angel, and I wanted to take the class. He could have been teaching geology, and I probably would have done it, and I'm so glad that it was photography because I'm crazy about being behind my camera.
My highest aspiration in life is to give my family a fantastic lifestyle. The cornerstone of that is being able to take my children to places around the world to let them touch and experience their education instead of learning it from a textbook. I haven't been many places myself, and know from those trips how my perspective on the world has transformed from it. I want my passion for photography to take us places where business trips are a part of our family experience, moulding my children's worldview with real experience that transcends small-town social ideas.
Who is your inspiration in life Justin? How do you stay inspired as Photographer?
I find much inspiration from looking at what other photographers are doing, and then getting out there and experimenting. It's so easy to get caught up shooting in one style that I sometimes forget that creativity drives and refuels my passion for the art, so I make regular efforts to expand my vision and try new things.
We all make mistakes Justin; we wish we could take back. What was the mistake you made in the past that you wish you can take back?
This is a hard question, not because I haven't made mistakes, but because I know the person I am today is a product of the successes and failures I've experienced in my life so far. If I could take one thing back, I think it is spending so much money on college education. I often wish I discovered photography and ran with it instead of having so much doubt in myself early in my educational career. Knowing what I know now, I could have been so much further with a little more passion and ambition 15 years ago.
Justin, How do you describe yourself regarding working with clients?
Open, creative, and collaborative. Working with clients can be tricky because my vision for something doesn't always align correctly with my client's vision. I think having the flexibility to see things from the client perspective and adapt is one of my greatest skills.
Please tell us, Justin, how do you prioritise work, social life, friends, and family?
My wife and I have 3 kids together, all three of the girls. Hands down, they are the most critical part of my life. I've heard it said that "the purpose of business is to fund the perfect life", and I am in full agreement with that statement. I work hard, and sometimes it's easy to forget that my family needs my time and attention too. What I do is both for them and for me, and they rely on me to be successful, so work and family are two priorities in my life that share #1.
Justin, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.
L have and continue to work as a real estate agent, which comes with helping people see things my way all the time. I try to keep my opinions objective and well educated, which is something I use to sell people on my point of view. For example, sellers often think they will make more money by listing their house for more, but if the market doesn't react to that price, the reality is we are just dealing with imaginary money. 100% of the time, this method helps me determine how motivated someone is to sell their house. In all of my business dealings, whether real estate or photography, I always like to learn about my client and what they want, and then work with them. It helps take the barriers down right away when I seek first to understand and then act.
Justin, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Photographer.
It happened when I decided to get serious about photography and commit to creating stellar images. I am super proud of myself for realising that photography isn't just a pipe dream, and I have the talent, the skill, and the ability to learn and grow to become great at this game.
Justin, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or challenging about it?
I worked with a male nude model once, something I had never done before. I had the opportunity to do things with light that I had never explored before, and it was super fun! The challenge, however, was getting past working with someone in the nude without keeping certain body parts in the shot, something he wasn't comfortable with. The result from the shoot was quite surprising, and I keep having more and more ideas. It creatively pushed me, and I want to keep challenging myself, that's what makes me grow.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Photographer?*
Don't be afraid, and don't compare your work to other photographers. Here is a reality. Many of those photographers that you envy look at your work and think the same thing. Be confident that your work is beautiful, admire and study the work of others, challenge yourself to grow, and let your work be your competition. The unique thing about your work is that it is yours, never try to become someone else, just become the best version of yourself.
Photographer: Justin Mikkelsen, @justinmikkelsenphotography