Matt Sweeney
United States
State / Region
Santa Barbara, California
$100/hour including editing

I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, and moved to California about five years ago. I'm a photographer, videographer, and editor, and I do my best to bring some east coast flavor to California.

Would you like to complete our full Editorial interview or skip straight to uploading your photos? (12 more interview questions).

Our readers would love to get to know you more Matt. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?

What's unique about me is the diversity of my influences. I've seen terrible crime-ridden neighborhoods in Buffalo and insanely luxurious/beautiful areas in California. I appreciate the contrast and always make sure to stay grounded while living in the scenic town of Santa Barbara. 

Matt, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Photographer?

My passion and aspiration are to create media that's both modern and timeless. At first, I only learned photography basics to improve my filmmaking, but then fell in love with still photography as well. I started with the landscape, mostly because it's so easy to find in Santa Barbara, but nowadays I'm mostly shooting portraits.

Who is your inspiration in life Matt? How do you keep inspired?

I'd have to say my mom is a big one. She's had a crazy work ethic my whole life and always worked several jobs when I was young. I'm also constantly wearing Buffalo (NY) on my sleeve while living in California, so long term I want to accomplish a lot in honor of Buffalo and try to improve the poverty and drug addiction problems there.

We all make mistakes Matt, we wish we could take back. Please tell us about a time being a Photographer, you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
On one of my first portrait shoots, I forgot to have the model change between locations. Not a huge deal but having a bunch of shots at different locations in the same outfit is not ideal... remember multiple outfits!

Matt, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Photographer, how do you go about prioritizing your clients’ needs?

I think some photographers that shoot a ton of portraits are sort of on autopilot at times, with cookie cutter locations, poses, and looks. I make sure each portrait is unique to the person and the lighting, color schemes, and composition will reflect that. At the same time, I'm very flexible with locations and make sure my input will only complement what the client wants.

Please tell us, Matt, about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities as a Photographer?

The first time I photographed skateboarding was a learning experience. I had to adjust to a much faster shutter speed than normal, and learn to time movements perfectly.

Matt, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
I once shot an album cover for a friend, and he wanted to make a crazy edit to it that I felt looked amateur. I usually go for a clean, realistic look. He emailed both versions (my edit and his) to a bunch of people to see which they preferred, and all 10 or so unanimously chose mine.

Matt, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Photographer. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
The first time I saw my photo published in a magazine! It was a restaurant I was waiting tables at, so I'd say I had a bit of help, but it motivated me to get published for real without the connection next time.

Matt, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
One of the first photo shoots I did with my friend Excel, it was pretty improvised. He had a few suits to choose from, and I asked that he wear the dark blue and the grey - neutral colors so we could get away with lots of different backgrounds. I had a few spots in mind, but we ended up trying out lots of different locations and got some amazing shots. It's always fun to stray away from what you planned and still get great results, maybe even better than what you had planned.

What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Photographer?

Make sure to be unique! There are so many great photographers online nowadays. Not that you should go too far and do crazy stuff just for attention, but if you notice tons of photographers doing the same stuff, make sure to do something different! Develop your own style based on what you like, and stick with it.

Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands, and creatives? If yes, please state what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Yes, definitely. I'm not really into "high fashion" though, where the models look all crazy and scary. I prefer more of a classic, timeless style. Think GQ with less tight pants. Anything ranging from that to full on hip-hop is great. I could try out more female portraits too, but again nothing too crazy and nothing sleazy. Classy only.

Now for the best part Matt! Please upload 5-10 photos so we can get to see your work.
Photo Credits:
Photographer: Matt Sweeney @sweeneyvisuals


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