This week on our Instructor Spotlight, we are featuring Mike Moreland. Moreland spent 15 years as a commercial photographer, specializing in architecture, fashion and advertising. He then took that experience into the Wedding and Portrait field. Moreland graduated from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. His work has been published hundreds of times in national magazines and books and most recently, his achievements were profiled in Rangefinder Magazine as one of the top wedding photographers in the country. The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants awarded Moreland the “Professionals’ Choice Award Atlanta ”. This was a highlight for Moreland among the numerous local, national and international photography competition awards that he has received during his career. Moreland is not only a weddings and portrait photographer, but he also teaches workshops. We asked Moreland a few questions.
Given your 25 years of photography experience, what the one piece of advice you'd give out to a beginner in our industry?
You have to follow your heart and have passion for your photography and through your passion develop a style. Often the difference between good photographers and great photographers is their passion! It is not just about having the best equipment, using the right lens for the shot or having a great exposure. Does your image speak to people when they look at it? Do not let the technical part overwhelm you and cloud your creativity, do not be another photographer with a camera.....create art with your camera. You have to work an image and explore it and do not settle for your initial instinct. There is a great photographer named Pete Turner that is in his late 70’s now, but he is the master of color, composition and design. Most of his masterpieces were taken on film before digital and Photoshop and he had a saying back in the film days “if it is worth shooting it is worth 5 rolls”, this means if you see a shot do not only shoot your first impression that caught your eye but work the shot. Shoot it with every lens and every angle, explore the shot and try everything you can, think outside of the box and you know what? You probably will come away with a much better image then your first impression, this is how you separate yourself from all of the other photographers? Have passion and do not just copy what everybody else is doing.
Whatis the one workshop that is valuable for photographers to take that you teach?
I have a variety of workshops to choose from because I wanted workshops that were more specialized toward different areas of photography and different levels of experience. However the number one most important part for me is being a creative photographer so all of theworkshops are hands on shooting with models. All of our models are signing model releases so everybody that comes to our workshop not only learns a ton and have a great time shooting but they can use the images they shoot in their portfolio, website, blog, Facebook etc. Yes the technical part is important but I want everybody to challenge themselves to create images like they never have before. For beginner photographer it is best to take the Intro to Photography Workshop first because it will give you a foundation and teaches them how to understand all of the settings on their camera, understanding lenses, composition and lighting. Each workshop will build upon itself and all of the workshops are very different and we find cool locations, great models and have a great time. So if I was going to choose one workshop to take for experienced photographers then I would highly recommend the location lighting workshop. Lighting is so important and so many photographers do not understand this, too many photographers think getting a properly exposed images is good lighting. At this workshop we work on creating great lighting with available light, using off camera lighting, using multiple lights, using studio lighting outdoors, and video lighting. Everybody will be amazed at the images they get from this workshop and will understand how important lighting is to an image, we will show how to make very dramatic skies with off camera lighting, how to shoot at dusk with tungsten white balance and use a video light but also how to get beautiful lighting with all available light. My second most recommended workshop would be to get in touch with us to create a private one on one workshop which we can customize to anything you want to learn.
From all the different sort of photography you shoot, what is your favorite?
Yes at first glance someone may think I shoot all different types of photography when you see my multiple websites. You may say that you thought someone has to specialize in one specific type of photography, I specialize in photographing people regardless if they are in a white dress, in urban clothes or if it is a fashion shoot for magazine. I love capturing moments and who they are and telling a story about them so to me it is important to tell their story this is why I like doing books for clients and most of my clients want us to shoot for a book. Even if it is a single portrait shoot many times my client will have us design a book for them. So it is important to find out about your client so you can tell their story, about a year ago I had a man call me and told me he wanted to set up a photo shoot so I could do a portrait of his wife because they were about to celebrate their 50thanniversary. He told me over the phone that he wanted a black and white portrait of his wife in the studio with a black background with his wife looking off like she is looking into the future. Well this sounded pretty boring to me and not exactly my style, so I told him I wanted to talk to his wife, then I found out that she was from Texas and had boots and a cowboy hat and she loved being outdoors so when they came to the shoot I did do his studio shot he wanted, but then I took his wife outdoors and photographed who she really was and I got him into some of the shots and in the end they had me design a very large coffee table book and they ordered four copies so they could have one and give one to each of their children. Yes photographing people is my passion however I do have a wide range of photography experience that shapes who I am, but this experience also allows me to teach on many levels because for 15 years I shot for most all of the top national interior and architectural magazines, photographed annual reports and commercial advertising assignments so I bring my commercial advertising techniques and combine it with my creative eye.
You can check out Mike Moreland's website at www.morelandphoto.com, his commercial website at www.morelandstudios.com or his workshop website is at www.photographyworkshopatlanta.com.
Moreland's workshops can also be found at Fisheye Connect.