This one is for all the photographers out there. In an age where everyone has a camera in their pocket at all times, it can be discouraging calling yourself a photographer. With the chances of “getting big” being slim, you’ve got to be meticulous in your branding. Lucky for you, Spots held a Q&A with Atlanta’s own Quan. With 25k followers and counting, Quan is the perfect person to turn to for advice on gaining influence as a photographer.
What’s your favorite camera to shoot on?
Quan’s favorite camera is more to him than simply a tool to take photos. It’s sentimentality adds more than just monetary value. By using his grandfather’s camera, Quan is honoring the memories captured in the past and adding a deeper meaning to the ones he’s capturing now. Though you might not have a camera passed down to you from a relative, it’s important to create your own emotional connection to your camera. This depth will show through your photos. Every shot should be more than a nice looking picture, it has to tell a story, and a key to this is emotionally connecting yourself to the moment you’re capturing.
What makes Atlanta special to photograph?
Atlanta is known for its rich history. This means that there are forgotten locations and scenic views that the average eye won’t typically see. Expressing unique images is the epitome of setting yourself apart as a photographer. Even if you’re not located in Atlanta, forgotten nooks and crannies of any city-no matter how small- can be found. Half of photography is simply exploring and developing an eye for composing shots using your surroundings. Even a simple run-down gas station can make for a beautiful photo- you just have to see it as that.
When working with models, do you normally give specific direction or do you just let them do their thing?
Quan knows the value in chance occurrences. Trying to plan out every detail can cause a shoot to become rigid, and doesn’t allow for creativity to flow. In order for you and the model to be comfortable, there has to be a balance of planning and spur of the moment decisions. The best shots can occur when things just seem to fall into place. If something happens naturally in the moment, the product will have a genuine feel. It’s easy to spot an uncomfortable model through an image whether it be physically, mentally, or both. So, while there should be a general vision in place, it’s just as vital to let moments occur organically.
Have you ever done a shoot with anyone in the Atlanta music scene?
Be open with who you choose to shoot- especially when first starting out. You never know the potential your model has for future success, and it’s great publicity to be able to say you photographed a celebrity! 21 Savage is huge now, and since Quan has exclusive photos of him, people who see them will want to know who shot them. And who knows, it may even end up being more celebrities that want to work with you.
What’s your current [camera] setup?
Quan makes a point here by saying that investing in quality equipment will be worth it in the long run. It may be difficult to drop so much money at once, but it’s truly a test of your commitment to and passion for photography. Properly investing your time and money into equipment is essential to making that cash back. Don’t just buy the nice lens and expect that to be enough. You also need to take time learning how to use it and how you can add your own flare to it’s features. You won’t regret it!
How did you get to 25K followers on Instagram?
As always- network, network, network. Follow people that are on the same wave as you, use hashtags, and become a part of the online AND real-life photography communities. Try to shoot with like-minded photographers in your area- collaborating will help pool followers and link your community through your partnered efforts. Check out the Spots blog 9 Ways to Link & Build In Your Community for a concise list of methods you can implement to grow your influence!
We all take pics, but what have you used as an influence in your style?
Major key!! Know your brand. Take time to recognize what YOU like- the aesthetics you are drawn to. Identifying these will help you narrow down your style so that you have something no one else has to offer. People will respect your individuality and grow to admire your uniqueness.
What is something you wish you’d known when you first started out?
We’ll save love and all of its turbulence for a different conversation, but Quan is absolutely right in saying that knowing your camera is paramount. As discussed earlier, understanding all of the features on your camera and lens plays a massive role in how your photos turn out. As in any field, practice makes perfect. In addition to toying around with your camera, do research on your model and browse photos other people have shot with it. There are countless photography forums where you can find discussions about almost any piece of equipment. Also, you can utilize the photography chat pin in the Spots app as a tool for research. If you ever have a question about your camera, or if you’re simply looking for a cool new location to shoot, ask the chat!