This week on the Prodibi Pixel Magazine, we meet with Mark Gowen, a photographer from Des Moines, USA, who has just started photography as a full-time profession this year.
Like a lot of us, Mark has an unexplainable love for photography, and he built his passion for it around candid portraits and lifestyle photography.
Hear his story, what makes a successful picture for him and his tips on model posing. Of course, always with images in high resolution powered by Prodibi!
A few words about you. Explain us, how did you start photography?
I remember taking photography classes in high school, but I can definitely say that I hadn't discovered that "bug" for making photos until I went to church.
I remember someone asked me if I wanted to shoot during a Sunday service, and I was like "Sure..I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'll try.." And to be honest, I don't think it was even that day that I realized that photography was what I was meant to do, but I do now.
The passion that I have for photography is unexplainable. It is something that I think about every day. How to get better, how to use my talent and passion for other people, how do I use this to glorify God? I am constantly pushing myself to get better and to learn how to inspire others to chase after what God created them for.
You take pictures of a lot of models, how do you find them? What are your tips for posing and managing them?
As far as how I connect with potential models, they either reach out to me or I will occasionally reach out to them on Instagram. I think social media is a great way to connect with people; it allows you the opportunity to really build a community around photography.
I typically like to meet with the models at a coffee shop before the shoot in order to get to know them and to kind of break the ice. Taking someone’s photo is a very personal thing, and a lot of times it takes some time to warm up to each other so that you’re both comfortable enough for the shoot.
I shoot a lot of candid type or lifestyle photography which tends to be less posed, but you still want to make the shot not only as interesting as possible but to tell a story with the photo. So as far as posing them, I really just kind of let the moment happen and give slight direction as far as where to look, where there hands should be and some body postures. But again, I do like to keep it as natural as possible.
What is your philosophy about lifestyle photography? What makes a successful portrait for you?
I think lifestyle photography can be different for everyone. Lifestyle is all about just that, a type of lifestyle or catching someone in a moment in their life. A successful portrait for me is one that can convey an emotion or it’s able to tell a story. I just want someone to look at my photo and be able to put themselves in the scene.
For me, I love the instant gratification that comes with Portraits. Being able to show the person you are shooting what you were able to capture in a split second of their life. To make them look beautiful and show them to the world in a way that they want to be seen. To me that is one of the biggest reasons that I love this art.
Are you inspired by the work of other photographers or artists? Which ones?
Absolutely. I love seeing what people can capture as they look at a scene. I love seeing different ways of looking at a photo, so I think its very important to look to other artists for inspiration. One of the biggest struggles I have though, is playing the comparison game. I look at great photographers like Samuel Elkins, or Andrew Kearns and feel like I’m thousands of miles from being in their league, and I have to remember that it’s important to stay true to your own style and that we are all on our own path and journey. Some people are farther along than we are and some are just starting.
Is there someone in the world you dream to photograph?
Hmm, thats a great question. I think the only two that I would say I would really want to photograph would be Blake Lively, and Sean Penn. Blake Lively is absolutely stunning, and Sean Penn is one of my favorite actors and I would kill to photograph some dramatic portraits of him.
About your photography gears, what are your favorite tools?
I have the Sony A7RIII and primarily use my FE 85mm 1.8, that is my go to combination for portraits however I have been experimenting with the 35mm and think that will be my next purchase. I love the versatility of that lens and how natural the photos look.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series?
I do actually, I am in the process of working through a portrait series entitled “Home(less)” in which I am going to photograph homeless people in our city and bring to light their story and the need that they have and that we can provide.
In addition to that, I do have a collaboration with another photographer friend of mine that will become a YouTube Channel, so unfortunately I cannot talk about that quite yet!
To see more of Mark's work:
Prodibi is the quality, powerful, and easy way to showcase and share full-resolution images online. We help photographers display stunning images on the web and mobile.
Try it for free on Prodibi