In this fourth part of the Photographer Interview series, we interview Tom Clark from Miami. A photographer for 12 years, he has plenty of advice and insight to offer:
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I’ve always had an interest in the arts and photography seemed to be the medium that was most enjoyable. For me it’s important that a job (or hobby) relieves more stress than it creates. Of course this isn’t always the case with professional assignments, but I would say for the most part I still enjoy the work.
How did you learn your craft?
After a couple years as a self taught photographer I decided to attend school and enrolled in Brooks Institute, which at the time was located in Santa Barbara, CA. The location was really what drew me there. The school was great and the experience was well worth it, but in hindsight I would have opted for a cheaper route. Most of my education occurred after graduation while assisting professionals in the field.
What is your favorite type of photography?
As a hobby I love landscape photography as it provides an excuse to explore the wilderness. Professionally, I used to really enjoy fashion, but my new favorite subject is food. Culinary arts was another possible career choice for me. In fact, my interest in cooking predates my interest in photography. It’s a wonder how I only recently decided to join the two.
If you could shoot one thing (person, place, etc…) what would it be and why?
I would love to get out in some ancient forest somewhere and spend a couple weeks getting to know the place. Maybe I’d create some images… maybe some video. I’m no longer interested in forcing the issue (that’s what I have to do for work mostly). For myself, I prefer to let the situation influence me rather than the other way around.
What is the biggest benefit of your job?
The biggest benefit of my job is the flexibility. Miami has become somewhat of a traffic nightmare and it’s a huge bonus for me to shape my schedule around the traffic patterns. If shooting outdoors I get out before morning rush hour, and meeting are always scheduled for the late morning or early afternoon. Occasionally a full day shoot lands me in afternoon traffic, but that just drives the point of how nice I have it most other days.
Any tips for aspiring photographers?
Here’s what I wish I knew before committing to an expensive school: Assist as many pros as you can, create a portfolio of relevant images, create a beautiful website and figure out a marketing strategy that works for you. Oh, and avoid debt if you can.
Any tips for getting the perfect shot…even with a cell phone?
From my experience it helps to take many many shots. With people this helps your odds of capturing a natural expression. For still subjects I’ve learned to explore various angles/approaches. Sometimes my first idea is the best of the bunch, but often times it’s not.
Learn more about Tom Clark’s photography, here!