Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Interview with Jason Lanier Part #3 of 3

Recently I was asked by a University in Europe to answer some questions for a class project they were doing on photographers for an article they are writing. I have split the questions into 3 sections and will be displaying them on the blog and Facebook in the hopes that these answers can help anyone else who might have questions...hope you enjoy!!!


Part 3 of 3

11. Who or what has been your greatest inspiration in your life? Explain.

My parents. My Mom is very musically inclined and is an unbelievable composer and pianist and she taught me to play/compose music as well. I can't edit images without music playing, it's part of my creative process. My Father was a photography enthusiast which is where I first learned what a Nikon camera could do at the age of 5, and since then I've been hooked. My Dad was also the best Father in the world who has now passed on. While I know he would always say he's proud of me (because he's the kind of guy who always made their kids feel great), I don't feel like I will live up to who he was. So I'm inspired to try and be like him. When I die if people know me as a famous photographer that would be neat. But I'd much rather prefer they know me as a decent and good Father and Husband. No success in this life can compensate for failure in the home. Believe me when I say that there is nothing I wouldn't do for my family. If photography ever got in the way of being a good Father or Husband, I would give it up.

12. What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?

I keep myself motivated by trying whatever sounds fun. I don't place any limits (other than moral/ethical stuff) on myself. I figure if I want to shoot it, no matter the genre I will shoot it. That's what's so funny about my website/Facebook page, etc. One day you will see an engagement photo, the next day an elephant. When you are open to doing anything, you very rarely ever find yourself painted into a corner that can lead to boredom and shut down your creativity.

13. If you could interview a creative person (past or present), who would that person be? Please explain your choice.

You may be expecting me to say someone famous. But if I could interview anyone tomorrow for example, it would be my Dad. I would ask him his life story, and record every second of it. For those who still have your loved ones around, take the opportunity to get to know their life story before they are gone. Believe me, I had a great relationship with my Dad before he died and was there when he passed away, so I don't have any regrets and I know I will see him when I die. But if I could interview someone from the past or present, it would be my Dad without hesitation. He is my hero and along with my Mom and family is the creative force and influence for who I am today.

14. How many foreign languages do you speak? What are these languages?

I speak 3 languages, English, Spanish, and Korean.

15. How did you acquire your language skills? Did you awaken your creativity to study foreign languages? Please share your secrets and tools!

I learned English from my parents, especially my Mom and Grandma who were English majors. I learned Spanish through my Dad who went on a 2-year mission to Chile and upon coming home spent the next 25 + years teaching Spanish and in fact had my wife Kara in his Spanish class in high school. I learned Korean while serving for two years as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Pusan Mission from the ages of 19-21 years old. It was the absolute best experience of my life. It's also what influenced me to adopt our three boys (triplets) that we have now. While on my mission we would visit the orphanages twice/week. I made a promise to God that if I ever had the means and opportunity I would adopt children into my home. A little over 7 years ago my wife and I were able to do that. It was the absolute best thing I have done on this earth. Raising those boys is my (our) mission now.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Interview with Jason Lanier Part #2 of 3

Recently I was asked by a University in Europe to answer some questions for a class project they were doing on photographers for an article they are writing. I have split the questions into 3 sections and will be displaying them on the blog and Facebook in the hopes that these answers can help anyone else who might have questions...hope you enjoy!!!


Part 2 of 3

6. Do the opinions of other people influence or change what you create?

NO. When I first started other people's opinions affected me greatly as I was so eager to please as many artists are...after all we do want people to like our stuff right? About 1 year into my photography journey I grew tired of hearing everybody's advice so I gently told friends and family to keep their opinions to themselves. I don't shoot for anyone else other than me. My pictures are exactly the way I want them to look like. I don't cater my imagery for another person's taste or desire because then it wouldn't be my imagery, it would be theirs! When I do have a project and I'm working with an art director for example I will of course collaborate on the theme, concepts, etc. But that shoot will still have my look on it. Once artists stop seeking the approval of others they are truly free. Some people think it's arrogance, I think it's confidence. It takes a lot of guts to put your stuff out there for the whole world to see. Be confident in what you do and if you aren't happy with the way it looks than you need to seek to improve yourself....but do it for yourself, not for the approval of others. The funny thing is that you will find that there are others who love what you do, whatever the genre might be. So if you keep plugging away you will stay true to yourself and find a very loyal following of people who love your work.

7. If you have experienced creative blocks, how have you overcome them?

The best way to overcome a creative block is to bust right through it. If you are a creator you are inspired by different elements in your life. When I'm shooting if I've had a very short creative block it's been overcome by continuing to shoot until I found my inspiration. Another technique is to go shoot something entirely different than what you normally do. People think it's funny that I can be shooting a wedding one week and lions in Africa the next. Me changing stuff up is honestly one reason why I can say I've never had a block in my career.

8. What distinguishes you from other creative people in your genre?

I think what distinguishes me is that fact that I combine so many different elements of photography into what I do. Whether it's weddings, portraits, landscapes, or wildlife I combine these elements into all the work. People have often described my wedding work as landscapes with weddings in them. That's because I am at heart a landscape photographer who tried wedding photography after I was volunteered by my wife to shoot a wedding for a family friend and ended up really liking it! I would just say that some photographers say their work is "different and unique" when truly it isn't. What they don't realize is that saying you're unique when you aren't actually hurts your brand. My photography has also been described as painting like which is true to what I like. The biggest compliment is when someone tells me they go through a gallery of images (like at a competition) and can tell it's one of my images without even looking at the names. I love the fact that people can recognize my imagery for it's look and feel.

9. Is there a certain place you go for inspiration? Please describe.

God, my family, wife and kids. I often tell my wedding clients that the reason I love shooting weddings is because I love my wife so much. When I shoot nature and wildlife I feel a true connection with God and feel honored to show the world what He has created, to people all over the world. When I'm particularly down I get outdoors and find something beautiful that God has created for me and all of us. Within a little while I'm starting to feel better and inspired.

10. Do you have any special rituals that you do in order to achieve your creative goals?

Preparation. Lack of preparation can kill creativity. That doesn't mean that creativity can't be spontaneous because it can. But as a professional photographer when you have deadlines and other people you are meeting and shooting if you aren't prepared you will be in trouble. My best shoots occur when I leave plenty of time available for the shoot, when I've scouted the location the day before to find the optimal lighting situations, and when I've had great pre-shoot phone calls with the models/clients prior to the shoot to go over expectations. If I do a good job at these things than the creativity just flows. For example when I was shooting wildlife in Africa I would map out at night where I was going to shoot the sunrise in the morning. That way I wasn't running around like crazy in the morning trying to find the right spot while the light was changing and I was missing something. Preparation breeds creativity.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Interview with Jason Lanier Part #1 of 3

Recently I was asked by a University in Europe to answer some questions for a class project they were doing on photographers for an article they are writing. I have split the questions into 3 sections and will be displaying them on the blog and Facebook in the hopes that these answers can help anyone else who might have questions...hope you enjoy!!!


Part 1 of 3

1. What environmental factors do you consider to be helpful (or limiting) to your creative process?

The word environment can having many meanings but for the purpose of this question I will refer to the outdoor environment of nature. Being that I shoot outdoors so much I can't help but think of myself as an amateur meteorologist. I love clouds, either dark or bright, as they lend tremendous depth and contrast to the sky. The worst thing in the world for shooting is a sky without clouds...makes it very boring, bland, and stale. Lighting of course is the primary element for consideration for all photographers and choosing light during the "magic" hours near sunrise or sunset is optimal.

2. Please describe your state of mind when you are creating something.

When I'm in the middle of creating something I open my mind to all possibilities and try to not say, "No," to anything. If you were inside my mind during the creative process you would find it a place full of excitement and fun. I'm not the kind of artist that needs to go to a "dark place" to create. I truly love life and love portraying it's beauty. I'm not scared at all about not knowing what to do in a situation. I figure I just try something crazy until it works!

3. What are your reasons for sharing your work with others via the World Wide Web?

I share my work over the web for many reasons. First, it's the absolute best way to get your name out there so you can become a profitable business and make it a full time career. Secondly I love sharing beauty. The world can sometimes have so much darkness and cruelty to it, and I want to do my small part to balance the scales and show how amazing and beautiful it can be. Third, I realize that I have been extremely blessed to be able to travel the world and there are many people who can't. I love bringing my imagery to the world via the web and hope that it can in some small way help others to go there with me to that place if they aren't able to go there themselves.

4. Do you have to be in a certain mood in order to create?

I have to be happy. I've shot before when I'm upset and the images take on a decidedly different look. When I'm preoccupied with a problem it will inhibit my creativity because my mind isn't free. I've always been good at compartmentalizing so if I do have something going on I can usually find my "happy place" pretty quickly.

5. When you begin to create, do you have a finished product in your mind?

Yes. As I've shot more and gained more experience I've learned that having a finished product in mind is the clearest way to achieving your desired result. The hardest thing for me when I began was having the vision but lacking the know how to make it happen. As a creator that was extremely frustrating. In the middle of a shoot I am like a schizophrenic (constantly talking to myself) because I remind myself of my goal and what I'm trying to achieve. It seems to help me get there.


Part 2 and 3 of this interview will appear in the blog and on Facebook over the next two posts....


Monday, May 9, 2011

1 on 1 Session San Francisco


San Francisco- shooting in San Francisco/Napa this week and having a great time. If you are interested in doing a 1 on 1 I have 1 spot left so please let me know! It is going to be an amazing shoot trying some very cool concepts that you might want to try! I will be here until Wednesday until I take off for Utah next week. If interested please send me an email at INFO@JLPROS.COM.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mount Vernon by Jason Lanier

These images were taken this week during my visit to Mount Vernon (George Washington's home and final resting place) which is located in Mount Vernon, Virginia. I've always loved coming to this place as it is so peaceful and beautiful. The back of the home opens up to one of the most beautiful views you've ever seen of the Potomac River. The two images on the bottom show this view, and the really wide one (which is a 5-shot panoramic) shows it the best. For more information please check out our Facebook page as well where some of these images are posted and contain the camera settings for those photographers out there....





Thursday, May 5, 2011

Utah Photography Workshop by Jason Lanier May 17 and May 18, 2011


Register for a workshop or 1 on 1 session by sending an email to:

INFO@JLPROS.COM!

Come join me for an amazing 2-day workshop in Orem, Utah on Tuesday May 17th and Wednesday May 18th, both sessions starting at 8am. It will be a very hands-on instructional 2 days as we spend an entire day shooting followed by a day of editing, business, and motivational skills you need to be a success in the photography industry. You can attend the 2-day workshop for $450 or come to only one of the days for $275!

1 on 1 sessions are also available where you go out with me for 3 hours and get the personal attention you need and can all the questions you ever wanted to ask without the embarrassment of asking them in front of a group of our peers! 1 on 1 Sessions are available for $199.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Utah Photography Workshop by Jason Lanier May 17 and May 18, 2011


Register for a workshop or 1 on 1 session by sending an email to:

INFO@JLPROS.COM!

Come join me for an amazing 2-day workshop in Orem, Utah on Tuesday May 17th and Wednesday May 18th, both sessions starting at 8am. It will be a very hands-on instructional 2 days as we spend an entire day shooting followed by a day of editing, business, and motivational skills you need to be a success in the photography industry. You can attend the 2-day workshop for $450 or come to only one of the days for $275!

1 on 1 sessions are also available where you go out with me for 3 hours and get the personal attention you need and can all the questions you ever wanted to ask without the embarrassment of asking them in front of a group of our peers! 1 on 1 Sessions are available for $199.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Utah Photography Workshop by Jason Lanier May 17 and May 18, 2011


Register for a workshop or 1 on 1 session by sending an email to:

INFO@JLPROS.COM!

Come join me for an amazing 2-day workshop in Orem, Utah on Tuesday May 17th and Wednesday May 18th, both sessions starting at 8am. It will be a very hands-on instructional 2 days as we spend an entire day shooting followed by a day of editing, business, and motivational skills you need to be a success in the photography industry. You can attend the 2-day workshop for $450 or come to only one of the days for $275!

1 on 1 sessions are also available where you go out with me for 3 hours and get the personal attention you need and can all the questions you ever wanted to ask without the embarrassment of asking them in front of a group of our peers! 1 on 1 Sessions are available for $199.