The Tension Between Creating Art and Getting the Job Done
My name is Mike Hagen, and I am a professional photographer working out of Gig Harbor, Washington. A big thank you to Scott and Brad for inviting me to write for this week’s guest blog.
I love photography. Like others who have chosen photography as an avocation, I eat, sleep and drink photography. As a working shooter, I don’t specialize in any one photographic genre; rather I point my lenses in quite a few directions. In the last 12 months, I’ve photographed commercial jobs, wildlife, portraits, events, architectural jobs, written two books, operated photo trips around the world, and have taught numerous classes and workshops.
Nature and outdoor photography got me into the world of professional photography, but over the course of two decades in the business, I’ve added a number of skillsets to my photographic repertoire. In this day and age, I feel strongly that you have to keep learning in order to keep earning a living. This blog article details a different aspect of professional photography that you might not have considered in the past. I hope it gives you a neat behind the scenes look and that it challenges you to consider a new perspective.
Getting The Shot
I really enjoy exercising my creativity. However when I’m shooting for a paying client, I struggle with the tension between creating art and simply getting the job done to meet the client’s expectations.
One of the subjects I regularly shoot in my business is commercial construction for building product manufacturers. For these jobs, I contract with a manufacturer to photograph their materials on high profile construction projects. For example, a deck & railing manufacturer will hire me to photograph their products on high-rise buildings in big cities. Or, a moisture barrier wrap company will hire me to photograph their materials on buildings during the construction phases of the project.
My client’s photographic needs are never as simple as, “photograph the building.” Rather, they hire me to demonstrate their product on a building as it is being used in the real world.