My very first camera was the Canon AE-1 Program, a 35mm film camera, that my mom bought me when I decided to get into photography as a 16 year old high school student. In the time since I’ve gotten into almost every genre of photography out there. I’ve had my own fine art gallery and run a portrait and wedding business since 2009. I left 100 weddings in my rear view mirror a few years ago and made enough money from selling fine art prints to pay the rent; literally. Now I’m not writing this to brag and my point saying these things will become clear shortly.
If you do a little detective work on when the AE-1 came out and the fact that I told you I was 16 years old at the time you can figure out that I’ve been doing this photography thing a long, long, time. One of the questions I get as much as any other, regardless of genre, is who is / are your favorite photographers? Who is your greatest influence? To be honest, across most genre’s the answer is usually quite disappointing. The fact is the list of photographs and photographers that I am inspired by is vast; however the list of who I let influence me is incredibly small. Truth be told I purposely avoid inspiration by and emulation of other photographers because I want to find my own way. With one notable exception.
There is a single photographer from a single genre that comes to mind that I would list as an influence and that I look to emulate. Jerry Ghionis. Now, naturally you might say what a coincidence; Action Camera is hosting Mr. Ghionis for a workshop. It would be natural for you to be skeptical. Let me just say this; we’ve hosted many workshops and you’ve never seen or heard me praise anyone as I just did Mr. Ghionis. Number two; I have one bullet in my gun. I can’t exactly come out and say in a week or a month or a year that someone else is my single greatest influence.
So I’m sure many of you are wondering why is he my greatest influence? So many reasons but to start Mr. Ghonis is simply the one photographer that puts all the aspects of a good portrait photographer together. He combines an understanding of lighting, angles and posing with an amazing ability to connect with people. It’s pretty easy to walk onto an amazing set with an amazing model with access to any piece of equipment you can imagine and come away with a stunning portrait. What amazes me about Jerry is that so many times I’ve seen him take a simple setting with a simple lighting setup and produce a result that shouldn’t be possible. He’s also able to get the people he’s shooting to respond to him in a way that allows him to capture the moment that they want.
When I’m shooting a portrait session I frequently call to mind a piece of advice or technique I learned from Mr. Ghionis. The great news for all of us is that he’s very open to sharing his knowledge. I highly recommend you check out him and his work. I think you’ll end up just as big a fan as I am.
Just because it seems a bit odd to write a blog about photography without posting any images I’ll simply leave you with some of my most recent portraits. If I was successful in any way you should be able to see a little of the influence of Mr. Ghionis in these shots.
Don’t miss out. Sign up for the Jerry Ghionis workshop right now at ActionCamera.com
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