Today we’d like to introduce you to Joshua Withers.
Joshua, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have been photographing since I was a child. I took it seriously while in college and began my career as a Photoshop artist and photographer. At the time, Photoshop was in high demand and not many people were experts at it. I used Photoshop to pay the bills as I grew as a photographer. Since moving to LA in 2003, I have been an advertising photographer for a major advertising agency. My personal client list includes Pedigree, Priceline, Nissan, ARCO, Goodwill, Playstation, Manduka, and more. I also have had a passion for shooting concerts since the 1990’s and exhibit as a Fine Art Photographer.
Has it been a smooth road?
Working inside an advertising agency as a photographer has been both a smooth and bumpy road in which I am happy to have put in the rear view mirror. Being in-house, I had the inside edge on shooting various jobs for various clients but often it was because there was no budget left, or it needed to be done at the 11th hour. I was always relieved when we had proper time and money to shoot a job properly, which was not too often. I also had to fight the negative associations being inside of the advertising agency. Outside photographers were upset with me because I was taking jobs away from them, and I had to prove to people inside the agency that I was as capable as the outside photographers. Since then, and as digital cameras have evolved, it has been common for most agencies to have in-house talent. I also photograph musicians as a passion of mine. It is a nice change of pace from the advertising world and it has always been something I do because I love it, not because I need it. While shooting for restricting clients can be challenging, shooting music always excites me.
Has there been people or an institution that has played a pivotal role in your career?
Influences come from all places. I am constantly inspired by my surroundings, friends, art community and I am still in touch with my college professor (now a good friend) who has given me spectacular advice at every turn of my career. There also have been a few people who I consider ‘took a chance’ by hiring me. One is Reid Callanan at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. When I was about 21yrs old, he asked me to start teaching Photoshop courses alongside some amazing instructors there. Getting to know ‘A’ list photographers at the Workshops is an experience you can’t find anywhere else. Also, thanks to the woman who hired me to run a digital department (which turned into a photography studio as well) within an ad agency at the age of 27, etc…
Do you have a favorite type of client or project?
As an advertising photographer, I really enjoy jobs that can mix the commerce of photography and have a good cause behind it, vs basic consumerism. NKLA (Best Friends Animal Society) was one of the hardest shoots I was on but getting Los Angeles to be a No-Kill county for animal shelters is a great cause. I recently did a shoot for Goodwill that consisted of portraits of people that Goodwill employs to help them get on their feet. Some were disabled, some came from prison, some were veterans. I wish all advertising could help reflect companies doing good for society.
As a music photographer, I love it when I get to photograph bands that excite me or used to excite me dating back to when I was a kid. Those kinds of shoots are fun for me
But ultimately, as a photographer, we do jobs for fame, fortune, or fun. I consider myself lucky if I get two of those categories.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I were to start over, I think I would have taken more leaps of faith to freelance more, vs stay steadily employed throughout most of my life. I choose staff jobs as a Photoshop artist and/or photographer because of the financial security for my family and during certain economical times, I was very thankful I did. But I also feel that my creativity suffered shooting for the same clients all the time. If I left before things got stale, I would have evolved sooner vs a hitting plateau for a few years. Now I also have a career as a photography educator and I freelance as a photographer and digital artist. It allows me certain freedoms and new photographic possibilities/clients. I am also happier with each new project that comes my way.
- Musician and concerts photography goes from $500-$3000 depending on usage.
- My advertising day rate starts at $2500/day and goes up based on usage, crew, and work involved.
- Website: www.joshwithers.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: jj_withers and jj_widdas
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joshwithersphoto/
- Other: https://joshwithers.myportfolio.com/
All images shot by Josh Withers.