Today we’d like to introduce you to the interesting and successful entrepreneur-turned-photographer Ken Saunders.
Ken, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Photography is a second career for me, even though I’ve been shooting all my life. After operating a successful business for 40 years in the Aerospace / Manufacturing supply sector, a competitor made me a fair offer to purchase my business. After a remarkably short decision process, I finally heard the call of the photographer from deep within my soul and I accepted the offer. I had made some good friends in that business over the years; I’ve put a large number of people to work and I take much pride in their accomplishments. Yes, some good times were had, but I haven’t looked back since. Photography was my passion my entire life but I’ve never been happier now that I’ve decided to make a career of it. I’ve started off small. I enjoy shoot almost everything with the exception of Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. Ever since the 60’s I’ve been a fan of the masters Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton. I also love the work of David Bailey, Brian Duffy, Michael Donovan, Edward Steichen, Edward Weston and of course who doesn’t love the work of Ansel Adams? By now if you have guessed that I love Fashion/Glamour photography and Portrait photography, you guessed right, that is what I mostly do.
Has it been a smooth road?
Being a good photographer is not easy, there’s much more to it than what meets the eye. (pun intended). Just because you can take pictures with a cell phone or go out and buy a DSLR, it doesn’t make you a photographer. Once you learn all the technical stuff be it digital or film, it doesn’t make you a photographer either. At some point, you need to learn to communicate with pictures. Learning lighting, composition helps but that won’t make you a photographer. A true photographer crafts imagery that is filtered by what he or she sees and feels. Learning how to use tools and technique has helped me create quality images, but developing unique filters that determine how I see things and how I communicate them to my viewers is something that I struggle to improve every day, with every shot I take. It is this challenge that I love!
When you look back, what are you most proud of?
Apart from seeing one of my shots taking second place in the country in Costco’s Annual photo contest, I would say it’s the happiness I see on someone’s face, every time they fall in love an image I’ve made of them.
Every story has ups and downs. What were some of the downs others might not be aware of?
Being a photographer means that you’re are going to struggle no matter how you play it. Probably the worst moment is when I’m on a shoot and I’ve forgotten an important piece of gear or something suddenly fails and there is no backup. That would be like an actor forgetting his lines in the middle of a play, running out of gas on a dark desolate road or walking out in public forgetting your clothes. These are the times when you realize that you must draw upon all your talent, experience, and creativity to solve this problem or fall flat on your face. Fortunately, in photography, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Ironically, it is during these inevitable episodes, that I’ve done some of my best work. Bottom line: be a Boy Scout; always be prepared and always remember the 7 Ps. Don’t know the 7’s? Haha, ask me.
What’s your outlook for the industry in our city?
L.A. is a great place for photography because it’s a microcosm of most everything, all in one place, and a great place for networking opportunities. By the same token, it’s full of distractions, so you must have clear goals or you will never get out of first gear. The fact that there are so many people living in this city, can make it a challenge if you want to avoid crowds. If you want clear backgrounds, you need to develop a list of secret locations and/or know the best times to avoid crowds in public areas. If you want to succeed in photography you need to stand out from the others in the pack. In today’s interconnected world, more important than where you live is your passion for photography. How much time and effort you are willing to commit to it to be good at it?
- Website: http://www.inov8iveimages.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: ken.saunders
- Other: Model Mayhem #1533983 or modelmayhem.com/kensaunders