August Member Spotlight: Helio Sun Photography, Josh Saunders

GRPP_selfieJosh Saunders is one of our newest members. I’m excited to have him as a part of our group! I believe that as a new face, he brings us fresh insights and ideas that as a collective, we may not have thought of before. This is one of the reasons that he’s this months member spotlight! If you have yet to meet him, introduce yourself. Here’s what he had to say in response to our questions.

Until next month ~ Erin

How did you get into photography? There has always been an interest in photography since I was a kid. I had all sorts of cheap cameras growing up. One of my favorites was the Kodak Disc camera, very simple to use, especially for a kid and the film looked almost like a CD! Anybody who grew up in the 1980s will know what I’m talking about. I dabbled a bit with B&W film during high school. After college, I worked in the television industry for over 10 years and got burnt out and decided to go back to school. I completed the Graphic Arts program at MCC and while there, took a B&W film class and just fell in love with the process and the creativity utilizing full manual controls. Then I bought a DSLR right after the class concluded and I’ve been going at it ever since.

Where do you want to be in 5 years? To keep Helio Sun Photo growing as a business and work with clients who amaze me more each year!  

Do you have any formal education? Yes, I have a BS in Communication/Television Production from SUNY Plattsburgh and an AAS in Graphic Arts/Printing from MCC. Most everything I have learned with digital photography has been self taught. I read quite a bit when I first started and still research from time to time, but practice, practice, practice is the best approach for myself.

What has been your greatest achievement? Leaving the hospital for the first time with my daughter and watching her grow, smile, giggle, and of course crying over the past eight weeks has been the best experience in my life. She is my favorite subject to photograph! 

How do you stay fresh and creative? Shooting subjects and environments outside of my comfort zone. I started photographing bands in dimly lit clubs a few years back and it really helped me learn to balance flash with ambient light. Most recently, I have been working with the Wall Therapy team as a photographer. The murals are in locations all over the city and I travel to places I have never been before. Also just shooting anything I haven’t photographed before is a way to keep it interesting and a great way to learn how to use new angles and compositions.

What is the best piece of gear in your camera bag? Hands down, my macro lens. It is a Vivitar 90mm and is absolutely the sharpest lens I have ever used. It’s great because manually focusing my subject really allows me to slow down to get the shot.

What do you wish you knew when you began? More of the business side of things. It’s tough trying to stay on top of your game and doing all of the daily tasks associated with running a business, but the more you do it, the easier it gets and becomes more of a balance.

Worst day on the job and what you learned? I haven’t had a worst day yet, knock on wood…Guess I’ve been pretty lucky so far!

Best day on the job and what you learned? Getting a Thank You card from past clients always brightens my day.

3 favorite non-photo hobbies? Mountain biking, skateboarding, and doodling.

Best piece of software? I have been using Nikon Capture NX2 for years now and still love it for most of my workflow, but I will be looking into adding Lightroom soon.

What is the best business tip you have been given? Don’t sell yourself short when pricing a job. It’s easy to do in the beginning, but the more events you do, then you start realizing your full potential and ultimately that this isn’t a 9-5 job, but a job that sometimes requires very late nights of editing, emails, and lots of coffee and patience!

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