Today’s blog features photographer Matthew Wells. We found him at Photoshop World Las Vegas 2012. Here is a quick background on him as well as some images of his work.
I like to think that I started my journey in photography at the age of six with my blue Fisher Price camera with disposable flashes. Although I am sure I shot some really top-notch work for a six year old, it wasn’t until my twenties when I started tinkering with Photoshop that I became truly hooked.
In 2003, I was fortunate enough to get an old version of Photoshop. Having a love of technology, my obsession began. While trying to figure out all of the various functions in Photoshop was a daunting task, I reveled at the challenge. Shortly after acquiring Photoshop, I got frustrated while shopping for t-shirts and decided that creating some custom designs for shirts would be a great self-assignment. While I didn’t create anything truly stunning, I spent countless hours designing shirt logos and ended up opening my very own CafePress store, chalk-full of somewhat subpar designs. Though my customer base was limited to my brother, wife, and her little sisters, I admit to a bit of pride when they would wear my logos out and about. However, the true benefit was I learned a ton going through tutorials and fiddling with the various PS tools while trying to create the designs I saw in my mind.
After the grand success of my clothing brand with several middle school siblings, my next self-assignment was to create some nice collages of various vacation and family photos shot on my little Canon Powershot A70. This quickly turned into trying to create some nice photographs for my wife and her belly dance troupe, where I immediately realized that my current equipment simply wasn’t going to cut it.
My upgrade into the DSLR world came with the realization that as soon as you own one, people start wanting you to take their photograph. I soon found myself shooting senior portraits, a few weddings, and editing photographs for a few friends in photography who struggled with some complicated edits. However, despite my enjoyment of these types of photography, I felt like my calling was to shoot landscapes. Being a great fan of the outdoors and being blessed to live in the mountains, I would often head out to shoot in the quiet of the early mornings.
However, at the same time, I was engrossed in several photography books, the first being a great little read from the library called The Digital Photography Book by some guy named Scott Kelby. Aside from all the great things I learned from the book, it was the first breadcrumb on the trail that would eventually lead me to attend Photoshop World and sit in on a lecture given by R.C. Concepcion that changed my direction profoundly. R.C. spoke about photographing Star Wars fans at a convention and creating some really amazing prints of people involved in the things they love. The idea of photographing people pursuing their passions seemed to really resonate with me. I felt further inspired by several engrossing classes with Dave Black and his infectious passion for photography and environmental portraiture as well as an eye-opening class with Calvin Hollywood regarding post-processing and some really memorable lessons I picked up from Michael Green while shooting at the Westcott booth.
While I have been really happy with some of the portraiture that I’ve done, I’m pushing to take my photography to the next level, practicing composites, small studio lighting setups, and the use of flash as well as entering whatever competitions I can find. Competitions, like the ones Westcott puts on at Photoshop World, always push my skills and inevitably help me identify areas that I need to watch out for as I shoot and edit. As my normal job is that of a high school math and engineering teacher, I love learning and am thoroughly enjoying my exploration of these different facets of photography.
Things brings me to the fact that photography has completely changed my life. I love capturing photographs that excite my clients, and I love helping others pursue their interests in photography. While photo shoots can be so nerve wracking, once I’m looking through that lens, I get energized and my mind seems to fill with creative ideas. Additionally, due to being a high school teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to share a bit of my experience and teach a bit of photography and Photoshop to a few interested students. While I love shooting my own photo projects, helping others to achieve the photographs they’d like to is equally as rewarding. I hope to continue to learn and to continue to have opportunities to share what I’ve learned with others equally as passionate about photography as I.