Weston Cantrell shares his thoughts on photography, graphic design and running a recording studio.

Q. What brings you to photography? 
I've wanted to pursue photography for quite some time.  I remember writing a paper in sixth grade and on how I wanted to photograph marine life for national geographic when I grew up. That was the most epic form of photography I could think of at the time. I'm not sure what drew me to photography at that age but now I know that I enjoy photographing people more that any other subject. There's something about capturing emotions in a still image that is far more exciting to me than shooting scenics or wildlife.

Q. I’ve noticed some of your photos have an artistic element, is that your personal expression or the clients ideas?
I general I try my best to bring an artistic point of view to every shoot. Some people come to the table with a lot of ideas for me to work from, others leave it up to me completely. I enjoy working either way.

Q. How do you get ideas for a shoot?
I like to talk to my clients and try to get a feel for what they're expecting. A lot of times I'll come to a shoot with a few things I've been wanting to try. Other times I'll get inspired by the location, clothing, the light conditions, etc.

Q. Is it hard not to repeat your ideas and innovate new ones? 
Sometime I'll get attached to an idea especially when it resulted in a photo I'm particularly proud of.  I am always trying to find new ways to do things. Every subject is unique so that in itself usually brings new ideas.

Q. Do you have a favorite photographer?
I really enjoy Scott Andrew Shoemake's work (http://scottandrewstudio.com), and I have a bit of a web/photo crush on Jasmine Star (http://www.jasminestarblog.com/)

Q. What influences your work?
Nothing is completely original. I subscribe to hundreds of photographers' blogs and I analyze the images that inspire me. That being said I would never want to try to duplicate something someone else has done... but I do believe that studying great photos helps build a good taste-level and influences one to become better.

Q. Have you ever had formal training in photography or are you self-taught?
I have never had formal training. I have always wanted to take a photography class or attend a seminar and I will do that some day.  There is so much great information available through photography forums, blogs, and websites that I have never felt held back my lack of formal training.

Q. What inspires you to do what you do?
One of my favorite quotes is "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life (Confucius)".  I have found that in photography and graphic design. Everyone has a passion, but everyone also has to make ends meet. The idea that I can use my passion to make a living is very inspiring to me.  I am also very inspired by the idea that every creative part of me was put there by God. Look at the earth. God is creative.

Q. Besides photography I know you are a graphic designer and you run a recording studio all fulltime. Is it hard is to make an income doing what you love? 
One difficult thing about working freelance is the uncertainty of having to find and schedule your own work vs. the stability of a 9 to 5 job. The whole feast or famine thing does come into play at times, but it can be overcome.

Q. How long have you been doing graphic design?
I actually have been doing graphic design for a lot longer than I have been doing photography. I had my first official design job for someone other than family when I was 13.

Q. What excites you in graphic design?
I love those moments when it all just "clicks" into place. When the image I saw in my head is now staring back at me from my computer screen. When I unexpectedly stumble across something even better that what I was expecting. 

Q. Can you give examples of what you think is great design in advertising or product branding?
It is obvious that everything Apple does is extremely well designed.  Their logo, products, retail stores, and their marketing all create unity in their branding. I also love when there is some kind of clever symbol hidden in a logo. The arrow in the white space between the "e" and the "x" of the FedEx logo is a great example of this. 

Q. Tell me about the recording studio?
About a year and a half ago we build a full-service recording studio next to our home. It features two isolation booths, a large area for musicians to set up, and a control room. We run Pro Tools and have all the gear necessary to create great sounding stuff.  You can see some photos at www.jnpstudios.biz. My dad, my brother, and I all team up and run it.  

Q. What’s next?
This month I will be shooting my first wedding. I hope to get involved in that in a big way.

Q. Who in your life has been the greatest influence on what you do?
Definitely my family. They have always encouraged me to live out my dreams and have never tried to fit me into a certain mold. I am very grateful for that. I owe them a lot.

Q. What advice would you pass on to the up and coming young artist?
Always hold your work to a high standard and never stop learning. Never stop creating.

Twenty-two year old Weston lives with parents Pastor Gaylen and Doreen Cantrell and brother Landry in Hanford, California. 
To learn more about Weston's work visit www.westoncantrell.com or read his blog at www.westoncantrell.blogspot.com 

7 BE HIP! share your comments. Give your thoughts.:

Anonymous said...

REPOST - Melisa Brown-Wolfe McInnis: Wow Weston I am so proud of you!!!! I got a little misty eyed i must admit, I remember you as a child and how you were exceptonally creative, and i know it comes from how wonderful of a job your parents did raising you and never fitting you into that mold so many parents try to do.... I have high hopes for you in photography Weston, I can't wait to see the upcomming wedding photos I know you will have a lot of great shots.

Anonymous said...

REPOST - Abby Doran-Harrell: enjoyed it, thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

REPOST - Cyrus Howlett: Hey dude that was pretty cool.

Jenelle Durrance said...

Very interesting questions & impressive answers!! I agree that parents should not try to fit their children in a mold - let them be themselves!

Anonymous said...

REPOST - Adam Allen: Wow! That's great bro! The images featured are awesome too!

Cynthia said...

Your work is quite nice. I randomly scan blogs and enjoyed the Q & A session.
Thanks for sharing.

Renee said...

I'm inspired by this interview! Love the quote, "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life (Confucius)".

Great Photography!

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