A month ago I had the pleasure of meeting this next shooter that we are about to interview. He currently owns and operates Back Bay Photo Studio out of Norfolk, Virginia. After speaking to him I realized that he is supremely knowledgeable when it comes to photography. He is somebody that other people should check out and get knowledge from. So check out the latest Shooter’s Profile with Andrew Schneps.
What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Andrew Schneps and I am a photographer and photography studio owner with my business partner Parker Phillips.
Where are you from and how has being there affected your creativity?
I am originally from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I think being from NJ made me want to get out of NJ and see the world. I went to college at the University of South Carolina. When I graduated I realized that I didn’t want to go back to NJ. I wanted to experience new places and new people. I’ve been to 24 countries outside of the United States during my quest to see the world. Through these traveling experiences I’ve come across many different cultures and opened my eyes to the similarities and differences of people around the world. It’s helped me see things differently, which is what I think is the definition of creativity.
Explain what initially got you into shooting?
I once had the opportunity to go to Italy with my mom. I didn’t have a camera at the time and she took all the photos from our trip. This was before the age of digital photography and we had to send the film out to be developed. When the photos came back and I started looking through them I realized that even though we went on vacation together, we had a very different experience. I didn’t know what made my mom think her images were significant. The things she captured weren’t necessarily important to me. I was honestly a little disappointed since the images didn’t reflect my experience in the least. That really taught me about the power of an image. I knew right then and there that I wanted a camera, wanted to capture the images that were important to me, and to do be able to well.
Explain what does an average day look like for you?
Lately my days all start off the same. Early morning dog walk followed by a few cups of coffee. After that, the routine can vary. If we have a shoot, I head to the studio to make sure everything is ready, batteries charged, AC pumping, backdrops and equipment ready. If we’re renting the studio, the same steps apply. If the studio isn’t in use I alternate between following financial news and studying my craft, watching tutorials and practicing my photoshop skills for editing. Kinda boring I guess.
What things do you look at or watch for inspiration?
I regularly watch Youtube tutorials, itunes tutorials, and Kelby One tutorials. I’m a big fan of Scott Kelby’s podcast “The Grid”, especially the blind critique episodes. I also constantly scour instagram and various photographers web pages for inspiration. There are a lot of very talented people out there.
What camera setup do you currently use (camera, lens, other accessories, etc)?
When we are in the studio, I shoot with a Nikon D810 with a 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm lens depending on what we’re trying to do. When I’m traveling I like using the Nikon D7100 with the 18-200mm lens. It’s lighter than the D810 and lets me get most shots without carrying a bag full of lenses.
What do you specialize in or what do you enjoy shooting the most and why?
We specialize in portrait photography but I also love food photography, travel photography, and street photography. I love sharing my experiences while traveling through the art of photography. I want people to look at the photos from my trips and say “I want to go there and see that too”
Since we believe that music is the center around all things creative, what are your top 3 music albums, and what about those albums that gets you in a creative zone?
I could never narrow it down to three albums but for the sake of this question I’d say Pink Floyd “The Wall”. It came out when I was 9 years old and the lyrics “Hey teachers, leave us kids alone” was the coolest thing in the world to me at the time. When ever I hear it, I flash back to the school yard. Queen “The Game” came out when I was 10 and come on, everybody likes “Another One Bites the Dust”. Metallica Ride the Lightning. This one came out when I was 14. What a great age. It reminds me of a time when I knew everything and was invincible. All of these albums free my mind from the world at large and let me relax, think about the good old days, and just generally rock out.
Who are some shooters that you follow and what do you admire about their work?
I’m a big fan of Dani Diamond. His style of shooting and post processing is really appealing to me. He just really knows how to make people look amazing and he also doesn’t keep his techniques a secret. I also admire Peter Hurley. He has mastered the headshot and made an unbelievable career out of his talent.
What is one tangible piece of advice that you would give somebody who has just started shooting?
I would say to not compare your work quality to other photographers and be your own artist. Better is subjective, different is ideal. Also, never stop practicing.