Blake Gardner

Blake has known that he wanted to be a photographer since 3rd grade. Growing up with a portrait and wedding shooter as a dad is a good place to start. Over his 9 years in the industry, Blake has created a large and diverse portfolio of stunning images. His ability to truly connect with his subjects comes through in his compelling and unique portraits.

Blake uses Zenfolio for displaying his portfolio as well as for client proofing. He loves the large image presentation as well as the ease of organization.

Where were you born and raised? Where have you settled?

I was born in Tucson, AZ at the base of a mountain that I swore was a sleeping stegosaurus. Lucky for me, my family moved before it woke up. I spent the next 16 years in the sweltering heat of Orlando, FL where there are no mountains, or even hills for that matter. I've settled in Los Angeles where my clients are primarily artists in the industry and the stegosauruses are CGI.

What type of photography do you shoot most often? What type of photography are you most passionate about shooting?

I'm a chip off the old block. I mainly shoot Portraits & Weddings, just like my father. When I'm on vacation, I love bringing my camera along to take what I consider portraits of nature.

How long have you been a shutter releaser? What led you to this profession?

I have a piece of handwriting paper from when I was in 3rd grade. I wrote "I Want To Be A Photographer" way back then. I strayed away from photography in my rebellious years as an improv comedian. We all make mistakes. I've been making my living as a photographer for 9 years now and will never take the stage again, unless it's to talk about photography. On a side note, I also have handwriting paper that says "If I had all the money in the world, I would move to California and get toys." I now live in California and I try to remind myself to look through the lens with the fascination of a child playing with a new toy.

How has Zenfolio helped your business?

Zenfolio has simplified my professional life. It has given me the power tools to display my images the way I've always wanted to, with quick load times and large file sizes. Now if only Zenfolio could simplify my personal life.

Tell us about your work flow, what editing program do you use?

I use Photoshop. Love it. Live it. Breathe it.

Do you have brand loyalty for Canon, Nikon or something completely different?

Canon 5D is my choice of camera. I have always felt more comfortable with the way a Canon feels in my hands.

What is the best part of being a professional photographer?

To me, photography is one of the most powerful and versatile mediums we have in this world. Photographs can inspire or inform. They can be abstract or literal. They can be timeless & cherished or modern & reflective. I love being a part of the photography world.

Are your photography skills self-taught or were you classically trained?

Since a professional photographer raised me, I have, in a way, inherited his eye for the art of photography. I have learned the more technical details and have refined my skills while either on the job or in workshops.

What advice would you give a new photographer just starting out?

Go to workshops and learn from other photographers. When I feel I've hit a wall, I find a photographer who will challenge or inspire me to think about things a different way.

What was your first published work?

A photo of John Cleese for BackStage West newspaper in 2005.

What inspires you as a photographer? Or who?

Characters inspire me. As my dad was starting off, he asked a seasoned photographer how to take beautiful photos. The photographer responded, "That's easy, take photos of beautiful people." I'm way more interested in take photos of interesting faces than picture perfect ones.

What is the very first camera you ever owned?

I don't remember the first one I owned as a kid. I remember making a pinhole camera in high school. This question reminded me of something Sam Haskins once said: "A Photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said 'I love your pictures – they're wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.' He said nothing until dinner finished, then: 'That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove."

Tell us something about yourself that we would never guess.

My home address is the same pixel count as the long side of the photos my camera takes… 5616… mind blown, right?

What piece of equipment or doohickey do you have with you on every shoot?

My Cameras, Lenses, Lights, Reflectors… and my charming disposition.

Do you have any final words of wisdom on being a first class shooter?

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." ~Seneca
So always be prepared.

Blake Gardner

The Pro

Blake Gardner,
Celebrity Portrait and Wedding Photographer

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