I couldn't resist but to contact Ben and interview him and let you all get a closer look to Ben's personality and work!
Fill me in on your background, where are you from and how did you get into photography.
I'm from the coast of North Carolina. I got into photography around February 2011. I bought a Nikon d3000 in June 2010 because I wanted to get some cool photos of my daughter. It took a few months, but sometime in early February 2011 something clicked and I developed an interest in photography. From there, it completely consumed me and changed the way I look at the world. I now own a Nikon d7000 and shoot almost constantly.
What is your favourite style of photography?
Probably lifestyle photography. It feels natural. As someone who got into photography to document the lives of my family, I think that's always where my heart will be. I can appreciate a wide range of styles and respect the difficulty that goes into those styles, but lifestyle photography is challenging and rewarding enough for me because each shot is different and unexpected.
what style of photography do you find challenging?
Believe it or not, I find landscapes to be challenging. The composition and framing of the shot feels completely different than portraiture, which is my speciality. I'm used to dealing with the fast pace of portrait work, so when I have a chance to take my time it almost feels, well, unnatural.
Where do you hope to go with your photography?
This is a question that I often struggle with, as I suspect most photographers do. I would love to continue to improve, continue doing work with clients, and keeping photography as a part-time job that I just happen to love. I would love to get published. Mainly, I want to push myself and try different styles and concepts. But regardless of where it takes me, I hope it remains as something I want to do.....not obligated to do.
What do you look for in a model?
Mainly someone who is comfortable and will have fun. I'm a pretty relaxed guy and I like for my shoots to mirror my personality. I think if someone is genuinely having fun then it comes across that way in photos.
name other photographers you admire.
Tim Walker, Gregory Crewdson. Two styles completely different than my own but I love how they tell a story.
who are your biggest supporters?
My wife, friends, and clients. My wife has been there since the beginning and was kind enough to be my model until I got familiar with the camera/settings. I find my clients have been incredibly supportive as well - we have pleasant experiences during our sessions and they kindly refer me to their friends. That support alone gives me reason enough to continue pursuing photography.
what do you enjoy doing other than photography?
Well, I'm a father and husband...so most of my time is spent with them and enjoying every second of it. As far as hobbies, I love to read. My time is quite limited these days so photography is the only real hobby that fits into my schedule.
what scares you the most?
Not improving. Being stuck in a constant state of mediocrity. While I'm proud of my work, I feel that I have a ton of improvement in front of me. I have the unfortunate attitude of always thinking my work isn't good enough, which is great for motivation but can be frustrating as well!what is you favourite location to shoot in and why?
Mostly outdoors. To be specific, I love shooting in downtown/urban locations....as well as the beach.
do you like answering questions regarding your photography or do you like to keep your secrets to yourself ?
I'm actually glad you asked this, because it's something I've considered lately. I absolutely love sharing my photography tips with others. I remember the frustrating feeling when I didn't have a clue how to do something, only to have my emails to other photographers ignored. I always hope that my advice and tips in some way help the photographer achieve what they were trying to learn.
do you recommend any websites for photoshop tutorials?
The thing I found most useful is searching social sites like Flickr for before/after tutorials, then contacting the photographer if I had specific questions on how to achieve that look.
what is your favourite photo taken by you?
This one means the most to me, by far.
do you think its hard to be unique in photography?
how do you manage to stay creative? I think this is a great question. I think there's a perception in the photography world that if you're not specialising in conceptual art then you're not unique, which isn't true. I believe that every artist/photographer is unique in their own way. They use their own techniques. Their models and interests are unique. Their styles of processing are unique. Photography content is never going to change. Concepts and styles are going to overlap, but it's the individual that makes them unique. For instance, me and another photographer can take photos of the same model at the same angle and distance but arrive at two completely different shots. In fact, often times I feel like photographers are trying too hard to be different and eventually lose their "signature" styles.
do you prefer shooting indoors or outdoors?
Outdoors, without a question. I live on the coast and near a historic district and enjoy the endless beautiful backdrops.
is fame important to you?
I think all photographers crave recognition in some form. Artists who say otherwise are just not being truthful. On social sites like Flickr, for instance. We all try to get the most views/comments/favourites, but sometimes lost in that is the quality of work. Art should never be a popularity contest. Fame is not necessarily important to me, but having my work seen by many does help with motivation to produce quality.
In your early years as a photographer, what were the mistakes you made a lot?
Overprocessing of my work in Photoshop. Rushing the shots and not considering the best composition. I never questioned "why" I did a shot a certain way...I just did it without much thought.
Have you ever had an idea for a shoot and you never made it?
Many. I have a notepad for writing down ideas and it's filled with ones that have yet to be created. I say "yet" because I'm still hoping to one day!
Is there a photo you regret posting online?
Interesting question. Not necessarily. Perhaps I am disappointed with the quality of my previous work, but not necessarily the content featured in the shot. However, I do recognize it's important to keep this work posted as a reminder of my continued growth.
Links you should know:
Ben's Facebook Fan page