Your Name: Rick Wenner
Location: Long Island, New York
Tell us a little about yourself. I am a born and raised New York guy who loves to create. I’ve been into art since I was a child, which included drawing, graffiti, and computer graphics. Absolutely love all kinds of music, especially 90’s hip hop, rock, and the blues.
How did you get into photography? As I said, I’ve always been into art and finding new ways to create. About 10 years ago I bought my first dSLR just to mess around with it and see what I could do. Little did I know that this was the beginning of the most expensive hobby of my life! But, it was also the most fun that I had with my art in a very long time. I shot anything and everything…landscapes, abstract, my dog, sunsets, you name it, I shot it. But it really wasn’t until I started creating portraits of friends and family that I had found what I wanted to do with my photography. That was about 5 years ago. From that point on I’ve been working on becoming a better portrait photographer both creatively and technically.
How would you describe your style? I’m not sure if I have a set style just yet. I love contrast and darker/moody photos. I love shadows. Bold colors are incredible but I like black and white just as much. I want to create dramatic photos that you will remember…I still have a ways to go though I think.
What inspires you to create such amazing photos? With every shoot that I go on, I want to leave it by learning and achieving something new every time.
What is your favorite photography equipment other than your camera? Elinchrom 39” Deep Octa and Elinchrom 27” white beauty dish. I love the light that comes out of these two. Another favorite would be my assistants. Although they’re not “equipment” they are an enormous help. I’ve spent way too much time trying to carry 50-100lbs. of gear, set it all up, adjust, and have interaction with my subject. Having someone there to help out is HUGE.
What has been your most memorable assignment and why? My first fashion test shoot. I had recently attended a fashion workshop by Simon Gerzina and wanted to put my new knowledge to work. I went all out for this by renting an enormous studio at Brooklyn Studios, hiring a full stylists team, renting gear and scheduling four models from two different agencies. Sometimes I tend to go overboard when I’m very excited about a project. The shoot had a few very stressful moments (see below) but it was an amazing learning experience and I walked away with no scars and a few portfolio photos.
Have you ever had anything go wrong at a photo shoot and if so, how did you handle it? After a good 3-4 weeks of planning for my first fashion test shoot, one of the agents had scheduled the model for the wrong date. We sat around for about 2 hours waiting for the model to travel across NYC and then another hour or so in hair and makeup. 3 hours wasted at $100/hour.
How did I handle it? By stressing out and pacing a lot. It was all worth it in the end though because I was able to work with Rachel Echelberger of “America’s Next Top Model” (even though I had no clue at the time who she was). It was worth the stress for sure.
The first photographer that comes to your mind and why? This is a hard one to answer because there is a few that have helped me a lot already. First and foremost is Zack Arias. I attended two of Zack’s workshops and learned so much from him. He has an amazing talent for teaching as well as inspiring others to succeed in this industry. I can honestly say that Zack’s advice is part of the reason why I am working so hard to become a successful photographer.
Last workshop ever attended? Simon Gerzina’s fashion workshop in Brooklyn, NY.
What ambitions have you not yet achieved? A LOT! I’m only 2 years into my photography career so there are so many things that I want to do with this. First would be to drop my “other job” as a graphic designer and be able to live off my photography. My long term goals are to be shooting for a national magazine creating portraits of celebrities and other important people. I want my photography to help me travel the world for assignments and personal work. I know it can happen, just gotta work hard for it.
Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career? If anything, I’d wish that I started working this hard to become a full time photographer many years ago. But, if I did, my life would possibly be very different and I might not have my fiancée, the house, the dog and the bills that go along with all of that. Yea, I wish I started earlier…
If not a photographer what would you be? A bored graphic designer.
Why did you choose Flosites, and what have they done for you? When I decided that it was time to take my photography career to the next level I knew that I needed a professional brand for my work. I had researched a number of companies and I was never really satisfied with their work and their lack of communication in the beginning stages was upsetting. When I contacted Ross at Flosites I almost immediately knew that they were the company for me. Ross was extremely helpful and informative in how they complete a project. He also was able to understand my sense of humor and talk to me like a friend, rather than just another customer who is giving them money. I found Flosites’ portfolio to be very impressive too. Let’s face it, you can be a great guy and be able to talk to someone like a friend but if your work sucks, then there’s no point in hiring you.
Here are some screenshots of our interactive work on Rick’s projects: