WPPI: Who would you define as your biggest influences?
Ben Shirk: My biggest influence is certainly my wife, Sara. She is always pushing me to be better and improve my work, everything from the simplest client portrait to some of my most complicated artwork.
WPPI: How did you find your way to photography?
BS: I have always loved art and creating. I began my photography journey when my first son was born and, for the first few years, family and friends were my practice subjects.
WPPI: How would you discuss the difference between shooting individuals and shooting a group of individuals?
BS: When I am photographing a larger sports team, I need to be very prepared and know exactly how each athlete needs to be positioned to fit into the background. On the other hand, when I am photographing just a single individual, I will photograph many different poses. Then I let them pick out their favorite poses at the order session and I’ll create a background around them.
WPPI: What determines the amount of post-production work you do in Photoshop?
BS: Three things determine the amount of post-production work that I put into a client portrait: whether or not the client has purchased the image; the size that they have purchased; and how excited I am about an idea. For example, sometimes I want to try out an idea and will spend more time editing even though the client hasn’t ordered a large wall portrait.
WPPI: How do you balance a growing photography business and family?
BS: Our business hours are Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. People will always inquire about weekend or evening appointments but we explain that those times are for family time, and therefore we charge an additional fee if I am going to miss time with my family. As such, most clients will find time during our normal office hours. Also, if I have additional editing to do that I can’t get done during the day, I wait until after my family is in bed to complete those projects.
To view more of Ben Shirk’s work visit his website:http://shirkphotography.com/home/