Interview With Aiden Franklin of Image Alive Studios
If a picture says a thousand words, I’m not going to need to write much of an introduction. Aiden Franklin of Image Alive Studios likes to let his mad skills speak for themselves. This visionary artist is behind all of Leather Milk and Saddleback’s photography, and that’s just the beginning. While Aiden was busy with yet another masterpiece, I stole into his studio and snagged an interview out of him. Just for you, leathermancers, we dug up the treasure trove: pictures AND words. Better put away your laser blasters, because this interview is going to send you on a shooting frenzy!
Image Alive Studios Leather Milk Promo
Your pictures have been circulating very wildly lately, popping up everywhere from Barnes & Noble, People Magazine and LA Times, to Men’s Journal, MacWorld, Bed Bath & Beyond and ArtofManliness – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They’ve really managed to stake a message. So what’s the magic recipe? What’s the most important part of making a good picture?
Concise. Straight to the point. That’s another thing about Image Alive Studios I, and I think a lot of other people as well, appreciate. You get things done efficiently. How do you manage to make your business tick and tock so smoothly?
Aiden: Joel Grimes just spoke on commercial work on Creative Live and he had a point called Money vs Art, hits home for me. Businesses want to hire a creative force for their photography and passionate creatives will win over the people in it for the money every time.
My business is by no means perfect and we are constantly changing and growing. One thing that wont change is how I will always continue to be honest and open with my clients. I will approach the situations with humility and with passion, not only for the images but also for helping them succeed through cool photography.
How long have you been doing photography, and what made you want to pursue it professionally?
Aiden: Unprofessionally, since I could have a bad camera phone. I have always been drawn to creating stuff so when I had an opportunity to shoot some simple eBay bags for Saddleback Leather in 2010, I sprinted towards the opportunity to create good photography and do it professionally.
Who were some of your first clients? Were you nervous? What unexpected challenges did you encounter?
Aiden: I shot for Saddleback for a while and slowly started picking up other business. I remember an early commission to shoot an ice cream shop, sort of like products right? It was an hour away and I had my Subaru packed to the brim full of stuff that
I didn’t need. I psyched myself out over the whole drive about how I would light random scenarios that could occur. I showed up and there were big windows and everything was clean and inviting. I spent a few minutes shooting some interiors on a monopod and then laid down a piece of computer paper to shoot individual ice cream bars with one strobe light (I had brought 3 or 4). The images turned out awesome, the client was super happy and has gained a lot of assets out of some cheap photography.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about photography since starting out?
Aiden: I love nerding out on tech specs and must admit that I own a lot of gear. I have learned that gear is much more insignificant to photography then I had originally thought. It is not what is holding a lot of the amateurs back because they can’t afford the best. Rent what you need for the job that you have and just shoot what you are passionate about.
You’ve introduced new 360 spin technology to your studio recently. What prompted you to move in this direction? What does 360 spin have to offer people?
Aiden: Very cool stuff. I didn’t think one day to research spin photography and whimsically bought the Ferrari of automated equipment. I had a client who wanted it and we worked out a deal that simply was a swap for me spinning their products in exchange for the gear. Now that I have it, so cool. The studio is a lot more credible and has a lot of things to offer eCommerce businesses now. I am passionate about seeing others succeed and this is a tried and true method to step up your online conversions… and it’s fun to swipe a product around on an iPad.
I’m a big fan of your videos – you’ve done several for Leather Milk over the years. Never failed to blow me away. Do you plan to do more video work soon? Anything on the radar we should watch for?
Aiden: Thanks! I have a couple bids out but have to keep it hush. 🙂 It is cool to offer to clients who need a place that can help the marketing department make a universal push in one direction. Having your photographer be the director of photography on a video shoot can really help add consistency to a campaign. I love films and have so much fun shooting them but am really just focusing on photography.