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Industry Spotlight: Photographer

Christian O’Grady, CCS graduate and one of StyleLine’s former contributing photographers, has an extensive background in many different forms of photography. From fashion spreads to basketball action shots, Christian consistently cultivates his craft and learns from his mistakes with every click of the shutter button.

Christian, in his eloquent way, tells us his story in today’s Q&A.

DG3: Tell us about yourself and how you got your start in photography.

Christian O’Grady: The Wizard of Oz as a little boy was the most amazing thing I had ever seen, and from that my immense fascination with motion pictures began. Cinematography has always been one of my main inspirations with my photography. I picked up a camera a few years before the turn of the millennia when my late nana, my biggest fan (who would let me climb on top of her head when I was a tot), split the cost of a Minolta 35mm film camera with my supportive and rather loving mother. Constantly experimenting with what I could do with long exposures, double exposures and time in the darkroom took me all the way through high school into college. Starting in community college, I finished my BFA while I was attending College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Halfway through my four years at CCS I started my first major photo job working with the Detroit Pistons. Working with the Pistons, I met Dan Lippitt, who is an incredibly versatile photographer and has been a huge influencer and my greatest mentor, as well as a personal friend.

As I continue to work on taking the best photos I can, my next big learning experience will be working with video. Motion pictures are my original inspiration and I look forward to diving in and producing some beautiful moving images.

DG3: How long have you been shooting fashion photography?

CO: The first fashion photograph I took was in 2004 in my first studio lighting class and it was a failure in my eyes. I completed the assignment with a good grade but I knew something was off. This was upsetting to me and I felt incredibly frustrated. As I talked to my teacher I realized that it was all of the details that added up to the image not looking how I expected it to look. It didn't look like the fashion photos that I had come to adore peering into fashion magazines. From there I decided I would fix all of these tiny details and that would add up to a great image. (I still take this approach when retouching.) This realization gave me a jumping-off point to constantly push myself to make better photos. I have taken very few images that I'm completely satisfied with. Usually I find things I wished I had done differently. In the end there are no perfect photos but striving for perfection is a powerful way to create.

DG3: Shooting products, what have you learned that could be helpful information for business owners who want to have their products professionally photographed for a website? Any tips, hints, suggestions to share that could make the job easier for everyone?

CO: Product shoots are funny. I don't think very many people stop to think that product photography is even a thing. It's one of those situations that is best when you can't see the wires, the behind the scenes – you just see the final product on the screen and have no thought of the camera. Retouching is the same way. It looks great but no one knows a