An interview with Nashville photographer Nick Bumgardner of bumgardnerphoto.com.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a super nerd. I majored in Political Science and History in college. I also was the President of the Pre-Law Society and the History Society. I have a huge collection of books that includes books about political history, political philosophy, and other nerdy stuff. When I’m not in the studio, I also like to longboard, rock climb, hike, and hang out with my wife.
How did you end up in Nashville?
I am originally from Owensboro, KY, but moved to the Franklin-area when my dad’s job transferred him here when I was in 8th grade. I moved to Nashville proper in 2003 when I started Belmont University. After graduation I decided to stick around, because Nashville is an awesome city with a great creative scene.
What is your style of photography?
Clean technically-driven modern photography
How long have you been doing photography?
I have taken pictures my whole life. I got my first film camera when I was 3. I have some pretty cool pictures from that camera at my parents’ house. Through high school, I really started to get into photography. My first real camera was an Olympus RD-35 that was my grandfather’s. I still have it. In college, I majored in Political Sicence and History, but I also began to develop my eye as a photographer. I had some room in my schedule and decided to take a few classes. I went pro 3 years ago. It was never something I thought I would do as a career, but as I was searching for jobs after college, I started freelancing for a bunch of local papers to make a little money. Editorial photography was ok, but I soon met my mentor Michael Gomez who introduced me to commercial photography and really made it possible for me to make a living out at it.
What do you enjoy most about photography?
The experiences. In the last 3 years I have had so many awesome experiences. I have gotten the opportunity to hang out with some really cool people and do some really cool stuff, and I got to do it with a camera in my hands to document it.
What type of photography do you offer?
Generally speaking, I offer commercial photography services. More specifically, I shoot models, bands, PR, and politicians. Recently, I have started to expand my portfolio to include more adventure/lifestyle stuff.
When did you know that you wanted to be a photographer?
I always loved to take pictures, but it never really occurred to me that I could make money doing it. I always thought I needed a desk job. But when I decided I didn’t want to be a lawyer, I bought my camera and started shooting.
What is your favorite place to shoot in Nashville?
Studio Daylight was my favorite place to shoot in Nashville, but the studio closed on June 1st. My new favorite place to shoot is Nashbox Studios.
Are there any photographers that you admire/follow?
Michael Gomez, the man is an amazing photographer with a huge heart. He is my mentor and has taught me so much. I also really love to follow other local Nashville photographers, including Russ Harrington, Tony Baker, David Bean and Jeremy Cowart.
What are three words that define your photography?
Adaptive. Fluid. Natural.
What is a typical day on the job like for you?
Their is no typical day in my line of work. Some days I assist other photographers, some days I help build out a studio, some days I shoot, and other days I do the marketing and business side of things. The only consistent thing about this business is the inconsistency. You learn to love it.
What would you be doing if not photography?
I would probably be a lawyer. I almost went to Ole Miss for law school. I decided that I could always go back to law school if I could not make it as a photographer. I had to try the creative thing. Fourtantley, I have been able to make it with the help of my friends and family.
Where are your favorite places to travel?
I go to Chicago on a fairly regular basis (my wife is from Illinois and has friends and family up there) and I love it. They have a big photography market, so there are some really cool stores that I like to visit and try out new equipment. I hope to travel to Europe sometime soon, especially France, Italy and the U.K. After that, I’d really like to go to Asia and visit Japan, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
What camera/lens do you use most often?
I use a Canon 1D MKIII and a Canon 70-200f2.8IS most of the time.
Other than your camera, what is your favorite photo accessory?
My Elinchrom light pack.
How can people get in touch with you?
You can keep in touch with my via my website www.bumgardnerphoto.com, email me at [email protected], follow me on twitter at @bumgardnerphoto, or you can follow me on facebook as http://www.facebook.com/NickBumgardner.
Was Windows 7 your idea?
Absolutely not! I’m a Mac person.
Anything else you’d like to share?
It sounds cliché, but you won’t know what you can do unless you try. Who cares what the conventional wisdom is? If you have a passion and a talent for something, see where it can take you. You’d be surprised where you might end up.
All photos copyright Nick Bumgardner
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