DPP Home Profiles Jared McMillen: Energy & Emotion

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jared McMillen: Energy & Emotion

The sports portraiture of Jared McMillen

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Floyd Mayweather Jr. poses before returning to the ring to fight Juan Manuel Marquez.
McMillen’s use of the royal “we” isn’t simply for effect. He considers himself part of a team with his “business partner/brains of the operation/creative stylist/photographer wife Trish.” Together they work to go above and beyond, not only in delivering the images their clients want, but also in pushing their own creativity to its limits.

“One thing we strive to bring to our clients is variety,” McMillen says. “With that comes gear, and sometimes lots of it. I mean, how many folks are willing to hike heavy loads into the middle of nowhere to make a couple of images? We, on the other hand, feel this is what sets apart good photographers from great photographers—and we want to be the latter.”

The gear that McMillen lugs around is often for lighting. He uses it to enhance the rich texture and detail that make images more interesting to his own eye, and it allows him to have more control when it comes to post production and special effects.

MMA fighter Eric Bradley photographed in Randy Couture’s Las Vegas gym.
“I love to create images that have tons and tons of detail, that sing with color in them,” he says. “Most of the images we create wouldn’t be possible without strobes. When I create an image, I search for the details within that image and really try to bring out those details from the start—meaning first and foremost, we work on getting the lighting right. Ninety percent of the time, we shoot with the final image in our mind. We already know how it will look. In the early days, it was easy: Get a nice exposure and good composition, send the film out, and you were done. Nowadays, we spend as much time in front of the computer as we do in front of the lens.”

That revolution in what it means to be a photographer isn’t lost on McMillen, and he doesn’t think the transition is anywhere near complete. Like many, he’s aware of the constant changes that come with technological advancement, and he has his eyes on the horizon to figure out what it will mean to be a photographer in the near future.

“In 10 years, I’m not sure we’ll be photographers,” he says. “I think we’ll be photo-videographers. The technology is changing so fast: Ten years ago, I never thought we’d be shooting all digital; now we have SLRs that shoot 1080i HD video. It’s sick and crazy to think about the future. The megapixel game seems to be pretty much over; shooting HD footage and pulling stills is the future. Love it or hate it, it’s coming and coming soon. The future is anybody’s guess. I just hope I’m around to record it as long as I can.”

McMillen’s Gear
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 85mm ƒ/1.2, 50mm, 35mm lenses (We rent what we don’t own)

A large amount of light modifiers: beauty dishes, softboxes, strips, grids; and one thing we use all the time is a ring flash—we use it a lot off-camera. We’ve also been shooting more and more with just 580 setups.

I’ve been loving the Honl toys, snoots and flags; we use them all the time when weight is an issue.

To see more of Jared McMillen’s photography, visit www.jaredmcmillen.com.


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