Ben Haslam, Salt Lake City, Utah

Ben Haslam
How long have you been a photographer?

Over 20 years. There was a period of time when I did not shoot much. Once my kids starting playing sports, I began again.

What first piqued your interest in photography?

I decided to take a high school photography class for art credit. I really enjoyed the science, both studying light and the development of the film.

What is your photography forte?

Sports.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference to the quality of your photos?

Do not shoot standing up; get high or low and go tight or wide.

What about photography inspires you?

As a sports photographer, I love to capture a moment that cannot be re-created ever again, especially the moments that only lasted a split second. The emotions of sport are priceless, regardless of the professional level of the athletes. While I’ll have some control of the final photograph, I have to overcome conditions or situations that are out of anyone’s control. It’s the challenge that keeps me shooting.

How do you decide what to shoot and how to shoot it?

My schedule mainly determines what I shoot, but how—it changes game to game. Some games I target a player, other times a different angle than the norm, and sometimes I try different focal lengths. When shooting for someone else, I shoot how they would like the final product to be like, but then try to shoot it a little different for my own satisfaction.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

Somewhere near the end of the field or court with a clean background. No one wants to see the backs of heads, so the center of the field or court is not the best place to see faces. Admittedly, I do like shooting professional sports, but there can be more emotion to capture in younger players.

Film, digital, or both?

Mainly digital due to the volume of shots I take for a game—and film every now and again for family use.

What advice would you give to new photographers?

Get a camera and one lens. Don’t upgrade until your equipment truly holds you back.

How important is Photoshop in your final image?

I rarely use Photoshop. However, I cannot process the number of images with such speed and efficiency without Lightroom. I will tweak most images in Lightroom, mainly cropping and making slight color, highlights, and shadow adjustments.

What types of photos have you shared with the Church and members?

To date, I have mainly shared some typical stock photos. I have enjoyed submitting photos to the Church, as it allows me to contribute to the Church and members in a non-traditional way.

What is your favorite lighting?

Sunset.

—Ben


Tyler Stanger, Las Vegas, Nevada

How long have you been a photographer?

Although I have taken pictures since the early 2000's, I didn't become serious about photography until 2009 when my wife, Tosha, and I chose to make it our mutual hobby.

What first piqued your interest in photography?

Skateboard magazines first piqued my interest in photography. I spent hours at a time looking at them as teenager. At first, I looked at the photographs as a record of who did what trick at what time in what place, but later began to be more interested in what the photograph could do to communicate more than just who, what, when, and where.

What is your photography forte?

Architecture. I am currently in a graduate program of architecture, and I spend most of my time thinking about the tiniest of details in the environment built around me. I love to observe these details and interpret them in a way to make the beauty of architecture more noticeable.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference to the quality of your photos?

I noticed, from all my favorite photographs, that each image showed some type of relationship of the subject in each image. Whether it was the way light relates to a building’s facade, or how a newlywed couple held hands after their marriage ceremony, looking for these connections with every shoot has made the biggest difference to the quality of my photos.

What about photography inspires you?

Photography inspires me because it is a constant cycle of thinking, making decisions, and revising those thoughts; every step of the process requires some level of thought. Even when I look at old images, new thoughts seem to emerge about how I could improve either those images or the ones that I am about to take. As a cycle of learning and improvement, photography inspires me to constantly go out and shoot more because I want to learn more.

What do you love about photography?

I love how photography has trained my eye to see and my mind to think. It has caused me to think much more about my surroundings and what I see than I did before I became a photographer. Even when I am not behind the lens, I am still looking around my surroundings, searching for something to make the subject of a photo. Though, for as much as I love to think about photography and images, I love photography most because two people, with different eyes and minds, can see completely different things in the very same image. Every image is unique to every viewer.

What advice would you give to new photographers?

The most important advice I learned from both positive and negative experiences is this: learn to give and take criticism. Criticism is such a powerful tool for learning an art, yet too often I see it misunderstood, by both the artist and the critic, as merely chastisement. Giving criticism is about making an observation of a strength or weakness of an image, then asking questions to explore how that observation affects that image. Taking criticism is an opportunity to expand your perspective, or in photographic terms, a chance to view your work through another person’s lens. This does not mean, though, that the critic always has the best lens to see through, but it does mean that a good critic can help you see areas of strength or weakness in your images that you would not have seen otherwise.

How important is Photoshop in your final image?

In practice, my images are not final until I have processed them in Photoshop. In theory, however, Photoshop itself does not make a photograph any better or worse. Even though I started photography as a hobby during the digital boom, I have actually spent time in the dark room processing film and printing from negatives. I have seen both the modern, computer-aided processing as well as the traditional, “hands-on” methods to process photographs. Every generation has its technology, and I don't see one method as being inherently better or worse than any other; more important than any tool is the hand that wields it.

What outside-of-photography sources inspire your photography?

I love to read, and some of the ideas that have most influenced my photography actually come from reading books about writing. The thing that I have borrowed most from writing is the constant cycle of revision. Among professional writers, they never seem to claim anything as ever truly finished; it's only published, and even then many will still continue to develop that particular piece of writing.

Where is your dream location to shoot?

I have had opportunities to travel to exotic locations and, for me, they are among the more difficult to shoot. Yes, exotic places are exciting to shoot because there is so much newness to everything, but ultimately they are tough for me because I need time in a location to get a feel for what that place has to offer. For me, my dream locations are places that I am familiar with and already have a personal connection with.

What is one tip that you would like to share?

If you ever have the chance to shoot around Yellowstone National Park or the Grand Tetons, please, please, watch out for buffalos. I once scoffed at a warning given by a park ranger only to find myself, not even two days later, face-to-face with a buffalo. I was hiking a small hill outside Grand Teton National Park and was so busy looking at and preparing my camera for a beautiful sunset over the Tetons that I did not see a 1,200-pound buffalo approximately 20 feet in front of me. It was a tense couple of moments as I slowly, and safely, backed away. Obviously, once I felt I was out of danger, I shot a few photos of my new buffalo friend.

—Tyler