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Meet Photographer Max Wanger

Have you heard of Max Wanger? He’s a photographer based Los Angeles whom I first heard about through Bri over at Design Love Fest and was reminded of him again last week, so I visited his online portfolio. A few minutes into the rabbit hole, I was swept away by his fashion photography and knew I had to feature a few favorite shots because they inspired me so much but even more, that I had to contact him for a little interview. These photos just feel like summer to me but even more, they’re so fresh and invigorating and I just love the color palettes that I can pull from these for projects – like a party or redecorating project. With summer in its final hours, I couldn’t think of a better time to share Max with all of you. Would you like to sit in on our little conversation?

Meet Photographer Max Wanger

Hi Max! So excited to have you and your work on decor8 today! So tell us, I know you live in LA but where do you work and what is your background?
Max: I mostly work in LA but accept jobs worldwide. I was born and raised by reformed hippies. Educated in Los Angeles, Honolulu and the here and there of Tokyo. I’m a lover of lazy Sundays, mismatched socks, negative space, NYC, soba, green tea, and last but almost certainly first, my wife Margaux & our little boy, Dash.
What landed you in photography?
Max: I’ve loved photography since I was 7 years old. That’s when my interest started and it’s grown from a hobby, to freelance, to now, full-time. After college, I actually spent almost 8 years working in a completely different field, in a very corporate environment. It wasn’t for me and my unhappiness reached it’s peak those last couple of years. Ultimately, the drive to do something I love landed me in the position I’m in today. I’ve been shooting professionally now for about 6 years.
Is photography your day job or do you do something else on the side? If so, what?
Max: Well, my wife and I both work from home and taking care of our 5 month old baby has quickly become our new full-time job. Aside from that, yes, photography is my day job. Although I also have a print shop on the side where I sell some of my work and that’s been taking up quite a bit of my time lately.
What do you shoot with mostly? Do you shoot tethered, wireless, or?
Max: Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm 1.4 & 50mm 1.2. For studio work, both, depending on the type of shoot.
What are you favorite types of jobs?
Max: I love shooting travel stories and look books — I love anything that involves working/collaborating with friends.
What are 5 things that you enjoy about being a photographer?
Max: The people, the travel, the discovery, the independence, the adventure.

Meet Photographer Max Wanger

Meet Photographer Max Wanger

Meet Photographer Max Wanger

Meet Photographer Max Wanger

Who is your DREAM client/job?
Max: I have to say, shooting for Conde Nast Traveler was a dream job come true. I always wondered how you got to be that photographer who got to travel to amazing places and take photographs. It was surreal when they commissioned me to shoot a story for them. As for a client that I’d love to shoot for in the future? Nike.
Do you also art direct/style your shoots? If so, tell us how you plan things out. If not, tell us some of your favorite stylists with whom you’ve worked.
Max: For personal work, I’ll sketch out and storyboard ideas. Most times I’ll art direct, but sometimes I’ll bring a crew on board and work with them to bring an idea to life. For commercial and editorial work, I’ve had the honor of working with so many talented stylists. But I particularly love collaborating with Jen Gotch. She’s an amazing stylist and creative mind.
Who are some of the best clients you’ve worked for?
Max: Vans, Banana Republic, Martha Stewart, Conde Nast Traveler.
What is the wildest shoot you’ve ever had to do?
Max: I’m not sure I would classify it as wild, but shooting for Vans in Berlin was definitely one of the most exciting shoots. Among the many highlights: Getting to photograph Mos Def who was a part of the trip. There was also that time I fell into a pool while shooting a wedding, but that’s a different, not-so-awesome, kind of wild.

Meet Photographer Max Wanger

Meet Photographer Max Wanger

Meet Photographer Max Wanger

Meet Photographer Max Wanger

Are you available for hire and if so, how can my readers get in touch with you? Where can they buy some of your prints?
Max: Yes! They can e-mail hello [at] maxwanger [dot] com or visit my website or my online shop. Thank you, Holly!

Readers: Do you have any questions for Max? Please ask him in the comments section below!

Thank you for joining us Max!

(images: max wanger)

Posted in inspiration on August 20, 2013
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Paris Apartment & Photo Styling Secrets (via Rue mag)

I was just flipping through the new digital issue of Rue magazine (August 2013) and came upon two great features that I wanted to share with you since one has to do with photo styling with a focus on food and the other, a small Paris apartment owned by an American expat. And we all know that Paris is always a good idea. First, photo styling.

Photo Styling Secrets (via Rue mag)

Ok so lets talk about styling. Secrets of a Food Stylist: Aiala Hernando is the first article that caught my eye and appears on pages 32-39 – though truthfully I could have easily read an entire magazine on this topic alone. I’m not so interested in food styling for my own work (I’m definitely fixed on interiors) yet many of these tips can still be applied interiors so I had to share them with you being the decor enthusiasts that you are! Aiala Hernando - the woman behind these words - runs creative direction for a luxury Spanish gastronomic tourism firm based in San Sebastián, Spain called San Sebastián Food. She also teaches food styling and photography workshops. You can learn more about those here. I love how she talks about food styling, “A food stylist makes you want to eat a dish just by looking at it…” That’s SO the truth! Here are some of her top tips below for working with food for the perfect photo.

Photo Styling Secrets (via Rue mag)

Photo Styling Secrets (via Rue mag)

The next article, La Vie En Bleu, explores the life of 25-year-old California expat Haleigh Walsworth (her blog is called Making Magique) and her 40 square meter Paris apartment located in Le Marais district. Haleigh is a freelance digital strategist and content producer for large brands like Condé Nast, Lancôme, Perrier-Jouët, Nina Ricci and Hermès and since moving to Paris when she was in college, she’s managed to learn the language and buy an apartment all by the time she turned 25-years-old! What an inspiration to young women to get your life started at an early age and not waste time.

Being an American expat in Germany, I always love reading stories about how Americans make their life in another culture – it’s fascinating to me as I know that behind the curtain there is a lot of work and many challenges that go into the process of starting anew in a foreign country. Haleigh seems to be in it for the long term too – though she does find herself frequently traveling between LA and Paris for work. Below are some glimpses of her lovely space (more are found in Rue magazine on pages 116-1129). As you can see, she has a real affinity for Tiffany blue!

Paris Apartment & Photo Styling Secrets (via Rue mag)

Paris Apartment & Photo Styling Secrets (via Rue mag)

Paris Apartment & Photo Styling Secrets (via Rue mag)

Paris Apartment & Photo Styling Secrets (via Rue mag)

Paris Apartment & Photo Styling Secrets (via Rue mag)

Paris Apartment & Photo Styling Secrets (via Rue mag)

Paris Apartment & Photo Styling Secrets (via Rue mag)

 

So! Those are my two numero uno inspirations from Rue – anything seen or heard above resonate with you? Any favorite articles you’d like to share?

(images: rue magazine)

Posted in inspiration on August 15, 2013

The Importance of a Great Team

Oh the importance of a great team. You really can’t underestimate the beauty in finding people that you can trust, respect and work well with who are also super talented, fair and “get it” when it comes to your ideas and vision. It’s rare for me to find team members that I really click with. I’m picky. While I am by nature a total people-person and enjoy the company of everyone (even difficult personalities are cool with me), it’s not the same when it comes to working with them. It has to click, you know? It’s either right or it’s wrong. So today I want to shout out two very special women – one I’ve known since March 2009 and the other I’ve never met in person in my life and just “met” online a few weeks ago. Both are seriously great women and you should know them and know why.

The Importance of a Great Team

Leslie (standing) and Laure (seated) in Emily Henderson’s home – so happy Emily is part of the book!

The first is Leslie Shewring. An intro is really not needed if you read decor8, followed her Color Me Pretty column (on hold for now until we finish our book), or know about how instrumental she was in Blogging Your Way during its early years as a teacher. Now, Leslie is co-authoring the next book that we’re currently working on and she is doing a bang up job and I’m really proud of her. When you find someone like her to work with, and you click, keep them near and dear. Leslie has been a massive support in my life – not just work stuff – especially now as I’m ill and she has flown in (literally) to Hannover to help on our book, and then flew last week to San Francisco and LA (from her home in Victoria, Canada), and is still working so hard styling and producing beautiful photos as stylist, photographer and art director on shoots. I’m blown away by her attitude throughout it all and am so happy we’re on this project together. When our book releases on March 21, 2014, I will owe so much of its beauty and wonderfulness to her. Thank you Leslie.

The Importance of a Great Team

Flower Power! Can’t shoot a home without ‘em! These were for Bri’s house (yay DesignLoveFest!).

The second extraordinary female whom I’d like to celebrate is photographer Laure Joliet. This lady is a class act. She accepted a job with a few weeks notice, hopped on a plane to San Francisco to meet Leslie, and began shooting the first of four homes over the course of last week in both SF and LA. The best part, she gave me NO CRAP. I have zero tolerance for ego when I work with anyone, I don’t care how great you are. Laure listened to me as I rambled on about this and that, which could have offended some photographers (please shoot tethered, please use a tripod, only natural light, blah blah blah) but she had no problem accepting my direction and didn’t once let ego take over doing great work. I directed them both remotely to the best of my ability on shots we needed, angles, ideas but ultimately they had the bulk of the work and ran with it and blew me away as a result – as the photos came in each day, I looked through them, supplied feedback and we moved on to the next shoot and continued this process and in the end, as a team, we really accomplished a lot. I mean a lot. I owe the success of last week to them, not me. To put Leslie and Laure together without any knowledge of how the other works (or even who the other is – they were strangers when they met) and watch them nail all four homes shows the power of women who are talented and professional and how they just GET STUFF DONE.

Leslie gave me the full scoop after the shoot week and had NOTHING but positive things to say about Laure – she sang her praises and would gladly work with her again, and this alone made me absolutely the happiest person ever because I wanted them to click, work well together and do great work and they accomplished that and so much more. You’ll see some of Laure’s gorgeous work in our book that releases in March. I can’t wait to show you! This book is now much bigger than Leslie and I with the addition of gorgeous homes and the wonderful Laure, so Leslie and I are even more excited to share it with you soon!

The Importance of a Great Team

The home of SFGirlByBay will be in our book, yay!

So! To begin a shiny new week on a positive note, I want to celebrate the beauty and importance of a great team of amazing women. These girls, the homeowners, Leslie’s amazing sister Diane who accompanied them in LA to work hard on shoots too… All of them. I’m worked with some women who sadly, left me uninspired, burnt out and wondering how in the world they ever got to where they are with such abrasive personalities. These women were just the opposite – and they made magic as a result. I know first hand what the definition of a great team, mediocre team and team SUCK can be! And these ladies were team awesome all the way. Thanks, LJ and LS and THANK YOU to Emily, Bri, Rachel and Victoria for being such a lovely team of homeowners, too!

(images: emily henderson, bri emery, laure joliet)

Posted in Books + Magazines, inspiration on August 12, 2013

Period Home Crush

I love English homes! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about homes, particularly period houses, and which ones I love the most. In addition to the American brownstone, 18th century French farmhouse and the German Jugenstil architecture, I’m in love with a variety of English homes, especially Georgian houses. My goodness, they have such charm. And don’t get me started on the cute canal houses built during the 17th century in Amsterdam.

Period Home Crush

Though most English homes make me giddy, here are a few rooms that I love from period homes that you can actually rent for shoots and film productions from Light Locations in London. I love their properties and always suggest this location agency to my friends whenever they search for shoot locations in the UK. Stunning properties – a girl can dream to live like this, right?

Period Home Crush

Period Home Crush

Period Home Crush

 

Period Home Crush

Period Home Crush

Period Home Crush

I look at all of these rooms above and feel so invigorated and loaded with ideas of what I would do if these properties were in my possession. The type of tile I’d choose for the entryway, the tile work in the bathroom, the kitchen I’d install, the window treatments, the wall colors… And that little shed in my backyard, that would be the decor8 studio space for sure where all my little magical dreams would come to life. It’s so fun to imagine! Must be a lot nicer to own, though! And did you notice the differing shades of gray in all of the rooms (except for the first image)? Some of the gray walls were ever-so-slightly obvious and others, very pronounced. I just love the whispering grays. They sit perfectly against crisp white moldings.

Do you dream of period homes too? Which are your favorites? Do you fancy a particular style or?

(images: light locations)

Posted in inspiration on July 17, 2013

Books:

Available now on Amazon

Further editions available include: Portuguese, Danish, Czech, Slovak, French

Courses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way for Beginners
e-course, April 17 – May 15, 2014
Find out more and sign up now.

Styling With Holly Becker
London, May 2014 (Date TBD)