Hey, it’s me, Mike! I’m your second crew feature, and while you’re here, I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and how I became the Lead Photographer at KNOT JUST ANY DAY.
One day, just about 5 years ago, I showed up at the KJADstudio, sat down, started doing some work, and I’ve been here ever since. Okay, okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that simple, but it’s close.
I graduated from Wilkes University in 2012 with a degree in Integrated Media. My path with Steve didn’t cross there being he didn’t start teaching at Wilkes until 2013. Still, a good friend of mine, Eric, was a student of Steve’s and transitioned into videography for KJAD after he graduated in 2013.
I definitely credit KJAD for jumpstarting my creative career, but art has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I was really into video games and anime, which made me want to learn how to draw. There was no YouTube then, so before taking art classes, I got my start by learning from drawing books from Walden Books. Drawing and gaming evolved into an interest in motion graphics, and that’s when I began working with Adobe products like Photoshop and After Effects, and found my interest in graphic design and photography. I watched tutorials and made graphics for friends, and by doing enough of those you learn the basics of it. Photography came into play when I needed some sort of footage to test my graphics over. Then, when I got to school, I learned that it was a part of the Integrated Media program, and it all started working together.
Prior to KJAD, I worked in advertising for about 2 years, which oddly enough was right next door to the KJADstudio. During that time, my friend Eric then gauged my interest in coming to work for KJAD. I said I was down, so here we are. Even though I am a photographer now, my role there began as a video editor.
At KJAD, my first jobs were file management, video editing, and designing flyers, invitations, and all of that fun stuff. Within a few months, I was at weddings as a 2nd shooter for video. Ever so slowly from there, I started training more in photography, saved up some money, and bought all my gear. Getting a camera after all those years of messing around and teaching myself was like a “game on” moment. I knew this was something I wanted to do and that I was comfortable with it. So, in my second year, I started as a 2nd photographer to learn even more and grow my skill set. After that and once I got even more comfortable, I started shooting lead. Now, years later, that’s my role today!
I think the cool thing is, being a photographer and videographer has gotten me out into the world more than I expected. I’ve gone to places I otherwise wouldn’t have gone and met great people that I would not have met. KJAD definitely kickstarted my creative career, which I’ve continued to build on since I’ve started, but the experience has also impacted me, as I’ve matured as an artist and a person through KJAD.
Nowadays, you can find me splitting my time as an artist between my full-time job at Benco Dental as a designer, photographer, and videographer, and as a Lead photographer on weekends with the KJAD crew.
That’s all there is to know about me and my time here! I’m looking forward to becoming part of your wedding. Can’t wait to meet everyone! Thanks for reading and taking a few minutes to learn more about me. In the meantime, follow me here (@mjgentle) and listen to my playlist below.