Jeff Clow is a professional photographer, an author, a photo tour host and leadership consultant. He is represented by Getty Images with a stock photo portfolio of over 500 images, while his photos have been used in marketing campaigns by lots of companies, including AOL, Disney, Time, Fortune and by dozens of ad agencies. Jeff is also leading photo tours to some of the best landscape locations in North America trough his company, Dirt Cheap Photo Tours.
His photography passions include macro, landscape, nature and travel. His works have been featured in Popular Photography and in several print ads in Europe, Japan, Australia and North America. We managed to get one amazing interview from the master photographer, so don't hesitate to check it below.
Tell us about something about Jeff Clow Photography?
I’m a self taught photographer who started posting photos on the web via Flickr about five and a half years ago. Back then Flickr was a small community. Some kind soul commented on one of my photos and told me it would make a good stock shot. I ended up using that as motivation to get better at my craft and really learn what it takes to create a good image. Now I’ve had hundreds of my images used in commercial campaigns all over the globe. Shows that you don’t need an agent or an endorsement by a photo magazine to get traction.
What you need is motivation.
All that ultimately lead me to hosting photo tours in Grand Teton National Park and Banff National Park because of my familiarity with those areas and the fact that many of my photos from those locations show up on search engine queries again and again. And I really enjoy working with other photographers – both online and in person – to help them grow as I personally have grown over the years.
What’s your creative process like?
When it comes to landscape photo work, I try to work a scene by using lots of different angles and I always try to get low – on my knees and sometimes on my belly. Most people shoot from their chest and that creates a fine shot, but I’m always on the prowl for something a bit different. If you would see one of my photo tour groups, you’d see a bunch of people laying on the ground and shooting with me. I also shoot from a tripod and use a remote release to cut down on camera shake and movement, but I like the spontaneity that hand holding a shot can give you that just feels different from tripod based shooting.
I also am a fan of good light like all photographers, and I do a bit of high dynamic range imaging as well by blending multiple exposures. But the vast majority of my best selling photos are the result of being at the right place at the right time and they contain a fair element of good old fashioned luck.
Where do you find inspiration and why you like photography?
I find inspiration from other photographers and the work they publish on great sharing sites like 500px.com. I literally look at hundreds of shots per week taken by other shooters. When I see a great shot I always study it to see what it was that visually appealed to me. Often it is the use of light and the capture of the nuances of light and color that good photographers use to their benefit. I also find inspiration from some of the great wildlife shooters out there since I’ve been doing more wildlife photography recently. And one of my first loves is macro photography and I can find inspiration daily by going out into our garden and kneeling down and watching nature interact all around me. It takes patience, but it is so rewarding to capture a moment that is unique and then to be able to communicate that moment through your image to others all over the world.
Like many photographers, I like the validation that photography gives me as a shooter. It is one thing to take a decent shot, but it is a whole different thing to have strangers really like the photo – and buy it – from all parts of the world. That drives me to attempt to take another good shot the next day, the next week and the next month.
What are some tips you could give to people that really like your work?
The number one piece of advice I give fellow photographers is simple. If you want to take better photos, stand in front of better things. That’s it – pure and simple. The more “better” things you stand in front of – whether it be mountains or rivers or wildlife, the more winning shots you’ll ultimately achieve. And since digital film is almost free, a shooter should takes lots and lots of shots. Use a different aperture or a different lens or a different filter. Spin around and shoot opposite of what you shot the time before. Kneel down in the forest and look around very slowly – you’ll be amazed at how many photo opportunities are out there if you slow down your pace.
Stop. Listen. Experiment. Repeat as often as possible.
Can you name one great photographer that inspires you with his works and why?
Buck Shreck – a world class pro from Alaska - is a true inspiration to me when it comes to wildlife shooting. I've shot with him on several occasions and I’m constantly impressed with his drive, zeal and passion for wildlife shooting. I wouldn't be a wildlife shooter today if Buck had not inspired me to attempt the genre. I've learned a lot from him and from following great wildlife shooters like Moose Peterson online.
Update: We have just published an interesting interview with the Amazing Wildlife Photography by Buck Shreck.
If you have something else to add (a video/book/about your next project/etc.) just tell us.
I've received so many inquiries about where to go and when to shoot landscapes and wildlife in Grand Teton National Park that I've written and released my first eBook – The Dirt Cheap Photo Guide to Grand Teton National Park. It is being published via several different eBook formats this summer and the people who've used it so far within the park tell me it has really helped them. My intent is to help photographers find those out of the way locations that they might never find on their own and that have taken me ten plus years to locate. It is also filled with my photo interpretations of dozens of different places in Jackson Hole and also includes my shooting tips for when to arrive at each spot at the optimum time of the day.
I also continue to lead photo tours several times a year to some of the best landscape locations in North America.
Thank you Mr. Jeff Clow for your fantastic contribution for this article and all the support. We would like to congratulate you for the beauty of each picture that you shared with us. Good luck with your tours, and with your latest e-book.