There is no ones blog I would rather get lost in then Matt Clayton’s. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve told myself that I was just jumping on to take a peak before I started editing my own work only to find myself still fully engrossed an hour later. Matt’s work is hands down my absolute favorite to look at. It resonated with me and the classic simplicity only ever leaves me wishing I could see more! When I started the idea of ‘Inspire Me Friday’, I did it for totally selfish reasons, I wanted to know more about my favorite photographers and this was a great way to do it. Matt Clayton was one of the very first on my list that I wanted to chat with. It took me a while to get the nerve. For whatever reason I seem to have a bit of a star-complex when it comes to Matt. Maybe it’s because he never shows a picture of himself, (just look at his blog and site). Little did he know that I’ve been stalking Matt’s blog long enough and I remembered that there was a picture from way back when. (see top). Matt – I know your loving me for that. He let me pick out all the pictures to use on the post, so what you see are just a few of my personal favorites. When I called him up to finish our interview I admit I was a little nervous. I made sure I wrote down some questions in case I blanked. By the end of our chat we were laughing (I think at me) and I was feeling totally comfortable, like I could just call him up next time I’m driving though Utah. Matt doesn’t take himself to seriously (thats for sure, as you will read in his answers). In an industry where often photographers almost try to intimidate by how serious they take themselves – It was very refreshing to have someone so genuinely talented be so only interested in the personal and pretty much want to ignore the technical.
Seriously though. I don’t think there could be a better time to showcase Matt’s classic genius then right before Christmas.
Tell us about you, Matt the guy (not the photographer).
When did you decide to go pro?
I don’t consider myself a pro. Plus I don’t want the pressure that comes with that title. Pros know what they’re doing, I only know a few things.
What’s in the bag?
One camera, one lens, an extra battery, a flash (just in case, but I never use it), some hair ties, a couple safety pins and a white garbage bag. (He’s currently Canon btw – but he’s shot both N & C)
What kind of set up do you use for backdrop and lighting?
I have portable backdrops and lights that I use so that I can turn anyone’s garage into a studio if I need to. It’s worked out. A real studio would be nice… or just a big empty room.
Do you shoot studio or on location?
Both. And love both for their pluses and minuses.
Your classic style is sensational! Dress obviously has a large part in that. How do you encourage clients to go for a certain look, was it ever difficult?
I’m fortunate to attract a clientele that already has that look.
How many shoots do you like to do a week to be in your happy place?
I’m fine with whatever. I’d rather have someone call up and say “Let’s do something tomorrow or this afternoon” than scheduling weeks in advance. I have a problem with commitment.
You are fantastic and bringing out the personality of your portrait clients! What might go into the “before” to make this happen?
I’ve worked retail for a number of years so I’m pretty good at reading people and getting along with strangers. So, that helps. I think you have to be a people person to take good portraits.
What would be your ideal session?
I love working one on one with people.
What’s your best marketing idea?
Where might we find you if your not working?
The Dairy Keen in Heber.
You say you’re “not a technical photographer”, what does that mean?
I don’t talk shop, I’m not here to tell you what aperture I used, or how I did the lighting. That’s not what photography is about for me. I enjoy the experience, meeting new people and producing something that I’m proud of and has made an individual say “Dang, I look good.”
Where do you find inspiration?
Clothing inspires me a lot. The way people wear it or certain items like a casual t-shirt or an old sweater. Old photographs, also.
Can you tell us about ‘Twenty-One’
If you are referring to “Tweny-One” on my website, it once was where I showed off images from personal projects. Since starting a blog I no longer need “Twenty-One,” but I’ve been putting off either updating it or removing it. The number “21” has been my favortite number for a long time. I use it in a lot of projects and it can often be found hidden in anything I design.
You do a lot of really creative fun work for Square Mag. How
did this come about?
I started Square so I could work as a photographer and designer. But don’t tell anyone.
Have you felt effects from the economy in your bus
What would you label as your professional weakness?
I’m a horrible business man. I’m so right brained it hu
What’s your advice to new photographers?
I don’t think I could offer any advise. But, I do really like what photographer Sam Jones once said “The road to a good picture is through a lot of bad ones.”
Matt – There are 21 pictures (not including you) 🙂