Interview with Jake Wangner | Episode 106

It’s been an interesting journey, trying different things. I’ve been the photographer that takes senior portraits. I’ve been the photographer that shoots concerts. You name it, I’ve probably tried it at least once. I’ve done my research to find what the best fit is for me. I feel like I’m there.

Jake Wangner

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In this episode, I speak with Jake Wangner, a Texas-based film photographer. Jake is a master of analogue photography and always seeks to experiment with new techniques. In his portfolio, you’ll find vivid colours, eye-catching textures, and double exposure masterpieces.

We talk about:

  • The process of creating and self-publishing photography books
  • Jake’s unique film photography techniques
  • Why you don’t need to share your photos online as soon as you take them

& much more!

The world of film photography is full of surprises. It can be a great place for new and experienced photographers to express their creativity in a new format. If you’ve ever been curious about the process of taking film photos, self-publishing books, or interacting with followers online, you’ll enjoy listening to this episode!

Here is a preview of our conversation with Jake Wangner.

Q: You’ve created and self-published a number of photography books. What advice would you give to people who want to create their own photography books?

Jake Wangner: The comparison I always make is albums for musicians. It’s not weird to think of a musician working on an album all the time. That’s the goal of their music: to create. They make singles, but usually the end goal for their music-creating is to go into an album. I don’t see why photographers shouldn’t have that same mindset about books.

Especially with the social media stuff, where you can get burned out on social media or feel like you’re just creating for social media, it’s a good exercise to step away from that. Tell yourself, “I’m not creating for social media. I’m creating for this project that I’m working on. It’s going to take me a few years, or however long it’s going to take me, but that’s what I’m working for.” For me, that’s always felt more motivating than saying, “I’m just taking stuff to post on Instagram.”

Q: It’s a delicate balance, maintaining a social media presence while keeping photos to yourself before you publish them. How do you manage that?

Jake Wangner: The hardest part is figuring that out. I have my younger self in 2019 to thank for the amount of photoshoots that I was doing at that time. I was doing five a week. I’ve had enough photos from that year to stay consistent with posting photos from back then all the way through 2022.

So a lot of times, I’m just reposting things from then with a new crop, or it’s just a straight-up repost. I think at this time, a lot of people are doing it. It’s a little more normal and less looked down upon to repost older things, especially if you have new people seeing your work all the time.

With the way the algorithms work now, you have to do that to keep getting your stuff pushed to new people. It could be new people that are seeing it for the first time, and then it’s not a repost to them.

I started making reels, which is mainly just to reach new audiences for the coming promotion of my book. Before I started doing that, I was absent on social media and taking a break. I’m starting to look at it in that sense: if I treat these books as a product that I need to market, I can create a marketing plan and have a time period that it runs through. So I can say that in March, April, and May, I’m going to be promoting my book. That’s when I’ll be active on social media. Once my book comes out, I can promote the book with this marketing plan through, say August, and then I can relax.

Planning the marketing out has helped me to know that there’s an end to it, that it’s not just going to be something I have to do for the rest of my life.

Q: Colours play an important role in your photography. What’s your favourite colour to work with and why?

Jake Wangner: When it comes to using colour, it’s always been something I don’t decide up until the person is there in front of me. I feel out the moment, what feels right with their energy, and what they’re giving me. That’s always the inspiration for whatever colour I use for any particular session.

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite, but I do love using greens and figuring out how to make greens look good. Not a super saturated green, but kind of white with a green undertone. In the recent stuff I’ve posted, you’ll see that’s the theme. It’s a green undertone. Green is my favourite colour.

Photography book – Horizons

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