Meet one photographer who has transformed from being an aspiring snapper to a booked out in-demand photographer who is getting huge traction in his community and niche. Gold Community member Scott Stokhaug reveals how he’s done just that.
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GOLD COMMUNITY SHOUTOUT
The fast track to success with special guest Scott Stokhaug
In this episode:
- Overcoming shyness to become a confident portrait photographer
- Developing a unique style to stand out from the pack
- How he went from being a dad shooting his kids on the sidelines shooting for free to the most in demand photographer in his town
- The shot that changed everything for Scott
- How Scott uses other people to promote his work
- Doubling his pricing and being busier than ever!
Scott Stokhaug’s bio
I am a freelance photographer based in Southeastern Wisconsin specializing in sport photography and portraits. Covering the sport of wrestling in the midwest and beyond, I have been mat side at some of the country’s biggest tournaments capturing some of the best wrestlers in the US.
I received a Kodak 110 Instamatic for Christmas when I was around 10 years old and was immediately enamored with it. By high school I took a few photography classes and purchased a Minolta SLR to scratch the itch and use my time in the high school darkroom. Being a bit of an introvert my interests were mostly contained to subjects I could quietly shoot on my own…landscapes. But, I was learning to use my camera with film, in full-manual mode. Money was tight, film was not cheap and developing was not cheap so learning to get it right in camera was essential.
As John Lennon once said, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans… I got married, had kids and the photography stuff was put onto the back burner for my children’s interests and making sure I had a solid paycheck coming in thru my work in engineering. About a decade later the engineering job had me using a point and shoot digital camera to document projects and eventually I got the itch to get back into photography and see what the new digital cameras could do. A Canon Rebel and a 70-300mm lens later and I was off and running.
When my son started wrestling seriously around 4th grade I was bringing the camera to capture him in action. As my images started to get around in the wrestling community I was getting compliments from people I did not know and when someone suggested that I do this for a living my outlook changed. This is when I began to take it seriously and started to search and absorb as much information I could get. I read everything I could get my hands on about how cameras work, what is the difference between a full-frame and crop sensor and how I could get better images shooting in a terribly lit environment like a school gym. I shot as much wrestling as I could as often as I could. Learning the timing of sport photography is challenging and rewarding. Every year I can see changes in my wrestling photography and steady progressions of improvement…I have since spread out into baseball, softball, lacrosse, football, soccer, volleyball and most recently, auto racing. Each sport being a bit different and requiring a different skill-set…a challenge I enjoy and am not intimidated by.
In 2016 I met Gina on the Sicily tour and my interest in getting outside of my comfort zone with people/portraits was lit. I knew if I wanted to be successful in business I was going to have to shelve the introvert stuff and learn how to get out there and build relationships even when my energy told me I needed to stay home on the couch. I love the challenges of meeting and shooting new people and I think it has helped me immensely in my business. Learning new lighting and posing techniques has been an interesting journey for me but very fruitful, not just photographically speaking, but on a more human level as well. Every day is new chance to learn and accept a new challenge.