An insight on the challenges and experiences in the creative media industry with lifestyle photographer Shaun Fenn
Shaun Fenn is a Los Angeles-based photographer who emphasizes natural, organic and authentic images for some of the top brands in the world. His focus is on delivering emotion-driven lifestyle photography for his clients; whether shooting tennis shoes or cars, Shaun’s images bring respect to their subjects by accentuating the human to engage the audience. Shooting different cultures and environments over the years has helped Shaun and his team develop efficiencies to the processes that ensure he can maximize clients’ assignments. Read on to get an insight on some of the challenges and experiences that Shaun Fenn has faced.
Production Paradise: Looking back at your journey as an image maker, could you give us a recap of what that journey was like for you?
Shaun Fenn: A lot of hard work, but rewarding. Assisting was a crucial experience that helped me move from a passion for taking photographs, to developing a skill set for creating imagery for commercial assignments. I find the two to be very different.
As much as I would love to spend my time just creating beautiful still and moving images there is just so much more involved. I believe the combination of education and professional work experience have helped me make a living in an overly saturated market. Our projects have aggressive demands, and the confidence and processes we develop through experience are very beneficial.
Production Paradise: You spent 4+ years assisting photographer Andy Anderson. What was the most impactful piece of advice you learned from your time assisting him?
Shaun Fenn: Be you and persevere.
Production Paradise: You’re often found on a surfboard, and quite often your work has some body of water involved- very much west coast beach culture. How has growing up in a beach culture shaped your style as an image maker?
Shaun Fenn: Hmmm, well I think your life experiences shape you as an artist. Growing up in the laid back West, in that more organic atmosphere, being involved in technology, graphics, fashion and sports, all combine to shape your voice or style. That’s my best guess.
Production Paradise: With two degrees in Communications and Computers from USC and UC Berkley, respectively, how did the knowledge from both degrees help you in your line of work today?
Shaun Fenn: Well my USC degree was in Communications, so working with people; and my CAL degree was Computer Information Systems – so working with technology and project management. The short answer is an education hones the socialization of knowledge and processes – working in the commercial world requires people skills. But the real answer is that these were chapters in my journey accomplished with less long term thought, and more to avoid standing still.
Production Paradise: From all your projects, which was the most inspiring project to work on?
Shaun Fenn: Has to be the handful I am working on now. You have to be that way to flame the stoke. I feel like it’s imperative to be driven by the creative process. It’s a hard road and you have to be relentless in your pursuit.
On the personal side, I love delving into the emotional aspect of imagery. Whether it’s capturing the personalities of 50 characters for a portrait project, or developing a story around the culture and passion of a wooden boat. Projects developed around this pursuit are very rewarding to me.
On the technical side, it’s fun to take on challenges with the everyday and create something moving. Winning Platinum Photography Awards for shooting things like garage door openers, or cardboard shipping boxes, is something we take a great deal of pride in.
Production Paradise: What’s in store for you this upcoming 2020?
Shaun Fenn: We are doing some fun things blending motion and still assignments. I would not pretend to be a film director, but we have a unique niche between TV commercials and still photographs. We can do some beautiful things in the motion space with a fraction of the footprint or resources of a full blown TV commercial crew.
Production Paradise: What have you found the most useful being a Production Paradise member?
Shaun Fenn: I find it to be a well orchestrated platform for marketing work. There are so many options out there and PP seems to be a solid collection of production resources.
Production Paradise: Besides an image maker, you also fulfill the role of a dad. How have your children inspired you?
Shaun Fenn: Ha, the best for last! You know I might be incredibly biased here. 😉 Not sure there is enough space here for me to answer this.
Family keeps me balanced. Without them I might overly obsess on my passion for working which would not be healthy. Paddling out with them or snowshoeing with them is like some kind of meditation. Seeing them becoming, growing and pursuing what excites them is really about as good as it gets.
I have really sweet kids. I have a really sweet agent. I am moved by these people who pursue creative directions and yet are truly wonderful people to be around. This path is a mountain, not a beach, and I like climbing surrounded by this kind of energy. Is that corny enough? 🙂
We would like to thank Shaun Fenn for taking the time to speak with us. If you want to read more about Shaun check out his member page.