This is a Q&A session with Ryan Pavlovich a photographer who loves loud music, neat whiskey, and images that tell stories. You can follow him on Twitter, friend request him on Facebook, or drop him a line at his website. If you want to guest post on my blog, check out my guest blogging page.

I recently had the privilege to catch up and spend some time with Ryan Pavlovich or aka Ryan P Photo. This is what I like to call him – I think it flows nice! We had a great time doing a shoot, talking life, future, visions, and what’s next.


Ryan is a photographer and an entrepreneur out of Grand Rapids, MI doing some pretty amazing things. I urge you to check out his work and give him a call.

I met Ryan a few years back when he stopped into one of the companies I started and he was all tatted up! He had the look, you know what I am talking about? That creative, passionate, let’s make things happen kind of look. Oh, and he loved motorcycles! It was brotherhood after that.

While Ryan and I were hanging out, I decided to ask him a few questions.

Q: What did you do before you started your photography career? 

A: Before photography I worked as a graphic designer for two years for Dub Brand Weathergear, and worked as an assistant for roughly four years.

Q: Why did you choose photography? 

A: I guess I chose photography for the images. I’ve always been a person who loves images of people, places, and well, just about anything; so it seemed natural that I should try to create my own images.

Q: Your photography looks like something out of LA. Can you tell us about this? 

A: I’ve heard that a lot actually which is strange. I’ve honestly only been to LA. once so I’m not sure where the influence is coming from, but my only guess would be from growing up looking at band photos and skateboarding magazines. I don’t really see the whole LA thing in my work, but I’d be more than happy to go back there to shoot a bit and hang out.

Q: We see your branding all over the place these days? What’s up with that? 

A: Ha ha yeah I wanted to approach my brand with a bit more in your face attitude. When I first came up with the “logo” I thought it would be fun to plaster it everywhere like you’d see when a skate event came around town, you know stickers on all the signs etc. so that’s what I did. Eventually people started asking what the skull was all about, and when I finally put it up on the site it got a great response. The best part is that some people still don’t know what it’s all about, so it’s like an élite crew that get it.

Q: What got you into photography? 

A: Well my dad was always taking pictures and creating slide shows when I was growing up of his scuba diving trips, and I think that’s where a big influence came from. I didn’t really fall in love with it until I saw my first black and white print develop in the tray in college. I knew right then though, that I wasn’t going to let go of a camera.

Q: Tell us a little about your work and the motivations behind it? 

A: There’s a lot of things that motivate my work, but I’d say mainly its people and their stories. I try to capture the real essence of whomever I’m shooting. I’ve always been more interested in images that seem like real moments of life than posed over directed shots. What I do isn’t rocket science, I’m just doing my best to capture what is there and make it look as amazing as I can.

Q: You seem to love to take photos of people. Can you tell me more about this?  

A: Photographs of people are where my heart really lies. I love the different emotions, stories, and not knowing what you’re going to get when you shoot with people. So much depends on a mood, a setting, if they had their coffee, who knows; but it’s really exciting when you walk into a shoot unsure and walk out with some great captured moments. I try to tell everyone I work with that I can only do so much to make them look a certain way and they have to meet me half way with what they bring to the shoot. When it happens though the images are always amazing.

Q: Are there any photographers who influence your work? 

A: Of course there are photographers that influence my work. I’ve always followed and loved the work of Annie Leibovitz, Peter Lindbergh, Danny Clinch, Jim Marshall, Marc Hom, and a ton more. I’m someone who is always looking at new work, trying to figure out how they did the lighting etc. Recently I’ve been really into the work of Scott Pommier, and Scott G Toepfer.

Q: What tools do you use? 

A: My bag typically consists of the Canon 5d MarkII, 50mm 1.4, 35mm 1.4, and 70-200mm 2.8. I recently picked up the 85mm 1.2 and that lens is quickly becoming a favorite. Along with that though I’m still a big film shooter rocking my Canon FTB, and the Hasselblad 500cm. There’s something about the process of film I can’t get enough of.

Q: Any cool upcoming projects? 

A: There’s a couple of projects I’m working on now. One which I just posted the link on my blog I’m calling “Keep Living”. These are all the shots I normally would take and not post anywhere but I’ve decided to start putting them in one place and eventually do a book with it later this year. Another project is a series of portraits of entrepreneurs. I’ve noticed more and more that there are young and older people out there that are deciding to go into business for themselves which is super inspiring that at this time in our world they have decided to jump in and follow their hearts and passions.

Q: You said that you are getting found by companies and people all over the world. How does this make you feel? 

A: Yeah it’s pretty crazy, I love that people are viewing my work from all over and just hope that it might inspire someone somewhere.

Q: I love your new site. Can you tell me more about it? 

A: Thanks, the new site is a collaboration between Ray Brown of Bitmanic.com and myself. It came together really well, and with the new logo design by nubbytwiglet.com I’m really excited about it.

Q: I heard you’re working on a cool photo book that you’re going to release at the end of the year. This sounds pretty cool, can you tell me more about it? 

A: Yeah this is the “Keep Living” project, like I mentioned it’s a bunch of images that I taking of just my everyday life. The fun part so far with the project is that it keeps me shooting, and inspired in a way. Sometimes it helps to just put something out there even if it sucks or fails you know you tried, and I think that’s been helping me a ton. I’m not sure yet exactly how the book will look etc. but I’m playing around with some ideas. I’m honestly trying not to think too much about it because I don’t want my focus to just be on a book, I want the images to just come naturally and see what happens.

Q: Do you have all your own equipment? Does this make it easier for you? Does this give you a one up on other photographers? 

A: I do have all my own equipment which does help a lot for shoots. I still have to rent things here and there but it’s nice knowing that the gear I’m using is going to work as it should unless I did something to it. I’m not sure if it gives me a one up on other shooters but it is nice for my piece of mind at least.

Q: What’s an average day look like for you? 

A: An average day for me is getting up taking my daughter to daycare, answering e-mails, phone calls, some editing, or delivering images to clients, or shooting, head home to spend time with my wife and daughter, more e-mails, editing, head out to catch a band somewhere, back home to crash and repeat. Yeah that’s pretty close to a normal day.

Q: Where are you based out of? 

A: I’m based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan but travel as much as I can.

Q: Did photography start out as a hobby? Would you still do it even if you didn’t get paid for it? 

A: Photography started out as fun and as crazy as things get sometimes, I’d rather it stay fun than get paid for it if that makes any sense. I’ll still be shooting till I can’t hold a camera anymore, and I hope I can make a living until then but I’d rather be happy in life than freaking out about a paycheck all the time.

Q: How does someone get in contact with you? 

A: My website has all my contact info: ryanpavlovich.com or I’m on twitter @ryanpphoto and facebook ryanpphoto.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

A: In five years I hope to be traveling and shooting a sweet campaign for a company that is blowing up. I hope to be happy with my family and enjoying life.

Q: What is your favorite photo that you have taken? 

A: Oh man, my favorite photo to date might be a shot of my friend Corban when we were on tour. It’s a simple shot of him at a table waiting for breakfast in some crappy diner. Honestly it’s not the most amazing image technically, but there’s something about the moment and the story behind the image that every time I look at it I’m taken back to that time, exhausted and ready to be home but loving every minute of being where we were. I’m not sure who said it, but I heard once that (the image can be badly framed, with poor lighting, but its the moment that matters) or something like that; and that has stuck with me and is always in the back of my mind when I shoot.

Ryan is a man with a plan! Check out his stuff, give him a call, and Go make something happen!


Discussion Question: 

What do you like about Ryan’s Work? You can leave a comment below.