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LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW

Interview with Don Johnston, Automotive Photographer

You must really love and be passionate about your profession, especially if you need to travel to do it and to work on a thin line between success and failure. Photography is one of these professions, and Don Johnston is a photographer who specializes in automotive photography by following his passion.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Don Johnston

Don Johnston

LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW

by Melisa Kaya

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Some photographers spend more time in their studios. The products to be photographed come to them and they make all the adjustments in the studio environment. Some photographers, like architectural photographers, do all their shooting outside the studio. And there are also a group of photographers who perform both studio and outdoor works. While automotive photographers are photographing many details of the car in the studio, they reflect the spirit of the car with outdoor photographs. Since 1981, Don Johnston has been reflecting the most beautiful aspects of the cars to his works. I talked with Don Johnston about his career and the details of automotive photography.

Don, before talking about photography, I would like to learn more about you. When did you get your first camera? Do you remember the first photo that you shoot with it?

My first camera was a Polaroid I remember taking pictures of my dog.

Photo by Don Johnston

Photo by Don Johnston

Could you tell us about yourself? Who is Don Johnston?

I am a great fan of the outdoors, I have raced motocross in my youth and I have been snow skiing for 50 years. I was an avid barefoot water skier a slalom water skier.

I still mountain bike a lot, I snowmobile and I am a ski and snowboard instructor. I race in GS skiing events. I also raced Scca road racing for 10 years. So as you can read I am very active and have always liked to go fast.

Photo by Don Johnston

Photo by Don Johnston

When did you decide to combine your passion for motorsports and photography, and pursue a career as a professional photographer?

1981

What inspired you to establish your own studio?

I came up in the big Detroit car studios first as an assistant to the top shooters in the world at the time. I then became a shooter in one of the studios and eventually decided to buy the original owners out. It was a natural progression to becoming an owner.

Could you tell us about Don Johnston Photography and your team?

I am 90 % automotive and motorsports advertising with a lifestyle twist.

What kind of services do you offer to your clients?

I offer just about any kind of location and studio photography with some video.

Photo by Don Johnston

Photo by Don Johnston

What is the most special aspect of automobiles for you? Why do you like to work with them?

I grew up in a community where everyone's dad worked in the auto industry, my father worked for Chrysler, my brother as well I worked a short time there as well on the line while in college. I always played with toy cars it is just something I have always like.

Photo by Don Johnston

Photo by Don Johnston

How much time does it take to find the right concept for each campaign? Do you prefer to make a test drive to better understand the spirit of the car?

It can take 2 to 3 weeks to prepare for a big shoot. I rarely drive cars.

Photo by Don Johnston

Photo by Don Johnston

Besides automotive photography, what kind of projects do you prefer to work on?

I like architecture, editorial capture the moment shoots. I really enjoy shooting people at fairs and carnivals.

Is it possible for abroad clients to work with you for their projects in their own countries?

Yes.

Which factors determine the project budget? Which decisions can reduce the costs per photo?

I always try to bid my projects with everything I need to do the job correctly.

What are your expectations from your clients for a successful collaboration?

Quick decisive decessions.

Photo by Don Johnston

Photo by Don Johnston

What advice would you give to photographers who want to pursue a career in automotive photography?

Learn CGI

How do you protect the rights of your works in this online era?

Most of my work is buy out.

Could your clients use the works in any publication, catalog, website, ad or other platforms in the future?

Some but few in this day in age.

What is your favorite photograph that you have ever taken?

Photo by Don Johnston

Photo by Don Johnston

It was a print ad for Ford of a snowboarder.

What do you think about social media? How can our readers follow you?

Social media is huge

My Instagram is my personal B&W Fun Stuff @johnstonimages.com

www.johnstonimages.com

johnstonimages@mac.com

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

What is next for you?

The next big job I hope

Thank you Don for your time.

For more information, please click here to visit the website of Don Johnston





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