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Pro Tips: Photographer Max Wanger

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I'm excited to announce a new series called "Pro Tips." I'm always inspired by people who are great at what they do, so I've asked some of the most talented professionals for some insight on how they've honed their skills. For instance, a good photograph demands a whole lot of know-how behind the lens.

We're kicking things off with Max Wanger, one of the best photographers I've ever met, who also happens to be the talent we tapped for our own 2012 nuptials. Born and raised by reformed hippies in Southern California, Max got an early start by building his first camera out of paper and scotch tape when he was just seven years old. With many years of experience under his belt (and juggernaut clients like Target, Martha Stewart, Nordstrom and Banana Republic), I picked Max's brain about the 5 things he relies on for a perfect snap. Read on to find out what they are...some might surprise you.


1. Notebook/Journal - I carry this with me everywhere. It's where I jot down notes and ideas, draw out storyboards, paste inspiration. It's extremely helpful for all my shoots because I always have a reference for what I'm doing and I'm able to constantly refer back to it.

2. Gels - These are sample gels that you can get at any camera store. I use these on shoots if I want to add a little color in camera. Photography is about experimenting and playing and this allows you to do that. Just throw a gel in front of the lens and let the fun begin! 

3. Family - This may be cliché or cheesy, but for me it's absolutely what/who I rely on everyday to want to be the best I can be. My wife, Margaux, and our little boy, Dash keep me on my toes and are a constant source of inspiration.

4. Polaroid SX-70 - I love taking polaroids and this camera is a great reminder to slow down and think each shot and composition through. You only have 10 frames and you want to make each one count. 

5. Rodney Smith - One of my biggest inspirations. His photography is simple, classic and beautiful and I am constantly in awe of his detailed and perfect compositions. This is one of his books called "The Hat Book."

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