Where are you from?
Born and raised in Wisconsin, currently living in Wisconsin Rapids.
Type of camera(s) you shoot with?
For my photo work I’ve been shooting with the Olympus OM-D EM-5 Mark II. I used to shoot Canon but switched over to the Olympus in 2015
For my video work (YouTube), I’ve been shooting and livestreaming with Panasonic LUMIX GX85 and G7 cameras.
What’s great is that these cameras are all Micro 4/3 format which means I can swap all of my lenses between my photo and video cameras for maximum versatility.
My favorite lens for my photo work is the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm, f2.8 Pro. It’s such a workhorse. It’s on my camera 99% of the time.
How long have you been doing photography?
I became interested in photography right around the year 2000. At the time I was working at a Half Price Books store, and one of the sections of the store that I tended was the art section.
I was exposed to all of these amazing art books, and the ones I kept coming back to were the photography books. What really tipped my interest was the iconic pinup model Bettie Page. After paging through several of her photo books and seeing the presence and joy she expressed in her photos, I knew I wanted to be able to create work like that.
Shortly after that I got my first camera, a Canon Powershot A40 point and shoot with a whopping 3 Megapixels and a 3x zoom lens!
How would you describe your style?
In terms of style, my work is colorful, crazy and ambitious. If you had to encapsulate or describe my work style, I’d call it creative portraiture.
I’m honestly a bit all over the map because I just love trying new ideas and concepts and expressing new things through the portraits I create. The other side of that is that each portrait isn’t just me expressing an idea. It’s the model, and the other people we might be working with (body painter or HMUA, etc…) that all add to the concept and expressiveness of the portrait.
So in the end, each work we create is a bit of a reflection of all of us.
What is your favorite editing tool?
My favorite editing tool is a keyboard. But it’s not just any keyboard. Well, actually, it is just any old USB keyboard, but what’s special about it is that in combination with some software, I keymapped all my favorite Photoshop shortcuts to that keyboard.
This makes my editing process so much more efficient because instead of jumping all over the keyboard hitting shift+option+command+whatever, I just hit a single key to execute a particular shortcut or action.
Additionally, I’ve mapped all of my most used shortcuts to a cluster of keys so my left hand barely has to move around the keyboard to execute 90% of my shortcuts and actions.
Among your works, which is your favorite?
It’s constantly changing depending on what I’ve been shooting and/or editing lately. My current favorite is the Punisher image included in this feature. It’s my favorite for a number of reasons.
First, it was my first time bodypainting, which was pretty cool (I assisted, I wasn’t the principal bodypainter). It’s also my current favorite because it represents a bit of a shift in my approach to editing, including some new techniques that I see myself incorporating into my work in the future.
(I made a behind the scenes video of that photoshoot that you can see on my YouTube channel. You can check it out at http://shp.photo/punisher)
Who has influenced you the most?
Probably Bettie Page. If not for the life and joy that shone through in her photos, I might not have been moved to pick up the camera and start shooting.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
This isn’t related to photography in the sense of image making, but it’s the second most important thing for anyone interested in pursuing photography as a business/career, and that’s sales and marketing skills. I wish I had know how important it was when I started so I could have developed those skills alongside my photography instead of waiting as long as I did.
Was photography your first choice of a career? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
It wasn’t. At the time I discovered photography I was working full time at Half Price Books, which was a pretty enjoyable job. I ended up leaving Half Price Books because despite how enjoyable it was, it didn’t pay enough. had gotten a job as a mail carrier and was anticipating going full time into that.
Photography was a hobby for me for around 5 years or so before I really started pursuing it as my primary business/career.
Where would be your dream destination assignment?
Greece. I want to live in Greece. There actually isn’t anything particular about Greece that draws me for photography. It’s part of my heritage (1/2 Greek, mostly mutt), so I’ve always wanted to live there.
What would you like to be doing 5 years from now?
Heh. Living in Greece while continuing to make great creative portraits and fun YouTube videos about photography
5 Fun Facts
1. I’ve been public speaking since before I could drive and to this day I still get nervous before I have to speak in front of a group and I always have to take a nerves induced pee before I speak.
2. I was a wedding DJ during the formative years of my life (from about the age of 12 to 25. My family had a DJ business).
As a result I missed out on my generation of Saturday Night Live jokes, and I refuse to photograph weddings (mad respect for the photographers that do)
3. My actual business/career isn’t me taking money in exchange for photography services. Instead, my photography business is built around education, helping other photographers learn how to create the photos they want to create.
I love this because it gives me the freedom to shoot whatever I want, whenever I want, but I still make money doing what I love, because I love helping others, experience the same joy that photography has brought to my life
I do this principally through the videos I share on my YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/selfhelpphotographer
4. I cannot roll my r’s, but I can roll my tongue
5. I have done exactly one 365 project. I shot a self portrait every single day for a year. It was a project that had two goals.
1. I wanted to learn more about lighting and flash photography
2. I wanted to give myself a space for some serious self examination.
That project was life changing. (It was also grueling). At the end of the project I was so burnt out that I didn’t take any photos for a year, and I nearly gave up photography entirely.
But, instead of giving up, I ended up starting a YouTube channel, and it’s out of this project that I got my YouTube channel name (Self Help Photographer)
I kind of regret that name now and wish I had just named my channel using my name, but it is what it is.
Where can we find you:
Facebook: https://facebook.com/sheniadis (it’s not a page, it’s a profile. Feel free to add me.)