Zenfolio is a killer toolbox for my business

- Dan Ballard

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About Dan

Bio

Dan Ballard is an internationally known travel and landscape photographer from Colorado. His images take you on a visual journey to some of the world's most beautiful and far-reaching corners. Dan's images have been on display around the U.S. in museums and galleries, and he has sold images to clients around the world. His images have been published in magazines and calendars worldwide, and he has won or been a finalist in numerous prestigious competitions. Dan is also an accomplished keynote speaker and gives presentations on photography at symposiums, festivals, trade shows and workshops.

Interview

Where is your home base? 

Denver, Colorado

What is your photography genre/specialty? 

Landscape and Travel

What is your most memorable image and why?

"Path to Wonder" was the first time I actually succeeded in capturing the feel and emotion of a place. It was a turning point image that showed me I could get close to portraying what it felt like to be somewhere else on the planet. Many of my later images were shot with that image in mind.

Why did you become a photographer? What drives you to capture images and has this changed over time?

I became a traveler first and a photographer second. Growing up in a town with 75 people on the plains of Colorado, travel wasn't necessarily the norm. When I was 17, I left to travel the world. Having the chance to share those adventures became a really important part of my life. Photography was the obvious tool to help share what I was seeing. These days, I love the art and challenge of capturing images. The more I learn and grow as a photographer the harder it becomes. And while it is also more frustrating now, it is also so much more rewarding. Capturing an image can take an unbelievable amount of time and hard work—which is what makes it so fulfilling.

Do you have any personal rituals to help you get ready for a shoot?         

No, but I do try to start shooting for fun on the first day of long overseas trips to get warmed up. I start with the small details in cites and on the road. I find when I do that I am more likely to see and perform better when it counts later in the trip.

What are the top 5 things you can’t live without while on a shoot?

Besides a great camera and lens? 1.Travel umbrella 2. Camera bag with easy access (I use Think Tank shoulder bags or MindShift rotating backpacks) 3. Carbon fiber Really Right Stuff tripod and ballhead 4. Towel (the most useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have) 5. A great book on my Kindle (I spend an insane amount of time waiting for shots. Having good books is the only reason I can still do my job).

How do you regain your inspiration if you hit a creative rut?

Spending time shooting just for fun always gets me out of a rut. Not thinking about what I am shooting, how good it will be, etc. Just looking at the world and thinking creatively without a goal in mind.

If you could share just one tip with aspiring photographers, what would it be?

Focus on creating great images and learn everything you can. That sounds obvious, but I rarely see young phototags completely diving into learning and shooting nonstop. The few who do become really solid photographers very quickly.

What are the top three Zenfolio features essential to helping you run your business?

1. Ease of access anywhere in the world and being able to completely change and customize my site without issue wherever I am.

2. Being able to upload both Jpegs and RAW originals while overseas as a backup for my best shots.

3. Client galleries that allow companies I work with easy password-protected access to high-res files.

If you could second shoot with any photographer (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Galen Rowell. He was one of my biggest influences when I started out, and I think he would have amazing stories and advice. I would love to be able to spend time with him.

How has the photography world changed since you turned pro?

It is an exciting time to be a pro photographer! The overall level of photography has gone up greatly since I started 10 years ago. It’s crazy how many talented photographers are producing amazing work worldwide. Standing out from the competition is a major challenge and part of the fun.

What one piece of software besides Zenfolio do you consider to be vital in your workflow?

Adobe Lightroom is one of my go to programs for editing. While I spend some time in Photoshop for certain things, 90% of my time is spent in Lightroom.