I always get a lot of questions about film and photography but now that I’m currently on tour I get a ridiculous amount every single day. So I decided to allow people to ask me everything at once so I can answer them all at the same time. Here we go!
I was going to start with easy quick questions but this is my favorite question and I want everyone to see it because it’s important to hear.
-Where there any moments of self doubt? Or you just felt completely in over your head along the way?
A: YES! ALL THE TIME. I think my favorite interview I’ve ever seen was a cinematographers round table from last years Oscars and they were asked do you ever get nervous before a film. These guys are literally the best in the business and many of them have multiple awards and their answers were, “Yes!” You need to accept the fact that it’s ok to be scared of doing something but you must do it anyways. That will never go away but if you don’t let your fear overcome you, you’ll create some beautiful things in your life. I have a lot of amazing work I’m proud of but I, at least once a month, will sit in my room alone, depressed, and feel like I haven’t accomplished anything. Thankfully over time I’ve accepted that the feeling will happen but I know ways of getting out of it so it doesn’t consume me.
1. How do you do it so well?
a. Late nights practicing. Years of missing parties and events to work.
2. What inspired you starting with photography and cinematography?
a. I’ve been doing video since I was 6 years old and photos probably since high school. I used to play around with my dads VHS camera recreating the Amanda show in my garage with my sister and neighbors. I moved into stop animation after and every time is was more and more fun.
3. When did you decide photography was the path you wanted to take in life?
a. First I wanted to be a singer or make music. Then I hit puberty and my voice went away so I wanted to be a director. I directed a short film and hated that I wasn’t allowed to touch the camera and light so I switched to being a Cinematographer and photographer. This was probably around age 15.
4. How you so damn handsome?
a. I blame my parents, the Greeks, Italians, and Irish.
5. Funnest part of the tour?
a. Getting to travel the world and get paid to do it with amazing people.
6. Favorite part of your job?
a. Getting to capture moments in life that people can look back on and cherish.
7. What city did you have the best experience at so far?
a. Every tour is different but in the US my favorite cities are always SF, LA, Seattle, Chicago, and NY. But I love smaller cities for different reasons. I have hilarious memories from Omaha Nebraska alone during the Macklemore Tour that have a special place in my heart.
8. What lens is your go to for shows?
a. Usually 24-105. Used to be 24-70 but I liking having the extra zoom. Also depends on the venue but go to do all lens is 24-105.
9. What software do you use?
a. Video: Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects
b. Photo: Light room and Photoshop
10. Do you fuck bitches
11. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?
a. The world may never know.
12. How'd u get in contact or know logic?
a. I was shooting for Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis at the time and I had always loved Logic’s music but thought the cinematography in his music videos could have been better so I reached out.
13. Any tips for concert photography?
a. Shoot as much as you can and play around a lot in editing. Post work makes all the difference. Also, ALWAYS shoot RAW.
14. How do you edit the photos?
a. Usually everything in Lightroom. I rarely use Photoshop for anything. Lightroom I play with the curves and individual color hues, saturation, and brightness.
15. What camera body do you shoot on? (Photo) and what is your top 2 go to lenses?
a. Photo I use my Canon 5d Mark iii or iPhone and usually 24-105 f4 and 70-200 f2.8. I also love my 35 prime
16. How’d you get into the music scene? What's it like touring with the incredible Logic?
a. I’ve always loved music and music videos. In high school I used to make parody rap videos and even 2 rap songs for fun. Then I started doing music videos for bay area artists, which evolved into bigger guys, then Macklemore, then Logic.
17. how close are you with logic?(Bobby)
18. I want to know what's a good camera to use for a beginner and basically how to start out and get my work out there?
a. iPhone is the best tool possible. Olivia Wilde just released a music video completely shot on iPhone and it looks incredible. The biggest tool is yourself. And use every social media platform you can. Network and comment on others photos.
19. What mode do you usually shoot in? I assume AP but do you usually stay on the lowest ISO when in the venue with how dark it is?
a. ALWAYS manual.
20. How'd you get to meet and start shooting for Logic?
a. Met him during the recording of Under Pressure. I had just finished working for Macklemore for the last 7 months and I drove down to LA to meet with him and possibly start doing his video and photo work.
21. What do you use for some of the wide angle shots you take?
a. Tokina 11-16 always at a 16mm or a 24mm.
22. What's the craziest thing you've seen on this tour so far?
a. This tour, probably the 6 fights in Salt Lake City and one fan who decided to fight during the show and then flip Logic off.
23. What's your thought process behind creating epic dramatic visuals for shooting events & photo shoots?
a. I don’t shoot events but concerts I just know how to shoot concerts from doing so many. I used to look at other peoples work to get a sense of what’s good and bad and now I know what I like to see. I know when the moments are of a show and I usually know some of the best angles to make it look epic.
24. Any tips for getting into concert photography & how to get press passes?
a. I actually have NEVER gotten a press pass to shoot a show. Every show I’ve ever shot I was on tour or I knew the photographer in charge.
25. How do you edit your photos, presets?
a. Lightroom. I have presets I’ve made and I usually start there as a base then make adjustments until I like the final.
26. How did you get to the level you are on to take incredible photos with artists, how did you guys get in contact?
27. Any advice or tips for an on tour photographer?
a. Always have your camera with you, shoot more than you think you need or want, and have a lot of hard drives space.
28. How's life being Adam Levine?
a. I mean I was the sexiest man alive in 2013 so…
29. Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
a. Has to be this photo of Logic and Rhetorik at ollapalooza because of how amazing it is and i had to run my ass from front of house to up on the stage to catch this moment and I missed it the first time. But Logic saw i ran there and missed it and went back up a little later. The lights from behind also perfectly pointed to them and they were daylight balanced lights so it all came together seamlessly.
30. Why does Bobby flip you off so much?
a. We like to have fun
31. In what ways do you make money from taking photos for Logic?
a. He pays me to take his photo for his social media
32. What would you say your main struggle was/is to get to where you are now and how did you overcome it? What advice would you give to your 18 year old self? I'm interested in 3 different cameras mainly for videography, if you have experience with any of these which one would you recommend? Panasonic GH4/ Sony A7S/ Samsung NX1.
a. Honestly just having shoots fall through or falling for promises of bigger shoots if I work for free on a project but it was also good to learn. Just perseverance and working through it. I would tell myself that it will always get better if you’re willing to work for it. I don’t really do videography, I do Cinematography and there is a MAJOR difference. Out of those I would say A7S for sure.
33. What camera were you using once things got serious and how old were you ?
a. Started with a VHS camera, then a small mini DV tape sony camera, then DVX100B in high school, Sony prosumer camera, 5d mark iii, and now my Red Epic Dragon.
34. How has @logic301 made you a better person, directly or indirectly?
a. We feed off each other for inspiration with visuals and we are a lot a like. We have positive attitudes, we want to inspire and encourage others, and we like making dope shit with our friends. So we are able to collab a lot and inspire each other.
35. Did you go take any post secondary schooling? If so, where did you go?
a. I went to a community college called Las Positias in Livermore, CA. I didn’t take any video or photo classes while there but I transferred to Academy of Art SF after the 2 years to study Cinematography. I was there for about a year and a half and then dropped out because I wasn’t learning anything.
36. Do you have any specific goal or something you want to accomplish?
a. Eventually shoot feature films, which I’m currently working on making happen.
37. How do you feel about people reposting your pictures without crediting you?
a. It sucks and I try to remind them for the credit but that’s just something I have to accept.
38. Your favorite two lenses and do you believe the mark 3 holds up to the 1D series for the price difference.
a. I forget the difference but yes I think it does fine. Its sharp and the images are amazing. Most of the time you’re only showing your work on the Internet. 24-105 and 70-200.
39. What do you feel is more important to you as a DP, creativity or technical ability with equipment?
a. Both for sure but creativity. But you have to also understand your gear and how to utilize. The biggest thing is knowing how to see and read light more than the actual camera. Let your AC handle that.
40. How did you get into the industry and what steps did you take to get where you are now?
a. Networking my way up. Working with more and more people and bigger artists each shoot. Also being a good person and knowing my craft so people want to hire me.
41. Did u start doing photo n have to pick up video since people want ig vids etc of tour or did u always do video? And what do u do on the off tour times? Do u hop on tour with any artists?
a. I started with video since it’s a lot more complicated and my heart is in the film world. I am first and foremost and filmmaker. I am usually making other art, traveling, but usually always shooting. Usually I shoot commercials for a living, tour is just a fun side thing too.
42. Do you get bored of taking photos of the same show over and over and over again
a. It gets boring fast so you have to find creative ways to keep it interesting.
43. Would you recommend going to school for cinematography/photography?
a. Yes and no. Someone people need the structure and others don’t but just because you go to school doesn’t mean youll be good or have work and just because you don’t go to school doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. You have to sacrifice a lot in life to achieve your dreams and that means hours of sleep, parties, and more. So to answer your question, do what makes you happy but weigh the pros and cons for each.
44. Where can we access the tour pics?
45. How do you choose which photos to post , is it hard to choose just a few when you have alot of pictures that you love?
a. Yes and no. It’s a combination of good lighting, great framing and composition, and what the photo is about. Action, landscape, portrait, each type has different elements that make it great and memorable and if it meets a certain amount of requirements then you know its post worthy.
46. Where did you learn about lighting? I need more info on lighting. I learned some things at school, but I feel like I still don't understand a lot about lighting.
a. Practice is the biggest thing. Experimenting for fun in your garage, dorm room, whatever. Watch what others do. Be a PA on sets and learn what tools they use and if you can, ask why.
47. What makes YOU happy? Where do you see yourself in ten years?
a. Being alive. Getting paid to do what I love and be around the people Iove. In 10 years I see myself shooting big feature films.
48. What is it like being on tour all the time? don't you get really tired and don't you miss your family and friends back home? or is it just one fun ride all over the world?
a. I live in LA with 2 of my friends and my family is back home in SF. The thing I hate the most about tour is always being on the move and not having any grounding like you do at home. So I always miss home and want to be home but the moments on tour with my friends and the fans make it all worth being away.
49. What kept you positive during your journey? When you hear Logics-The incredible true story the song and you hear (Alan Watts what do you desire speech, where do is take you? How does that make you feel , going back when you wearing on a struggle doing what you love, to now touring with logic doing what you love ?
a. Honestly just working keeps me happy and not depressed. I love film and photography so when I get to create beautiful images, its self-soothing.
b. I think Logic says it best, Alan Watts said in a paragraph what Logic tries to say during an entire album. Basically, if you aren’t doing what you love in life then why are you doing it? Money doesn’t make you happy. Sure it buys you happiness not having to worry about food or simple things but after that it doesn’t bring you happiness. Follow you dreams and answer the questions, what do you desire?
Nick Mahar is a Director of Photography based in Los Angeles & San Francisco.