"As long as I can recollect, I have been passionate about photography and working with people," Miller says of his early interest in photography. "From the first time I held a camera in my hand, at age six, I knew that capturing images would follow me in life."
As a six-year-old, he might not have thought that in those exact words, but the essence was true: Photography followed him wherever he went. When he reached high school, Miller worked as a photojournalist for his school newspaper. He then used those photojournalistic skills to promote his own construction business for two decades. At one point, Miller even tried to set photography aside. He did so for a decade...until the shift to digital whetted his photographic passion again.
Finally, in 2006, Miller began his business as a part-time professional photographer. In the summer of 2007, he started his own home studio. When the economic downturn began in 2008, Miller discovered that his other job had been eliminated. Luckily, he had photography to fall back on and has been operating his business full time ever since.
However, like many professional photographers, Miller says that one of his business challenges is the over-saturation of photographers in the market, thanks to the digital revolution and the explosion of technology. To stand out, Miller has expanded his business to include conceptual imaging.
"I am semi-retired and decided that this year I would focus on what I wanted to do in photography," says Miller of his decision to diversify this way. "I also didn't want the market to dictate to me such things as lowering my prices or working for free. That's why I have set my pricing structure so the projects make sense to do, and I take on the ones I want without feeling that I have to accept every client who calls."
Without a doubt, Miller's success in transitioning from a part-time portrait photographer to a full-time pro can be traced back to his ability to turn ordinary portraits into extraordinary ones. And one way he creates this "magic" is with skilled retouching.
If you want to learn Miller's retouching techniques, don't miss his "Glamour & Portrait Creative Retouching" Super Monday class in Clayton, Calif., on May 16.
"The class will teach you the right tools and methods for retouching, from a quick touch-up to a complete magazine makeover," says Miller. It's your chance to learn how to nip and tuck without surgery and add punch with filters, overlays and composites.
Miller adds that along with showing you the right tools for the job, he'll teach you how much time and effort is needed for the final retouched output. After all, "why spend an hour retouching an 8x10 portrait?"
Learn more about Miller's class and browse more Super Monday classes in more locations at http://www.ppa.com/education-events/sm_new.php.
Read more about Wayne Miller here.
Super Monday is an educational program sponsored by PPA every spring and fall. These daylong, interactive workshops are conducted in locations around the country, allowing PPA members to earn merits for sharing their craft and enabling all photographers to learn new skills and develop professional networking contacts.
ALL IMAGES Â© WAYNE MILLER