6X Portrait Magazine Interview with David “Glamour Dave” Nienow
Photographer David “Glamour Dave” Nienow has been pursuing his work in fashion & glamour photography for over 20 years and has recently opened his first portrait studio in his hometown. Let’s get to know more about him.
You recently opened a portrait studio. What led you to launch this new venture?
The start of the pandemic brought an end to my previous work as a community TV producer and show host at my local public access TV station, RVTV, and Rogue Valley Community Television. COVID brought closure to the studio that I worked out of. As a result, I decided to focus on a new direction with my professional photography. And began working towards finally opening my own portrait studio.
At the beginning of the pandemic with everything shut down, I had plenty of time to research and develop my studio plans. That led to my decision to offer a portrait studio that centered on headshots, fine art contemporary portraits, and unique concept portraits. Careful saving of pandemic stimulus money and an SBA EIDL loan finally allowed me to find a space and open my studio last August.
BTW, the RVTV studio after 2 years of closure has finally begun the process of slowly reopening. So, I hope to be resuming some of my local television programmings over the coming months.
How does your studio differ from other studios that may operate in your area?
My studio is situated as a luxury portrait service. We focus on creating high-quality fine art style portraiture. Portraiture that is more artistic, painterly and unique in image design and execution.
Portraiture that is more reflective of the individual, their personality and interests. Portraiture that goes beyond the typical basic family photo service at JC Penny’s photo studio. And we offer custom archival quality wall art that ensures our customer receives the highest quality prints that become family treasures. Family treasures can be passed down through a family and its generations.
You mention unique concept portraits. What is a unique concept portrait?
Unique concept portraits are specific to an individual and their hobbies and interests. A normal portrait session takes around 4 hours and is about generating a set of images that may involve up to 4 different outfit changes and looks.
A concept portrait can take 4 hours or more of time and is about crafting 1 to maybe 3 different variations of a portrait idea. These portraits involve more work in securing or creating custom costume and props. These shoots tend to be more fantasy themed style in their execution. My studio offers the women of my area a Goddess theme style concept service.
Women come into the studio to develop a portrait session around a Goddess figure that connects to their family and cultural connections. Goddesses can be found in mythologies around the world, and we help women find a mythological goddess figure that can connect to their family roots and how they wish to express themselves.
I also regularly develop personal concept portrait projects for my studio to create showcase examples of what can be created. An example of such a project is my The Shade Fashion Project.
The Shade is a unique character creation of mine that comes out of the pulp world of The Shadow. The Shade is a female adventurer / crime fighter with unique abilities and is “documented” through the “discovery” of a lost trove of character portraits and “crime history research” that tells the story of The Shade.
What drives you as a professional photographer?
I love being artistically creative. As a photographer, I can be artistic, creative, and in various degrees document a moment in time. And I love developing an idea and bringing it to life. Which is one of the joys of doing fashion and portraiture. Sometimes captured moments are naturally occurring, and a moment is captured.
Sometimes moments are planned and created. But each moment is a document of time to always be remembered and treasured. Fashion and glamour photography allows me to combine aspects of portraiture with fashion to create out of time and out of place unique glamour moments and portraits.
Those moments that don’t exist in the real world but only in my imagination and in the created photographic world that I define for myself. That variety of views to be captured and seen is one of the most enjoyable parts of the job.
What lesson would you impart to fellow photographers about the art of photography and portraiture?
Photography is an artistic craft. Mastery of any craft including photography is a long-drawn-out process. It does not happen overnight. One must always be open to a constant process of learning and experimenting.
One must gain mastery of fundamental knowledge, skills & technique and of equipment. When mastery is achieved in those fundamentals then one can be at your most creative level in the creation of your artistic vision.
How did you get your nickname of “Glamour Dave”?
When I was only working with my fitness model clients, I also played pool competitively in my local region. And I had been playing for a very long time. And I played well enough to be considered a strong player in my area.
As my photography work got known among players locally one of my league teammates, Phil Sweet began calling me Glamour Dave when we were in league and tournament events.
And the name stuck. And thus, my pool nickname was established. When I got into doing my local television production and show hosting work, I continued to use the nickname to brand my various show productions. That usage worked well, and I decided to continue to use the nickname in this 3rd phase of my photography life and new studio business. It seems to work well for the work that I do and in cementing the branding of my photography work.
What are your goals and plans in your photography?
Right now, my focus is making my new studio operation as successful as possible. For the long term I continue to focus on my path to being a master certified photographer. My dream career achievements are to see my work published in Vogue magazine, and all its various international editions.
And to eventually be selected by Canon as an Explorer of Light photographer. That selection by Canon would be a great hallmark achievement to my career. One always needs to dream and stay focused on those dreams to see the dreams achieved.
What camera and lenes and other gear do you use in your photography to create the photographic art that you create?
To begin with my main camera body is the Canon EOS R mirrorless body. I use it in combination with Sigma Art prime lenses. In the Sigma Art primes I have the 35, 50, 85, and 105mm F1.4 Art primes. And I have the Sigma 135mm F1.8 Art prime. And I do have the Canon 200mm F 2.8 L II USM lens. As all my prime lenses are EF mount lenses, I use the Canon EF to RF adapter for all my portrait work lenses. And I have no problems with using the adapter and using the EF mount lenses. The 135mm and 200mm prime lenses I use for my outdoor portrait work. The others I use in my studio work. In my studio work, I typically shoot at F 5.6 or F 8. All my outdoor shoots I shoot with my lenses set wide open on their apertures. For studiobased headshots I use my Sigma 105mm Art prime lens. All my other studio portrait work I use a mix of the 35, 50 and 85mm Art primes.
Outside of my fashion, glamour, portrait and headshot work, I do have other “hobby” genres in my photography. When I wish to do some local wildlife photography, I resort to my Canon 7D Mark II body with the Sigma Contemporary 150-600mm lens.
I also enjoy shooting digital infrared landscape images. In that regard I have a Canon 40D body, a Canon Rebel T3i, and 2 T5i bodies all converted to different types of infrared conversion. And I have very selected Canon lenses that are all well reputed for working in infrared photography.
I recently acquired a Sinar P2 large format field camera body. I still must acquire a lens for the body. And I have plans to get a digital back to allow me to attach my Canon EOS R body. I plan to use the setup for the occasional studio small product photography shoot. The Sinar P2 body was very expensive when it was first new. And is still highly sought after and not that cheap in the used marketplace. So, I was really happy to have gotten a good deal on obtaining the body. It was never the kind of camera system that was always on my radar to be desired. But once one of them came into my field of opportunity I was not going to let it slip by.
For bags and cases I have a mix of Lowepro, Think Tank and Pelican cases for different uses and application situations.
I use Benro and Manfrotto Tripod legs. I use a Benro tripod with Tether Tools cross bar, Neewer roller dolly, and Tether Tools cables and Aero Table for my tether shooting station when shooting in my studio.
In my studio I use the Sekonic L-858D Light Meter. And I use V flats from V-Flat World.I use Lexar and San Disk memory cards for all my camera bodies.
I think that covers the biggest part of my camera gear
Finally, how can people learn more about you and follow your photography work?
I can be found via my official website and official social media links listed below. I also have an official IMDB page for all my television production and hosting work. My YouTube channel is my showcase for all my television shows that can be viewed there. I am currently working on creating a new 2nd YouTube channel for just new photography video shows that I am planning. So be on the lookout for that.
Official Site: https://www.glamourdave.com/
Instagram: @glamourdave & @glamourdavephotographystudio
Twitter: @glamourdave YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/davidnienow
The Glamour Dave Photography Studio is located at 33 N. Central Avenue, Suite 418 inside the historic Woolworth Building, Medford, Oregon, 97501.
The studio can be reached at 458-262-7118. And David can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org