John Schumacher’s laid-back style and welcoming smile are completely unassuming, but this surfer maintains over 27,000 Instagram followers and recently created an independent photography business – yeah, same.
One look at his professional portfolio and you would never believe that this junior has been shooting for less than two years. This marketing major and religious studies minor started his photographic journey when he arrived at the College of Charleston. There he discovered the work of artists like Chris Burkard and Jimmy Chin, admiring their success in traveling the world and documenting it for all. As his interest grew, he quit his serving job, emptied out his savings account on his first DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera) and spent the summer learning how to shoot in manual mode. By the end of 2016, he was taking clients ranging from clothing brands to travel companies.
But he has never taken a photo for someone other than himself; he learned how to take quality pictures by photographing what he loved, which for him is without a doubt adventure. His curiosity drew him to wide open landscapes and treks through mountain ranges, and before he knew it he had dedicated followers of his journeys. By including figures in grand landscapes, viewers are able to place themselves in the scene and feel the wonder of standing miles above the horizon.
His photos have led him across the United States and around the globe, including locations like his favorite, Zion National Park. He reflects on shooting for a clothing brand in Utah where the sun bounced off the snow-covered rocks, creating a rare memory and shot. But amongst hundreds of photos, his favorite was taken during a walkabout in the Australian Daintree Rainforest. After a quick bus trip, Schumacher only had enough time to compose a single photo (a challenge given his tendency to snap hundreds). He got back on the bus, anxious to look at his only souvenir from this trip and it was the best he had ever taken.
This minimalist philosophy carries itself over into his gear pack and his editing process. He works with only a Canon 6D, Sigma Art Lenses, and occasionally, a tripod. Believing in quality over quantity, he completes two to three rounds of deleting photos before even considering editing. He then works from presets he has designed on Adobe Lightroom to create consistency across his photos and emphasize his personal brand.
What started as a sudden interest and splurge on a new camera turned into a promising career. John Schumacher, despite his tendency to roll up on a longboard and yell “suhh dudeeee” across campus, is not at all an average college student. Soon after a first meeting, one can predict that his wisdom, fearlessness and good-natured spirit guarantee a life full of philosophical campfire chats, awe-inspiring photographs and a whole lot of fun.
Join the caravan and follow along on John’s journey at schumacherstudios.com and @johnschumacher_ on Instagram.