Pro Photographer Mark S. Johnson

October 29

6 min. to read

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Mark Johnson is a passionate instructor, his website is full of tutorials and inspiration!

Mark Johnson is more than a professional photographer. He's a passionate instructor whose website is overflowing with enlightening tutorials and limitless inspiration! We had the chance to ask Mark a few questions to learn more about his work and what inspires him. Enjoy!

Skylum Team: Your images are very creative! Where does your inspiration come from? 

Mark: Thank you!  Creating images that tell a story, get folks thinking, or convey a sophisticated concept makes my heart sing.  I find inspiration in lots of places.  When I discover inspiring images on the internet, I collect them in a folder for my eyes only titled "Inspiration."  When I'm feeling short on ideas, I turn to this folder first.  Bookstores are a source of infinite possibility.  Just by browsing covers, my wheels start spinning.  I've always had an intense passion for movie posters. Every time I'm near a theater, I make a point of stopping and studying the posters.  Other instructors, such as Julieanne Kost and Corey Barker, provide not only amazing learning resources but also the abundant inspiration with the imaginative images they create.  

During my morning hikes in the foothills around Boulder, I find that nature also presents ideas.  For instance, just this morning, I was spellbound by the vibrant colors and patterns in the fall foliage.  I wondered what would happen if I placed the leaves on a light table as a starting point for creating something..not sure what yet.

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Skylum: You do a lot of composite work. When did you decide that this was the direction you wanted to go in?  

Mark: You're right.  I LOVE compositing.  For years, I've been cultivating practices in my life to help me truly listen to my inner voice.  When I do, it always confirms how important it is for me to create what I'm most passionate about.  Compositing is a topic that gets my pulse racing.  The mere act of dreaming up concepts taps into my playful inner child and makes me happy.  I have an obsession with evocative forms of light, such as light beams, fairy dust, and bokeh.  

When I composite, I do my best to incorporate these magical elements into scenes whenever possible.  In addition to exciting me beyond compare, atmospheric effects, such as dust and smoke, have the ability to add an extra measure of interest to a composite.  What's so incredible is that you can create atmospheric effects using custom brushes made from unexpected sources, such as a cloud.  

Am I rambling?  I could go on forever singing the praises of photo compositing.  I have so much to learn and I relish all of the challenges and learning opportunities that lie ahead.

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Skylum: Do you have a favorite Skylum product and why? 

Mark: I love several of the Skylum products, but Focus 2 Pro is my current favorite.  I use it to control depth of field in my photo composites, transforming scenes that were captured at f/sharp into intriguing shallow-depth-of-field masterpieces.

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About Mark S. Johnson. 

Mark S. Johnson is an Adobe Photoshop luminary, a photographer, an author, and one of the most passionate instructors you will ever encounter.  Through the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, The Radiant Vista, and Boulder Digital Arts, he has lectured in front of and worked side-by-side with countless individuals, including Adobe’s Chief Executive Officers, Jane Goodall, the U.S. Ambassador to Finland, and Academy Award winning director, Louie Psihoyos.  

Mark's tutorials appear regularly on the KelbyOne and Planet Photoshop websites, and his imagery and articles have been featured in Photoshop User, Photo Techniques, Nature’s Best, and After Capture magazines.  He is a contributor to Dewitt Jones' heartwarming Healing Images campaign and a Trey Ratcliff Flatbooks author.  Watch hundreds of Mark's inspiring and entertaining Photoshop tutorials here.

P.S. Mark also created a Preset Pack for our new Marketplace! Read more about that here.

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