Mike Coopola joined the Getty Image team as an Entertainment Staff Photographer earlier this year. During Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, he served as Gettys house photographer for the American Express Skybox. The Creative Cookie was lucky enough to be granted an interview w/ Mike, after fashion week where we learned about his photography & inspiration. Interview & eyecandy below:
CC: What was the photo (or series) that landed you your "big break"?
MC: A concert of Donnie and Marie Osmond. It wasn't the that the pictures were so in demand, but I happened to shoot the same event as the person who helped me get my big break. I showed him the pictures and he helped me get my big break. His name is Michael Loccisano and is a fellow staff photographer.
CC: Did you face any challenges as a young photographer in an industry with seasoned pros? If so, how did you overcome?
MC: Breaking into a new industry at any age is difficult and especially into an incredibly competitive one like entertainment photography. I overcame by just focusing in on what I was doing and observing what they were doing. You can learn so much by just being quiet and observing.
CC: If you were not a photographer, what would you be doing?
MC: Probably corporate sales. I used to sell office equipment for Canon. I was able to buy my photo equipment from them at a discount and was able to build my portfolio with great gear.
CC: So, far, what's been your favorite show/event/presentation this season during NYFW?
MC: Favorite presentation was Adrienne Vittadini. It was great to see Niki Taylor, Carol Alt, Frederique, Roshumba on a runway. IVANAhelsinki's models all had bee hive hair styles and looked straight out of the 1960's. It was really cool and worth checking out the pictures. Craziest was Michael Kors. Because Michael Douglass, Catherine Zeta Jones, and Emma Roberts were there, the front row was like packing 500 people in a space that fits 100.
CC: What inspires you most?
MC: The hunger to get the best shot and the fear of not getting any shot.
CC: Last but not least, any advice for aspiring fashion/celeb photogs?
MC: Of course you have to work on your portfolio and become proficient at working your camera, but after that it's just getting the message out that you want to become a photographer. If you want to do anything, always talk about it with anyone that will listen (hence the answer to question #1, we were at a mutual friends barbecue). Someone will eventually see that you are passionate about it and want to help. This also leads to networking and people actually knowing that you are an aspiring photographer and maybe taking a chance on you in any capacity either as an intern or an assistant. Also, envision in your mind yourself doing the job you want to do.