Conversations with Cody Johnson, Industrial Photographer
We recently completed a shoot with Cody Johnson, a nationally-known, Oklahoma-based industrial photographer. It quickly became clear that Cody’s calm, easy manner belies a whip-smart decisiveness and an eye for essential detail. Once we’d recovered from four grueling days in multiple locations, we asked Cody to share a few of his thoughts about art.
What do you enjoy about your work?
“I love finding the beauty in things people don’t always find beautiful. Growing up on a farm, I’ve always liked learning how stuff works, how people make things. So I get to capture the moments you might not otherwise notice. I have to say, the RoyOMartin shoot was one of my all-time favorites. They were such great people to work with.”
What do you look for in a great image?
“That depends on a lot of things – color, composition – like I said, anything can be beautiful. When I capture someone’s personality, you suddenly see this ordinary person come to life. When it goes well, I get to capture their spirit, and the dignity of their work. I look for that spark that makes you want to see more.”
Any advice you give your clients prior to a shoot?
“Planning is everything. People have to be full prepared with safety equipment, uniforms, all the things that need to be in place so we can keep moving. There has to be a plan. Especially in industrial environments, they need to know we’re coming in with our gear, so whatever we can nail down ahead of time can make all the difference. Where can we park our stuff? Who will be with us? I really try to have all my bases covered before I’m on location.”
How do you justify your fee?
“Well, people are pretty smart. They can spot good work. And for a lot of my clients, making just one good sale can balance out the cost of hiring me. So I give them a lot for their money. I can show how special their people are. I make them look like the best in their field. To be honest, I don’t charge anything close to the real value of something like that.”