Feb. 12, 2021

Brandon Magnus: Facing Imposter Syndrome

Brandon Magnus: Facing Imposter Syndrome

💯💯💯 "I feel like right now, more than ever, with this pandemic, people are having a hard time feeling like they know where they belong, especially in their role. And in sports photography, with restrictions on events being tighter, there's less credentials being given out and less work for a lot of people." Brandon Magnus

Have you ever felt that you weren't good enough to belong in a perceived class; that maybe you're pulling a fast one on everyone with smoke and mirrors, or even worse, that you shouldn't even try to reach that level in the first place?  Imposter syndrome often seems like it comes with the territory of being a creative professional, and today I get to sit down with a photographer, Brandon Magnus (San Jose Sharks/SAP Center), to dive in on this issue.  What experiences has he dealt with as he's climbed to new levels of his career?  How has he dealt with his own self-doubt to combat these negative narratives?

Brandon Magnus:



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Michael Der  0:02  
Okay, welcome back to Artrepreneurs everybody. Our featured guest today is an award-winning photographer whose work has been featured in ESPN, SI, New York Times Rollingstone, Men's Health, UFC, and many more.  He is currently the team photographer and photo manager of the San Jose Sharks and sap center and today, we're going to go deep diving into mental health and dealing with imposter syndrome. So without further ado, it is my pleasure to welcome Brandon Magnus to the program. You can view his work at Brandon Magnus photography calm. Brandon, thank you for your time, brother, I appreciate you being here.

Brandon Magnus  1:02  
Yeah, of course, man, happy happy to join you.

Michael Der  1:05  
Well, let me just say that I'm really appreciative of the topic that you've chosen today. Because I think imposter syndrome is a really important issue. I think it's relevant, it's pervasive. And most importantly, if it's ignored, or if it's left untreated, it can be tremendously damaging. And you could have easily chosen sports photography, or marketing or something far less vulnerable to speak on than a mental health topic. So I'll ask you the why first, why is this specific conversation so important to talk about,

Brandon Magnus  1:33  
um, you know, I feel like right now, more than ever, with this pandemic, people are having a hard time feeling like they know where they belong, especially in their role. And in sports photography, you know, with restrictions on events being tighter, there's, you know, less credentials being given out and less work for a lot of people. And I think it's difficult, you know, not knowing where your next jobs coming from and with sports, you know, you think sports is gonna be around forever. There's so many different variety of sports out there, but there are guys that cover they're there every week is usually filled with baseball, basketball, football, you know, you name it, I've just had conversations with photographers recently that they went from a time where they just had full crazy schedule nonstop to going months without a job. And, uh, you know, it's definitely been wearing on them, because that's who they are. They're photographers, they love capturing the moment they love sharing those stories. And now they're, they're limited on what they can do in that area.

Michael Der  2:39  
Yeah, it's a challenging year, on a lot of different levels. Not only just like the economics, but the social aspects, the notion for sports photographers, I think you and I have a lot of colleagues and friends that are in that industry, yourself included, it can be really challenging to pick up a lot of gigs because it's like, all those gigs got canceled, or compromised or pushed back or limited. At the very, very least, what does that been like for you? As a sports photographer? Has it been good in a way that it has allowed you free time to do other things? Or is it been kind of you feel like it's really compromised you?

Brandon Magnus  3:10  
Yeah, I mean, I think it's been good and bad, good in terms of, I've had more time than ever to do things that I would constantly complain, I didn't have time to do. And I'm also you know, again, just enjoy the time with my family. And I think it's, it's given me kind of like a bit of a refresh. Like, I feel like I got to press refresh button on, on everything just because there are times where I'm just going nonstop. And that's the pros. The cons is that now it feels like it's been so long since I've gotten the really cover to me events that now I'm just getting antsy, you know, you get you see, like, there are a lot of photographers still working, especially like say, like NFL guys, you know, team photographers still have been out there getting to do their thing, which I'm stoked for them for. But you're, you get that little bit of like, oh, man, I wish I was out there with them captured photos, because, you know, it's what? For a lot of us, it's what we love to do. Yeah, I wouldn't say it's necessarily like my identity. You know, I definitely make it a point to have my own life and have some separation between work and life balance. But

Michael Der  4:15  
yeah, you have so some harmony there.

Brandon Magnus  4:17  
Yeah. But you know, I can't deny it's obviously a part of me. So it's something I miss and do enjoy a big chunk of my life.

Michael Der  4:23  
So you were the team photographer and the photo manager for the San Jose Sharks and the sap center before we start getting into, you know, the mental health aspects. I mean, what talk to me about what your job entails on a weekly or monthly basis, like what's the grind like?

Brandon Magnus  4:39  
Yeah, it changes a bit throughout the year but for the most part when it's hockey season, right before October and September, we have our media day. So that's like our big day of the year just getting portrait small guys that's gonna use for marketing sponsorship. But once we're in season, you know, games vary, but during the week Could be three games during the week going into the arena covering the game gain images and captions sent out in real-time. In between those sometimes there's concerts we got concerts coming through during the hockey season as well. So you know, you could have a hockey game Tuesday night and as soon as that's done buildings breaking everything down and setting up the stage for the next day for the weekend, Justin Bieber any big-name ours that comes through, I try and do my best to balance things as I don't get burnt out. So say if I have a hockey game games at seven o'clock, I'll usually get to the arena around like three o'clock, get set up, get ready, you know, get arrivals make sure my other is all set. Shoot the game usually done around probably like 10 1030 depending on how the game goes if there's overtime. And if I'm home by like 11 you know, get some rest and the following the I'll kind of give myself like the first half a day or the morning just kind of collect myself my life and you know, make sure my wife's all good. Get everything figured out around the house. And then if I have a concert that night, I usually had there probably like an hour or two before the actual event because I'm covering the concert. Or they're really fun, but typically they're a bit easier in terms of like it's not as long of a day simply because most artists only let you shoot the first like three songs of the concert. So you know, usually get their gala camera set. Figure out the setlist, know where you're going to be photo Pitt soundstage wherever. Shoot the three songs. After three songs, I usually head back to my desk, download the card edit, get it up onto our system for our social media and digital people and then pack it all up and head home. What's the kind of long day look like for you? Is

Michael Der  6:49  
it like an 18 hour day?

Brandon Magnus  6:51  
Um, I would say like the longest days are definitely probably like 1415 hours no it sometimes are we get things that happen where it's so outside of actual like game coverage. I'm covering, like, everything that's sharks, sports, entertainments, you know, includes our foundation events, community events. So range of things, you know, there's times where we might have a foundation event where we have players visiting, or doing a hospital visit early in the morning, before game day, or you know, morning skate. And you have to just plan, plan accordingly for those now and pace yourself, you know, make sure you're drinking wine and have snacks so that way, but and then you're not about to pass out.

Michael Der  7:38  
Yeah I mean, it's a long day. And it's a lot of work. I feel like one of the biggest issues that creatives get is that they're not really taught time management, they're not really taught like how to pace themselves. I mean, that's something you have to learn through experience, being in the weeds and kind of going on the fly, and figuring out what kind of works for you because you don't want to burn the candle at both ends.

Brandon Magnus  7:55  
Yeah, I mean, I think it's super easy for people get burnt out. Part of it, too, is like a lot of these guys, I feel like myself included. You know, you want to give the give your best and everything you do you know whether it's a big event or a small event, I wouldn't say I'm a perfectionist by any means. But I definitely know there's a lot of creatives out there that are perfectionist and it can take a toll on them if everything is not exactly the way they want it to be perfectly.

Michael Der  8:25  
Do you I'm curious, do you view yourself as an introvert or an extrovert? Like how do you recharge your batteries?

Brandon Magnus  8:32  
I would say weirdly, I'm a bit of both, I'd say over I guess I had to pick one I'd say probably more of an extrovert, like I definitely enjoy, like talking to people and being around groups people say both because usually if I go into like a new situation where I don't know, necessarily everybody, I'm definitely a little more reserved and kind of feel out the vibe of everything, and everyone around me. And then definitely like, once I feel more comfortable, I opened up a lot more. And I think it's really important to build on the relationships that you have and kind of like your local photo community, especially, you know, I'm sure you know as to like, if you're covering a lot of sporting events in whatever city or town you're in, you're seeing a lot of same photographers again and again and again, a lot of them are in the trenches with you, you know, in the photo holes on the sidelines, so you know, building on those relationships, getting to know your, your fellow photographer, I think goes a long way.

Michael Der  9:30  
How easy was that for you to kind of build those relationships? I mean, you seem like a very approachable person. I mean, I met you, seemingly a lifetime ago. And we really haven't talked much but like you know, I always got the sense that you were just a really approachable person. How easy was it building those relationships with people that you've never met, maybe admired greatly and are now instead of being a fan, you're now a colleague?

Brandon Magnus  9:54  
I'd say fairly easy for me like I have no problem like reaching out and chat chatting with People I feel like a lot of people I feel like I talked to some or I've never actually met in person, some have just seen their work through social media and reach out to them say, Hey, man, it's a great frame, like, you know, keep up the great work building each other up is is a great thing to do. And I've made a lot of great relationships with photographers throughout the years. Just because again, you're, you're in it with them, and you see them all the time. And it doesn't take much to you know, just smile or wave at someone and it can build on from there.

Michael Der  10:32  
I want to kind of get into Well, you know, imposter syndrome. And I want to, you know, the notion of imposter syndrome basically, being that you feel like you're kind of out of your depths, and you don't really quite belong, can you describe a time in your career where you felt like, maybe you didn't belong?

Brandon Magnus  10:48  
Yeah, I'm actually funny enough, I probably would say, like, one of the first big time was probably around when we met when I went to sport shooter Academy. That was actually like my first like, photo workshop. And that was like, very early on in my career, I, you know, I was very green and still like trying to learn, I stated in the basics. My mentor at the time, Donald Miralle, he recommended going to this workshop, and he even paid for me to go there.

Michael Der  11:24  
what a nice guy.

Brandon Magnus  11:28  
Shout out to Don, but yeah, you know, I got there. It was a bit intimidating. I mean, you meet all these other photographers or, you know, in the workshop, as well as the ones teaching it. And you just see this wide range of knowledge that people have and, you know, there's, there's people that are joining the workshop, they're kind of the same, like situations me know, they're new, and they're trying to get their experience. And then there are other people that have been shooting for years, and, you know, already have a strong portfolio and clients. I think that was the first time where I was, you know, mean, a bunch of different photographers and just realizing like, oh, man, like, I'm not even close to the level of some of these guys.

Michael Der  12:10  
It's so funny that you bring that up, because that was my first experience to in anything really photography related in terms of like the aspirations of a professional career. I had never done anything before, I'd kind of shot on my own really terrible stuff. And just getting I remember sitting down next to you, actually. And I remember, I had a new computer, which I didn't understand and didn't work. And I asked you like, hey, do you know this photo mechanic stuff? And you're like, Yeah, man, I got I, I know this. And I was like, so it's funny that you talked about how you felt a little bit insecure and out of place, I felt completely out of place. I was like, I don't know, where you are working with Don Miralle and one of the best sports photographers in the world. So I think it's, it's interesting that it reaches everybody. And I'm sure to some degree, even the people that have had a lot of experience at that workshop, or even the people teaching it, to some degree, probably felt it as well, like, Am I going to be figured out like, Am I going to be kind of pulled aside say, Hey, what's he doing here?

Brandon Magnus  13:13  
Yeah, no, I think imposter syndrome is something that, you know, I think everyone goes through whether everyone's willing to admit it or not. And maybe there, there are some people that haven't experienced it, but I think it is kind of human nature to you know, compare yourself for your work to others. And from there kind of becomes a slippery slope, you know, yeah, especially with social media today, you know, everyone wants to show their best work or their prettiest images. But, you know, a lot of people don't really know what sometimes goes into that one photo, you know, it could be days, months, years, 1000s of bad images until you finally create that one good photo, but everyone just sees that, that one nice photo. So

Michael Der  13:56  
yeah, it's a curated life. 

Brandon Magnus  13:58  
Yeah.  So while we might be putting out or like best images, deep down, we know that there were a lot of our focus shots or miss shots or bad exposures. And I think, because of that, we know in the back of our head that's like, No, we were not perfect. Yes, fine. And but he does the same thing. You see all these other photographers working on like, Oh, my God, like, I we may have been the same event, but somehow they got much better photo. Yeah, but again, that's, you know, that's in your, your own perception of it. Like, you know, you and I might go and shoot the same event. I might leave it feeling like I got some good photos and see your pictures and be like, Oh my god, like, you know, Michael just absolutely killed it. I can't believe I couldn't get photos like him. And on the other end, you could be going home, look at my photos thinking the exact same thing like, oh, man, how'd Brandon get that? You know, it's, I think a lot of is sometimes we're our own harshest critic.

Michael Der  15:00  
Yeah, no, oftentimes it can be in our heads, you know, it's a narrative that we tell ourselves sometimes that it's like, we're not good enough to be at this table. But then there are times when it's not in our heads when we've literally been told by somebody that we shouldn't be there. Or that we haven't earned the right to be in whatever company that we've somehow like sneaked into. So can you recall a time where a person or a group of people went out of their way to kind of question your validity or your belonging?

Brandon Magnus  15:28  
Yeah, I've had a couple of times definitely, like earlier in my career, kind of like where you're just saying, like, you know, I was very fortunate to work with Don, in the very beginning stages of my career. And at the time, like, when I was his assistant, and people asked what, who I was working for, I tell them, like, a lot of them would copy and shock, just because I think I didn't have that strong portfolio or a background that really made sense why I was working with, with dawn, because I mean, Dawn is just, you know, leave zone. But now, people are always kind of surprised, because I think I was just so great. I know, like, a lot of things in terms of lighting in terms of exposure. And you know, framing I was, I was still still very new at the time. 

Michael Der
And you didn't feel like you had earned. Maybe that right? 

Brandon Magnus
Yeah, I didn't I mean, I. And it's funny, because I'll talk to Don about, and there's so many people that I guess would reach out the door and ask to be his assistant, you know, Dawn would tell him like, yeah, like, if their fit was right, he would do it because he's had many systems before and after me, as well. And he's like, there's some people that like think they want to do it. And then once they started, they realize it's not for them, or like the work that needs to be done or put into it, or like, they'll email once and then he wouldn't hear from them again. And for me, when I first emailed them, I think I emailed him like, at least 50 times and called him like another 10 times, seeing if he take me on as assistant. And then finally, he's like, you know what, he moved down to San Diego. I'll teach you everything I know, I'll do my best get your foot in the door and help you out. But there's not going to be a lot of pay, and it's going to be a lot blah, blah, blah, weekends, a lot of late nights and it's gonna be a lot of work. And I was fine with that.

Michael Der  17:22  
Did So did he ghost you like the first 49 times? Did he just flat out reject you? What was that interaction? Like? How did you get from, you know, email one to email 50 and now we're in the door?

Brandon Magnus  17:31  
It was a lot of ghosting. It wasn't like malicious ghosting, it's like, you know, the guy's busy and like, yeah, getting people emailing them all the time asking to work with him and do stuff. I think it was just persistence, that finally it was like, Alright, this kid obviously is like not gonna stop bugging me. So I'll give him a chance and see what he can do. And you know, it worked out I worked under him for like two and a half years actually helped him open like a photo studio together. It was a great experience just because, you know, Don was a great mentor in terms of photography, but he taught me a lot of life lessons as well, very father figure Lee so and helped him those aspects. But I definitely, definitely understood why. Early on, there's people questioning why I was I was working there because like I said, I had like little no portfolio show for it. I you know, definitely didn't have the experience but I would Don would tell me is you know, he saw the potential of someone that was willing to work hard and put everything they could into it. And at that time of my career, I you know, that was my only goal and focus was to become a better photographer and to learn and absorb everything I could.

Michael Der  18:50  
Well you answered my next question, which is you know, what that what was that discussion? Like when you asked him like, what did you Why did you choose me? What did you see in me? When he told you that when he said that, you know, that he saw the potential, the work ethic? Did you take counsel in that? Did you take comfort in that? Or did you always kind of feel like you had to live up to it?

Brandon Magnus  19:11  
I always felt like I kind of had to live up to it. I mean, you know, it's one thing you know, working for the guy but I also felt like I was like, representing him whenever I go, you know, sports shooter like anywhere else. And I would say, you know, dome rallies photo assist, and I always felt like I had that need to like prove myself and my worth and I was gonna work hard and provide provides a double-edged sword isn't it? It is, it is a bit of as like, you know, pride to pride for yourself and your own work. Yeah.

Michael Der  19:45  
Do you still feel that way now like when you look back on the experience now and you look in you revisit those words that he told you do now see it as I feel confident now, because Don gave me this confidence, or do you still feel like you know, you're constantly Trying to earn respect.

Brandon Magnus  20:02  
I'd say I definitely feel that confidence. Now I think I still work, work hard with anything I do. But it's the big difference now is that I'm no longer like Brandon Magnus, Donald Miralle's assistant, and Brandon Magnus, I own photographer. And that's the big like, I think the big the big step forward that I had for me, because that was something Don was always telling me is like, you don't want to be my assistant forever. You want to be your own photographer you want to create your own look and your own way, your own path. And so now I still have that same drive and that same passion, but it's not necessarily. So I'm representing Don? Well, it's so I represent myself, well.

Michael Der  20:45  
Yeah. Well, that I think that's a great mentor, somebody that empowers you and doesn't make you feel like, you know, you have to climb through all this stuff to get to where I am. He really kind of made you feel you were empowered.

Brandon Magnus  20:57  
Yeah. And you know, you know, I think having the mentors, also a great thing I try and give back to anyone that you know, younger photographers that reach out to me and talk to me and ask for like, help I try and try and give back the best I can. I think having a mentor is really, really important. You know, not everyone has them. Not everyone needs them, I guess. But I think I think having someone that can help guide you and, you know, show you the way and help you build off like their experiences and their knowledge makes you a better photographer.

Michael Der  21:31  
What was that experience? Like when all of a sudden people started to view you as a mentor? Did you feel a little odd?

Brandon Magnus  21:38  
Yeah, I mean, I think I definitely felt a little odd. And I think that's kind of where the imposter syndrome also, like kicked back in because now people are like asking you for guidance. You know, I there are times where I'm like, I, there's never gonna be a point where I feel like I know everything. And anything about photography, like I'm, I'm constantly learning new things or trying to, you know, keep up with the trends and see what the next things are. So like when someone reaches out and they're like, Oh, I love your work, you do amazing stuff. And they start asking me questions like, how can I do this? And this, like, I'm more than happy to help answer questions. But there are times where I'm like, shit, I'm still trying to figure it out myself.

Michael Der  22:19  
And I find that interesting, because I think a lot of people from the outside looking in, we view, you know, maybe some of the accomplishments that you've already done in your early career, which has been great. You know, you're widely published, you've got photos on billboards, and magazines, you know, you've won awards shot a lot of great events. And yet, you still occasionally experience imposter syndrome? Do you think that's ever going to go away?

Brandon Magnus  22:45  
I'm not sure. I hope, hopefully, one day, I'll just feel like, you know, I'm the man and I know exactly where I should be. And you know, not that don't think I should be where I'm at, because I know the work that I put into it lost lots of late nights and long days and like missed events with like, friends and family. So you know, there's been a lot of sacrifice. So I feel like I put in my time, and I still do, but again, you know, I think it's it's human nature to just kind of see what other people are doing and then be like, man, like, they're on like, another level or they're there, they still have so much more knowledge than I do. But I think like, a big thing for me is that, like, there's something I see. And I'm just like, man, I don't know how to do that. either try and find a way to learn it or even reach out to my colleagues or those photographers and be like, Hey, man, like, that's an amazing photo like your mind. Like, how did you create that? How'd you like come up with that? I have no problem like, try and just chatting with others and being like, I don't know how you did that. And I think that's really amazing. How do you mind sharing your like information or like, your knowledge on it? Because I'm the same way they like I said, if anyone asked me anything, I've I don't have anything to hide. People ask me about lighting questions all the time. I'm happy to explain to them how I lit a portrait. funniest one is when people ask for settings because I try and tell them settings change for every situation, but I'll still tell them like for that specific photo. These. These are my settings. You know,

Michael Der  24:24  
I'm curious. How do you internalize compliments? Do you take them? Well? Do you kind of brushed them off? When you receive a compliment? How do you receive it?

Brandon Magnus  24:34  
I always spy I for some reason. I always feel like a little awkward, like gain compliments. I'd much prefer giving compliments. But um, yeah, I don't know. I always say thank you.

Michael Der  24:49  
That's all you can do.

Brandon Magnus  24:50  
Yeah, like it's nice to get a compliment. But I don't know. It's hard to say like, What am I supposed to say to those? Yes. Like I know, great job on getting that Cover and half the time I like, Oh, thanks, man, appreciate it. And inside, like, I kind of got lucky with a cover. There's someone who saw my photo and liked it and decided, let's put this on the cover. 

Michael Der
So the only reason why I bring it up is because I think sometimes in some way, it plays into imposter syndrome. I feel like, you know, people that experienced that tend to brush off compliments, and we tend to take to heart all the criticism. And yeah, in many ways, reversing it is some is a practice that some people have to like kind of work at, to say, No, I'm going to take these compliments and I'm going to appreciate them and respect them. And I know that you do but like, not brushed them off as much as we normally do. But I think for high imposter syndrome candidates, if you will, that tends to be the case that they brush off compliments and then they receive the criticism as the truth more often than not.

Brandon Magnus  25:51  
Yeah, I think I think it's hard not to there's also a big difference between gain like constructive criticism from others and then just people being mean you know, mean, you know, it's it's a so weird weird world now you know, there's definitely a specially with social media, people love to just say whatever they want on Twitter, despite how, how it might affect others.

Michael Der  26:17  

Brandon Magnus  26:19  
I'm not sure. One that kind of stuck out to me recently was a, there's this tweet that went out. I want to say it was like Astros baseball game. There was like a Getty photo of like, two Astros players, I think celebrating. And right behind them, there's like a videographer, maybe like a social media person. And he just tweeted how he's just like, Oh, this picture was ruined. Because, you know, this videographer social media person ran to the frame. I think he was just, you know, simply like, tweeting it, putting it out there. Just wait thought about this, this frame. And that tweet, like blew up like all these people started just like ragging on him for it. And just like, it's not, it's not his fault that he was in there. The Getty photographer, like, it's not like, he doesn't get the right access. And oh, like, if you knew anything, you could have just stamped out the social media part. Like it was like, I know, it was pretty toxic. All the responses I saw going through and, you know, it's, uh, I don't know, it was just a weird thing that just see everyone just like, go after each other on on Twitter over, really over just a photo.

Michael Der  27:30  
Let's talk about that for a second. Because actually, you know, what brought this up to me when you started saying this is the Vogue magazine, which I'm not sure if you've seen Kamala Harris's on the cover. And yeah, it's been getting a lot of heat. You know, the talk for Tyler Mitchell, I believe his name is was getting a lot of criticism for how he lit it, you know, the soft-focus, whatever, just the styling of it, which I'm sure he had nothing to do with. But everybody's got the power that they can make a comment. You know, do you feel like this rampant public shaming on social media? You talked about the Astros area? Is it? Is it sharpening the saw? Like is it actually helping that creative get better? Or is it really just counterproductive?

Brandon Magnus  28:08  
I I personally think is pretty counterproductive. Like I said, there's a big difference between public shaming, constructive criticism, especially when like half these people are either have no knowledge of how to do it better or properly, or they're just being there to be negative what or at least to me what feels like, there's so many like different ways to go about it. You know, if you if you see a way of photos lit, like, there's only so much any of us actually know, of like, what went into that whole photoshoot, right? Like you said, like the photographer could have taken his photos and just been done with them pass on the Vogue. And then an editor could have done their magic or a creative director could have told whoever which changes they want to it. Like there's so much like, unknown that. That's right. Everyone's just so quick to jump in and criticize and say, Oh, well,

Michael Der  28:54  
I would have done this, I would have done it better.

Brandon Magnus  28:56  
Yeah, I would have done this or I would have done better. And it's that and now you say that it's funny. I, I I did a photoshoot with some of our players where I use this giant piece of plexiglass. And I shot from below. Yeah, like I feel this perception of the players like looking from below the ice. It was funny, I think was petapixel. Like, did an article on it. And I made the mistake of like reading the article and then seeing that there's like a bunch of comments. All the comments. Yeah. And it's just funny. It's just like everyone's like, out on there like talking about how like, they will have done it better just like oh, like it's an okay picture, but it would have been better if like this, this was added or like, blah, blah, blah. You know, I totally understand like, there are certain things about like, probably any picture I've ever taken where I wish I could go back and maybe tweak a little thing. A couple things, but I wish I could just like how everyone could understand like what goes into it because I'm like, you know, I have like three minutes with each athlete. Try They just make sure all the lighting works. Just get them in there, make sure it's safe for them like million things running through your mind at a time. That's like, yeah, obviously, I'd love to make these little bit of tweaks, but it's not like I had a full 24 hours of no time with this subject to perfect the photo.

Michael Der  30:16  
So let me ask you, what was your initial reaction when you when you read the first negative comment? Or the second or the 12th? You know, like, What's going through your head? Are you feeling low? Are you feeling and these are just idiots with a cell phone? What what's going through your head there?

Brandon Magnus  30:31  
Initially, it's a bit I think that's when the initially is when that imposter syndrome hits hard, because now your work is out there, obviously for the world to see. And everyone and their mother and brother and sisters just comment down giving their two cents. And you're just like, you don't know these people. So you don't know maybe they are really established or successful photographers critiquing your work saying what you could have done better, or they're just people, they're looking at photo that know nothing, and just saying what they feel, you know, I mean, that's a hard thing about photography, too. I think it's so subjective. There could be a photo out there that I love that someone else thinks that is absolute garbage, because I'll have to take with a grain of sand. So initially, I you know, it sucks to read those and you're kind of like, bummed for a second. And then I think, you know, I think I think about like replying to people, they'd be like, well, like, trying to explain my thought process and everything. And then I like, stop, and I'm like, I'm never gonna talk to this person. Like, ever again, I don't know who this person is, like, it's kind of like a waste of energy. And more than anything, like it's photo I'm proud of that I thoroughly enjoy creating and proud to have in my portfolio. So then the day I think that's, that's what really matters the most, and that to remind myself of that, and also remind myself to stay away from comments sections,

Michael Der  31:53  
I think you've made the right choice there. You know, I've, I've seen people do that before, where they try to justify, and they explain, and it just, it never ends up working even as logical as it may be. It just doesn't really seem to work too often, you mentioned that you're not a perfectionist, which is a great thing to be a little bit of both. When is when are you good with good enough?

Brandon Magnus  32:14  
You know, I think is pretty common saying that you probably hear from photographers, but you know, you're only as good as your last photo. So there's definitely times where I feel like I've taken you know, a very strong photo, I'm very proud of it. And then, you know, after you'd have to do that you kind of like think to yourself my goal. What do I do next? Like how am I gonna top that next photo, right? And I think you have to, like, you know, understand that, like, not every single photo you make has to be the most amazing thing ever. There's actually a wildlife photographer, his name's Sergio pinenuts, I believe. He had a great quote, hopefully, I don't botch it. But it was something along the lines of like, you know, being a photographer today is, is difficult because of the internet and social media, there's, you know, full of beautiful images out there, you know, you open your phone, and you just see it, scroll through, and there's amazing images everywhere. And they might be beautiful, but they're often useless, right? to separate yourself from the crowd, you have to either have a specialty or like a niche to tell stories. And sometimes to tell those stories, it's necessary to create images that aren't exactly beautiful, but useful. So besides just covering sharks games, we have a bunch of other internal photos to cover. And some are just like a community event, something pretty simple, but you know, we're, we're getting coverage of our employees, you know, giving back to the community and helping out and while those pictures, to me might not be necessarily the most exciting or like, beautiful pictures I've taken, you know, those pictures, do wonders for our organization and is used internally to help just show what we do inside our community. So becomes sometimes more of a useful thing than a beautiful image. I have to remind myself of that, you know, not everything can just be an award-winning photo. I'm trying to go out and take, right,

Michael Der  34:16  
yeah, sometimes it's just a practice of like moving on, and just keep doing the next thing. Do you feel any sort of imposter syndrome before you hit Publish when you're about to post something? Or let me actually ask you this way? Do you ever feel like you're pressured to publish something that you don't feel like is quite up to par? But you still do it anyway?

Brandon Magnus  34:35  
Yeah, I would say from time to time. I mean, I try and post whatever images I like, yeah. For the most part, you know, my Instagram account isn't the organization's account. So I just post like, whatever photos I like, which may be very different from what like, you know, the Social Media Manager might picture again, you know, social media is like such a beautiful thing and such an awful thing because there's times where I'll post a picture that I'm, like, super proud of and think it's great. And maybe it gets like a couple 100 likes. And then there's other times I'll post a picture that I think so, you know, it's pretty average, but it's like, you know, something that's going along with like, current events, and it like, blows up and yeah, go, you know, gets 1000s of likes and likes, and I think you just need to take it all with a grain of salt not, you know,

Michael Der  35:24  
do you get into those vanity metrics? Do you look at the like numbers and the engagement and use that as a reflection of how good the image is?

Brandon Magnus  35:33  
No, not anymore. I used to I definitely, I definitely used to do a lot more. And then I kind of just realized how much it was, like, frustrating. And like I said, like, it almost didn't make sense sometimes. Or like, you'd figure out which ones would like be very popular based off like, you know, the subject the athlete, or like, again, like what event was like coming up? I don't know, I don't know how Instagram does their algorithm anymore. Yeah. Nobody all over the place. But yeah, but you know, I just I realized I again, like, this is my account, this is just the photos I want to share. So it's like, I look at Instagram now is kind of like a digital photo album. Right? Like, you know, it's just wait for me, like, shared and have pictures. And like, sometimes what I think I really enjoy is like, now, I'm bored. And I'm looking at my Instagram and just scroll back like a couple years and like, see some photos that not that I forgotten about. But like photos I had posted years ago. And it's like, this is literally like a digital scrapbook. Enjoy. And people, it's public, so people can look at whenever they want. So I kind of just try and take it, take it as that, you know, he's just like cool pictures that I thoroughly enjoy and you're sharing with the world. You know, if you like it great, if you don't, is what it is, at the end of the day. I think people also need to understand that too. Probably more than younger photographers, as well, as you know, the likes on Instagram aren't paying the bills. Right? Yeah. It's the job and the work and the things that you might have to shoot aren't as fun. They're, they're paying the bills. So like I think you need not forget that.

Michael Der  37:10  
I want to talk to you about fear of failure a little bit or anxiety. Do you get anxiety, you know, before shoot or even before a meeting or a new job or anything like that when you experienced that if you do at all?

Brandon Magnus  37:21  
Oh yeah. I'd say before big shoots, there's always, always some nerves that play a factor into it. I always try and, sadly prepare for the worst. I feel like no matter what event or photoshoot or I've been on, there's always not always something goes wrong. But like now, a light goes out or a remote camera doesn't work or you know, pocket wizards having issues or your battery dies when after you die, you charge it, you know. So it's like, always preparing for the absolute worst. But, you know, I think there's always a little bit of fear, I know. And one of the biggest fears I had was before I took this job with the sharks, I'd been with the UFC for about four and a half years, I was in a really good like comfortable place just gained to shoot more and more events like everything was good. I just, you know, was tired to live in Vegas was kind of ready for a change. And this opportunity came up in a job offer came. And I just remember like, being like, terrified to take it because I'm like, established myself I feel confident in my work of the UFC. I've been doing it you know, for years now. Definitely, like established as like, one of the like main MMA photographers for the UFC. Am I just about to go leave it all go shoot hockey, and like completely start something new. So it's like that fear of the unknown, right was one of the scarier things for me. But I remember kind of just thinking about like talking to my wife, too. It's like, you know, the fear of the unknown there. But I think the scarier thought would be if I pass on the opportunity, if I save the UFC and I was there 510 years down the road, and I just sat there thinking like, what if that's right, yeah. What if I did take option what could have happened?

Michael Der  39:16  
And so going back to kind of like the specific shoots that you get a little bit anxious for what amplifies that anxiety? Is it the disappointing decline and falling short in that regard? Or is it maybe just falling short of your own expectations? Like what's the bigger driver? there? Is it? Is it you? Is it the client? Is it the expectations from other people walk me through that?

Brandon Magnus  39:38  
I would say probably client Yeah, first and foremost, you know,

Michael Der  39:41  
that's a real thing. I feel that too. Every time.

Brandon Magnus  39:46  
Yeah, I think you know, you want to provide you know, they hire you for a reason they believe in your work, they believe you're gonna elevate their photography or their brand. And so they hire you so you know, you want to get them exactly what they fulfill it everything. So I feel like if you don't deliver on that's disappointing. You feel like a failure, you feel like an imposter because they probably get hired by someone that could have gotten them what they wanted. But you know, I think insane that for anyone that does have a client, and they're getting work to, you know, make sure first and foremost you deliver everything to them that they want on their shot list and their expectations. No, yeah, make sure you get them what they need before you start trying to get all creative and do all the extra stuff. Like, if you can nail everything off their shot list and what they're expecting from you, and can add some extra gravy to it. That's awesome. You know, you can show them what more you can bring to the table. But you know, don't sacrifice being like trying to take more creative shots and create cool things that you think are cool, but maybe doesn't fit the needs of what your client is looking for.

Michael Der  40:57  
Can you recall a time that you felt like you really failed on that level? Like that you just underwhelmed or did not satisfy the client or their needs? Or you just fell short of the expectations?

Brandon Magnus  41:10  
Yeah, I mean, I obviously I specialize in like sports and portrait photography. For the most part, I did do a shoot once where it was for a product company. And I had to do a lot more like product photography, which I definitely not as well versed in. And it was very stressful. I mean, I think I'm sure some people could tell you that products are ecommerce photography's easier than anything else. But I think it can be very frustrating because you're just tweaking things constantly, like slightly moving the object and like playing with the line and you have awkward shadows, is one of the more stressful things I did. And then I think I you know, I gave the client all their files, and they told me they're happy with everything they got, but I just I don't know, personally, I felt like I just like, I looked at the images, and I just felt like, blah, stand out granted, you know, maybe, maybe that's just how I feel because I'm used to like, sports action and dramatic lighting and all that. And this was a pretty basic, like, you know, kind of flat? Yeah. Like not my typical style, typical bread and butter. So,

Michael Der  42:21  
so do you feel like the, you know, what's interesting to me is that sometimes your experience of failure may not be experienced by other people. Like they actually may have been very sincere in saying, we really enjoy these pictures, you experience it as very much like, I hope nobody finds out that I took these photos, you find that the actual failing at something like an experience like that is more paralyzing to you than the fear of failure, or is it reversed?

Brandon Magnus  42:51  
I'd say probably a fear of failure. Yeah. You know, I think that that can definitely just get in your head way more and stuff. You know, I wish I could say I've just like, you know, go into every shoot and everything is confident and gonna nail it. And sometimes I do have those feelings. But for the most part boys have feel like I this little person in the back of my head just saying like, like, what if there's probably someone better? Or there's no, don't don't fuck this up?

Michael Der  43:19  
I'm what kind of level of comfort do you feel when you're around? Like high achievers, like highly successful people? I mean, obviously, we talked about Donald Miralle, who, you know, to your benefit ended up becoming a friend and a mentor. So that maybe broke the ice a little bit. But when you're following around these Uber successful people for a day, you know, the Conor McGregor's of the world, you know, the people that you're kind of rubbing shoulders with for a little bit for an extended period of time. Do you feel your insecurity might be heightened? Or is it something that kind of empowers you? Or is it a little bit of both?

Brandon Magnus  43:52  
I would say that I feel pretty comfortable. Yeah, around them, mostly because like, a big thing that you have to remember is that like, end of the day, like, while they might be like these big time athletes, or like famous people, like they are still just pretty normal people. Yeah, to a certain degree in level. And it's two things. Usually when I go on, I try and do my best to be kind of like a fly on the wall. And when I'm capturing photos, you know, not necessarily like interacting too much again in the way like highlight them just do their thing. And other times it's inevitable, you know, like, I'm in the locker room with a lot of these guys on a regular basis. And so conversations natural and that comes up one of our players at the sharks, Brent burns. He's a big personality. Great guy. He will you always ask me quite he's into photography. So you know, see me take a picture and he's like, Okay, see, I picture and he'd look at me He's like, asked me a couple questions. And again, you realize that even though these guys are larger than life personalities and big, big name stars, like they are normal people that are interested in the same things as you And I yeah. And so I'd say for the most part, I'm pretty comfortable, I try and stay out of the way, make sure I'm getting my job done. And that that gets done first, you know, obviously, if conversation comes up and comes up, talk to people be be pretty normal about it. At the end of the day, like, as much as I have my feelings of imposter syndrome at times, you know, I am still very comfortable and like my skill set and knowing what I'm able to do. And that definitely gives me the confidence to, to do what I need to do.

Michael Der  45:37  
I always get somewhat self-conscious sometimes about matching personalities, with whoever I'm photographing, like, I feel like I need to be the leader in the sense of bringing a certain energy. And, and the reason why I brought up that question before is like, imagine if you're photographing, I don't know Kevin Hart, or something where me as in Michael Der doesn't have the personality to match Kevin Hart like, you can't even try that's like a losing battle. But it always kind of heightens that sense of like, Okay, this is these are very different personality traits here, because I've been on a lot of celebrity shoots, not really photographing them myself, but assisting a lot. And there are times when they really do make you feel like you're just a regular person, and there are superstars and have entourages. It's very interesting to be in that space. Yeah,

Brandon Magnus  46:27  
I mean, I definitely been those same situations to there are guys that are not just you know, down to earth, there are guys were like, I think there's once we I was assisting, there was a shoe for like Tiger Woods. And we had like three different setups that were, like ready to go with all these different looks and ideas of plans of how we're gonna shoot them. And then he finally shows up, and he's like, Alright, boys, I got like, five minutes, because I have a tee time in 15 minutes. So we you only get five minutes. Yeah. And so not that everything goes out the window. But then, you know, it goes back to like, Alright, well, we had all these plans of all these cool things you wanted to do, but we only have five minutes, let's just get what we need for the client.

Michael Der  47:10  
Is that enough time for you? Five minutes?

Brandon Magnus  47:14  
I mean, realistically, no. But if that's what you have, you have to make do with what, what, what you can write and um, you know, I think you know, definitely like, having that confidence and knowing what you want from them and also being able to direct them properly. Especially like your shooting athletes, you know, they're not actors, they're not models. They don't know exactly what to do in front of the camera, sometimes. There's some things are great in front of the camera and can work in there's some they're extremely awkward. So try and put them at ease and make them feel comfortable on camera, otherwise, no awkwardness is going to show through in the photo.

Michael Der  47:51  
Yeah, I guess that's where the preparation comes in. Right? That's that does the preparation give you confidence, just knowing that you've done the work pre hand so that when you get there and they say, okay, instead of 30 minutes, you get five? You feel like okay, well, we prepared for this scenario.

Brandon Magnus  48:05  
Oh, 100%. Again, I think I, at least for me, like I tried to over prepare and think of everything that could go wrong. And just be prepared for that. But also knowing like, very thoroughly, like, what positioning and looks I really want and which are the which ones I need to get off. First, yeah, they're a priority. If I have that, in my mind, it's a lot easier for me to get out on photo. And, you know, some of the some, I think some of my favorite photos are the ones that are unplanned, that are just a little more natural, when once they do come in and studio, you know, and you can play around with that a little bit once you feel things out. But if you don't know what things are gonna be like, and you just need to plan ahead, I think it's best to you know, have a solid idea of the looks and positioning you want. So you can direct your subject that way and get what you need.

Michael Der  48:59  
Right? You've been doing this for a handful of years now. And how has your experience your even your life experience? Just your the sheer fact that you're older now than when you started? How has that played a role in your confidence in your sense of self esteem when it comes to your work? Has it improved? Or is it just heightened your sense of insecurity and your feeling of imposter syndrome? For me, at

Brandon Magnus  49:25  
least it's it's funny, I feel like I'm in this like awkward middle ground. Because I definitely have built confidence over the years. And that's more so just because, you know, you've put in those hours. So there's like a level of comfort, comfort that comes along with that just you know, going through certain situations, but I think I'm in the awkward area because I feel like there's still this older generation above me and this younger generation below me that like clash heads still like you have the older generation of like Deezer how things used to be so much better like the photo industry's going down. And then you have this younger generation that I think is really passionate and really creative in whole new ways that a lot of us haven't thought about. But they're struggling to like break into the industry, because is a very competitive industry is very tough. There's the older generation, they're pretty set in their ways. And this is how things are done. And there's the younger guys are just pushing, pushing the envelope, right. And for me, I feel like I'm right in the middle, because I feel like I have, like, you know, my mentor, and I know a lot of people from the older generation, I see where they're coming from. But then I also see like the, the younger generation of photographers, that they're coming up, and I think a lot of them make D do have a amazing talent and create la amazing work. And I sit there and I'm just like, holy shit, this kid's like, you know, 10 years younger than me, and he's just putting out such amazing work. And you step it up.

Michael Der  51:00  
Well you know, the counter to that is that I believe that being kind of in that awkward area is actually potentially a good thing. Because you're that bridge, you could be the olive branch to either generation, you're more accessible than somebody that's wanting because like, the the the 50-year-old photographer is not going to talk to the 20-year-old photographer, they're gonna talk to you. And the 20-year-old photographer is not going to find the 50-year-old photographer relatable, so they'll talk to you. So I think in some ways you're accessible. But I do understand exactly what you're feeling. You know, but you've gotten some season under your belt, you've gotten some accomplishments and accolades. You know, your work has improved year and year after. So I think there's like, there's another way to see it, too, that you know, you're right in that sweet spot. You know, it's awkward, but it's sweet.

Brandon Magnus  51:45  
Yeah, very true. But see, like, that's a perfect example of like, how I get my own way, and you can see it in a definitely more positive way. 

Michael Der  51:56  
That's because it's not it's not my life, it'syour life. So I can see it from an objective standpoint. If I'm talking about myself, I'll see it in a little bit different light as well. 

Brandon Magnus  52:02  
Yeah, I agree. Yeah, yeah. But I mean, you're totally right. I mean, I know, a perfect example of no CAD, talking to both ends is, you know, I, we have guys I've covered sharks games for, say, like newspapers for before I was even there, I'll talk to them and you know, talk about the glory days or their frustrations and things are happening now. And then I'll talk to the younger photographers that so we have this thing, I think it's called like the LCC. Things like live content creators, I think they happen to like most leagues, it is mostly full of younger photographers, I think they, the league pays like a couple $100 per game. And they pretty much get like the same access as if not better access. And most people like field access on ice, everything. And I see where like they're coming from, like, you know, older generation isn't happy that they're taking these jobs and gain better access, again, paid very poorly. But when the younger generation now they're trying to build their portfolio, they're trying to expand their careers, and maybe it's not the money that they would like or what they, you know, could live off of, but for right now in their career, they'll get the job done. Yeah.

Michael Der  53:23  
Do you feel like this generation, like the younger generation, the gen Z's are more vulnerable to disorders like imposter syndrome? Or does it reach everybody? 

Brandon Magnus  53:35  
it reaches everybody. But each generation is pretty different. I think the younger generation is probably a bit more open and accepting than the older generation isn't, but I personally feel like I've met more people in the older generation that I noticed, because they've been industry forever. They're just getting older and crankier. But no, there's a lot more closed off or, and, you know, again, it's bringing it all back. Like it is a very, very competitive industry. Like it's funny because like, you would think that this folk community is so large, but it's also I'd say pretty, at least sports. Photography community is pretty, pretty small and tight knit, like most people know each other or have know of each other. And it's easy to get bad rap if you're an asshole or you've been rude to people or you know, if you have reputation, like, it sticks with you. But what do you think are some of the, you know, there's

Michael Der  54:34  
a lot of cons to the competition level, you know, and then it can drive people to their worst version of themselves. They can be very bitter and entrenched in their ideologies, and they can really become a straight up asshole. But you know, there are some pros to it and what are some of the pros that you think of being in a competition that has really driven you to the brink of the max that you can handle?

Brandon Magnus  54:56  
Yeah, I mean, I think competition can be pretty healthy, I think it pushes you in ways that maybe you wouldn't have pushes you in places you probably wouldn't have gotten to on your own. I know for me, like when I was a UFC, there's technically like three things like mean, the head photographer, Josh hedges and another photographer, Jeff Atari, you know, I always felt there's like a little competition there. Maybe they didn't feel it, but I always put it out myself to just like, I always want to, like, leave the event at the end of the night having the best picture, right? More times than not, I wouldn't. But, you know, I always had that drive like that push behind every photo, I took, like, try and think of the most creative with snap these pictures or capture their, like, peak action shot. No, or no, I always had that little bit of competition. And we always kind of like talk about photos and go over them at the end of the night. And I you know, I would think I have like a really good shot. And I'd see Jeff's, I'm like, God, nailed it. Like, and then you know, it'd be fine. I just tell myself all right, we got another event next week. I'm gonna nail it next week. So and I think it really, really did push me to, to find the best in myself. And in those moments, I'm curious. Who is the overall judge in this? Like, I

Michael Der  56:22  
mean, is it is it you? Is there some sort of external validation set from let's say, the employer saying, oh, Jeff, was the better shot, you know, we're gonna run this one. Like, who is the ultimate judge here for you to determine? He got the best of me or I got the best of him? Is it you? Is it somebody else? owes fully? Okay.

Brandon Magnus  56:39  
Yeah. Like I said, For all I know, Jeff, Jeff, or Josh could probably not give a shit. And like, and they're just doing their job. And yeah, I mean, I think it was like for, for me, it was always just like, what I determined again, like I said, photography is so subjective, like, I might think it was a great photo, and someone else might not. But I think also like I said, like before, I also used to seek validation for those likes, and they, you know, you see what social what, what photo, the social media manager would post on like the main UFC account at the end of the night. And that photo would get, you know, like 500,000 likes or a million likes. And you know, if the social media team picture your picture, at the end of the night, you'd feel pretty, pretty good about yourself. You know, you

Michael Der  57:19  
mentioned earlier about, you know, we both went to Sports Academy, which is a photography workshop, you also went to Eddie Adams, which is one of the best workshops in the country. What was the vibe there? What was the energy? Like? Was it competitive to a fault? Or was it the wonderful type of competitive where you feel like you're supported and encouraged and celebrated? Even though everyone is trying to pick up? You know, the best shot of the day? Yeah,

Brandon Magnus  57:44  
um, you know, it's funny, I, I always look back on like, sports shooter and Eddie Adams. And I can tell you, I don't think I left either of those places with like a decent phone. But the thing that I always like loved about and I think was the most beneficial thing that I gained from it is the networking and the people I met through these workshops with Eddie Adams, it was interesting, I think they tried to change up my year and PE wants to go like Korea photo story, but not really focused on sports. And, you know, that wasn't really like my forte, I like only really new sports. So I like failed miserably. And then my subject demons show up for one of the days of shooting so I didn't have anything to shoot. So just kind of like a very confusing experience. But no overall like everyone in my group that was like around my age and kind of in the same place I that I was at and my career is written. It's been really great to see because I still talk to a lot of those people. And they've gone on to do great things like off top my head in my in my group was like Meg Williams. She's a photographer for the 40. Niners. Steph chambers. She awesome. Amazing. She Yeah, she's amazing. She was in Pittsburgh. I think she was freelancing right before she got a job with a newspaper in Pittsburgh. And now she's one of the Getty sports team people. There's another guy David Welker. He works for like photoshelter leavers now, but you know, at the time, we were all kind of like on this, this path where we're still fairly new, but not fairly new. But like we were still pretty young and still, like, try and get better and better. I think Megan was an intern. Maybe for the chiefs of time, I just started at the UFC as a photo assistant. So it was kind of cool just to meet all those people and see how everyone's grown and where they are now. And everyone on my team, I thought it was great. I really enjoyed being around them. We're all just kind of fascinated that we were at Eddie Adams and meeting all these amazing photographers, I think it wasn't it was an experience. I would say maybe I have to have impostor syndrome being at the AMS too because you know that We only accept like 100 people a year, I felt very fortunate I was picked, I always kind of had that thought in my mind like, did I get picked? Simply because I had the name doll Murali attached to me? Or was it because of like, my body of work that I submitted was actually good enough. And it's funny because I had, like, at one point, I'd like aldelo Look at my portfolio. And, you know, he's like, this is great. And he, you know, gave tips on like, what should look for, and I had another photographer. I won't say his name, but he had another photographer who like looked over my portfolio and just trashed It was like, This Tiger Woods, feeling all this? Everyone has this picture in their portfolio, like, what's special about? Me? And then you just like, oh, man, my portfolio status?

Michael Der  1:00:49  
Do you take that stuff personally? Or is it is it now just you've gotten critiqued so many times that it's no longer really an issue? Yeah, I

Brandon Magnus  1:00:57  
don't think it's as much of an issue anymore. I mean, definitely, when I was younger, and trying to like figure myself out, it definitely took a lot harder. I mean, I just had someone, Rob Carr, and Getty just kind of look over my website and give me you know, his two cents. And you know, he, he gave me a gift, he gave me his thoughts and his critique and on certain things, and we laughed, because I feel like everyone probably goes through this too, or you have like a photo on your website, or your portfolio that like, you're super attached to that. Maybe it's not necessarily the greatest photo, but like, you just have such a connection with it, because of what you went through to get that photo or like, no, it was like, your favorite photo you took like, eight years ago. It's like, yeah, there's gotta be a time where you just got gotta move on from it, and do it, and change it up, or just add new photo or build off that. So it's like, now it's like, you know, I still have other people kind of look at my work and kind of give me their thoughts. Because again, you know, it's all subjective. Like I've, I've had another colleague of mine, look over my work and say something completely different than what other photographer said about a section, like a section of my photos. So it's like, the end of the day to make yours, it's your portfolio, your photos, you need to have a level of level of confidence and what you think is, represents you the best, right?

Michael Der  1:02:25  
We're wrapping up here. So I'm just going to get you last few questions. Overall, I find that there's a key word in inhibiting self belief, you know, and that word is enough. I'm not good enough. What do you think enough looks like to you,

Brandon Magnus  1:02:43  
I don't know. I don't know if I'll ever feel like I'm good enough. But I also feel like, if there's ever a point where I say I am good enough. I feel like I might have like, failed right then and there. Like, like I said, like, I'm never going to be a point where I like, know anything, or know every single aspect of photography, like, there's always gonna be new trends, new technology, things changing. And, you know, I try and stay on top of that, on top of it, but I'm gonna need to keep working hard if I want to stay at the top of my game. So I don't think I'll ever be good enough. But I hope I never get to a point where I think that way, because if I do, there's going to be someone who probably thinks you're not good enough work, continue to work harder, and then blow past me.

Michael Der  1:03:35  
What's the best piece of advice or maybe just the best lesson that you've learned in your career?

Brandon Magnus  1:03:41  
I think honestly, being well rounded, and not just in terms of like photography, but like everything else that surrounds it, I think gain and take the actual photos is maybe like, I don't know, 15 20% of the job. That's the fun part of the job. But I think being good and efficient and everything else that goes with it, no editing organization, having the right medic keywords, budgeting, planning ahead. All that is what's really going to help you be successful and separate yourself from the pack. If you're just planning on shooting and taking pretty pictures and nothing else, I think that can be pretty limiting. And you'll kind of hit like a ceiling. You know, I think it's beneficial just to have all of those other things go along with with your photography, because I think having yes anyone in industry, like the best part of the job is take and take the photos, everything. Everything else around is not as fun but it's like a necessary evil.

Michael Der  1:04:39  
Exactly. What's the one piece of advice that you that you wish you got? But never did instead you had to kind of learn on your own like what would you tell your 18 year old self? what you know now,

Brandon Magnus  1:04:51  
don't be afraid to buy used gear. me like it.

Michael Der  1:04:55  
I like that. Yeah.

Brandon Magnus  1:04:57  
I mean, yeah, I Finally, I think you get caught up with equipment just feel I get that like the newest and the best but I've learned over time that if you have like really, if you invest in like really good, like solid glass like your lenses, those will last you a long time. The actual camera bodies you can find some used ones for decently cheaper the game brand new and I feel like no cameras are like cars and segni take it off a lot. They 30% value is gone. Yeah, yeah. Because I feel like you know, Nikon says, Hey, we just created the new D six, you go out and buy it. And then like six months later, they have a D six s or D seven. Now it's like everything's already obsolete by the time you get it. I try and tell people like don't stress about gain like the newest, latest and greatest like, you can you can find someone online that usually we'll sell it for cheaper and it's usually pretty much pristine. That's one day until my younger selves. I think I like

Michael Der  1:06:00  
I like first started advice right there.

Brandon Magnus  1:06:02  
Yeah, I was gonna say when I first started, like when I was working with Don, like I might say, I wasn't making much money. So I I was doing photography with him during the day and then like bartending at night to make extra money to build my build my gear collection. And yeah, I feel like a lot of people stress about that, because camera gear is not cheap. No,

Michael Der  1:06:24  
No, it isn't. And And lastly, what would you tell the audience? What would you tell that photographer that is paralysed by imposter syndrome? That feels inadequate or doesn't feel like they have a seat at the table? What would you tell them to kind of keep steadfast and keep going like, what's your lasting piece of advice,

Brandon Magnus  1:06:43  
take a deep breath. Believe in yourself, it's at the end of the day, it really is just taking a photo, it shouldn't be causing you so much stress and anxiety in your life, it should be something that brings you joy and happiness. That's easier, always easier said than done. But don't forget why you got into photography, because you would thoroughly enjoy and it's your passion. If it starts to become something that's burning you out and draining you then no longer something that you're probably passionate about it to like. Reach out to others like your, your colleagues, mentors. Oh, you can always seek advice. I always tell people if they ever, like want to text me or call me or email me and chat or pick my brain. I'm always open. I'll do my best to respond to people. It's a lot easier through email or text. But if you send me a DM on Instagram, hopefully I'll see it and respond. Well,

Michael Der  1:07:40  
that's a great service to your community. Brandon, this was a real treat, man. You're an easy guy to talk to. And, you know, there are just so many topics we could have talked about today. We could have just talked about how great you are as a photographer and all the stuff that you've done. But you chose a rather vulnerable topic to speak on. And I think that says a lot about you. And I really appreciate the time. So thank you, brother.

Brandon Magnus  1:08:02  
Yeah, of course, man. Appreciate you reaching out and hope you have a great new year. And I hope we get to connect soon and have some beers.

Michael Der  1:08:07  
Absolutely. All right. So that's going to conclude our show today. Be sure to follow Brandon on Instagram at Brandon Magnus underscore photo. If you got anything out of this conversation today, please reach out to Brandon on social let him know that you appreciated his words today. And lastly, folks, if you've enjoyed this content as a whole, if you're enjoying what we're doing here at Artrepreneurs, I'd be honored if you could review the podcast on your preferred listening platform. Whether it's Apple, Spotify or Google, let the world know you found your newest favorite podcast. that's gonna do it for me. Thank you, Brandon. Thank you all for listening. I'm Michael Der and I'll catch you next week.




Brandon Magnus is an award-winning photographer who spent the first part of his life growing up in Hawaii and Orange County. After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he moved down to North County San Diego to pursue his photography career and worked under sports photographer Donald Miralle.

In 2014, Magnus was selected as one of the 100 students and young photographers in the world to attend the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop XXVII in Jeffersonville, New York. That year, he also became a full time staff photographer for the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).

Magnus' work has been featured in many recognized publications, including ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The Players Tribune, Hockey News, New York Times, Rollingstone, Time, Men's Health, USA Today, Vice, and many others. Magnus mainly photographs action sports ranging from UFC, NHL, NBA, NFL, WWE, PGA, and other extreme sports as well as portraits and commercial shoots.

On his free time he enjoys surfing, traveling, attending concerts, and of course being able to spend time with his friends and family.

Magnus currently lives in San Jose with his wife Gabby and daughter Scottie and works full time as the Photography Manager/Team Photographer for the San Jose Sharks and SAP Center.

Pictures of the Year International (POYI): First Place Sports Picture Story
International Photography Awards: Third Place Winter Sports
Photo District News (PDN): First Place Sports Action
Photo District News (PDN): First Place Artist Portrait
Photo District News (PDN): First Place Sports: In the Water

Players Tribune
Plexiglass Portraits
Real Time Photo Delivery with Libris