We had the good fortune of connecting with Jon Kohlwey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jon, career-wise, where do you want to be in the end?
I have to say the end goal is to work a job that I love. When you love what you do it doesn’t feel like work.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think what sets me apart is I really enjoy what I do and my attitude is passed on to my clients. I think it makes a big difference when you arrive to a shoot with a big smile and a happy-go-lucky attitude. It helps your clients relax and just be themselves. This in turn creates better photos in the end. Overall I’m a fairly outgoing person so this comes naturally to me.
One of the biggest challenges for me in photography was learning how to edit photos without making them look edited. I like a nice natural look but I make quite a few edits. One thing that helped me overcome this is shooting to edit. I shoot in the field a certain way while thinking ahead on how I’m going to edit the photo later.
I’ve learned every now and then you need to take a break. Starting a business is a lot of work with long hours. But if you don’t step back and enjoy life, you’ll get burned out quickly.
Being a photographer is something that I kind of just randomly stepped into. Once I knew this is what I wanted to do I jumped in headfirst. The first few years were the hardest. Finding clients, getting paid, not getting evicted were a few things I had to deal with. But once I started meeting more people in the industry and building a portfolio it started to get easier.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I grew up in Granby, Colorado so one of the first places I’d take a friend is Rocky Mountain National Park. I love camping and Grand County has some great camping spots. Since I know the area well we could find a place in nature and away from people. Next, I would have to head to Denver for dinner and a show. Tacos and a Red Rocks show that is. That’s an experience everyone needs to have. After that, I think a trip to Garden of the Gods and stay the night in Salida. Salida has a lot to offer for a small mountain town. Then continue the adventure to Great Sand Dunes National Park for the day and stay the night in Pagosa Springs. From Pagosa, we would head to Telluride for the day and stay in Ouray. The Million Dollar Highway is one of my favorites in Colorado for a Sunday drive. After a night in Ouray, it’s onto Glenwood Springs to relax from all the adventures. I think that’s about all we could fit in a week. If there was a little bit of time left, instead of taking I-70 back I would drive through Aspen and take Independence Pass back to Denver.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Being a photographer is hard in the way that I always think my work can be better. I will always be my own worst critic which is a blessing and a curse. The compliments of those closest to me help quite a bit.
Jonathan Kohlwey Photography