Bennett Young is a Wisconsin-based photographer, videographer, and social media marketer in the outdoor niche. He has traveled across the states, documenting his adventures and working with brands. His moody photos will make you want to pack your bags and head to a cute cabin in the woods, or crack open a beer and sit by the fire, which is just our vibe. We had the opportunity to talk with Bennett on how he got started in his career and tips for anyone wanting to get into working with brands.
When did you get into photography?
I got into photography senior year of high school. I got onto a National Geographics photo contest gallery one day and decided to get a camera because I wanted to capture moments like the ones I saw in that gallery.
What was the path that led you to content creation? Did you study social media/media studies/photography in high school or college?
I have a degree in Advertising and media studies from UW Milwaukee and a minor in psychology. I was always at odds with my college classes because I have a stubbornness about learning things without trial and error, and I always felt college classes were just courses on trying to avoid failure rather than actually learning the concept. I believe failure is one of the most important parts of learning. If you fail in college, you just get kicked out.
Do you do this full-time? If so, how did you make the leap to full-time? If not, what do you do that pays the bills but lets you travel often?
I work as a media agency doing content creations and marketing part-time, and freelance photography/influencer marketing the other half. The media agency I work for is only worried about if your clients are happy, and has no fixed schedule or times, which is rad because I can pretty much leave whenever I want for trips.
What was the first brand you worked with? How did you become partners?
I can't remember the specific brand I first started working with, but I worked with a few sunglasses brands. I was really into sunglasses for a while and would constantly reach out to those brands for trades, which turned into paid work.
What gear do you use? Favorite photo gear? Favorite travel/outdoor gear?
I use a Sony A7III with an 85mm 1.4, Tamron 24-75 2.8, and Tamron 17-28 2.8. I definitely love traveling with an Osprey bag through the airport rather than a suitcase. Most of our trips are on the fly so it's nice to have something durable and basic that can hold a lot of stuff and be thrown around.
How often do you travel? Any travel tips?
I was traveling every third month or so out of state, but I'm mostly taking trips around Wisconsin nowadays. I do have Oregon, Colorado, and Tofino scheduled soon though!
Favorite place you've explored?
Oh man, I'd have to say the sea arches in Samuel H. Boardman or Point Reyes. In a more general sense though, Oregon and the California coast around Big Sur are my favorite places in the world. I'm a sucker for the coastline.
Any tips for people wanting to break into the photography/content creation field?
This goes for anything, but I'm a true believer in doing things out of pure passion or curiosity. Create because you love it. You shouldn't force things.
Favorite thing/idea to photograph?
Anything that, looking back on, seems surreal. It's always great seeing things in person, but there are so many photos I look back on and think "wow, I can't believe I was actually there," and that's the best feeling. Oftentimes we don't realize how special a moment was until we look back on it, and for me, those moments live as photos today.
You can connect with Bennett and view his amazing work on Instagram, @bennett_young, and on his website: www.byocreative.com.