Full Name: Michael J. Rüttger
Photography Genre: People/Fashion/Portrait
1. Could you please provide us with a professional introduction about yourself and your photography work?
Michael J. Rüttger, born in Fulda, began his photography training after a one-year internship with the advertising photographer André Druschel.
He then worked as a photographer and digital operator at Druschel-photography. After moving to Hamburg and completing an internship with Jan Kornstaedt (BFF), he became self-employed as a photographer and digital operator. Since 2011, Rüttger has worked for numerous companies, magazines, and agencies. Always on the lookout for new, creative and inspiring image motifs, he likes to experiment to manifest his signature and his style. His main focus is on people photography, which excites him the most. “Extreme contrasts, strong colors, expressive image compositions, or unusual motifs are things that I love.”
2. Can you tell us about how you got started in photography?
I started photography with an internship with the advertising photographer André Druschel.
3. What was your passion driving you during your journey? Who or what prompted you to begin?
My father and older brother encouraged me to start photography. I share this passion with them.
4. Could you walk us through your photoshoot planning process?
For most shoots, the planning process starts with an idea that I want to implement. Then I look at which model and which clothing could go with it. The lighting, background, and accessories are then adjusted in the studio.
5. As a photography expert, what sets your work apart from other photographers?
I think my work can be easily recognized by the interplay of image composition, perspective, and the associated colors and contrasts.
6. Where do you get your ideas for photoshoots?
Most of my ideas arise during daily life. Often while showering. Of course, you can also see lots of great photos on Instagram that can inspire you.
7. Can you tell us about the most memorable moment you’ve had as a photographer and what experience you gained from that?
There have been many exciting moments during my shoots. The time I had to take photos from a small plane with an open floor was an exciting experience. I am very scared of heights.
8. What are the most important components of an extraordinary photograph, in your opinion?
Light and the matching energy between photographer and subject.
9. How do you strike a balance between your artistic expression and your client’s expectations during a shoot?
Most of the time, artistic expression predominates in my work. I always try to exceed my customers’ expectations.
10. How do other artists influence your work? Are there any other photographers you look up to? Who?
Of course, there are many photographers that I think are great. In my bookcase, there are books by Jim Rocket, David LaChapelle, Vincent Peters, Peter Lindbergh, Helmut Newton, and many more.
11. How do you enhance your vision after a session by post-processing your photos? Do you have a best-kept secret for editing processing that you’d like to share?
No, there is no secret to editing. Every photo is unique and must be treated as such. This is my opinion.
12. Can you tell us about the most difficult photographic challenge you’ve ever had, including lighting, unexpected situations, and how you managed the issues on set?
In Ibiza, I was supposed to photograph a group of people in the evening. On the way to the location, we got lost and arrived way too late. It was night and all I could see through my camera was black. I sweat. We looked for a lantern and I had to use a very long exposure time. We only took three photos but the result was great and the customer was happy.
13. What are your top tips for aspiring photographers on skill development and finding their creative voice? How did you develop yours?
I often went to exhibitions and looked at a lot of photo books. But today it is just as important to deal with artificial intelligence.
14. What is your favorite piece of work you’ve ever shot?
My favorite works are only in print and not online. Sorry ;-)
15. Can you tell me about an upcoming project you’re working on and the idea behind it?
This year I would also like to focus on moving images and drone flights. Moving images are more important than ever.
16. Where can we view more of your work and connect with you?