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Here’s the Wild Idea

Mark’s Wild Idea: To become a professional photographer taking photos of what he loves.

I enjoy interviewing photographers, especially ones who take photos of things I love, like the outdoors, and activities like surfing and snowboarding. Today’s guest, Mark McInnis, is an accomplished photographer who works with a lot of my favorite brands and publications. A lot of his work takes place along the Pacific Northwest, and he loves shooting pictures of freezing cold climates, empty waves and stunning landscapes. 

Mark has a great personality and a positive outlook on life. We talk about how Mark got his start taking photos, how he contacted his favorite photographer to be his mentor (who happens to be a guest of the show), and how he makes a living doing editorial and advertising work around the globe. 

Not only does he have a great personal story (I’m going to let you listen to hear it for yourself), but Mark has great advice for those starting out. He shares how he’s made a living as a photographer, and how you can get started today.

Presented by REI

Listen to this Episode if

  • You love photography or want to be a photographer.
  • You’re close to your family.
  • You love photos of nature, the outdoors, and empty waves.
  • You are trying to not sweat the small stuff.

Key Takeaways

  • 1:40 – How looking for an easy high school class led Mark to photography.
  • 2:55 – When Mark knew he wanted to be a professional photographer.
  • 3:40 – How he got into surfing, and the day he started taking photos of waves.
  • 4:55 – What happened when Mark reached out to photographer Chris Burkard.
  • 7:10 – Mark’s favorite things to shoot aren’t necessarily what he’s known for.
  • 8:45 – Mark’s tips to get your subject comfortable.
  • 9:45 – How Mark got paid for his first photo.
  • 10:50 – The balance of doing advertorial versus editorial photography.
  • 12:05 – Mark’s favorite places to travel to.
  • 13:05 – Why Mark loves cold water and snow.
  • 14:00 – What Mark takes on a cold trip.
  • 14:55 – The influence of Mark’s father and step-father has had on him.
  • 19:15 – Mark’s mom is a badass too.
  • 22:00 – What the reality is of being a photographer.
  • 23:40 – How he deals with being on the computer all the time.
  • 25:05 – What kind of amazing stuff Mark gets to shoot.
  • 26:45 – Mark’s advice for photographer wannabe’s.
  • 28:20 – One time Mark failed and how he learned from it.
  • 30:25 – He’s not crazy about social media.
  • 31:50 – Don’t cry over spilled milk.
  • 32:55 – What his dream party is like.
  • 33:50 – Quit blowing up the spot.

REI Co-Op’s Women’s Coronado campout

Other photography episodes to listen to

Chris Burkard
Ami Vitale
Todd Glaser
Eric Wolfinger

Connect with Mark



Jeremy Koreski
Surf British Columbia magazine
Freezing time with Mark McInnis
Winter Passage: an Oregon Retrospective
Mark’s collaboration with HippyTree
Mark on Monster Children



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