5280 Headshots: Brian Schmittgens

Meet Brian!

Brian Schmittgens is the owner and photographer of 5280 Headshots. Brian has been a professional photographer for nearly ten years who specializes in headshots. Brian has a great sense of humor, and a knack for making people comfortable in front of the camera. We asked Brian a couple of questions about his business and what keeps him inspired- thanks for being a part of our community, Brian!

Being an entrepreneur takes courage. What keeps you inspired?

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“Two things keep me inspired.  The first is my love of photography.  I cannot possibly imagine doing anything else with my life, so if I want to keep photography as a career, I have to constantly grow and change.  The second is spite. Many full time photographers get a lot of negativity when they first decide to quit their day job and follow their passion.  I could name at least a dozen people off the top of my head that either didn’t believe in me, didn’t understand why I was quitting a great job to be a photographer, or just flat out thought I would fail.  Proving people like that wrong is a great motivator.”

What is your favorite accomplishment?

“My first international job started out as a disaster.  The admin who booked everything didn’t build in any padding on the trip, so I was supposed to go straight from the airport after an 8 hour flight to the first location.  My flight got changed, Delta lost my luggage (they tend to do that), and the phone I was given for the trip was password protected. I finally showed up to the location 6 hours behind schedule with none of my lighting equipment.  Despite the horrible start, I somehow got us ahead of schedule by the end of day 3 and ended up doing such strong work that the client licensed double the amount of photos in the initial contract.”

What’s been the biggest creative challenge in your career to date and how did you overcome it?

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“Building on my first international job, the main reason I got booked for this job was because of a proof of concept shoot I did for the client.  These images relied heavily on off-camera lighting. I only had two speedlights and no modifiers for the first three days of shooting.  We were in the absolute middle of nowhere in the Netherlands, so I didn’t have the option of buying or renting replacements. I used a bedsheet from the hotel and some white poster board to bounce and diffuse my speedlights the best I could.  While the results weren’t quite as good as if I’d actually had all my gear, the client was thrilled, and in the end, that’s all that matters.”

What’s your life motto?

"The older you get, the more rules they’re gonna try and get you to follow.  You just gotta keep on livin’, man. L-I-V-I-N”


Thanks for sharing your story with us, Brian! Being a creative isn’t easy, and we’re glad you took the leap to pursue your passion of headshot photography! We’re proud to have you as a member of our creative tribe. If you’re looking to get a stellar headshot done, head over to 5280 Headshots to book time with Brian! Also, follow his work on Instagram and Facebook.