Photographer of the Month: Nic Sagodic

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Jul 16, 2018 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Nic Sagodic has been running his own landscaping business for about 5 years now. In his free time, Nic likes to skateboard, hike, hammock, and anything that has to do with the outdoors. Photography has given Nic many opportunities to meet new people, explore our beautiful country, and to make a living, too. 

When you look at Nic's photos, you first see beauty. But then when you look more closely, you see how he is able to capture the essence of place, the mood of the moment, the joy of living. How lucky we are to have his talent in the world. Take a look...

High bluff overlook on M-22, Lake Michigan. Photographer Nic Sagodic
High bluff overlook on M-22

Ludington State Park and its rolling dunes. Photographer Nic Sagodic
Ludington State Park and its rolling dunes

How did you get interested in photography?
This is somewhat of a long story. When I was in the 5th grade, my best friend and I would film little stunt videos and other things that were unimportant...but sparked our interest in the visual arts. These films were basically he and I messing around with a little camcorder, experimenting with our creativity. 

Over the next few years, especially for me, these short films became more of a passion.  I began to experiment even more - trying different camcorders, and finally, at the age of 13, I bought my first DSLR camera from my grandpa. Since the time I can remember, my grandpa has always had a camera with him, loved to travel, and has always loved to capture his surroundings. As I have grown older, my interest in photography has been greatly impacted by my grandpa.

Sometimes South Haven's pier can be very photogenic! Photographer Nic Sagodic
Sometimes South Haven's pier can be very photogenic!

Ludington State Park, Michigan. Photographer Nic Sagodic
Ludington State Park

How long have you been a photographer?
As you've read, I would experiment with different camcorders and such when I was younger, but I wouldn't consider myself a photographer until I was a much older teen. My sophomore year in high school is when my photographic eye really developed, along with my skills to capture the visions I had in my head. When I bought my second DLSR camera (Canon 60d ), it seemed that my opportunities were endless. At this point in time, I was into filmmaking (and still very much am) - mostly nature and travel edits. Whenever my family and I would travel or go on vacation, I would bring all my camera gear and capture the nature around us. The only way I was able to do so was because my father always wanted to drive, never fly. Because of this, I was able to load all of my gear into the back of our mini van and have it readily available for me to use, whenever or wherever I was. 

It wasn't until the summer of my junior year that I started getting into senior portraits. By now, I was very confident with my abilities to use a camera and my creative eye to capture what I though was a "great" image. My friends would ask me to take pictures of them or go on random adventures - with my camera, of course. I would also like to say that social media helped my photography and filmmaking to really kick off, especially Instagram and YouTube. Moreover, as people began to see my abilities with a camera through social media, my following grew. As the summer faded, my bookings for senior pictures skyrocketed. People randomly texted me and ask if I was available to take their senior pictures. Because I was making money with these opportunities, I put filmmaking aside. 

This is an example of some of the “people pictures” that I like to take. Photographer Nic Sagodic
This is an example of some of the “people pictures” that I like to take

Today, my main interest are in portraits, lifestyle, and landscape photography. For film, I like to shoot nature and lifestyle videos.  You can see example of these on my social media accounts. 

What is your favorite place or thing to photograph?
My favorite place to photograph is anything at, or around, the beaches/lakes of Michigan. When I go out and shoot nature, I always like to go to the lakeshore and capture to essence of the easy and free spirt that the Great Lakes provide. For example, I enjoy visiting M-22 scenic highway and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the northwest corner of Michigan's lower peninsula. The high bluffs, the clear turquoise waters, and amazing sights are what draw me to this location.  

For me, it's really hard to just have one "favorite" thing to shoot. I really enjoy shooting people, especially senior portraits, but I also love shooting lifestyle. Lifestyle photography, in my opinion, is anything that captures the actions, emotions, and setting that the subject you're shooting is in. This doesn't have to be people, either. I like to capture a wide array of people, places, and things in my lifestyle photography. 

trolling the shore of Lake Superior. Photographer Nic Sagodic
Strolling the shore of Lake Superior 

Miners Falls, Munising MI. Photographer Nic Sagodic
Miners Falls, Munising MI 

If you ever get the chance to venture along M-22, be sure the hike the Empire Bluffs trail, it won’t disappoint, even if it’s super foggy! Photographer Nic Sagodic
If you ever get the chance to venture along M-22 in northwest Michigan, be sure the hike the Empire Bluffs trail, it won’t disappoint, even if it’s super foggy!

How can photographers be a part of change in the world?
To me, being a photographer/filmmaker can open someone's eyes to the world around them and expose them to things that they maybe have never seen before. When this happens, it will make people more aware of how they are treating our Earth and how their actions can negatively impact it for generations to come. Because I am getting out and exploring, I am able to capture some of the unnoticed things that many of us take for granted. 

Nights under the Milky Way are some of my favorite summer nights! Photographer Nic Sagodic
Nights under the Milky Way are some of my favorite summer nights! 

Taking my drone up has been one thing that I’ve been wanting to do more. This shot was taken in Ludington State Park. Photographer Nic Sagodic
Taking my drone up has been one thing that I’ve been wanting to do more. This shot was taken in Ludington State Park. 

Any photography tips you want to share?
One of my favorite photography tips to tell an upcoming photographer is: don't be afraid of trying new things with your camera - that's why you have it, isn't it?! The more you know about your camera/gear, the better off you'll be. 

Also: practice, practice, practice. Most people think that you'll achieve a "great" image by purchasing the newest and best camera gear out there. I mean, yes, that is true, but still, the only way someone will achieve their "award winning shot" is by practicing. Practicing enables you to develop your creative eye and to learn what you do and don't like about the way you're shooting.

Get out and explore new ground! It's always nice to take pictures of something/someplace that you and your viewers may have never seen before. 

For me, having a camera can open as many opportunities as you want it to - you just have to be patient and work hard for what you have. 

Working for what you have makes you truly appreciate what you're made of and the gear that you have purchased. Even to this day, I work for what I have. Most of my equipment I have worked for through my lawn mowing business. Yes, I have a lawn mowing business. too, but the purpose of this blog isn't about that! 

South Haven, Michigan. Photographer Nic Sagodic
South Haven, Michigan 

Miners Castle is a must go when you’re up and about in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Photographer Nic Sagodic
Miners Castle is a must go when you’re up and about in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 

Yet another simplistic shot in Ludington State Park. I just love capturing simply photos that can tell the story of Michigan’s Great Lakes. Photographer Nic Sagodic
Yet another simplistic shot in Ludington State Park. I just love capturing simply photos that can tell the story of Michigan’s Great Lakes. 

Do you have any trips planned for the future, and if so, what are you looking forward to?
As of right now, I have serval photography/camping trips planned for this summer! Mainly, I will be stay along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, from Pentwater to Empire and Sleeping Bear Dunes. With these trips, I plan on hiking, hammocking, swimming, and capturing the beauty of the state I live in!  

A 5:30 sunrise I’ll never forget! Photographer Nic Sagodic
A 5:30 sunrise I’ll never forget!

This area along the coast of Lake Michigan has recently been one of my favorite places to shoot. The location is Oval Beach in Saugatuck. Photographer Nic Sagodic
This area along the coast of Lake Michigan has recently been one of my favorite places to shoot. The location is Oval Beach in Saugatuck. 

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
As my photography has developed, so has my recognition. I have been getting back into filmmaking and cinematography and have recently been asked to start shooting weddings. To me, this is a huge step in my photography and filmmaking career, because this means that my skills are worth paying for.

So far, my summer has been full of new and exciting opportunities. I was hired by the City of Allegan, a small town in southwest Michigan, to shoot video for upcoming social media projects. I worked for Allegan Event, a ropes course and rock climbing amusement center, taking pictures for their upcoming advertisement fliers. Furthermore, in mid July, I will be taking actions shots for Allegan Youth Baseball during the summer season tournament. 

I took this simplistic shot while traveling around Marquette in the UP. This town is one of my all time favorites. Photographer Nic Sagodic
I took this simplistic shot while traveling around Marquette in the UP. This town is one of my all time favorites. 

Find Nic online: 
Instagram - @nicsagodic 
Facebook - Nic Sagodic Photography 
YouTube - nic sagodic 
VSCO - nicsagodic

All photos courtesy and copyright Nic Sagodic

 

 

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