Nick Pappas is a photographer and videographer from Finksburg. He first got interested in photography four years ago.
Pappas began as a downhill skater in the sport of skateboarding.
“In downhill skating, like in any hobby, to get noticed, you must be visible on a digital platform such as Instagram, Facebook or You Tube,” Pappas explained. This made him realize that he needed to get hold of a camera. It was necessary to show an image to sponsors that showed professionalism and a unique personal image.
As a result, the challenge was to be consistent with video, photo and all other work. That opened his eyes to what a camera could do.
“Moving into this huge digital age, there is not only an art associated with a camera, there is a need for it,” Pappas said.
Pappas merged the art of photography with the digital world. He started utilizing it as a business and to create his personal image. At first, Pappas took promotional photos of products and events for companies like DB Longboards, Cloud Ride Wheels, arsenal trucks and Action Board Shop.
Then he began to make edits for other people. Pappas is well known in the skateboarding industry. He barely had any promotional material of himself. Most of his fame came from word of mouth or his production of promotional material. "No one around me had the same drive to promote themselves or the people around them as me" Pappas said.
“Every time I look back on production videos of me, there are only two good ones,” he said. It wasn’t often that he had huge works done of him.
Pappas’ mother has had a big influence on him. She was a Baltimore Police officer for most of her life. She had to know people and was an intelligent part of the community. “She has always been savvy with everything. She taught me how to think about things.”
A camera is creator of art. It is also useful business tool.
“It can make both me and you look good. It is a service. The camera went from making myself look good, to making other people look good. This opened my eyes to appreciate the world around me through the camera lens,” Pappas said.
Two years ago, Pappas began to take artistic photos. Most people only have their cell phones to take casual photos. But Pappas takes photos more seriously.
“It’s like golf,” he said. “You play the course not the other golfers. It is a challenge, every location brings a new way to capture, but right way to capture.”
According to Pappas, when you open your eyes, you are constantly taking photos and making a video with your brain. The natural eye sees the equivalent of a 50-mm lens but a person also has peripheral vision. The challenge is to utilize the camera mixed with the lens to match what your sight and feeling. With photography, you're trying to imitate the exact thing you saw and felt. It is one of the hardest parts of photography. The one photo must tell the story.
For example, when he was in the Hoh Rain Forest in Washington State, Pappas wanted to take photo that captured the forest floor and how tall and green the trees were.
“There is nothing that can capture the same elegance the human eye can. My challenge for the day was to get as close as possible,” he said. “I knew I had to shoot portrait to achieve capturing the height of the trees. Everything was so cramped so getting depth perception was hard. I continued walking until I found a little opening among the huge trees. Using my tripod, I got the shot.”
Pappas was recently in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. He stopped in to the Juice House that sells heath juices, Acai bowls and other vegan food. Pappas took a photo of the Acai bowls to post on Instagram. He tagged the Juice House on the photo. The owner went to his profile and saw all the great images and promotional material Pappas has done and asked him to be an ambassador of the business. Pappas now gets free healthy tasting good food to photograph.
When he was working at the Ski Shoppe in Reisterstown, Pappas became friends with the owner. The man is what Pappas calls an extreme businessman, who knew someone in management for Go Pro Skate Boarding. The Go Pro representative liked what Pappas had produced so the sent him Go Pro products to experiment with. Now, Pappas is a Go Pro Ambassador.
Currently, Pappas is working with BMW of Towson to create video promotional and photographic work for them.
This fall, Pappas is attending Sheffield Institute to study videography. He is pushing to broaden his horizon in the promotional industry.