Mike Wade of Rural Life Photography is this week's interviewee and we are so stoked to have him! His photography is raw and real and our favorite thing he captures is his family. You can truly feel how much he loves his wife and children through every photograph he takes. His photographs are nothing short of a love letter to his people.

Mike will be teaching here at Unraveled this OCTOBER. His course, Inside The Life Of A Dadtog, will go live on the 27th of the month! Don't miss out! 

Here is Mike Wade unraveled.....


What inspires your art? Wow, you start out with probably one of the hardest questions to answer?? I draw my inspiration from a multitude of photographers, bloggers, moms and dads but largely my art is inspired by my children. Children don’t hide their emotion, they don’t care about superficial things, and knowing that they will one day look back on all these moments I have captured (and hopefully appreciate them) motivates me to continue to document their lives. I take a different approach to photographing children. With my camera in hand, I will engage and play with them but keep a watchful eye for something interesting, I’ll shoot the moment and continue with our day.

What do you shoot with? Camera body and favorite lens? I shoot primarily with a Canon 5D MkIV and only primes lenses (Sigma ART 50 & 35, Canon 135 F2). The majority of my inside shots are shot with the 35mm and outdoors shots are with the 50 & 135.

What other ways do you express your creativity? First, creativity for me comes in many different forms. I just started blogging and it has given me the ability to use the written word to amplify the stories my photographs are trying to convey. Second, bear with me on this one, I am an Intelligence Systems Engineer for my day job and art of my job is to come up with ways to automate tasks and ultimately reduce human error. Technology is a great outlet for creatives because you are only limited to your imagination.

How do you de-stress at the end of the day? I wish someone would tell me how. I’m am a very high energy person and it is so difficult for me to shutdown at night. However, if I was to choose one element that allows me to sleep better it would be sleeping next to my wife (I do a lot of business travel and spend way to way to many nights sleeping in hotels).

What kind of music do you listen to while editing? I listen to Texas Country (not to be confused with that commercial Country, Nashville junk, lol) just about anytime I have the chance. I love capturing and editing in an emotional state. I have found that my best (at least to me) are those where I have captured a TRUE emotion (Sadness is by far my favorite).


What is your favorite book? Zero to 1 by Peter Thiel. Like I mentioned before, I love technology and enjoy reading about how people have come up with great ways to innovate and change the modern world.

Name one movie that inspires you. Documentaries are my absolute favorite. I don’t limit myself to any particular genre and really enjoy anything about photojournalism. One specific documentary that jumps out to me is “The War in Iraq, Through Photographers Eyes”

How do you handle self-doubt or creative slumps? Both are the worst part of being a creative. The will to create something is often overpowered by a slump. Unfortunately, I find myself in these “slumps” every couple of months and each one passes in its own way. The past couple of slumps only lasted a couple of weeks and I finally think I have found my “formula” for getting rid of them. First, keep shooting! Shoot as often as you can. Second, try shooting something new or something you don’t shoot as often (Street is my default). Third, read a book that inspires you (in my case, Elliot Erwitt’s “Kids”). Lastly, I dedicate a ton of time to “our” community in the form of creating presets, making tutorials, and live video sessions. Helping others ALWAYS helps me.

What has been the most difficult part of your creative journey? Finding a genre that didn’t bore me. I have tried my hand at landscapes, families, seniors, lifestyle, and each time I photographed those genres, I died a little inside. They aren’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE looking at all types of photographs. I’m happy super happy that those genres exist and that talented people shoot them, but it isn’t for me. Family Photojournalism is my jam.

Who is one of your favorite photographers? This is so tough a question. I have favorites spread across absolutely every genre and some that transverse across genres. However, Elliot Erwitt ( I know I mentioned him above) is my all-time favorite. His sense of humor and ability to capture the perfect “juxtaposition” push him over the top, in my book.

Coleen Hodges