WAYNE MORAN Influencer Spotlight
Wayne Moran, the “light writer” is an award-winning fine art and travel photographer building a large influential following in the entire area of travel and travel photography. As a Minnesota-based photographer and artist, Wayne focuses his skills and energies on landscapes, cityscapes, architectural, nature, and portrait photography. Wayne’s images are used commercially by companies and organizations ranging from Financial Services firms and mom and pop Ice Cream shops to The Basilica of St Mary. You can view Wayne’s portfolio at lettherebelightfineart.com.
Can you tell us a little about your background as an artist, how you got started as well as your approach?
So way back in college I had a camera. I was a poor college student so I have no idea how I got the camera. I don’t think I stole it, I know I didn’t buy it, and I don’t remember anyone giving it to me but I was the guy shooting events and people would go “oh my god! that’s so awesome”. And then after college the camera went away, got married, and then I bought my wife a camera about fifteen years ago and then stole it from her within a couple weeks. So that’s the main past. Started shooting locally, just fun stuff, whatever moved me and that tends to be landscape, fine art and landscape, [and] architecture stuff like that.
Your website features many landscapes, cityscapes and architectural wonders. As an influencer, you need to be able to take captivating pictures, but in a different manner. Can you talk about your approach to photographing products?
That would not be my interest photography. I’m more of a travel and foodie so for example a wine brand sent a bottle of cab with me as I went out to the Yosemite. So you shoot an amazing bottle wine in front of the beauty of nature. So you put those two pieces together. Banff was amazing, yeah. So it’s blending whatever those products are with amazing places.
When did you branch out into influencer marketing?
This is a long story. So I’m still actually a software engineer that’s my full time gig. So I do software eight hours a day [and] I do photography and marketing eight hours a day basically. Kinda blended throughout the day sometimes. I work at a small enough company so I can be flexible throughout the day and do whatever I want while doing software stuff. But I was blogging way back in 2004 and then I was using Flickr in the very early days and P500x so I got the feel for social media.
I knew how to move people, I’m technical so I know how to get found by search engines and all of that stuff, so use the right hash tags, [and] interact with people. But I’m also – for a software engineer I’m emotive and I get told that all the time so I’ve very intuitive. I sense people, I sense how they’re responding to stuff so I’m blending those technical skills, those beautiful images with how to move people and that’s how I’m always thinking with all of my stuff. Did people respond to that or not.
And I also noticed on your website for your blog that you have posts ranging from top 5 reasons to go to Rhode Island to how to make a wedding video to ways to become a successful brand ambassador. As these are all varying topics how do choose what you’re going to post and what you’re not going to post?
It’s generally based on real life. So I’m living life is what I’m doing now could that possibly be interesting for a blog post or it’s also if a brand contacts you how do you take that brand and connect it to life. So there was one blog post recently and Instagram work for a video, so the video things that you put in your car, so that wouldn’t normally of been something I’d buy but working with the brand it made me sneak into that world so I guess I am influenced by brands also. But by – my normal average would be traveling, beautiful stuff, [and] showing up in front of gorgeous, beautiful places that would be the main driver. You mentioned the wedding. My daughter got married so I had a point and shoot camera with me all day long that took 4k video so I knew I was just going to capture the event so put that together and do something with it. So it’s always create something creative out of whatever you’re doing in life.
What has been your favorite partnership with a brand?
A weird one – so explore Minnesota is the tourism board for Minnesota, I live in Minnesota, they’ve been a great brand partner so in reality they are a giant marketing firm. They happen to be affiliated with the state, they have a huge budget. So having a huge budget and having a close relationship has been a great thing. So they connect me with local communities throughout the state who pick me up for services or whatever. I was the governor’s official photographer this year for a huge event, it was the Minnesota governor’s fishing opener. It basically kicks off the summer travel season in Minnesota so got to hang out with the governor all day long and catch some amazing stuff.
It’s just one of those fabulous experiences. The real driver is having a big enough account, it doesn’t have to be a huge giant account but a big enough account, people notice what you’re doing. Jordan Vineyards has been a great brand to work with and deal with and maybe part of it [is[small companies are better to work with and for. They are way more flexible, they are way faster, they are more interested so Jordan Winery reached out to me. The Superbowl was in Minneapolis this past year so brands were reaching out to influencers for events happening. And Jordan Winery were having a giant wine kick-off event the weekend before the Superbowl. They invited me to try a food tasting and wine tasting event and allowed me to be an influencer through that. And that’s then what connected the Yosemite influencing and other things. Those small, fun events are what make it cool.
Have you experienced any weird brand requests?
Yes, probably but I ignore them so fast that I don’t remember them. I don’t waste my time on them. So I really enjoy brands who take a real interest and really take some time and energy to see if there is a real connection and Jordan has been one of those. And there’s other really good brands out there. Local restaurant brands are great [and] local wineries.
Where do you see yourself in five years in regards to influencer marketing? Do you have any long-term goals in place?
Yeah I am about five years from retirement. So our youngest is a junior in college right now and happens to be studying in France this semester. We will be traveling to Italy and France to visit him soon here but I expect to be traveling much much more and getting paid for all that so it’ll be that travel influence. Show up at amazing places, be writing blog posts with them and for them, taking amazing pictures of those places, hotels, [and] tourist destinations those kinds of things. That’s the bigger goal.
Andrew is the Head of Client Services for Intellifluence and has a background in communications. He is committed to helping brands get the most out of their campaigns and is the voice behind many of the Intellifluence tutorial videos (for better or worse).