On October 30, 2015, MagMod turned two. It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since MagMod was launched on Kickstarter. What started out as a neat idea quickly turned into a worldwide phenomenon in the photography industry, and it’s all thanks to YOU—our Kickstarter backers, customers, dealers, retailers, and friends. We wouldn’t be here without you!!!
Here’s a fun GIF to celebrate how it all started. Give yourselves a high five and enjoy a slice of cake while you read it.
While you’re nomming on some honorary MagMod cake, we thought it would be great so share what happened two years ago before MagMod came to be, so we asked our founder Spencer about some the sweet back story.
Congrats on MagMod’s second birthday! As you reflect back on two years in business, what’s surprised you most about your journey to this point?
What has surprised me most about MagMod’s first 2 years in business was the level of enthusiasm people have for the brand. I knew I was on to a good product when I made it, but it’s incredible to see and hear how much people actually LOVE using the product. When I hear that photographers are able to improve their skills and experiment with light more quickly because MagMod is so easy to use, that’s always inspiring. This came as a pretty cool surprise as well.
Speaking of inspiring stories, it must feel pretty good to read emails and comments from raving fans every day.
It feels pretty awesome to know that we were a part of the creation process in a small, but significant way. Every time we hear it, it’s pretty surreal really.
Let’s talk about your path to MagMod. What was your day job before you founded the company?
Before MagMod I did photography full time from 2007-2013. I had shot weddings and portraits as a side business from 2005-2007, but I quit my full time job and jumped in head first and never looked back. The idea for MagMod came after having shot a long and grueling wedding in April 2013. An idea popped in my mind of “why can’t I just get a gel and it sticks to my speedlite flash like a magnet?” That spawned the idea. So I started hashing out some sketches for fun, and after a day or two I realized I might have been on to something. Six months later the design was hashed out, and it launched like a rocket on Kickstarter. The rest is history I guess.
So what’s next for MagMod? What’s your vision for the future of magnetic, modular flash modifiers?
Two years ago I had lots of ideas in my head on cool products to make—products that actually solve a problem and serve a distinct purpose. Now that we’ve grown to where we are, the vision of making more than just lighting modifiers is absolutely there, but knowing that we have the excitement and support from loyal fans means more than anything to us. MagMod is working on some pretty incredible things right now, all of which will serve as stepping stones that will propel us to MUCH bigger ideas.
The average consumer probably doesn’t realize that there’s a pretty intense trial-and-error process that goes into creating new products. When you’re dreaming up ideas for new MagMod products, what keeps you motivated?
Most of our ideas are fairly natural. We have some cool ideas on how to improve specific types of light shaping tools, and we just go about solving the problems we’ve seen in other products. Some features are ideas I’ve had for multiple years. Some ideas come from sitting down and just fixing what annoys us. And some ideas are just spontaneous. I like to think that I’m definitely not smarter than anyone I know, but I might be stubborn—stubborn enough to not take ‘no’ as an answer from a designer, manufacturer, supplier, etc. When I’m on to an idea that seems impossible, I can’t get it out of my head, and I’ll just keep trying until I get it right.
What’s your number one piece of advice for photographers who want to improve their flash photography skills?
My biggest piece of advice for any budding (or experienced) photographer who wants to improve their lighting would be this: The process of discovery is priceless—don’t let anyone rob you of that experience. Learning how to be a better photographer is huge, and there is a huge part of the photographic industry that focuses on education and teaching. However, the process of discovery, in my opinion, is the best teacher. If you ever feel like you’re way behind the learning curve because you see lots of inspiring photography—stop comparing yourself to others and go out and DO IT. Someone who does this incredibly well is Parker J Pfister (who I believe has used MagMod too!). The guy is a legend. He shoots for himself, and from what I know about him, he is constantly pushing his own boundaries and is continually exploring the medium of photography. So in short, my advice would be to just get out and shoot, try things new, and experiment with something different.
To learn more about Spencer and the history of MagMod, check out our About Us page.