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Tech Profile: Hanszen’s Elusive Photographer


Nicholas McMillan, Hanszen College Junior

Nicholas McMillan, a junior at Hanszen College majoring in Statistics and Economics, may be better known campus-wide and on social media as Nicholas McMillan Photography; his watermarks adorn many a profile picture of graduating seniors and Esperanza attendees. Ever since his parents put a Canon Point & Shoot in his hands when he was 10 years old, McMillan immersed himself in the world around him through his photos. 

McMillan also engages in videography and cinematography, though his experiences with these latter two began much later. He says, “I would make do with windows movie maker…it wasn’t until high school that I took a video class where I learned how to edit with professional software. I invested in my first ‘actual’ camera after senior year of high school, before my gap year in Germany. It was during that year abroad that I really took the time to improve my photos and videos.”

Aside from favors for friends and taking photos for various clubs, McMillan collaborates with Brandon Martin, videographer for Public Affairs at Rice, to capture campus events. Off campus, he freelances for companies that commission for corporate videos and other company footage. He describes a recent project: “One of my favorite videos that I made is Rice’s Beer Bike 2017. It’s so hard to describe what Beer Bike is to your friends outside of Rice, so I tried to capture how amazing that day was!”

The Beer Bike 2017 video also turns out to be a captivating manifestation of the different physical equipment that McMillan uses in his endeavors. “Over the years I have invested in different types of equipment to best capture what I see. To get aerials I use the DJI Mavic Pro drone, and for action shots and interesting points of view I have the GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition. My main camera is the Sony Alpha a6000,” says McMillan.

It doesn’t get simpler on the software side of things–to edit his videos, McMillan uses Adobe Premier and After Effects, one to stitch together a story from all the footage and the other to add motion graphics and additional effects. For his photos, he uses a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop.

Though McMillan carries an impressive collection of technology and skills in his toolbox, he emphasizes the importance of vision. “A lot of people think great photos or videos can only be obtained if you have expensive equipment. I believe it’s all about the story or subject, the equipment comes second. Everyone has amazing cameras on their phone or an old camera sitting somewhere in the house. If you see something that catches your eye, go out and capture it!”


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