Jeff Yapp attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. He continued his education in pursuit of a Masters degree in Marketing, Finance, and Operations from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, located in Evanston, Illinois. As he achieved that goal, he moved with the same momentum into his career.
His first professional position was with Kraft Foods Group. It didn’t take him long to move from an entry level marketing position to the Product Group Manager in the Beverage Division. This was his first significant foray into marketing and developing the skills that followed him throughout his career.
As Jeff Yapp developed the skills, he searched for bigger and greater challenges. He moved onto work in a variety of positions, revitalizing brands and developing new skill. Among some of the jobs he moved into are Newscorp’s 20th Century Fox Entertainment, Microsoft, the Pepsico, and Viacoms MTV. Believing he had the skills he could obtain from all of his positions with others, the natural next step was to begin his own company. In 2011, he launched the consulting and marketing firm Wutznxt.
At Wutznxt, Jeff Yapp has been able to turn the skills he developed through experience into an asset for his clients and customers. His company specializes in direct to consumer and most recently small business leadership, but has continued to work with Fortune 100 companies as well. The teams at Wutznxt help their diverse clientele stand apart from their peers and competitors. They do this in a way that creates experience, blending brand recognition with positive memory creation. The lasting connection leaves better brand knowledge in its wake.
It isn’t uncommon for Jeff Yapp to be traveling for business or with his family. It is also not uncommon for him to bring his camera along to take some amazing images and create memories that will last a lifetime.
What is your hobby?
One passion of mine that started over 20 years ago has turned into one of my favorite pursuits. My photography is another part of my business portfolio. We are a visual based world and capturing the moment, the emotion and the surroundings through the lens of my camera allows the feeling of the experience to come through. It’s true in all aspects of my work.
What inspired you to get started with photography?
It developed while the kids were growing up. I worked a lot more than I would have preferred to at times, so I wanted to capture every moment. It didn’t take long to realize how fun it was to take pictures of my family and it quickly worked its way into my professional life. The camera is one of the most amazing creations in that it allows anyone to create art, even those of us who didn’t pursue it as a career.
Tell us what you love about it.
Initially, it was just a way to collect memories with my children. What I remember most was watching my daughter in dance at age 3, she is now 27. I would photograph her earliest performances to her majoring in dance at the university of Michigan. The camera allowed me to capture the artistry and emotion in a way that was truly unique.
I have shared this passion with my family as well and it has worked its way into the professional life of my kids as well.
My oldest daughter Kristine is an event planner for twitter. Her photography skills and years of experience in event space and marketing allows her to understand what success looks like from many angles. She has a keen eye to understand the big picture and create events that translate to the consumer.
My oldest son Ryan loved to make movies when he was little. He’s taken his love of film and photography and turned it in to a career. He has his own company that shoots educational videos and is still making movies with his best childhood friend. He has helped me with many events.
My daughter Kelli is the marketing Director of Brand Product & Development at Shadowbox in NYC. Her ability to photograph allows her to capture the feel and experience at the clubs for their print and digital media.
My daughter Molly is the creator of MY Magazine and currently in her 9th issue. She is extremely talented on telling a story through her lens and has taken her magazine from a digital publication to newsstand print in a short span of time.
Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your photography?
I have studied with many professionals. My two favorite are Moose Peterson and Joe McNally. Moose is one the top nature photographers in the country and Joe is globally recognized artist with his use of light and flash. Both are Nikon ambassadors and have received many awards.
Have you had to invest in equipment? If so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.
I have been a Nikon photographer for over 15 years. My equipment has evolved as the technology has changed. My current go to favorites are the Nikon 850 and the new Nikon z7. Both cameras are amazing creative tools. Four years ago, I finally made the leap into the Leica pool. Leica rangefinder cameras have been the gold standard for photographers for decades. Leica represents a completely different more intimate connection to the experience. The pictures have a quality that just is not available on most digital cameras today
Storage cards Lexar pro and my preference is the Sony xqd cards, there speed and reliability are unmatched
Where do you buy most of your supplies?
I have been buying from Neptune Photo for the last 15 years. Robert is the store manager and has been amazing to work with. I love supporting a small local shop even when I moved to the west coast. Another retailer on the other end of the spectrum is 47th Street Photo. Amazing place, amazing selection. if you can’t find it at 47th Street Photo it doesn’t exist! Finally, my local shop in Portland is pro photo supply great team and strong selection and great availability.
Are there any good books for beginners?
Moose Peterson’s “Guide to Wildlife Photography: Conventional Techniques” is great intro into wildlife photography. Joe McNally has so many books my favorite is “Life Guide to Digital Photography” for people looking to take their skills to another level and “The Moment It Clicks” for the more experienced photographer.
How has this changed your life?
This has brought art and creativity to my world in a way I didn’t expect it would originally. It is really a wonderful thing to be able to look at the images over the years and see the progression from a novice to an experienced photographer. Having this outlet has brought great joy to my family and those I’ve taken pictures of around us. We are able to look back at the unique lighting and creations and enjoy the moment or emotion again.
What advice do you have for others starting out with photography?
Just do it. Looking at the world through a lens of a camera gives you a whole different perspective. It requires you to slow down and notice the subtles. It is amazingly rewarding. Pick up a used digital camera, find an old film camera experience the differences between them. Find a camera and learn how to use and change the depth of field the focus points the exposure, stay out of the auto mode, engage, and enjoy!
Are there any other hobbies you have?
Ask my wife! Too many to list. She always asks about my new costumes. My latest love is golf. After 50 years of watching, I finally decided to pick up a club and see what all of the fuss is about. So far I really enjoy it.
However, my number one passion has always been my wife and my family. As the household has changed as the kids have flown the coop, finding meaningful time to stay engaged and involved in their lives is a real focus for my life now.
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