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Professional Photographer Shares His Turning Point

John Magnoski of Farmington, MN, wasn’t a big fan of algebra back in 9th grade. In fact, he was well on his way to getting into a little academic hot water with it as well as a few other classes. But when it came to photography, he was the class star.

“I had a teacher, Mr. Hugelan, who really saw my potential and encouraged me,” Magnoski said. The interest and encouragement helped John to turn his skill into a successful career. He began Turning Leaf Photography in 1997, and has never looked back. “I’m primarily self-taught,” he said. “I’ve been digital for about five years now.”

“Paint Shop Pro has been a long-time professional companion,” Magnoski said. “I discovered Paint Shop Pro when my dad gave me a copy of Paint Shop Pro 7. I had been banging my head against a wall trying to figure out [a different photo editor] and was really frustrated. I didn’t want to have to take a class – and spend more money – to understand a program I had already spent a lot of money on. So my dad gave me Paint Shop Pro. Within eight hours, I had the majority of the program figured out and I was on my way. It was amazing.”

“I started playing with it and got completely addicted.”

John Magnoski
Portrait Photographer

Magnoski made another discovery. “I went out and bought the Anniversary Edition, which included Virtual Painter. I started playing with it and got completely addicted.”

That was the beginning of a long friendship with Jasc products. “I learned more about Jasc Software as a company. I always like to root for the underdog because I’ve been one. Plus, it was in my home state, which I liked.”

Magnoski reports that as technology has changed, the way people look at his art has changed with it.

“When I first went digital people, would look at my photos and say ‘Wow! That’s digital? It looks like a film photograph.’ Now that I’m getting into the fine art aspect of it, they’re saying ‘Wow! That was a photograph? It looks like a painting.’ ”

As his experimentation with the Fine Arts grew, so did his experimentation with Virtual Painter and Paint Shop Pro. One project in particular impressed John with the value of Virtual Painter. “I knew I had a winner one day when I was driving home from a wedding and saw a beautiful shot. The way the sunlight was hitting the trunks of the trees… it was gorgeous. But what I captured in my picture was not the same as what I had seen in person. So I saturated the colors, clarified the image, threw it into Virtual Painter. I was so impressed by what I saw, I screamed for my wife to come see.”

“Then I went one step further. It still looked like a digital image to me, so I went into the painting tools and used a thin oil brush to smooth the image. I took it, printed out it and stretched it on a canvas. I entered it at a local art fair as a digital photograph, but people didn’t believe me! They insisted it was a painting, and this was people in the art field! I showed them the original print and they were flabbergasted.”

With a successful business, Magnoski could sit back and rest on his laurels. But like all artists, he’s on a journey that continues to unfold. A journey that began with a little encouragement – and a lot of raw talent.