Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Picture perfect photographer: Sam Hagen

MV senior and self-made photographer, Sam Hagen, builds freelance photography business.

Senior Sam Hagen has always liked to capture the moment. Throughout his childhood, taking pictures with old Polaroids, digital cameras and first-generation iPhones embellished his experience with photography. However, only when he found his mom’s old Canon Rebel camera did his photography journey really take off. 

In April 2023, Hagen’s lacrosse friends were seeking a photographer. Having taken a photography class in school and being somewhat interested in photography, Hagen gladly agreed. What began as shooting one game for fun quickly turned into a full-blown passion for photography, with photoshoots several times a week.

Hagen’s love for sports shines through in his work. He enjoys photographing hockey and lacrosse the most due to their high-speed, exciting environments and jerseys. Being a former lacrosse, hockey and soccer player himself, Hagen feels an even deeper connection to the sports he shoots for. “I’ve always had a love for sports, just the art…that goes behind it and the way you capture it just to form stories behind images,” Hagen said. “It’s more than just a photo. It has more meaning behind it.”

Photography allowed Hagen to remain involved with sports that he enjoyed even after health complications forced him to quit playing. “I wanted to connect with the kids and I enjoy being around the sport…especially with my senior year, so it kind of brings me back,” Hagen said. 

As a self-made photographer, Hagen has developed a consistent process for each photo he takes. He first determines an angle to position his camera and then uses strategies such as the rule of thirds to build the composition of his photo. Then, he adjusts the settings of the ISO (sensitivity to light) and shutter speed on his camera, a Sony A7 IV. 

In terms of editing, Hagen has developed a unique style of photos with presets that he made himself.  “Each photo has different lighting scenarios, so I have to go through each photo individually, but in the end, clients get my best work with my own editing style, which I think gives off a more unique and special look,” he said. Hagen spends several hours editing his photos, with a batch of 300 photos taking up to three hours. 

Hagen now intends to pursue photography as a career, after starting his own business in freelance photography a little over a year ago. Besides Mounds View sports, Hagen has already gotten the opportunity to shoot for the Tommies and Gophers men and women’s hockey game, state wrestling tournament and the Minnesota Football All-Star Game at major venues such as Xcel Energy Center, Allianz Field and the U.S. Bank Stadium.  “It’s honestly unbelievable. I can’t believe how far I came in such a short period of time. Getting to shoot in an arena I would usually have to buy a ticket for, I can go in for free and shoot these smaller teams,” Hagen said. 

Currently, Hagen has a website on Pixieset, a photo gallery and delivery platform for photographers who  want to grow their business. He is, however, working on creating his own website in hopes of improving and continuing to grow his brand.   

Besides his website, Hagen’s main platform is Instagram, where he runs an account called @shagesflicks, to regularly post his work and make himself known as a photographer. Currently, he has over 1,000 followers and 200 different sports photography and videography posts. Some of his most viewed posts have over 2,000 likes. 

Hagen says he will be around next year for some Mounds View sports. He will continue his freelance business to see where it takes him. “If you want to get into it, it doesn’t just happen overnight. I’d say the more you work in it, the better you get.”

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About the Contributor
Lale Akkin
Lale Akkin, Staff Reporter
Lale is a sophomore staff reporter, and this year is her first year on The Viewer. Awards: Best of SNO - Community spreads support for Evan Kirkland Best of SNO - The teacher shortage crisis
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