Where are you from?
Toledo, Ohio, USA.
Before being a photographer, tell us what you wanted to be?
I never knew photography could be a career for me! I always wanted to work for NASCAR or a racing team and move south. My dad brought me up around cars and racing. After I received my Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Ohio University, I flew down to North Carolina and went to 15+ racing teams to hand in my resume personally. I’m happy that never worked out!
Tell me about the moment you decided to become a photographer?
Quite honestly, it was a happy accident! I had moved back to my hometown and my best friend asked me to go out and take pictures of random barns out in the country with her. So, we drove around, and I happened to bring my camera. It had been months since the last time I had picked it up. It lit a spark in me that wouldn’t die down. I upgraded my equipment the next week, started asking friends to let me photograph them, and something just clicked. I knew I could be pretty good at this and enjoyed the hell out of it.
What was the best advise you received when you started your photographer carrier?
The best advice? Hmm. That’s a hard one. I asked a million questions when I first started, but the best (indirect) advice I received is when an amateur photographer, like myself at the time, once said to me, “You know, you’re good. But you’re not THAT good.” And I shook my head in agreement. But, secretly, inside I was screaming. I took that doubt and used it to fuel my fire; to work my butt off; to craft my skill and push myself in every way possible to become the best artist I knew I was.
Can you define photography?
For me, it’s an art of storytelling. It’s documenting love stories and connecting my art with the way I see the world.
For you, what makes a good photographer?
Whether you’re a landscape, portrait, wedding, birth or another type of photographer, it’s those that can tell a story through their work without any words.
For you, what makes a good photograph?
One that stops me dead in my tracks and makes my heart skip a beat because I’m in awe of every little detail being portrayed in the story.
What is your biggest challenge today?
My biggest challenge is constantly pushing myself out of my comfort zone and evolving my skill set and knowledge of photography. Either that, or quitting my 9-5 job to pursue photography and dedicate 100% of my time to my work.
Tell us about the day you felt most proud about your work?
It was during a photography workshop I was attending last June. We were in the middle of three days of extensive learning and hands-on shoots. After one of the styled shoots, I was editing and I remember stopping mid-edit and smiling. It was then I had stopped questioning myself and my worth; I finally felt confident – like I knew what I was doing. And I was so proud because it took what seemed like forever to get to that point.
Tell us about the relationship you have with other photographers? How important you feel that is.
I think relationships with other photographers is so crucial for your own success and the success of others. I have always said and been about community over competition. I believe in this so wholeheartedly. I think when you’re collaborating with other photographers is when you grow the most – you learn from each other, you push one another and you both can succeed. There is room for everyone at the top. Unfortunately, I’ve only found a small handful of people in my hometown that have the same mindset. But, some of my best friends and people I’ve met are photographers that I’ve met through Instagram, that have the same mentality, which is amazing!
Can you tell us an advise - photography or business tip - that somehow made your career evolve at any point?
Stop comparing yourself to other’s successes and believe in your own talent. Use that drive and fire you have in your soul and love for photography to exceed anyone’s expectations, including your own, and never stop creating. Once you free yourself from your own constraints and chains, that’s when your work will start to evolve and you will grow both personally and in your business.
All in all, I would like to thank the community for your incredible dedication and help that you give to all professionals. I am so glad I can call myself a rocker from now on…!
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