I’m not a newcomer to the photographic industry. I’ve been a professional photographer for over 25 years. It was obvious to me at an early age that being a photographer was what I wanted to do with my life!
My passion for photography began back in high school when I became the editor of my newspaper. I then went on to Columbia College and was named College Photographer of the Year. With this came a full time job at the Daily Southtown newspaper in Chicago and then on to the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper for 14 years.
My cameras have always been a passport allowing me a front seat to history. I am continually honored when doors open and people invite me in to document their life. While at the paper, I had covered countless amazing events, such as presidential elections, Michael Jordan’s entire career with the Chicago Bulls, many faiths celebrations and rituals. I’ve traveled around the world to places such as El Salvador, Taiwan, Lithuania, Romania, Moldova, Kenya, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Tanzania for weddings and human interest stories for none profit organizations.
I have since moved on from the newspaper industry. Today, I have the privilege of photographing the most important events in my client’s lives and I couldn’t be more happy to have this honor. Now I have the pleasure of traveling the world photographing weddings. I have had the honor to photograph the weddings of Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds, Salma Hayek and Francois-Henri Pinault, La La Vasquez and Carmelo Anthony, The Bachelorette Ashley Herbert and JP Rosenbaum and many events for Oprah Winfrey.
I am honored to be a member Canons Explorers of Light, a Westcott Top Pro, a member of SanDisk Extreme Team and a part of Apple’s Aperture Advisory Board. I am the author of Lights, Camera, Capture, Creative Lighting Techniques for Digital Photographers. I am proud to say it’s also an App for the iPad and was the number one selling photography App on the Apple App Store.
Photography… It’s what I’m passionate about.
How did you get started in the business? Who helped/guided/mentored you?
My first start in photojournalism was during high school. We had a decent football team and the local newspaper began using me as a stringer to cover our games. Once I learned I could make a living as a photographer I was all in. Who helped/guided/mentored you? I alway read the Chicago Daily News, because my father did, and I admired the photographs of John H. White. I learned he was teaching photojournalism at Columbia College Chicago, it was my goal to study with John and to one day work alongside my mentor at the Chicago Sun-Times. I was blessed to be able to accomplish my goal with a successful run of 14 years shooting alongside my mentor. After that much time I became burnt out on bad news and left the paper in December of 2003. In January of 2004 I began shooting weddings and freelance work full time.
Special Message or advise for AD attendees?
Come with a rookies spirit and a pros eye tempered with an openness to learn and master new skills and techniques. There is no easy button, success comes from practice, practice, practice and persistence.
What are your top 5 skills?
- Always be prepared.
- Set yourself up for success.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
- Know your style and your photographic strengths
- Know your gear inside and out!
- I’ve been a Canon shooter my entire career, except for a short stint on the dark side when the paper forced me to use Nikon when we first turned digital.
- Specialty Market? Wedding, portraits, events, short films and documentary projects for non-profits.
Majority of Business:
- Weddings and Events
- YES! I’m an available light photographer, I just happen to use ALL the light available. I’m know for my lighting and use of Speedlights and off camera flash. Like my picture editor Bob Kotalik at the Sun-Times used to say, “kid, come back with a good picture or don’t’ come back at all. We can’t publish an excuse”. I’ve embraced this my entire career. One of my core beliefs is to be Green and Growing, otherwise you are ripe on the vine and dying.