I have always been involved in the creative arts. From early childhood designing haunted houses at my home for the neighborhood to being involved with acting, drama productions, writing scripts, traveling/recording with a band, and other right brain adventures. I didn’t get into photography until I bought my first DSLR in 2006 while preparing for my long-time goal to climb North America’s highest peak at 20,320 ft., Denali, Mt. McKinley, Alaska. It was my goal to climb Mt. Everest later and I was looking to get sponsored locally. I knew if I wanted to capture the fear, beauty, and essence of these dangerous mountains, I would need a good camera and know how to use it, specially in a climate with less oxygen and in minus temperatures. During that year, I became a serious photography student, bought every book I could find on photography and practiced.
Fast forward to early 2009, after I had been shooting portraits and a few tag-along weddings with friends in 2008. I got a business license and a large loan for all the gear, lighting, and equipment I needed, as well as a studio downtown. My motto was “go hard or go home” and I was all about giving my best. By the end of 2009, I had photographed eight weddings. In 2010, I photographed thirteen weddings and was voted top photographer of Sacramento, California by the A-LIST KCRA community. In 2011, I had photographed forty weddings, traveling to several states all the way from California to New York. Today, my work is published in magazines, blogs, and other media. I have won awards for my work, taught workshops, and mentored other photographers. I try and stay close to home with my wife and three daughters (and our new puppy). I’m thankful to God for the blessings.
How did you get started in the business? Who helped/guided/mentored you?
Actually, there have been numerous mentors. One of the inspiring mentors I give credit to is Kevin Focht, whom I met through PPSOP. I was taking one of his classes. I asked if I could fly over and assist him in a wedding. He agreed. And after that weekend, he became not just a mentor, but also a good friend. John Michael Cooper challenged me to think outside the box. Many others have influenced me, both in person and through books, dead and alive, who have influenced my style.
Special Message or advise for AD attendees?
Write down the main points, the tips and tricks that you NEED to practice when you get home. Then when you get home, WORK at them. That’s truly how you master your craft. Also, just as important, get to know the photographers, especially those near where you live, and connect with them back home.
How many After Dark Events have you attended and what’s your favorite moment?
Kansas City was my first time. My favorite moment when I first arrived. There were couches and many pods set-up, mentors walking around, and smaller groups for more interaction. I knew this was my kind of place.
What are your top 5 skills?
- Creativity & Inspiration
- Off Camera Lighting
- Nikon Shooter. Then Canon. Then Back to Nikon
- Love a variety of location, building stories out surroundings.
Majority of Business:
- Mostly Weddings (35-40 per year)
- HS Seniors
- Speedlights for weddings.
- Video Lights for weddings.
- Alienbees for everything else.