In 2005 my daughter Shannon’s swim club had a photographer come in one night and take team and individual portraits. Having been shooting for myself since 1985 I was appalled with the results – dark, contrasty images with tons of red eyes staring back off the team portrait! If I had even an inkling that the quality level was going to be so low I would never have bothered ordering even the few prints that I did.
At that point I was shooting with a Nikon D70s, my first digital camera, with an SB-800 flash, on camera. I was new to swimming but I was soon producing images that I was proud to say that I took and parents were asking if they could buy prints from me.
The following year I volunteered to shoot the portraits for the team. I borrowed a couple of studio strobes and softboxes, read everything I could get my hands on about lighting and posing, and shot away! Looking back there are lots of things that I would have changed but, all in all, I was pretty happy with the images. On the other hand, the swim parents were ecstatic! I even had one young lady tell me that her portrait was the best picture anyone had ever taken of her!
Over the next year I continued to shoot at the pool, learning from wherever and whoever I could. My images continued to improve and I had even more requests from parents for posters and prints of their children. I also tried my hand at a few studio portraits and shot a couple of senior portraits for friends.
During the summer of 2006, Guyla Lockhart, one of the swim parents started talking to me about shooting her wedding that October. Needless to say I was horrified at the prospect of having all the responsibility! I eventually relented and agreed to give it a shot.
When I arrived at the wedding to shoot I was sweating bullets and shaking, but as soon as I started shooting I had an absolute blast! Looking for the shot, getting the shot, searching for the next opportunity… I was hooked!
The following year I partnered with another photographer, Scott Crist, and we shot weddings together for three years. Lots of fun, lots of travel, lots of learning from each other and everyone else, and getting a ton of experience at different venues.
Over the last couple of years I have been shooting weddings for myself and bringing on other experienced photographers to second shoot with me. I, in turn, have second shot a bunch for them also. Of course my equipment has changed quite a bit and I am now shooting with a pair of Nikon D3’s and a bunch of lenses, primes and zooms! It’s been a great time and I have been loving what I’m doing!
Now I have a new partner in photography and in life, Kristina Jacobs, and we are continuing on… learning, teaching, and enjoying making terrific images of great people at one of the happiest time of their lives. It promises to be a wild ride and I’m looking forward to it!