I have been a photographer since my early teens, and have been doing event photography professionally since 2000.
My other career in software development has been an excellent preparation for the huge changes in photography with the advent of digital cameras. My technical aptitude and deep knowledge of computer hardware and software made it easy to adapt to the new medium. I have developed a deep understanding of the principles governing digital cameras and the software used to process the images, both of which are essential for obtaining good results.
I've been taking pictures of people since my dad taught me to use his Pentax Spotmatic in the late '60s. It had a built-in light meter, a wonderful modern innovation at the time, but all settings were strictly manual. I made good use of that camera and was one of two principal photographers on my high school's yearbook staff.
Around 2000, when I was living in Austin, Texas, I was asked to shoot some corporate events and immediately knew I'd found my calling. I really enjoy capturing candid moments, and using a digital camera adds an opportunity to interact with the subjects in a new way because of the immediate feedback.
Since then I've specialized in event photography part time, for both paying clients and as a volunteer for several non-profits. In 2012 I moved from Austin to Portland and in 2014 I retired from software development to concentrate on photography.
Philosophy and Approach
I see my role as primarily journalistic. My goal is to fulfill the client's objectives for the images while capturing the feeling and atmosphere of an event, as reflected in the people attending and their interactions.
Why Hire a Professional
In these days of Instagram, cellphone cameras, and inexpensive technology for everyone it's natural to ask "Why hire a professional when I can easily do it myself, or get my uncle Bob to do it"?
Here are a few reasons:
- I'll meet with you before the event to go over your objectives and make sure I capture what's most important to you.
- You get a pro who is totally focused (pun intended) on capturing the event. Although I'll interact with the participants to establish a rapport that leads to good images, I'm not there to socialize or otherwise be involved, except to take pictures.
- I'll use the latest pro-level technology to capture the best possible raw images, and I have the skills, knowledge and experience to turn those images into high-quality, lasting memories (see "Post Processing" below).
In a perfect world, the "fly on the wall" candid photographer would use solely ambient light, but that's impractical in dimly-lit indoor environments. I've never liked on-camera flash because it produces snapshot-type images with high contrast, harsh highlights and shadows, and red-eye. To solve this problem I've developed techniques that allow me to combine ambient light with bounce flash, with the strobe off-camera, even in locations where there's no convenient white ceiling. This produces much softer, even light resulting in better images.
Post processing is a crucial step in the production of an image, and is where you separate the amateurs from the pros. When I shoot an event I capture only raw files, and I budget about 1.5 to 2 hours of post processing time for each hour of event. If you'd like to learn why this is important, click here.