I NEVER PLANNED ON HAVING A CAREER IN PHOTOGRAPHY
A complete crap headline for a photographers bio, but reading about my "passion for photography" or some lame slogan about "cherishing pictures for a lifetime" is even worse, so here we go...
Where are you from? I grew up in Florida and moved to Nashville to go to college, moved back to Florida and then moved here again after college but didn’t finish college… that time. More on college later.
How did you get your start in photography? I coach high school soccer part time and one season, I made a short movie documenting the season. Our team was the best in the state but we got a 1 vs 2 pairing in a blind draw and lost in the quarterfinals of the state tournament to the eventual champions. We graduated 9 starters and the following year, the talent level on the team was considerably lower. Before the season started, I decided I would make a book instead of another movie. I didn’t own a camera, so I bought a Canon Rebel T3i which came with two lenses all in one box. That’s how I got started doing this.
What did you do before photography? When I moved to Nashville, after the obligatory pizza delivery gig for a few months, I began touring as a musician playing keyboards and musical director and did that for about 10 years. I had the privilege of working and playing with many talented artists and fantastic people. I visited 49 states (still missing Hawai'i) and 27 countries on 5 continents (still no Australia) and played over 1,000 shows. Played at the White House, Letterman, Good Morning America, etc., even had to send my passport back to the State Department to get additional pages. A personal highlight of mine was was playing with U2 in St. Louis in November 2001 on their Elevation Tour. I'll always be able to say "for five minutes, I was in the greatest rock-n-roll band in the world." I got off the road around 2005, and began archiving recording projects for record labels and own a company www.yaxismedia.com which preserves intellectual property for several major record labels.
Why should I get you to take my pictures? Because I'm really good at it. That's probably arrogant, but you don't stay in business long if you are not good at what you do. I like what I do, and if we work together, we'll have a good time, there will be no drama, and we’ll get some great shots.
What kind of photography are you the best at? I enjoy shooting different things and with a few exceptions, will shoot most anything, but I often get called to shoot athletes, sporting events and musicians. This is really great because I get a front row seat to some amazing events and get to meet some wonderful people along the way.
What kind of photography are you worst at? Not really sure about that, but I’ve never taken pictures of birds or alligators. If you want great images of either, Google has thousands of images of both, so my answer would probably have to be birds and alligators.
Have you ever been fired? Everyone gets fired. If someone tells you they've never been sacked from a gig, they're either lying or their work is really safe and boring.
What's the secret to great photos? The subject, being a good bartender, an antagonist, or both... and knowing when to wear each hat.
What? The bartender makes you relax and the antagonist brings out the truth.
Who do you look up to? Jesus, my mom, my sister, my coaching friends, people with integrity, people who speak truth.
Have you ever worked with famous people? Yes.
Do you travel to shoot? Sometimes. It has to be either really good money, something really interesting, or a really great place to visit. More interested in the second two than the first, although when you hit the trifecta...
I want to work with you, but I don't think I can afford you. Email me and we can probably figure it out.
What's your favorite piece(s) of gear? Whichever one works for what I’m shooting today.
Do you have a better answer? I started shooting with Canon but was never religious about it. I switched to Nikon in 2016 after borrowing a friends D750. It was $1k less than my 5D3 and it was a better camera. Tried several others in the Nikon range and made the switch. Switching camera brands when you own around a dozen camera bodies and lenses is not fun.
Changing camera systems was so much fun, I did it again in November of 2018 and am now shooting with Sony Alpha mirrorless! I use Sony because I believe they make the best gear, period. At outdoor events, I will have my 400 on a monopod, and 70-200 and 24-70 strapped to either side of me on a double harness. I always keep my Sigma 15mm fisheye with me as well as it's an indispensable lens before and after a game. For lighting, I use several Flashpoint 600s along with a bunch of modifiers.
I can take pictures with my iPhone or the camera I got at Sam’s Club. Yes you can and so can I, but I usually choose not to although I often do use my iPhone as a camera. I try to use the best available gear for the job. Some of that gear is expensive, some of it is not.
You said you’d talk about college later. How about now since this is the bottom of the “About Me” page. I attended a community college in Florida for 2 years and then moved to Nashville where I enrolled at Belmont which is now a client of mine. Although it was - and still is - a great institution, I didn’t much care for school at the time so I moved back to Florida after a semester and finished my AA at the same community college, saved up some money and moved back to Nashville six months later the following summer. Did the obligatory pizza delivery gig for a few months before getting touring gigs and have made a living in the entertainment industry ever since. I always tell people the pizza gig was the last time I’ve had to go to work. Fast forward to 2009 years ago when I started coaching high school soccer. After a few years of doing that, I talked with our head of school because I thought I wanted to teach history or government. I knew I would need a degree to do that and found that Marshall University offered an online undergrad program in history so I enrolled in the summer of 2010. 12 months and 42 credits later, I had a BA. Ended up getting a Masters in Educational Technology the next year through Mizzou. Finishing 72 credit hours of college work in 24 months, while working full time, and coaching high school soccer six months out of the year is not fun. The working and soccer was fun, the 72 hours crammed into 24 months was not. I’ll probably never use either degree but I have them and worked hard to earn both.
I've got more questions. Email me, call me, or look me up on Twitter or Instagram.
Partial Client List
Nashville SC, Lipscomb University, Trevecca University, United Soccer League (USL), Belmont University, Wendy's High School Heisman, CBS Sports, Major League Soccer, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Vanderbilt University, Middle Tennessee State University, Grace Christian Academy, Warner Brothers, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Ice Network, Musicians Hall of Fame, US Figure Skating, Island Records, Franklin Classical School, TIAAA, Ellie's Run For Africa, Young Guns Publishing