I remember the first photos I ever took. I remember it like it was yesterday, because I was so surprised by how well they turned out. They were taken on a disposable camera while vacationing on Marco Island in Southwest Florida. When my parents bought me the camera, I suppose they were just hoping I’d use it to entertain myself so they could rest and relax.

That entire summer vacation, my little nine-year old self went around taking pictures of everything I saw without having any idea how the shots would look. When I finally got the developed pictures back from the drugstore, after what seemed like ages, I was beyond thrilled to see that several of them turned out just how I hoped they would. One was a picture of an owl in a pine tree at the resort, one was a picture of a shark someone pulled up on the pier, and several were of the gorgeous sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. I treasured those photos for years.

In my youth I never pursued photography any further than a disposable camera would take me, mostly because I didn’t know anyone who even had a real camera, but I always had a disposable one with me trying my best to capture the beauty I saw in the world. I remember often when I would see a beautiful scene, like a stunning sky or mysterious woods, holding my hands up to my eye in the shape of a viewfinder wondering what a picture of that would look like. It wouldn’t be until many years later I could turn moments like those into art.

I graduated high school at 15 and entered Brigham Young University as a Communications major. I took some basic photography and visual arts classes, but my first experiments into professional photography came more out of necessity than of education or personal interest.

Fresh out of college, I started a full-service advertising agency. It quickly grew to over 40 employees with 4 offices across the country and an impressive list of clients. Within a few short years, this venture earned me the regional title of Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for Technology and Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Top 30 Entrepreneurs under 30”.

With a vision for building brands, we often hired professional photographers to take product shots for our clients. After being disappointed in the output far too many times, I vividly remember the day I finally said to myself. “I just need to buy a real camera and get the shot exactly how I know it needs to be taken.” That day proved the beginning of my photography career.

Although product photography was never my passion, it taught me the discipline of the art and forced me to pay attention to lighting and details in a way that I may not have done otherwise. My true passion was in nature and landscape photography. Although limited in my exposure to scenic places, I always kept my camera with me searching for the next magical shot.

Ten years ago I had the opportunity to live my dream of traveling full-time, which allows me to improve my skills and share my passion in a unique way. I specialize in landscape and nature photography. I still occassionally do portrait and product photography for clients, but it isn’t until I’m out on a solitary beach or in a lone wilderness that the magic begins for me. I often joke that when a person is in front of my lens, it’s just a shot, but the moment I leave the human world behind the lens, the music in my head starts to play. I’ve always felt that way about being in nature, but the camera helps me to see the natural world more acutely and in finer detail than I would otherwise. The camera allows me to interpret nature the way I see it in my head and express that interpretation visually to share with others.

I am currently shooting with a Canon 5D Mark IV and an array of L series lenses. My favorite lens for shooting landscapes is the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 Mark II. The wide angle allows me to capture more of a scene from the foreground to the sky.

Unlike most photographers and artists, I’m not interested in competitions. I once asked my eight-year-old which photographs of mine he liked better and he profoundly explained to me, “Mom, there’s no right or wrong in art.” How true that is! Photography is an art and a form of self-expression. In that, there is no right or wrong, better or worse. It’s just all personal preference. While being skilled at using the tools of the trade may allow you to better express yourself, I see art as too subjective to list from best to worst. It’s all about how it makes you “feel”.

My photos have been used in newspapers, magazines, websites, brochures, catalogs, several published books, videos, and television ads, signage and even for an exclusive line of swimwear. There’s something very rewarding about knowing that your art is appreciated and shared with the world. I can’t wait for the day that I’m at the beach and see a lady walk by with my print on her swimsuit!

The best advice I have for aspiring photographers is take your camera everywhere and use it often. The more you shoot the more opportunities you have to refine your own style. Also, opportunities for that next great shot may arise when you least expect it, so always be prepared.

I remember the first photos I ever took. I remember it like it was yesterday, because I was so surprised by how well they turned out. They were taken on a disposable camera while vacationing on Marco Island in Southwest Florida. When my parents bought me the camera, I suppose they were just hoping I’d use it to entertain myself so they could rest and relax.

That entire summer vacation, my little nine-year old self went around taking pictures of everything I saw without having any idea how the shots would look. When I finally got the developed pictures back from the drugstore, after what seemed like ages, I was beyond thrilled to see that several of them turned out just how I hoped they would. One was a picture of an owl in a pine tree at the resort, one was a picture of a shark someone pulled up on the pier, and several were of the gorgeous sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. I treasured those photos for years.

In my youth I never pursued photography any further than a disposable camera would take me, mostly because I didn’t know anyone who even had a real camera, but I always had a disposable one with me trying my best to capture the beauty I saw in the world. I remember often when I would see a beautiful scene, like a stunning sky or mysterious woods, holding my hands up to my eye in the shape of a viewfinder wondering what a picture of that would look like. It wouldn’t be until many years later I could turn moments like those into art.

I graduated high school at 15 and entered Brigham Young University as a Communications major. I took some basic photography and visual arts classes, but my first experiments into professional photography came more out of necessity than of education or personal interest.

Fresh out of college, I started a full-service advertising agency. It quickly grew to over 40 employees with 4 offices across the country and an impressive list of clients. Within a few short years, this venture earned me the regional title of Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for Technology and Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Top 30 Entrepreneurs under 30”.

With a vision for building brands, we often hired professional photographers to take product shots for our clients. After being disappointed in the output far too many times, I vividly remember the day I finally said to myself. “I just need to buy a real camera and get the shot exactly how I know it needs to be taken.” That day proved the beginning of my photography career.

Although product photography was never my passion, it taught me the discipline of the art and forced me to pay attention to lighting and details in a way that I may not have done otherwise. My true passion was in nature and landscape photography. Although limited in my exposure to scenic places, I always kept my camera with me searching for the next magical shot.

Ten years ago I had the opportunity to live my dream of traveling full-time, which allows me to improve my skills and share my passion in a unique way. I specialize in landscape and nature photography. I still occassionally do portrait and product photography for clients, but it isn’t until I’m out on a solitary beach or in a lone wilderness that the magic begins for me. I often joke that when a person is in front of my lens, it’s just a shot, but the moment I leave the human world behind the lens, the music in my head starts to play. I’ve always felt that way about being in nature, but the camera helps me to see the natural world more acutely and in finer detail than I would otherwise. The camera allows me to interpret nature the way I see it in my head and express that interpretation visually to share with others.

I am currently shooting with a Canon 5D Mark IV and an array of L series lenses. My favorite lens for shooting landscapes is the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 Mark II. The wide angle allows me to capture more of a scene from the foreground to the sky.

Unlike most photographers and artists, I’m not interested in competitions. I once asked my eight-year-old which photographs of mine he liked better and he profoundly explained to me, “Mom, there’s no right or wrong in art.” How true that is! Photography is an art and a form of self-expression. In that, there is no right or wrong, better or worse. It’s just all personal preference. While being skilled at using the tools of the trade may allow you to better express yourself, I see art as too subjective to list from best to worst. It’s all about how it makes you “feel”.

My photos have been used in newspapers, magazines, websites, brochures, catalogs, several published books, videos, and television ads, signage and even for an exclusive line of swimwear. There’s something very rewarding about knowing that your art is appreciated and shared with the world. I can’t wait for the day that I’m at the beach and see a lady walk by with my print on her swimsuit!

The best advice I have for aspiring photographers is take your camera everywhere and use it often. The more you shoot the more opportunities you have to refine your own style. Also, opportunities for that next great shot may arise when you least expect it, so always be prepared.