Opened opportunity.

Over the years as photographer, I have looked at many outlets to get my work seen and to be noticed in hopes to pick up clients and more paid gigs. Photography alone rocketed very quickly for me after about a year of owning a camera. It took a little bit to figure out exactly where the local need was. We all know, there is many senior portrait photographers, wedding photographers and family photographers and with that said I am not one for posing people.

Posing is not a strong suit of mine unless I know you and I am comfortable with said person. So, jumping into weddings or portraits have not been on my mind as a future for me. Over time, things changed and I have done some portrait shoots and really would love to do more but just have not fully jumped into it. Sports is really where things changed for me. The athletes do their thing and I do my thing to capture the moments, i love it. No posing this way and a more documentary style of shooting. You get the emotion, the anger, the joy, whatever it may be you got it!

Sports photography took me and shaped me into who I am today with a camera. I went from high school sports, to d1 and d2 college sports. Working for multiple newspapers and a couple magazines along the way, one magazine giving me the cover photoshoot. It’s a local magazine to Kansas but hey, it was a start in the direction I was working towards. To get to the big leagues, professional sports that is. I know I had what it took to capture the images, I had the gear and I had the motivation. I was reaching out to colleges, media houses, just trying to get passes to whatever I could to shoot. My location was my downfall though. Being in SE Kansas, there isn’t much here for pro or high end college sports but a few D2’s in the region(Go Pitt State!). Slowing over time I worked out of that drive to make it somewhere in sports. You see photographers of lesser skill, in my opinion given the opportunity to shoot pro and college sports simply because of the people they know. I say that, but that is how it is in all areas of work. If you know the right people, you can fake it till you make it. This is when I started looking in different areas to progress and NO I didn’t stop shooting sports, I just found where it worked best for me and that was sticking to local high school sports and local college sports. I shoot freelance for parents and also for some news outlets. Though I do want more and I still dream to shoot an NFL and NBA game, that has to wait for the right time and I mean, with Covid, it’s not coming soon. Now to the new moves.

Lets fast forward a bit and try to make this simple. I thought, maybe wedding is what I want to shoot. It’s good money, grow as a photographer and build something for yourself. Right… Well, though I love taking photos there is still that fact that I am not good as posing people, or at least nervous too to be honest. I went to a wedding with a photographer to learn and see how things go on a wedding day. It was overwhelming but I know I didn’t have to give up any images from that day so if they all were bad, I could just destroy that idea. Then, he asked if I wanted to work for him as a second photographer and I said yes, because all I would have to do is catch a second angle with a different lens than he is using and I didn’t have to pose. Easy right? I did that a few times but then I went on a portrait shoot to get to know a couple that I would be shooting their wedding. He threw me into the ring to pose them and I froze. Having a photographer so good like he is watch me, caused me to freeze and he took over shortly and we moved on. I never shot that wedding as a solo and I went as a second again with another photographer that he had. Then, came the change I needed, as change where I can strive. It’s an area I didn’t know I wanted or could do and that was video.

I have shot wedding videos for 3-4 years now for him. I simply shot the footage of the day and he took if from there. Everything was his to stay on brand and consistent with his style, I was just the guy behind the camera. I have gone to Kansas City, Detroit, Tennessee, Tulsa and our area of Joplin for wedding videos. I never really thought of doing it myself in my way and style until I work with one photographer who mentioned, “why don’t you do this yourself?” , “Why not work for yourself and build something?”. I seriously never thought I could do it myself even though I owned the gear and have the skill in video editing to do so. Then comes 2020…

2020 is a different animal of sorts. Right before 2020, I started a new job. Same job title, different location. Videographer for a education business and now, came 2020 a month later. Things were looking up, job was awesome, people were awesome, creativity at an all time high! Then came Covid and the world stopped. Prior to the pandemic, I had a couple reach out wanting someone to video their wedding day, I jumped on it with hesitation because I didn’t put out any promotion or post about doing wedding videos. I mean, I did share videos I shot for the other photographer but that wasn’t my editing or style. In short, they hired me and then another hired me and I kept an empty book so moving dates was easy and we fit them in as things opened back up and both videos were and are loved by both couples. You can see them in previous posts or on my youtube and on my video tab on this site here.

The point of this post was to simply share some video stills from my two wedding films and I went on a long back story. So, now I am shooting weddings under my name, in my style of shooting and editing. I try to by a fly on the wall with my videos. Using a 24mm and 85mm lens and keep it simple with just my camera in hand. I ask what the couple wants in the video, not tell them “I need this and that”. I try to cater to them, while keeping it my style of work. It’s worked out well with my first two and I have another wedding confirmed in September in central Kansas and possibly another one in KC before that. 2020 might be crazy but for me to get possibly 4 weddings under my name without promoting in any way has been awesome and I am excited for the future.

Shots are from a 5d Mark Iv with C-Log. Color graded with a Matti Haapoja lut. Lenses used are Sigma 24mm f1.4 Art w/ black pro-mist 1/4 filter and a Canon 85mm f1.8.

Published by dereklivingston9

I am a freelance photographer and full-time videographer.

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