What makes a professional photographer successful? It’s all about finding your niche. Here at Zenfolio, we carefully select members of our Pro Team that represent a wide variety of photographers, from photojournalists to wedding photographers and everything in between. Meet the six new members we’ve added this year and prepare to take notes.
With more than three decades as a photojournalist, Florida-based Ginny Dixon has been at the forefront of many of our world’s major events, from 9/11 to Stevie Wonder in concert to a laughing Dalai Lama. “I am most inspired by the human fortitude. I’ve seen a lot in my career — humanity and its perseverance.” She also acts as an educator and serves as the director of photography at the Miami Ad School and is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.
Her shoot must haves:
“A Leatherman, a small step stool, a reflector, and extra batteries and cards.”
Her trade secret: “Keep in touch with people. They change jobs, move around — at least 50 percent of success as a photographer is building and maintaining relationships.”
Based in picturesque Denver, Joseph Roybal finds beauty “off the beaten path,” where his travels have been documented in AFAR Magazine and The Denver Post. He happily splits landscape and portrait photography 50/50, finding inspiration in his journeys. “There are so many people that would love to see the furthest reaches of the earth and are unable to. Knowing I can bring them to a strong image gets me pretty pumped.”
His shoot must haves: “17-35mm lens for nearly every kind of shooting situation from landscapes to portraits. I also keep several granola bars in case I wander off-trail.”
His trade secret: “Spend your money on education, not on new gear. Read, take workshops, dive with sharks — anything that will help you to push your own limits.”
Happily trading his economics degree for a camera, Kevin Mullins has brought a breath of fresh air to the wedding industry with his primarily black and white documentary-style shooting. A regular columnist for Professional Photographer UK, Mullins practices his theory that documentary wedding photography is all about capturing the moment and following the passion of the day.
His shoot must haves: “My Fuji X100S — it’s a marvelous camera. Even if I am shooting sports I take it with me for close action.”
His trade secret: “Enjoy it! Too many wedding photographers seem so stressed by the job. If things are getting stressful — cameras down, look around, and the inspiration will flow again.”
Strictly sticking to weddings, Brooklyn-based Susan Stripling shoots nearly 50 ceremonies a year and was named one of the top 10 wedding shooters in the country by American Photo magazine in 2012. With a college degree in acting, Susan craves “aesthetically lovely things, and a nonstop desire to create beauty.”
Her shoot must haves: “Earplugs. Weddings get LOUD.”
Her trade secret: “There ARE no trade secrets! There are no silver bullets, no quick paths to success. Just work and more work and experience.”
Ever since a friend asked Jeff to shoot their daughter’s bat mitzvah, Bay Area native Jeff Cable has yet to put the camera down. Primarily shooting sports and events, Jeff has been front and center at many sporting and Olympic events. A hockey player himself, Jeff is currently preparing to shoot at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
His shoot must haves: “I have been a Canon user for 10 years and I really love their products. They have amazing cameras, and their lenses are superb.”
His trade secret: “If you are a proficient photographer, show your work to as many people as possible.”
This 18-year-old established wildlife photographer far surpasses the likely traits of those his age. “I am actually capable of early morning starts (even as early as 2:30 a.m.!)” and regularly produces his own documentaries. “I aspire to become a natural history documentary presenter and filmmaker.”
His shoot must haves: “Recently I bought a Glidecam HD-2000. It’s an amazing piece of kit, allowing me to take smooth video footage that looks like the camera is flying. (Oh yeah, I shoot video too!).”
His trade secret: “The biggest secret to wildlife photography is to learn your subject. I can’t stress it enough. Portrait photographers have the handy tool that their subjects speak English and they can tell them what to do. But with wildlife, you have no communication with your subject!”
Read how all our pros got their start, what equipment they use, and how Zenfolio has transformed their website and business on our Pro Team page.