Taking a picture is an art. Many can take good photos, the tricky part is to excel and move to the next level. From Maine to Southeast Asia, Rory Doyle's lens captures everything. His ability to describe emotions and personalities in one frame have impressed many. Even though he works currently for Delta State University as a full time photographer; his clients list includes: Mississippi Magazine, Reebok Spartan Race, Teach for America, Delta Magazine, and more. I have worked with this talented guy and I am sure there are still many things I can learn from him. This is why I asked him a few questions, that I believe can help us all to improve our photographic skills.(Picking some of his work to represent his photographic style was one of the hardest thing i've ever done. I apologize, these images do not do any justice to Rory's work. Go visit his website and you'll see what I mean!)
1. How do you look for the perfect picture? What is the creative process you go trough before a planned photo shoot or an event?
Most of the fine art images I create are about exploration. One of my favorite things to do is just get in the car and go — see what the universe provides. Once I’m out shooting, I’m looking for light, colors, lines, patterns, moments. I always think about creative framing and producing a photograph that’s unique. In the Delta, there’s so much to explore and this process becomes therapeutic for me. When it comes to event coverage, it helps a lot to know what the environment will be and what the lighting will look like. If I have the chance to scope out a location in advance, I take it. A lot of times I don’t have that opportunity and I look to best utilize light that’s available. One thing I always keep in mind is background. Sometimes we get so caught up in snapping a photo that we forget that having an appropriate and appealing background is crucial.
2. How have you pushed yourself to get to the next level on your career as a photographer, and become "professional"?
When I first started out, I was beyond nervous. Self-doubt is common for beginners and I can remember how uncomfortable it felt. I was so worried about letting clients down. The key for me was having confidence in myself, improving on my weaknesses and learning from mistakes. Photography is a learning process that is ongoing and will be forever. But getting over that initial hump is huge. I intentionally took on more stressful assignments knowing that if I avoided them I wouldn’t produce a better product. And I’m not done pushing myself. I know there are a number of skills I need to develop, and I continue to commit to improvement. When your practice means something to you — when you have true passion for it — you should never lose the desire to learn and improve.
3. What do you enjoy the most about your job, and how do you keep things interesting?
To me, photography is inherently interesting. There are so many elements that go into capturing a good photo, and I like that challenge. I like the feeling of grasping an exposure, taking control of it and concluding with something creative. I’ve also been extremely fortunate to be hired for diverse gigs. When you’re hired as a photographer, it gives you a special level of clearance and access. It’s allowed me to meet and interact with remarkable people and go places I never dreamed of visiting. Being with camera means being with adventure.
4. Any advice to photography students?
Appreciate your teachers. I’m mostly self-taught, but I did take an elective photojournalism course as a journalism student. My professor taught us to use a camera manually. The rest of my classmates were just in the course for an easy three credits, but to me, photography clicked as soon as my professor taught me about manipulating exposures. I would also say never give up. You’ll know if photography is for you because you’ll never lose the passion. Sure, you’ll go through some creative ruts, but keep pressing on. Practice, read, get tutored, volunteer with a pro, become an assignment. Just find a way to keep growing.