Every month I’ll be featuring an artist to get different perspective on the industry. This month I got to interview Michael Del Priore. He’s a 26-year-old photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He free lances part-time and manages a school photography company in the Atlanta area. All photos featured on this post are his.
You’re definitely a young photographer. When did you get started in photography and why?
I have always had an interest in photography since I was in 5th grade in Black Mountain, North Carolina. My elementary school was doing a career day and one of the students dad was a photographer and talked about it and ever since then I was hooked. He talked about a certain picture he took and how he sold it to a company and made a living off of it just blew my mind. I wanted to have his job. However I never expressed to my parents until later on my passion for photography nor pursued it until the year I graduated high school. My family had got together and purchased a point and shoot camera as a graduation present. Not knowing the limitations of the camera at the time I began to realize I need more tools to get the photos that I wanted. About a year after I received my point and shoot camera it had gotten stolen from my car. My family seeing how devastated I was, chipped in again and told me to pick out a camera. I did more research and knew I needed a DSLR so I can expand my photography. Ever since then I began reading everything I could to learn about photography from landscapes, to portraits, and how to edit. I spent many hours in Barnes & Noble reading and watching youtube videos.
I see you do lanscapes as well as boudoir/glamour. Do you prefer one over the other?
After doing landscapes, boudoir/glamour, and wedding photography I am only passionate about one category. I love doing landscapes. Many people think that landscape photography is quite easy and perhaps one of the easiest things to photograph but after doing it myself, it’s definitely one of the hardest and self rewarding in my opinion. I love traveling, hiking, and exploring. My goal in life is to have a gallery of my landscapes and become as successful as Peter Lik.
What helped you define your style?
Hmm this question is a toughy. I still feel like I haven’t defined my style. I’m trying though! If you look at my early work all my portraits had a clean and crisp look. Look at my portraits now and it’s more dark and contrasty. I think as a photographer you will have your ups and downs. At one point I didn’t know what my style was nor could I produce anything I was happy with so it made me want to quit. After talking with another photographer who has more experience he told me it’s a faze and I would get back into it. Sure enough I did. But I think what helps me define my style is what I like when looking at photographers that I idle or magazines that I see that I like. Seeing the color tones, styling, etc..
I’m an introvert so working with models was something that challenged my shyness. Have you encountered any obstacles when working with models?
Funny thing was I was one of the shyest people back in high school and didn’t talk much nor did I have many friends. When I first became a photographer with the company that I worked for I had to be bubbly and outgoing when photographing seniors in high school. I remember getting the job and was freaking out because I didn’t know how to be outgoing or bubbly. I practiced with a girl I was dating at the time before I started my first day and after working there and photographing a lot of seniors it helped me become more bubbly and outgoing. If you see me now compared to who I was in high school you would have never thought I was every shy. But to get back on the subject, I think adapting to different personalties is a challenge when photographing models. Every model is different and it’s my job to make sure the model feels comfortable with me so she can then feel relaxed and just do her thing.
I didn’t know what type of photography I wanted to pursue when I started. I started photographing surfers because that’s what I did almost everyday when I lived in Florida and photographing my friends surfing was just as fun. Knowing the surf in north florida I knew I couldn’t make a career out of it unless I moved to Hawaii or California where the surf was more consistent. I started shooting my friends I knew and I thought I was pretty good at shooting people so I pursed it a little more. I started shooting models and began to use them as a marketing tool. Models are pretty popular so potentially a lot of people could see my work. After providing a great experience with the model and letting them I know I do shoot other stuff like families and weddings they began telling their friends that were looking for a great photographer. So then that’s what started my wedding photography. I shot one, that one became a referral for two weddings, and then before I moved to Atlanta I was photographing about 15 weddings a year which provided income that I was able to invest back into my photography gear.
Every job has it’s ups and downs; what is your favorite and least favorite part about photography?
Well favorite part about photography to me for landscapes is knowing you captured the essence of the location you’re at. It’s hard capturing that when seeing something so beautiful with your eyes and capturing it on camera. Least favorite part is hauling the gear on my back for hikes that are 12 miles. My back pack alone that has 1 body, a few lenses, tripod, first aid kit, waters, and a few other things weigh probably close to 50lbs. Favorite part about shooting models, is seeing the final set of images. First I spend hours driving looking for abandoned houses, motels, factories, etc. to shoot a model there. I’ve been kicked out a few while others I have been there a handful of times with models and never been caught. Then if the model was great with the location and we picked a great wardrobe to fit the scene I then spend hours editing the set different ways to make sure it’s fitting with the scene and mood that I wanted to create when I first visioned the shoot.. Sometimes I’ll edit one photo 4 different ways. Least favorite thing when shooting models, is not catching certain things at the time of the shoot like hair ties, object that might distracting in the background or foreground, or getting out of focus images.
Any advice for those just picking up a camera and starting out?
Just have fun. Find your roots first. Shoot everything. I remember shooting everything I thought was cool. Flowers, dragonflies, birds, water drops in the sink, just learning as I shoot. I learned a lot by just going out there and shooting. Learn as much as you can. You don’t have to go to school for photography. You can lear a lot if your passionate about it. I wanted to produce great landscapes so I read everything I could and then I went out there and tried it out.