Lifestyle and fashion photographer Dave Feiling OMP Member #3407 started doing photography when he bought a camera while in the military service, and has been shooting ever since. He subsequently attended Brooks Institute where he realized that photography isn’t just about taking pretty pictures; it actually is more about becoming a visual problem solver.
Once he graduated from the institute, Dave packed his van and drove to New York City. “I had no job, no place to live, just a dream. I think I learned more about the ‘business’ of photography in the first week on the streets of NYC than I did the whole time in school. The strong technical training was a big help, however. It’s a given that you need to know the technical aspects if you want to work; it is all the other aspects that will make or break you as a photographer. It’s your vision that will lead to success.”
Dave spent the first two years as an assistant to a lifestyle photographer, then found himself shooting executive portraits and annual reports. He started shooting models as comic relief from shooting executives. He eventually found that younger models were better suited for his lifestyle way of shooting.
“I think the most apparent difference is that young models have a much easier time being ‘natural.’ They usually have no preconceived idea of what they’re suppose to do. As soon as they realize they can do just about anything they want (‘which I call controlled chaos’), I’m golden. Ask an older model to improvise and you would think you asked them to cut off an arm.
The one thing you do have to remember is that kids have short attention spans, and giving instruction has to be on their level — no telling them to ‘suck it up’ and do what I asked. If they’re not into the direction you’re taking it, they’re not going to change, so you have to. I remember a young model had issues with some ants around her feet… no debate or forcing the issue… you won’t win! Bottom line, we moved. You might say, a five-year-old calling the shots? Yes, And make sure the kids are well-fed. I’ve found a quick stop for fries will resurrect the crabbiest kid!”
Dave became a member of OneModelPlace.com in 2001, and has had great success promoting himself on the site. “OMP has provided me the avenue to develop a portfolio consistent with the need required to pursue the direction I want to take my career. Quality models can make or break a portfolio. Without the help of the wonderful models I’ve met through OMP, I would not be where I am today.”
Dave offers some advice for photographers who are planning to shoot children for a living. “You have to want to shoot children. Remember, they’re kids and they don’t see the world as we do. When shooting, let them have fun and no matter how much you’re stressing, keep the mood of the shoot light. Be careful of the parent that wants the child to model. If the child doesn’t want to do it, you’ll know in about two seconds. A stage mom is a curse you don’t want at any price.”
Dave relates “I’ve been fortunate to have meet some wonderful people and been able to make a decent living doing something I’m passionate about. My son summed best it up when his mother asked him about his career choice and if he wanted to ‘end up like his father?’ His reply: ‘You mean, LOVE what I do?’
For more about Dave, check out his OMP portfolio.