In a wide-ranging discussion, Derrick talks about his lifelong love of photography and how today's successful photographer needs to leverage multiple business opportunities, with each one feeding the others. For example, to keep up with changing gear, you can blog and/or podcast about new gear as you acquire it; to promote your work and your expertise, you can conduct workshops to teach the areas that you specialize in. He also shows how to take advantage of the social media landscape to build your brand.
Skill Level Intermediate
- So I'm Derick Story, and at the heart of things, I'm a photographer, and a writer and a teacher. Those are the basic corner stones of what I do every day and I work here in my studio, I do every day and I work here in my studio, but I also work all over the world too, because that's part of the fun of being a photographer is that you get to travel and go places and see things and even sometimes I wander down to Carpinteria and hang out down there a little bit too.
Yeah I started in photography pretty young, I was in junior high, actually, and I was hanging out I was in junior high, actually, and I was hanging out with my friend who was rich, we called him rich, and his dad was publisher of the local newspaper. Really hot summer day, and a bunch of kids playing Really hot summer day, and a bunch of kids playing in the pool there, and so I grab my camera which was this really old Argus C3, really ugly camera, probably the ugliest camera ever made, and I took some shots of the kids playing in the pool and afterwards, we went, his dad had a darkroom there and we developed the film and had it hanging up in the darkroom, and we were doing something, I don't know, having root beer or something, and his dad came home and he comes out into the kitchen area where we're having our root beer and he's holding this roll of film like this, and he's going who shot this? And course, you know, when you're in junior high, you think oh God I'm in trouble, you know, so I sorta like raised my hand like that, as it turned out he said well, I'm thinking of writing a story about heat wave and I love these shots, these are great, can I use these photos as part of the story, and I said, yeah, he says well print up this one, this one and this one.
So we did that and I actually got, my very first assignment was a cover story for the local newspaper. After that he hired me for a stringer, and I shot and wrote for him for a couple years, and this was going into high school, so it's been a long time. Well, you know, it's interesting starting out as a journalist, I think, and I think that was a break, because it's story telling, right, what we used to try to do for the newspaper is, you know, tell a story, in a few words and with a photograph, and that was good training early on, because basically I think photography is, all the way up to right now using social media, is telling some sorta story, and I, you know, so I'm thankful for that, and I think that having that journalistic background really helped me even to this day, because what I learned then applies right now.
The mediums a little different, a few things have changed how we do it, but we're telling stories. The writing's important, and I think the writing has been important all along, I also, originally I saw myself as a writer first, and a photographer second, and even in college I was an English major and a design minor, so it's always kinda been that way. In the early days though, the writing helped me a lot in the sense that people could hire one person, and I could both write the stories and shoot the pictures at the same time and so that was very handy, whether it was the newspaper, magazine or even for corporate work, so that turned out quite well.
As that's evolved now, of course writing is a big part of As that's evolved now, of course writing is a big part of what I do because even if I'm doing a tweet or something on Facebook for a client, writing a good story in a few words writing a good story in a few words is a lot harder than taking a lot of words, so that skill has really paid off, and I like writing, so that skill has really paid off, and I like writing, that's the other thing about it. And even when I'm doing a lynda.com course, you know, I'm writing in my head the story that I want to tell I'm writing in my head the story that I want to tell before I ever get on camera or step into the booth.