Today we’d like to introduce you to David Desler.
David, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I was thirteen, my mom enrolled me in a summer course in photography at Barnsdall Art Park on Hollywood Blvd. We learned to develop film (from the old 126 film cartridges) and make prints in the darkroom. I was hooked. At the high school, I attended they offered both a beginning and advanced photography class. It was there that I knew I wanted to be involved in photography some how some way. The teacher, Mr. Mellencamp, always told us if you wanted to make it in the photography industry it would have to become your one and only occupation. You would not be successful if you did photography as a side job. It was also during high school, I was introduced to the work of Ansel Adams. Hike in the great outdoors and take photos, I was all in.
Fast forward to college at California State University Long Beach. They had a great photography program there where I was introduced to John Sexton (who also printed for Ansel Adams). From him I learned the art of visualization in photography. The art where I see a scene and I know how to expose the film, process the film, and make a print the matches what I had originally visualized in my mind. I was in the great outdoors taking photos, waiting for sunrises and sunsets and then reality set in. My girlfriend at the time, and soon to be my wife, pointed out to me that I was spending all this time and money on getting an A for college courses and I was not getting paid. To make it in the world of Ansel Adams type photography at that time, you had to find a gallery that would display and sell your work. Photographers would also acquire sponsors that would pay you to survive and hopefully you would come gallery worthy work so that the sponsor could get a return on their investment. This was just like becoming a famous Hollywood actor. Almost impossible.
A classmate in college introduced me to a wedding photographer in Orange County who was photographing high end weddings and a lot of them. His studio would average 160-200 booked weddings a year. The best part of this arrangement was he allowed you to be creative as long as you got the “money shots” and were efficient in your shot selection. This basically met do not to shoot too much film because that would cost him more money. This was the beginning of would lead me into school and sports team photography. I did weddings and family portraits for my own clients at this time and in 1988 became a full time photographer, while working out of a town- home. My wife would herd our kids upstairs while I met with the clients downstairs. It reached the point where my wife could not take it anymore and I had to find a place to run the business out of. It was not going to be our home.
To run a studio takes a lot of capital. This is where I ventured into school photography. My first school was a preschool in 1994. I still have the account to this day. A bit ambitious to tackle school photography with three and four year olds but, slowly I learned the trade. Over the years I continued to gain schools and refine the art of volume photography. Is this a long way from roots? Yes, it is. But, I think about the memories I am creating. How many of your parents have all those school photos of you growing up. Or, the photos of you in the various sports you played. To you or your loved ones, those memories are priceless.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been a smooth road. There are the financial stresses of running a business. Also, known as cash flow. There is the slow grind of building a client list that will help to increase your business. However, through all these years I have built many good relationships with my school clients that have helped to improve me as a person mentally and spiritually.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with In His Image Photography – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Our business specializes in portrait photography. This includes family portraits, executive portraits, high school senior portraits, school portraits, and sports portraits. We are an independent studio so unlike the bigger school photography companies we can offer customized services to our clients needs.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am looking forward to the start of this coming school year because we did pick up some new clients this year. We are in the process of training a new staff member to handle the work load that will be coming our way in September.
- Address: In His Image Photography
2107 Cherry Ave.,
Signal Hill, CA 90755
- Website: www.inhisimagephoto.com
- Phone: 562-494-7425
- Instagram: inhisimagephotoca
- Facebook: inhisimagephoto.ca
All images created by David Desler