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Meet Gary Westby of Gary Westby Photography in Downtown Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gary Westby.

Gary, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
While working for The Village Voice in NYC as an Advertising Account Executive, some of my clients were affected by the budget collapse of 2008 and were unable to provide suitable creative to continue their print and digital campaigns. As a way to keep them from pulling their campaigns, I offered to shoot new creative by organizing the concept, models, doing set design and dressing, lighting, shoots, and post production work. It was a lot of work but didn’t feel like it at all. After some success with the first two clients, I soon found myself doing work for brands like Harley Davidson of NYC. Working with models on the shoots got me in with some of the fashion modeling agencies. One thing lead to another and I soon found myself in LA. My love of photography and attention to detail got me in with many of the top modeling agencies in the city and contributing to sites like Arsenic, Sports Illustrated and shooting for many brands and designers.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My biggest setback came shortly after making a large leap in scale of studio a few months after I had become the primary photographer for a large eCommerce site. The investment in the studio was rather significant and about a month into being in the new space I got the call that they had decided to start shooting in house. As this was the bulk of my gross income, it was a major setback for sure but with it came a lot of very valuable lessons that I hope to be able to pass along as well as never forget.

Please tell us about Gary Westby Photography.
If I had to sum it up in one word, that I’m known for its lighting. But What thrills me the most about photography is the unique perspective that each shooter brings to the table. A client came come to me with an idea of what they want and I can offer my take on it, my perspective. The shoots that I am most proud of tend to be the ones that took the most pre-production work, Black out tents in 50 mph winds at the beach running 6000 watts of power off of generators to get the look that we were going for a swimwear client or designing a Victorian era library with a fireplace in studio for a ready to wear client. These are the challenges that I thrive off of.

Currently, I am elaborating on a specialized style that involves a 10-foot by 8-foot sheet of bullet proof glass suspended over white that I shoot the models atop of. This particular look is the look that I hope to become known for as its very specific to me and I’ve not yet seen anything else quite like it. Alas, this may also mean that I may not be able to do as much on location shooting or set design. I’m very A.D.D. like that. It’s very hard for me to commit to just one style. I think my work reflects this.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Oh God. I think that most of what I regret the most was related to not just business growing pains but growing up growing pains. These are things that I could wish to be different but just can’t be. They are now a part of me and my journey. They actually helped to shape me into who I am so I really wouldn’t want to have done it differently. One thing maybe could have effected things differently, getting a camera sooner!!! But with how photography started for me I’m not sure I would have gotten to do all the things I got to do if I had.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 646-355-7941
  • Email:
  • Instagram: Gary_California

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