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Meet West Hollywood Photographer: Erik Umphery

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erik Umphery.

Erik, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m originally from Baltimore, MD. I was introduced to photography by my Mother at a young age and developed my love for it. She passed when I was 11 and I stopped shooting. As I got older I had the desire to get back into photography and even signed up for a course when I was in college, but you had to purchase an SLR camera and I could not afford it at the time. I graduated with a degree in Finance and went off to work in corporate America, several years into my career a friend posted on facebook, “who wants to take a photography class with me”, I went out purchased a camera and signed up for the 6-week class. This pretty much sums up my life now:

Running shoes, check. Camera, check. iPhone, check. I’m good. Gave up suits & ties for a camera and a hell-of-a-life. My mantra is to live, love, travel, eat and along the way capture these moments.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has been far from a smooth road. It took me a very long time in my mind to even figure out what I truly wanted to shoot, all while being a full-time photographer. I’d be fortunate enough to book jobs to pay my bills but I’d be shooting projects that I was not really passionate about. Learning how to deal with the highs and lows of the business, particularly early on. I was fortunate enough to book 4 jobs my second year as a full-time photographer shooting for Gillette, I thought that I had made it and every job would be like that, then when the phone wasn’t ringing with jobs or the jobs were nowhere near the level of the Gillette jobs it caused me to hit a really hard low. Eventually, I pulled myself out of the low and just started shooting a ton of personal work. And through the personal work my phone start to ring a little more, but I really work hard to not let big opportunities or disappointments affect me and just remain even and continue shooting personal work every chance I get.

What’s your outlook for the industry over the next 5-10 years?
I think in the next 5-10 years photography will continue to change, there will be even more professional/semi-pro photographers. Phones will probably be as good as professional cameras. And you will be able to pull high-quality stills from video. I’m excited about all these changes for the industry.

What has been the primary challenge you’ve faced?
To not allow good things or bad things effect me. There have been times when I’d book a huge job and I’d think that was it I had made it and more jobs like this will just start rolling in and I stopped doing the work that it requires to get to that point so no additional jobs rolled in, which lead to the bad, no jobs. Which again effected me to not want to do anything and that lead to no jobs and slight depression. The lesson in it all was to remain even and always create.

What advice do you wish to give to those thinking about pursuing a path similar to yours?
Focus on creating and create as often as you can. Start where you use what you have and just create. It sounds simple but, it is the hardest thing to do consistently. Also, share what you create and be proud of it.

Contact Info:

0-TJ8C0992 1-EMU_5816 2-EMU_0552_web 3-Carlie12059_web 4-SMI2212_web 5-SMI1510v2_web 6-SMI1583_web 7-EMU_1739_B_w_webImage Credit:
Michael B Jordan, Lance Gross, Logan Paul, Brittany Furlan + Dog, Morgan Pope, Carlie Thomsen, Melvin Gregg

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