Best of ASMP 2019 First Place Winner Profile – Tracy + David Stills and Motion

by | Jan 13, 2020 | Best of 2019, Contests

Los Angeles, California
Image © Tracy + David Stills and Motion

Perfect Beach Day

First Place – Personal/Self Promotion

ASMP: What was your inspiration for taking this photo?

Tracy + David: We’re inspired by so many things around us, from beautiful places we’ve visited, to interesting people and places we’ve met and seen, to other photographers’ work we’ve found and love. We’re always looking for new ways to tell stories, and in between our work for clients, we are constantly working on self-assigned projects to stay inspired and to push ourselves to explore new directions in our work. This image came from a personal project of photographing the beach from a new perspective with our drone. We love the colors and shapes of the natural landscape, and particularly love the look of the beach from above, as there is so much variation and color in the water, sand, and umbrellas. We wanted to capture the feeling of what we think the beach is all about to many people – relaxation and serenity.

ASMP: What type of setting do you prefer?

T+D: While we are adept at working in the studio, we most often work on location and love having an environmental component to our imagery. We also love traveling and going on new adventures, and always look forward to exploring and finding new beautiful places to use as our backdrops.

ASMP: Is there anything unique about your style or approach?

T+D: We work as a team, and are both equally experienced photographers, both directing and shooting stills and motion. We are also former news photojournalists and spent years searching for interesting people and stories in our communities, so brainstorming and working on new project ideas is something that is second nature to us. No matter what we’re working on, we’re always reaching back to our photojournalism roots to create imagery that feels authentic and tells a story. While we love what we do now and haven’t looked back, we’ve always felt that our work as photojournalists was the best bootcamp, where we problem solved all day everyday, learned to be extremely flexible and nimble, and learned to work with people from all different walks of life. We became extremely adept at working in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment, thinking quickly, staying calm in stressful situations, and creating large libraries of images under seemingly impossible deadlines. These skills have been invaluable in our commercial work today, and we use this background to work on productions of all sizes, to tell stories in a documentary or directed style (or often something in between), to shoot stills and motion, and to shoot libraries of images (or focus on just a few hero images), depending on what the client needs.

ASMP: How long have you been shooting this type of photography?

T+D: We got our UAS/drone certification and added drone photography to our repertoire in the past few years.

ASMP: When did you join ASMP and what do you find most valuable about your membership?

T+D: David joined ASMP in 2007 and was previously a board member in the Ohio North Coast chapter, and Tracy joined the Los Angeles chapter in 2011. We’ve found our memberships to be a great resource over the years. When we first left our newspaper staff photography positions 9+ years ago, ASMP helped us gain much needed business and workflow skills, especially through the Strictly Business 3 conference in Los Angeles in 2011, where we met some wonderful photographers and people, and came away inspired with new photography and business ideas. We’ve also been fortunate to have gotten to work with some wonderful clients who found us through ASMP’s Find a Photographer. We also love getting to LA and San Diego chapter events and learning, meeting, and connecting with others. We, unfortunately, don’t get to events as often as we’d like due to scheduling conflicts on our end, but we can never have enough of the great camaraderie and education that we get from ASMP.

ASMP: What kind of gear do you use?

T+D: For cameras, we most often use Canon DSLR’s and cinema cameras, and DJI drones.

ASMP: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your work? Go ahead, surprise us with something unique and unusual.

T+D: As we’re a husband and wife team, people we’ve just met are often curious how we work together on set. We shoot together on almost every project, working as a team to get more images, angles, ideas, etc. Most often, we’re both shooting from different angles simultaneously, capturing essentially double the images and angles that one of us could do on our own. Occasionally, if we have an extremely tight schedule or we need to shoot at two locations at once, we’ll both shoot simultaneously on different sets/locations for the same project. In those cases, we aren’t together, per se, but are both shooting at the same time, and know very clearly what we’re trying to accomplish, how everything needs to fit together, and what the end goal is, so we’re still very much working as a team on the project. Sometimes we’ll do an underwater shoot or a drone shoot, and one person might be underwater shooting images or flying a drone to get an overhead view, while the other is on land shooting from a different angle. We love to work together to photograph a project from multiple angles at once, and really enjoy getting to see the perspective the other person captured. We’ve developed and share a cohesive vision and style, but we are still individually creative with unique ideas. We love that by having two sets of eyes and two minds working through ideas and projects, we can merge our perspectives together and come up with something greater than what we’d do individually. We (and our clients) also love that we can produce more work in the same amount of time than one of us could do on our own. Together, we push things further, find different angles, and push each other to see and think differently, which results in a better final product.