Hi Rich, tell us about yourself: how long have you been in business, where do you live, and what type of photography do you do?
I am a portrait & documentary photographer based in Stamford, CT, where I have lived since I moved to Connecticut in the 1990s.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I think my love of sports and music was the initial draw into photography. In college, I photographed a lot of professional sports and live music in Buffalo, New York. I started my photo career in news photography working for newspapers and wire services in Western New York.
What does your creative process look like?
My work is typically driven by trying to maintain authenticity in the images I produce. This is the theme that runs through most of my work and I try to understand what the client is working towards and see how we can keep it as real as possible. I don’t lean heavily on Photoshop in my end product. In short, I try to keep it real.
Who or what are your inspirations?
Richard Avedon, Sebastiao Salgado, Dorothea Lange. In more modern day, I grew up looking at the work of Walter Iooss Jr. in Sports Illustrated. He can shoot anything with beauty and integrity.
What personal projects are you working on?
I did a COVID related portrait project last Spring when life basically shut down. It was focused on high school and college seniors who graduated during the pandemic. I have been building out the beginnings of an offshoot business that I think has some potential, but we’ll see. Everything in this business is about evolution and I’m trying my best to keep myself fresh.
What was the most exciting assignment you had recently?
I did a branding shoot for an upstart ski and snowboard clothing brand called AnyTides. We shot the athletes in action at Sugarbush in Vermont, which was really fun and different. I’m pretty comfortable on skis, which is how we executed the shoot, but the speed and skill that these athletes demonstrate was super impressive.
How have you been handling COVID?
Well, being a portrait and people photographer during a pandemic is not the best business to be in, but I’m doing ok. Things seem like they are starting to loosen up a bit and people are starting to talk about shooting again. I’m optimistic things will start to feel more normal in the coming months.
Why is ASMP important to you?
ASMP helps build a community that we can all leverage for everyone’s gain. There is a lot to understand about working in photography and video production and talking with people who have been there before you is the best way to learn.
What do you think are the secrets to a successful photography business?
The only secret I have found is to work hard, listen to your clients and try to over-deliver on every job opportunity you have. There are going to be ups and downs and successes and failures along the way, but each one is an opportunity to learn something new and move it forward.
What do people not know about being a photographer that you wish they did?
I wish people knew how much experience counts when you are producing a shoot. The actual photography part is a relatively small, but obviously very important part of the shoot. Everything that happens before you take a single photo is where you can separate yourself from the pack.
Thank you Rich! To see more images go to www.richardfreeda.com