This week’s Questions with a Pro features, Dylan Buyskes.
Dylan is a Buffalo, New York-based photographer and founder of Onion Studio. Dylan and his team highly emphasize collaboration and communication, in order to adequately reflect the client’s vision through their own creative vision. His partner in both life and business is his wife, Robyn Buyskes. Here, Dylan details what it is like to be married to his business partner, what he learned growing up as the son of a creative entrepreneur, and how he works to communicate through his camera.
We asked: What was it like growing up with a creative entrepreneur as a mother? What is the most important thing you learned from your mother that you apply to your own business today?
Dylan said: The beauty of growing up with a creative Mom is that there was always something new and exciting happening. Whether it was an art show at the beach front or a fashion photo shoot in the sand dunes. My mom (Lorna) is always moving, always busy, she barely sits down. I am the same way. I cannot sit still. I have to have something going on at all times. I love being busy. There are 2 important things I have learned from my Mom about business. Customer service is a number one, always making people feel comfortable and relaxed. I say most of my success comes from customer service, not just the photos we create. Secondly, always being able to market yourself, not being afraid to talk about yourself and your business.
We asked: What is it like being married to your business partner? How do you maintain a work-life balance in this situation?
Dylan said: Most importantly, we built our relationship first. We made sure we had a strong base to stand on, we can communicate about anything, openly. Sometimes they are hard conversations, but it has been very important for us to have that. We bring that same mentality into our business with our employees. We have meetings regularly to just get stuff out on the table and make sure everyone has the chance to be heard and then to handle things and move forward. As for how do we balance life and work? I would say our life is a blend of both. If we take a trip, we usually find a way to do some photography, then put down the gear and have fun. A recent trip to Hawaii was mostly so that Robyn (my wife) could do a week long Tribal Dance workshop. So for me, I found a way in to shoot the performances at the end of the week. I relaxed the days leading up, shot some dancer portraits on the beach and had a blast. We met a fire spinner (Lani) in the image above and were able to do some sunset beach photos, and then Robyn was able to photograph Lani for her boudoir business as well. So an example of balance; we did the shoots and then the next day, Lani invited us to go on a hike to see an amazing waterfall; the play side of things.
We asked: Please describe how you communicate through your camera. Do you think this is your strongest form of communication?
Dylan said: Most of my images are of people; I love people and their stories about who they are and how they got there. I always try to find an image of people that makes it feel like you could easily have a conversation with them. Also, importantly showing the environment to show more of the story. For me, I am always trying to show layers; using things in and out of focus or with the use of light to create a more interesting image.
We asked: What is one single piece of advice that you think could lead to positive, beneficial collaboration?
Dylan said: Listen and learn, then react. People want to be heard. I love collaborations. Bringing many ideas together to create something.
We asked: How do you see your business growing in the future? What goals do you have for Onion Studio?
Dylan said: Our business has been growing for the last few years in the commercial world; more commercial clients hiring us for photography and graphic design. This is something we have been working hard at building. We find our commercial clients need all uses of media, photography, design and video. 2019 will be a year to build on the Multi Media aspect. Learning more and collaborating more to offer a full creative package for clients.
Find more of Dylan’s work on the Onion Studio website.