AMA - Gary Randall

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We are thrilled to have @ Gary_Randall join us in March; prepare your questions for Gary! The AMA will start on March 21st at starting from 10:00 am Eastern time (02:00 pm UTC/GMT) for 24 hours only.

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Gary´s Bio

Gary Randall lives in the small town of Brightwood near Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, both of which have influenced his love of both Nature and photography. He’s got quite a colorful background that includes traveling since he was a child, military service, college, journeyman industrial experience, business, photography, and an absolute love for what he does. Gary has been taking photos since he was about six years old when he was given a Brownie Hawkeye. Taking photos has been a passion since. He bought his first 35mm SLR, a Yashica, when he joined the U.S. Navy and immediately wanted to learn how to develop his own photos.

Gary has the experience and wisdom from a lifetime of enthusiastic hard work and adventure. He has been a full-time, professional fine art Nature photographer for over twenty years and honed his skills to a fine point. His worldwide reputation is well deserved and any trip with him is one you will not soon forget!

Looking forward too this one!!

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Thank you Fritz!!! Me too.

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Hi Gary!

I love your work! Your story is inspiring as I’m at the point that you were 20 years ago. I’ve been doing the surveying engineering side of things. As a person who enjoys my life in the field, I don’t foresee being a retiree in this career.

I am pivoting to landscape photography but finding it hard to get any traction in the landscape photography field. I sell roughly 60 calendars a year but apart from that I don’t make much income otherwise .

Is there any advice that you could provide this budding photographer?

Thanks! -Joseph Prater

Hello Joseph, or should I say Wiz? Glad to meet you. I appreciate your kind words.

I understand. Personally, I had gotten to a point where where a lot in my life had changed. I lost my brother, I went through a divorce, my dad passed and then the company that I was working for was bought out and I didn’t like the whole situation and left. I thought that I would take some time and return to the trade after a break. I never returned.

After that period of loss, where much of what I thought would be there for me for the rest of my life was gone, I just wanted to start over. I had lost much and had little left. When I decided to become a photographer I didn’t need much to survive and so it was easier for me. I reduced my life to a point where I didn’t have debt, I was able to buy a small, simple but simple home that I still live in. My car was used. I just didn’t have to make a lot of money at first. It was just me and my little dog.

I tell you this because this is my journey, but today there are so many resources to help a photographer maintain the business side of photography.

When I first started I didn’t really have the notion to be a full time landscape photographer. I started out doing commercial work, portraiture and events. That was quick money.

All my life I’ve been an avid outdoor adventurer, you might say. I was raised that way. As an adult I have been a enthusiastic solo hiker. Through the hikes that I’d take I started getting into landscape work as my hobby. I wanted to take photos of the incredibly beautiful places my friends and family couldn’t see. I had no idea how to monetize my landscape work back then, and twenty plus years ago there weren’t YouTube video tutorials or social media influencers to be inspired by. Processing photos using raw files was a little new. All this had to be figured out.

Today it’s much easier to get into landscape and blast off with it. There’s a ton of information out there for budding landscapers.

Concerning the business side. Because of my past experience with life I’ve always encouraged anyone who wants to make a living as a photographer, think outside of fine art landscape photography box until the skill level of their art and their business reaches a point where they are starting to sell some prints. Then leave the other work and concentrate on your fine art landscape photos, if that’s your ultimate goal.

A benefit of taking photography jobs is that it really helps build ones skill as a photographer. Different subjects and conditions require different approaches that will develop skills that help improve your photography.

My best advice is to pare your life expenses down to a point that would meet your income if you have left your first job, otherwise work your job and ease into it. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Many photographers who quit their jobs to do this full time give up because they aren’t making the money that they need to maintain the lifestyle they created with their job. While you have your job prepare for the next step.

I know many photographers who had good jobs and were able to set aside a nest egg to fall back on or had a retirement income while they build their business - That certainly wasn’t my situation.

Not sure if this ramble helps but that’s my point of view.

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