Casey Fatchett is an actor turned wedding photographer, who was able to turn his love of learning into thousands of unforgettable moments, and even a few impressive accolades along the way. His work has been featured around the world in leading publications, and his credits include “Best Wedding Photographer in New York City” and one of the “Top Ten Wedding Photographers in the United States” by the Wedding Industry Experts Awards in 2013. Casey is a three time recipient of The Knot’s ‘Best of Weddings’ Award (2012-2014), WeddingWire’s Couples Choice Award (2012-2014), and a great friend to MentorMob.
Everyone wants to know how the greats become great, so we met up with Casey to talk about how he crafted his photography skills, and what he has to say to other beginner and advanced photogs out there.
How did you start learning photography?
I started teaching myself on a completely manual film camera. It was an exercise in the technical aspects of photography – composition, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. - without the instant gratification that digital photography now gives us.
What steps did you take to teach yourself photography on your own?
I read. A lot. I devoured books on lighting, photographic techniques, as well as books of photos by famous (and not so famous) photographers. I would look at photos and try to figure out all of the technical aspects (lighting, what lens was used, etc.). Then I would go out an apply what I had learned to the photos I wanted to take. There was a lot of trial and error.
Later on, I attended seminars and workshops. I researched on the internet. I am always adding knowledge to my ‘tool box’.
If you did use the internet to learn or enhance your skills, how did you find good content to learn from? Did you have to pay?
Unfortunately, in the beginning of my photographic career, the internet was not the wealth of knowledge that it is today. That is where books came into play. These days, if there is something I am interested in learning, I will research the internet. Research involves doing a lot of sifting, especially on the internet. Don’t think the first article you get when you do a Google search is the necessarily the best or most comprehensive study on the topic you are interested in. I will read multiple articles, watch tutorials, and try to get a better understanding before I go out and practice the technique before attempting it with a paying client.
Would you have used a website like MentorMob if it was available to you? Would you still have done physical lessons as well?
I definitely would have used a website like MentorMob as one part of my learning if it had been available. I think access to online information would have made my initial learning process a lot easier. That being said, I don’t think that there should be only one way to learn something, or that you should limit yourself to one course of learning. When it comes to actually taking photos, nothing beats practical experience. You do not necessarily have to have a traditional classroom or workshop format to learn from other photographers in the real, physical world. I still take workshops and get together with other photographers to discuss photos, techniques, marketing. My photographer friends have taught me some of my most important lessons.
Do you consider yourself an expert? Who are some photographers you look up to?
I have been taking photos for a long time, but there is always something new to learn. I don’t believe in resting on my laurels. I am constantly pushing myself to learn more and expand my knowledge. I really admire conflict photographers. They risk their lives to capture photos. I highly recommend any photographer read the books or watch the various films about the “Bang Bang Club”.
What are some of your most prized photography accomplishments?
Happy clients. Handwritten notes, phone calls, emails, and glowing reviews all show me how much of an effect my photos have on the lives of the people I work with. I recently photographed an event for a couple who I have worked with for almost a decade now. They stopped the event to thank me for being a part of their lives and said that they considered me a part of their family. I was on the verge of tears. domain tech info That makes all of the difficult times worthwhile.
What advice do you have for any young photographers?
Practice. Practice all of the time. One of the best things about digital photography is that you can practice without having to pay for film. You can try new techniques, different lighting, different compositions, and then see them immediately. Find what works for you. Take photos that you find interesting and don’t feel pressured to fit a particular mold. Don’t waste your time comparing yourself to other photographers – they had their own trials and tribulations and you are never going to be them. You can only be yourself.
Also, if you plan on running your own photography business, take some business classes.
What advice do you have for any advanced photographers looking to get better?
Push yourself creatively to try new things, and learn new techniques. Even if you don’t end up using them, they will teach you more about yourself and how you create photos. It will keep the process fresh and help you maintain your energy level over the long run so that you don’t burn out.
Thanks to Casey Fatchett for his inspiring advice, and as a little note to all photographers out there, keep learning in every possible way.
Check out a couple of Casey’s photographs below and check out his website at www.Fatchett.com