Peter Doyle * El Guapo!
I met Peter through an online marketing convention in January of 2009. He is one of those people that can increase the joy in a room as soon as he walks in. He emulates happiness, it just glows around him. Little did I know how talented he was to boot. His portfolio is amazing – I love his style and his flare for capturing moments. Check it out, you’ll want to have your wedding photos taken all over again. I’m excited to be able to share with you the insight of this fabulous man. If you get the chance to meet him, make every effort, he’ll inspire you to be a better you.
What do you create?
I photograph weddings for the benefit of the bride and groom’s children’s children.
What medium do you enjoy most?
I obviously love the art of photography but I see a great opportunity to mesh photography and video together for a stronger impact.
What title would you give yourself?
How did you get started?
I’ve always been interested in photography. In fact, I remember just enjoying the sound of the shutter of any camera as a kid. Since I never had any money to buy a camera in high school or college, I never even thought about purchasing one. However, while in Best Buy one December day my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas and not knowing what to say I just pointed to the nearest camera and said, “I’ll take that.”
It was the film based Canon Rebel and once I had that I started photographing local music artists at bars and coffee shops. Then came the opportunity to photography my first wedding. I charged 300.00 because if it turned out really bad then they couldn’t get too mad because it was so cheap. On the other hand, if the photographs turned out really good then they would have got a heck of a deal. It turned out really good!
I was hooked on weddings after that first one and last year I photographed about 20 weddings.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A photographer that is known for his willingness to help and his network of friends.
Name three favorite artists/designers/creatives:
Joe Buissink: a celebrity wedding photographer who has a great eye for candids. One of his children is autistic so he is heavily involved in that community. In fact, you can see his photos in the new book “Autism Heroes” by Barbara Firestone. I bought a few to hand out to some of my clients.
Jerry Ghionis: His website can be a little awkward to go through but his work is flawless. He has both a passion for photography, photography community, and most importantly the business. His view on business is that if you love photographing weddings then you won’t photograph very many if you don’t stay in business.
Tom Hooper: He was the director for the series on HBO, “John Adams.” He did a great job on Point of View and also did a great job in using framing and composition to keep the audience attentive.
For extra credit:
Martin Scorsese: He understands the science and art of directing. I try to listen to all the movie commentaries from him.
What kind of training, schooling or other learning experiences have you gone through that have helped you get to where you are now?
Some form of formal education is always needed to understand the science behind the art. No matter what medium you use there is always a history and a science behind it. Many, many people have gone before you and worked out the kinks for you. In my case, it would be silly to figure out exposure on my own when there are more than enough photographers who are more than willing to teach me a thing or two about it.
For me I took a correspondence course from the New York Institute of Photography. This was a great help in understanding the science behind the workings of film and digital exposures. After that I would attend seminars that were taught by established photographers that I wanted to emulate. It is important to remember that art is a form of communication just as much as literature or oratory is a form of communication. Obey the rules but always strive to find your own voice.
An artist’s voice should always be his own. In order to do this you must constantly develop your voice on your own and never be give in to the fear of meaninglessness. With that in mind I photographed everything that I could. I would volunteer my talents to local events and charities. This way I could make mistakes and take risks in how I took the photographs without any worry that someone would get mad.
Do you feel you’re successful?
I certainly feel successful in what I have accomplished but I can’t use those accomplishments to excuse me from developing new ways and better ways to be creative. Like anything else, creativity will only get better if you are consistent and work hard at it.
What do you like most about what you do?
I like meeting people. So many times in the wedding industry photographers will take the “one hit wonder” attitude with their customers. They get the money from the customer, photograph the wedding, give them what they paid for and hit the road for another customer. There is a difference between having a customer and developing a client.
I write notes and letters to my clients throughout the year. Not only am I building a relationship with them so that they will refer me but I am building a network of friends.
What #1 piece advice can you offer to those which might like to “follow in your footsteps”?
Here is my #1 Answer with 5 parts:
- Take an introductory class to understand the basics of taking a good photograph
- Search Flickr and the net for wedding photographs and look for styles that you would like to take yourself
- Go to the local book story and find fashion magazines or any other magazines that have the style of photographs you would like to take.
- Visit joebuissink.com and jerryghionisphotography.com
- Go out and photograph, photograph, and photograph some more
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud that I stopped talking about photographing weddings and making money from it and did something about it.
Other comments and ideas you’d like to share:
Obey the rules and trust your instinct. Do not use the excuse that you are tired because you can sleep anytime but your opportunity to shine and develop may only come once.
Also, if you have any questions about wedding photography or photography in general then give me a call. (770) 846 – 9274
Editor note: Peter also offers a fabulous free ebook Finding Your Perfect Wedding Photographer