Industry Profile: Photographer Russell Dalby
20 Aug, 2009
Shay: So tell us about yourself?
Russell: I am 32 years old, I have been living in Whistler for 11 years, and shooting photos for 8ish.
Shay: What is your job title?
Russell: Self Employed Photographer
Shay: Did your parents question your job choice?
Russell: Not really. They still aren’t sure exactly what i do.
Shay: What was your first set up?
Russell: Yashica point and shoot i think.
Shay: What is your current set up?
Russell: Canon 5d2, Canon lenses and Profoto flashes.
Shay: What was your first job?
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
Russell: going really fast and spraying my friends, beers at the end of the day on a patio. maybe nachos as well.
Shay: Who are your influences?
Russell: People that are better than me, so there are lots.
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
Russell: 19 years.
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
Russell: I am probably on a mountain about 100 days per season, 90% snowmobiling, 10% snowboarding. It’s a good mix, it means the runs that i do take are epic!
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, what opened up more opportunities for you?
Russell: I went to high school with Matt Houghton, the old Editor at Snowboard Canada, so I wasn’t nervous sending crappy photos to someone i knew, and finally he printed some.
Shay: What magazines have you been published in?
Russell: Snowboard Canada, Transworld, Snowboarder, Snowboard Mag, Frequency, Future, Playboard, Pleasure, Snowboarder MBM, Transworld Japan, a few others i think.
Shay: What are the steps from taking a photo to getting it published?
Russell: Theres only one step, and it is endless hours on the computer.
Shay: Is understanding composition, lighting, exposure important to becoming a photographer?
Russell: Absolutely. Some people rely on their computer skills to make their shots look good, but I’d rather do as little as possible to each photo after i take it.
Shay: Who is your favorite snowboarder to photograph and why?
Russell: My favorite snowboarder is the one who doesn’t mind doing stupid little things when i tell them its going to be a cool photo!
Shay: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about photography?
Russell: To try new things everyday. The worst is seeing all your photos at the end of the season and they all look the same!
Shay: What computer programs do you use?
Russell: Adobe Lightroom
Shay: In what ways do you use social media to expand your photography business?
Russell: I have a blog to keep people up to date on what I’m doing and what I’ve been up to. The usual.
Shay: Any close encounters from taking action shots on the mountain?
Russell: I’ve been landed on a few times because im stupid and i get too close to the action sometimes. Haven’t been hurt yet though.
Shay: How is working as a photographer (any cool work events, work environment, job perks)?
Russell: I get to go exploring all the mountains and (in a roundabout way) get paid for it. Thats the best perk. But also good perks include never paying for snowboard equipment or lift tickets, and writing off everything I do buy as a work expense.
Shay: What education/experience did you have before getting the job?
Russell: Lots of practice!
Shay: What’s the best perk you’ve gotten from your job?
Russell: Trip to Alaska last year.
Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?
Russell: I’m pretty sure I’ll never get rich doing this!
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
Russell: Its busy all year, but springtime submission time involves the most computer time, thats probably the busiest time.
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Russell: I think it’s important to read books and stuff, but without lots of practice, education is nothing. In my opinion anyways.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to become a professional photographer?
Russell: start off by being independently wealthy and youll have no problems!
*Pictures courtesy of Russell Dalby