My name is Eric Doggett, and I'm a photographer based in Austin, Texas. My entry into the world of photography was a little backwards. In my late 20s, I was definitely feeling the creative bug—drawing, music—but no real interest in taking pictures. A film camera that I received from my wife as a gift was unused. The idea of taking pictures, taking notes regarding settings, and then later developing them and trying to understand what was happening just didn't seem like a lot of fun. What did seem like fun, though, was Photoshop! At the time, I was being trained in Photoshop for my job. I loved the creative options that I had with every project.
Fast forward to 2005. Our first child was born, and so, like many other photographers, I picked up a digital camera. Seeing what was happening on the back of the camera made all the difference! No more waiting for film to get developed. My curiosity was out of control at that point—I read every book I could come across on photography and lighting. By December of that year, I was shooting a wedding.
Wait, whoa—what was that? Common wisdom says that you should assist/second shoot for a while before you do a wedding on your own. But as I said, I was a little backwards. I photographed weddings steadily until some time in 2010. Around then, I started thinking that my favorite part of the wedding was the 10 minutes of time I had alone with the couple. It was a time when I could come up with some crazy picture idea, and they would usually go for it. But I was spending 10 hours of time waiting for my 10 minutes. Why not shoot more of those fun images? That's when I started getting into editorial photography.
I found that I really enjoyed editorial work. It was much more focused on "the image" rather than the reactionary world of wedding photography. There was more of any opportunity to experiment with lights and processing. And, for me, more of an opportunity to shoot humor.
I think it was a consultant I had worked with who first noticed it. I really enjoyed humor images, and she saw it in both my editorial work and my wedding work. I began to focus on that, and it's now my favorite style of image to create. I love to laugh, and if I can laugh on set and later during post production, I feel like I created something special.
Today, I continue to work on making great images for clients. I love working with others to create something that's bigger than what I had planned. I've taken my humor work and extended it to custom Christmas cards, which I create for clients each year at www.austinchristmascards.com. I've also found that my personal projects can be the most rewarding. They are the images that get me work later on down the road.
As photographers, we're often told to narrow down our focus. Don't be too general. Find exactly the kind of images you want to shoot. I would urge you to do that, too, but it takes time. It's been almost 8 years since I first picked up a camera, and I feel like I still have a long way to go. Perhaps I'll always feel like that. But I have learned what I want to shoot. That I love to laugh. Which is kind of who I am as a person too. Any other way would be backwards.