Interview with Photographer Tyler O’Neill

“Do more. Practice more. Even if you’re already trying hard, try harder. Get out there and be seen.”

2015 #6 JUNE T ONeill4 webbTyler, can you tell us about yourself and your photographic background? I do mostly commercial product and fashion photography based out of Las Vegas, NV. I have been working professionally as a photographer for the last 5 years, but spent almost 5 years prior as the 1st assistant to another photographer who I look up to and learn a lot from.

How did you develop your style? I developed my style through years of practice, learning what I like to see in photos. I like to try new things, which don’t always work out, but when they do – it’s great, and it helps refine my photographic style that much more.

Where do you find the majority of your inspiration? I am always looking to other photographers to see how they are pushing the boundaries of their craft. With social media, it’s easy to find new people doing unique things. I also look to my local art scene, and do plenty of research on my field online and through networking. This helps me see what has and hasn’t been done yet, and I can apply that to future work.

What fascinates and motivates you most in photography? I love to see whimsical scenes. Whether it be a surreal landscape, or an off-the-wall fashion editorial, these things evoke emotion that spur moods and ideas I personally would like to convey through my photography.

What are the biggest challenges you experience in the photography field? It’s probably personal emotion. If I have a feeling I’m trying to convey through an image, but it’s not working, it’s hard to let it go and try something else – but necessary to make it work. This can make or break a shoot.

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Tell us a secret, what does it take to get that one killer shot of the day? Planning. Know your situation. Know your model (or product). Know your light. Know your location. Know your shoot in and out before you even show up. Being prepared for the shoot not only makes it easier, but it also makes sure you get exactly what you are going for.

In your opinion, what makes a good photographer? What is the most important skill set for a photographer to have? In my opinion, pre-production. Photographers are expected to know their camera, their lighting and how to direct a shoot, but even the best photographers can have the worst happen if they’re not prepared. Taking a little extra time to prepare your shoot makes a world of difference.

What was your most memorable/favorite project you worked on so far? What’s the shoot you are most proud of? My most memorable shoot right now is probably my first shoot in the dunes, it got me a lot of attention and inspired me to push myself harder. The shoot I’m most proud of is probably a landscape/editorial shoot I did in Monument Valley. I put in a lot of work to make that happen, and it turned out great. You can see some shots from it on my website.

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What is your mental checklist before a shoot? I always run through the basics in my head before a shoot, double checking my camera, lights, props and anything else I may be using. I also like to show up early to mentally prepare on set. I usually have a mood-board that I look over for a few days before the shoot, and they day of. It helps me get my mind in the right place for the shoot.

What is your post-processing workflow like? I use both Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom first for my global raw adjustments, and Photoshop for everything else like clean-up, dodging & burning and color grading.

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To your opinion, what role do image editing programs play in today’s photography? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using it? Image editing programs are essential. They convert our digital raw data to a usable image. “Photoshopping” gets a bad rep, mostly because some people way overdo it, but it’s no different than how photographers would dodge & burn in a film darkroom before digital software. The advantages are that it makes it quicker and easier to produce a finished image. I don’t see any disadvantages besides people labeling you as a Photoshop user, which could be good or bad depending on who’s saying it.

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What are some tips/advice you would give to yourself if you started photography all over again? Do more. Practice more. Even if you’re already trying hard, try harder. Get out there and be seen. Don’t skimp on your time or effort, it’ll be worth it in the end – and it’ll show in what you do.

Where can fashion professionals see your works?

I update to and as well.

Describe yourself in three words please. Patient. Thoughtful. Determined.

What is your life motto? Pablo Picasso said it well – “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

Published June 2015: BUY NOW