2016-09-13 In Friends
From a hobbyist to a professional photographer — with Gregory Royar
Gregory Royar is a Director of Technology for the Argyle ISD School District in Argyle Texas. He also runs a photo and video business called Gregory Royar IMG CO, where he gets to express his creative side and work on passion projects.
Why and how did you get into photography?
I’ve always been interested in photography, but didn’t really play with cameras much until I got into the automotive scene with some former roommates about 8 years ago. When we were modifying our cars, we always wanted to take updated pictures at cool new locations. This spurred me into buying my first decent camera, a canon rebel XT, and spending hours after hours reading about editing and the functions of the camera. Almost everything I know I’ve learned from forums, youtube how-to video’s, and friends in the industry. You really can self teach almost any craft now-a-day’s with the vast amount of information online.
How long have you been shooting and what gear do you shoot with?
I’ve been shooting professionally for 4-5 years now. I started out with Canon and then transitioned to Sony. I now use the Fujifilm X-Pro2 for my photo work, and the Sony A7sII for video work.
What was the moment that made you decide to pursue photography professionally?
After I tried my hand at wedding video work, it really inspired me to delve into the industry. There’s nothing better than seeing the sheer joy on a client’s face while they relive their moments through the way I have captured them via my interpretation.
You mentioned in your answers that you are the director of technology for the argyle ISD school district. How do you balance working as a director and your business?
Someone recently asked me almost the same question, and I had never really though about it. If you’re passionate about something, you make it happen instead of making up excuses. I think the biggest trade-off is not having a lot of spare time to kill, which I’m ok with.
Do aspects of your job as a technology director translate to how you shoot or edit photography/videography?
It seems as though the reverse usually happens. I end up bringing my creative side into the role of Director. I use video and photos to inject creativity and humor into a position that usually lacks both. My jobs complement each other very well.
“Always strive to be better ”
What’s the toughest challenge you face (or faced) as a photographer?
To continually stay motivated and keep pressing forward to learn more. I’ve learned to “Kick myself in the butt” if I notice I am getting lazy. To achieve more, you have to keep moving forward and try new things..
Any photographers you lookup to? Why?
- Casey Neistat (more so a video creator, not a photographer) – Uhg, I wish I had his motivation and drive. I’m obsessed with his Daily Vlogs.
- Dale Martin – A good friend. I love that Dale left the IT field to pursue his dream.
- Jay Cassario – This guy makes magic with so many different brands of gear. He can make any camera work for him and his work is beautiful.
- Christian Watson – He has a very unique style and pushes content constantly. He also designed my logo!
After observing your instagram feed and your photos on your website, I noticed that you use a lot of warm tones and you tend to add some sort of nature aspect into your compositions. How long did it take to hone your photography style? Also, could you give us three tips on how you achieve this look ?I would say that my style is constantly evolving, but I am finally at a place that my editing is mostly consistent. Over the past couple of years I’ve been able to achieve edits that I don’t constantly second-guess after the image has been completed. When I switched to Fujifilm for my photography, it significantly reduced the amount of editing I was doing to achieve my desired look.
Are you working on any personal projects you’d like share?I am releasing tips from time to time on my instagram account for motivation and what gear works for me. I love getting community feedback and helping others out.
Do you have a favorite workspace outside of home and corporate offices?For the non alcoholic variety, starbucks is always a great place to hang out and get some work done. If you’re a fan of craft beer, then my top two would be Taps and Caps, or The Bearded Monk in Denton TX. Both have great atmospheres as well as a large selection of drinks.
What advice would you give a novice in photography?Never be satisfied with your own work. Always strive to be better and stay humble. Get out there and do more.
Process tips on achieving Greg’s photography style
- Shoot near sunrise or sunset
- Embrace harsh shadows
- Use a mirrorless camera with an electronic viewfinder so you can see how flare will impact the photo while shooting into the sun.
Bonus:My editing process for photos starts with the RAW or JPG, depending on how close the image is to the look I want. (on the X-Pro2, I shoot raw to the primary card, and JPG with the Classic Chrome profile applied). I pull the image into Lightroom and apply a modified version of the VSCO preset Kodak Gold 100. Next, I export the image to Alien Skin Exposure and apply a variant of Kodak Portra 160NC, or Kodak Portra 400NC. From there, the image goes into photoshop for final cleanup (clone, heal, dodge, burn).I export three versions of the image to store:
- A high resolution full quality JPG
- A low resolution JPG (1080 width)
- A low resolution PNG (1080 width)