Posted March 26, 2015 by Casey McCallister

Andy has many years experience working in Atlanta’s commercial photography scene where he has built an impressive fashion portfolio shooting film. We caught up with him to learn how he got started with photography and he shared with us his positive attitude on the industry itself.

Tell me about yourself. How did you get into photography?

My mother was a multi-faceted artist and took so many photos that one of my brothers sarcastically called her ‘Mrs. Kodak’. I started playing with her cameras as early as 2-3 years old. I loved taking pictures and eventually bought my own 35mm ‘film’ camera with money I saved and built a darkroom in my bathroom. It was the magic of the darkroom that made me fall in love with the beauty of this art and pursue it as a career.

SmartShoot photographer Andy Allen

SmartShoot photographer Andy Allen

You are a very versatile photographer. What kind of subjects really reel you in? What catches your eye to compel you to photograph it?

I have worked for different large commercial studios for years and some days you didn’t know what you were going to shoot when you showed up in the morning…people, fashion, product, architecture…whatever the job was, you had to deliver professional consistent quality or you didn’t have a job. Sometimes there were as many as a dozen other shooters in the studio with you that day and many others wanting your job.


Any projects that you’re working on that you’re excited about?

I’m currently working on a retail fashion website for a startup business in a very competitive market, so the impact of the site has to be good. I like working with businesses that are new and helping them brand their business. Their excitement, appreciation and enthusiasm with the results is very rewarding.

SmartShoot photographer Andy Allen

Who are your mentors? Who do you look to for inspiration?

I have primarily been a fashion photographer for 25+ years, so my mentors are in that field. Peter Lindbergh, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts and Richard Avedon to name a few who photograph in black and white. Beyond that, simply noticing natural light and its effect on us by invoking a mood is something that moves me to pick up my camera, capture it, and maybe replicate it in my work again someday.

SmartShoot photographer Andy Allen

With the barriers of getting into photography becoming fewer, how are you staying competitive in the quickly changing field?

Unfortunately, as great as digital photography can be in this impatient, instant-gratification society, it, along with Photoshop, has allowed many people to be in this business that shouldn’t or couldn’t be, so I try to follow one of ‘The Four Agreements’ and that is to ‘always do the best job you can’. By delivering consistent quality, you will survive among the many that deliver once in awhile under pressure. When Murphy’s Law comes into effect, and things aren’t going as planned, you know how to overcome and get the job done to make your client happy.

SmartShoot photographer Andy Allen
SmartShoot photographer Andy Allen
What do you wish someone told you when you were just starting out? Any advice for fellow photographers?

I can’t answer that one one because I’m always learning and continuing to grow. You learn better from your mistakes. I’m pretty old school and things are very different now and they will be very different very soon again. Find your niche, find your love, and the more you love what you do, the better you will be at what you love to do.

SmartShoot photography from Andy Allen

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About Casey McCallister

I am an adventure and outdoor lifestyle photographer from San Francisco and the growth hacker at SmartShoot. I enjoy traveling and spending time in nature.

Keep in touch: @caseymac

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