On the Web

ILTPbuzzWe’re tickled pink to be featured as one of BuzzFeed’s 16 Awesome Instagram Accounts From Deep In The Heart Of Texas! Want to take over the baton or check out some more photos? Click here.

Also, congrats to some of our former instagrammers who were also featured: John Dunaway (@abstractconformity) and Drew Anthony Smith (@drewanthonysmith)!

We’re looking for someone to take over running our Instagram account for the next few months. This involves corresponding, scheduling, and posting on our account.  As a thank you to whoever helps us, we are offering FREE entry into ALL of the panels at Texas Photo Roundup. If you’re interested, let us know.


I had the pleasure of talking to Eric Doggett recently and picked his brain on what made him click as a successful commercial photographer in today’s competitive industry. We spoke about his career decisions and the creative influences that made him the photographer he is today.

What/Who were your biggest inspirations growing up?
I came to photography late in life. When I was younger, I was more inspired by other creative areas like music and art. I spent four years in the Air Force at the Pentagon, and at the end of that tour I started thinking more about creative areas I was interested in. One of the big ones for me (and still to this day) was film music – I have a crazy appetite for film scores. It’s a bit of a weird type of music to get hooked on, but I love them. So when my family and I moved to Austin, I did music for independent films and commercials in town. Now that I’ve moved into a visual medium, all that music inspires me while I’m working. I can match up a certain soundtrack with a mood I’m in, or the mood of an image I’m working on, and be very happy.

Do you have any influences that inspire your current work?
Sure. Like many of us, I have several. Some of my favorites include Dan Winters (who, interestingly, I run into on occasion as he lives about 20 minutes away), Randal Ford, Jeremy Cowart, George Lange, Art Streiber, Brian Smith, Dean Bradshaw, Erik Almas, Frank Ockenfels and lately, Matt Hoyle for his humor work.

What career path were you involved in before deciding that you needed a change?
My background was in information technology/web development. We would create applications for various organizations at the Pentagon. It was an interesting place to be at when I was in my 20s. But (like all development-type work), it takes a certain mindset to put up with those fluorescent lights all day. I just knew it wasn’t for me. For example, I would have more fun creating promotional videos or images for various projects than I ever had writing code. In fact, one of my favorite accomplishments from that time was creating the official logo for the government’s Y2K effort. This was back around Photoshop 3, when layers were new and all the rage.


What moment made you realize that you wanted to pursue photography?
2005. I was doing web development work for a health company and our first son was born. I somehow convinced my wife that we needed a new camera to capture all of his little life events, and somehow by the end of that year I found myself shooting weddings.

How did you get started?
The first one was one of those ‘friend of a friend’ weddings that was going to be small. There was a good three-month period where I remember getting my hands on any photography book I could find and reading it over and over. The funny thing about weddings for me was that my most favorite time of the whole event was when I had ten minutes alone with the couple to create images. In my mind, I was spending eight to ten hours of shooting to get those ten minutes of fun. And as I did more and more of them, I started sketching ideas for shoots we could do during that time. And they started involving more and more humor. In fact, consultants would look over my portrait and wedding work and see this consistent humor thread. I shot weddings until some time in 2010, when I started becoming more interested in editorial and commercial work. They were a break from the reactionary world of wedding photography. I was able to spend time planning a shoot, focusing on what was needed to create the image I had imagined.

I really enjoy the humor in your photography. What is your thought process when creating those concepts? 
It depends. Sometimes I get a client who is looking for a funny idea, and those shoots are always the best. Other times, I think of an idea on my own that’s funny to me and I set out to create it. Usually, those personal humor shoots are the ones that people remember. They sort of start out with a “wouldn’t it be funny if..” and then go from there.

What is your favorite part of creating and executing those concepts?

I love to sketch out ideas on paper. Drawing it out helps me think of new possibilities. Seeing it drawn out is definitely a fun part. Another is when the person I’m photographing ‘gets it,’ knows what I’m going for, and really gives a great ‘performance.’


How do you keep yourself motivated?
Since I usually retouch my own work, I love keeping up with the latest techniques and software. Seeing what other people are doing with Photoshop can be a big source of motivation for me. I also keep a running list in Evernote of shoot ideas that I think would be fun to do.

What is your favorite part of being a photographer?
I love to experiment a lot in post production, so I definitely enjoy that process. Also, whenever I feel like I’ve put in a good day working, I’m happy. This is tough sometimes as we all can approach this job in a reactionary way, dealing with whatever fires are going on that day. However, if I’ve done a good job planning tasks for the day/week and then get them checked off, I really enjoy that feeling of accomplishment. The challenge here has been separating a task from busy work.

What advice or motivation would you give for anyone inspired to start their careers in the photography industry after being involved in something different, then competing with other photographers that have been involved in the industry for most of their lives?

I think the best piece of advice is to be sure that what you are offering to the market is your own unique voice.

It’s easy to get caught in a mode where you are constantly copying other people’s styles or techniques as a test for yourself, only to find that your whole portfolio consists of tests you’ve done over a period of time. You end up with no overall direction – just a bunch of well-crafted images that are completely different in look and approach. Find inspiration in others, try to recreate techniques they have done, and then put all of that knowledge in the back of your head and store it as an ingredient for your own style.

What has been your best career decision so far?
Probably accepting that I’m not the perfect match for every client. Artists by their very nature are pleasers – we want people to enjoy the work we create, and we want the opportunity to serve as many people as possible. So it’s a bit of a leap to say ‘I’m not the best person for you on this project‘. I like it when someone can look at an image and know that it’s mine before they read that I shot it. It means that I am developing my own vision and style. That process has taken years for me, but it’s the only way that I would do photography today.

What is your favorite piece of equipment that you use?
A photographer named Joey Lawrence. once talked about how he used neutral density filters combined with flash to get a really shallow depth of field with the punch of a flash. It’s a great look, and I’ve found myself using that set-up more and more. I’ve also developed an addiction to tethering – I love having a laptop on set whenever I can.

What current projects are you working on?
I’ve done lots of editorial work in town and so every now and then I’ll have a magazine project come up. I’m also working on some projects involving 3D. It’s an area I had a little work in a long time ago, and I’ve been working on some fine art images that blend photography and CG images. I also do fun holiday card images for clients every year at austinchristmascards.com. They take up a lot of time starting around October, and it’s always a challenge as every client is unique! Additionally, I just launched an Introduction to Compositing e-book with Peachpit Press. It’s a great deal at $5, and they have several for sale at fuelbooks.com.

Who is your dream client?
A lot of creative types will say that a dream client is one that will let you create whatever you want. I’ve found, however, that I like a little bit of constraint. I’d rather have a client give me their input about what they think would work, because more often than not, it sparks new ideas and directions that neither of us would have envisioned on our own.

What is your favorite thing about living in Austin?
I love the fact that everything is usually no more than 20-30 minutes away. We’ve been here since 2002 and we love it. We can’t imagine living anywhere else. There’s always a new restaurant to try.

Favorite restaurant?
This is tough. Really tough. I’m just going to rattle off a few of my favorites: The Grove Wine Bar, Hop Doddy for burgers, Perla’s for fancy stuff. Magnolia Cafe for tasty breakfast. I’m also looking forward to trying out the new food trailer area off 360. Oh – and any place that will sell me a real copper mug with a Moscow Mule drink. If they serve it in a glass, it isn’t real. 🙂

WhoBrandon Thibodeaux 

Client: NBCnews.com

Story: After losing children to a tornado, grieving parents in Oklahoma crusade for storm shelters.

Read what Brandon had to say about the shoot below.

It really made me look at parenthood in a completely different light

“I’ve worked for NBCnews.com (formerly MSNBC.com) for a few years now.  As you would expect the portrait sessions were pretty intense.  For some of these families it was the first time they had spoken to the media, and among the group of 5 families I photographed one, the McCabe’s had lost their only child.  That one was especially difficult having to photograph Mr. and Mrs. McCabe sitting on their son’s bed with the door closed. It was intense and quite emotional. In all we spent three days photographing portraits of the families and documenting the aftermath of the storms. It really made me look at parenthood in a completely different light. The McCabes pointed out that, “If you lose your parents, society knows you as an orphan. If you lose your spouse, you’re a widower, or widow.  But if you lose a child, well, mankind never has developed a word for that. It’s just not supposed to happen.”- Brandon Thibodeaux 

Click here to read the story and view a slideshow of Brandon’s images.

OG of Luxury Mindz sent us his video project on Todd Sanders of Roadhouse Relics, a neon sign shop based-in Austin.

With nearly two decades of experience under his belt, Todd is completely self-taught and a true master of his craft. His handcrafted art is produced without the use of computer aided design preserving the unique American tradition even further.

Todd’s award winning pieces have appeared in The Museum of Neon Art, films by Robert Rodriguez, Esquire, Texas Monthly, Fast Company, HGTV and Southern Living. Celebrity clientele include Kings of Leon, Shepard Fairey, Norah Jones, Willie Nelson and ZZ Top.

Read below for what OG had to say about the project.

Todd Sanders STORYTLD from LUXURY MINDZ on Vimeo.

“This project was part of my personal short film series entitled STORYTLD (STORY TOLD). Todd and I met a couple of years ago and I immediately knew I’d be producing a short film on him one day. After spending the next couple of years traveling non-stop and touring with artists, I finally had the time to make it happen.

So many people out there can relate to Todd’s story and I knew it would provide them with reassurance to never quit as they work to develop their own.” – OG, Luxury Mindz


Dallas-based photographer, Steven Visneau has some new video work. Below, Visneau describes the video.

VOD S/S 2013 from steven visneau on Vimeo.

“I shot the previous season’s fashion video for V.O.D. Boutique in Dallas. We put together our own team of an art director, stylist , model and hair. We went out and shot the video on the streets of East Dallas (the Cedars).

There is a horse in the video and using a horse in any video is always a challenge as it tends to have a mind of its own. This horse was no different. The challenge of keeping the horse calm and looking natural while reacting to the camera was done perfectly by our model Mkayla.

The team worked together better than any team I have ever been involved with

The concept for the video was all my wife, Christine Visneau. She wanted high fashion in the Hood. Got that! The team worked together better than any team I have ever been involved with. The soundtrack to the video ties it all up. Kirby Brown who wrote and performed the song is a good friend of mine. I asked for something gritty yet sentimental, again, got that!

We are having a launch party at V.O.D Boutique on June 27th. Kirby will be performing and we will also be celebrating the launch of my friend and fave photog Allison V. Smith’s latest zine.

A big congrats to the Texan photographers who got into this year’s prestigious PDN Photo AnnualPolly Chandler (an ILTP contributor), Adam Voorhes, Nancy Newberry, and Randal Ford.

©Adam Voorhes

©Nancy Newberry


©Polly Chandler






KLRU Collective filmed Kimberly Finkel Davis and Jasmine DeFoore at the Texas Photo Roundup!

Jasmine talks about what it takes to be a working professional, and Kimberly visits AgavePrint and Cloverleaf Studio for help with her beautiful print portfolio.

Austin-based photographer Ben Sklar recently captured SXSW street fashion for The New York Times. Sklar answered a few questions about the project for ILTP.

To more images & the slideshow on The New York Times website, click here.

How were you approached to do this assignment?
I’ve worked with the style photo editor Beth Bristow at the NY Times for a few years now on a few other successful projects (Sx Crossing in 2011 included in PDN Annual annual 2012, Euphoria project at Lollapalooza in 2012 included in American Photo 29 this year and Fashion Week NYC in 2012) so we tossed around some ideas and then I dove in to the fray.

I really wanted to just shoot people waiting in lines as they are omnipresent at SXSW, but of course everyone brings out their best dress and it’s fun to shoot that too. I would see reoccurring fashions trends (like patterned socks and men in pink trousers) so I started shooting those things as well.

What gear did you bring on this shoot? Any assistant?
I had an assistant both days cruising around town as I shot on a digital camera with a really, really powerful strobe. The assistant would carry the strobe around and I’d tell him what to light. It was a fun collaboration and a workout for us both.

If people wanted started hamming for the camera or acting I would just walk away

Were most people happy to be photographed? Did you have many (or any) nay-sayers?
People were pretty oblivious to us most of the time. They didn’t really pay much attention. Sometimes the kids would make stupid faces at us, but the way we shot it (a light in one location and the camera in another) most of them were just confused or ignored it so it ended up yielding a lot more natural looks than typical “street style” poses. If people wanted started hamming for the camera or acting I would just walk away.

Were there confines to what kind of stylish SXSW peeps you could shoot? Looks like pot-socks were popular!
None at all. I just started to recognize trends and go with the flow. I never really have any specific goals or directed guidance when I go out on a shoot like this other than making good pictures. It’s quite liberating actually, it’s really about discovering what’s out there and shooting what you want.  It’s similar to the thing I did last year with “stars and stripes” where it seemed like every other person had an american flag on them somewhere.

It’s quite liberating actually, it’s really about discovering what’s out there and shooting what you want.

Any crazy stories?
Nothing crazy other still having Sx hangover. It’s such an exhausting week, time to sleep in!


To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Austin-based photographer Matthew Mahon was asked to take part in the Choice Out Loud project. 40 Photographers, 40 Women, 40 Years of Choice.