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Meet Matt Canterbury - A Photographer From Peterstown, West Virginia

SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE: "Matt, tell us a little about yourself and your business".

Matt: "My business kind of started by accident. My wife bought me a drone for Christmas a few years ago. I started flying and taking pictures of our town. Then I started researching cool things to take pictures of with drones. Waterfalls and creeks are pretty popular shots with a drone but not just any shot…long exposure shots! I started taking long exposure shots of waterfalls and posting them online. All of my friends kept telling me how awesome they were and that I needed to start taking pictures of people!

Realizing that taking pictures of people with a drone all the time wasn’t practical, I purchased my very first camera. I did my first photo session approximately two years ago and fell in love with it! I started out as natural light because I didn’t know what Off-Camera Lighting was. I have no formal training. Everything I do, I’ve learned from trial and error. I like to tell people that I went to the school of YouTube haha. Now, I can’t seem to get a camera out of my hands even if I want to. I’m completely booked up almost every day!"

SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE: "Thinking back on your business, what are some things you have been afraid of but have conquered and how did you conquer them?"

Matt: Honestly, failure is the thing I’m most terrified of. I take so much pride in my work. I’m terrified that one day, a client won’t be happy with their photos. And that worries me everyday. When I deliver photos to clients, I’m so stressed until I hear back from them. Once I hear that they are happy with their photos, I have about 10 seconds of relief and then I begin stressing about my next shoot. If anyone has any tips on how to overcome the stress, please let me know. SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE: "Actually Matt, we can help you with that stress. Check out our Fear Class. It would be perfect for you and has helped so many photographers!"

SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE: "What is one of the biggest obstacle you have overcome in your business. *If you were just starting your business today, what is one thing you wish you had known then that you do know now? What would you say is the key to success?"

Matt: "Lighting! Lighting was by far the biggest obstacle for me. Learning it was very frustrating at times. I knew it had potential to become something cool but I just couldn’t understand how to make it look cool! A photographer that is very well known in my area (also in the senior year group) would post some of the most amazing photos I had ever seen! I wanted to do that so bad. I’d study his photos and try to recreate them. One day, I was taking pictures of my friend's daughter when suddenly something just clicked and things started making sense. My lighting started looking more natural and now I’m very proud of my lighting! I still can’t recreate my fellow photographers photos though. Luckily we are friends now so I pester him all the time for tips. So I would say lighting is my biggest obstacle and my key to success.

SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE - I would agree. Your images and the lighting you have created are great!

SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE: "Think about new photographers.....What TIPS or recommendations would you make to a new photographer in our group? This could be anything you want to offer a tip on, from editing, to knowing your value, to keeping your eyes on your own paper, to how to sell, etc."

Matt: I think the best tip I can give is to not be afraid to ask for help. There are so many photographers in this group that want to help others succeed! I didn’t ask for help for a long long time because I was worried that I was overstepping by asking “how do you do that?” or “what settings should I use?”

Secondly I would say that you should believe in yourself. Just having the guts to get out there and try to create something says a lot about you. It’s hard to put your creativity out there to be judged by others. But that’s the kind of stuff that pushes you to get better!

SENIOR YEAR MAGAZINE - "Those are great tips!"

Matt Canterbury

MCC Photos

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