We recently had the honor of interviewing David Beckstead! David reveals his years as a fire fighter, lets us know how far he has to drive to get milk and what he drives to get there. This is a fun filled interview that lets you know the man behind the camera. Since he was voted one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the world, we thought we would ask him about photography as well. Find out were he draws his inspiration and find out were you could get your own. Plus, learn about the evolution of Shoot With Beckstead Workshops.
TPP: So tell us a little about yourself.
DB: David is an outdoor enjoying, world travelling, wife adoring, Asia loving, passionate man with a heavy right-sided brain and size 15 feet!
I live out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere NE Washington State; on the boarder of Canada and Idaho. We are 35 minutes drive from anywhere to buy anything!
We are 2.5 hours from any airport. All of our work includes a plane flight! We are destination wedding photographers and I am an international speaker.
We have been to 67 countries and I have been to England 20 times, Italy 15 times, Germany 25 times, but who is counting!!! Let’s just say that travel is my blood and not just in my blood!
TPP: I heard you used to fight forest fires, any close calls?
DB: Yes and no. I had an amazing boss who knew how to push us to the limit and walk us right next to the hottest parts of the fire, yet bring us home body and soul and safe and sound. He was a fire-god and amazed us at every fire! Not once in the 12 summers did I think I was going to burn up. That is amazing really!
I totally loved that job! We flew all over the US and Canada fighting hot fires and at that time in my life there was no better job! My boss instinctively knew what the fire was going to do and he verbalized this to us constantly. I think this ability I learned and applied to my compositions. He also taught me to lead and I have used this throughout my life to ‘make things happen’.
TPP: You travel all over the world photographing people. If you had the choice out of all the spots were would you want to live?
DB: New Zealand or Slovenia. Both places are full of natural beauty and mountains. The people are cool also! I love traveling to cities yet when it comes to my own property; I want an ‘out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere’ feel to it.
TPP: Your composition in photographs is probably the best I have ever seen. Does it come natural, or is it a developed talent?
DB: Thanks man! Composition seems to come natural AND took years to develop. I have always framed life into arranged compositions, from painting, all types of art to photography. Yet I have learned composition organically with no clear focus. I have a love for things unseen and unplanned! I let my style evolve where it wanted to go because I hated plans, lists and direction. I did study composition through cinematography, past masters of paintings and photography. Also music and writing had a big influence on my compositions. Really!! Hard to explain!
TPP: Shoot With Beckstead workshops turned out to be a major success! What knowledge can people expect to gain by attending one?
DB: Actually I am evolving my workshop as we talk here. I am creating a niche to composition workshops only: no business, marketing or branding. Just deep compositional concepts that are easy to apply to your business and will bring more appreciation to your art. I don’t know of any photographers doing 3-day compositional workshops. This is totally needed in our industry. Many photographers think they know composition yet there are many levels of ‘seeing’ composition. I find that the more dramatic and inspirational compositions a photographer has the more opportunities they have.
TPP: You love photography so much. How do you separate business from pleasure?
DB: I combine business and pleasure and have been working on this trick for many years. I create atmosphere that every job is so dang fun you almost rather shoot and work on your business then anything. For me that mainly means travel. I have goals and goals of places I want to travel too. I create jobs and find jobs to take me to these places. Combine travel with work…I mean fun! I just got back from Slovenia where I wanted to visit my friend Milos. I created a workshop there so I could visit. While there, just for fun, I shot two weddings with Milos. A photographer in Hungary wanted to meet me. I set up a model shoot in Budapest and invited Milos to join in. All fun! All business! I brought my family including my mom and dad. My lifestyle is intertwined with my business and I love it!
TPP: What kind of car do you have? If you could have any car what would it be?
DB: I have a couple of 4×4′s and a old 72 Dodge pickup. I live in the snow so I need functional vehicles. I have this fantasy of owning a cool musical car. Don’t know what kind, just one that is refurbished and in perfect condition. I don’t like working on cars. I have a fantasy of owning a motorcycle also but my brother is a flight-nurse and tells me of horrific motorcycle crashes. That quells that fantasy real quick!
TPP: Where do you draw your inspiration?
DB: Right now my main inspiration is cinematography. You can learn so much from movies. These visual artists have to keep you entertained for 2 hours! Some movies make me want to give up photography. They are so great compositionally!
Check these movies out for great composition!
TPP: If you had to stop photographing people tomorrow, what new career would you choose?
DB: A tour guide for adventure travel around the world….of course!
TPP: Anything you want to promote?
DB: Yeah I think everyone would enjoy my business page on Facebook.
Also I run a cool group on Facebook call Abstract Canvas.
You have got to see this place! Almost 3000 photographers and 3500 amazing images to learn from.