Meet Richard Young | photographer interview

Today I'm starting my photo-a-day monthly resolution, and kicking it off with a photographer interview. I enjoy checking Richard's blog for his candid photos--especially when they're of my husband or kids :) He is great at capturing the spirit of everyday moments. Keep reading to learn more from Richard, and check out his 365 photo series on his blog.

Tell us about yourself... (what do you do, where is home, what do you love?)

My name is Richard Young.  I have a wife named Natalie or NaTaTa, I have a dog named Marcellus Wallace Young or Wallo and I have an unnamed baby on the way.  The baby should be showing up in January.  I work at Union College as the Director of Recruitment.  I have lived in Lincoln Nebraska for the past 10 years.  I also consider Kansas City as my home.  I was born in Southern California and grew up in Atlanta Georgia.  What do I love?  That is a crazy question.  I love so much.  I love family and friends.  I love all Kansas City sports.  I love working with young people. I love Chocolate Silk Milk and Pecan Pie.  I am learning to love Jesus.

How long have you been a photographer?

I don't think I consider myself a photographer.  Photographer's get paid to take pictures.  I  take pictures and post them on a website.  I have been doing that for three years.  

What do you primarily photograph?

A long time ago I realized that there were people taking better pictures with better cameras of cooler places.  There were also a ton of photographers taking pictures that really meant nothing to me.  Since I am not getting paid to get a certain shot I decided that I would take pictures of the things I love.  So I mostly take pictures of my family and friends.  Since I travel a bit I have been able to take pictures all over the place.  Just recently I have been invited to take pictures at weddings.  That has been fun because they are pictures of people that I love.

Describe your beginner experiences with photography.

Three years ago my house was broken into.  My wife had a camera that we had been using that was stolen.  After that I started looking around because I knew I would want a nice camera to take pictures of my kids one day.  I asked my buddy Ed if he had any advice on choosing a camera.  A few days later I bought my  Canon Rebel.  I started taking pictures then and I haven't stopped yet.  I haven't taken a class but I do have the internet.

Which photo are you proudest of? 

I love photos that capture real emotion.  Either happiness or sadness.  The one of the girl's hugging after the basketball game meant alot to me cause these girl's are my friends and I was feeling their pain.  The one over Salt Lake City is beautiful but I didn't make it beautiful, it just is.  Also I think my wife is beautiful and I am proud of any picture I get of her because she hates when I take pictures of her.

What type of camera(s) do you shoot with most? 

I have a Canon 5D Mark ii and an iPhone.

What is your favorite photo editing accessory/software? 

I use Photoshop CS5 and I love Radlab from totally rad actions.

What inspires you?

Traveling, my beautiful friends and family.  Watching movies and listening to music.  Reading a book.  Anything and everything is inspiring.

What Web site, blog, or book do you reference most often?

I go to the same photography websites that everyone else goes to.  I have found some things helpful on them.  What really gets me goin is seeing my friend's pictures.  I like to see things from their point of view.  I also go on Tumblr quite a bit.  That can be kind of dangerous because there is alot of crap on there.  But I like to see a picture and see if I can figure out how they did it.  My buddy Ed introduced me to this concept.  Sometimes you want to look at a ton of pictures to get inspired and get new ideas and other days you don't want to compete with anyone else and you try to capture the world as you see it.  Sometimes I compare myself with what other people are doing.  I think that is a good and bad thing.  I compare because as a man I am competitive with others and myself.  But I don't feel like that is a very healthy way to live and look at things.  When someone looks at a photo that I took I don't want them to compare it to a different photo that they have seen.  I want them to see it for what it is (This is super deep I know).  Also as Trina has said comparison is the thief of joy (Trina is so wise).  If I am not having fun with taking pictures then there really isn't any point in me doing it.

Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph? 

I would love to get all of my best buddies in a van and drive to New York or LA.  It would be the most fun going out and traveling and it would be awesome to take pictures at the different places we would go.  I love taking pictures of my friends on their graduation or wedding.  I also want to take a picture of my face after the Chiefs win the Superbowl.

How do you preserve/enjoy your personal photos?

This year I have been taking a picture every day with the final plan to make a coffee table book of this year (It's like Taleah didn't exist in 2012).  That being said I don't print out enough of the pictures that I take.  I have a few in my office but I need to get them off of the internet and onto my walls.  After I have my kid I think I will be printing more pictures.  I want him/her to grow up with these images of his family and friends all around him/her.  Besides that I post a ton of pictures on the internet every week.  I probably put up at least 80 pictures a month.

What advice do you have for a beginner like me wanting to improve personal everyday photos? 

Take a ton of pictures and always have your camera with you.  Also do it for the right reasons.  Don't take pictures because you want to impress your facebook friends with a cool profile pic.  Don't take pictures to keep up with the Joneses.  Don't take pictures just to make money cause that will make it wak to you.  Take pictures for yourself.  Take pictures for your family and take pictures for your friends.  If the pictures you are taking mean something to you it will be a lot more fulfilling than getting a few likes here and there on Facebook.  Photography is a fad right now.  I wouldn't suggest buying a really nice camera until you know if you are really into it or if you are into the fad.  Don't buy a camera like you would date a girl that you really don't like just because you are working at summer camp.  If you really love taking photos the photos will take care of themselves.  And then you can do whatever you want with it.  (I'm so wise.)  Also you should probably be yourself.  You and me could take the same picture and it would look different.  Don't take mine.  Take yours.  It will be you and it will probably be better then mine.

One thing you're still learning, or feel like you're a "beginner" in...

I think if you follow my blog and see my pictures you are seeing almost my whole life (There are a few things I leave out and you probably wouldn't be interested in them anyway).  I'm 28 years old and I am figuring out how to live.  I am a beginner in understanding my real purpose in life.  It has taken me 28 years to understand that I am here for two reasons:  To glorify God and to tell other people how good He is to me.  That is my purpose.  I hope my pictures are a reflection of that.  I hope my life is a reflection of that.  I know it probably isn't.  That's why I'm a beginner.  Also I suck at photoshop.

If somebody said, "How can I be the next Big Rich," what would you say? 

My life is amazing.  I have personal struggles and things that I am dealing with just like everybody else.  But God has really blessed me and my family.  I don't think that I think like everybody else.  My blog isn't really something I do.  I feel like it's a part of me.  It's my way to talk to the world.  I am the guy who says "look at this".  That is my personality.  If you are my friend I am constantly trying to show you something.  My sister and I have that in common.  If you want to be the next Big Rich what I would hope you mean is that you want to be a friendly guy that shows people cool things.  If you want to be the next Big Rich I hope it's cause you want to be the guy who loves his friends and family.  If you want to be the next Big Rich I think the answer is that you have to be a very curious person.  You have to want the answers to the big questions.  I would hope that all of these things that I am are the good things that God has given me.  Therefore I would want you to have all the blessings that God wants for you but received and lived through who you are.  Also I am aware of how ridiculous the nickname "Big Rich" is. My dad doesn't even call me Richard anymore.  It's very strange.

Suggest one photo category/theme for my photo-a-day challenge in August... 

Things you love.

For more from Richard...

Twitter: yowit
Facebook: Richard Young


also read:
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p + s photography for beginners
free photo editing for beginners