Question: Rich, please tell us a little about yourself.
Rich: Well, I’ve been married to my beautiful wife for 18 years and we have three amazing kids. I have been very involved in my community and church since becoming a father. I’ve coached 10 soccer seasons, five softball seasons, a junior wrestling team, the high school tennis team & currently help teach children to roller skate. I was a "big brother" with Big Brothers, Big Sisters for over 10 years. I was also the president of the PTO at my kids’ school for four years. I guess you could say I have a lot of experience being involved with kids!
Q: How long have you been a photographer and where did your photography career start?
Rich: I'm happy to say this is my 19th year as a professional photographer. I began my career running an "old time photo" studio in Sea Isle City. Shortly after opening the "old time" studio, I moved into family beach portraits and just loved it. After the first nine years, I sold the "old time" studio so I could focus solely on beach portraits.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a photographer?
Rich: Interacting with families! I have been super fortunate over the years to have had the chance to meet and work with thousands of wonderful people, kids included! That’s the awesome part of my job. And you can’t beat my office! I love being outdoors. In fact, I usually go for a relaxing walk along the beach after many photo sessions.
Q: What challenges do you face as a photographer?
Rich: I would have to say weather and bugs . . . and occasionally, cranky husbands who don’t really want to have their picture taken! Seriously, though, the elements can certainly pose a challenge. Wind is not ideal for anyone with hair. The threat of rain can make timing uncertain and NOBODY enjoys being attacked by beach flies! Although I have no control over the elements, I, fortunately, do have control over more important things like posing. Despite any challenges, with a little creativity and a positive outlook, I can make the most of any session.
Q: I’m surprised you didn’t mention working with children as a challenge. Can’t that be frustrating at times?
Rich: I’ve always loved working with kids. I’ve been doing it in some capacity since I was 18-years-old! I think it’s more frustrating for the parents than it is for me. You just have to feel children out and see what works best for them. Some kids need a little space before they start to warm up. Some are readily willing to laugh at my antics behind the camera. Sometimes they just need a little breather in the middle of a shoot and then we continue without a hitch. It is definitely helpful to have the parents working together with me because they know their kids best. I guess it can be a challenge at times, but it’s one I approach with a positive attitude.
Q: What is your vision when you take a family onto the beach for a shoot?
Rich: My number one goal is to give them exactly what I would want if I were on the other side of the camera: excellent lighting, beautiful scenery, multiple poses and a relaxed setting. When I choose a location, I choose it based on where I would want my own family photographed – this is often influenced by the current conditions such as sun/cloud cover, wind direction and scenery. Finally, the posing, length of time I spend with a family, and the amount of diligence I put forth in every shoot is no different than if it were my own family I was photographing.