Swartz began his first photography business in 1995 in Norfolk, Virginia, while on active duty with the Navy. However, his interest in photography began much earlier than that.
When he was 12 (and before he had Adobe's Lightroom software!), Swartz began photographing the family dog with an old Polaroid. His parents eventually recognized that he had some talent for photography and upgraded his camera when he was in junior high school.
A group of cheerleaders then asked him to take their pictures for the school yearbook...and he did, with not-so-fantastic results. "After the film was processed, I discovered that not one of the images came out!" he says.
Instead of becoming discouraged, Swartz took to the local library and read all he could about photography. There, he discovered "Two Views of Manzanar" by Ansel Adams and Toyo Miyatake. The book showed photos of the living conditions of Manzanar, an internment camp where Miyatake himself was imprisoned during World War II.
"I was captivated by the impact that photos had on history," Swartz recalls. "It was with this passion that I started to photograph everything I saw."
While in high school, Swartz was mentored by another professional photographer who told him that if he wanted to learn how to take photojournalistic images, he should join the Navy as a photographer. So, he attended the Naval School of Photography to become a Photographer's Mate, learning to get the perfect exposure and images in focus.
Building a Photography Business
Today, Swartz specializes in bringing the photojournalistic style he developed as a naval photographer to senior, wedding and engagement portraits.
"I love photojournalism because you get to use so many techniques and are able to challenge yourself during each shoot," explains Swartz. "I believe that repetition helps make a good photographer, but being able to master a variety of techniques and know when to use them and when to break the rules is key. And the plus is getting people to forget that a photographer is taking their pictures!"
Building and maintaining any business has its difficulties, though. Swartz has moved several times throughout the years, and one of his challenges has been re-establishing a customer base each time. "It seems that each move is about re-establishing that base...and the trust your customers have that you are going to take care of them," Swartz says.
"The Internet is invaluable in these situations. I use Facebook, Twitter and online storage to ensure that customers from around the world have access to their images," he adds. "This really helps when my customers talk about my photographs, and potential customers see the care, passion and dedication I have when it comes to customer service before and after the shoot."
Managing a Photography Business...with Good Workflow
Of course, if you don't have a good workflow, managing a photography business can be a challenge whether or not you move! Luckily, Swartz has some well-earned advice and tips to share with you. Attend his "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3: Workflow from Shot to Print" Super Monday class on October 24 in North Parlin, New Jersey, to learn how this software can make your workflow easier.
"I believe that photographers will learn solid file management from the time images are put into the computer and maintained in their RAW state while artistically creating new images," Swartz says of his class.
So, get ready to take your Lightroom skills to the next level this Super Monday!
Learn more about Swartz's class and browse more Super Monday classes in more locations at www.ppa.com/education-events/sm_new.php. Read more about Ty Swartz here.
Super Monday is an educational program sponsored by PPA every spring and fall. These daylong, interactive workshops are conducted in locations around the country, allowing PPA members to earn merits for sharing their craft and enabling all photographers to learn new skills and develop professional networking contacts.
ALL IMAGES Â© TY SWARTZ