How did you get started?
I got my start on Young Jeezy’s TM102 promo run in 2006. My man, Twin, gave me a chance. I was just a guy with a camera and a dream. Shortly after the promo run ended, a magazine came across some of my pictures and reached out to me. I then realized this was something I can make a living from, and most importantly it was something I really enjoyed.
What brand(s) of camera(s) do you use?
I am a Canon man.
Who are the biggest stars you’ve photographed?
I have worked with many celebrities throughout my career. I have traveled with Flo-Rida, toured with Young Jeezy, and have even done a few events for the Black Eyed Peas and David Guetta. Event wise, I would have to say the most star studded was the opening of the 40/40 Club in Las Vegas and Summer Jam the Year Jeezy introduced Jay Z onstage.
Do you travel for work?
Not only do I personally travel throughout the U.S. and abroad for work, but I have a whole team of photographers who I have bought passports for since joining Exclusive Access, and they too have traveled all over.
If so, where have you been and what events have you covered on the road?
Originally, I began in Atlanta. I am based in Miami now. I still have an office and a team in Atlanta as well as in San Diego.
Where are you based?
Miami is a different market, but I have been blessed to quickly establish my presence here through important relationships I have created over the years. A special thanks to Javir and Jordan of The Varsity Group who believed in me and what I do from the beginning. They introduced me to Kevin Hardy of Dream and The Opium Group, both of whom have been great clients of mine. Also, to show you how small this industry is, Sia has the hottest party on Miami Beach with Prestige Sundays, and I met his brother touring Europe through different artists. Connecting with him in Miami turned into a wonderful relationship. Shout out to the whole Bamboo family: Sia, Theo, and DJ Efeezy.
Since moving to Miami, my work has become a regular on NBC entertainment show “6intheMix” and I have not only shot parties and events for Miami Magazine, but I have even done a few photo shoots for some of their ads. Moving to Miami also brought about my newest business relationship with Getty Images – I’m now a Getty photographer.
How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been shooting for seven years now, only the last five have been full time. It took me a while to fully step out on faith when starting my photography career.
What were you doing before?
I worked a regular 9 to 5 and pursued photography as a side job before making the jump and launched Exclusive Access.
Prior to that, I was in the military for eight years. After my honorable discharge in 2003, I began playing poker as a hobby. It was in one of these late night games that I won my first camera. And the rest is history.
What keeps you motivated? How do you stay inspired?
Trying to constantly better my craft and my site is what keeps me motivated. As for as staying inspired, I just remember what it was like before I picked up a camera and how far I have come thus far.
What corporate brand(s) have you worked with?
My biggest and longest relationship is with Diageo. I have also worked with Beats By Dre, So So Def, Atlantic, Def Jam, and Universal Records, Roc Nation, Nike, Janice Combs Publishing, Hennessy, ASCAP, and many more – too many to name.
How do you keep your relationship strong with corporate brands? What do you do to keep them calling?
I keep clients calling by delivering quality content in record turn around times. I also truly value each and every relationship I develop, and I think that helps. I care about what I do and it shows within my work. With me, people know they will always get 110% with everything I do.
When you’re shooting, what do you look for? What catches your eye?
As far as what am I looking for when I shoot, I can’t give the secrets away. I just know what I am looking for and more importantly I get what the client needs.
How do you utilize technology and social media to market your business?
Social media plays a big role in helping me stay relevant and keeping my images out there long after the events. It also is a great way to showcase what we are doing in real time. You can find me on twitter as ExclusiveAccess and my new Instagram as KeepItExclusive.
What media outlets have you worked with?
As far as media outlets I’ve worked with CNN, MTV, VH1 and NBC. My work has recently appeared on a lot more, but those are a few of the big ones I have worked with. Also, all the blogs have constantly supported me since day one so a special thanks to all of them.
How were you trained?
I wasn’t formally trained. I won my first camera playing poker. As a matter of fact truth be told, I dropped out of high school. It’s important for me to share my story and tell the youth of today not to worry if people don’t believe in you, because as long as you believe in yourself and keep God first you can accomplish anything you put your mind to! I have a lot of regrets, so I am not promoting dropping out of school, but I do say never settle and never stop pursuing your dreams!
What is your vision for Exclusive Access?
My vision is to create a standard that if its hot, its was photographed by Exclusive Access. I love capturing moments in time through photos to share with the world!
How did your work end up being featured on Nicki Minaj’s “Behind the Music” on VH1?
My work has been featured on VH1 several times. Nicki Minaji was the most recent, but my work has also been on Ludacris and TI’s behind the Music. Shout out to Luda, TIP, Clay, Chaka and Jeff who have always supported me.
What was it like touring with global artists like Jay Z?
I have been on several music tours including The I Am Music Tour, and Americas Most Wanted tour, and Blue Print 3 tour. I always have a blast working any tour.
Who are your mentors in the business? Who has been your biggest supporter?
As far as Mentors go, like I said Clay, Twin, Chaka, and Jeff have always supported my dream and contributed valuable guidance throughout the years. Also, a special shout out to my man Keenan Jasper of the Bridge Intelligence Group, who helped me take ExcusiveAccess to another level! There is still so much more I want to learn, and I am always looking for business mentors who don’t mind taking a young hungry guy like myself under their wing to build together.
What is your dream project or assignment?
My dream assignments would be ones that keep me traveling doing what I love. Of course making money to keep the bills paid is a beautiful thing too!