Book:“Assouline” by Peter Lindberg.
A New York City native, TJ Drysdale is a professional portrait, fine art, and fashion photographer based in Tampa, Florida. TJ approaches photography using natural light to create ethereal images that are reminiscent of fairy tales. His creative style strives to showcase a moment frozen in time where the subject is searching for something, be it psychical, spiritual, or mental.
TJ Drysdal is a PhotoVogue artist and a member of X-Rite’s Coloratti community. His portraits have been featured by numerous fashion and photography publications internationally including Adobe, 500PX, Vogue Italia, Getty Images, Adore Noir Magazine, Pura Via, Dark Beauty Magazine, Ezra Magazine, Whim Magazine, Lucy’s Magazine, Solis Magazine and SLR Lounge.
TJ Drysdale‘s Style
TJ’s unique photographic approach has captured the respect and appreciation of an ever-expanding international social media following. A romantic, graceful, and understated style has become the hallmark of his work.
-How did you first become interested in photography? I had been into filmmaking and cinematography for many years and even went to college for it. In all honesty, I became involved in photography by complete accident. When I was 21, my grandparents bought me my first DSLR camera. Originally, I started taking nature photos, but soon decided that my true love lied in taking portraits and depicting emotion and stories. Although I feel that filmmaking will always be my first love, that art fell into the shadows and gave rise to my focus on fine art photography.
-What is your typical camera setup on a shoot? My typical camera setup is shooting low aperture for background blur, generally a 1.4-3.5. My shutter speed all depends on the time of day. Since I shoot natural light, not much is ‘typical’ and everything is very adaptable to my changing environment.
-What words best describe your style of photography? Ethereal, fantasy, soft, feminine, painterly, dreamy and surreal.
-Is there a single philosophy or theme that runs throughout all of your work? My creative style strives to showcase a moment frozen in time where the subject is searching for something, be it psychical, spiritual or mental.
-You have had work featured in some of the world’s biggest publications. What is this process like and what do you feel sets your work apart from others? Shooting for large publications is exhilarating yet unpredictable! You never know if they are going to like what you have done or how other people are going to view your work.
Unlike many of my peers, I keep my team to an absolute minimum, whether I am shooting for an international designer or just for fun. I rarely use hair and makeup and only bring assistants on occasion. The fact that I go out to a location with practically nothing but a model and Mother Nature, sets my work apart from others. This shooting approach has worked for me in my personal work, and I apply an adapted version when I shoot for clients and publications.
-What is your post-production workflow like? My post-production process takes some time. It is very rare that I finish a shoot and then hurry to immediately edit it. Rather, I might not even convert the raw images for a few days, while I process how I want the end product to look. After that, I begin image selection and start working on a photo or two.
I am very picky about my work and I am rarely satisfied with myself. I am on a constant quest to improve. A photo may look like it is almost completed, but, internally, I am not happy with it. If this is the case, I will sleep on it and then wake up and return to editing with a clear vision. After a shoot, I normally have my first edited image completed in around a week on average.
-What is your dream project? My dream project involves shooting underwater with a shipwreck. How epic would that be?!
-What inspires you to create new work? My inner self/people and experiences I come across on a daily basis inspire me to create new work. My inspiration doesn’t come from one person, object or experience, but from the entire world. If art was a person, that would be my inspiration.
-What is your biggest resource in relation to technical knowledge and how long did it take you to master your technique? My technical knowledge was self-taught through experimentation/trial and error. I am far from a master at my technique and strive to improve my craft on a constant basis.
-In regard to lighting, what is your top technical tip? When shooting with natural light, my top technical tip would be to ‘be adaptive.’ Available light can be tricky because you can have your settings perfect one second, and then a cloud will cover the sun and suddenly the atmosphere is completely different. Being able to adapt to whatever conditions Mother Nature throws at you is crucial when shooting with natural light.
-How would you advise someone trying to make money from photography? I would advise them to never give up! People will constantly try and tell you that, “It isn’t worth it and there is no money in it.” Or they will say, “You should just get a ‘normal’ person job.” Don’t listen to this negative talk. Do your research, network, make connections and jump into photography as a career feet first.
-What was the best career advice you were ever given? “Don’t go to school for photography.”