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Lucas Fendley

Arizona Photographer • Landscape Portraiture

Born in the small rural town of Queen Valley, AZ. As a kid, Lucas Fendley would explore the desert with his family and friends. He shot guns, rode ATV’s, made forts, wrestled, played sports, chased girls and explored the great outdoors. It was a time before the internet, where entertainment was created by being outside and exploring. His ability to combine the Arizona desert terrain and portraiture is both memorable and timeless.

Did you have any mentors/ people that inspired your path as an artist and help shap you into the creative person you are today?

Honestly no. I’ve always been drawn to imagery. I’m completely self taught and have an inquisitive mind so when I became interested in photography I’d immerse myself in reading and learning about all aspects of the craft.

At what point did you discover you wanted to be a photographer?

I’m a firefighter full time and do photography on the side to provide extra income and fuel my passion of creating art. I got into this when my daughter was around two years old and wanted to capture moments of her growing up. Little did I know how much of a passion it would become. Portrait photography started in May of 2012 when I shot with a friend of mine for fun and it garnered some attention online and more friends wanted to use me for shoots. Then it steamrolled from there.

After gaining online attention did you feel a professional change in your photography passion?

Creating a Facebook page to advertise myself was big for me. I gained a lot of clients from social media. As time progressed and Facebook integrated “pay for views” I slowly progressed to Instagram. With the use of social media I’ve worked with so many amazing people and have had the time of my life doing it.

What is your go-to gear? Lens?

Nikon D800 with Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art lens

What was your very first camera?

Sony A100

How has your workflow changed from when you first started shooting?

I started with landscapes like many others. Then I started shooting families, pets, models, weddings, babies, etc. I shot everything and anything. Over time I felt overwhelmed with saying yes to shoot everything for everyone I lost the desire to shoot for ME. So as of the beginning of this year I resorted to only photographing models. I find that it enhanced my happiness and gave a new refreshing breath to my creative mind.

What is one of your favorite photographs and why?

Honestly it’s hard to pick just one. There are dozens for all different reasons whether it be from a creative aspect or some people you just “click” with and have a blast shooting with. My favorites usually involve my child. It’s fun to get my wife and child involved in the creation of a shoot.

If you could place yourself in a photograph or piece of artwork what would you choose and why?

Anything dealing with my daughter in a creative way. I love to photograph her and create unique sets. She’s a little artist in the making and love seeing her wheels turn and get excited when we bounce ideas off each other.

Tell us about a shooting adventure you have had in the past and how did it help shape your portfolio?

Hmm, too many to choose from haha. Let’s just bring it back to the beginning. I’ve always been a strobist photographer from the beginning. One particular shoot my trigger didn’t work so I literally had to switch it up to natural light. It was a foreign concept to me believe it or not, but forcing me to shoot just from available light was a great experience. It taught me to see a shoot from a different perspective. To this day I switch up back and forth from natural light to using strobes to give me multiple looks from a set to choose from.

What Informs How You Look at the World?

From a photographer’s perspective I’d say two things: Light and emotion. Everywhere I go I’m constantly evaluating light and thinking about how it affects the scene I’m looking at. I could be on a road trip for a vacation and I’m thinking in back of my head “This area at sunset would be amazing with a model in a white dress and light trickling through the trees” My mind never shuts off from shoots, it’s kind of ridiculous.

Secondly emotion. Anyone can take a good picture of a beautiful person. My goal is to bring out who they are and express a feeling at the moment. I like raw emotions whether it be sad, creepy, intrigued, flirtatious or whatever the look we are aiming for. A great photograph in my mind makes you stop and read everything about the scene and feel what that person is expressing in that image.

What do you consider the most important breaks in your career and why?

I don’t have any substantial breaks in my career as of yet that I would say were important. I’m always flattered when a highly popular model messages me to do a collaboration. My main goal is to be able to shoot cinematic portraits for a movie or television series. Then I can say “That” was a pivotal moment in my career.

What are a few pieces of advice you find yourself offering most frequently to aspiring or emerging photographers who are looking to advance their careers?

I get hit up quite a bit by other photographers and the biggest piece of advice I can give is study someone’s work you admire and try to break it down on how they light, the compositions they often use, and the type of editing that they use.Then practice, practice, practice on trying to get that same look. Then find another photographer’s style and repeat. With enough time and experience behind your belt you will eventually create images that others will admire. There are no shortcuts in my opinion to creating a badass portfolio. It all takes blood sweat, tears and TIME.

What can emerging talents do to stand out from the crowd in the context of submissions and building their portfolio?

Be different. There are a million photographers out there. Find a unique look that stands out and shoot that over and over again until you can master that particular look and own that shit.

Finally, do you have different metrics or criteria in mind when on location when shooting?

I shoot in all types of settings but I strive for quality light in dark scenes. What I mean by that is, the light has to have purpose and add to the scene to bring out your subject and the overall scene of the setting. I’m mostly a location photographer so I love to shoot cinematic boudoir images in low light areas of a house where the subject is softly lit with the background lit up by lamps, windows or such to add depth and shadows.

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