We had the good fortune of connecting with Devon Dooley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Devon, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Mannn, I remember being in school full time, working at TD Bank full time and trying to launch my business. I used to blog back then and I put out a post saying that something had to give, either work or school because I knew Photography wasn’t something that I was willing to let go of. It took years to actually get the business off the ground but my camera was the Only thing I’ve ever picked up and NEVER put down.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I believe what sets me apart is always striving for the highest level of what I’m trying to accomplish, doing the research behind it, finding references, and also always being a student of photography. I know that there’s always more to learn.
I’ve been shooting for about 10 years now and I can really say it takes time and patience. When I was younger I quit my full-time job, dropped out of school, and decided that Photography was going to be IT for me. I worked some pt jobs along the way but for a good chunk of my 20’s photography was #1 in my life. Doing jobs for free, networking, assisting other photographers. Whatever it took to learn, I was all for it.
I also believe that my freelancing over the years helped me get my first corporate job (when I turned 28) as a Social Media Coordinator. My skills in being able to create content on the fly made me the perfect candidate.
Something that I continue to show myself over and over is that I don’t want anyone to be my boss lol
I don’t want anyone else to control my story other than me. When it comes to everything that I want in life I want it on my terms. “Never Give Up” and always chase your dreams
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would honestly take my friend to the places that I grew up. I would show them things that would bring us closer as friends, things that would help them to understand some core values that I may have. We would definitely have to go down Monument st. to try the food. I would show them the art around East Baltimore where I’m from as that’s of the things that always stands out when I think about being here as a kid.
There are also a lot of trails, lakes, and waterfalls outside of the city that are awesome to go to in the Fall.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that I feel helped shape me into the person that I am today, just by my observance of some people. Whether it’s someone I’ve just met or someone I’ve known my entire life, I try to pick the good traits in people and take them with me.
But there are 3 people that stand out that I feel have helped me get to where I am now. My former high school film teacher Norm Ingram is always someone I can call whether I need personal advice or business advice. Even in times where I was all around confused Norm has helped me be able to hit the brakes at times, think things through and make the best decision for me.
My mother is also a HUGE part of where I am today. She’s always there with words of encouragement and she has a way of instilling confidence in me like no other. When she talks about me she believes that I can do anything and through her belief, in me, I feel empowered as well.
Ryan Leslie is another person I would like to recognize in helping me get to where I am. He was the first artist that gave me a stage to work with. He once told me “If you don’t know who the best is, then you don’t know who you aspire to be”
We used to look at editorials for hours on end, studying the light, looking at the wardrobe. We even would look up the stylist and crew members at times. It was an experience that opened my eyes to the world and I’ll forever be grateful for that.
Yellow Shirt (Kelvin Michael Wagner Jr.) Black and white (Olivia Demarco)