On this edition of Photographer Spotlight we met Monty – an Atlanta based photographer and documentary videographer who prides himself as a visual storyteller through his nature and wildlife captures.
“I think it is a mistake that other people do is that they try to copy other styles because they look nice… I don’t like that. I want to have my own proper style. I try to show the photos as close as possible to what I see, without much manipulation.”– Monty
Monty is a great artist with his sights set on growing a wider audience and having a large impact. His accomplished background helps to keep him focused and on the right path. He served several years in the military, and has interests in being a self-starting entrepreneur. Being an artist takes a certain mentality and fortitude in order to be successful, and Monty’s experiences prepare him for the journey ahead.
Get to know more about Monty and his work below.
Monty’s Approach to Business
Every artist who is serious about taking a full time swing at this industry knows that photography is the essential small business model. Over 94% of professional photographers in the US alone are freelance workers – and all that work sourcing clients and locations, along with growing the network and maintaining social media appearances goes towards being successful.
Monty knows this first hand in another area of interest he has: weight lifting and fitness. He maintains a business today that unfortunately is on hold due to the ongoing complications with the COVID-19 pandemic. The concept of his business is very interesting, and we think it has a great potential for success in the near future when the operations and branding open back up. We’re looking forward to the day we can share more about that venture.
Over the course of our discussion though, Monty’s creativity shone through. He shared several concepts and project ideas that he’s had over the years and even gave us some advice on future projects we have here at our company.
How Monty Became A Full Time Creator
Monty knew he was going to be a content creator from the start. He went to college to study communications with a focus on audio and video (A/V) comms. Before starting in school, his goal was to actually be in front of the camera as a news host. It was in college, while he was studying photography, videography and directing where his passion for being behind the camera really took off.
Documentary video is where Monty really wanted to be. He entered international competitions during and after school and although he isn’t actively in the medium today, it is still a major interest of his.
For several years, life took Monty in a different direction. He served in the military, and is now a veteran of the force. As he spent time building in other areas of his life – spending time on his business and his family – he grew more eager to jump back into photography.
Around 2017, he made his first purchase of a camera body – choosing the Canon 80D. Because of the time off Monty went through a stage of relearning not only the photography field, but also the new distribution tools in social media that are now more popular than when he first studied the art.
Monty Defines His “Niche”
While he was getting back to the art form and deciding his next steps, Monty wanted to define his niche. His business-focused side made him think of real estate photography – working with agents, homeowners and construction companies to help build a portfolio for clients that are always working with new projects. The area is in constant demand and would provide an opportunity to make a quality income for an established artist.
His passion called him to another area however: wildlife photography. He and his wife love to travel. It’s a natural fit for the adventure seeker to combine travel and a camera. Monty’s aware of the difficulty of making a full time living in the wildlife space, but his avid goals help him to be inventive with where he wishes to go. And he’s not afraid to change direction and pivot to make his journey a successful one.
One thing that was interesting while listening to him speak was his dedication to his style.
“I think it is a mistake that other people do is that they try to copy other styles because they look nice… I don’t like that. I want to have my own proper style. I try to show the photos as close as possible to what I see, without much manipulation.”
Every photo Monty takes is directed. They each tell a story. Whether the subject is sitting still or interacting with the environment around them, Monty tries to capture it from as many angles as possible. He uses very slight and subtle editing manipulations to reduce noise and to bring the color to what he saw with his eyes.
“Yellowstone is my heart. That place is special.”– Monty
Monty shared several memories of trips he’s been on recently and ones that he wishes to go back to. Some, like Norway, were trips that he had taken before getting photography equipment. So the images he has are ones taken on mobile phones. A similar story is his trip to Thailand. There are several of these trips he’d like to visit again to capture the experience on his Canon.
Costa Rica was a recent trip that stands out notably in his mind. “You have to have your camera ready all the time. Any turn or place you go, an animal will show up in front of you that you don’t want to miss.” It’s one of the top five bio-diverse locations in the world. With the wildlife and the rainforest there, it’s the perfect location for a travel ready adventurer.
His other goals are to travel to Asia and back to Costa Rica, as well as some places in the US – including Montana and Wyoming. “Yellowstone is my heart. That place is special.”
Room to Grow
Monty knows there’s still room for him to grow in the field. Mainly this centers on distribution. He’s still learning the ins and outs of social media (trying to master those ever-changing algorithms…), SEO, and website management.
But his path in the creation industry itself is rooted in one of noble goals. He hopes one day soon to engage with institutions focused on wildlife preservation. He has a couple locations in mind for projects focused on bringing awareness and attention to preservation needs in wildlife settings. “I’m not important, the stuff I’m photographing is.” Through his travels, he’s found areas that have been nearly untouched by human interference and the fear is that these places will be overrun with business and manipulation if people don’t learn about the nature and biology that lives there. One such project is focused on Papua New Guinea. Photographing and documenting the region’s wildlife, the rainforest, and especially the very unique species of birds of paradise could help with bringing local and global awareness to ongoing conservation efforts – and possibly make a contribution to help saving their natural habitat and resources.
Connect with Monty
If you’d like to follow Monty on his journeys and support him along the way, check out his social page here.
Do you want to be featured on our channels? We’d love to hear from you! Send us a note here and we’ll be in touch 🙂