We asked David Neff a 1990 graduate to share his story on our Blog.
David Neff was born in the late 1960’s in suburban Philadelphia. He survived RIT until 1990 when he jumped into the world of commercial photography upon graduation. He photographs people in a playful, bold style. He bikes all around town and often many miles up the Hudson River basin to get some fresh air. He is a lover of all things technical, hackerspaces, garages, and farm machinery. He loves traveling, even more with a camera and a bike… And then there was that ill fated trip to Florida that included the Communications Arts Magazine visit where he won an Addy, a Mohawk Paper best of show and his work remains prominently displayed in his parents den.
Many readers might not guess that I graduated the Biomed photo program in 1990 and ended up in NYC shooting people for advertising and editorial clients. I have been self employed now for the greater part of the past seventeen years. I have photographed everything from stock cars in North Carolina to celebs in China. After three years working in Biomedical field at the VA Medical Center in Philly, the romantic notion of world travel, supermodels and a goth wardrobe got the best of me. No more 9-5 and knew I’d end up working 7am to 9pm instead. I was lucky to have a strong start with some really talented art directors in Charlotte NC and I clicked my red shoes together four times, missed Kansas and landed in NYC in 2003.
Getting from PPHB-90 to DNPNYC-2014 may seem a stretch to some but the core skills crossed over well and the electives available at RIT broadened my abilities and interests. I was lucky in Biomed to come out of school and walk right into a salaried position that gave me some cash reserves that I would then use to go into commercial photography when I took the plunge.
Social media has become as important as maintaining a portfolio. Where cold calling and portfolio drops once got a photographer into the door, now email, voice mail and give little feedback are part of the conversation. A good social media campaign gives statistics and some direction for targeting your audience more effectively and a creative outlet with near instant gratification. Have I been working the web? Not so much lately, I’m now a dad! It’s a wonderful distraction from marketing although I promise I’ll get back on it soon!
The rewards of doing something you love for a living can be great, and even better if you happen to be a natural at selling yourself. I love meeting new and interesting people, otherwise I’d be shooting product. Constant assaulted with visual problems, time restraints, budgets, the challenges make the rewards even sweeter. Being a photographer has given me the ability to take better family photos than my Facebook friends nine times out of ten. :)When my son goes to bed at night, I get the the warm fuzzy feeling that I paid for his bed by making a photo of Jesse Jackson, The Great Fredini or some guy named Syl.
David Neff Photography
Brooklyn NY 11211
Max Mercury rules!