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Interviews, Keri Duncan-McDaniel, Photography, Snapped Images

Keri Duncan-McDaniel / Snapped Images

Keri Duncan-McDaniel/ Snapped Images

There’s always that chance that you’ll go through life doing one thing, only to find that your life’s passion is something else completely! In some ways this is the story of Keri Duncan-McDaniel, who still holds down a “regular” job while pursuing her passion for photography.

This is not the same as me pursuing my love for photography, this lady is a true professional as her many galleries on her website will attest to.
When I came across her website while working on the Lance Tilton Foundation Facebook Page, I immediately became a fan, and a month or so later gathered the shutzpah to ask the woman behind the amazing images to share some of her story with me.
And her story is familiar and captivating, if for no other reason than the fact that she allows herself to be frank about her past, present and future goals. So without further ado, here’s Keri!
Name:  Keri Duncan McDaniel / Snapped Images
Occupation(s):  Photographer
How long have you been doing this occupation(s)? 3 years
Where are you from originally?  Atlanta (Piedmont Hospital to be exact J)
What kind of student were you in HS?  I was a “social student”…….. I didn’t apply myself in academics (regrettably)
Keri’s work for engaged couples

What was your favorite class?  P.E.    (lol)

Least favorite?  Science
Did HS properly prepare you for the next stage in your life? In my case, Life had to prepare me for the next stage of life.
Did you attend College/JC/Trade School etc?  In regards to Photography, I have only taken classes at local photography schools and attended seminars specific to photography.  I research everything I can and use the internet continuously for unlimited information.
What kind of student were you in these (photography) classes?  Excellent……this was something I was doing because I WANTED to…..not because anyone made me.  (I still continue to take classes every chance I get – right now it’s all about education and learning everything I can)
One of Kerri’s first photographic jobs – shooting Snoop Dog

What was the road that led you to do what you are doing today?  I was in the security camera business where I trained customers on how to use their security cameras, both hardware and software – I love learning new equipment and figuring out how to use it and then sharing that knowledge to help others…..After being forced back into the job market in 2008, I volunteered at a local Coop Ministry while I was job searching. While I was volunteering I took tons of pictures of the people that came in and one of the other volunteers noticed, and liked, my photography work.  He asked me to take pictures of some of the recording artists that came into his recording studio in Atlanta (Hello…..Snoop Dog) …..Through that, I bought my first DSLR camera and hit the books, internet, classes, even went to the Photoshop World Convention to try to learn as much as I could about the art of photography.    In the meantime, in my job search (during a period of time where unemployment has been at a all time high)  I found one with an Engineering firm! …….One that even though I am very thankful for, it is not my passion.  I continue to grow my photography business to include maternity, newborn, engagement, family, events  and even booked my first wedding – with the hopes that one day I will be working on my passion full time.

Ed Roland onstag at the LTF Fundraiser

When did you decide to do what you are doing now? 2008

What does a “normal” day, in your chosen field, look like for you?  Since I work full time at a “real job”, I have to do a lot of my work on nights and weekends to help grow my skill and my business.  The weekends is usually when I do my photo shoots and during the week I usually go home from work and go straight to my computer, editing my pictures, social networking, tutorials, websites, etc. 
Chris Price onstage at Vinyl

What do you enjoy the most and the least about what you are doing now?  I love spending time with people and capturing images that they love……most of the images I take are of peoples natural beauty….in settings that THEY love.  I also love the fact that with digital photography the sky is the limit…..I have taken images and created some beautiful artwork that I have sold and also have put several pieces on exhibit around Atlanta.  I like the fact that because there are so many great cameras out there, it challenges me to go a step above and create something more than “just” a picture……but that leads into what I like the least…..it is so competitive!

What are your ultimate goals for your career?  That is the big question……Right now I just keep working hard, networking even harder and constantly try to learn new things– trying to uncover every stone to see where this path takes me.  I have learned that photography is a very competitive business and it isn’t for someone that isn’t going to give it 110%!  Ultimate goal……full time artist/photographer.

What do you wish you had known at 15?  I wish I had taken education more seriously – unfortunately, I am the kind of person that if something doesn’t interest me, I have a hard time staying focused.  I wish I had given more thought about what it is I REALLY wanted to do and what it was that I was REALLY interested in.  At 15, I think fear of failure probably held me back more than I realized (That is what inspired one of my art pieces that I named “Fearless”)

David Ryan Harris performing at Tavern 99

What advice would you like to give to a youth wanting to follow in your footsteps?  Get a degree!!!  Even if it is not the same field you end up going into – it will open many more doors.   I would also say the same thing I heard as a child……..figure out what YOU enjoy doing and find a way to earn money doing it.  Try to learn everything you can about what you love.  Don’t be discouraged that you can’t please everyone with the choices you make about what it is that you love…..Everyone HAS to work but it doesn’t feel like work when it is something you enjoy……..It turns into a hobby that you get paid for.

Wesley Cook at Dogwood Festival

Is there anything else you’d like for youth to know about you or what you do?  It is hard to try to “reinvent” yourself the older you get, but life sometimes throws you curves where you have to find the next place that you belong…….Keep networking, working hard, learn new technology DAILY,  don’t get discouraged along the way and don’t burn bridges because I have also learned, it’s not always WHAT you know…..but WHO you know.

To find out more about Keri Duncan-McDaniel, and/or to book her for an event, please visit http://snappedimages.com.
To see more of her amazing work on Facebook, click here. 


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June 2011
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