Interviews

Interview with photographer extraordinaire Dwayne Watkins

Written by Xavier Murphy

We had a conversation with photographer extraordinaire Dwayne Watkins. Born in Kingston Jamaica on January 9th 1977. Kindergarten years at St Theresa’s Prep. Went to High school at St. George’s College. After 2nd form, he migrated to the Miami but later returned to Jamaica to finish high school. Upon graduating, he  went back to Florida for University.  He graduated from Florida International University in 2003 with a Bachelor in Management Information Systems Dwayne and worked in the Information Technology field for several years doing network management and administration.  Photography was only a hobby back then. As more doors opened in photography he pursed it full time.  Photography is his passion and it shows in his work.

How did you get into photography?
I was always interested in it. Captivated even. As a child I was always amazed by a photographer’s ability to capture something so simple, yet evoke incredible emotion. I had an incredible desire to do the same-“evoke emotion” through imagery. So I bought a disposable camera and started shooting. We’ve grown leaps and bounds since then.. But that’s where it started.

How long have you been doing photography?
Most of my life. Professionally, just a few years.  More and more doors kept opening in the photography arena, and after much consideration, I decided to pursue photography, my craft, full-time.

What was your first professional subject?
Initially in my professional career, I was interested in doing fashion photography/models etc. I believe my 1st professional shoot was with a fashion model. I helped create her portfolio.

You do a lot of weddings. What is the best spot to have a wedding from a photographer perspective?
Outdoor Outdoor Outdoor. I absolutely love outdoor weddings. I love natural outdoor lighting. I love the tropical feel, windswept veils, the vibrant colors (blue skies, green foliage, and white sand beaches). We have so many beautiful outdoor locations around us, why not explore them for the most incredible day of our life.

Most people think the life of a photographer is glamorous and they get to meet famous people?
From the outside looking in it may seem so. But its not.. It’s Work. Fun at times. Still very demanding. Think about it, people (celebrities or not) rely on you to capture them, and portray them in the best possible way.

Tell us the “real deal” and the preparation it takes for a shoot?
Well it depends on the shoot, but my preparation is much about having the right equipment, competent and a supportive team. But more importantly for me it’s my mental preparation. I take every shoot seriously. Each shoot is thought out thoroughly. Focusing on every detail. I think through my ideas and shots and the best possible way to bring them to fruition. The customer’s satisfaction is our goal.

What type of events do you like shooting?
Wedding Photography is my passion. I love capturing LOVE.

What is the key to a good photo?
Ask any photographer this question, and you will get a million technical answers on lighting, composition etc. Yes, that’s all good. For me it’s less about the technical, and more about capturing an emotion. A look, a smile, a tear… Not a pose.. Just those natural moments that you capture when they don’t even realize your shooting that creates an incredible shot.

What camera do you recommend for an amateur a semi- professional?
I’m a Canon shooter, so that’s what I recommend. Buy the best camera within your budget.

What has been the highest honor so far in your career?
I’m not one for the pursuit of accolades. My work speaks for itself. I’ve had my work in several magazines, and newspapers. But it’s an honor every time a bride gets back from her honeymoon and calls me with such excitement in her voice and how overjoyed she is about how much she loves her pictures.

What is your main goal when you shoot a wedding?
I think weddings are supposed to be celebratory, fun events, and I try to show that in my photography. My goal is to accurately capture the emotion of the wedding day. When you view images from a wedding, you’re supposed to relive and feel every moment.

Tell us the story how you met your wife?
I met my gorgeous wife Natalie Chin in Nov 2006 while shooting a wedding at the church I was working for at the time.  Its amazing how God works things out.  Jeremiah 29:11.  We got married in Jamaica at the beautiful Strawberry Hills Resort on September 13, 2008.

You are between Jamaica and South Florida how do you adjust between both places?
Both places have been “home” to me. I love to travel. No adjusting necessary. I currently spend most of my time in Jamaica.  However, my photography keeps me busy, and travelling a lot.  My story has just started… Much more to come.

Are you working on any projects outside photography?
Photography keeps me busy all year round. Outside of photography, I believe in service and volunteering of your time to help others. With that value, I started volunteering at my local church, after a few years I felt lead to walk away from the corporate world and work with the church full time.  While there, I was Director of Communications, where I was responsible for their branding, Web Design, graphic design, audio/Visual support etc. I’m exploring some nonprofit organizations with hopes of collaborations in the near future.

Can I be your apprentice?
LOL. No openings at this time. Will definitely keep you posted.

Digicel, Claro or Lime?
The Bigger Better Network.. Digicel.

Any advice for budding photography?
Ask Questions. Don’t be afraid to have your work critiqued. Learn from your mistakes. Most importantly, keep shooting.

Thanks for the interview. Any closing thoughts?
Photography is my passion, and I’m so overwhelmed by the love and support of so many people. It’s truly humbling. I know its God.. cause I’m just not that good without HIM…. 🙂

You can check out Dwayne Watkins Photography online at : http://www.dwaynewatkins.com or email him at:  [email protected]

About the author

Xavier Murphy