Photographer Spotlight: Eric Ray Davidson

Posted by: on May 6, 2014
Photographer Spotlight: Eric Ray Davidson
Photo courtesy of Eric Ray Davidson

A graduate of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Eric Ray Davidson is a New York and Los Angeles based celebrity and fashion photographer who’s snapped everyone from Jared Leto to Dwayne Wade and Vanessa Hudgens. Some of his clients include Cosmopolitan magazine, Elle, GQ and Details. Eric is married to stylist Ilaria Urbinati and together they have two pups, Waffle and Ryder.

My first camera was…

A Nikon F3, given to me by my father at age 13.

I got started in celebrity and fashion photography…

After I left my job as associate photo editor at Details magazine in 2005.  

I wanted to become a photographer because…
It seemed like the best job ever – and it really is. I remember seeing covers of Rolling Stone in my teenage years and imagining how awesome it would be to be a cover photographer.

Photographer Spotlight: Eric Ray Davidson
Photo by Eric Ray Davidson

My first photography job was…

Photographing the founders of Le Labo fragrances at their store in NoLita for W Magazine.

Some of my industry role models are…because…
Paul Jasmin – he taught me how to build an environment on set where everyone was in the best possible mood. Before I was taking good photographs, I was running a great set.

Photographer Spotlight: Eric Ray Davidson
Photo by Eric Ray Davidson

I knew there was no turning back when…
I was 14 and I built a darkroom in my basement with my father. Between the school and home darkroom, I didn’t see much of the outdoors. Photography was what I lived for.

If I could choose one dream gig, it would be…

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph a wide range of subjects. My “dream gig” is continuing to be afforded the broad variation in assignment.

Before I got started in the industry, I wish somebody had told me…
You’re going to fail a million times before you start getting it right.

Photographer Spotlight: Eric Ray Davidson
Photo by Eric Ray Davidson

My favorite piece of gear is…
My Phase One IQ250 and Schneider lenses, my Nikon D800 system, and my new Mac Pro.

What is the best piece of advice you could give a person who wants to break into the celebrity and fashion photography world?
Have patience. That sounds so cliche, but a great career is worth waiting for – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Any advice on making the right connections?
Your main goal in the beginning of your career is to build foundations. Get out and meet lots of people and put yourself into environments where other like-minded creatives exist. It’s important to remember that you’re not going to get all the jobs right away, but if you have solid relationships people will follow your development.

Photographer Spotlight: Eric Ray Davidson
Photo by Eric Ray Davidson

We loved your recent Love Your Selfie segment on the TODAY show. How did you get involved with the project?
I shoot covers for Cosmopolitan, and they’ve been a regular client of mine for some time. I’m very close with the DP (Director of Photography) there and when Cosmo and the TODAY show teamed up they needed a photographer for the segment. A few weeks after that segment, I shot the full advertising campaign for the TODAY show.

Photographer Spotlight: Eric Ray Davidson
Photo by Eric Ray Davidson

Can you give us a quick look at your setup for the TODAY shoot? What made you decide to shoot tethered?
When I’m in a controlled environment, I always shoot tethered. But I’m not afraid to go to card when things are hectic. The monitor is a vital tool for communication between myself and the subject. I shoot very fast, so it’s important that the images are visible at the same speed. When I’m shooting with my Nikon D800, I’m using a right angle USB3 Cable with a bottom mounted JerkStopper to ensure solid port connection. When I’m shooting Phase IQ250 on Phase Body, I’m working with a FireWire 800 Cable through a Belkin Thunderbolt dock. FireWire800 carries power with more stability that USB3, despite the slightly slower speed.

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