Interview with Casey Templeton

Tell us a little bit about the man behind the camera?


I am always framing a photo; driving down the road, mid conversation, mowing the grass, and that is all without a camera. I am framing pictures in my mind 95% of the time and may have a camera in my hand only 5% of the time. Its kind of like taunting a wild animal while its in a cage so when the door opens, it goes nuts. Photography is my passion but I always keep my finger on the big picture; I have committed to be just as good of a businessperson as a photographer. It’s the only way to make a living. I spend just as much time on the business side as I do on the creative side.

Where did you grow up?

I still am growing up! I was born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia and went to school at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Now I live in Richmond, Virginia.

080119_motocross_110How did you get started?

I get asked this question all the time and it is very easy to answer in person. I start by telling the person that as I am talking to them, I have their head perfectly framed between two hanging photos and their eyes are 100% in line with the painted stripe on the wall. In short, I have always done this, its always been in my head, I just had to pick up a camera. Its freaky.

How did being selected for college photographer of the year affect you?

060427_circuselephantIt was a dream come true. CPOY had always been won by students at the major photojournalism schools around the world, not by students like myself that didn’t even have a photojournalism program. I had actually flown myself out to watch the judging the year before at University of Missouri and at a dinner one night with a group of students, I said “you know, I’m going to win this thing one year,” and they laughed in my face. It was a magical moment when I saw them the following year at the award ceremony.

Did you go to school for photography?

Nope. I attended JMU’s Media Arts & Design program (, this program had only one 8-week course in photography.

What’s it like shooting for National Geographic?mm6000_061202_6881

I’m not going to lie, it was the coolest thing to say, “Hi, my name is Casey and I’m a photographer for National Geographic Magazine.” The experience was certainly sink or swim. I worked on a project about pigeon racing  ( and I had a blast. Take a look at the project and you’ll be able to see why.

Name 3 types of equipment you can’t live without besides your camera

1 – Aperture: Apple’s kick-ass photo editing program

2 – Blinkbid – Estimating and invoicing program

3 – My 17″ Macbook Pro for on location shooting

Mac or PC?

Really!? MAC!

Favorite Photoshop tool?060427_ringleader

I honestly don’t use Photoshop except for contact sheets and creating web gallery links. I use Aperture ( ) for all my photo editing and archiving needs.

Do you have a particular style of shooting?

Very laid back, if the people I am photographing are not comfortable, it shows.

What has been your most memorable assignment and why?

Pigeon Culture for National Geographic Magazine. Just take a look and you’ll see why:

060427_circusfaceHave you had your work published? If so, with who?

Commercial/Advertising Campaigns: clients such as Wal-Mart, Apple, Altria, Philip Morris, Dominion Resources, and various other companies.

Editorial publications: National Geographic Magazine, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, US News & World Report, Washington Times, The Sunday (London) Times and various other national publications.

How do you get fresh ideas?

I love cinematography, did I spell that right?

071204_m_ingram_115What inspires you?

My faith and family.

What type of challenges do you face as a photographer?

People that hate having their photo taken. Photographers undercutting the market just to get the job. Get with it.

Where is somewhere you haven’t yet been to on assignment but want to go?

I would love to go to China and I think that is going to happen in March!

Finish the sentence- “If I were not a photographer, I would be…”

I have never thought about this. Honestly.

If I were not a photographer, I would be miserable to be around.

What advice would you give to photographers just starting out?

Ask questions and don’t be afraid to take bad photos. Never accept the light you see as the best you can get.

What are you currently working on?090203_vcuarts_244

Keeping up with my growing business, it has doubled in the past year and working on a new website and re-branding of my entire business. Going to be hot.

Goals for 5 years from now?

To still be working with every client I currently have. I believe long term working relationships are key. I also want to add a few more national and international clients.

Stay tuned, its going to be fun!

Conference Highlight 

Worship Arts’s News

This session is geared toward photographers of all levels and will specialize in understanding and operating digital SLR cameras. Participants will explore the basics of operating the camera, camera settings, and how to create captivating images. There will be ample time to ask questions, shoot pictures in the community, and learn how to organize and edit digital photographs.


About the Author

Megan Mullins is a freelance photographer based out of Charleston West Virginia. You can connect with her on twitter. She is into all kinds of photography: portrait, landscape, fashion, you name it!


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