How To Turn Your Passion Into a Life of Adventure
Tyler Sharp is a modern day adventurer. Based out of Dallas, Texas, Tyler has been all over the world. He has stories for days. Enjoy our Q & A with him.
HFDG: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
T: My name is Tyler Sharp, and I’m a creative director, photographer, and writer based out of Dallas, Texas.My work largely revolves around americana/western, sporting life, and adventure documentary, but what I always try to do is just tell an honest story, whatever that may be. I’ve been freelance for the past 10 years, and have worked with quite a range of clients, brands, organizations, and people. These days I’m doing a bit more of creative direction & direction, which is nice, because it allows me to put the camera down, and just think about what is possible. I have an amazing dog named Wyatt who travels with me almost everywhere in the safari style truck that I built out in the last year, and he loves to sing to bluegrass and country music.
HFDG: How did you get started?
T: I studied photography & video at USC in Los Angeles, and as fate would have it, my first job out of college was in Tanzania, Africa, filming and photographing safaris. I fell in love with the county, the safari lifestyle, and all that goes with being outdoors, hunting for your food, and relying on your own instincts and wits for survival. Coming back to the US, there are fewer places you can that, but I was drawn to anything and everything that allowed me to have a similar experience. I chased all sorts of jobs around, shooting what I could to pay the bills, but almost burned myself out. It was only after I decided that I was only going to pursue the things that made me happy, that I really believed in and felt aligned with, that it started to work out. Almost immediately after I knew what I wanted, it became a lot easier to track that down. I aligned my personal interests with my professional goals, and thus was able to find and execute work that I was enthusiastic about. In my opinion, work is a lot better if you actually care about it, and I think that started to show through, and more work started coming my way. That, and I just hustled my ass off trying to make my dreams happen.
HFDG: What makes your work unique?
T: That’s a hard question. I’m not sure what makes my work itself unique, but I think that I’m fortunate to be able to travel to some really unique places, and almost always meet some interesting characters. I know that isn’t necessarily a specific formula, but it’s hard to explain. I’ve just been able to cultivate a lifestyle that takes me to some unusual places, and out of that, I’m able to create work that represents that. Some of these places are hard to get to, might be dangerous, or seem uninteresting at first glance. I trust my instincts, and for whatever reason, am able to consistently find these situations or people, and get to the heart of the story.
HFDG: What advice do you have for someone looking to get into photography?
T: Figure out exactly what it is that you want to do, or that makes you happy. There are so many different paths that someone can take in the photography world, and I chased more of them around than I should’ve for too long of a time. Narrow down your pursuits, your specialty, or the type of shooting that you really want to do. If you can specialize your skill set, and find ways to distinguish yourself within that field, you’re going to have a much easier time moving forward in your career, and towards your goals. Oh, and set goals in your chosen field, that helps too!
HFDG: Has travel impacted you in any way?
T: Travel impacted me in a major way. For a three year period, I was directing and filming for several shows on the Outdoor Channel, and in that time period, went to over 25 countries. All over Africa, Pakistan, India, Nepal, even the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. I saw so many amazing things, met some incredible people, and was exposed to so much culture that I never would have been, and I carry that with me everyday. It opened my eyes to a much more diverse world than we often see in the US, and I feel like has helped me become a better person.
HFDG: Do you have a favorite app for photography? If so, what is your go-to?
T: Well I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite app, because to be honest, I really don’t like spending a lot of time on the computer or my phone. But Adobe Lightroom is probably one of the most useful and effective for me, because it allows me to organize and catalog my archive, and easily find what I need. I have hundreds of thousands of photos I’ve taken over the years, and if there wasn’t a way to easily organize all of that, it would be a monumental task of sorting through all of it. It is still a lot of work to constantly be updating and adding to photo collections, but having a streamlined system in place allows me to get back to doing what I love sooner, which is being creative, and being outdoors.
HFDG: How did you grow your Instagram following to what it is today?
T: A few of my friends from an annual photo retreat called Phoot Camp were among the first to really adopt and explore what Instagram was. They taught me a lot about what was possible with the platform, and after a time, I guess I earned enough of their respect that they put my name in the hat to be a suggester user. Once I got put on that list, my work was immediately exposed to much larger audience, and over the years, it has grown organically as I’ve honed in my style and subject matter. My feed has become a fairly specific, curated aesthetic, and I guess I have started to become known for that very thing. Instagram has become a major part of my business, almost an extension of my website, and I actually get quite a bit of work from it. There are a lot of editors, brands, marketing directors, and agencies that use Instagram as a research tool, and so I make sure to put my best work on there, and sometimes it pays off.
Check out Tyler and his newest adventures here.