Hello, I’m Oliver Eckel. I created this blog to create a like minded online community for any aspiring, current, or veteran photo geeks to share tips, advice, and tricks of the craft. A couple different photo stories wouldn’t hurt anyone either.
I’ve been a photographer in the greater Los Angeles for over 20 years. Throughout my privileged photography career I’ve worked for several different heavy-hitting media companies like: TMZ, Disney Communications, MTV, and ESPN.
Through the time working, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be a professional. Along the way, I’ve met some extraordinary people all over the country. The memories and experiences will be ingrained with me forever.
Looking back 20 years, as a young hungry college student, I had no set route or job set up like most of the other students at my school. When I would see my friends during the semester, I remember hearing about the experience they had for their summer internship. I hated hearing, reading, and talking about internships.
During summer breaks, while everyone else was out partying, interning, working a minimum wage job; I was hard at work taking any amazing scenic picture, portraits, head shot, in the moment shot I could get in front of. In my mind, I just knew with more trial and error my photography skills would start to grow. My bet was correct, they did.
However my obsession and passion for photography started many years before I ever stepped foot on a college campus. My earliest memories with my parents were of cameras and photos. There was something tangible about seeing a picture you created that truly resonated with my core. As I grew older I become increasingly more inquisitive about photos.
I really had a blast running around as a kid in the local park finding different people, animals, plants, scenic views, etc to practice on. Literally the world was a playground. And it was mine.
I think early in high school I knew photography was going to pay the bills for me when I graduated college. I knew because I got selected by the principal to be the school’s photographer at all the sports, music, holiday, academic, and graduation events. As a freshman, this was a huge deal.
After four years of becoming the best photographer I could possibly become from all the reps I did in high school, USC was my next stop in my life. USC gave me all the tools, resources, and network to put my work on the map.
After four amazing years at USC, I got a job as an assistant photographer at Disney Communications. The experience lasted five years, and allowed a transition to working for MTV. MTV was most interesting because there was so many different events and shows going on, I was not the only photographer for MTV. In fact, there was multiple different teams.
At MTV, I was primarily responsible for gathering, editing, and uploading all pictures associated with shows and events. You guessed it right, this meant I had the opportunity to see MTV shows and events live & FREE. Life was good. While I was working for MTV, I got lucky and met the CEO for TMZ. This key introduction allowed me to pivot to TMZ.
TMZ was quite an experience. Celebrities, athletes, musicians, artists, and all other famous gossip topics was the market. As a photographer, my job was to be called upon for capturing in the moment experiences of celebs and famous individuals. This was an unforgettable job, I was able to meet a lot of important people in Los Angeles and New York.
During my time at TMZ, I met an executive from ESPN, who saw my work and was impressed. I guess he was impressed enough-he hired me two days after meeting. I’ve always had a thing for sports and being a fan for several different sports team-my last career stop was a dream come true. My photography days at ESPN were filled with spontaneous trips to classic sports games and playoff series games. I couldn’t have asked for a better job-allowing me free, front row experience for some of the biggest and most watched events.
As my career started to wind down, I found a love for traveling and capturing breathtaking views of exotic places on earth. When it becomes possible, I would love the opportunity to travel into space and take shots of earth looking down. That would be incredible.
Just like any other path in life, there was a lot of ups and downs being a professional photographer for large media outlets. For any newbie or up and coming photographer, what’s most important is taking pictures everyday. When you take a lot of pictures every day, at a young age, you will be able to track and improve upon your work. Everyday is a new day to get better. Do well in school, so you can have the option to attend a powerful university that can provide everything you need for a successful career.
Best of Luck,