MEET. Dennis Burnett

DennisBurnett_04DennisBurnett_05© Dennis Burnett

Meet Austin based photographer and APA member, Dennis Burnett.

Who are your top 5 favorites that you’re following on Instagram?
@adamvoorhes, @kylejbean, @thedailyshow, @magnumphotos, @nytmag 

What is your camera of choice?
For a very long time, 15 years or so I was strictly a canon shooter. However the last three years I have made a serious investment into the Sony family. The Sony AR7IV is a wonderful tool.

What do you listen to when you’re shooting?
While I’m shooting I try to stick with anything with an upbeat rhythm. Spotify channel called focus / Brain food is usually a good bet. If I am retouching or processing imagery. I will listen to a podcast. It could be anything from Chase Jarvis, Futur or the wondery. 

Who were your biggest influencers?
I am big fan of Alec Soth, William Eggleston and Martin Parr. I try to look at anything but photography for inspiration sometimes for example. Graphic design, Painting etc. Especially for color palettes for still life work.

What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out?
My father said, if your on time you are 15 minutes late.

What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your career so far?
The hardest challenge in my career was when I moved to Austin Tx back in 2015. I knew only one person. It was my girlfriend at the time. I would get assignments from craigslist, shoot for other wedding photographers, It was a really lonely experience for some time. Fast forward 6 years and I just wrapped directing my first network television series. One should really try to develop a community no matter where you are in your career. 

Did you learn through experience, school, other?
I continue to learn and try and learn from every perspective. I got a BFA at Savannah College of Art and Design. From there I worked from the college from 2006-2012. Here is where I learned true hands on experience. Each year I averaged over 150 shoots a year ranging from architecture, still life, portrait, lifestyle etc. However, I did not learn much about the business aspect of photography. This is something I think you have to learn from trial and error, through mentorship and being inquisitive. I also still use youtube to learn. 

When were you first introduced to Photography?
I received a camera as a present my sophomore year of boarding school.

What were you doing before you became a Photographer?
In my mind I have always been a photographer. However my first job was at Wal-Mart in the pet department.

What 3 words describe your photography style?
Authentic, Honest, and Colorful

What do you want people to understand about the industry?
Its ever changing and it’s the photographers responsibility to sell their value.

If you weren’t a Photographer, what would you be doing?
I would be a Chef 

What do you do when you get stuck?
Slow down. Put my phone down and stop checking my emails. I would usually walk the dogs to get some fresh air and think.  There is a term called Forrest bathing which is basically sitting under a tree and taking in nature. 

Do you have a favorite podcast?
I have a few different categories that I really enjoy. American history, true crime and industry related materials. Here is a list of a few in no particular order. The Wondery Dr Death, The go creative show, Chase Jarvis, Detective Trapp, Dear Art Producer.

What is your best marketing advice for your peers?
Keep shooting, creating, making, Don’t wait for a client to hire you to make an image.

What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back 10 years? 20 years?
My advice would be to just continue chasing the goal. For a long time I had a financial number in my head that I felt equaled success. Now that I reached that number it doesn’t mean anything. Another would be to stay true to yourself as an artist and don’t get distracted by others success or highlight reel of social media.

To read more about Dennis visit our website.
Check out more work from Dennis Burnett!