Once a Las Vegas car salesman, Richard Vier returned to the mountains of Utah (where he was born) after two short years in the sales industry. A photographer’s playground, Utah’s capricious landscape is oftentimes the catalyst for long drives and spur-of-the-moment photo shoots for Richard, who didn’t pick up his first DSLR until after his second daughter was born. Primarily a portrait photographer, Richard’s main goal right now is to expand his commercial work. My first camera was… A Sony point and shoot, but I consider my first real camera to be my Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D). I wanted to become a photographer because… I originally bought the XT to take better pictures of my daughters. At the time I was a graphite portrait artist. Once I realized the creative possibilities that photography offers, I was done for. My first paying photography job was… A wedding. I had taken family pictures for a good friend of mine and he knew a couple that was getting married and couldn’t afford a wedding photographer. He hired me as a wedding gift for them. I would describe my style or shooting philosophy as… Fluid. I always plan for each shoot. I have shots in mind and when possible, I scout locations and get a feel for lighting. But I quickly learned that a session never turns out exactly how I imagined it, and if I am aware of the lighting, focused on the moment, and open to the idea that a photo shoot is a collaborative effort between me and my subject, I will be surprised by the shots that become my favorite of the day. It’s the unexpected and organic nature of the craft that really feeds into my creativity during a shoot. Some of my industry role models are… Two immediately come to mind, and I’m sure they are a familiar name to many who read this. David DuChemin and Joe McNally. David is a visionary. His book, Within The Frame, is dripping with inspiration. The man showed me how much a portrait session is an intimate interaction between photographer and subject. How very personal and revealing a session can be. There is honesty in his work, a very human approach, and it makes an impact in his photos. Then there’s Joe. He is a true student of light. After reading his work I realized just how much there is to learn about the color and nature of light. That has guided my most recent interest and I will be buying studio strobes to further expand my palette. I knew there was no turning back when… I noticed that I was viewing the world differently. There was a paradigm shift. I slowed down and started noticing things that just weren’t there before. Life is rich and full of color and beauty. I process things differently now. I am a better person because of photography. If I could choose one dream gig, it would be… An assignment with David DuChemin. His work cuts straight to the heart of what makes a powerful photograph. I can’t imagine all the things I could learn from that man. Before I got started in the industry, I wish somebody had told me… Just how much of the business aspect of the craft I should learn. It has been a challenge getting things off the ground in that regard. One thing no one could have ever prepared me for is… The immense satisfaction that comes from taking a good picture. I never thought it would be so addictive. I haven’t picked up my graphite pencils since buying my first DSLR. There is always something new to learn. My next venture will take me away from available light and the limitations of a single speedlite into the creative opportunities that come from monoblocks. My favorite piece of gear is… My camera, but that should be a given. Take away any lighting, the battery grip, the expensive L glass, tripod…any of it. Give me my camera and even just the nifty fifty and I will still be able to feed into my creative appetite. My current setup is… Canon EOS 7D, Canon EFs 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro, Canon 400mm f/5.6L, Canon 430EXII, various reflectors, plus all the great Tether Tools, Manfrotto, ThinkTank, Wallee and EyeFi gear I was fortunate enough to win in the Tether Tools Top 20 contest.