Thursday, January 28, 2016

Behind The Lens With Dan Ray

In the spotlight for this feature, photographer Dan Ray. 

Attend a pro event and you'll find Dan Ray, camera in hand, working his job as one of the denizens of the notorious pit. From this vantage point, he brings the show to muscle fans via his photo coverage. 

Arguably the hardest working shooter in the business, Dan is the first to arrive at a show and the first to start doing shoots. When the weekend is over, he's the one that turns off the lights before making the trek home.

Let's see if we can find out what makes Dan Ray tick.  

How and when did you get your start in photography?

I started photography in high school and carried on in college at KU where I got a degree in photojournalism.

When did you start shooting fitness?

I've been shooting fitness stuff since 2006 or 2007. It's all a blur.

Malori Mitchell

Can you hazard a guess as to how many shots you might take in a year?

I probably shoot 500,000 to 600,000 images a year, counting shoots and show coverage.

Typically how long does a camera last you until you have to replace it?

Cameras last a few years. Shutters - now that's another story. I typically go through a shutter every eight to nine months, so that adds up.

When you find some spare time, what do you like to do for enjoyment and hobbies?

Who has spare time? I like to sleep, watch NFL, college basketball and Rock Chalk Jayhawk. I help the blind to see and the crippled to walk. You know, the usual stuff.

What advice do you have for models starting out in the fitness industry?

Check up on the photographers and ask other girls about working with people you don't know. Remember to budget your time. Just because the shoot is supposed to last an hour doesn't mean you'll be there for an hour. Always stay until later Sunday or Monday after a big show. That's when most of the shoots are. Always bring heels and sunglasses and swimsuits other than your stage suit. They're small and should fit in your pockets!

What type of camera do you use and do you have a favorite lens?

I shoot Nikon. I like it. Right now I'm using a D800. I like shooting with my 70-200, 2.8 lens and 24-70, 2.8 lens. Both are pretty sharp and reliable.

Explain the term “pit karma” and why it's important for models to know how it works.

Pit karma is the good luck that pit photographers bestow to competitors that bring us treats during the show. The treats can be anything from water to beef jerky to pizza. We've had it all! We don't guarantee that they will place better, but we will shoot more photos of them on stage so that's not all bad.

Nicole Wilkins
Your drink of choice is ice tea. If you want the best in the land, where do you go?

There's a gas station about 20 miles north of me that brews the best ice tea I've ever had. Second best ice tea goes to the host hotel for the Tampa Pro show. It's very STRONG!

If you weren't shooting physique shows and models, what would you be shooting instead?

I'd like to be shooting still life or food. Studio stuff is easy if you have the right equipment and that stuff rarely talks back or has an attitude because of low carbs.

What's your favorite show to cover and why?

I like Jr Nationals in Chicago. The venue and hotel are together and it's easy shooting around the place. Next would be Nationals when it's down in South Florida. Fun show and great locations to shoot.

What's a bit of Dan Ray trivia that would surprise people?

Trivia - nobody has time for trivia. I'm a big Miami Dolphins fan. Why I don't know.

Where is the best place for fans to check out your work?

Check on Muscular Development or my Facebook page for now.

What's your contact info if someone wants to book a shoot? is my email or shoot me a message on Facebook

Britt McIntyre