main zoom lenses. I have a 35mm/
f1.4 and an 85mm/f1.2 for low light
stuff. I’ve got an 8-15mm fisheye
for “rukes” shots—the wide-angle
shots from behind the DJ that
make everything look epic—and a
90mm tilt-shift lens which is one
of those lenses I rarely use, but
when I can, I’m lucky to have it.
PDN: What else? Any tripods
DR: I have a monopod and a
remote shutter release, so I can get
higher shots from behind the DJ.
I have one Canon Speedlite, but
I rarely use it, unless there’s no
light, or I need a little bit of fill
flash for daytime shadows.
PDN: How do you market yourself?
DR: At this point, it’s a lot of word
of mouth. The most marketing
I’ll do is look to see what gigs
are coming up for artists that I
know, and I’ll have my manager
hit them up: Do you want me to
shoot this gig?
PDN: How much do you get paid?
DR: I get a fee plus expenses—
airfare and hotel. For festivals, it’s
a day rate. When I’m working for
a DJ, we work out a fee, so if it’s
a longer tour I don’t charge the
same day rate as I do for a one-off
gig. I charge a good amount of
money because of the high quality
of the photos and the social media
exposure they generate.
PDN: What’s the competition like?
DR: It’s difficult. There’s a lot of
undercutting in this industry—a
lot of photographers who are
willing to shoot for DJs for free,
and a lot of people offering
to pay their own expenses [to
shoot festivals]. They’re doing
it for exposure, to get people to
hire them. I’m still doing pretty
well, and the undercutting is
worrisome, but [most clients] still
care about quality.
PDN: Is it forcing you to drop
DR: A little bit, but for the most
part, people say: We want your
quality, we want your brand, so
we’ll pay your price.
PDN: What’s your advice for
photographers trying to get into
DR: It’s a very crowded field, but
there’s always room, and there’s
always new photographers
popping up doing amazing work.
The best advice I would give is
figure out how you want your
photos to look, don’t make your
photos look the way you think
someone else would want them to
look. You should be able to look at
them and say, These are my photos,
and I like the way they look.
ABOVE: Bassnectar, at the Klipsch Amphitheater in Miami in 2013.
OPPOSITE PAGE: Something Wonderful, a festival in Dallas, Texas, in 2017.
Ressler uses a fisheye lens “for ‘rukes’ shots”—the wide-angle shots
from behind the DJ that “make everything look epic,” he says.