David Gravely of Davidgravelyphotography.com was born and raised in Virginia. Although it was his brief time spent out of Virginia that sparked his interest in photography. David enlisted in the army and was stationed at Fort Bragg when he was assigned to be the battalion photographer. He went on to document Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. With no formal training it was all trial and error. “They handed me an old Canon Rebel and said go.”
After returning back to Virginia David got a job working at a foundry. Nine months into David’s job he was inside a machine cleaning when it closed down on him and nine thousand pounds of pressure came down on top of him. “Eleven years after jumping out of airplanes and blowing up stuff I go back to my hometown and almost get killed.” “I was pronounced dead at the hospital four times that night, broke my back in three places, punctured my lungs, crushed my skull and broke some of my ribs.” No one expected him to make it but David claims it was his “hard headed” nature that got him through. “I’m a blessed man there is no question.”
After his accident there is little that David could physically do. After recovering David wanted to find a job that would keep him safe and never jeopardize his well being again so he got back into photography. He started photographing his daughter who was a cheerleader at the time. “Photography fell into my lap. No one around here had the time or love of it to take time to do it.” David started off shooting just as a hobby. He would buy tickets to the sporting events in town and just snap away. He would print the pictures at home and at the next game he would give the kids the best five or six pictures he had taken. A local sports writer saw some of his pictures and asked if he could start using David’s pictures to go along with the stories that he was writing on the high school teams. David jumped at the opportunity.
A few games later David got his press credentials and was shooting regularly for the newspaper. He would even fill in for the sports writer when he had to miss a game. Now a days David covers three to ten game a week, he also still works for the newspaper and he runs some of the websites for the teams at the high school.
With David’s sideline access he is always heading to events and taking photos. After each event he loads the pictures on to ExposureManager and the high school kids head on to his site to buy photos. Every kid in town that is involved in sports knows David by now; he’s been on the sidelines for twelve years. “A lot of them I’ve coached as kids through basketball, soccer and football."
David credits a lot of his photo sales to ExposureManager’s stats information. He is able to tell what pictures people are looking at and what galleries are the most popular. If he see’s a specific town is really checking out his pictures he makes sure to cover more of their kids next time the high schools play each other. He also loves how user friendly ExposureManager is, “the way it’s organized it allows people to easily find pictures from different years. Just last month I had someone order pictures from a gallery from 2004.”
When I asked David if he had any advice he said that, “some of the pictures that you think are not worth having, someone is going to want. I am always shocked at how many pictures I sell of crowd shots, or people in the stands. My advice is to not just focus on the game, get everything around the game. The crowd, the people working in the stands, the cheerleaders, and the band are all part of the game. Someone out there is going to want that picture.”