John Keatley is a commercial photographer who was once told that he failed to photograph expressions in his portraits. These days, he’s paid to do exactly that. In fact, he’s now occasionally told that he can’t get away with taking such crazy photos of people.
Keatley has a highly distinctive, humorous look of his own—a look that has made him a very successful commercial photographer. His odd esthetic and willingness to stick to his own vision are the reason agencies seek him out—they want the “Keatley” look.
Developing a distinctive style is the way photographers get noticed, and this particular photographer has mastered his look to such an extent that he is a highly-sought-after celebrity shooter, having photographed some of the most famous faces in the world.
He is also living proof that working on personal creative projects can eventually lead to commercial success. His distinctive style was developed through working on personal artistic projects, and he began to get requests for a similar look from his commercial clients.
His commercial success hasn’t stopped Keatley from pursuing new creative outlets. One of his current projects is a series of simplified, yet witty, portraits shot with his iPhone. What started as a simple snapshot of a friend has turned into an incredible series that includes the faces of some famous fellow photographers.
Keatley is also teaching his techniques to other people. He is one of the photographers presenting during the first Fstoppers workshop this coming May in the Bahamas, where he will be teaching classes on lighting, marketing, and developing a personal style.
The many faces of John Keatley make him a man to watch this year.
This is one profile in a series about photographers to follow in 2014. These are people who are doing groundbreaking photographic work and who teach the rest of us how to do it too. They fit the PhotographyTricks motto: spreading passion for life through photography.