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Meet Doug Levy of douglaslevy photography in Ayer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Doug Levy.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In 2006 I was umpiring professional baseball, and minor league umpires went on strike. With that in mind, I started saving money to pay for my health insurance. A few days before that bill was due, the strike settled and I found myself with an additional $1,100 in the bank – which I promptly went and spent on a Nikon D70s and lens.

After that I spent as much time as I could be teaching myself about photography, photoshop and lighting, eventually turning my new hobby into my offseason job (at the time I was making just more than $2,000/mo. umpiring, so I needed a source of offseason income.)

In 2009, while umpiring in the Eastern League, I was struck in the face with a bat, suffering a concussion and fracturing my cheek. Needless to say, a bat to the head will make you reconsider your career choices, and after the 2009 season ended, I decided to pursue photography full-time.

As I approach 8-years of doing this full-time, I’m now just trying to do it better than yesterday (by “it” I mean everything – better photos, happier clients, everything). That’s the mantra that guides all of my business decisions, both creative and financial – “Is what I’m doing or about to do, better than how I approached this yesterday?”

Has it been a smooth road?
I’ve certainly faced some of the challenges that any small business owner must confront – I often joke that in addition to owning my business, I’m also the janitor, marketing director, head of research and development (and so on). I will say that outsourcing my accounting was one of the best decisions I’ve made (and one I made early on) – it’s just an area where mistakes can significantly outweigh any costs. There’s also the obvious and ongoing work/life balance issue, but while I definitely struggle with time management, it’s a constant battle I enjoy.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My clients typically ask me to create portraits on-location of either their employees, or models that support their brand message or magazine story. Clients come to me with one of two asks, “We have this idea, can you bring it to life?” or, “We are trying to convey this message, tone and mood – what do you think is the best way to do that in pictures?”

What I really love about my job is that no two days are ever the same. Last week, for example, I spent two days at MIT photographing some of the brightest people I’ve ever met – and one day shooting some soups and sandwiches for an upcoming fall ad campaign. I don’t remember where I first read this, but the idea of the camera as a passport is so true – it gets me access to people and places that someone with a finance and newspaper degree (and a baseball-centric resume!) would otherwise never be allowed.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think Boston is an amazing place for what I do – there are so many new startups and growing businesses (who all need photos) popping up all the time. Between the tech/startup community and the always-thriving university scene, I think there will always be a demand for what I do.

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:
Doug Levy

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