10 Years of Tyler Church Photography
Canton, Ohio
January 13, 2020

2020 marks my 10th anniversary with photography. When I started my business in 2010, I always had high hopes, but I was never prepared for the ride it was going to take me on.

I’m writing this post not only for me but for other creatives out there. The thing about success is you’re always going to want more. It’s a journey that builds on itself. There’s never going to be a point in your career where you feel like you’ve “made it”. Instead, there are many achievements, both big and small, that lead to the next. 2010 me wanted to be standing in New Zealand shooting snowboarding by now (maybe one day), but instead I’ve found myself standing on stages in front of thousands, shooting some of the best artists and football legends in the world.

I’ve surrendered the last 10 years completely to my craft. I finally understand the meaning of putting blood, sweat, and tears into something. I’m incredibly grateful for every place photography has taken me, every relationship it’s given me, and every frame I’ve shot. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Below is a timeline and collection of photos throughout the last decade.

 

Rows 1 and 2: Behind the scenes

 

Row 3: 2010. At the age of 14, I fell in love with snowboard and skateboard photography. I spent hours flipping through the pages of snow and skate magazines studying the subjects, backgrounds, and colors of the photos. I decided to start my own business, Tyler Church Photography, and become a snowboard photographer. Dreams of shooting the X Games and snowboarding around the world filled my head. I shot on 3 different cameras throughout the year: an LG Neon camera phone, Kodak Easyshare, and finally a Nikon D5000.

 

Row 4: 2011. I continued shooting and studying snowboard and skateboard photography. I worked with a lot of local riders and brands, solely by just showing up to events at ski resorts and skateparks and networking with people. I eventually earned a scholarship to the High Cascade Snowboard Camp Photo Workshop. It was a weeklong class held on Mt. Hood, in Oregon, and was sponsored by Nemo Design and the Brooks Institute of Photography. It was designed to give you an inside look at the industry and learn how to shoot professional snowboarding. My teachers were some of the best action sports photographers in the game: Andy Wright, Tim Zimmerman, Trevor Graves, Bud Fawcett, Christy Chaloux, Chris Welhausen, Josh Letchworth, and Kari Rowe. I still credit this workshop to my early education and success in photography. I learned more in one week there than I did in 4 years of college. After I returned home, I had a gallery published by Snowboarder Magazine about my trip.

 

Row 5: 2012. I was still shooting snowboarding and got an internship at Eastcoast Snowboarding Magazine. In the spring I shot my first concert at Akron University’s Springfest. I was shooting for a local rapper, who was opening for 3OH!3. After that show, I was hooked on the rush of shooting live music. Eastcoast Snowboarding Magazine had just started covering music, so I was able to apply for a photo pass to shoot my first Vans Warped Tour, along with many other concerts to follow. I also directed multiple photoshoots and videos with my high school’s football team.

 

Row 6: 2013. I started shooting less snowboarding due to changes in my local scene, and instead focused my energy on the music industry. I was attending every show I could and networking in person and online with promotors, artists, managers, techs, merch, videographers, and photographers. I continued to shoot the Vans Warped Tour, and I shot my first Breakaway Music Festival as press for Eastcoast Snowboarding Magazine. I became the lead photographer for Cleveland Rocks NYE, and I started shooting some small events for the Pro Football Hall of Fame

 

Row 7: 2014. As I found myself shooting less and less snowboarding, and more and more music I decided to leave my internship at Eastcoast Snowboarding for a photographer position at ThisSongSlaps.com. There, I was able to shoot countless concerts and festivals while continuing to network and build relationships. I was still covering the Vans Warped Tour, Cleveland Rocks NYE, and small events for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 

Row 8: 2015. I started experimenting with portraits and was able to do a photoshoot with PVRIS when they came through town. They had just released their album White Noise, and there was so much excitement surrounding their future career. It’s still one of my favorite photoshoots to date. Michael Mellon, a local promoter, also gave me a photography job at Liquid Nightclub in Cleveland. I was spending many weekends shooting shows there and growing in my photography. I was still covering the Vans Warped Tour, shows for ThisSongSlaps, and small events for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 

Row 9: 2016. This was the most important year of the decade to me. Things started to come full circle, and much of who I am today is because of this year. I shot my first X Games in Aspen, Colorado for ThisSongSlaps and Alternative Press. In the spring, I got a last-minute gig to work on the Number Fest production team, which at the time was the largest college music festival in the US. Shortly after, Prime Social Group (the company that put on Number Fest, Breakaway Music Festival, etc.) started to hire me to work their other events. I shot my first Indy 500 Snake Pit for ThisSongSlaps, and those photos went on to be used as the official promotional assets for the event. Alternative Press hired me to be a part of the APMAs (Alternative Press Music Awards) creative team. There I worked alongside an insanely talented team of photographers: Grizzlee Martin, Graham Fielder, Paris Visone, Ashley Osborn, Adam Elmakias, Lily McLaughlin, and Ron Claus. Afterward, I was published in my first Alternative Press magazine. Over the year I covered so many events, and shot thousands of photographs, for ThisSongSlaps, Alternative Press, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In the fall I traveled to Los Angeles, California for the first time with Drew Griffing (videographer) and Ashley Whitmer (photographer). It might not sound like much, but for a Midwest kid who grew up between two cornfields, I’ll never forget seeing SoCal for the first time. It was inspiring and made me hungry for more.

 

Row 10: 2017. I became the marketing photographer for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There I shot commercial work, Enshrinement Week, and other events. I continued working with Prime Social Group and became the lead photographer for Number Fest, Breakaway Music Festival Columbus, Breakaway Music Festival Charlotte, Prime Music Festival Lansing, and Haunted Fest Columbus. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hired me to shoot the APMAs Fan Day with State Champs. Danny Wimmer Presents hired me to be a part of their media team for Louder Than Life and Bourbon & Beyond, where I got to work alongside another amazing team: Sam Shapiro, Keith Koenig, and Steve Thrasher. I still covered the Indy 500 Snake Pit, Vans Warped Tour, etc.

 

Row 11: 2018. I became the Director of Photography at the Prime Social Group HQ in Columbus, Ohio. I was responsible for helping coordinate, book and direct our media teams, photographing shows, festivals, and sponsors, editing ads and commercials, etc. Together our media team (Aric Morian, Drew Shaffer, Luciano Fortin, and Meagan Hall) worked on Number Fest, Breakaway Music Festival Dallas, Breakaway Music Festival Columbus, Breakaway Music Festival Charlotte, Breakaway Music Festival Nashville, Prime Music Festival Lansing, Haunted Fest Columbus, multiple sponsorships, and countless other shows. I took on a bigger role with the Pro Football Hall of Fame coordinating, booking, and directing the media team for Enshrinement Week. I also started shooting corporate photography for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s sponsor Johnson Controls. I was still covering X Games Aspen, Indy 500 Snake Pit, Vans Warped Tour, etc.

 

Row 12: 2019. I shot my third X Games Aspen, this time for Monster Energy. I covered my first Super Bowl events for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Johnson Controls hired me to shoot multiple corporate events. I coordinated, booked, and directed the media team for the Vans Warped Tour 25th Anniversary show at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Danny Wimmer Presents hired me to work Bourbon and Beyond. I continued to work for Prime Social Group on Number Fest and Breakaway Music Festival Charlotte. I continued to coordinate, book, and direct the media team for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement. I still covered the Indy 500 Snake Pit and other events throughout the year.

 

Here's to the next decade!