Nick Doll quit his bartender gig at Crabby Bill’s seafood in St. Petersburg, Florida, and moved to Key West. He found a spot behind the bar at Schooner Wharf but it wasn’t long before he rekindled his creative fire with a favorite pastime — taking photographs.
“There was a few Canon A-1s hanging around my house growing up,” said Doll, adding his first subjects were rocks and trees while learning all about lighting. His first professional job, he said, was shooting his best friend’s wedding.
“He asked me to shoot it instead of hiring a photographer,” Doll said. “I had no money at the time and handed them a case of film when I was done. I didn’t see many of the photos until a year later.”
Doll said being a photographer was never his dream career, more of a passion and means to communicate. It was also a way to open doors — like the time he wanted a front row seat to hear his friend’s band and discovered the magic of a press pass, granted simply by holding a camera.
“A lot of what I do comes requires a great deal of communication. When I am at a wedding, I am capturing the most important moment of that person’s life,” said Doll. “When I see the brides when they are getting ready, and go where their closest friends and family can’t, I am becoming a part of their wedding experience.”
Photography has changed a lot since the days of film and not just in the production aspect. Email and Facebook are important tools for communication in this day and age.
“I don’t know what I found do if Facebook went down,” said Doll. “Seriously, it accounts for at least half of my business.”
Shooting pictures for the Tourist Development Council advertising that promotes the Florida Keys is one of his favorite jobs. Doll said he gets to hire his friends to be assistants and help with the set, gets his work nationally recognized and teams with his pal Mike Marrero.
“We share the TDC account, and have a lot of fun with that. People see our stuff in Grand Central Station and in the airports across the country,” said Marrero. “Being on the set with Nick is great, he so easy going. He just somebody you want to have a beer with.”
Doll is currently experimenting with a new technique, light painting, where the camera has a long exposure and captures the stream of light like the naked eye sees the light trail from a sparkler. He’s also doing a bit of exhibiting right now, at Lazy Gecko, although he says the art stills are not his primary focus. His main work focuses on shooting events, weddings and real estate portfolios.
For more information about Doll’s work and availability contact him on Facebook or send an email to [email protected].