Today we’d like to introduce you to Demetrius Williams.
Demetrius, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Ever since I was a child (around 11 years old), I’ve leaned toward the arts. My foray into the arts started out with sketching; something I used to constantly get in trouble for while in class. My love for drawing eventually gave way to a love for photos. I grew up watching my father (a professional photographer as well) doing portrait work and weddings. While I never initially saw myself pursuing photography as a profession, I did enjoy capturing images.
I remember receiving a camera for my birthday when I was in middle school, and the rolls of film I went through trying to capture any and everything that caught my eye. This continued through high school, college, and the military (Navy). My 1st digital camera was a Kodak Easyshare purchased while I was in the Navy. Even then I would switch that camera to a manual setting and experiment with different settings to create a plethora of effects. I’ve always been one to capture hundreds of images (even before the days of the camera phone) where ever I traveled.
Fast forward to 2010 – I was working for Verizon in Virginia, and was given an opportunity to leave the company (with a sizable severance). At the time there was a camera I’d been researching; the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. I was still not a professional, but saw this particular camera as a great option for my travels. Part of my severance went toward the camera and five lenses. People who saw me with the camera immediately assumed I was a professional, but at the time I was still a hobbyist. However, it did not take long for the photography bug to permanently bite, and I finally went professional in late 2010.
I moved back to the Metro Atlanta area in 2011. It has been a long and sometimes bumpy ride (as is usually the case with new endeavors), but word-of-mouth from satisfied clients has gone a LONG way toward ensuring a constant stream of clientele. My very first photography client upon returning to the Atlanta area was the vocal artist Robin S (best known for her 90s dance hit “Show Me Love”) for her wedding in 2011. From there, constant networking and referrals have allowed me to stay busy.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I think all business owners hit rough patches along the way, and I am no different.
I’d say that my primary struggle was coming back into a city that is extremely saturated with photographers and making my mark. After my initial wedding upon returning, I did experience a LOT of downtimes.
Another initial struggle was targeting my marketing to those who appreciated the value of a good photographer (those who book for quality instead of who is least expensive).
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Usual Suspects Photography – what should we know?
The Usual Suspects Photography specializes in MANY photography genres: weddings, festivals, events (corporate and recreational), street photography, fine art, headshots/portraits, and more.
I am especially known for my concert/festival photography and event photography.
One of the things I am most proud of as a company is my consistency. While I tend to fly relatively under the radar, I have had the pleasure of working with the UNCF (for their marketing campaign as well as for the annual Masked Mayor’s Ball), BASF, Atlanta Omni Hotel, and Maritz for corporate events; and have been able to cover several events on behalf of multiple publications. I am proud to be a photographer in a city full of great photographers who is consistently called upon when quality images are needed.
One of the things I believe sets me apart from others is my candid shooting style. I’ve always held the belief that candid images turn out better. To that end, I try my best to capture images of people doing what they do naturally; whether it be reacting to a performer on stage, dancing to their favorite song on the dance floor, or simply taking a walk down the street.
Another practice that sets me apart is my editing style. While I do apply artistic edits to some images, I pride myself on drawing out the natural beauty in my subjects without the use of airbrush-style editing. Showcasing that natural beauty (perceived “flaws” and all) tends to go a lot further in boosting the confidence in clients whose confidence may be have been lacking before their sessions with me.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My father – Chandos Carl Williams – who purchased that first camera for me so many years ago, and who I watched in my adolescent years before I even knew that I would be walking in those shoes.
My mother and sister – Joan Williams and Chandra Guy – my two biggest cheerleaders.
Mya McGary Dyson – National Director for Workplace Initiatives for the UNCF – reaching out to me for that first project for the “Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste” campaign as well as the annual UNCF Atlanta Mayor’s Masked Ball.
Stan Zeff and Michelle Dawes Birt – These two brought me onboard as the official photographer for the monthly Tambor party (and is still the only regular event I am the official photographer for).
Tesa Neal – My former mentee and now teammate – Tesa has come into her own as a professional photographer, and is one person I know I can trust in working with me on my larger jobs.
- Address: 111 North Marietta Pkwy NE
Marietta, GA 30060