By Jeff Louderback
Many of his nature and landscape prints are showcased in major medical facilities across Ohio, and purchased by commercial art dealers and interior decorators. That represents an integral part of Jim Crotty’s photography business. What is appealing about the Dayton native’s images to clients – and what he strives to inspire in participants of his workshops and private instruction sessions – is the feeling illustrated in his photographs. Or, as Crotty likes to say, “Being present in the scene.”
“Photography is tranquil and calming, especially when you are in the midst of a beautiful natural environment, appreciating what is around you and capturing the moment,” Crotty said. “In today’s age where everyone has a camera on their phone, people tend to rush with their shots and not absorb what’s around them.
“I am passionate about the images I capture, regardless of the project or subject, but I am equally enthusiastic about teaching others the techniques and the art of taking photographs,” he added. “The better you understand how to operate a camera and tell lasting stories through images, the more you will develop a love for photography.”
An accomplished professional who licenses his images for stock photography, markets his fine art prints, and provides workshops and private instruction, Crotty is a self-taught photographer who cultivated an interest in the craft as a boy. The Alter High School graduate earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Dayton in 1989 and embarked a career that saw him climb the corporate ladder in marketing communications. While completing his undergraduate studies Crotty served honorably in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.
The corporate path eventually led him to Utah, where he earned a master’s degree in communication in the 1990s before returning to Dayton in 2003. In his role as a marketing manager for a local company, he caught the attention of the executives for his real estate photographs, and he was sent around the country for that firm on photo shoots. That spurred him to create Picture Ohio, LLC, which started as a venture to provide fine art prints to corporate clients. Word about Crotty’s work spread, and he added art dealers and interior decorators to his base of customers.
Crotty is a communication instructor at The College of Modern Design in Kettering, and he presents one-day and weekend-long nature photography workshops at destinations like Cox Arboretum and Hocking Hills. He is also working on his sixth book featuring his nature and landscape photography.
“I’ve been involved with photography since starting with a 35mm SLR camera, all the way back in the late 70s, and a black and white darkroom,” Crotty said, who lives in Centerville and has two daughters and one son. “As the technology has evolved, so have I through education and training. It’s my love for teaching, combined with a deep interest in photography as a form of art and therapy, that inspires me to host workshops.”
Crotty’s subjects as a photographer are varied. Along with shooting nature and landscape prints, and his work for corporate clients, he also provides portrait photography high school seniors and families as well as real estate, product and architectural images. On assignment, he has been published in USA Today, Smithsonian, National Wildlife, Nature’s Best and Ohio Magazine among other media outlets.
“Successful portrait photographers understand that delivering value to the client is much more than just simply providing professional imagery. It’s also about the experience and delivering to the client a positive memory of the photo shoot to connect to the prints,” Crotty explained. “With every session, I carry a bit of the teacher within me. Instead of just simply directing my clients to where I want them, I always explain what it is about the scene that works so well with them and why I am working with the light – both ambient and the light I bring with me – the way I do.”
Light is a vital element of photography. Crotty’s workshops emphasize basic lighting and composition for nature and outdoor portraits. Of all my years photographing the nature and landscape of Ohio I’ve come to find that period of mid-April through early June to be the most beautiful. At his most recent seminar at The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills, he offered a segment on night sky photography.
“Of all my years photographing the nature and landscape of Ohio I’ve come to find that period of mid-April through early June to be the most beautiful,” Crotty said. “You don’t have to drive hours to find an ideal spot. In fact, 90 percent of what I shoot for my fine art prints is within five miles of Centerville. Sugarcreek and Bill Yeck Park are among my favorites.
“Nature photography is a refuge. It’s my sanctuary.” Crotty added. “Through the prints that I publish, showcase and sell; and from the workshops and instruction I provide, I want to illustrate the deeper meaning of photography as an art and as a purpose.”
For more information about Crotty’s workshops, images and services, visit www.jimcrotty.com , email him at email@example.com or call him at 937-896-6311.