Spotlight: Shay Nartker

From day one, our team has been humbled by the community of professional photographers using fotoClient for their studio management. Today we invite Ohio based wedding photographer, Shay Nartker to share a little about his photography journey. You can be a part of his creative journey on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

What first sparked your passion for photography? While growing up I was always fascinated by video cameras. In fact, there is a home video of me when I was 4 or 5 years old begging my dad to let me look through the view finder of his new VHS video camera. (Big time technology for that time era.) As I made my way through high school, I discovered Photoshop.  I would spend hours in art class plugging away and trudging through manuals and tutorials.  I learned techniques like putting my head on someone else’s body, or removing things I didn’t want in the photo.  People thought I was some kind of magician. A lot of those photos got a good laugh from my friends and later landed me a job working in a photography studio as a photo retouch artist.  You know, doing things like taking out acne, blemishes, and stuff like that.

static.squarespace Spending hours in the studio and watching the lead photographer do his work I started asking myself questions about photography.  “What was it like to be the one pulling the trigger on the shutter?”  “What makes a good photo?”  “Is it cool meeting new people all the time?”  One of the things I enjoyed most was watching the faces of our clients when they saw themselves in a good photo.  Bringing someone to tears through your work is an amazing thing.  It made me feel good and I wanted to keep making people feel good.  That’s all that mattered to me.

1493319_511619545614400_7178195826805516314_o After working for several months with the studio, I decided I wanted to be a photographer.  I wanted to be the one making people happy with my photos.  My dad had an old Nikon D40 that he let me borrow.  I went out and started shooting the typical beginner stuff like flowers, birds, cats, dogs, whatever I could find that would hold still long enough for me to aimlessly click around the various settings until I got a photo.  Now, seven years later I am the owner of my own photography business and it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world.  I have been a professional photographer for four years and I have never looked back.

1498009_535582746551413_6660330503942959259_o Stephanie-Neal-Wedding-520

How to you approach the challenge of shooting weddings? Whew, weddings!  You know it took me awhile to figure this out.  Wedding photography is such a tricky thing to get into and I am still learning a thousand new things every time I shoot another one. The dynamic of the couples changes every time and I can’t say that any one wedding I have shot has been the same as the previous one.  The best thing I can say to anyone considering wedding photography is planning, planning, and more planning.


I owe what I know about wedding photograph to my great friend and fellow wedding photographer, Levi Ely of Ely Brothers Photography.  Check them out, seriously.  Before meeting Levi I was a lost cause.  I had no idea what I was doing and I failed miserably.   After shooting my first wedding (by myself, I might add) I thought I hated it.  It was one of the hardest, most labor-intensive things I had ever done. There were people everywhere and I had to be everywhere at once.  I kept looking around for a cloning machine because I felt like there just wasn’t enough of me.

Zach And Jen Wedding Blog_0035

After almost hanging up my gear for good, Levi invited me to be a third shooter at a wedding.  Yes, you read that right, a third shooter.  My only responsibility was to “photograph people smiling”.  So I did.

Zach And Jen Wedding Blog_0026During that shoot I asked Levi a million questions and after being reassured a million times that I was doing a good job, I learned to slow down, plan out my shoot, and learn about the couple before their wedding day. I began to love weddings.  Photographing them became not only fun but also exciting.  It is a great feeling when you finish a 10-hour shoot day and have the couple go out of their way to give you a hug and a sincere thank you. In your opinion, what is the hardest thing about being a photographer? Hardest thing about being a photographer?  Learning to like the photos you take.  I think most photographers would agree that after shooting it is hard to be excited about our photos even though they are good.  In my mind I know my work is good but without fail when I post a wedding to my blog and another photographer posts his wedding from the weekend I feel like I just can’t compete.  If I can say one thing to any new photographer working professionally or not, trust yourself and love your work.  Know that you are doing a great job and most of all never forget that you can keep improving.


If you don’t mind, how has fotoClient helped you improve your workflow & how have you been using it as a studio management software? This software is fantastic.  I am a smaller photography business so I didn’t need all the extra features other software offered.  When I found fotoClient it was exactly what I was looking for in software.  I wanted something that was simple to use and effective at helping me schedule shoots, track inquiries, and keep me on task when working through my shooting to-dos.  fotoClient offers that along with extremely competitive pricing and tech support.  It makes smaller companies like myself feel important and I highly recommend this software.


We built fotoClient to give our customers a powerful, beautiful, and easy to use studio management software. We love hearing from you and would love to connect with you on Facebook, or Twitter. Interested in being a beta testers? Request an invite today: