Wes Snyder Photography: Never losing focus

Published 3:03 pm Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Wes Snyder moved to the Outer Banks three years ago with a camera from Amazon, two kit lenses and very little background knowledge about photography. This year, Snyder won the “2019 Best of the Beach” photography award, is working on a book that will feature a collection of his photos from the Outer Banks and has become a phenomenon in and around the area for his incredible work.

Back before Snyder entered the world of photography, he was working a corporate job and taking photographs on his cell phone as a hobby. He had helped build the company he was working for from the ground up. After learning he would never receive partial ownership for his efforts, Snyder decided to quit and start fresh.


Courtesy Wes Snyder Photography

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Snyder. He had been coming to the Outer Banks to camp every two weeks and had been familiar with the area after working with The Lost Colony, which had been one of his clients.

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In August of 2016, Snyder was camping while a thunderstorm passed overhead. He took out his cell phone to snap a few photos when the thought crossed his mind: “I’m never bored when I’m taking photographs; this is what I want to do.”

Towards the end of 2016, Snyder took two photography classes and started taking photos regularly. However, he realized this would not be enough to make a living. “I was either going to have to take another sales job in the corporate world or I would run out of money,” he said.

But Snyder’s dreams were far too great to bring him back to the corporate world. He moved to the Outer Banks in January of 2017 and “hit the ground running.”

In the beginning, Snyder started taking pictures of kiteboarders and selling the copies back to them. Then he started taking landscape pictures and posting them to Facebook every day.

“When I was back living in Winston-Salem, I tried to look on Facebook or Instagram and see what was going on in the Outer Banks. It was really difficult to find. When I landed here, I decided I was going to give people the opportunity to see what I didn’t,” said Snyder.

While building his following online, Snyder was also offering free family portraits to gain experience. Then he started shooting night photography, which he said is his favorite medium to photograph now.


Courtesy Wes Snyder Photography

“At the end of the day, it’s just hard to keep going and make a dime. I just have to keep going,” Snyder said.

After just three years, Snyder has taught himself how to use Photoshop, Lightroom and the essence of time-lapse photography. He offers family portrait sessions, real estate photography, commercial photographs and a calendar of his work for purchase. This year, about 1100 copies sold out in a day.

“The thing I didn’t know going into this is that I have stamina,” Snyder said. “Everything I’ve done was new from when I landed here until now.”

In March, a publisher reached out to Snyder in the hopes of collaborating on a book that will be available for purchase in May of 2020. “Journey through the Outer Banks” will feature 150 pages of Snyder’s photographs taken in the area.

The key to Snyder’s success, he says, is “consistency over time.” The more photographs he takes, the more he learns about the ever-growing world of photography, the more people will stop and look at what he has done. This has proven successful for Snyder, despite all the challenges he has faced since the beginning of his career.

To view Snyder’s work, visit www.wessnyderphotography.zenfolio.com.



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