CRESTVIEW Dale Riley's grandfather gave him a simple point-and-shoot camera when he was 15 years old, and the gift ignited a passion that became a full-time profession


CRESTVIEW Dale Riley's grandfather gave him a simple point-and-shoot camera when he was 15 years old, and the gift ignited a passion that became a full-time profession.



'Photography was calling my name'



Early on, Riley shot photos for Laurel Hill School's yearbook and, along the way, worked gigs for family and friends. 



After high school graduation, he wanted to learn more, but he said a six-month stint at the Art Institute of Jacksonville taught him he could learn more from the school of life. 



"With every single (photo) shoot I do, I learn something new...," the 20-year-old said.



He considered an alternative career, attending college to pursue a medical degree, but still, "photography was calling my name," he said.



Now, five days a week, Riley works at his Crestview studio located within the Tight Shoe Lady Hair Salon on Main Street.



And these days, he's toting a more sophisticated Canon EOS 50D digital SLR camera.



Since Dale Riley Photography opened earlier this month, serving roughly four customers each day, he's had to bring in an assistant to handle the day-to-day operations.



"It has definitely shot off," he said. "Things are too crazy."



'I have been very blessed'



Riley said he "does it all," photographing families, portraits and newborns. He said capturing their moments is special.



"Through my photography career, I have met so many different (types) of people," he said. "It's really cool that people are coming to me wanting to take pictures that document their life."  



As for the future, Riley plans to one day expand his business and offer wedding planning services.



"I tried the whole college thing out and, with today's economy, I don't think you need a college degree in order to be successful," he said. "You can be as successful as you want to be.



"I have been very blessed to be able to wake up in the morning and go do something I love every single day."



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