Facebook Pixel Canon Explorers of Light – Q&A with Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis

Canon Explorers of Light – Q&A with Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis

Canon Explorers of Light  – Q&A with Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis Featured Image

In this Canon Explorers of Light Q&A series, we interview several professional photographers who are a part of Canon’s Explorers of Light program.

The Explorers of Light Program, running since 1995, boasts some incredibly talented photographers. These photographers have spent years honing their craft, and influence and educate other photographers of all levels – something, we at dPS, can respect and relate to.

In this Canon Explorers of Light Q&A series, we interview photographers Bob Davis. He shares his experience and gives tips to upcoming photographers.

A bird in flight. Photo by Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis
Photo: © Bob & Dawn Davis Photography

Photographers Bob Davis

How did you get into photography?

I was inspired by my father, who always had a camera or movie camera within arms-reach. Growing up, I played with Polaroid, where you had to coat the photographs and mount them onto the cardboard included with the pack of instant film. Also, all kinds of Kodak cameras, 126, 110, and Disc cameras.

I became addicted to captured moments and anything that caught my eye, and I was on a first-name basis with the one-hour lab in the Jewel near my home. 

Once I got into high school, I took my first photography class. Mrs. Morrison encouraged my passion for documenting everyday moments. She said to me, “you can make a living in photography as a photojournalist!” 

That was it; I knew my life’s calling. 

I joined the school newspaper and yearbook, had a front-row seat to current events, and in my senior year, I won the National Honor Society Scholarship in Photojournalism and subsequently attended Columbia College in Chicago. 

Simultaneously, a small newspaper, The Daily Southtown Economist, hired me. Eventually, work took up all my time. I decided to leave college and work full time, setting my sights on a position at the Chicago Sun-Times, working alongside John H. White, Pulitzer Prize winner in feature photography. I realized my dreams in 1989 when I was hired full time at the Chicago Sun-Times, where I was a staff photographer covering daily news until 2004.

A couple in the back of a cab photographed from the back window. Photo by Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis
Photo: © Bob & Dawn Davis Photography

What was your first camera setup?

My first camera purchase was a Canon AT1 with a 50mm 1.4 lens, 28mm 2.8, and a 200mm 2.8 lens, which fueled my passion for photography in high school. 

Eventually, I had the Canon AT1 modified to accept the highspeed motor drive that would allow for five frames per second. I was pursuing sports photography, and the local weekly newspaper, The Star, hired me as a freelancer to photograph the local football team who were heading to State. Score!

What camera gear do you use now and why?

I am a lifelong Canon user, and I’m blessed to be a part of The Canon Explorers of Light Educational Program. I purchased my own Canon EOS 1D digital camera. I love Canon color and glass period!

My current Canon kit is the EOS 1DX MkIII and EOS R for bodies; lenses to photographers are like brushes to fine art painters. 

I use the RF 28-70 f2.0, RF 50mm f1.2, EF 16-35 f2.8 vIII, EF 24-70 f2.8 vII, EF 70-200 f2.8 IS vII, 100-400 f4.5 5.6 vII, 300 f2.8 vII, 1.4x vIII, 2x vIII and 10-600EX RT Speedlites. I love the speed and low light focus capability of both the EOS 1DX MIII and EOS R full-frame mirrorless bodies. There’s no situation I cannot cover with these cameras.

Light painting behind a bride and groom at a wedding in the evening. Photo by Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis
Photo: © Bob & Dawn Davis Photography

What area of photography do you specialize in, and why did you move into that field?

I love capturing real authentic moments and fashion-inspired portraits. I would call our style timeless and classic with an editorial twist. Currently, I practice in wedding, portraits, and wildlife photography. 

Honestly, being a lifelong photojournalist, there isn’t much I haven’t covered in my career, so I’m prepared for anything. 

Canon Explorers of Light  – Q&A with Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis
Photo: © Bob & Dawn Davis Photography

I’ve photographed every president since Ronald Reagan and captured the most exclusive events for A-list celebrities. I love photographing the once-in-a-lifetime moments that unfold at weddings and special events.

A wedding party. Photo by Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis
Photo: © Bob & Dawn Davis Photography

Are you working on any exciting projects you’d like to share?

I love weddings and events, but I’m transitioning into destination wildlife, travel photography, and workshops. Photography is a powerful medium to tell stories and share a message. I want our wildlife and destination work to inspire people to think and be grateful for the abundance of beauty that surrounds us and that we need to be stewards of our planet and environment!

A herd of elephants in black and white. Photo by Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis
2019-04-17 – Mashatu Game Reserve, Tuli, Botswana, Africa – Photo Safari. Photo by Bob Davis © Bob & Dawn Davis Photography & Design

If you could share any photography tips with our readers, what would they be?

Practice, practice, practice! I learned from Michael Jordan while covering his many NBA championships that before every game, he would be on the floor before anyone else and practice the basics. He was ready and confident, so when the moment came for the big shots, he was prepared. I still practice and push myself to be green and growing, and always be prepared no matter the assignment.

Men making a toast at a wedding. Photo by Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis.
Photo: © Bob & Dawn Davis Photography

Bob’s personal biography

My cameras have always been a passport, allowing me a front seat to history. While at the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper for 14 years, I covered countless historic events, such as presidential elections, Michael Jordan’s entire career with the Chicago Bulls, many faiths, celebrations, and rituals. I’ve traveled around the world for weddings and human-interest stories for nonprofit organizations.

I have since moved on from the newspaper industry. Now, I have created an endeavor with my wife, Dawn Davis – Bob & Dawn Davis Photography & Design. 

A groom photographed through a window with a reflection of trees and afternoon sun. Photo by Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis
Photo: © Bob & Dawn Davis Photography

Our client list reads like a “Who’s Who” of entertainment’s elite. We had the honor of photographing A-list weddings such as Eva Longoria & Tony Parker’s wedding in Paris, Salma Hayek & François-Henri Pinault’s wedding in Italy, La La Vazquez & Carmelo Anthony’s TV wedding in New York, Tracey Edmonds & Eddie Murphy’s wedding in Bora Bora, ABC’s TV show The Bachelorette Ashley’s wedding to J.P. in California, along with many other fabulous events with Oprah Winfrey. 

I was commissioned to work on the book America 24/7, which was featured on the Oprah Winfrey show and was a New York Times Best Seller.

Our work has been featured in publications such as People, OK, O Magazine, InStyle,  Inside Weddings, Town & Country, Munaluchi, Grace Ormonde, Modern Luxury Brides, and dozens of others.

I am honored to be a member of the Canon Explorers of Light, Westcott Top Pro Elite, and SanDisk Extreme Team. Dawn and I are the authors of two books, Lights Camera Capture, and We’re Engaged!

I am happily married to my wife, Dawn, and together we have two beautiful children, Bobby and Alli.

A close-up of a Lion's face. Photo by Photographers Bob and Dawn Davis
Photo: © Bob & Dawn Davis Photography

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Caz Nowaczyk
Caz Nowaczyk

– the dPS Managing Editor, lives in Wollongong, Australia and has worked as a photographer, filmmaker, and designer in her business, Exposure Arts and Media, for 15 years. Her background extends to Digital Content Management, and Editorial Design. In her spare time, she composes music as Dreamgirl and the Motorist. Since the age of 12, she knew she would be a photographer – the other stuff came as a surprise!