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Apr 1, 2024 by Julie Brown
Photograph Dylan Silver

Trade Secrets: The hustle is a lifelong endeavor

Featuring PROFESSIONAL COMMERCIAL/ADVENTURE PHOTOGRAPHER AND DIRECTOR Greg Von Doersten

Home Base / Jackson, Wyoming

Activities / Skiing, Backcountry Skiing, Ski Mountaineering, River Exploration, Climbing, Trail Running, Adventure Travel.

It’s admittedly true that Greg Von Doersten embodies the caricature of the globe-trotting, veteran photographer, with his wind-swept hair, tanned skin, camera in hand, ascending a skin track toward a remote summit. 

But the reality of his success is rooted in something less glamorous, but essential: The hustle. With so much competition out there, you have to get your work seen. Companies and editorial decision-makers are seeking out unique skill sets. It’s up to creatives to let those decision-makers know who they are and why they are the person for the job.

“The hustle is getting your name out. Sometimes that’s word of mouth, but it also requires sending out emails, pitching ideas, cold calls,” Greg says. 

At this point in his career, Greg doesn’t have to hustle as much as did when he got started. Thanks to the longevity of his career, he gets a lot of work from word-of-mouth and the calls come to him, like the time a producer on The Deadliest Catch reached out to shoot portraits of some of the award-winning show’s characters. But as someone who’s been creative his whole life, Greg has no intention of slowing down. That hustling edge stays with him.

Greg on the Red Bull Media House, “Congo the Grand Inga Project."
Greg rigging a remote-control water housing on the White Nile River.

There’s so much amazing content out there. And you know, there’s a lot of people doing it. I still feel like there’s a number of shooters that always stand out, because they’re pushing, they’re trying to dig deeper. —Greg Von Doersten.

Class V rapids on the Upper Gauley River, WV.
A Tibetan prayer flag captured for Patagonia.
Noah Bigwood bouldering Moab.

Quick Tip

Greg doesn’t shoot photos straight on. He’s always looking for a different way to see it. “I don’t just sit down in front of a subject. I want to shoot it as many ways as we can, that other people aren’t thinking of. That is a big part of my work that stands out: I use remote controls. I use drones. I use all the little tools. And the best cameras. You have to be relevant in today’s world. You have to be shooting with nice stuff,” he says.

Photograph Dylan Silver
Von Doersten attends to the daily grind, downloading footage, charging batteries, and cleaning his water housing on a 21-day Grand Canyon project.