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Making Connections

Sean Doorly is a digital media executive, husband, dad, and photographer living in Los Angeles. Earlier this year, Sean went all in on the Nikon Z, thanks to Paul's Photo.

For me, photography is about making connections.

I discovered photography in the mid-'90s while living in New York City. I learned on a Pentax K-1000 while taking photography and darkroom classes at Columbia University, where I worked at the time. I shot all over NYC for a few years and even took photos on my first date with my girlfriend (now wife) at the Statue of Liberty!

After getting married, my wife and I moved to Los Angeles in 2002. I'm a chatty guy, so I naturally gravitate to taking photos of people. I combine my love of photography with my love of comics, and I love making connections with creative people. This was also the time I switched from film to digital photography.

These days, my favorite subject is my nine-year-old daughter, Katarina. In addition to being on her school's PTA Board, I'm also the school's unofficial event photographer. Last year, we began offering family photo sessions for the holidays as a school fundraiser. I donate my time, and the parents donate money to the school. Hands down, these sessions are my favorite photography activity! After taking pictures of nearly 80 families, I've become a better photographer, but, more importantly, I've connected with people in our community. I love to hear kids on the school playground say, "Hi, photography guy!"

It also brings joy to my heart to share my passion for photography with Katarina. (She took my portrait for this article; you can find her photos at @lakatbirder on Instagram.) Katarina got into birding (and photography) during the COVID-19 pandemic when the only "safe" spaces were outdoors. During this time, we joined the Pasadena Audubon Society because they host kid-centered "Young Birder" field trips. We love these birding trips - Katarina takes photos of the birds, and I take photos of the birders!

This year, I traded my Nikon D750 at Paul's Photo for a Nikon Z6ii and two lenses – a Nikon z 24-70mm f2.8 and a Nikon Z 85mm f1.8. I'm so happy I switched to mirrorless! The camera feels so natural in my hands – from the lighter weight to the fantastic autofocus.

I met Mark Comon at a photo shoot he set up at the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo. It was a full day of photographing beautiful models posing with unique vintage cars. I learned Mark created this wonderful community at the Creative Photo Academy that day. After the museum event, I quickly signed up for Boot Camp, intermediate classes, and field trips. I meet wonderful teachers and fellow students every time I attend a CPA event.

Again, it's all about connections.