The Life of Iconic Commercial Fashion Photographer Will Shively

With over 40 years of portrait work under his belt, American Photographer Will Shively has become one of the most successful commercial fashion shooters in Columbus. Will found himself at a crossroads when he first decided to pursue his passion for photographyHe got his BFA in painting from Ohio State University and was working for a design firm before being let go with a newborn on the way. But despite the risks involved, Will worked nights as a janitor at a local manufacturing plant while teaching himself the art of photography. 

His business eventually grew to represent clients such as Abercrombie, Victoria’s Secret, Express, DSW, and Ballet Met. This short documentary by Oakhouse Films gives you a pretty candid look into the life and time of Will Shively, as it touches on Will's struggles with alcoholism, divorce, child custody battles, and financial ruin. It's the tale of an arduous journey that so many creative professionals face in order to live a life in pursuit of one's passion. But the ups and downs of the creative can often be very extreme, as Will has gone from nothing, to ten years of making more than $400,000 annually, and back down to nothing. So, where does that leave him today? I'm predicting his next big up. As he says:

If you don’t know there are limitations, you are free to do what you want. 

Be sure to follow Master Photographer Will Shively ​on Facebook.

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11 Comments

Everett Rodriguez's picture

Thanks for sharing... his story is so inspiring to me as I go though what I thought was a difficult time in my life and career

Max Leitner's picture

Fstoppers editos be days behind ISO1200 where that original conent at??!

Igor Butskhrikidze's picture

is this so much important? its not flash news or something... its timeless

Austin Rogers's picture

Here you go! fstoppers.com/category/originals

Peter House's picture

Fascinating.

michael buehrle's picture

guess my life isn't so bad after all. he does amazing work.

TIFFANY QUEDENFELD's picture

This is one of the best posts I have seen yet !

"With over 40 years of portrait work under his belt, American Photographer Will Shively has become one of the most successful commercial fashion shooters in Columbus." Ohio.

Talk about damning with faint praise....

Nathan Shipp's picture

I've worked with Will Shively in the past on Charles Penzone. Great guy to work with and learn from.

Brian Carpenter's picture

What an interesting human being.