Drew Altizer had never taken a picture before in his life before 2002. Without any thought, he held the camera up to his eyes and snapped his first photo. This photo landed him his first job as a photographer, where he was asked to capture his first party on film for $50.
After a few more small jobs, he quit his career working in decorative fabrics and became a professional photographer.
Today he owns Drew Altizer Photography, a full-service photo agency that documents charity, public relations and private events. Altizer now spends his days photographing socialites and stars; and his client list includes some of the most prestigious names in San Francisco.
This is around the time I usually get up. Don’t judge. I rarely make it to bed before 3 a.m., since I stay up most nights editing photos to meet East Coast newspaper deadlines.
I run the business out of my home, so the commute is only about 20 feet, which goes a long way toward making up for the crazy hours. My employees are already working by the time I settle in and start sifting through the hundreds of emails.
My studio manager Jami walks me through the day’s events: four private parties, two charity functions, a political fundraiser and a gala. I employ ten other photographers who scatter all over the Bay Area to make sure everything gets covered.
I head down to Balboa Cafe for a lunch meeting with one of the writers for my society blog, SF Wire. Whenever I’m out during the day I take a small camera to shoot chic San Franciscans for SF Wire’s Street MODE feature.
I run home for a quick shower and change into something more suitable for the gala I’m going to shoot.
This is when my workday really starts with the limos, the red carpet and flashes flaring all around me. I’ve brought two other photographers—these big events have too many elements for one person to get all the shots we need.
The party’s in full swing now, and I take a break from shooting to say hi to all my friends. It’s a gala, so everybody looks black-tie fabulous. That makes my job tonight easy—just point and shoot.
I head home to get a jump on the photo editing process leaving my photographers behind to finish up.
I go online and order takeout for dinner, which I eat at my desk while I work. My life is very glamorous.
The only people still awake at this hour are college freshmen, insomniacs and me. This is my favorite time of day to work. No phone calls, no new emails coming in—just me and the terrific images my crew and I have captured that day.