It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Andy Locascio!


Wow. Let me tell you, I never thought this would happen. Guest blogging for Scott Kelby didn’t even come into my dreams it was so crazy. It is an incredible honor to be able to talk about my photography to so many people, and to follow the long list of fantastic photographers that make up the Scott Kelby guest blog “Hall of Fame.”

I started taking pictures about 4 years ago, around my 12th birthday. My family was just about to go on vacation to Arizona, and right beforehand I got an Olympus C-765 UZ. It was my second digital camera (the first was a Fujifilm, but it broke pretty quickly). I don’t really know what prompted my initial interest in photography. I like to think it was the thrill of capturing a moment in time and being able to revisit again and again. I think that’s why we all take pictures.

So in Arizona, I took some “pictures.” They weren’t up to “photograph” level quite yet. As you can see, I had the eye, but there was a journey ahead.



One person that I can’t credit enough for my photography is my Aunt Janet. She has been there EVERY step of the way helping me, encouraging me, and carting me around to wherever we decided to go. I don’t think I’d be a photographer at all had it not been for her. And even though I probably mess her up a lot and get in her shots, she sticks with me and she’s the best photo partner anyone could ever have.

So with Aunt Janet’s help, we both grew as photographers. It seemed like almost every weekend we went on photo “expeditions” to various places around our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. I think I learned more in a weekend of shooting than I did in a week of school!

Another important source of information was books. I ate ’em up. I loved to read about photography, and I think that, besides just getting out and shooting, is the best way to get better. Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography books were huge in developing my photography. I don’t think I’ve learned so much from a single book than I have from that first edition. It was like a whole new world, ready to be explored. And that book was the gateway. I soon started watching Photoshop tutorial videos with Aunt Janet from Practicing my skills in both areas, the shooting aspect and the processing aspect, I was slowly inching toward making “photographs.”

Reading, watching videos, and just getting out and experimenting pretty much summed the next twelve months of my photography. This was also the period that I got my Nikon D80, which really set me free creatively. Point-and-shoots are nice for when you want to do exactly that, point and shoot, but there is no replacement for a good SLR. And again I have to thank Aunt Janet. I remember asking my parents often for a new camera, even bargaining that I would pay for most of it.

(Here’s a little note: Being a young photographer, I didn’t (don’t) really have any income. Which means, the money I did get, went straight into photography. Other kids wanted PS3s? Yeah, I’ll go for a new tripod).

When considering a D80 for a Christmas present, my Mom asked Aunt Janet if she thought I would be responsible and take care of it, she responded with enthusiasm that she knew I would take care of my camera better than I take care of anything else. Thanks again, Aunt Janet. I owe you about ten billion.

Here’s a couple shots with my then new D80. I was starting to get the hang of editing.



After a while, my Aunt and I were tired of shooting locally, so we went on a trip to the Grand Tetons, then the next year to Yosemite National Park. They were both week long trips and well worth the price of getting out there. It’s amazing how much you can learn from a week of shooting. It was also nice to worry only about photography, and not about seeing museums or anything like that. Going with a fellow photographer means you can spend a couple hours at a location without people getting bored!





When we got back from the Tetons, we decided to exhibit in the art show here in town. We signed up, framed and matted our prints, and showed up on a Saturday morning. We did pretty well! I forget how many we sold, but we were fortunate to have friends and family come and support us, and a few even bought some. It was a great experience and very encouraging. One of my shots was picked to go on the Judges’ Fence. This was the first award of any kind I’d ever won. The show was also a fantastic way to meet area photographers and to see some really great work from local artists and photographers.

My next opportunity came last year when my brother, a french horn player in the Princeton University Orchestra, toured Europe, playing in Germany and the Czech Republic. My family went along and it gave me an opportunity to shoot in another country. This trip was different, because with my family, you can’t spend a long time anywhere, because they get bored, even though the light is just about to be perfect. Sometimes frustrating, but totally worth it. Here’s my favorite shot from the trip. (NOTE: I entered this one in the annual local photography contest a few weeks ago and this one won best in show out of over 300 other photographs! My first “real” award!)


Most recently, I’ve been working on a little bit of portrait photography. Reading and watching Kelby Training videos has taught me so much about lighting and flash. I asked my friend, Jabez, if he’d go out in the country and model for me. He brought his guitar and we were both having a great time. I snapped some, changed the light a bit, snapped some more. You don’t have to make it a huge deal if you don’t want to! Just get out there and try it! Here’s my favorite from the day.


With a few good shots in my arsenal, I decided to apply for the NANPA High School Scholarship program. I had read about it the year before, but wasn’t eligible to enter because I wasn’t quite old enough. I sent in ten shots, wrote a few essays and forgot about the whole thing. Four months later, I got an email telling me that I was one of ten high schoolers in the country accepted for the program! Talk about excitement!

It was a week long event, consisting of two days of shooting then 3-4 days of conference time. All the shooting was with Canon provided equipment (before I went, I thought that was going to be a problem, but it turned out that I really liked the 7D). We got to use both the 600mm and 800mm Canon lenses, along with 4 other lenses we carried in our bag. In the two days, we were guided and helped by pro photographers to Lake Tahoe, Swan Lake, Pyramid Lake, and Fly Geyser. We met many professional photographers, George Lepp, Robert Shepherd, Joel Sartore, and Arthur Morris. We also met with editors from National Geographic, representatives from stock agencies, and commercial photographers. It was really a fantastic program for the ten of us and we all became really great friends. Hands down, the best experience I’ve ever had. If any of you know high school or college students interested in photography, make sure they check out the NANPA Scholarship. Here are some from the two days of shooting.



In recent months, Aunt Janet and I have started a photo club in our town, which is held in our church building. Through Flickr, we’ve found great photographers in the area and come together, beginners and experienced alike, every month to talk about photography, hold critiques, and listen to wonderful guest speakers. If you don’t currently have a club or something of the sort in your city or town, I would encourage you to start one. It’s not difficult! Just bring photographers together and it can go on for hours! When preparing to teach a lesson, I find myself learning a lot, even when I think I know a lot about the material. If you’re going on a Scott Kelby Photo Walk, talk to your leaders and the other people in your group to see if they’re interested. Even the best photographers have something to learn and it’s a great way to share your knowledge while continuing to get better.

I am grateful to you guys for reading what seems like a pretty boring post. The main thing I want you to do, is to do what Aunt Janet did for me, and find an apprentice, a pupil. Somebody young that has either talent or interest in photography. Help them, encourage them, and shoot with them and I promise you will become a better photographer for your efforts.

Thank you so much, Scott, for this amazing opportunity. I’m continually amazed at what a (as you would say) “stand up” guy you are. I hope to one day meet you in person. And Brad, thanks for the help in figuring what a 15-year-old kid can say to a bunch of experienced photographers. And thanks to Alex, who suggested the idea of having me guest blog. You are continually a source of inspiration and encouragement.

As a final note, in preparation for my post, I read Jeremy Cowart’s fantastic guest blog. Summed up, Jeremy’s opening paragraph stated, if you want it bad enough, get off your tail and do something to move forward. Let’s do something to move forward.

You can check out Andy and his Aunt Janet’s website at

  1. Nice job Andy! You’ve shown again with the motivation and support which unfortunately not everyone who has a dream or passion gets today. I can see you had the “patience” in this world of “I want it and want it now” to let it happen naturally.
    Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Chris. Thanks also to the others who have posted such encouraging responses to Andy’s photographs and his thoughts. Thanks Scott for the opportunity you gave him. As his Dad (and speaking for his Mom!) I’ll confirm that we are quite proud!

  2. What a great blog Andy. I really enjoyed reading your well written story. You’re a good communicator.
    Your photos are amazing. What a wonderful inspiration you have been for me.
    Best always.

  3. Andy, I really enjoyed reading your post. Gosh, I am already 35 and just starting to learn about photography. To tell you the truth, I find is super overwhelming. But this is why I enjoyed your post as it was so encouraging! I don’t need to learn it all immediately, but just keep on taking photos and learning more and more as I go. I wish I could be someone’s pupil. I reckon that would be fantastic! :)

    1. Thank you for the kind words! Find local photographers and ask if you can tag-along. You’d be very surprised at how many will let you as well as the things you will learn simply by shooting with them. Good luck!

  4. Andy, thank you for inspiring a father.

    I love your pictures, and how they show your growth. I also love how you pursue your dreams!

    But what I am really taking out of this as an adult and a parent, is that supporting your child (or finding someone to support your child) is number one. And I think everyone reading your post has to smile about your “being bored” when doing something only you like!

  5. I really enjoyed reading this post! You are a gifted photographer and it is evident that you have worked hard to develop those gifts. I sure wish my 12 year old would catch on and go out shooting with me!

  6. Excellent post, Andy!

    I only got into photography at age 38 and wish it had happened when I was your age. I feel like I have wasted so much time. It’s wonderful to see someone your age with so much energy and enthusiasm for our craft and I will continue to check in on your website to see your progress.

    I wish you the very best of luck in your very promising future.

  7. Wow, Andy! I am blown away by your gift! One of your images reminds of a similar one my late employer, Galen Rowell, captured almost two decades ago. Congratulations on all your success and I look forward to continually seeing your name in the trades very soon!

  8. Andy, I loved reading your post and seeing at the same time, by chronological order, where you were photographically and where you are now. You are climbing pretty fast! Keep up the excellent work and your passion alive.
    Scott, this is one of the good reasons why I really enjoy being a part of Napp and have access to you, and all these passionate people, through your blog. This is a great example of how diversified your mind and knowledge is, by entertaining anyone, and I mean anyone within any age bracket or any culture (as long as there is something to be learned), to participate in this venue and share their insights and stories with the rest of us. For me these are the most rewarding lessons that I can ever take away.
    Kudos to Andy, Scott and everyone that has continuously inspired me, through my own journey.

  9. Andy, wonderfully written blog. Beautiful photos and wonderful experiences you have. Being an aunt to 2 nephews, what I loved most about your post is that through photography you have built an extra special bond with your aunt. I know she must be extremely proud and will love this blog posting. I’m not an experienced photographer but what I do enjoy most from photography (besides the photos) are the experiences. Whether it is visiting a new location or meeting new people. If I’m lucky I get a photo that shows the amazement and wonder of life. I can see your experiences have already made an amazing difference in your photography. Keep growing and learning both in photography and life!

  10. Andy

    Wonderful!! I read Scott’s blog every day and always enjoy the Wednesday guest blog. Today was really special. Your Aunt Jane is also a remarkable individual to help you with your passion and act as your guiding light. I suspect that in the years to come you will continue to WOW us with your vision and talent.

    Thank you for a brilliant post. You have a wonderful ability to not only capture great images but to tell an engaging story.


  11. WOW! Great job Andy! I am so proud of you , your photographs and how well written your guest blog is! It was quite an honor shooting Relay for life with you a couple weeks ago. You are someone we are all going to be reading about in the world of photography one day if that is the path you so choose. If not, I have no doubts you will excel in whatever path you decide to take. I can’t wait to learn more from you in the future!

  12. Thank you for the post Andy! Great job. I too loved seeing the progression of your photos. Your shots are amazing. Kudos to Aunt Janet too!

    1. Andy…great job! What a wonderful story. I too am in the Blue Ridge Mountain (Asheville area) and so happy to see that you are doing well. If your photo club is close by, I might be interested injoining your group. Let me know! Again, keep up the good work!

  13. To have your level of talent and enthusiasm for photography at 16 is truly amazing. You have a great future ahead of you. Thanks for your post and thanks to Aunt Janet for her encouragement that enabled you to share the story. Great job Scott for giving Andy the opportunity to do this blog. What a thrill it must be for a 16 year old (although his talent is far beyond his age) to be part of the amazing cast of blog contributors.

  14. Hi Andy, thanks for sharing! You did a great job writing this post and I love your photos! I really need an aunt like that!!! haha! My oldest son is almost 5 and he loves cameras. Your post is making me re-think if I should let him play around with my camera more.

    To Scott, I agree with Andy, the first edition of your Digital Photography book is truly inspirational! It’s also one of the best photography books I’ve read. Way to go!

  15. I’m going to start a club….the Andy Locascio Fan Club. Thanks for the great post Andy. You brought a unique perspective to Guest Blog Wednesday which is always great and you also demonstrated a level of thoughtfulness and maturity that I’m sure will serve you well going forward.

    Big points for Aunt Janet! I really feel like this type of mentoring is one of the greatest strengths of the photographic community. How can we take and fully appreciate pictures of the world around us if we don’t do our part to nurture it in some way?

    Andy, I just loved when you said your friends wanted a PS3, but you wanted a new tripod. Every photographer has their ever growing gear wish list. But this comment spoke to me as a parent as well (1 and 3 year old). The world seems to change drastically from generation to generation. It has become a gadget filled cyber world. Which I love, don’t get me wrong, but some days I worry about my kids getting swallowed up. Worrying about how many Facebook friends they have. Was their last tweet funny? Worrying about whether they have the latest and coolest cell phones. And I worry about some of the more creative and redeeming pursuits falling by the wayside. Take out a piece of paper and a pencil and write something. Pull one of those dusty books off one of the shelves and journey into another world. Go outside. Run. Use your imagination. Roll around in the dirt. Get up and run around some more. Find a grassy spot in the shade. Lie down. Watch the clouds roll by. Go trekking with Aunt Janet and take some pictures.

    Thanks Andy! Best of luck going forward.


    1. Greg, very well said. I just shared paragraph 3 with my 8 and 12 year old home on day 1 of summer vacation. I couldn’t agree with you more.

      Andy, great post. And what really rang true for me was not only the great photos, but how well you write. A quality that will serve you well for many years to come.


  16. Andy, You are blessed to have your Aunt Janet and live in the Blue Ridge area (not far from me). I love this area especially in the fall. I started with my first camera when I was 11 but that was in 1966 when we had film. I have two grandsons who I have bought cameras for but I think only one takes it seriously. Starting at this young age I believe you have a bright future (your photos are already great!). Good luck in your life.

  17. This is why I love Guest Blog Wednesdays. There is inspiration you never knew existed. Awesome work Andy! Keep it up. You definitely have a strong foundation built.

  18. Andy, you are an inspiration to all of us. Keep up the good work. Scott—It was refreshing to see a real person’s interest in photography, rather than a professional. I love to see what the pros do, but I love to see what people like me are doing as well. Its also one of the side benefits of attending your seminars. Thanks alot.

  19. Amazing post…amazing pictures…great job. We have both been taking pictures for about the same amount of time and I’m in awe at your progression! Its a beautiful thing when someone is willing to be a student and by doing so can teach us so much about life in general! Great post (not boring AT ALL!!) Thanks for the inspiration…gotta go shoot now!

  20. You can do anything you put your mind to, you just show how passion makes a huge difference. Kudos Aunt Janet! Keep up the good work Andy, work hard and you will continue to go many, many places!

  21. Many congratulations to you, Andy! This was an excellent post – not as boring as you think. ;0)
    You seem to be a great role model to your peers. The PS3 v. tripod comment made me laugh. You have a promising future ahead of you!

    All the best!

  22. I love your post and your photography, Andy… I hope that many reading this post will put on your “Aunt Janet” suit and reach out to mentor someone young.. or even someone who is just ‘young at heart’.

  23. Best post here at in over a year. It’s been said above, but it is so refreshing to hear from someone who is talented beyond their years. You prove that anything is possible. Bravo and keep up the great work.

  24. Andy,

    Well done. If you hadn’t told us you were 15, I think most of us would’ve guessed older. You’re mature beyond your years. You’re fortunate you’ve found both a passion and a mentor at such a young age. You’ve reminded us all how important both can be in a life. Speaking of… it would be great to get the flip side of this… I think your Aunt should guest blog on a coming Wednesday to speak on the importance of mentoring, of giving back, and sharing your craft (Scott/Brad – can I get an ‘Amen’)?

    Continued Blessings and much success on your journey Andy. You have a bright future, as well as much to already be proud of.

    –Rich Gibson
    San Antonio, TX

  25. Fantastic post. I am myself looking to get started in the business. (14) So, this was some great insight and motivation for other young photographers. I definitely agree with you about the DPP books by Scott being fantastic. Thanks for the post.


  26. Awesome post Andy! To be honest, I normally skim through the guest blog posts, but not only did I read this one all the way through, but I’ve got your website open in another tab to look at after I finish some work stuff. Definitely keep up the good work and photography!

  27. Hi Andy , Great job….. your Pictures are very beautiful. I like the Colors and Compositions….
    well done ….. you will be very successful, Go on Young Photographer…. Best Wishes

    Ali Rajabi

  28. Well done on the guest blog post, Andy! Very good photos! I love the landscapes out West! You’ve certainly motivated some folks reading this, me included. I’m not a full-time photographer, but wish I was. I take advantage of the time I do get to go out and shoot, and you already know that’s what it takes. I wish much more success for you and I feel like that won’t be a problem! I’m on Flickr, too…you can find me at (I hope Scott doesn’t take points from me for giving that link).

  29. I really enjoyed reading your post. It was very inspiring. I am a teenage photographer too, the one would show up to second shoot a wedding with my mentor and people look skeptiacally “um, how old are you?” but that only a first impression and the skepticism faded after working with me and seeing the pictures. :-) I am 18 now, and it has been an exciting photographic journey filled with lots of learning. It was great to read your journey, I know you will do great things with your photography, and bless many people. Thanks again for the fantastic post!

  30. Yesterday, I was wondering why Scott didn’t mention who was going to guest blog on Wednesday. Thought it was an oversight or he had so much going on that he forgot. Opening up the blog today I took a double take! What a great surprise to see a blog written by a young photographer. I initially didn’t think I would find it interesting, but Andy has a knack for writing as well as photographing a subject. Nicely played, Mr. Kelby!

    I have taken my 16 year old son “under my wing” as well and enjoy going out shooting with him. Reading Andy’s comments about his aunt’s mentoring hit home to me and I hope my son develops into a talent like Andy someday. And I concur with Rich Gibson above that it would be a great idea to have Andy’s aunt blog here on a future Wednesday!

    Good luck in the future, Andy! Hope to see you blogging here again in the future!

  31. Great read! While I am quite a bit older than Andy, I too started just a few years ago and owe all of my current success to a mentor.

    Let’s be honest – photography is more fun with a friend! That’s why the Worldwide Photowalk is so successful.

  32. I agree with John that this is a great and different blog and subject. I know many of us who have been in photography for years and longer can benefit our passion no better than passing what we know to another person or a yougster. I think a great project that Scott could propose is to find a child or young person and take them out and introduce them to photography. It would be so wonderful to be Andys age and have the tools available like we do now with NAPP and and all the folks who share this common passion!

  33. Awesome post, Andy! I especially loved what you had to say about what prompted your initial interest in photography—the thrill of capturing a moment in time and being able to revisit again and again. Very astute observation!

  34. I think it’s absolutely amazing that you had your Aunt Janet to guide you through these past years. I also was fascinated with photography around the same age you started, but growing up in a low income family on a farm in the middle of nowhere, the only thing I had to feed my fascination was talking my Boy Scout master into having the troop buy me a disposable camera and letting me document our camping trips every couple of months. I can only imagine what it would have been like back then to have an Aunt Janet to fan the roaring flame to be a photographer that was inside of me.

    I am 31 now. Though I was never really able to move forward with my dream of photography until recently, I never let the dream slip away. Three years ago I started taking pictures again with a point and shoot, two years ago I made the jump to DSLR, and then just two weeks ago I bought myself the Nikon D300s and I feel like a kid at Christmas again!

    Thanks for sharing your story Andy, because even though our stories differ in ways, I can really relate to your journey. I did not have someone in my life to fuel the flames within me, but I have been given the opportunity to be the fuel for someone else. I have an 11 year old niece who is showing an interest in photography, and I plan to be the fuel to her flame of photo passion. Up until now, the only camera she has had is a rubber kid’s digital camera. This Christmas I am going to buy her a higher quality point and shoot, and if her interest keeps growing in photography then next will be a DSLR.

  35. Ahh, this reminds me of the days when I first started photography. Mind you, it was in high school and we had to use dark rooms back then, but very cool. Kudos to you Scott for getting everyone involved in the Guest Blog Wednesday, not just the well known photographers. We can all learn from each other.

  36. Am I allowed to write HOLY CRAP on here? Well, HOLY CRAP! What a great guest blogger, what a great kid, and what great images! Awwww….I just wanna squeeze his cheeks! hee hee!! Great work!!!

    1. Donna,
      He really is a fantastic young man and his family is just outstanding. All three sons are very talented and very succesful in everything they pursue. I am honored to know all of them.

  37. What a great post, thanks Scott for being willing to give a great young talent like this such a break. Andy, keep on shooting you have a great talent and I really think you are going to go great places in the photography world, you have already proven that. Thanks for the inspiration, it is great to see such a young photographer so excited about the art…its all up from here…

  38. I have to echo: HOLY CRAP. I was so excited to see that Andy was the guest blogger this week!

    I have had the privilege of seeing Andy in action; not only is he a terrific photographer at such a young age, but completely humble, polite, and a sweetheart! And Aunt Janet is truly wonderful, too.

    I first met them both when they volunteered to photograph a concert at the non-profit where I work. Andy was a little monkey, running around to get the perfect shot; at the time, he was only 14, and we only let him shoot since his Aunt was with him. I didn’t know what we’d get; but as you might guess from this post, the images were fantastic! I got lots of comments from our patrons later, wondering who the “kid” was, running around taking pictures.

  39. Great guest blog. What a story! I have a family friend who is like an uncle who got me into photography and video stuff when I was a kid. Sadly, he has been legally blind for a very long time and can no longer shoot. But I have very fond memories of him teaching me things and letting me borrow his Canon T-50 when all I had was my 110 camera. So to my uncle Nico…thank you. And to all the Aunt Janets out there…thank you.

    Scott, you get 2 cool points for inviting Andy. Great idea to hear from Aunt Janet on the blog at some point.


  40. Dear Andy,

    Thank you for your very refreshing post. It makes me realize that I, as an often boring adult, have forgotten how a “naive” (in the good sense of the word) look at the world is missing in my photography. Good luck.


  41. Andy,
    You truly are amazing! Reading your blog post left me feeling awed by your talent, impressed by your level of maturity, and most importantly, touched by your kind heart, which shines through not only in your post but also in your replies to comments. Bravo to your parents and Aunt Janet! I hope you’ll do another guest blog in the future to let us know where your dreams are leading you.

  42. I also enjoyed the guest blog this week. It was nice to read about the passion that this young man has for photography. I hope he keeps a journal of his travels and experiences as he grows and matures into what I am sure will be a great career in photography.

  43. Wow. I always enjoy reading this blog and the guest posts, but I never expected to read one from a 15 year. Very well written, and great shots.

    Thanks Aunt Janet.

  44. Hey Andy! I find it amazing how similar our stories are. I’m sixteen and have been taking pictures almost four years now. I too feel in love with photography after reading Scott Kelby’s digital photography book, and now i read everything he reads, writes and says like it’s gospel. I too put every single penny i get towards photography. Haha. It’s really kinda funny. It’s really cool to see other teens that are great at the art, great enough to actually be a guest blogger. That would be a dream come true to me…haha. Very very cool Andy. Well done.


  45. Andy is indeed a great young man and from the moment I met him I knew and still know he has something special. Not only is he gifted in sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for photography but he’s an exceptional young photographer that I have no doubt will do very well in this field. On top of it all, he’s one of the nicest, most polite, and coolest 15 year olds I’ve ever met.

    I’m one of the fortunate ones who attend his and his Aunt’s photography club meetings. I’m amazed every time he shares with us… I forget his age when he’s teaching! Though we’re all at different levels with our photography, Andy has a way of sharing what he’s learned that we all walk away with something to help us become better photographers.

    Thanks Scott for sharing your blog with this fine young man. You will definitely want to meet Scott in person one day!

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