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Meet Devin Richter of Sun Chaser Studios in Colorado Springs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Devin Richter.

Devin, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
You could say my story for photography and design is “intermittent”. When I was a child my grandparents carefully documented every moment of my life and my mother was an artist who also pursued photography courses in college, often using me as a subject.

The desire to capture beauty and art permeated through my mother’s creativity while the desire to capture life events as they happened came from my grandparent’s constant documenting of my life. It left a mark on me that I did not instantly recognize.

When I was a young teenager I dabbled in photography, but my awkward personality mixed with a competitive and quiet nature made my desire to photograph and design dwindle. I wanted to be the best but wasn’t. In addition to not being the best, I couldn’t express the feelings I had of wanting to be appreciated for something making me hate the very thing I desired.

In addition to my skirmishes with self-confidence, I was under the duress of bullying for my photography and age, physical and emotional abuse from my stepfather, and an inherent lack of funds to pay for the equipment needed to really “get into” photography. At that point in my life, I had given up on photography as well as design. I used those skills as an occasional filler for my boredom, but that was it.

As I progressed in age. However, the passion for photography was rekindled. I found that I wanted to do those things because they made me happy. The wounds of my childhood began to heal, and I found my faith brought me into a place of confidence I never had before. I started to develop a desire to do photography and design professionals as I ended my teenage years and I took the plunge.

The first designs and works I produced were cliché, oversaturated, and I lacked a lot of support from people I considered to be “role models” for photography and design. It was greatly discouraging, but I finally could believe in myself regardless. I decided this time I didn’t want to give up. I pushed and pushed and did all I could to get better.

I gained more confidence and decided to go for a photography position in a publication I was mildly obsessed with. The application was received but I was denied the role because of a lack of refinement. Later that year I met a great friend at work who had her own photography business at the time. My friend really believed in me. She cared about my goals and skills. She pushed me and taught me so much, I excelled quickly. A year later I applied (again) for a photography position with Colorado Collective and received it. It was a huge triumph and validation for my hard work. As the years went by, I had the privilege of being the Photo Editor for the whole publication.

Fast forward to today. I have won Best of the Springs two times. I have met some amazing people. Traveled to numerous states and locations to photograph people, events, and places. Won several awards. I have been featured by fortune 500 companies for my work. So much goodness. While all these accomplishments seem amazing, I still struggle with the confidence and refinement of my work. That is my focus now, to do better and be better. I have come to terms that I am not the best, but I hope that my authenticity and drive make up for it and that I get opportunities to continue to grow. If you’ve read this far, I’m grateful for your time and I hope you can find some inspiration in my story.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I have had plenty of obstacles through this process. Growing up I was lacking a lot of things some people take for granted, often unable to afford necessities. I was abused in every way by my stepdad or witnessed my family being abused. I was bullied constantly and heavily by those around me, an endless torment for me. I had weight issues. The list goes on.

When I got older and even today, I continue to overcome so many things. I was cheated on. I’ve had my photography gear stolen. I’ve had my equipment run over by a car (last year). People have tried to slander my name and company for their gain. I’ve watched my proteges exceed my skills and move on from me.

In the end, I never expect anything to be smooth or perfect, but I try to turn each struggle or pain into a chance to learn and grow or take a step back. I don’t want to give up. It can often hurt, and I find myself disappointed in myself sometimes. However, I believe there is something greater out there and I’m on the right path. I can’t give up.

Tell us about your company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
I started the company as “Devin Richter Photography & Design” but as my skills grew and I became more well known, I decided to rebrand as “Sun Chaser Studios” and have brought on several team members to help with various aspects of the business. We specialize in Graphic Design, Web Design, and Photography for just about anything you can imagine.

I think what sets us apart is our desire to be completely authentic and unapologetic for authenticity. With each photography client, we try to meet one on one with them and become their friends before we photograph what they need. It helps the photos become more natural and you hear amazing stories from so many people. We also have won several awards and our work has a good reputation.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Oh my gosh! This list is going to be 200 pages long. Haha! I can credit, thank, appreciate, soo many people.
1. My family, they have been supportive even when I don’t believe in myself and have taught me so much.
2. My team, they have been so inspiring for me and I am truly humbled for their willingness to work with me. They make me look GOOD and I don’t know what I would do without their support.
3. My best friends, they know who they are, and they have been amazing points of encouragement and support. Pushing me to do better. Giving me wine to drink when I just need to process and unwind. Helping me with tedious things I don’t want to do. They hit so many of these other groups as well.
4. My mentor and friend Shannon, she was the one in the previous writings, the one from work who pushed me and believed in me.
5. My mentor and friend Mundi Ross, is an inspiration for so many aspects of my career and aesthetic. She gave me opportunities nobody else has and sees me for who I am! I am amazed by her and her heart.
6. Photographers and creatives like Josh Pruitt with Ivywild Visuals and Vince Tartarians who have consistently spectacular aesthetic and creative drive. They inspire me greatly, whether they care or know it.
7. The 200 other people who hit some of these categories or many of them aren’t called out. I can think of so many of you that I want to give credit to. I don’t see a single person giving more than others necessarily, but instead, you gave me what I needed and where I needed at that moment in time.
8. Kayla Black, she nominated me for this and I was flattered for the nomination.

Thank you all. Thank you for everything.

Pricing:

  • Weddings – $0 to $5,000+
  • Portraiture – $0 to $450
  • Product Photography – $50/hr – $300/shoot
  • Web Design – $1,000+
  • Art Pieces/Commission – $500/hr
  • Graphic Design – $0 – $15,000
  • We work with every budget to try to get what people desire and do pro-bono work depending on the request.

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