Point Park Globe

Dave DiCello shares stories behind photos

Dave DiCello, a local Pittsburgh Photographer known for his skyline photos, visited the CMI last Wednesday to talk about his rise and success as a local photographer

Dave DiCello, a local Pittsburgh Photographer known for his skyline photos, visited the CMI last Wednesday to talk about his rise and success as a local photographer

Photo by Gracey Evans

Photo by Gracey Evans

Dave DiCello, a local Pittsburgh Photographer known for his skyline photos, visited the CMI last Wednesday to talk about his rise and success as a local photographer

Written By Robert Berger, Co-News Editor

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Pittsburgh photographer Dave DiCello spent Wednesday evening on campus sharing stories behind his photos and offering advice to students on all aspects of the photography business.

Hosted by Point Park’s chapter of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and the Globe, DiCello spoke for over an hour to a crowd in the Center for Media Innovation (CMI).

NPPA President Nikole Kost worked to bring DiCello to campus.

“I think his whole presentation was a good example of how someone can build their platform and get to where they want to be,” Kost said. “He was a small town guy with big city dreams.”

Best known for his Pittsburgh cityscape photos, DiCello shoots a variety of content from sports to weddings while still holding a day job.

“It’s really important to find your niche… and break away from it,” DiCello said. “Do other things other than what you’re known for.”

DiCello took an interest in photography as a child when he was gifted a toy camera in the first grade. His fascination only grew as he said he always had a point and shoot camera while growing up.

After graduating from Bethel Park High School, DiCello attended Allegheny College, where he studied managerial economics and German. He currently works full-time as a senior financial analyst with Thermo Fisher Scientific.

“Don’t go into finances; it’s really, really boring,” DiCello said.

It wasn’t until 2009 when he took his first paid photography gig shooting a friend’s wedding.

Upon explaining how he got his start, DiCello presented a slideshow of a variety of his work.

“I don’t have a favorite photo; every time I shoot, I try and take a new favorite,” DiCello said.

Throughout his career, DiCello has been featured on national outlets such as Time Magazine and Good Morning America, with his most recent being a photo from last Monday of a rainbow over the city of Pittsburgh.

In less than 24 hours, it became his most successful selling print in his web store.

“There was never a moment where I thought, ‘I could make money from this’… I knew it wouldn’t happen overnight,” DiCello said.

Included in the slideshow were two black and white photos of Pittsburgh with a yellow Clemente Bridge. He explained he personally doesn’t like these types of photo, however, they are among top sellers. He concluded that when operating a business, you must make sacrifices to please clients.

DiCello credited much of his success to social media presence. He frequently pushes content out on a variety of platforms and focuses on staying active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. According to DiCello, the most important aspect is being personable online.

“I tweet a lot about the Penguins,” DiCello said. “It’s making sure you’re relatable and staying in front of people… it’s really tough to do if you’re forcing it.”

When it comes to social media, he explained that holding a day job gives him freedom to be himself on online. He has also managed to post nearly three images daily for the past five years.

“It allows me to be a little more freer with my art,” DiCello said. “Whereas, I wouldn’t be able to swear on social media if I had to live off my art.”

Another topic stressed is the importance of knowing how to operate his camera when planning a photo.

He proceeded to tell the story of a photo of a lighting strike in front of the city skyline. DiCello shot for just seven minutes and walked away with one of his favorite shots of all time. The next day, Good Morning America featured the photo.

“If it took me five minutes to fiddle with my camera, I probably wouldn’t have got this,” DiCello said. “Everything is set up in my mind before I get there.”

Point Park’s NPPA branch was brought back this semester by Treasurer Chloe Jakiela after two years of inactivity. Earlier this year, the club brought NPPA Mid Atlantic Chair BP Miller to campus.

“We have more NPPA members coming in to speak,” Kost said.

Steph Chambers is coming from the Post-Gazette and BP Miller will be coming back this semester.

The club is also planning to bring National Geographic photographer Matt Adams to campus.

Disclosure: NPPA President Nikole Kost also serves as a photo editor for The Globe.

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