Well, the name “Redd” actually came from my parents when I was about 3 months old. My legal name is the same as my grandfather’s, but he went by the nickname Red. He was short, bald, with a chubby face, and as a baby I was also short, bald, and chubby faced. So for as long as I’ve known, my name was Red. When I was a teenager, I started spelling it with 2 D’s after a comic book called “Maxx” came out.
I spent 4 years in the Marine Corps, then served an additional 6 years as a Navy Diver. As a diver, they refer to the men in the water as ‘red diver’ and ‘green diver’. Red diver is the guy in charge, so I incorporated that into my stage name, changed the spelling a little, and became Redd Dyver.
What prompted you to become a photographer and what was your first gig?
I started photography as a hobby when I was a little kid, about 7ish. I had an aunt that was a hobby photographer, and a great uncle that was a professional landscape photographer. When my aunt would babysit me and my sister, she’d bring her camera and tripod, and we’d get dressed in costumes and stage scenes and take photos. It kept us entertained, and she’d always have awesome photos for my parents. Shortly after I got out on the Marine Corps, I was babysitting for a bunch of friends that wanted to go out for NYE (2002). I had a house of about 7 kids, from 4 to 8 years old. So, like my aunt, I pulled out my camera and tripod, and spent the day making costumes and doing plays, taking photos the whole time. All the parents loved it, and started hiring me to take photos of their families, and referring me to friends.
How did going from a Navy Diver to shooting pornography come to you?
My first professional gig in the industry was for Dick Chibbles. While I was stationed in San Diego, I used to throw huge theme parties once a month. Dick and his wife, Daisy, were brought to one of my parties through a mutual friend, and we became good friends.
My first porn gig came when Dick’s normal photographer had to cancel last minute for a shoot in Big Bear. Dick asked if I thought I could do it, and would be willing to fill in. The scene was a 6 to 8 (I don’t remember how many exactly) guy gang-bang with Lyla Storm, and the whole experience was new to me. Everyone was so casual about everything, with Daisy Layne in the kitchen just off camera cooking a huge chicken dinner as if nothing was happening while Lyla was getting railed from every which direction. I was so lost in everything that my camera battery died right before the money shots, and I panicked and almost missed the most important part.
Describe to our readers what it was like being on a porn set for the first time getting ready to shoot a beautiful naked woman and what was it like shooting sex stills, as well, for the very first time?
The first time I thought I’d end up freezing when faced with a hot girl. Instead, as soon as the camera was in my hands, I just zoned into what I wanted out of the photos, and how to get that to happen. And I do that every time I shoot. I think that’s why the models feel comfortable with me shooting, because I’m not a creepy guy with a camera trying to coax them into bed. I’m doing a job with the intent of working with them to make the best images possible.
What is the hardest part about being a photographer that you were not aware of?
Previous to that, the extent of my experience was mostly children’s photos, and I had just started working with modeling portfolios. I learned that there is just so much more to photography than fancy equipment. It truly is an art, and just like any other art, there’s a lot of study and practice that goes into it to be good at it. The camera and lights are simply tools, and a good photographer can take amazing shots with the most basic camera, although a bad photographer won’t do any better, no matter how expensive his gear is. Kind of like how a professional carpenter can make works of art with a simple chisel and saw, where someone off the street couldn’t do the same no matter what professional table tools he buys from Home Depot.
Also, being a good photographer means being able to have good people skills. No matter what stresses the models are going through, you have to be able to make them comfortable with you, and put everything else temporarily to the side. You have to be a friend, counselor, cheerleader, and director, usually all at the same time.
Who was the first model you shot and who is your favorite model to shoot?
Well, I won’t give names to the first models I shot, since their careers depend on them not being associated to porn. But within the industry, My first was Lyla Storm, followed shortly after by shooting Syren De Mer, Asa Akira, Brittney Amber, Lexi Belle, and Amber Rayne in Saw: a Hardcore Parody, also by Dick Chibbles
Which model would you love to shoot, but have not yet had the opportunity?
You already know the answer is “you” on the top of that list… we’ve already got some concepts down. Also in the industry I’d love to shoot Stormy Daniels and jessica drake. Outside the industry, I’ve always wanted to shoot Alyssa Milano and Danica McKellar (both of which were my celebrity teen crushes), and also Julia Roy, (she’s my geek crush).
What are the pros and cons of being a photographer for the adult industry and why?
The pros are too many to count. I’ve met some of the most amazing people, and as a result I’ve grown as a person more than I could have ever imagined. I’ve learned to see things from new perspectives, and can truly appreciate getting a different point of view on things. I’ve learned to accept people with different ideas and interest, even if I don’t agree or understand.
The cons: As an industry photographer, a producer that already has a specific style in mind hires you, and your job is to bring their vision to life. You don’t get much artistic freedom yourself, and things get to become routine with the same cookie-cutter photos, just with a different face.
Also, bottom line: it is a job. There may be some fun times, but there is a lot of business and hard work involved, often with long hours.
Do you have any aspirations about starting up your own adult website or becoming a director?
Not right now as of this moment. If the opportunity was to fall in my lap, I’d gladly accept it, but it’s not what I’m actively pursuing. Right now besides my photography, I’m a full-time student working for a Bachelor’s in business marketing, and looking to someday run my own mainstream commercial studio.
What types of models are the most difficult to work with and what was your worst experience?
The most difficult ones are the ones that cannot take direction or suggestions. There’s a difference between what looks good on a still camera, versus what looks good in person or in film. Girls that think modeling involves only their good looks can make things difficult.
I’ve been in the industry for eight years and know for a fact that photography is one tough job. What goes into being a photographer that many people don’t understand?
Depending on the situation, there can be a lot of pre-production work. When I do my own shoots, there’s a lot of work locking down locations, coordinating with models, assistants, make-up artist, and anyone else involved. And even after the shoot there is a TON of post-production. Only about 10% of the job is behind the camera, and another 80%, if not more, is behind a computer in some cases.
Which photographers do you look up to and inspire you?
Within the industry, I’ve always loved the work of Ken Marcus, Marco Rivera, and Holly Randall. On the mainstream side, Cody Wayne, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Capa, Dorothea Lange, just to name a few.
Do you have any creative ideas that you would like to bring to life with your photography?
Many, but I prefer to keep them a secret… the artist in me likes to produce an image with a story, and then let the viewer interpret what they see on their own… I don’t want to bias things by explaining first.
How long do you see yourself being a photographer? Is there something else that you would like to do?
I will always be a photographer. My career may some day take a different direction, but photography is how I get my release and relaxation. If nothing else, I’ll always be taking photos and honing my skills as a hobby.
You don’t just shoot pornography photos, you also dabble in taking headshots for up and coming actors/models, but which is your favorite to do?
Well, I’ve always done headshots and modeling portfolios before I even started working in porn. I personally love working with beginning models that have a real desire to go big, but maybe have some reservations about themselves. Those are the shoots that become a discovery for the model, helping them find their style, and grow as a person and a professional. I personally know 3 girls that work as a model as a sole source of income, and they did their very first shoots with me, and credit me as an inspiring and instrumental part of their career. It’s those kinds of things that help me feel that my skills have actually benefited others in a profound way.
What was the biggest mistake you made being a photographer on set?
Luckily, no big mistakes on a porn set. On one of my own shoots I did actually forget my camera bag, with both cameras in it, at home. Coincidentally that shoot was already delayed by a last minute location change, followed by the model being an hour late. While waiting for her, I got all the lights and such set up, and as she arrived, I realized I didn’t have a camera. Fortunately, she was understanding, and needed time for make-up and wardrobe while I raced 30 minutes back home, grabbed the bag, and 30 minutes back to the shoot.
My costliest mistake was to trust my gear to someone that wasn’t part of the crew. We were doing a sunset beach shoot, and the model brought a friend. We were in thigh-high water, and I asked this friend to hold a light stand with my strobe on it, to make sure waves didn’t knock it over… about 3 minutes into it, while this guy was more concerned about texting than my gear, a wave knocked the stand over and submerged my $900 strobe into the salt water and fried it immediately.
For up and coming photographers do you have any advice or the best equipment to use?
Take photos every day. Learn the basics, don’t use “auto” anything, and learn how to really manipulate the light and lens to do what you want. As far as equipment, you can ask 10 different people and get 12 different opinions. My advice is once you learn the basics, rent equipment before buying it. Make sure it does what you want, and you know you’ll get the use out of it that you’ll expect. If there are specific questions (should I get a prime or zoom lens, Nikon or Canon, etc.), ask people that are already doing exactly what you want to do, and ask them what they use and why. I shoot with Nikon because I do a lot with low-light photography, but for those looking to get in the industry and shoot video as well as stills, you’d want Canon because everyone else uses it, and your video will color match with the other cameramen. Equipment is all about the end-goal.