Photographer Spotlight: Tony Simons

Photographer Spotlight: Tony Simons

Our next featured photographer is Tony Simons. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, Tony is a freelance photographer, web designer and blogger. From shooting portraits to concerts to landscapes, Tony specializes in several types of photography. We are excited to share a little more about Tony, why he became a photographer, and what gear he uses to capture that perfect shot.

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Why did you become a photographer?

It’s 2013, and I’m working at a local brewpub here in Des Moines, Iowa. That brewpub has since closed down, but it was the place where I first discovered my true love for photography. I had just gotten my shiny new-at-the-time Samsung Galaxy S3, and that’s about the time when I really started to care about the camera in my smartphone.

I stepped out back for a cigarette – yes, I used to be a smoker, but I quit that same year, actually, and haven’t had one since. It’s been almost five years, now that I think about it. Go me for quitting!

Anyhoo, when I stepped outside to smoke that night, I was greeted by a beautiful sunset. Without so much as a thought about what I was doing, I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and snapped a quick photo of the glorious scene unfolding before my eyes. I then proceeded to run it through whatever smartphone editing app there was back then – probably Picsay Pro, if I had to guess – and edit it into what I thought was the most amazing sunset photo I’ve ever seen.

From that moment forward, I was hooked. I wasn’t nearly as crazy about it then as I am now, but I would always pull the car over anytime I saw a beautiful sunset to snap a few quick photos. And to this day, nothing in life makes me feel happier than getting the opportunity to witness a beautiful sunset in person except turning that sunset into an amazing image that will last a lifetime.

Just for fun, here’s the very photo I took that night outside of the brewpub. It’s friggin’ horrible, by the way. But it was the beginning, and I’ll never forget that.

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What one piece of equipment do you bring to every shoot?

I am limited on gear, but without a doubt, it would be my Sony A6500 camera and Sony 50mm F/1.8 lens.


What is one of your favorite shots?

I love this one (seen above) because I’m a huge fan of silhouettes, sunsets, and the two subjects in the photo – my 8-year old son, Aiden, and the sculpture, called Shattering Silence. I told him, “Hey, Aiden! Lemme see your best jumping jacks!” Fired off a few burst shots and came away with this one. I need to get it framed.


What piece of equipment do you have your eye on?

The Sigma 18-35mm F/1.8 lens and the mount I need to make it work on my Sony A6500.


What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is meeting so many wonderful people and the support they show me for my images. Delivering images to my clients and having them love them is an amazing feeling!


Where is the best place to find you online?

Check out my photography website to see more of my photos.


Celebrating the launch of Swappa’s new camera marketplace, our Photographer Spotlight series allows us to feature the work of our favorite photographers from around the net.

Although the majority of what makes a great comes down to raw talent and know-how, having the right gear certainly helps. To get started shopping used Canon, used Nikon, or used lenses, hit the link below to find the best deals around.