Meet Randy Braley
You’ve probably met him behind the camera, but today we’re putting the focus on him. Meet Randy Braley, Fervor visual storyteller.
At Fervor, Randy is: a visual storyteller.
What brought him to KC: Originally from Saint Louis, Randy headed west on I-70 to study at UMKC, and he’s called Kansas City home ever since.
What and where he studied: Randy studied business and marketing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. But every semester, he took a photography class “to keep my sanity and have that creative outlet,” Randy says. Those photography courses built the foundation for his work today.
Before Fervor: Randy’s first post-college position was in the built environment industry, working in marketing and business development. He served a variety of KC-area engineering and architecture firms for nearly 20 years, but his interest in photography never waned. “I always had a professional connection to photographers,” Randy says. Whenever his marketing departments had to coordinate photography, “I was always the first one to raise my hand.”
How he shifted to photography: After a layoff, Randy landed a new job within a week. But the uncertainty was a wakeup call, he says. “I promised myself that would never happen again.” His last full-time role in architecture was coordinating the sports marketing for a national architectural firm— a role he accepted just before the recession. When the sports market became less lucrative, the company pivoted to federal design, putting greater stress on the marketing department. This was just the push Randy needed to realign his priorities and take control of his future
His search for balance: “Everyone talks about balance,” Randy says. “You can sit there and talk about it, but it’s up to you to do something about it.” And that’s just what he did. Unhappy with the high-stress environment and wanting to spend more time with his family, Randy set a public intention. “Within a year,” he told friends and family, “I was going to be a full-time photographer.” He spent the year building his portfolio, and has been a full-time visual storyteller ever since.
What he loves to photograph: Anything to do with outdoor activities — “camping, climbing, running, cycling, just playing in the outdoors,” he says.
Family: Randy is married to Caroline and they have two sons, Alex and Chris.
Digs Fervor because: First, it’s the clients. “We’re engaging with people who are passionate about what they do, and that fuels my own passion for what I do,” Randy says. And he also appreciates Mike’s leadership of Fervor. “He sees me as more than just a photographer, and being an active participant in the business is refreshing.”
Outside Fervor, you’ll find him: well, outside. Randy loves spending time with his family outdoors, especially camping.
Where he heads for happy hour or a beer test: “Honestly, I love going to a friend’s house, where we’ll bring our favorites and try them.” And it’s been awhile since his last happy hour, Randy admits, but one favorite is Paolo and Bill in Shawnee.
A community he loves: Randy is an avid cyclist and loves his cycling community. “It’s a positive group that’s active, and you have a good time,” he says. This 45-person competitive team, called Big D Cycling, is named in honor of one member’s late son. Randy has competed in triathlons, mountain biking and will compete in cyclo-cross this fall.
Favorite place for a cup of coffee: Oddly Correct
Favorite read: Randy loves real-life adventure stories, as well as military fiction.
TV favorites: There’s no turning off the photographer’s eye, even when he’s watching TV. “I have a tendency to judge shows based on lighting,” Randy says, so he loves Walking Dead, House of Cards and especially The West Wing. “The West Wing was one of the first shows to do the follow-cam and use lighting in that way.”
What drives Randy up a wall: Not being in the moment. Randy was recently at a Starbucks on a Wednesday night and noticed “every surface in the place had a teen’s butt in it, but they were all texting friends.” Hey teens? Randy’s got advice for you — get off the phone when you’re with friends. “If you’re together, be together.”
Boys meet world: Right now, Randy and Caroline are focused on their sons. “They’re finally at that age when they have this thirst for learning,” he says, “so we’re very much into the experiential.” So this season is all about coordinating camp schedules and making the most of the summer days — the 2015 agenda even includes a mountain biking workshop.
Business books that had an impact: Jim Collins’ Good to Great is a favorite classic. Inevitable Surprises by Peter Schwartz has helped him make business choices for the long haul. And Randy also appreciated the autobiography American Soldier by Tommy Franks, a retired American general. “You think about all the logistics, all the people below him who had to execute missions and resources . . . from a business standpoint, I learned a lot about managing each day.”
Precious moments: Although most of his work today is commercial, Randy built his first portfolio with family portraits. Everyone wanted that perfect moment photo, with the great setting and the great smiles. “But I told families that I also want those not-so-perfect moments,” Randy says. “I want the roll of the eyes, the kids crying! In the future, you’re drawn to an emotion, you’re drawn to a moment. You’re not drawn to the perfect pictures. You’re drawn to what’s real.”
Fervor wouldn’t be Fervor without . . . Randy’s insight: “With Fervor, I’m not the youngest one in the room,” he smiles, “and I think that adds a little something, a little wisdom.”