A new career in a snap: Lakeland’s David Radsick has become photographer for celebrities

Paul Catala
 |  Ledger correspondent

Lakeland’s David Radsick said it was never his intention to go into photography as a career, but in a flash, it seemed to have happened.

And over the last two years, he’s had the chance to photograph a host of celebrities, travel the United States and even become friends with some of the stars.

Since his first shoot in 2018, the 21-year-old photographer has taken pictures of: American comedian, actor Karlous Miller; internet personality, comedian, actor, host, rapper and singer-songwriter D.C. Young Fly (John Whitfield); and comedian, actor, singer, writer, rapper, and producer Chico Bean (Anthony Bean).

Radsick’s networking led him to photograph rapper, singer-songwriter Rich Homie Quan (Dequantes Lamar); Atlanta-based comedian, actor, and writer Desi Banks; Donald De La Haye, known online as prolific YouTuber “Deestroying;” Joseph “Jake” Paul, American YouTuber, internet personality, actor, and professional boxer; Desmond Bryant, American football wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League; and Tyreek Hill, for the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.

Radsick, who graduated from George Jenkins High School in 2017, said his foray into amateur photography began in late 2018. By August 2019, he messaged Miller about taking pictures of Miller’s show in Tampa. He also began shooting pictures and videos for his friend and rapper-producer Omar Rodriguez, who was first to ask Radsick to photograph an event.

Radsick  shot Miller’s “The 85 South Comedy Show” Tampa performance and it went so well Miller had him be one of his photographers for his YouTube podcast “The 85 South Comedy Show.” That show unites Miller, D.C. Young Fly and Chico Bean presenting the Southern U.S.’s best new comedy talent and the hosts’ freestyling rap and comedy skills.

“It’s been great; I always liked photography. I would take pictures with my phone and just take pictures of everything. I didn’t know I was so passionate about it until after I bought my cameras,” said Radsick, who was working at a Lakeland car wash before starting his photography career. “I use every photograph as a networking tool for photo shoots.”

In February 2019, Radsick made his first pay, $40, shooting pictures in Lakeland’s Munn Park for a friend’s business portfolio.

“I was like, ‘Wow, I can make some money doing this.’ I made business cards, did a lot of jobs for free and I was trying to formulate a plan to make this possibly a career,” he said. “People were encouraging me. I realized I’m decent at this and needed to get more serious about it.”

From February to July 2019, after buying another camera, Radsick’s photography business rapidly picked up, getting jobs for $80, $100 and $275 and up. By September 2019, he had quit his car washing job and began photographing fulltime. During that time, D.C. Young Fly asked Radsick to  take pictures at his comedy show in Sacramento, California, which led to more photo work.

After three days in California, Radsick came back to Lakeland and began again working with Banks, “The 85 South Show” and in March, got to shoot for the “Wild ‘N Out” MTV comedy and improv game show in Jacksonville, Miami and Orlando. In June, De La Haye (“Deestroying”) asked Radsick to be his personal photographer.

“He liked me and he said, ‘Let’s work.’ He asked me to move closer, so in June, I moved to his home in Sarasota. I started traveling with him across the U.S. for his YouTube videos and met other stars that way,” said Radsick.

Speaking from Scotsdale, Arizona, De La Haye said Radsick’s photos stood out when he was interviewing photographers for the job. Radsick was hired and the two became friends.

“He’s really good at what he does. He has an eye for good photos that you can’t just learn, it’s natural,” said De La Haye, who’s known for his videos of sports-related skits and vlogs talking about his life journey from his Costa Rican homeland. “He’s dedicated to getting the best shots in any situation. He’s always trying to think of better ways to do things and improve.”

And Radsick said he’d like someday to become a motivational speaker.

“I want to venture off and be my own creator; I want to inspire. I don’t make any 10-year goals because I know how fast life can change and I want to be ready when it does,” he said.

In addition to still photography, Radsick was the videographer for Rodriguez’s music videos “Forgive Them” and “Zone” this year.

A Lakeland native, Radsick is the son of the late David Radsick Sr., and Sherry Douglas. His brother is Wesley Smith and sisters are Tiffany Smith and Summer Johnson.

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