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Braden Summers Wins Digital Photo Pro Contest

Academy of Art University Photography student Braden Summers career is taking flight – and he hasn’t even graduated yet! Out of thousands of submissions, Braden Summers won the grand prize in Digital Photo Pro magazine’s emerging professionals contest.

Braden had always been an artist at heart, but it took a year studying liberal arts at a large university for him to realize that photography was his calling. He signed up for two classes at the Academy during the summer of 2004 and has been there ever since.

“It’s amazing having teachers who are working professionals because they know exactly how to prepare you for the business,” Braden remarked.



Jim Woods, Director of the School of Photography, had one of the biggest influences on Braden. In his first portfolio class, Jim helped Braden realize the strong points of his images and helped guide his creative energy.

“By the end of the class I had a solid body of work; the knowledge I gained from that class shapes the work that I am producing today,” he said.

Now in his last semester before graduation, Braden is currently living and working in LA while doing an independent study and internship. During Fall semester, he enjoyed the flexibility of taking online classes, which allowed him to travel and take photographs in places such as South America, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Braden is currently working on building an advertising photography portfolio, specializing in environmental portraiture.  The Academy has prepared him for a successful career in photography by teaching him the business skills he needs in the industry.

“When a client calls me to do a job, I know which questions to ask to make sure that I can do the job to my best ability and to make sure that I don’t undermine myself as an artist,” Braden said.

Jim told Braden about a contest for emerging photographers sponsored by Digital Photo Pro. He submitted three photographs and out of thousands of entries won the grand prize.


“It was the first big contest that I’ve won so it’s pretty exciting for me and it’s obviously a great way to get my name out there,” he said.

Braden just wrapped up his first big commercial job for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer for a national campaign for the drug Caduet. He’s currently focusing on self-promotion so he can sustain his recent success.

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