Tate Tullier remembers his first photo shoot very well. As a teen he was fascinated with girls and fashion. One Christmas morning, he dolled up his young cousin with his mom's earrings and an umbrella and proceeded with a fashion shoot. He grabbed another young family friend in her Christmas pajamas and snapped away. "You can take four pictures, that's it," Tate's mom warned. Digital cameras had not yet arrived on the scene, so Tate had to wait patiently for the film to be developed.
As a deaf teen, Tate knew he was different from his guy friends. His friends were into hunting and sports. "I just wanted to take pictures," Tate recalls. "Over the next four years in high school, I kept taking pictures." Tate was fascinated with fashion and beautiful women. Vogue and People magazines were his favorites and he begged his mom for a subscription to each. His mom was skeptical--the subscriptions were not cheap and she worried that her son would soon lose interest shortly after subscribing.
For Tate, his fascination with fashion and photography grew stronger with every issue he received. He spent hours flipping through the magazines and studying the clothes and angles. "I always had good deaf friends growing up and a great family," said Tate. "They tried to get me into sports, but it wasn’t me, it wasn’t my thing--but magazines, fashion, design, photos--that was me. I was very visual. They let me go with my passion and I found my area of excitement."
Tate went off to college, but he found himself daydreaming during his classes. Instead of paying attention to the course material, he was looking around the classroom and contemplating picture angles or studying the architecture around him. He was more fascinated with the people on campus than the stuff he was supposed to be learning. On the side, he was doing photo shoots for students at rock bottom prices. He met and fell in love with Sarah, the woman he would later marry. It took him 7 and half long years to graduate with a degree in Visual Art and a minor in Photography.
Tate took a job as a recruiter for Gallaudet University and traveled the Midwest. As much as he loved the travel and the people he met on the journey, his heart wasn't into the process. Here and there, he began to shoot weddings for friends. A colleague gave him some advice: work for yourself.
The path to his own business wasn't an easy one at first. They moved to New York, then Louisiana as Sarah finished up her internship and took a job. Tate continued to do weddings here and there. His business began to take off when he posted his photos on Facebook and Twitter. On a whim, he took a picture of himself bathing in a tub one night and posted it as "Tub Time with Tate." The tub shots became a signature shot and Tate began to get more and more requests for tub photo shoots. "Tub shots became my thing-- a little risque, but fun. I could be creative with the water, reflections on the body... it could be interpreted any way you want."
Today, Tate is always on the road doing shoot after shoot and he loves every minute of it. "Whatever your passion is-- just do it," says Tate. "It's so cliche, but just do it. Figure out a way to make it happen and try not to be afraid. Fear is always good. You need to do what you want in your life and don’t give up. If you love your job, you don’t work a day in your life."