With Bunting’s combination of interpersonal and photographic talent, it’s easy to see why he’s such a success. At the ripe old age of 26, he has created a blossoming advertising career with a client list to make any seasoned photographer envious. He can trace it all back to his time as an undergrad at Arizona State University, even to a single photograph that started it all.
A test shot of a football player—made for fun because the athlete also wanted to learn about lighting—led to a major corporate sponsor putting $100,000 behind a poster series of ASU athletes. It’s a series Bunting continues to shoot to this day.
“That’s an account I’ve held since I was 19 years old,” he says. “We’ve never had one year where they said, ‘Let’s do this.’ Every single year they’ve said, ‘What do you want to do?’ This year I was kind of getting sick of everything on black, so I asked to shoot it all on white. They said, ‘Yeah, we’ll change everything around for it.”
So Bunting made this year’s ASU football photos on a white background. What didn’t change, though, is Bunting’s drama-filled lighting style. He achieves this almost exclusively through meticulous placement of many sources. A shot of a basketball player with a spray of water? Seventeen lights. An angry-looking football player? Ten or so. Some photographers use lots of lights to put on a show for clients. Self-taught Bunting does it because it’s the best way he knows to create the look he wants.