The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

San Antonio Rodeo photographer presents talk on career, experiences

San Antonio Rodeo photographer presents talk on career, experiences - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Photographer Scott Foley talks about his photography experience growing up during his presentation in Classroom Hall on April 3, 2024. Photo by Jaz Ortiz

Some say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a Texas-based professional photographer fills novels with each click of the shutter.

Scott Foley, a photographer known for his work with the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, spoke to a small group of students in Classroom Hall at Texas A&M University-San Antonio on April 3. The presentation included a PowerPoint that showed pictures from his career and an opportunity for students to ask questions.

Foley developed a passion for photography at 8 years old while working with his dad. Because his father was often busy running two camera stores and a restaurant, developing film in the evenings became the one time of the day where they could consistently spend time together.

“We would spend 3,4,5,6 hours in the darkroom at night, and that was the only time I had with him,” Foley said.

This work with film has had a significant influence on his photography.

Foley joined the Air Force after graduating high school and retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2015 after 27 years of service. During his service, he spent his free time working as a freelance photographer.

The death of his father led to a reflective period of his work: Was there something there that he just wasn’t able to see? Were his photos missing a part of the story?

“When I lost him in 2000 when he passed away, that’s when I started seeing emotion in photography and people. I didn’t see it growing up,” Foley said.

Foley described the importance of storytelling through photographs. When he was younger, capturing action was his main focus in photography. However, through experience he has learned the value of capturing emotion in his pictures and showing the observer what it was like to be there.

In the years since his retirement from the military, he fine-tuned his skills and became an accomplished professional photographer who dabbles in all commercial photography.

Since then, he has worked on multiple contracts with both the U.S. Department of the Interior and, most recently, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

“I fell in love with rodeo,” Foley said. “That is probably now my favorite sport to photograph.”

His work at the rodeo has been featured in promotional material for the rodeo, including one particular picture that was used for a Wrangler’s ad campaign.

Foley’s recent contract with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helped him log nearly 25,000 driving miles as he photographed the wilds of Alaska.

Foley’s campus visit was organized by Enlace, a student-run digital media studio that aims to prepare students for a career in communications.

“I appreciate him being honest with his thoughts, especially when it comes to the career field,” said Jesus “Trey” Delgado, general business senior and executive producer for Enlace Media Lab. “I just appreciate how real he was about the industry and giving experience to everyone who was there.”

Jenny Moore, A&M-San Antonio’s professor of clinical communications and an adviser for Enlace, said students can learn lessons from professionals that they may not receive from the faculty, which is important in a collaborative, interconnected field such as communications.

Enlace provides “presentations that expose students to the field that they are pursuing” said Christopher Valdovinos, one of the student workers in the group. 

Valdovinos said the Enlace Media Lab team is a sponsored club run by four student workers overseen by a faculty adviser, that provides hands-on learning to create alternate styles of media.

Delgado, who attended the event, said he gained a different way of looking at things: There is no need to rush, to take your time and see where to get the best photos and to just get creative when photographing any subject.

Delgado plans to apply techniques learned from this presentation toward an upcoming competition at the annual convention of the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA), a collegiate journalism association in Texas.

The audience remained engaged throughout the presentation, asking questions and laughing at stories that Foley shared.

One student asked for advice for beginning photographers who want to make a living off of their work.

“You gotta commit,” Foley said. “You have to go all in.” He also recommended finding photo styles to specialize in that could be regular sources of income, such as weddings or portraits.

Although this is only the second industry professional speaker the Enlace Media Lab has hosted this spring, Delgado looks forward to being able to host more guest speakers in the future. They may even see a return of Foley himself.

For more information, visit

To view Foley’s professional work, visit

About the Authors

Elyssa Quesada
Elyssa Quesada is a communications junior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. A Texas native who served nine years as a U.S. Marine, she now applies hard work and discipline toward her education. In her free time she enjoys traveling, visiting museums, painting and drawing. She hopes to pursue a career as a public affairs representative with the National Park Service.
Catherine Richard
Catherine Richard is a freshman majoring in communications at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. In her spare time, she can be found playing piano, drawing, or reading. After graduating, she plans to travel and work as a journalist.

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