In the video below National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones talks about looking for the "right answers" during every photoshoot. As professionals we are always put in the position to take the best possible image even if that image may not be easy to capture. Dewitt explains what it takes for him to not just get a decent shot, but continue to get the "right" shot over and over in every situation. How confident are you that you can deliver amazing photography in any situation?
Let me warn you, this video has nothing to do with photography directly. Chances are you have probably heard the opening parable before, but when paired up with the training video of an aspiring football player the message is pretty powerful. How bad do you want success and what are you willing to go through to possess it? I think everyday as photographers, we struggle with staying motivated, finding inspiration, working towards our goals, and expanding our skill set. I find this especially true with my own work since I compete with myself which often leads to less motivation than competing directly with someone else. Reaching the point of wanting success more than the desire to breathe is probably unrealistic so let me ask this: how much sleep, time, and short term gratification are you willing to give up in order to achieve long term success?
For many shutterbugs, the dream of making money with photography doesn't extend past being able to pay for new equipment. Photography might just be a hobby if you already have a fulfilling career. But if you are looking to make a business out of being creative the first question that will cross your mind is "how much should I charge?" Knowing how to price your product (and from a tax perspective everything you do IS a product, not a service) does not come without consequence. Pricing yourself too low might gain you a ton of business but will also rob you of any free time. Pricing yourself too high, especially early on, will decrease your workload but might also send you filing an application at Starbucks...again! Mark Wallace has tackled the issue of how much to charge in his latest video, and he gives a lot of great pointers. Lee and I are currently working on a detailed video series on wedding photography where we will outline our ideas on pricing so stay tuned for that as well. Leave any questions or experiences you have in the comments below.
If you have followed Fstoppers for any amount of time, you know we are big advocates of photographers having great looking websites. Most photographers love the look of a flash site but more and more companies are starting to offer both flash and HTML versions of their sites. Creative Motion Design has been hard at work creating flashy looking websites that are coded in HTML so your potential clients can check out your work while browsing on their mobile devices and tablet computers. This week CMD released their first fully customizable HTML websites Rosie and Ethan with more designs coming out throughout the rest of 2011. I love the look of Ethan, and the prices on these sites are reasonable especially since CMD's customer service is leagues above many other website design companies. As soon as Lee and I have some free time, we are planning on converting our sites so they load up easier for potential clients.
It's no secret that Lee and I started our photography careers as wedding photographers. Regardless of what anyone says, photographing weddings is an excellent way to sharpen your photography skills since there are so many different types of shots you can plan throughout the day (and make a great living doing it). Usually when you first arrive at a wedding, the first photos your client will probably want you to capture are detail and candid getting ready shots. Superstar wedding photographer Jasmine Star recently released a great video outlining how she approaches these must have shots. If you are a guy then it's probably great advice hearing this from a female perspective so you know what's important to capture. And if Jasmine is reading, what's up with stealing our backgound?
Photographer Ryan Doco Connors recently found one of his images being printed on a t-shirt without his consent. Sugar Factory, the company selling the shirt, claimed that since the image was changed 40% (I have no clue where that number comes from) it was no longer considered his photo. Instead of suing, Ryan fought back with a few new photos and lucky for us, he shares all of the lighting details. This is exactly how The Stolen Scream story started... Hopefully this isn't the beginning of something much bigger for Ryan.
No matter if you are photographing people in a wedding, an advertisement campaign, a fierce fashion spread, family portrait, or just a headshot, chances are you are going to need your subjects to show a real human emotion. Throughout my own photography career, I have realized that only about 1% of people can turn on a fake emotion that comes across as genuine in the final photo. The remaining 99% of the population have to experience an expression real time as it happens spontaneously. Jasmine Star is one of the most successful and trend setting wedding photographers on the scene right now and she has created a great video explaining how she strategically fools her clients into "moving into a pose". This technique can work with everyone from normal people to professional models, but where you will really see this sort of coaching succeed is with people who are self conscious and camera shy. Get them to focus on your funny personality or another human interaction around them and let your shutter roll! Do you have any phrases or techniques you have found successful time and time again? Share them in the comments
A few months ago Patrick and I flew up to NYC and filmed our first ever full length DVD (dual DVD actually) with Peter Hurley. The DVD is still being edited but we can finally see an end in sight. Initially we didn't plan on having a pre-order but when Peter Hurley decided to start teaching workshops, we decided to create a special pre-order deal. When the dual DVD is released, it will cost $300. If you purchase it before October 1st, 2011, we will give you a $300 credit towards any of Peter's workshops (and this can be used at any time) so you are actually getting the DVD for free. Peter is also going to personally sign all of the pre-ordered DVDs. Patrick and I are working as fast as we can to edit this DVD while managing Fstoppers.com and also shooting a wedding every weekend. Things are busy but we hope to have this DVD released sometime this summer. Head over to Hurley's website to sign up for "The Headshot Intensive," his new 2 day workshop. There are currently 4 slots left for his first workshop on May 21-22.
Below is a fantastic video filled with random bits of priceless knowledge from 5 acclaimed photographers. Albert Maysles, Sylvia Plachy, Andrew Moore, Timothy Greenfield Sanders and Gregory Crewdson casually answer questions for Ovation TV about all aspects of the business.
Every photographer I know is wanting to book more jobs. No matter if your niche is wedding, food, commercial, advertising, or sports, chances are you would love for your business to make a lasting impression on someone looking to hire you for your services. Casey Templeton wanted to beef up his commercial and adverting work so he decided to produce a promo package that would not get lost on an agency's desk. The video below shows the promo package he made in 2010 and mailed out to 300 of his favorite agencies and art buyers. You might be thinking that this package is pretty extravagant and expensive to send to that many agencies, but being memorable among a crowd of creative professionals can easily pay off if you land only a few jobs from such a campaign. Hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I did.
Full time photographers aren't the only ones with working studios these days. Why would you outsource your photography if you need new images on a weekly basis? Tshirt company Threadless recently showed the guys over at Photoshelter how they use photography in their own business. What's unique about the products shots on the Threadless website is that they aren't the typical white studio shots or stock images of models wearing generic shirts. Instead, many of the shirts are actually photographed at the in-house studio or on location around the office. It's pretty amazing to see how photography is being used in businesses like Threadless considering so many other sites have stuck with the traditional boring photos. After the video, check out some of their most popular shirts here.
We've been kicking a lot of "behind the business" videos lately so I hope you don't mind another one. Kareem Black is a celebrity and commercial photographer based out of New York City. His work is constantly featured in GQ and Vibe magazines as well as marketing campaigns for Verizon and Burger King. Being a photographer in the largest city in America, Kareem realized he always has to do something different to capture people's attention and ultimately get them to view his work. Simply handing people business cards and putting up ads on a bulletin board isn't going to cut it in a market full of 'marketers'. Instead you need to make people proactive in finding you by sparking their interests in your brand and the work you do. Here are a few ideas that should spark some abstract thinking of your own. Feel free to share interesting ideas you have used for your own business in the comments below.
Have you ever had a client dismiss a project after you have already put in hours of work? What are you supposed to do when a client brings in a second professional to also work on your project? What can you do if a client says your work isn't really what they were looking for after you have already delivered the final project? Mike Monteiro is the design director at Mule Design Studio. During a seminar at CreativeMornings, Mike gave a really insightful and thorough speech about how a creative professional can protect his work and payment in the event that something goes wrong with the client or job. This video is long but it should at least make you aware of issues you might face on your journey to becoming a professional photographer. At the most this video will make you reconsider your contracts (if you even have them) and put the proper legal checkpoints in place to prevent problems down the road. If you've had a bad experience that a solid contract would have solved, let us know in the comments.
One of the first things you learn as a photographer is to get a proper model release when considering to sell your work commercially. However, simply having a model release still might not prevent you from litigation. A law firm recently published an ad looking to represent firefighters who were affected by the federal James Zadroga Act. The advertising agency used by the law firm photoshopped a stock image of Robert Keiley who was modeling as a firefighter. They then created a scene where it appeared as if he had been at Ground Zero on 9/11. The argument is how much can a stock image be altered before it becomes false advertising (the ad did clearly state that the image was a depiction of a 9/11 firefighter)? In this Fox News story, two attorneys give two different sides of the argument. I think the law might fall in favor of the law firm who hired the ad agency; what do you guys think?
Brandt Botes is an award winning graphic designer based out of CapeTown, South Africa. Just like photographers and other creative professionals, graphic designers struggle with creative and economic challenges when they venture out on their own and start a new business. Brandt recently started his boutique design shop Studio Botes and decided to take some advice from other creative entrepreneurs who have also dealt with going solo professionally. Many of the little sayings in this video are really clever but most of them are absolutely true. What points stick out the most for those of you who have had success with your own business? I think 5:00 is my personal motto :)