What am I worth? This is a question every new photographer ultimately asks himself. If you’ve ever wondered what you should be charging your clients and what the best way to go about it would be, keep on reading. I will go over how to determine your personal creative fee and how to present it to your client in a way that makes sense.
Welcome back to our series on pricing your commercial photography. A few weeks ago we released Part 1 of the series which explored the benefits and pitfalls of working for free. As we explored the topic it became evident that working for free has its place but in order to create a sustainable and professional industry we must educate our community on the importance of properly pricing their work. Thus in Part 2 we will begin by showing you my personal approach to laying out a commercial invoice and the thought process behind the layout.
Focus is a word we are all familiar with in photography, but is the same true in business? The purpose of focus as it relates to photography is to keep what we want to see, and to draw attention away from the things that might otherwise distract us. The concept is almost second nature to many photographers, yet seems so foreign when you see how they run their business.
As cell phone companies continue to improve their cameras, users are finding it increasingly easy to take better photos. Aside from resolution and low light capability, most phones now offer some sort of Automatic Image Stabilization. The technology works by either moving the sensor or lens to counteract unwanted movement before the image is converted to digital information.While some companies struggle to communicate how the image stabilization operates, LG has found a hilarious alternative to technical jargon.
Whether we shoot stills, video or both, better utilizing light is probably the single quickest and most effective way to boost the quality of our work. I recently came across the beautiful work of cinematographer and DP Matthias Koenigswieser. If you love to shoot natural or ambient light and want to see just how beautiful applying lighting to achieve a natural light look can be, you’re in for a treat.
When I first started shooting, I would spend absolutely no time planning my shots. I would focus tons of time and energy into every other aspect (location, wardrobe, mood, etc) but in some weird turn of events, it must have slipped my mind that the end goal is "The Shot." How that slipped my mind still baffles me. Instead of putting in the effort to plan what my actual finished images would look like, I found a model, found a location and showed up on shoot day with a plan to wing it.
New technology really doesn't do much for me, I have to be honest. Until I see it applied in a creative way, at which point everything changes. When you place new tech in the hands of inspired, creative minds to see what they can come up with, it can produce fascinating results. What you're about to see is probably the most serene and hypnotic journey through the streets of New York City you're ever likely to experience.
In this fantastic little gem of a video, we are able to glimpse at something very few people have had the opportunity to see - images from Helmut Newton's contact sheets accompanied with the stories that go with them. The clip is taken from the documentary "Contacts, Vol. 1" and is one of my favorite videos on Newton. By ignoring any narrative beyond Newton's own words, we are able to witness many subtleties of his character that most documentaries miss.
Over the coming weeks I will be releasing a series of articles that will guide you step by step through the process of pricing your photography for commercial work. I will show you how to structure an invoice as well as go in depth to discuss the different parts of the invoice itself. I will show you how and why you should be using license agreements on all your work. I will even explain how you should calculate your own rates in the commercial marketplace.
In my first rickety little studio I called a place to take portraits, I had nowhere but a corner to store my rolls of seamless paper. In my little budget corner I found a million ways to ruin whole rolls, or ruin parts of seamless paper on an hourly basis. The ends would get damaged, the rolls would become wavy, and I would typically end up cussing and throwing away seamless that should not have been destroyed. It was money being thrown away. I want to prevent this from ever happening to you.
Lately I've been scouting locations for a calendar project I'm working on, and it got me thinking how little content I've come across online on how to go about it. Location scouting isn't really a science, there are a lot of ways to go about it, but there are a few simple tricks and tools to maximizing productivity in your efforts.
A few weeks ago we featured an interesting project by Casey Neistat: The CLA Project. Casey was hired by Mercedes Benz to create a new, fresh and creative approach to the typical stock car commercials that you've seen on television for the past twenty years. The final commercial for the new Mercedes Benz CLA has finally been released. I have to say it is definitely creative and unlike any car commercial I've seen before. I love the patriotism and the fun, light-hearted vibe in the commercial.
Guest writer Felix Hernandez R. is a commercial photographer based in Cancún, Mexico. He is a very active member of our Fstoppers Facebook group and is well known for his stunning composite work and food photography. In this article he explains how accomplished his amazing series, 'Magic Moments' with the use of compositing and underwater photography.
Once upon a time at brunch in Santa Monica, I created the biggest, most complex cheeseburger anyone had ever even attempted to ask a chef to make. I basically picked my top 10 things off the menu and asked the chef to put it between ciabatta bread. Then I ate the entire thing. It gave me severe meat sweats and rendered me unconscious afterwards, but it was the most delicious thing I had ever created. It's my single greatest achievement in life. I learned a lot about myself that day and will tell the Epic Burger story to my great great great great grandkids.
Disclaimer: This post isn't riddled with eye candy, nor will it be the next viral hit of the month. What it does contain, however, may be far more valuable to any working or aspiring commercial photographer than any viral video or cutesy photo series. Norman Maslov is a well-known artist's and photographer's agent who recently performed a great interview with PhotoPolitic, a website specializing in promoting photographers