I've been shooting professionally for just over four years now – “professional” as in starting a legitimate business where I charge money to take photographs of my clients. We could wax poetic on the distinctions between “amateur” and “professional” that don’t involve the exchange of money, but the area that I want to focus on has to do with the responsibilities and perceptions that come along with people hiring you as a business.
When someone tells a photographer that “their camera must be really good,” chances are the photographer will respond with an eye roll. The debate surrounding gear verses skill in the photography world is a tired albeit consistent discussion. Let’s not kid ourselves, gear does in fact matter. However, does a photographer need top of the line equipment to produce mind-blowing images? Take a look at this collection and decide for yourself.
The music business is a brutal, cutthroat, dog-eat-dog world and I lived it for nearly 10 years. Since the age of 16, I struggled as a touring musician, surviving off nothing but cold Spaghettios and sleeping in a decade-old 8-passenger van. I was fortunate enough to explore the nation and see things that most will never see, but by the time I left the business I was completely burnt out.
I've had some pretty amazing experiences in my life. Fstoppers.com has given me incredible opportunities like meeting Bon Jovi, or riding in the first Lamborghini Aventador in America. Our international workshop last week took a year of planning and insane amounts of stress. On top of it all, I had the flu during the entire week. Even still, last week was the most rewarding week of my life.
Commercial photographer Lou Bopp’s series ‘Portraits of the Blues’ pays tribute to the blues musicians of the Mississippi Delta through a series of striking, honest portraits. I spoke with Lou about the project, and his experience photographing blues legends like Big George Brock and Wesley “Junebug” Jefferson.
Photographer Corey Arnold’s series ‘Fish-Work: The Bering Sea’ documents the daily lives of commercial fishermen aboard the f/v Rollo during winter crabbing expeditions-considered one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. Arnold’s photographs show the fishermen’s complex relationship to the fierce ocean and deadly storms that surround them, showing the dichotomy of exhaustion and awe; frustration and exhilaration.
It’s a rather controversial subject in the photography industry; should I sell my digital files? There isn't a right or wrong answer; it depends on your business model. If you are in the high school senior market, digital files are like gold and highly sought after by the senior.
It was something I’d been thinking about for a while. Casually admiring others and how they went about it so naturally. Watching from afar, admiring the differences between them and me and wondering if there every was going to be a day when I was comfortable enough to do it myself. The more I watched, the more interested I became. Soon, I began visiting websites, looking at the photos and day dreaming what it would be like when I had the nerve to do it myself.
When we think of Superheroes, we tend to imagine them fighting crime and saving innocent people. We always see them in movies and comic books as they fly away from explosions and jump off buildings. Action all the time. French commercial photographer Benoit Lapray decided to show us their other side and photograph them relaxing in nature. Just them, quietly enjoying the view.
Portuguese photographer Gonzalo Bénard’s ongoing ‘Totem’ series features richly detailed black and white photographs which explore the idea of coming back to one’s roots in an effort to “listen and learn with our own nature.” Often using himself as a subject (as is the case with ‘Totem’), Bénard’s work explores themes of expression and social relationships through photography.
It all started with a conversation between filmmaker Justin Gustavision and I this past Friday. Justin works for Nadus Films who just released a brilliant award-winning documentary “BBoy For Life” which shows how break dancing has provided teenagers a way out of Guatemalan gang life. The film has been picked up by Starz and Discovery Channel, yet their social media presence could be considered dry, when it should be arousing a well-deserved tornado of hype.
You might someday find yourself working within the overall vision of someone else – like an editor, an art director or, in this case, a director of photography – when shooting on assignment for publications as big as Sports Illustrated. Limited time with your subject and being asked for simple lighting against a simple background isn’t uncommon in this industry. So how would you go about getting the type of photographs your employer wants plus creating a dramatically lit and colored set for yourself?
When I got a chance to try the new Fuji XF56mm f1.2 I jumped at it, not just because it was substantially cheaper and lighter than the Canon 85mm f1.2 II I’d played with last year, but because this lens is a clear shot across the bow at Canon and Nikon, with a lens aimed at professional portrait shooters. This was a new line in the sand, but could this thing play with the big boys?