I’ve written extensively about it before, but, like most business lessons, the message bears repeating. In a marketplace simply inundated with competition from around the globe, it has never been more important for photographers to find their specific niche in the marketplace.
Articles written by Christopher Malcolm
As the year draws to a close, I'd like to share a personal story of my own journey. While everyone's story is different, I hope that you are able to find some lessons in both my wins and losses that will help you to push forward and make the coming year even better than the last.
With the advent of digital photography, more shutterbugs than ever have taken to calling themselves photographers and many have even gone into business for themselves. Now, with those same digital camera manufacturers offering better and better video options embedded into each iteration of their flagship still cameras, more and more photographers have added the word “filmmaker” to our business cards and taken aim at everything from short films to features. But being a real filmmaker requires more than the ability to just produce stunning images.
In a world where flipping our images between color and black and white is as simple as the click of the mouse, photographers and cinematographers today aren’t often tasked with knowing the complexity of how those vibrant colors actually come into existence. But in the early days of cinema, when competing processes for color reproduction took turns as the next best innovation, one name reigned supreme: Technicolor.
In this series, I attempt to identify the key professional virtues I have found to be the most important in building my own career, as well as identifying traits of other successful photographers that are most key to their success. Today’s virtue: teamwork.
In this series, I attempt to identify the key professional virtues I have found to be the most important in building my own career, as well as identifying traits of other successful photographers that are most key to their success. Today's Word of The Week? Standards.
In this series, I attempt to identify the key professional virtues I have found to be the most important in building my own career, as well as identifying traits of other successful photographers and business leaders that are most key to their success. Today’s virtue: adaptability.
Tim Tadder is a man on a mission. One of the most prolific advertising photographer working today, his clients include the likes of New Era, Nike, Reebok, Under Armour, and a recent collaboration with the National Football League. In this video from an educational series Tadder produced in conjunction with RGG EDU, the photographer takes us through how to produce stunning underwater action images using only the natural light.
“Never say never.” That’s what they always say. But, as hard as I try to adhere to that message, there are a few things I swore I would never do again. Yet last week I found myself doing just one of those things. Even worse, it was my idea. And to my surprise, it was a good one.
Art is about storytelling. It’s about using all the tools at one’s disposal to convey and idea or an emotion. To connect an audience to a brand, or a personality, or a moment in a way the no other medium can. Along with my own technique, the ingenuity of the on-camera talent and the creative team behind it, plus the tools necessary to complete the job, the location you select for your shoot is one of the many raw materials that will have an effect on the eventual alchemy you bring forth to produce a great image.
You don’t need me to tell you the importance of social media. Many of you under a certain age likely can’t picture your life without it. Judging by the number of selfie sticks and Facebook screens annoyingly lighting up dark movie theaters, social media had apparently become as important as breathing. Even those who came of age before the dawn of the smartphone are not immune to its charms. And in an increasingly connected world, our devices are not only a social diversion, but can also become a business necessity. This week, I had an experience that drove home just how necessary it can be.
As Halloween nears, we are all soon to be bombarded with a litany of images in our social media feeds of our friend’s unwilling pets being forced to don cute/embarrassing outfits picked out by their fawning owners. In fact, it’s highly likely that we have perpetrated this subtle canine fashion abuse ourselves at some point and time in our lives. How can you help it? They’re just so darn cute. But what is far less likely is that any of us will have achieved the rakish heights of the world’s foremost purveyor of canine imagery, William Wegman.
What is the one part of your photography business that you enjoy the least? The one aspect that, while necessary, bores the living daylights out of you. Now, what if instead of trying to avoid that thing, you instead chose to lean in to the activity and make it your own?
One of the reasons I love art is that is it the most effective way not only to entertain us, but to help us reflect on life itself. A well-placed verse or a well-timed press of the shutter can connect the world in ways that a thousand politicians simply can’t.
I’ve written before about the genius of Buster Keaton. Agent Zero on the landscape of cinematic laughter, his influences stretch far and wide. Even nearly 100 years after the high point of his career, you can still see references to “The Great Stone Face” in everything from the films of Wes Anderson to the action comedy of Jackie Chan. In a world without dialogue, Keaton embodied the still-true mantra of motion pictures: show don’t tell. Without the ability, or in his case, desire to draw laughs through witty dialogue, he instead used action, composition, and creativity to tickle our funny bones. The lessons that can be gleaned from watching the master at work are essential learning for any visual storyteller, and this video from Every Frame A Painting helps detail Keaton's approach.
Whether you live in a football-crazed nation like America, or are beholden to the whim as another sport, nothing is more exciting than the start of a new season. As the kickoffs are underway, I think today I’ll take it from the gridiron to the studio with a few lessons I learned in the huddle.
Albert Watson. Legend. Period, end. With a career spanning five decades and multiple iconic images, his career in fashion and portraiture would be the aspiration of any budding photographer. Alongside Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, PDN recognized him as one of the twenty most influential photographers of all time. And in a new video by Profoto, the man whose subjects have ranged from Alfred Hitchcock to Kate Moss, discusses his approach to lighting, photography, and life.