More Portraits from the Portrait Class

More Portraits from the Portrait Class

(Image © Adi Talwar)

Tuesday nights image review was a blast. So many good portraits that I have to share them with you all today. These portraits were influenced by the photographer Albert Watson who we studied for the week previous.

Moving From the Studio to The Great Outdoors: Meet Ken Howie

MEETKEN

Ken Howie is a friend of mine and an excellent photographer. Ken used to have a studio in the same space as my old studio (and now, Dave and I are in his old studio).

Ken was a consummate studio shooter. He was nearly 90%+ studio work – from product and still life to motorcycles and automotive. His studio featured one of the best coves in the valley and the lighting tools he created were amazing. His clients included Fender Guitars, Ryobi Garden Tools, The Phoenix Art Museum and many other local and regional companies.

He made a decision to move not only from Phoenix to North Dakota, but to move from still work to video work as well. His careful approach to getting ready to move from a very large city to a town of 1000 or so is instructive for all of us.

Ken is a friend, as I noted, so this is part interview and part two buds chatting about the business.

I hope you enjoy meeting Ken Howie. You can see his website at www.kenhowie.com

 

For most of his career, Ken’s portfolio contained this work:

These are a few of his new work:

A big shout out to Ken and Theresa Howie for doing this interview with us. Much appreciated, guys.

Portraits: June 2015

Catherine-Vibert-2

Image © Catherine Vibert

Student Work:

A few of the amazing portraits students in the Portrait Workshops have turned in. There are dozens of truly great portraits. I am choosing only 16 for this post.

Perhaps It’s Time to Rethink “Photographer”

forks2

Plastic spoons in the early morning sun.

I got a beautiful pen as a gift from a client recently. Thanks for that, Randi, it is an absolutely gorgeous writing implement. And, I assure you, I will write with it.

Because I am a writer as well as a photographer.

Millions of pens are sold daily in the world. How many people who buy them or receive them as gifts are writers? Probably not very many. In fact, they do not refer to themselves as “writers” even though that is what pens and pencils – and word processors – allow us to do.

We write with them, although few of us are writers.

I also received some art supplies for Christmas. A brush and some watercolors. I love to dabble.

I am not a painter. Seriously. Although I do know how to mix the pigments and how to use a brush to put the paint on the paper, it is as far away from being a painter than a kid in a big wheel is from driving an 18 wheeler.

An that’s OK. The words “truck driver” have not be co-opted by kids in plastic toy trucks.

Yet.

Now – photographer – well, that is another story.

That word has more meanings now than a zebra has stripes.

And that is becoming a problem.

If no one knows what you do because the term has been changed to mean everyone with an iPhone, Android, Rebel, D810, Hasselblad, F2 or Pink Barbie camera, then there is a serious problem running through the very core of what we do. That uncertainty will tarnish your brand and make it more and more difficult to become seen as a professional in the eyes of clients.

Perhaps it is time for us to begin thinking of what we do in a different way – a way that makes sense to those who are not already doing what we do. Maybe we need to change the way we describe ourselves and what we do to be more descriptive and narrow.

We all know what a laptop computer is. Did you know that Apple doesn’t sell one? Nope, they sell MacBooks. “Books”, not laptops.

How about Dos Equis? Do they sell beer – or a chance to be the most interesting man in the world? Does that leave out a large population of earth dwellers? Yep, but they are only interested in their demographic.

It is time for photographers to rethink the term “photographer”. After all someone who shoots weddings, is quite a bit different than someone who is running up a hillside under gunfire shooting as a photojournalist. A family shooter simply has less stress than a fashion photographer and there is quite a bit of difference in photographing the sunset in your backyard and a travel photographer hiking down three miles in the dark after waiting all day for a perfect shot.

I say we focus on what we achieve instead of what we do. We are visual experts, image gurus, and lighting wizards. We help companies sell more stuff. We help entrepreneurs raise more capital. We help businesses grow by engaging more clients and getting better results.

Our visioneering, and image creation help tell stories, clarify processes, deliver value and change the minds of consumers looking to purchase goods and services.

Better photographs help companies sell more stuff… period.

And THAT is what we may start seeing in the more savvy photographers out there. A focus on the results oriented bottom line of the companies who hire us. No bullshit over pricing, no hand-wringing over bidding… a simple value proposition that says WE MAKE STUFF HAPPEN.

“Hi, I’m Don and I am a photographer” – images of wedding photographers, baby photographers, the lady across the street making iPhone photos of the birds in her yard go rushing through their heads.

“Hi, I’m Don. I help businesses tell their story visually” – they understand instantly what I do that helps THEM.

I know it has been floated before, but it is now getting to be the time for us all to take it seriously. In a way, we are going to rebrand this industry with a more modern, and business friendly job title for photographers.

Ten Things To Think About When ‘Re-branding’ Your Photography

  1. Nobody cares what you do… they want to know what you are going to do for them
  2. Focus on the benefit for the client, not what you do
  3. Think globally and position yourself as an expert
  4. Being an image expert, a graphics guru, or a visioneer is new, so be very open to explanation
  5. If you need to explain what value you bring to someone who is simply too dense to get it, move on
  6. Only YOU know what your value is worth, and YOU are the one who states it in the beginning
  7. Perception is everything – it just is
  8. Never underestimate the power of a great idea – always be looking for them
  9. Tell your story and show your strengths – a badly designed logo, ugly website, and typography that sucks doesn’t say image guru, does it
  10. Do more than you do now – charge more than you do now

In short, we all must think about a re-brand of the job of being a commercial photographer. The name is lost to us, the civilians don’t care, and the market is in real need of the services of a visual expert that can engage customers…

Hey… I can do that.

You can too.

It’s Father’s Day: Make a Photograph to Keep

roks

The Best Photographs I Never Took

It was Christmas a few years ago. My father in law came for the annual Christmas Dinner at the Giannatti’s. We host about 20 people here throughout the day, and Floyd always came over with his warm and infectious smile. The dude knew how to work a room.

He was sitting near the window light, hunched over due to severe back pain and was smiling intently at a story my brother in law was telling him. An adventure story, I’m sure. The light was fantastic… a soft, wrapping light that brought out the features of his 82 years, and added a bit of sparkle to his eye.

“I should grab my camera and get that”, I thought, just as someone asked me to do something in the kitchen. I didn’t grab my camera at that moment, and when I finished in the kitchen, the moment was lost.

“I’ll get it next year”, I thought to myself.

We were on a small dirt road, in a forest somewhere north, a long time ago, when my mom and dad started playfully goofing around and tossing pine cones at each other. It was a sincere moment between them and something rather… rare.

“I should grab my camera and get that”, I thought, and I headed back to the truck. I stopped to grab a drink and when I had turned they had moved on to doing something else… each alone to themselves.

“I’ll be ready next time,” I thought. I will keep my camera at the ready.

On a very warm summer’s day, my next door neighbor, Mr. Bailey, asked me to come over and see something he had made. It was a magnificent stained glass window decoration that he had lovingly built by hand. The craftsmanship was stunning and he was very proud of the work he had put into it. At 90, working with your hands on delicate things like glass is no easy feat.

“I should grab my camera and get that”, I thought, it would be a great portrait.

But I got caught up in other things, and didn’t get back over to my neighbor’s house in time.

Time.

A true luxury,  a gift of improbable proportions, a terrible foe, and an all around bastard.

Time is the currency we always underestimate. We think we are given vast quantities of it to spend as we want, whenever we want, on the most frivolous things we want.

“There’s more where that came from” is a wonderful mantra when thinking about money. It sorta sucks big time when thinking about time.

We can make more money. We cannot make more time. And time is even more relentless than the seas that pound rocky shores to sand over millenia. Nothing we can do, buy, beg or steal can stop time from simply passing.

Except… a camera.

To me the still image is the most powerful tool we have to stop time. Ineffective, lame, small potatoes tool for sure. But it’s all we have at the moment.

Click.

I got you now, time. In fact I preserved that moment, however simply and unsophisticated my capture of it may be, forever. That 1/250th of a second. Out of a lifetime… Yeah – I got that one, time dude… so bite me.

Click.

My first daugher at 4 days old, lying in a patch of sunlight on the floor near our window.

Click.

My girls laughing for their first “trio” shot (with ever so many more to come) on a small rock outcropping in the foothills. That rock is gone, covered over by a CVS Pharmacy and a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. And they are all oh, so much older… but I got that tiny little moment of our family lives. I GOT IT.

On a tiny piece of slide film, now scanned and printed and archived.

Click.

My wife, graduating with honors from her Master’s Program. What a day.

Those shots I got. I had my camera with me and I cheated time a bit. It was as fleeting as ever, but I snagged my 125th of a second of it and preserved it in the best way I know. Primitive and less than perfect, but better that we have it than not.

We turn our lenses on the things that matter to us far less frequently than we photograph things that in the end have no meaning at all. I would trade a terabyte of model shots for a gig of my folks, or more of my kids growing up.

I never made it back over to Mr. Bailey’s, and he passed later that week. My folks and I never went up to the little road in a forest again and they are now gone. My father in law never came to dinner again and passed later that year.

Those photos will never be made.

Time made certain of that. Time didn’t hear me say ‘next time’ because, well… there is no next time.

The moments we live are spent as we live them. We never know how much time we have, and yet we waste so much of it on things that have no importance, while missing those tiny moments that would have been cherished.

Click.

The still image is, for me, one of the most fascinating of art forms. Capturing a moment of time, and holding true to that moment as best it can, the photograph can help us feel, remember, and enlighten. Yes, it can trick and deceive us as well, but that is for another essay, at another time. For now, we are discussing the better side of the photograph.

Today is father’s day. Grab that camera and if you are fortunate to be able to make an image of your dad, do it. What I would give for an opportunity to make one last photograph of my father, my mother, my brother… what I would give.

Make photographs of the people you love, and the life you live.

Make the best photographs you have ever taken of those that mean the most to you.

Sometimes the Nonsense We Tell Ourselves Can Make Us Crazy

Anybody seen a forest around here... I can't see it  with all those trees.

Anybody seen a forest around here… I can’t see it with all those trees.

Sometimes the Nonsense We Tell Ourselves Can Make Us Crazy.

Today, I have a challenge for you all. Not one that I make lightly. And one that comes from a deep and abiding point of wanting you to be successful. Really successful.

It has to do with barriers. Barriers to better imagery. Barriers to better clients. Barrier to a more lucrative and exciting business.

Barriers that we set our selves because we are very comfortable in where we are. And that includes being comfortable when where we are sucks. That is how we humans are wired. Staying in the status quo is far easier, and far more comfortable than breaking out of the bubble an confronting change.

We work hard to not change anything. Even if we want to change, there is a fear that holds us in a stable place without challenging the edges because fear says we will meet great harm if we do.

And in most cases this is pure bullhonky… (yeah, I heard that somewhere…)

We have built those barriers with our belief systems, and those belief systems are so often built on a base of fear instead of a base of knowledge.

For instance:

Have you ever heard a photographer say “I can’t charge that much, my clients can’t afford it”? I have. Nearly everyday it is sputtered out on some forum somewhere on the net.

It is such a self defeating thing to say. And it will make success for that photographer come much slower.

Let’s take this statement apart like an old Chevy motor and find out why the sucker don’t run good.

  1. If you are trying to sell something to someone who cannot afford it, that makes you kind of a smarmy kind of saleswacko, right? I mean, what kind of evil SOB tries to sell stuff to people they KNOW cannot afford it. Now this may not run in the front part of your conscious brain, but believe me it is in the subconscious.So you are already setting up failure because to succeed in selling something to someone who cannot afford it makes you a slimeball.
  2. The assumption that you know what they can afford is also sort of a silly idea. You don’t know what they can afford or not afford. Just because you cannot afford it, doesn’t make it unaffordable to your neighbor or client. You may THINK they cannot afford it, but really you are saying “I don’t think my stuff is worth what I am asking for it – and no one else does either.”Maybe it isn’t – but that is for another discussion.
  3. Pre-disqualification is simply fear stopping you from finding out what other people think of the value of your work. Perhaps you are right, and they do not value your work at a rate that you want to charge. OK… fine. We would at least know that, and could work toward a specific challenge to fix it and raise the value in your customers view.
  4. This sort of negative talk has no upside. It has no value other than to further convince you that there is no reason for you to expect to be successful because you make stuff no one wants to pay for.

Now ask yourself if that sounds like a business that is going to succeed?

I don’t think so either.

Fact is, there are people who can afford your work. There are clients that WANT to afford your work. There are clients that would work with you if you doubled your rates before they would work with you now, because they want the BEST photography and they know that is not cheap or free.

How about the excuses/reasons we have for not marketing our work? From the feeling that it doesn’t matter anyway (see above), to ‘why bother, the business is dying anyway”, to a fear that if you do market, you will have to deliver something and that would mean moving from your comfort zone of doing nothing and bitching about it.

These are fear walls that keep us focused inward – unable to move to the next place and feeling that it is both a blessing and a curse. After all, if you never get a gig, you will never screw up a gig, and that makes you feel safe.

Success will put you in the spotlight and you will have to perform… to spec. That can be scary, but we know what to do to never be in that position, right?

We keep on doing what doesn’t work. And we keep on filling our heads with non-truth, fear based excuses and reasons why we can’t.

Man that word sucks the suck out of suck… “can’t”.

It is a word that means “throwing in the towel.” It is quitting before you even try, and admitting to the world that you are incapable of doing something you may very well have never tried.

It is also a lie. In many cases you surely CAN do what you need to do… you have chosen NOT to do it. A choice, not a disability.

Look… change is hard. Really hard.

But it is necessary. It is life. It is the very fabric of our world. Change brings innovation, new ways of seeing things, and possibilities that may seem endless… unless you ‘can’t’.

I think you can. I think you can be successful. I think we can all be successful. Damn the economy. Damn the restrictive governmental regulations. Damn what our parents and siblings and the people we work with say.

They may be right when they say they ‘can’t’ but we have to stop letting them make us think WE can’t.

We just have to change things up. Make new ways our ways. Develop strong ties to growing in ways we have not thought about before.

We do things differently than we have been doing them. We CAN make changes, of course we can. We CAN find clients who want our work – hell, other photographers find people who want their work. We can too.

We stop saying we can’t. We stop not marketing (our current method) and begin marketing. We stop telling ourselves that they cannot afford us, and look for clients that can appreciate the value. We stop sitting on our asses and playing on Facebook and get out there and make more pictures…. OK, that last one was for me… but you get the picture.

And here is the challenge.

What negative lines are you repeating to yourself that may not actually be true?

  • Is it that you are not ready?
  • Could it be that you are not good enough, and don’t want anyone else to find out?
  • Is it that no one would like your work, so why bother trying to show it to anyone?
  • Is it because your gear is not as good as that guy with the really awesome blog says it should be?
  • Is it because someone on Flickr said you were terrible with composition (although eleventyhundred others think you do just fine)?

I know there is a negative phrase you are repeating time and time again. Tell us what it is… and tell us how you will fix it.


 

If you are interested in the “No Fear” last edition of Project 52, visit this page for more information. We will fill this group very quickly.

project-52-pros-emailhedr

On Work Ethic – Nick Giron, Photographer

Photo by Nick Giron

Photo by Nick Giron

Drive through your town and look at the businesses YOU DON’T go into and figure out why they work without you.  Look at your business and ask why someone would want to come into yours. If you’re the only one that knows the answer to that it could be part of the problem.

I’ve grown up in family businesses we’ve built from the ground up.

Success is never immediate.

We owned a flower shop/tux shop/wedding chapel in L.A.. Massive square footage. Big lot. All ours. 4 rentals on an adjacent street, a cabin at a lake, and property at another lake.
It started by selling flowers out of a trunk of a Ford at a Shell stations parking lot.

Success is never immediate.

We lived in a single wide trailer behind the house we converted into a flower shop. The graphics on the delivery van were painted on by my father (He was artistically gifted. They DID look good, heh). No kitchen. We took out the wall for a walk in cooler. Christmas was a few gifts exchanged during a brief reprise. 4 A.M. trips downtown to get flowers. Friday night flurries of driving to other tux shops to fill rental orders with stock we were short on. Sweeping rice and dead birds (That’s why they don’t throw rice in CA anymore) Listening to my mom explain why our arrangements cost as much as they did and making sales.

THAT is family business.

Worked my first graveyard shift at 8 yrs old, taking out trash and taping wires and making bows during a busy June prom/wedding season. That’s what you have to be willing to do.

Success is never immediate.”

Nick Giron, Photographer, Modesto, CA

James Eisele, West Palm Beach FL Commercial Photographer

james-hedr-2

I met James Eisele down in West Palm Beach, FL when I did a workshop in that area. He showed a lot of talent and when I started the Project 52 course, he jumped in and became involved.

I have watched his work improve at a very high rate, and his studio in West Palm is busy a few times a week.

James Eisele Website
James on Instagram
James on LinkedIn

Images from James’ portfolio.

Interview with James Eisele.

Please Don’t Buy Stolen Gear

NEVERSTEAL

LensProToGo, a popular camera gear rental house and studio in Massachusetts was hit by the lowest of scum and had over a half million dollars of gear stolen.

This gear will undoubtedly be offered for sale in shady cesspools of slime (their homes) and on line at auction sites and other places gear is sold.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT BUY STOLEN GEAR.

EVER.

Make the seller show you the serial number, and check it out against this list of serial numbers from LensProToGo.

And if you need to rent something for a gig, give them a call.

Why I Have Decided to do Project 52 One More Time

This will be year 5 of Project 52. It has matured and seen many alumni start businesses going from weekend warrior to full time shooter. P52 has helped many more photographers find their creative voice and look at the world in a different way. It has formed lifelong bonds of friendship between photographers for whom geography is simply a challenge, but not a barrier.

To tell you the truth, I was happy as hell how it had turned out and five years is a while. I thought that the class that ends in August would be the last one and I would move on to other things.

But it kept calling me back. I knew it was good, and I wanted to make it better. I wanted to make it THE best place for emerging commercial photographers online. And I wanted to make it into a class that people could take on their own time. So a little over a month ago I sat with my wife and discussed it… the time commitment, the evenings at the computer… and we decided that since I love doing it so much – and felt it needed one last go – I decided to do it again.

One last time. (My wife thinks that I will do it again because I do love doing it, but that is definitely not the plan at this point.)

This time I am using a member management tool (www.memberful.com) and Stripe to take the payments. Really looking slick and very happy with the way it is going.

Look…if you are thinking about becoming a professional commercial photographer, or adding commercial work to your consumer business, this class is for YOU. You can see how it works at  www.2015Project52Pros.com and find out a lot more about how it can work for you.

There is a lot of chatter on the interwebs designed to take your dreams away from you and stuff them in a dufflebag with bricks, but that is horse doo. There are professional photographers working out there. Building businesses in areas that you would normally think too small for the “guru super-stars” and you may be right. But then I never wanted to be a guru superstar, do you?

I want to work in photography, making images for clients that love me and pay me and provide a good life with time to pursue my other photographic interests. Shooting a garage opener catalog pays enough to spend a week in Alaska AND pay my bills… hey, that works for me!

If that sounds like it may work for you too, and you are ready to do something that could easily be the hardest thing you have ever done, then take a look at this course. At this writing there are only 22 spots left and they will be gone soon. Ii was over half filled on pre-register alone.


 

Member’s Sites

Go to this page to get links to current and former Project 52 alums.

FAQ’s

We can answer a lot of questions on this FAQ page.

How it Works

This page has some examples of real world assignments.

Want More Info?

If you want to contact me with any P52 questions, use this form. Thanks.


Oh… and if you want to just get out there and register for the most intensive, real world based photographic training available on the internet, go here and make the commitment. To your photography and your future.

Off Topic Sunday: Gadgets, Gizmos, and Music

Every once in a while I get so many little things going on that I decide to share them with you all. I call them Off-Topic Sundays and they are always fun for me.

So here we go:

2015-06-14_1023First… ever have your phone die on location? Not good, and since so many of us USE our phones for business and for making BTS photos and videos, they have become indispensable. Here is a nifty solution.


The Anker Astro E7 Ultra-High Capacity 25600mAh 3-Port 4A Compact Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank with PowerIQ Technology for iPhone, iPad, Samsung and More (Black)

Giant Capacity: Charges the iPhone 6 ten times, the iPhone 6 Plus or Galaxy S6 over six times or the iPad Air twice. Safely recharges with a 2 amp or higher output charger (please note most phone chargers only have 1 amp)

Available at Amazon (Affil)


 

iPhone Tripod Mount

I have just purchased one of these iPhone Tripod Mounts… slick as can be. Great for making videos without that iPhone/Android camera shake. You will make more movies… :-)

RetiCAM® Smartphone Tripod Mount – Metal Universal Smartphone Tripod Adapter – Standard Size, Black


Are you a wedding or consumer shooter?

Ya gotta love this… heh.


Bill Evans at his finest.

Looking for some quiet, but quite modern jazz for those long hours processing? Try this very mellow album out.


 

Like old lenses? Like alternative processes?

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Image © Geoffrey Berliner

Check out this article with some amazing images taken with old Russian lenses.

“Geoffrey Berliner is the Executive Director of the Penumbra Foundation and the Center for Alternative Photography in New York. As the head of an organization whose goals are ‘to be a comprehensive resource for photographers at any level’ and ‘to continue to publicize the impact photography has had and continues to have on culture, history and the arts,’ his exposure to photographic materials -from 19th century gems to modern equipment- is so extensive, one cannot even begin to fathom just how much knowledge and experience this man has acquired. His collection of over 2000 vintage Petzval lenses is unparalleled, and the object of envy of both traditional and contemporary photographers. Although such lenses are reputed to require a certain level of skill to be used, Berliner seems to manage them with so much ease, producing splendid results.”

I am looking into some alternative lenses as well. Possibly going to try to adapt a few old enlarging lenses for my digital cameras.

A friend of mine, Moses Wilson, sent this very cool idea of using old projector lenses and the results are pretty darn cool.

I am working on getting a lot of props together for a TinType shoot I want to do, and also building a ‘quick-setup’ darkroom for processing sheet film and prints I shoot in the Deardorff.

Shooting paper is quite interesting. A rough ISO of 6 means a long exposure or lots and lots of light. It also shoots in reverse so the print is a negative, and backwards. No problem since I then shoot or scan the print and reverse it in Photoshop.

I am looking forward to sharing some of this stuff with you later in the summer.


 

Last thing – Nikon Lens Junkies

… you are going to love this. All the major Nikkor lenses with the stories of how they came about. My favorite Nikkors were always the 35MM f2 and the 180MM f2.8. Both are stunningly beautiful to work with.

Anyway – if you have the time – this is really fun and informative article.


 

Project 52 – “NO FEAR” Edition.

Project 52 only has a few seats left for this one last season. If you are or have been interested in it, NOW is the time to take a look. I have built a lot of new and super cool stuff into it. Here is the site if you are interested.

 

 

Tucker Joenz, St, Augustine FL Commercial Photographer

tucker-j-hedr

Tucker Joenz was with Project 52 for a couple of years and in that time I watched him go from hobbyist to serious photographer. He works hard and creates wonderful pictures for his clients. Tucker also shoots self assigned personal projects that have garnered some attention.

He is making the jump from part time photographer and part time designer to full time photographer and I thought you may want to hear what he has to say. St. Augustine, FL is not a great market, but Tucker is finding his footing, and bringing in clients.

Tucker Joenz Website.
Tucker on Instagram.
Tucker Joenz Blog.

Images from his portfolio.

Interview with Tucker Joenz.

 

 

Stephen Collins: Fredricksburg VA Commercial Photographer

steve-collins

I first met Steve when I did a workshop in Baltimore. It was a hot, muggy day but Steve never tired. He shot and asked questions and seemed to be very interested in getting better… which was a good thing. I kid Steve about how far he has come, but it is true. His work was far from what it could have been, and he knew it.

When I offered the Project 52 as a fun experiment 5 years ago, Steve was there – every show, every assignment. And he began to grow as an artist and someone who understood the aesthetics of the commercial photography business. When he was downsized out of a job, we chatted on the phone and I told him that perhaps it was time to see what he could do as a photographer.

And he did. Slow going at first, but for the last couple of years he has gone on a growth trajectory that has him working 3-4 days a week, and handling everything from catalogs to hospitality, people to food.

Congratulations, Steve.

Stephen Collins Website
Steve on Instagram
Steve at Linkedin
Steve’s Tumblr

Images from Steve’s portfolio.

project-52-pros-emailhedr

Eric Muetterties: East Bay Commercial Photographer

eric-m-hedr

Meet Eric Muetterties, a working photographer in the East Bay area of San Francisco.

I met Eric 4 years ago at a workshop in North Carolina, and we shared a plane coming home. His attention to detail and love for the medium made me think he could actually do this crazy business. Adding that he really understood business made it all come together.

Eric started out wanting to shoot people, but has ended up as a studio still life / product photographer. Working mostly with direct customers, he has built an exceptionally strong client list and shoots 4-5 days a week in his Dublin studio.

Eric is still a relatively new shooter, but doing very well in a competitive market. I attribute that to his skills as both a photographer and a business person.

Eric feels he owes his success to an acronym he calls COPS.

cops

Consistency | Opportunity | Persistence | Stamina

You will hear him discuss it on the video. I think that is a very solid set of traits for anyone considering this business, or any self employed business that you can think of.

Links:
Eric Muetterties Photography Website
Eric on Linked In

Some of Eric’s Images:

A video Interview with Eric Muetterties.

A big thanks to Eric for spending some time with us and sharing a lot about his work. Visit his site and drop him a note if you like what he does.

Eric reminded me that he would love to recommend this book for anyone considering becoming a photographer:

If you are interested in the “No Fear” last edition of Project 52, visit this page for more information. We will fill this group very quickly.

project-52-pros-emailhedr

Finding and Keeping Commercial Photography Clients: Part Four, Staying Connected

amber-and-hedge

(NOTE)
If you are just coming into this series, I highly suggest you start at Part One, and then do Part Two and Part Three before starting Part Four. Links for all of them are inside the protected area, and you can access them easily.

A brilliant portfolio won’t get you work if no one sees it.
A full set of Channels and SubChannels means nothing if you have not implemented a plan to get the work.
Having an amazing list of possible clients is worthless if you are not contacting and showing and sharing your work with that list of clients.

This morning before I sent out this week’s In The Frame to subscribers, I received an email from Chris Brogan, someone I follow and admire. In it he asks if we are the “Sharpest Saw in the Shed?”

And we would all like to consider ourselves the sharpest around, right?

Then he pointed out the that sharpest tool in the shed is the one that is NOT working, or being used. It just sits there retaining its sharpness… and if that is the goal, then great. But the goal of a sharp saw is to cut wood, trim trees, build things.

So it is time to get dirty, so to speak. To take all that we know and have listed out and make a plan for getting in front of the clients we want.

It wont be easy – did you expect it to be?
It wont happen overnight.
It wont happen without extreme effort and deep commitment.
It may get messy.

But it is absolutely vital to your growth and health as a commercial artist with a camera.

No selling on this post. While this program is being finished up, I will be working on some marketing for it as well. I didn’t want this mini-program to be a huge selly-sell. It is designed to be real, positive, and constructive teaching on what you can do NOW to increase your viability in this great business. More will come later this summer. I expect the program to be finished around the end of July or first of August.

Subscribers to “In The Frame” have gotten this information already. Please subscribe to get access to this video, and the next two. They are full of information you can use right now to help build a strong client list. “In The Frame” comes out each Sunday, and we never spam you. We focus on the business and art of commercial photography. And please et me know if this series is helpful to you.

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Irene Liebler and Sandy Connolly: Starting the Journey

irene-sandy

Irene Liebler was one of the Project 52 members from a few years ago. She did the course twice, I believe and rarely missed an assignment. She also rarely did an image that we were not blown away by. Irene is a consummate artist, and a painstaking perfectionist when it comes to making the image she sees in her head.

She is also a commercial photographer in a small town near Hartford, Connecticut.

Her partner, Sandy Connolly is also a photographer who also does business development and produces many of the shots they do. Together they are the “Hurricans”… you just have to think about that one… heh. And they do their work together at Super Nine Studios.

Links:
Super Nine Studios Website
Super Nine Studios Facebook Page
Twitter
G+
Blog

As you know, the world of commercial photography runs the gamut from highly creative approaches to providing the client with exactly what they want. Irene and Sandy do just that – providing a creative pallet when needed, but also capable of creating the working commercial photograph when it is appropriate.

Some examples of the work Irene and Sandy create at Super Nine Studios, Connecticut.

A video interview we did for you is here, and Irene and Sandy discuss their unique working arrangements, how they got started, what is happening now and plans for growth in the coming months/years. They also share a few of their assignments with you as well as provide a few tips for those just getting started.

 

We will be presenting more of the Project 52 members who have successfully made the jump into professional commercial photography all month.

I am doing Project 52 one more time; I call it the “No Fear” edition and enrollment is now until the end of June, or we get 100 students whichever comes first. (At this point, registration has been open to the public for 24 hours and we are over half way there.)

See this page for more information or to enroll in Project 52 Pro – “No Fear” – we start July 1.

Thanks for visiting.

Finding Commercial Photography Clients: Part Three; Getting Personal

(NOTE)
If you are just coming into this series, I highly suggest you start at Part One, and then do Part Two before starting Part Three. Links for all of them are inside the protected area, and you can access them easily.

So far we have been working on our portfolios, making them reflect both our vision, and the needs of clients that would hire us. And we have begun building out our channels lists so we know where to go looking for those clients we want to work with.

Channels are the big picture look, and now we have to look at the more granular ‘gatekeepers’ and ‘middle entities’ that give us access to the assignment photography we want to do.

In this presentation we will examine the channels list and break it down into the specific clients and companies that we need to access. In this video I will show you how the different entities work, and what you should know as you begin to pursue commercial photography assignments.

Subscribers to “In The Frame” have gotten this information already. Please subscribe to get access to this video, and the next two. They are full of information you can use right now to help build a strong client list. “In The Frame” comes out each Sunday, and we never spam you. We focus on the business and art of commercial photography. And please et me know if this series is helpful to you.

Subscribe To "In The Frame"

Every Sunday a new relevent newsletter on the art and business of commercial photography.

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“Light Conversation” Volume Four

EDIT:

In the discussion above, we look at this image by the incomparable Herb Ritts.

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We were wondering where the shadow of the black cloth went. I know that Ritts shot film, and figured there must be another answer for where the shadow went.

Then I researched this photo:

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From the same shoot, and the shadow is plainly visible. As it must be for the light to present the way it is on the image above it. It appears that Ritts indeed took out the shadows in post… whether it was digitized or multiple printers, the shadow was removed.

See this close up of the image two above:

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That is INDEED a hard shadow on her face and neck. This indicates a very bright light, and since the cloth was casting a shadow to the left, it would only stand to reason that the shadow would be cast from the model as well… but…

noshadow

Seeing the dark, sharp transition on her face and neck from the light source that is clearly leaving bright speculars on her legs, it is only logical that the shadow was removed in post in order to create a more graphically interesting image.

 

Another example: There is no way to make this shot without a shadow of the cloth… it has been – – eliminated.

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Mystery solved.

Finding Commercial Photography Clients: Part Two

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“How do I find clients?”

One of the most asked questions I get when chatting with photographers is where can they find clients.

It is one of the questions I ask when reviewing a portfolio; “OK, these are nice shots. Who do you know who will pay you for this kind of work?”

Too often I get a sort of lost expression and some mumbling. Occasionally someone will answer with a couple of ideas – but usually what I call the “Low Hanging Fruit” of possible clients; magazines.

Well, there is much more to commercial photography than working for “magazines” and we need to identify those areas who will purchase our work so we can move toward getting them to do just that.

In this video, I discuss the discovery of “Channels” – vertical markets that help you identify the types of businesses that would be able to use the kind of work that you do.

“Discovering Channels” is part two of our “Finding and Keeping Commercial Photography Clients” program. Part One is on the blog and open to all. The entire series is free and open for subscribers to “In The Frame”.

This step by step program will help you build a solid client list, and help you keep them while you build your business. Many of my Project 52 members have been successful working this program.

Subscribers to “In The Frame” have gotten this information already. Please subscribe to get access to this video, and the next three. They are full of information you can use right now to help build a strong client list. “In The Frame” comes out each Sunday, and we never spam you. We focus on the business and art of commercial photography. And please et me know if this series is helpful to you.

Subscribe To "In The Frame"

Every Sunday a new relevent newsletter on the art and business of commercial photography.

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This video is over 45 minutes long and includes a case study to help you build a strong channel list.