The first time I saw it I spent about an hour looking at all the images and loving the style, the point of view and the wonderful subjects. It was imagery that spoke to me.
I decided to ask Jennifer if she would do a webinar with me and she accepted right away.
We discussed her work and how an editorial and advertising photographer lives is a tiny West Texas town and works with major clients all over the world. Her answers are interesting… and great info for other photographers in similar situations.
So this guy tells me… “You should jump off that cliff, Don.”
I stare incredulously at the guy cause I am not good on cliffs. Not as bad as my bud Charles… but that is a different story. I am not crazy about heights.
“Are you crazy”, I say… “jumping off a cliff can hurt, or even kill me.”
“Nawwww”, this guy says… “I have jumped off a lot of cliffs and never got hurt. Ever.”
“Really…” I am now intrigued… still skeptical, but intrugued. “How did you manage to do that?”
“It’s really SIMPLE”, he said, “all you have to do is know the secret of cliff jumping, which is a really easy method that I can teach you.”
OK, so now I am all in.
“Teach me”, I said. And then forked over $467.93 (still don’t get that price, but another topic) and we began.
He showed me all the techniques he used and we studied his methods of leaping and preparing and ‘thinking’ about his process.
On jump day, I thought the right thoughts, prepped the correct way, ran for the cliff exactly how he showed me, and did a perfect rendition of his ‘cliff-leap’…
On the way to the hospital, he sat next to me with a concerned look on his face. I was bandaged and bent, and had a tube in my nose.
“What happened?” I was going into various stages of consciousness.
He shook his head an looked at me with a look of pure patronization.
“You chose the wrong cliff.”
You can learn all the cliff jumping techniques you want from famous cliff jumpers… or whatever. But you better know what cliff you are leaping from.
They are all different, you know.
After 10 days in ICU, and two months of therapy I realized that he was right. The tactics worked fine, but not on that cliff.
“Ahh, yes, I remember you. Your the one that chose the wrong cliff”, he said as I called him on his private line.
“Yes… I want to learn how to choose the right cliff.”
We set it up for the following week. He had a group put together for an advanced workshop ($964.86 – ???) and I found myself in the company of various folks who have been in and out of physical therapy and chiropractors. They too had chosen the wrong cliff.
We spent the next 3 days learning to judge distance, find height and figure out velocity of falling imbeciles versus the depth of sand. This was grueling work, and we finally could judge the right cliff for the incredible cliff jumping to come.
As we were hoisting brews to a job well done and saying our goodbyes, he casually tossed out this little nugget; “I hope you all don’t kill yourself from doing the wrong thing in the air between the cliff and the sand… and goodnight.”
We looked at each other incredulously… “What do you mean… in the air…?”
He stopped and looked at us with a quizzical stare and said… “Look, knowing what to do and which cliff to choose is one thing, but the true power of cliff jumping is knowing how to fly and what to do to keep yourself safe.”
$3672.94 later I had mastered the skills of cliff jumping, the art of choosing the right cliff, and the science of what to do during the jump.
I haven’t done a jump yet, though.
I am quite busy working on my next workshop on “Cliff Jumping for the Young at Heart” which is based of course on all that I learned from those wonderful workshops.
I follow a very nice group of people on a forum on Facebook. They are all trying to start their businesses with varying degrees of luck and success.
One of the things that is emerging is that many of them are simply not ready to be professionals and in business. And that is a shame.
It is not a shame they cannot be in business, it is a shame that they thought it was as easy as buy a camera, get some business cards on the way home from the camera store and then shoot like one of their heroes shoots.
Not having any understanding that their hero spent years, decades even, learning and honing their craft, they think that if they copy the light and methods, success will be right around the corner.
It usually isn’t.
And while the perky workshop husband and wife teams go merrily out the door selling young photographers on how ‘easy’ it is to become rich shooting families and babies and weddings, the reality is that it is anything but easy.
Yes, they may have opened their doors five years ago, but they were shooting a lot longer than that.
Marketing plays a huge role as well, but that is a discussion for another time.
My take on all of it is that first, before the business cards and the promos and the vouchers and the awesome website and the perky videos… one must first BE a photographer.
Being a photographer means shooting technically and artistically without encumbrance. It means knowing the gear, how it works, how light works and how to use it to make the images you see in your head… or on someone else’s Pinterest.
Being a photographer means not struggling with simple light, and being able to concentrate on the shot at hand. Being a photographer means knowing what the shot is going ‘to turn out like’ before committing it to the film or sensor.
It takes time. And a lot of shooting and failing and screwing up. It takes understanding the win, and working through the challenges.
Football players generally play more than 8 years before they are considered by the pros. Tennis players play for years and years before getting to the pro circuit. Cello players and rock drummers play and woodshed and practice for decades to get to the point of becoming a paid musician.
Why would anyone expect photography to be any different.
I think it is important to shoot a lot of photographs, and love making photographs so much that it is all you want to do. Live photography and breathe photography and dance photography.
When you are shooting photographs that matter, photographs that everyone thinks is awesome, photographs that YOU think are awesome, you may turn around and realize that you are already a professional photographer.
This free workshop will help you build a more powerful portfolio, develop a clear idea of what types of clients you should be concentrating on, and where to find them in your area. A "system" approach that is working for hundreds of commercial photographers currently.