Wow, it’s been wayyy too long since I updated last, hopefully there won’t be anymore of that for a while I’ve been terribly busy this past month.
To kick off this blog post, here’s a commercial shoot I did for the San Francisco local non-profit GLIDE promoting their annual fund raiser Springlicious:
This is my 2nd year in a row working with GLIDE and it’s always a lot of fun. The models are all drag queens/kings and the shoots are always a blast. An extra bonus is I always get a couple VIP tickets to the fundraiser which includes free food and drinks as well as a drag show. Waaaaayyyyy too much fun for a Saturday night.
Here’s a little BTS video that they used to promote the event:
In other news, the “Portraits of the 99%” project is still going strong and recently received a 500.00 grant to help out with the mounting of images. I’ve got a dozen or so ready to show and I’m in talks with a few galleries and collectors about doing a show soon including the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the financial district. Also, this guy won me an Outsanding Documentary photography award. Very exciting!
And speaking of which, you all should know that IndieGoGo has been integral in getting this project funded and they recently asked me if I would be an ambassador for them! Of course I humbly accepted so if you go to an IndieGoGo meetup in San Francisco expect to see me there as a speaker. And as an added bonus, they want to furnish their office with a few of my Occupy Portraits.
I’m working on a number of things over the next few months so stay tuned, I promise to update more often.
Last week I was talking on the phone with my mother and she mentioned that the most recent photo she had of me is over 6 years old. As photographers we never think much about going in front of the camera. It’s not that I don’t like getting my picture taken or have some kind of phobia about it… I’ve helped out a lot of friends with shoots and have been a model in some cases. So I asked a few close friends if they would be willing to set aside a small amount of time to take a portrait of me. I offered a trade of services, a portrait for a portrait but I understood that they were working professionals and may not be able to make the time. So to keep my options open, I decided to place an ad on Craigslist to see what the local area had to offer. I knew I would have to pay for quality and I said that I would pay “Market rates.”
What happened next sincerely horrified me.
I promptly received 30+ emails from people claiming to be “Professional Photographers” and offering me their services for as low as $55.00 for a 2 hour session with 5 poses and all images on a CD. NO career can be sustained on one off 55.00 jobs and that doesn’t even begin to cover your operating expenses let alone pay you a living wage. Not only that, the people that are offering such rock-bottom rates are hurting the local market by lowering people’s expectations and standards of photography.
Not all of the photographers were bad or anything, some of them were pretty good but were charging far too little. Turning the tables like that has opened my eyes on what it’s like to be one of my own clients. Not all but most of the websites were terrible, a flickr page or completely unusable. The emails were extremely unprofessional and poorly written. Some of them didn’t even contain links to portfolios, they just had attached photos. Photography is a service industry – first impressions, even via email are EXTREMELY important.
If you are unsure what to charge for your photography services PLEASE go here and figure out your operating expenses and then ask around about what other photographers charge in your area. You are doing no favors to anyone by being “The cheapest” and you certainly don’t want that to be your reputation. You get what you pay for and this venn diagram sums it up nicely:
After several months of researching, designing, proofing and prototyping, my new 3D folding promo is coming out! It was a pretty large project to undertake, as we went through many concepts for the layout and design but finally came up with a design that would work. The initial inspiration was from the Cirque du Soleil Kooza soundtrack.
After some modification we made several smaller prototypes and tested them out before ordering them.
As for actually ordering the pieces I ran into some problems. The final dimensions of the promo when laid out on a flat sheet of paper were 21×13. To get a custom dye cut in that size would be very expensive so I decided to order everything on a 10 point coated poster stock and throw a party and assemble them by hand.
It was 4th of July weekend after all, so I threw on a pot roast, got some beer and invited a bunch of friends. It took us all day, but ultimately was worth it. I’m very grateful to have friends that will help me out with big projects like this – creative people do have lives outside of their profession(sometimes).
The QR code isn’t active yet, so don’t even try. Eventually it will link to a hidden page on my website that will host a video that is essentially a commercial for me. Check out the promo in action below:
When you’re getting ready for a shoot it’s very important to stay very organized. You probably have a lot of equipment that needs to be looked after and kept in one place, and it can be difficult to keep track of everything.
Before any shoot I make up a check-list in word or office that itemizes every piece of equipment that I will be bringing along on the shoot. It lists everything from cameras and lenses to clamps and gaffers tape. Then I have at least 4 other columns where I go through the check list and each point it travels. A check for loading up before the shoot, a check for arriving on location, a check for the end of the day and a check for unloading back at my studio. This will save your little pieces of equipment and save you some money in replacing those little pieces in case you leave them at your shoot location.
The following example is a check list for a video I’m shooting this month for a local healthcare organization:
This is just the first page, as the second page lists all of my cables that are required as well as flags and other misc grip gear. Your check list will probably go through a few drafts, so don’t make it the night before the shoot. Carry around a little notebook with you not only to write down ideas but to remind yourself of items that need to be added to your list. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Last weekend I shot a small campaign for Glide, a local non-profit that provides healthcare and other services for the homeless and needy. The campaign was for the Pride Team for an event that will be raising funds for the organization. The event was a Drag show, so the assignment was to take studio portraits of the performers. We took individual portraits, pairs of portraits and a group portrait. The group portrait has become sort of the center of attention for the campaign, but the individual portraits will be used during the event itself.
Anyway I had a blast working in the studio with the client, an art director and a crew of stylists and one thing I decided to do independently was shoot some behind the scenes footage with my trusty SONY NEX3, nothing too crazy but I wanted to document the shoot. I put together a 2 1/2 minute behind the scenes video and posted it to my vimeo, and within hours I got a flurry of emails from the client, the art director and a number of other people at Glide. They wanted to license the video for the event and for their website, and I was more than happy to comply with this.
Even if you don’t have a lot of fancy gear or don’t necessarily have a lot of experience shooting video, do it anyway. It’s a great way to learn, and you might make some money in the process. It’s simple at first, grab a friend and have them film some stuff around the set and then put a few clips together and you just might get a nice source of extra revenue.