Sharing experience, advice, and photos to all with the shutterbug.

Posts tagged “marketing

Set your standards

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:


Now pick two.

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Portraits of the 99% exhibition catalog

For the last month or so I’ve been talking to various art galleries and collectors about having an exhibition of the “Portraits of the 99%” series. The images are 12×18 and are mounted on 7/8″ thick wood with a white vinyl siding and they are absolutely beautiful. However, it’s very impractical to carry around all 354 of them to show to people, so I’ve put together an exhibition catalog that features all of the images up until now along with some behind the scenes photos, a forward by myself and a few color versions of the portraits. It’s a 26 page perfect bound catalog a book practically, and I’m really excited about it. You can get your hands on one for $20.00 from Magcloud, as well as a digital download for 5.00. The entire catalog is online for preview as well, so you can also just check it out and let me know what you think.


All proceeds from the sales of these catalogs go into the mounting and framing process in preparation for exhibition. You can get it HERE.


Portraits of the 99% on TV and now in COLOR

Quick post today, I wanted to share the interview that KTVU Channel 2 in Oakland did with me on the project last night. (I can’t post the video but you can click the thumbnail and watch it on their page)

Click the thumbnail for the whole story and the video!

 

I’m very excited at the opportunities that could come of this, some of you know that I have been shopping around for a gallery to hang these images in and this has already gotten me a few phone calls.
The other thing I wanted to share was the jump into color:

I’ve been working on a new promo to send to magazines showing that I am a portrait photographer. I thought what better way to do this then use some of my most well known work but something felt a bit off to me. So now I’ve been playing with really tight crops and color images from the “Portraits of the 99%” series. Let me know how you like it!


Crowdsourced funding – Putting your audience in the spotlight

Those of you who were there at the beginning of my “Portraits of the 99%” project probably saw my IndieGoGo page, which I was using to raise money to continue the project. The fund raiser was successful, I raised almost 2500.00 between donations at the site and private donations from funders in San Francisco. This allowed me to travel and work on the project more or less full time and get it published in numerous print and online publications. It’s a pretty interesting resource that’s become available thanks to the internet. It’s especially useful for Photojournalists who rarely get their travel expenses covered by magazines and newspapers anymore.
Crowdsourcing is great because you can show something to the public that you’re excited about and if they’re excited about it as well – you can raise the money to make your vision happen. But there’s a few things you need to consider before you start spamming your friends with a link to your kickstarter;

Know your audience

Since your audience is your source of funding you can’t just start a project about anything. You need to think about your project and who your audience is. Who else would like to see this project happen? What age group does this project appeal to? Are you photographing the rise of the hipster trend in foreign countries or are you covering elderly men adjusting to retired life at home or in a home? These obviously have different audiences. Do some research – find out who’s already involved in the things you want to explore and get funded.

Make it awesome

You can’t post up a few scans of some sketches and drawings of the photos you want to take – you need to already have the project going. This shows initiative on your part, that you’re actively working on the project and will make potential supporters more likely to help you out. It has to have some semblance of completion and it has to look good, it has to look AWESOME. Below is my video pitch which featured me shooting and interacting with people, as well as photos and interviews with protestors. Make sure you keep it short and sweet.


Have rewards

Your audience needs some encouragement to get involved aside from the satisfaction of helping you fund your awesome project and a tax write-off. The best way to do this is reward them with different things depending on the amount they donate or pledge. For a donation of say, 10.00 supporters can get a nice hand written thank you card or a “thank you” credit in your project. Other amounts can get them access to behind the scenes stuff, prints, posters, books… the possibilities are endless.

Follow up, be involved and deliver

This is the most important thing. Be actively involved with your audience. Send them updates and pictures of work in progress. And ALWAYS deliver on your promises. Don’t just say you’re having an exhibition of the completed project at the MOMA if you actually don’t. You’ll upset your audience and it’s just plain dishonest. Always be upfront and transparent with what you’re doing, what you’re capable of doing and how you’re doing everything.

Resources

IndieGoGo: Takes 4% if you reach your goal, 8% if you don’t. Disperses within 7 business days after fundraiser has ended.
Kickstarter: Takes 5% and disperses ONLY if you reach your goal. Seems to be more focused on products and inventors.
Emphas.IS: Tales 15% and disperses ONLY if you reach your goal. You must get your project approved before you can begin funding. It seems to be THE place for serious photojournalists so it carries a lot of prestige.

Great video on crowdsourcing:


Announment: Portraitsofthe99.com


After all of the hard work I’ve put into my “Portraits of the 99%” project (With still a lot more hard work to come in the future) I’m proud to announce the launch of www.Portraitsofthe99.com, a site dedicated solely to the project. The IndieGoGo page is what initially got this project off the ground, but it’s going to expire soon – so I wanted a more permanent place that people could go to donate, buy prints and posters or just look at all of the photos. The site not only showcases all of the portraits but it also has a schedule of my travel and a press section to show when and where the images have been published.
If you’re interested in purchasing a specific print go and check it out. The portraits are sorted by city so if our photo is on my site or your friend’s photo or you’re a collector choosing a favorite this is the place to do that. All of the money goes back into the project (After shipping/printing costs etc) and will contribute to me traveling the country and documenting this massive upheaval of people across the world.

Thank you once again for all of your support. It really has been amazing and while it’s a little late it’s looking to the be one of the main things I am thankful for this year.


Portraits of the 99% Project

Many of you I’m sure are aware of the Occupy Wall Street protests, whether your with them or against them makes no difference to me. I saw the protest as an opportunity to photograph a variety of passionate people from all walks of life so I recently set up a mini photo studio on the block near the OccupySF protests and took over 60 portraits of the individual protestors. Feeling very satisfied with the results of the shoot, I thought it was done right there.

In less than 24 hours after I posted the images they had 4,100 views. My servers crashed. The images started popping up in various places, facebook and social media, news sources and more. People contacted me and told me they were inspired. This project suddenly became much bigger. I have setup a fund to raise money to fly to various other cities around California and do the same thing there. The images will be donated to the Occupy Wallstreet effort, in an attempt to raise awareness of the individuals involved. The money donated will go towards getting flights, train tickets, hostels and fuel to make this project happen. Donors will receive limited edition prints, posters, cards, books and more.

http://www.indiegogo.com/Occupy-California

If you don’t want to contribute, that’s fine. But please, unless you are deadset against this movement, spread the word. Forward this to a friend. Post the link on Facebook. Go and “like” the indie-go-go page. This project means a lot to me, and I want to see it through.

Thank you for your time.


Stuff the Streets Mission art fair photo-booth

Over the weekend I was asked if I could run a photo booth at an art fair being thrown by local Antiques dealer Stuff. They had food and music and plenty of artists selling their wares, but they wanted something fun, something more interactive. They got in touch with me and I was invited out to run a photo-booth, and I could sell my own wares as well.
I don’t often get to do these sorts of things, so I decided to run with it. I grabbed some old prints and got a small table and set up shop. I sold a few things and people had a blast at the photo booth. Here are some of my favorites:

For those of you wondering, I used a Polaroid Pogo printer, which prints unique 2×3 images that double as stickers. It’s battery powered, works with most digital cameras and is loads of fun to use.