Exposure – It does not pay the bills…

At 30 years old I like to think of myself as fairly well experienced in the world of business. I spent 10 years in retail management as well as running my own business for 6 years (3 years full time now) and I think this has given me a pretty decent “apprenticeship” to life in business.

Now this is probably true in all aspects of creative businesses from web design to singing to photography, but one of the great mistakes I see photographers make these days, particularly those new to the industry or those looking to make a name for themselves is; pretty much taking on every single bit of work they can, whether that be paid or unpaid.

Even as I look around the Industry in the North East of England, I can think of a couple of photographers in particular, and don’t get me wrong here I’m not bad mouthing them or saying they’re wrong, who shoot a whole lot. For Free. With the other party commercially gaining from the images.

 

There is a time and a place for this in my honest opinion. You may do this once or twice within your career in order to get some images in an industry or genre you’re not experienced in, to give you a “leg up” for future work. I get the thinking behind that. I have done this myself.

However, the time to stop doing this is when the other party continually gains from your effort and all you have to show for it are images for your portfolio. I ask, “What is the point”

Most creatives these days know that “Exposure” doesn’t pay the bills. I learnt that lesson quite hard a few years back thinking I was going to get fame and fortune working with a big name.

That. Didn’t. Happen.

One of the strongest things you can do in your photography business is to say NO to the stuff that won’t benefit you and concentrate on the stuff that will help you. If you get offered the chance to work for “exposure” its a simple process for me. I ask myself a couple of questions;

Will I enjoy it?

Will it really lead to more work? (99 times out of 100 this is a big fat fuck no)

Do I have something better to do with this time?

If I answer Yes, Yes & No, then its worth thinking about. If I won’t enjoy it, and it won’t lead to more work then what is the point of doing it? Just to show off on social media and say “Look at me I shot this today” when everyone really knows you did it for free anyway?

Now there is a wider issue as to why this happens. Some of it is the fault of photographers and some of it is due to a lack of value in photography as seen by the client.

 

I see it week in week out on Facebook groups where someone will ask for a service, a host of pro’s will offer their services and links to their websites etc and then you’ll get a random guy or gal comment “I’ll do it for free”

FFS- At this point you do really want to give them a swift kick to the lens pouch.

I have to refrain from commenting or messaging these people, not that it would be out of nastiness or anger, it would literally be to ask what were they thinking???

There should be a level of common courtesy around this sort of stuff with photographers. If there are “pro’s” offering their services, they most likely do this for a living, they need that money to pay the bills, put food on the table and live. Why on earth would you jump in there and offer to do it for free and take work away from these people? This is why the industry is getting harder to work in, particularly with charity and event work.

I’m not going to go down the route of calling out charities, but you can guarantee the Executives in these charities get paid, usually a fairly handsome sum. I’m all for raising money for charity but don’t do it by working for free. Go and do a fun run if you want to clear your conscience.

Well thats just my opinion on it anyway.

 

So I’ve deviated fairly widely from my original point, but I guess its because there is a huge spectrum to this issue and so many opportunities to work for that all elusive exposure.

All I would suggest is that you have a look at your photography, whether you be in business or not, and think to yourself. Does this benefit me? Is it worth me doing it? What would be a better use of my time?

Hey, if you do it for the fun of it then do it for that but think of the wider implications you’re having on an already growing industry with a shrinking value against it.

 

 

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What the F*ck Are You doing?….

It’s 7.15am on Sunday morning.

I’m driving through the middle of Newcastle on my way to shoot wedding prep at a venue just over an hour away from my home.

I pull over to the hard shoulder. Head in hands, crying and asking myself;

“Chris, What the F*ck are you doing?”

 

Let me rewind 70 hours.

It’s 9.15am on Friday morning.

I’m sat in the waiting room of the children A&E at the Royal Victoria Infirmary Hospital in Newcastle.

My youngest son is very ill. He was in hospital on the Wednesday with something called HSP. Some reaction to an infection he had. Over night on the Thursday into the Friday he had got significantly more poorly.

Vomiting blood, screaming in pain, covered in a horrible rash. Pretty much the worst things you could see happen to your 4 year old.

“We need to admit your son..”

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The doctors quickly realise there needs to be some intervention with my son to stop him getting any more poorly. He’s the most distressed I’d ever seen. He even asked if he was going to die. Heart wrenching stuff.

First and foremost I am a Dad. That is THE most important job in my life.

But, what happens when you’ve got to make that decision between being by your son’s side while he’s going through this awful illness or keeping your commitment to photograph a wedding which has been booked for over a year.

This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.

On one hand how could I possibly leave my son? What if he got worse? What if he needed me? What if my wife needed me there to support her?

On the other hand how could I possibly let this lovely couple down? How would that impact their day? How would it impact my reputation as a photographer? What If I couldn’t find someone to cover it?

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All day Friday all of this was racing through my head, I reached out to some amazing photographers I know to see who is available if I can’t get there. Luckily four came back to say it wasn’t a problem and they would sort it. Amazing photographers indeed.

 

This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.

It’s Saturday lunch time. He’s not really getting any better. His heart rate is up, his kidney function is down and he’s having to have Morphine for the pain in his tummy.

How do you make this decision? It’s not like when I was employed by a big business, I couldn’t have cared less if I was off work then. It wouldn’t even have crossed my mind not to be at the hospital with the boy. But this is different. This is all on me.

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Even though I had great photographers willing to cover the day, how could I do that to my couple? We’ve built a relationship, a rapport and an understanding on how the day will be. Taking that away from them with less than 24 hours notice could have ruined the happiest day of their lives.

It’s Saturday night. I’m still not certain on what to do. I look to the Wife for the answer knowing fine well that she would tell me to go. I look to my Dad. He tells me the same.

I get home. The guilt is real.

How could I leave him?

I cry myself to sleep.

It’s 7.15am on Sunday morning.

I’m driving through the middle of Newcastle on my way to shoot wedding prep at a venue just over an hour away from my home.

I pass the turn off to the hospital.

I pull over to the hard shoulder. Head in hands, crying and asking myself;

“Chris, What the F*ck are you doing?”

I give myself a shake. Take a big gulp of my coffee and get back on the road.

As soon as I get there I check in with the wife to see how he is. He didn’t have a good night and was really unsettled. He was in pain.

I took a minute outside before going to see my lovely bride. I tried to rationalise in my head what I was doing.

Could I actually make him feel any better by being there, like actually physically better? No I couldn’t. He was with my Wife,  very strong, very smart and very much in control of the situation. He was surrounded by Doctors who are doing everything they can to make him feel better.

He is in the best place possible.

 

It’s 10.30pm on Sunday evening.

I arrive back at the hospital to see my son flat out asleep in the bed. I sit down next to him and cry my eyes out again. The guilt is real.

The saving grace is that my couple we amazing. The wedding was amazing. The venue was amazing and we got some amazing images of their stunning wedding day.

Still. This was the one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make.

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Eight days in and we are still in hospital with the little fella. He’s looking loads better but its going to be a long road to a full recovery.

Those three little words

Those three little words

 

Photography. Like a relationship, requires commitment, time, patience. It requires a strong will and sometimes the ability to backdown when you’re in the wrong.

It can often feel at times, like when in a new relationship, that the whole thing is building up to those three…..little…..words.

How do you know if its time?

Is it too soon?

What if they don’t feel the same?

Am I making a fool out of myself?

If you haven’t guessed yet, those words aren’t “I love you”, well they can be if you want them to be, but for me, in photographer there are three far more important words…

“Here’s your invoice”

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Now read those few questions again;

How do you know if its time?

Is it too soon?

What if they don’t feel the same?

Am I making a fool out of myself?

 

I was going to start this sentence by saying, the truth is only you know when it is time to start charging for your work. But, thinking back to the hundreds of photographers I’ve spoken to about this subject over the years is that they don’t know. They don’t have a clue. Or perhaps, they do know and are too scared to admit it.

I remember at 13 years old, sitting on a swing in a park with my first real girlfriend who was a couple of years my senior, and whispering in her ear so that my friends didn’t hear “I love you..”

She took a sharp intake of breath and almost choked on her panda pop; “Ha thanks Ordy”

Safe to say, I wasn’t expecting that response, but at least it was a response.

 

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I had the same feeling the first time I issued an invoice to a commercial customer. I was nervous, palms were sweaty. I sent the invoice via email and eagerly watched for the reply to ask “Why are you charging me?”, that email never arrived. 9 days later (two days overdue) the payment was made to my bank. That was easier than expected.

Now don’t get me wrong, not all love stories end this way, nor do relationships with clients, particularly when you’re looking to make the transition from Hobbyist to Professional.

Just to note when I say professional photographer, I mean someone getting paid to take photographs. No matter how much or what level.

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I speak to a lot of photographers when coaching and training and I’d say that 90% fall under the same category of “I don’t think I’m good enough to charge”.

They’re answering the wrong question without it even being asked. What they should be thinking is, “Does the client think I’m good enough to charge?”

Therein lies the issue.

I have talked about this time and time again. As photographers we find it incredibly difficult to value ourselves, praise our own work, admit when we are good at sometime. I find it frustrating. Many a brilliant photographer will miss out on a potential long and fruitful career due to self-doubt or a lack of self-worth within the photography genre.

 

So here is my thoughts on when it is time to charge;

  • Would you feel your images were of a good enough quality for someone to use if they received them for free?
  • Do you think you can create better images than a company/client can on their own?
  • Did the client approach you or did you approach them?
  • Is the client going to make money from your images, directly in indirectly?

If you have answered YES to any of those questions then the answer is simple. It is time to start charging for your work….

IF

…You want to go down that line.

 

If you’re not interested in making money or a living from photography then you’ve probably wasted 10 minutes reading this.. Sorry!

 

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The industry is overrun with photographers who will offer their services for free, I’m not going to bad mouth those people or ridicule them or saying they’re doing something wrong. Everyone needs to start somewhere and get experience somewhere. But, If you do fall into that category and you shoot free, then you should re-asses why you do that?

Do you need those images in your portfolio?

Are you actually getting any work from that (and I’ve avoided this word) exposure?

Or is it that you’re too scared to now so to that client, “Actually my time and skill is valuable, if you would like me to shoot this it will cost you £xx”

Now I get this isn’t a one size fits all approach, but another simple way to check its viability for your business would be to complete a very simple DR Pepper Analysis…

What’s the worst that could happen?

All they can do is say no..

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Top Tips for Successful Shoots with Models

 

Whether you’re working as part of a large production shoot or working just yourself and a model, there are still a lot of factors to take into account to make it a successful shoot. Below I will discuss how to make the most of your model shoot, whatever the motivation and give you some tips on how to take it to the next level;

 

Planning

The point first and foremost which is ultimately the most important is… What do you want from the shoot? It’s very easy to go into a shoot with no ideas, no real concept of what the images are going to look like and without worrying too much about the results. The problem with that is that it is inefficient in terms of getting great results and it’s not very often you’ll deliver something outstanding. We all know the phrase “failure to prepare, prepare to fail”

Researching the particular theme or genre that you want to shoot using tools such as Pinterest is a simple but extremely effective way of planning either on your own or as part of a bigger team. Being able to share ideas and concepts and build a plan of what you’re doing through images is the easiest way to explain to everyone involved exactly what you have in mind. This also gives opportunity for those with better knowledge of certain aspects a great opportunity to influence. So for instance when I am planning a shoot I will give my Make Up Artist a general idea of what I am looking for and then she will go away and research that and come back within definitive ideas on what will and won’t work. This is true across many aspects of a team shoot whether it be hair, styling, clothing or location.

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This process for me can start as soon as 2-3 months before a shoot is due to take place depending on the size and the client. The quicker you can do this and communicate with everyone involved, the better chance you have of having a consistent approach and goal.

 

Professional Help

So, you’ve got your concept and you have your model. What next? In my eyes its extremely important to utilise those who have skills in the areas you don’t. I have zero experience in applying makeup and I’m bald so my hair styling skills are fairly minimalistic too!

Although many models will tell you they can do their makeup to a good level you will find that a Make Up Artist (MUA) will apply it in an entirely different way that photographs better. They will use a host of different products and techniques to achieve the look you’re after which most models just couldn’t achieve. Remember, most MUA’s have studied this and gained qualifications making them professionals in what they do! The same is very obvious about hair styling, even if it’s just a messy hair do, stylists will do this in a different way to ensure it stays that way for much longer and again will use techniques and products to ensure it photographs perfectly.

Hair and Makeup aren’t the only professional services I look to use in a shoot. Clothing Stylists are hugely influential in the work I do, from picking which shoes go with each outfit, to influencing the location for each particular style. This is their job, they have experience in doing it and can delivery excellent results. This to me is a no brainer.

Voice Activated Light Stands (VALS), these may sound really futuristic, but in fact, it is just a helper holding a light stand or acting as an assistant. I will never use a VALS who isn’t a photographer. It is essential that I keep as much dialogue going with my model while in the shooting aspect of the day, so having to keep advising and explaining to my assistant what I want just isn’t going to work. Having someone who is experienced, understands light and most importantly understands the concept of the shoot (through prior planning) is vital. This enables me to speak quickly but effectively on changes I’d like to make to lighting without breaking the dialogue with the model.

 

Location and Context

Context! Context! Context!!

It’s a word I often scream into my head when I see photographers who have done the Professional Help bit and hired an extremely creative hair and makeup team to deliver something brilliant, and then its been photographed against a plan grey or white background. It just doesn’t work, it doesn’t fit together, it lets down the Hair and Makeup team as it just doesn’t have Context!

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If you’re shooting on location its much easier to create context by finding a location that suits the theme and idea of the shoot. However, shooting in the studio can be a bit more difficult and requires a little more thought and creativity. Adding texture into a set, props, using gels to add colour to a background can all be useful ways to help stitch the idea together and link the model to the background behind them. Always keep context in mind when shooting and don’t be afraid to change the location/set during a shoot if it isn’t working.

 

Shooting Tethered

For those who aren’t familiar with what “shooting tethered” means, it basically is shooting with a laptop or screen nearby which shows the images as you shoot. There are several ways of doing this and lots of software that enables a quick transfer. I use a Tethertools TetherPro 5m cable linked into my Macbook Pro and use Lightroom. It’s very easy to set up and images transfer in 3-4 seconds for me.

 

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The advantages of shooting tethered are very useful. From your own perspective as a photographer it lets you seen the image on a bigger screen rather than the camera LCD meaning you can better judge the exposure, focus and overall look of the image. Turning the screen to your model can also be very useful in that the model can see exactly how their poses look and you can give them instant feedback with examples without really have to move around too much. The biggest advantage I find is when shooting with a bigger team, if I set the Tether to my 27″ iMac in the studio it means that everyone from the client, to the stylist to the model can see exactly what is going on and what the images are looking like meaning instant feedback from the client is available and changes can be made if needed.

 

Less is more

My creative team knows me enough now that I shoot very quickly and once I’ve got a frame that I think is a winner, I won’t shoot beyond that. What is the point?

I’ve worked with my creative team now for nearly three years so they fully understand how I work, but If I’m working with new people or a new team I always communicate clearly just how I work and that I won’t be shooting thousands of images. If I get the shot I want and its only 5-10 frames in, I will still stop at that point. Otherwise I’m just creating more work for myself and everyone else involved. This also inspires a lot more confidence in your models, clients and creative teams if you’re not shooting 100’s of images without really getting what you want.

 

So there it is, just a few top tips on getting great results from your Model shoot. Thanks for reading guys, and I hope that your next shoot is an awesome one!

 

 

Creative Headshots – How to with TetherTools TetherPro

What was the concept of the shoot?

One my of big beliefs as a photographer is that it is extremely important to shoot for yourself when you can. Yes, you have to pay the bills by taking on commissions and jobs, but ultimately the reason I fell in love with people photography was through the creative freedom you have to create pretty much anything you like. I work with a phenomenal hair and makeup team at my studio on a monthly basis in order for us all to keep our creative juices flowing. We start with a few different concepts for shoots, scout the models and refine the idea using Pinterest so that we all have a good idea of what we’d like to create. The shoots always stay quite fluid because something can change at short notice and really change the look or concept of the shoot.

 

With this particular shoot I was testing a new piece of equipment from my friends at Pixapro (https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk) the 90cm DeepPara box. After shooting a few larger editorial projects through the year for publication I wanted to get back to shooting a more simple one light set up, but create several different effects with that. I talked with my hair and makeup team about the concept and the general idea was to have black and white makeup and then add a splash of colour using powder paint towards the end of the shoot. As you’ll see from the images this idea changed as the shoot evolved and we created some really interesting shots without moving the light, or the subject.

 

What setup and lighting did you use to get the shot?

As mentioned above the modifier was the Pixapro 90cm DeepPara fitted with the grid to help control the light that little bit more, this was mounted on a Pixapro CITI600 strobe. I mounted the light above my head, I’m 6’5” so it was pretty high! I set up my camera on a tripod and tethered to my Macbook using the 5m Tethertools Tether cable. which helped me shoot a lot easier once the focus was locked in. This meant I could trigger the shutter from the screen without having to keep bending under the DeepPara.

 

Now essentially we shot 3 different images with this one set up.

Shot 1 – Double Exposure

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For this first images we wanted to create an ethereal feel, even ghost like along with the clown related makeup. There were two important elements with getting this right, getting two faces of the strobe at the right time, and having a high enough aperture to get both shots nice and sharp. This shot was taken at F22, with a 4 second exposure. The start of the shot triggered the first flash and I used an app called Colour screen on my iPhone and waved it in front of the lens for a second or so before triggering the second flash of the strobe manually with a second trigger to freeze Alex in the frame again. This took a good 10-15 shots to get right, and with the help of shooting tethered I turned the screen to our model so that she could see exactly what was going on and could plan he movement with a bit more ease. We used several different colours through the app to change the look quite drastically, but I preferred the red as it lent itself better to the cherry red backdrop.

 

Shot 2 – Paint

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This shot was created pretty much by accident. I was lifting my aperture to F25 to allow more movement within the frame and shot a test frame off without triggering the second strobe flash. The shutter speed was still up at 4 seconds but because there was zero ambient light in the room there was no interference with the image at all. I loved the tone of this and how stark the paint was against the pale background. Shooting on a Canon 100mm Macro lens meant the level of detail was just incredible, and again shooting tethered meant that my Make Up Artist could see straight away on screen how the makeup looked and if we needed any touch ups.

 

Shoot 3 – Beauty

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For this shot we didn’t move the lighting at all, but changed our way of shooting. I wanted to get a really nice shallow aperture look and lose the background colour too. This is when the Pixapro CITI600 really comes into its own utilising it’s High Speed Sync function.

 

So keeping our lighting and camera position exactly the same, we brought Alex a step closer to the camera. My settings this time were F2.8 shooting at 1/1000sec. This gave me the perfect amount of focus in the face tailing off just around the cheekbones of Alex and fading into that deep black background (which was red!). This shot was to show off the excellent makeup skills of our artists and really show what this incredible light and modifier are capable of achieving.

 

How did shooting tethered help you achieve the shot you wanted?

As mentioned above, particularly for the dual exposure element, it was a huge advantage for the model to be able to see the image, where she was in the frame and how it looked. This allowed her to pose and move a lot more confidently within the frame. Whenever I shoot with a creative team or on a commercial shoot, its really important to me to be able to shoot Tethered to get immediate feedback from my team or the client. I’ve tried various tethering options from Camera manufacturers software to Eyefi cards but the TetherCable has without a doubt been the quickest and easiest way to shoot in this way.
What type of post-processing was involved?

In terms of retouching, I’m a fan of quick and simple. I use a retouching plug in for photoshop to do basic retouching, but on this shoot it didn’t really warrant a lot. I used a couple of custom edits to create the finished look, slightly desaturating the frame and adding a touch of contrast.

 

What was the logistics and/or gear needed to achieve this shot?

I shot this at my studio in the North East of England and the set up was very simple.

 

– Canon 5d3

– Canon 100mm Macro F2.8

– Apple Macbook

– Tetherools Tethercabe

– Pixapro CITI600

– Pixapro ST3 Trigger

– Pixapro 90cm DeepPara

– Creativity Backgrounds Cherry Red Paper background

 

Credits –

 

Model – Alex Andlau

Hair – Stephanie O’Neill

Makeup – Rachel White

 

My YouTube Channel –

Chris Ord Photography

 

Commercial Photographer Newcastle

The Imitation Game..

“No Man was ever great through imitation”

Not a quote I really agree with to be fair.

Four Billion people around the world own cameras of one sort or another whether it be mobile, compact or professional DSLR. Over 1 Trillion photographs are taken each year.

Now we know most of those don’t see the light of day and sit on memory cards forever destined to not be seen by anyone other than the owner on the back of a LCD screen. That is an issue on it’s own.

But what about the images people do see? 

We are literally bombarded with images all day every day in social media. With the rise in popularity of Instagram and Pinterest, amongst other image platforms, it is easier than ever to go out and find images of pretty much any subject you want with a quick search. 

Pinterest is a hugely resourceful tool for planning photoshoots, sharing ideas, gaining inspiration. But where is the line between inspiration and copying.  And who really cares anymore?

I’ll be the first to admit, I learnt my trade of photography through seeing other peoples images in magazines and online and then copying them to imitate the look that they achieved. There’s no shame in that, and I’m not afraid to admit it. After all, how else can you learn in a practical form.

I’ll also admit that I take great inspiration from images and photoshoots which will directly influence a body of work for myself. For instance, one of my more recent shoots was based on the Vanity Fair Shoot featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. 

I had seen the behind the scenes video of this shoot before I’d seen the finished images and I loved everything about it. The styling, the background, the use of a dog as a prop to tell the story. I took this idea and ran with it. Not in the literal sense,  but created a Pinterest board to show my creative team what I had in mind and what I thought we could create on the back of these ideas and the inspiration from this shoot. (https://uk.pinterest.com/xtraordphoto/harriotte-shoot/)

The point is that the inspiration I took from seeing a behind the scenes video and then the finished images was enough to get my mind working. Yes, I wanted to create an image very similar to the one featuring in Vanity Fair, but, I only wanted to if I could create my own spin on it. That is the important part to remember. You can take inspiration from anywhere, other photographers, classical art, street graffiti. The fact of the matter is that there are very few truly original ideas or concepts anymore due to the sheer size of the industry. It’s not only prevalent in photography, but, we are seeing this in the music industry also with very similarly sounding songs, whether intentional or pure coincidence. Now as I said before the most important part is putting your own spin on it, or making it your own. There is no way, especially out on location, that I could have created exactly the same image. It’s just not possible. I wanted something similar as a base image to work the full body of work from. This would be just one image in an editorial set which was being shot for a US Fashion Magazine. And although I went into this shoot knowing that that was the image I wanted to come away with, it actually wasn’t the standout image from that shoot.
 
As all of the elements on the day came into play, outfits, hair, makeup and came together we found ourselves with the perfect combination (down to planning with a tremendous team) that delivered one of my favourite images that I’ver shot. This, this is why inspiration is good. It creates, it excites, it allows the evolution of concepts and ideas, it sets you on a path to create something and gives you the opportunity to create something totally different at the same time. 
 
So did I imitate on this shoot. Well yes I did , a little, but I also evolved the concept to create my own images and with the support of the whole team we delivered something we hadn’t planned to at the start of the day, but certainly loved by the end of it.
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Setting yourself up for Success.. or not..

So I’ve spoken before about the importance of “shooting for yourself” to maintain a good balance between shooting the work you need to shoot and shooting what you want to shoot. But……

I’ve noticed over the past few months around the various photography groups on Facebook that there are a lot of photographers looking to break into the industry professionally and work on a full-time, or even a part-time basis. No problem with that.

But what I also see a lot is photographers shooting genres they’re very unlikely to get paid work in and shooting very little if anything of genres they will get paid in. This just doesn’t compute for me.

I guess its a little like a footballer who wants to be a striker, but attends goalkeeper training everyday and thats all that people know them for. Or thats the way I see it anyway.

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I talk to photographers all day long through my 1-2-1 mentoring, my training and the groups I run and its pretty much the same across the board for photographers who are looking to make the jump from part-time “amateur” to a full-time “pro”, a lot of these guys aren’t setting themselves up for success. They don’t particularly understand what it is they want to shoot, but more importantly, what it is they may have to shoot in order to succeed.

In a dream world I would fly around the globe shooting fashion campaigns for big brands. Yes, that’s the dream. Yes I’m taking steps to try to do that, but at this moment in time, that dream doesn’t pay the mortgage and put food on the table. So what do I do?

I shoot the jobs I have to shoot to ensure my family has a roof over their head, food and some of the nice things in life. This is shooting what I have to shoot. Doing this allows me the time to shoot what I want to shoot. Don’t get me wrong I’m still quite strict in the work I take on and the genres in which I work. I won’t accept just any commission but ones that work with my brand and previous experience.

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Commercial Photographer Newcastle

Now shooting what I want to shoot is a bit of a dual meaning. It’s shooting something that is fun for me, interesting and helps me stay creative. But it’s also adding more work, experience, knowledge and depth to a portfolio that is aimed at achieving my goal of working within a specific genre or part of the industry.

alexcol1

I still stand by my belief that shooting for yourself is essential in staying motivated, trying new things and being creative, but, if the aspiration is to be a full time professional this needs to be tailored in a more direct way. A clothing firm isn’t going to hire you to show off their garments if your portfolio is full of Art Nude or Cosplay images. By the same token a Sporting club won’t book you if you can’t show a degree of competence in that particular area.

My biggest bit of advice would be to find the areas you want to work in, figure out if they’re going to deliver the income you want. The chances are, it probably won’t. Then you need to figure out what else you have to shoot in order to achieve the £X you want.

wades_070_pp

I always think back to a photographer in my area whom I’ve spoken to several times online but never met. He set up his photography business revolved around one concept which ultimately became floored. There just wasn’t the demand for this particular type of work in the industry up here in the North-East.

Rather than look for other avenues to work in, and believe me there are 100’s, he pretty much gave up on his dream of being a full time professional photographer. Now its not a case of being a Jack of All Trades, but, you’ve got to be quite dynamic in the photography industry these days. There are very few photographers who are in fact just photographers. Even looking at some of the biggest names in the industry, they shoot across multiple genres, offer training, online courses, books, etc.

So for those wanting to make the jump over to being a Full Time Pro, please think about the work you’re doing, and how it can deliver the career you want. If it’s not adding to your chances its probably taking away from them!

lovenichelandscaoe

Commercial Photographer Newcastle