Posts By Brad Moore

The Hunting Photographer

We live in an age where everybody is able to get their 15 minutes of fame. The internet has changed the way the world works. We all have our smart phones, tablets etc. and thanks to YouTube, everyone can now have the world as an audience.

This also means that there is a lot of traffic and a lot of people out there claiming their fame.

According to me (and this is personal) fame is very relative. I strongly believe that we as photographers are just artists and not "rock stars" although sometimes you do get that feeling :-)

If I see how many emails I get during a week about the topic, "how can I become famous?" I always think⦠"what are they after?" If you think being a working photographer means driving Ferraris with beautiful super models drinking champagne (and I don't promote drinking and driving here) well⦠you can't be more wrong. Most photographers I know are incredibly hard working people that sometimes can hardly make ends meet. We also drive a 6 year old car and are happy when we end up with profit at the end of the year. On the other hand I would not trade it in the world for a desk job (and I don't mean anything negative about people doing that work).

So what's the idea behind this blogpost?

Well, it’s very simple. Most of the people I talk to now a days are incredibly focused on being "famous," doing the stuff that they think will bring them boatloads of money and appearing on the cover of Vogue magazine. But when you ask further, it's often very clear that they have just started out in photography, sometimes shooting less than a year, and already thinking about quitting their day job and starting a career in photography.

Let's first look at this by a simple example.

Now, remember I'm doing this for my country (the Netherlands), so rates and taxes might differ from your area.

When we look online, we see several photographers offering photo shoots for a little over $100.00 (and often even much less but let's be reasonable). This sounds like a good deal, and let's be honest… If you do 10 shoots a week, that's a cool $1,000.00 you earn and this means $4,000.00 a month… Wow that's awesomeâ¦

What people often forget is that a lot of this "quick cash" is eaten up by taxes. For us in the Netherlands, we have 21% VAT, and after this you can give up between 31-40% to income tax, meaning roughly half of what you make is gone like "that."

Now we also have to take into account that one has to upgrade/maintain gear, rent a studio, eat, pay insurance, pay for your house, do advertising, pay telephone bills, etc. etc. The costs are huge.

When working for a boss this is often not so obvious, all insurances are paid (like medical in the Netherlands), you are building up a pension and because you work for a boss you don't have to worry about business things like when you get sick, are being sued etc.

So the first thing you have to realize is that if you want to be a professional photographer you have to charge⦠and I mean charge.

A portrait session for $100.00 just won't cut it. We did a quick calculation here and ended up with at least $199.00 for a session of one hour, taking into account that you also have to retouch the images, store the images and give the people something to drink. This is on the low side. However we are forced to the low side because in our home town, portrait sessions are already offered for (believe it or not) $15.00 in which people get 1 hour studio time and have to buy the prints, but they do get Facebook versions⦠Now I hear you say, "well that photographer won't survive." But that's the problem, he doesâ¦. simply because he has a day job and does photography in his free time which is also great for his clients because they can come on Sunday, in the weekends and during the eveningsâ¦â¦

Don't get me wrong, I strongly believe there is still a great market for photography. But as a photographer you have to be different. Deliver something that is unique, know your social media because this is where now a days everything happens, but most of all have passion for your trade and learn your trade.

When you understand what you're doing you can create unique looks that actually differentiate you from your competition. Make sure you have a professional looking studio which is a totally different appearance from a living room that is being transformed into a studio while you are being sniffed by the large family dog.

Create something that others don't offer and ask a normal premium price for it. Start using your clients as your advertising, make them enthusiastic about the product, and maybe start actions where they can earn prints by bringing in friends and family.

As you can see, being a photographer almost sounds like running a "normal," "everyday" business. But I believe that there is no normal business, every business is unique.

If you are prepared to work 24/7 or be flexible, then being a photographer can happen for you. However don't hunt for the "famous" part. Build your business, and most of all start building your network, because when you want to be on the cover of a magazine it's often not about the quality of your work but about the people you know. Trust me when I tell you that if you want to survive on magazine work only⦠You will probably starve to death.

But the most important thing I can tell you, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, NEVER and I really mean NEVER hunt for something. Just let it happen. Be the best photographer you can, enjoy what you're doing, but don't quit your day job and jump in without a bungee cord. Always have a backup plan, and if that means working 40 hours for a boss and 20-30 hours as a photographer, well so be it. In my opinion working as a photographer should not feel like work. We are image makers, story tellers and as soon as something feels like work you will lose that creativity and fun.

Hunting for something can ruin your creativity and fun and that's the worst thing you can do for your business. I've witnessed a lot of photographers try so hard to get to their goal that they were losing the fun in their work. If something did not work out they would be angry, feel let down and disappointed, and slowly but surely start hating photography and losing their interest.

My story is very simple.

I was brought up in a family of photographers, all hobby non-professional shooters, but they loved everything about it. My grandparents had their own darkroom, and I was brought up learning the fun in photography.

When I grew up I wanted to be a vet, but couldn't due to some allergies they found. So I started my own business, stopped photography for a while and picked it up again to shoot nature, birds and sports all in good fun. Totally by accident I ended up with model photography and fell in love with photographing people. I slowly built up my skills and portfolio while still running the computer store with Annewiek (my wife). After 10 years (actually 2013) we sold the computer store to focus 100% on photography. Yes you did read this correctly, it took me 10 years to build up a foundation that I trusted enough to quit my "day job."

In all that time I did set goals for myself, but never unrealistic, and if something didn't work out I really didn't care. I shot for fun and I taught for fun. Even today it's the same way. We weekly teach workshops in our studio and if sometimes we don't sell out the workshops (I always teach small groups ranging from 5-8 people) I will not cancel the workshop, I will teach as soon as we have 2 people in the group for the very simple reason I love what I'm doing and whatever happens next⦠Well, we will see. I do of course have some wishes and goals but I will not really hunt for them because I know that I will lose focus on the things that are important⦠the here and now.

Create art and set reasonable goals, but never lose your passion for the art called photography. And if you don't become rich and famous, at least you will have a passion for life called photography. And trust me, you will see if you show that passion to people I would not be surprised if you are getting much further than you would ever dream.

You can see more of Frank’s work at FrankDoorhof.com, and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Creative Cloud Month at KelbyOne
Each weekday this month, a new Creative Cloud class is being added to KelbyOne! Take advantage of your full Adobe Creative Cloud membership by learning about the other programs you haven’t been familiar with. Just this week we’ve added Photoshop CC Basics for Photographers, Illustrator CC Basics, Premiere CC Basics, and today InDesign CC Basics is becoming available! Check back tomorrow for Adobe Typekit, and each day for the rest of the month for even more.

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Here’s the link to the Winter Wings Festival info (Rick is a great presenter — you’ll love it!).

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If you want a chance to check out some of these classes for free, leave a comment!

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott KelbyMatt Kloskowski, or RC Concepcion? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Feb 21 - Tampa, FL
Feb 24 - Atlanta, GA
Mar 12 - Phoenix, AZ
Mar 28 - Minneapolis, MN

Lightroom 5 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Feb 17 – Houston, TX
Mar 5 – Los Angeles, CA

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Feb 19 - Lansing, MI
Feb 26 - Oklahoma City, OK
Mar 4 - New York, NY
Mar 26 - Arlington, TX

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through March! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Joe McNally on The Grid
If you didn’t get to watch yesterday’s live airing of The Grid, this is an episode you won’t want to miss! Scott Kelby was joined by Joe McNally, and as always Joe took the show to a whole other level with his insights into portrait photography. The episode will be up sometime today at KelbyOne.com as well as on our YouTube channel.

Last Week’s Winners
KelbyOne.com Class Rental
– Brittany Murphy

KelbyOne Live Ticket
– Luis

Joe McNally’s Sketching Light Book
– Steve Maitland

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Allow me to introduce myself. Some of you reading this have probably heard of me/my work; the majority of you probably have not and I’m totally fine with that. My legal name is Charles David Campbell Tabor Bean, but I’ve gone by David Bean my whole life. The five names are the result of being born to hippie parents.

The following is an excerpt from the bio of me on my site….

"My life confirms the age-old adage “truth is stranger than fiction.” As a child I lived on hippie communes with no neighbors for miles, tiny apartments in Boston and everything in between. I went to 6 different high schools and was a punk rock teen in South Florida who misspent my youth at the detriment of myself and others."

To say that I had a less-than-normal life is an understatement. For me life until the age of 20 was one of severe loneliness, confusion, anger and rebellion. Those attributes all sort of fed off of each other and kept the circle spinning, especially as a teenager. Now, 20 years later I look back on those days with some regret, but mostly fondness for how all of it has shaped me into who I am. Let me say that I love who I’ve become. I have an amazing Wife, 2 awesome kids and a good career.

I treasure having grown up poor, lonely, misunderstood and mischievous for it has given me two of the most valuable things a person can possess; sympathy and empathy for others. We live in a world today where people seem to be getting not only more narcissistic, but impatient, intolerant and hateful of others and their opinions/beliefs. I’m amazed at how the comments on every single YouTube video I watch dissolves into the cruelest of arguments. You can’t even watch a cat video or a funny ad without somebody turning it into a shouting match about how someone else is stupid, ignorant or just plain wrong.

No one knows who originally said "Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle," but whoever did was very insightful. As a news & current events junkie I see and read all kinds of heart-wrenching stories every day. As I read them I’m fully aware that the people I’m reading about are only a small fraction of all the others going through similar circumstances.

We meet and pass by tens, dozens, hundreds of people a day who all have one thing in common; their lives aren’t perfect. Not only aren’t their lives perfect, but many, many times they’re ravaged by despair and crisis. Most of the time you won’t see this on their face or hear them stop to tell you. If you say, "Hey, how’s it going?" their replay will simply be, "Great, how about you?" Most are either afraid of scaring people away by telling them the truth or they just don’t think anyone would even care.

Photography used to be all about people; and more specifically the subject. It was the art of a photographer making a connection with their subject in such a way that he/she reached in and pulled something out of the person that even they didn’t know was inside of themselves. A photo shoot is like a dance; one person leads and the other follows and when both are in sync it becomes a work of art that inspires others.

I fear photography is moving away from being about people and connections to becoming more about gear, fame (for the photographer), and a way to make easy, fast money. It’s as if we look at a photo and say "Wow, what great lighting!" or, "I wonder what the camera settings were." The lighting, background, and any other visuals are important to me as a photographer to create something I want to be proud of. My graphic design background compels me to want to create "scenes" that my subjects live in. It’s my style and I enjoy it.

But it’s my opinion that when you look at a great portrait you should be drawn to the subject and be teased into wanting to know more about that person, their situation and their story. Everyone has a story and it’s our job as photographers to not just take a photo of someone’s physical appearance, but to try to pull out that story, their struggle and even their vulnerabilities.

When I look through my photos it’s sometimes eerie because I feel like the people in them are looking back at me, just like they were when I took the photo. It makes me feel vulnerable for some reason and if I look at a photo where the person is looking into the camera and don’t get that feeling then I think that I probably didn’t make a real connection with them.

It can become really hard to connect to someone when all of the messages we get from society tell us to draw up lines, put people in boxes, label them and make enemies of those who would hold to different opinions than us. I’m a person who has very strong opinions on politics and religion among other things. I think I’m right about a whole lot of things; just ask my Wife. But at the same time I always make it my goal to try to understand how another person could think 180 degrees differently. Respect for the opinions and beliefs of others, no matter how much we disagree with them is essential if we are ever going to be able to connect with the people we shoot.

Conservatives, Democrats, Independents, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Rednecks, Gang-bangers, celebrities, rich people, poor people, etc. are all human beings created (I believe) in the image of God; let’s not argue about that in the comments please ;) We all have way more in common than we don’t. We all struggle, we all desperately want to love and be loved.

If we make our shoots all about the technical wizardry and fancy gear, but treat the subject as just another prop in the photo, we will create beautiful, perfectly lit photos that have no depth or soul. We will have made the photo be about us the photographer rather than about the person in the photo. People are not props to be used to make our photos look prettier. People are what make our lives and our work beautiful.

If we could learn to see and embrace people as fellow passengers with us on this crazy train called life; all with their own struggles, addictions, problems and beliefs, then maybe we could make real, honest connections that would result in organic photos that aren’t just pretty, but have actual depth and soul.

From one imperfect human being to another, thanks for reading.

You can see more of David’s work at VisualReserve.com, and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Social Media for Photographers with Colby Brown
Take your social media efforts to new heights with rock solid advice from Colby Brown, a landscape, travel, and humanitarian photographer, who has become one of the most followed photographers on the Internet.

In this class Colby gets you up to speed on the hottest social media networks for photographers and explains not only why they are important, but how you can start developing a social media strategy that is smart, efficient, and enables you to attain your goals.

Leave a comment for your chance to check this class out for free!

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott KelbyMatt Kloskowski, or RC Concepcion? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Feb 21 - Tampa, FL
Feb 24 - Atlanta, GA
Mar 12 - Phoenix, AZ
Mar 28 - Minneapolis, MN

Lightroom 5 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Jan 31 - Covington, KY (Cincinnati Area)
Feb 5 - Richmond, VA

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Feb 19 - Lansing, MI
Feb 26 - Oklahoma City, OK
Mar 4 - New York, NY
Mar 26 - Arlington, TX

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through March! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Joe McNally at the Vancouver Photo Workshops
Vancouver Photo Workshops proudly presents a series of 6 exclusive seminars and workshops with internationally acclaimed photographer Joe McNally. Joe will be in Vancouver from February 13 to February 22nd, 2014. Workshops range from $59 to $1250 in price. In 2012, they sold out all events in a matter of days, so if you’re interested to see Joe this time then don’t delay.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Joe’s book, Sketching Light: An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash!

Last Week’s Winners
Photoshop Guys Book Set
-Allison Cobb

KelbyOne Live Ticket
-Dale S.

KelbyOne Rental
-cwhite

If you’re one of the lucky winners we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!


Elia, Fujiyoshida, Japan 2013  |  Photo Credit: Naomi Locardi

Each new year brings with it an opportunity to reflect on days gone by and look forward to the promise of the year ahead. If we're lucky, life leads us in positive new directions we may not have expected and things unfold in ways we could never anticipate.

Since 2009, with a unique blend of inspiration, passion, caffeine and a touch of insomnia, my wife and I have visited more than 40 countries and flown over 1 million air miles. In March of 2012, we surrendered our apartment in central Florida (and most of our possessions with it) taking to the road full-time and becoming completely "Location Independent." Our vision for our life is continually changing and evolving as our experiences, and the people we meet along the way, inspire us to visit new places and seek out new and richer experiences.


Sleeping Giants – Mount Bromo, Indonesia 2013

The Evolution of My Photography Style
Throughout my career in the post production and visual effects industry I always strived to bring something new and fresh to the table, something that would break the standard mold. I had the opportunity to work on many talented creative teams and bring unique visions for client projects to life. While that experience was invaluable, the accumulative stress of working long hours, under harsh deadlines, drove me to the brink. I knew that I wanted my life to go in a new direction – one fueled by passion and inspiration, focusing more on life experience, so I completely reassessed what was important. With a mix of anxiety and anticipation, I left my job as an Art Director and a decade long career in the industry along with it.

In 2009, when I decided that Professional Travel Photography would be my new career path, I knew that to be successful in such a competitive market I would have to attack the task of creating my portfolio with that same drive to create something new and fresh. I would need to find ways to raise the bar and make my photography stand out.

I was driven (my wife might say obsessed) to create a new look by experimenting with different post-processing techniques. With more than a decade of working experience in Adobe® Photoshop, and a past rooted so heavily in software based production, I was able to completely reverse engineer my photography by implementing this accumulated technical knowledge.


Going Home – London, England 2010


The Future is Now – Dubai, UAE 2012

In the very beginning my photography was 100% experimental. Primarily composed of my joyous exploration of the world around me, as I'd capture and catalogue subjects that I found most interesting and inspiring. Rapidly, I realized that I wanted to transmit my sincere feelings of awe and wonder to the audience viewing my work. Beyond that, I also wanted to create a "wow factor" - a moment of meaningful impact - that I could share with the viewer.


Belly of the Beast – Stockholm, Sweden 2011

(more…)

Photoshop World Atlanta
Want to spend some time learning photography and Photoshop from your favorite instructors, networking, and just having a great time with other creatives? Photoshop World Atlanta is where you want to be! Come hang with Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Jeremy Cowart, Zack Arias, Jerry Ghionis, the Photoshop Guys, and more!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a Photoshop Guys book set!

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott KelbyMatt Kloskowski, or RC Concepcion? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Feb 21 - Tampa, FL
Feb 24 - Atlanta, GA
Mar 12 - Phoenix, AZ
Mar 28 - Minneapolis, MN

Lightroom 5 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Jan 31 - Covington, KY (Cincinnati Area)
Feb 5 - Richmond, VA

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Feb 19 - Lansing, MI
Feb 26 - Oklahoma City, OK
Mar 4 - New York, NY
Mar 26 - Arlington, TX

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through March! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

The Art of Digital Photography: The Inspirational Series with David Bergman
Come get inspired with Mia McCormick as she sits down with David Bergman, a music and sports photographer, as they discuss David's 25 year career as a professional photographer in the latest class from KelbyOne. David and Mia touch on topics ranging from how he got started as a photographer to how he transitioned from a staff photojournalist to a freelancer, and from what it is like working with celebrities and athletes to what goes on behind the scenes, and so much more!

Leave a comment for your chance to check this class out for free!

Winners
KelbyOne Live Tickets
– Chris
– Rush Sherman
- Jeff Landenberger

KelbyOne Rental
– Owen

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

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