Wednesday
Feb
2014
12

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Frank Doorhof!

by Brad Moore  |  38 Comments

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 awesome…

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 does…. 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 evenings……

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+.

Tuesday
Feb
2014
11

Joe McNally Hits Another Home Run!

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

These are just some of the comments we’ve received about this past week’s episode of “The Grid” with Joe McNally as our in-studio guest. I know I mentioned this yesterday here on the blog (among six other topics), but the rave reviews just keep pouring in over social media. If you haven’t had a chance to catch this episode, I promise it will be more than worth your time. (I’m posting the episode again here on the blog, just below the quotes). If you photograph people, you will learn a ton. Here’s a few sample comments:

“…Grid interview with Joe McNally was the best 80 min of instruction I’ve seen.”

“Rewatching cuz what Scott Kelby has Joe McNally explain is more important than anything I’ve learned, period.”

 ”Just finished TheGridLive show with Joe McNally - best ever Grid. Amazing insight. Thanks @Scott Kelby & Joe!”

“JUST finished watching it. Best 80mins I’ve spent in a while.”

“Just watched it last night and I loved it! The guy is just amazing! What a show!”

“Finally watched this weeks The Grid with Joe McNally and Scott Kelby last night.  Joe is just awesome!”

“Prepare to have a very thought provoking experience :)”

“Joe..loved the message…get into the experience and capture the essence!  Thank you!”

“Wow. Great interview. I learned so much. Thanks for posting it.”

“Every time I watch a program with Joe it reminds me that it’s not about a piece of paper with chemicals on it or about a paycheck, it’s about telling the story of your subject and bring that story to life in a picture. Thank you Scott and Joe for reigniting my passion for photography even after 19 years of shooting and getting burnt out several times.”

“Yes. He did! Joe nailed it!!”

“Awesome episode! Thanks, Scott, for having Joe answer my question. And, boy, did he answer it, with pictures for examples to boot! The man is a treasure.”

“Just watched it and it was better than great. Thank-you Joe and Scott.”

“This was the first Grid show I’ve been able to watch live in months and it couldn’t have been better. Thanks Joe!”

“Definitely cut through a lot of hand-wringing and doubt about what it takes to really capture a subject.”

“Thanks for the show. It really was eye opening.His personality is just amazing. That’s what makes him one of the greatest photographer.”

“That is the best description and teaching I’ve seen to get into someones world, to bring out the best in them. I can’t wait to put Joe’s process into action.”

“Say that you’ll do it again next week! The man is a master!”

If you missed it, here it is (the free rebroadcast):

Monday
Feb
2014
10

Seven Quick Things To Know On Monday

by Scott Kelby  |  10 Comments

Hi Gang: Here’s some weekend stuff that might have slipped by ya:

(1) I did a post over at Exposure.so on the “Classic Cars of Cuba”
I am super-digging Exposure.so as a source for my photographic storytelling, and to that end, I released a post there yesterday about shooting the pre-1960s classic American cars of Havana, Cuba.

If you’ve got a sec, it’s right here: http://bit.ly/1edkDfl

(2) Joe McNally absolutely rocked ‘The Grid!”
Having just come of an amazing night, where Joe taped a class for KelbyOne called “Behind The Lens: An Evening With Joe McNally” (which gained him a roaring standing ovation from the crowd, despite the fact that Joe never touched a camera, or a light, nor even showed a single one of  his images, which gives you an idea of what kind of class it was!), Joe followed it up with a Grid Episode one reader wrote in to us to say:

“Your Grid interview with Joe McNally was the best 80 min of instruction I’ve seen..”

I posted the episode right below so you can see for yourself — Joe is just brilliant! His class should be live on KelbyOne in about three weeks.

By the way, here’s few images from the taping of our “Behind the Lens….” class with Joe (click for a larger view):


(3) If you’re interesting in how to do “Focus Stacking”… watch this!
RC did a great tutorial over on our Photography Tips & Tricks show, and if you’ve ever wondered “how’d they do that?” you’re about to learn exactly how it’s done. Thanks RC!

(4) Come spend the day with me! 
I’m kicking off this year’s “Shoot Like a Pro” tour in Tampa in just 11 days, on Friday, Feb. 21st (skip work, come spend the day with me, make it a long weekend, etc.). I’ve already got over 300 photographers signed up for Tampa — why not you! Come and join me (you’ve got nothing to lose — it’s 100% money-back guaranteed if it’s not the best photography seminar you’ve ever attended at any price, period!).

Then it’s on to Atlanta on Monday the 24th and then Phoenix on March 12th. Here’s where ya go to sign-up: http://bit.ly/14bAUDJ  Hope I’ll see you in person at one soon.

(5) Did you see who’s speaking at Photoshop World? That’s right, Peter Hurley!
For the first time ever, we’re are psyched to have the one and only Peter Hurley, teaching at Photoshop World. He is literally one of the hottest photographers on the planet today and here’s what he’s teaching:

Tuesday, April 08, 2014
THE ART BEHIND THE HEADSHOT – TOP 10 TIPS

Wednesday, April 09, 2014
TOP 10 HEADSHOT BLUNDERS

Peter is an amazing, hilarious, and passionate teacher and you can meet him, and learn from him, live this April. Come and meet trainers like Peter, and Zack Arias, and Jeremy Cowart, Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Jay Maisel,  Dave Black, Joel Grimes, Tamara Lackey, Me, Matt, RC, Pete and Corey (the Photoshop Guys) and many, many more. You’ve always wanted to go to Photoshop World and now it’s in Atlanta (Delta’s hub) so now’s your chance. Register by March 1st to save $100 on a full conference pass. See you there!

(6) Adobe’s John Nack is now Google’s John Nack
One of my favorite people at Adobe, John Nack, is now over at Google. When I first met John he was the Photoshop product manager and over the years he helped steer Photoshop’s development at critical times during it’s development, and I always knew it was in good hands. I wound up working with John quite a bit over the years, and in 2008 we honored John’s contribution to the development of Photoshop by inducting him into the Photoshop Hall of Fame.

John was really passionate about product development and over the years he wound up moving to work on different projects at Adobe, including developing the mobile version of Photoshop, and I’m sure he’ll carry on this passion over at Google where I imagine we’re about to see some amazing thing happen over there. John has an awful lot of friends here at Kelby Media Group, and here on the blog, and we wish him nothing but the very best on this new chapter in his career. You can read John’s farewell post over at his Adobe blog (at this link). Photo by Jeff Schewe.

 

(7) Lindsay Adler just created something really, really clever for photographers
One of the things I’ve always loved about Lindsay’s work is the amazing styling that goes into her shoots. The dresses are always those “Where in the world did you find that!” type of amazing dresses, and I guess Lindsay realized how much we’re struggling to find New York Style where we live, so she created a resource called “Dream Shoot Rentals” where photographers can rent amazing fashion outfits and really stunning accessories without being in New York (and without the New York prices, which is sweet because I’m renting one for an upcoming shoot for the book I’m working on now).

Anyway, her official launch will be at WPPI in Las Vegas next month but you can follow her fashions now on her Facebook page. Congrats to Lindsay for creating this very clever, and affordable resource for photographers, and I wish her tremendous success!

Have an awesome Monday (I know, that’s a stretch). See ya back here tomorrow.

-Scott

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook or Twitter to catch my free30-second Photoshop tip of the day” silent tutorials. 

Friday
Feb
2014
07

It’s Late Post With a Last-Minute Save Friday!

by Scott Kelby  |  4 Comments

Hi Gang: Sorry no blog post today — I’ve been head’s down on a class I’m supposed to record today, and I’ve been busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, so I’ve really got nuthin’.

Well, I have this: “John Skinner for President.” He might be British, so he may not qualify here in the US (silly law), but after his comment on the blog here yesterday, I would certainly cast my vote for him for British Prime Minister (even though I can’t vote in the UK, silly law). ;-)  Anyway, John — thank you (and thanks to Ken Toney and Michael Reeves for having my back, too. You guys rock!). :)

Wait!!! Wait!!! I almost forgot!
I actually have another 30-second  Photoshop micro-tip — it’s actually THREE quick Type Tips (I’ve been posting a new one each day over on my Facebook page and my Twitter page). Here ya go (hey, that’s something, right?)

I hope you all have an awesome weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday where there’s a 71% chance I’ll have a reasonable post. ;-)

Best,

-Scott

 

Thursday
Feb
2014
06

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  37 Comments

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.

__________________________

 

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

________________________________________

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!

Wednesday
Feb
2014
05

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring David Bean!

by Brad Moore  |  25 Comments

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.

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