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The Gary Vee Quote That Changed My Life
It’s been four years since my last Guest Blog– wow, does time fly! A lot has changed for me since 2014. I went from shooting personal projects in my mom’s garage in Jersey, to getting my first real studio in Brooklyn in 2016, and now I’m moving into a studio that’s twice the size of the first one. Let’s examine what simple, yet impactful changes I made that might help you move in the right direction as well.

My last post focused on why you shouldn’t put yourself in a box and why you should be able to shoot across multiple disciplines in terms of portraiture, product, etc. Well… I’m back to say that we should rethink that concept. As time went on, it became increasingly clear to me that the big name photographers really specialized in one, two, or even three categories. While I was staying busy with shooting both product and portraits, I felt that I’d be able to take my career to the next level if I did in fact pick a lane and stay in it. Art buyers are very busy and they’re looking for a quick solution to their “who’s going to shoot this project” question. The answer is usually that they want the _____ photographer. (Fill in the blank… splash, sports, food, etc.)

Around that time, I heard a quote from Gary Vaynerchuck in which he more or less said that people should spend less time trying to get better at their weaknesses, and instead should be tripling down on their strengths. Find the thing you love, and get tunnel vision. Wow. That had me scratching my head. I gave it a ton of thought and, as much as I loved photographing people, I felt that it was time to refresh my site and drop the portraits altogether. I switched from Aphotofolio to Squarespace and was able to choose a layout that displayed my existing work in a whole new way, which actually made it look like a whole new body of work.

The great thing about dropping the portraits, was that potential clients would only see still life images and understand that I was focused on that, but my existing clients knew that I could shoot people. I also built a hidden link with a gallery of portraits to easily show any potential clients that might be curious if I could shoot portraits as well. Once you have a rapport with a client, it’s much easier to say “Hey, I also shoot ____, ya know!” And there will be more trust that you can execute the images.

I decided that I would focus on beverages, cosmetics, and jewelry. Tunnel vision. What was the worst that could happen? I could always add the other galleries back. It was time to create some new work. So my friend and I did some cosmetic testing in my studio and I posted it on Instagram. Shortly after, I was hired to shoot some projects for Covergirl and Maybelline. I also did some splash testing with beverages and it led me to shoot for The Fat Jewish’s wine brand.

In addition to narrowing your focus and specializing, I would also strongly recommend that you shoot what you love. Yes, you can shoot food, alcohol, etc. and make a ton of money. But if your heart’s not in it, it will be apparent in your work and your attitude on set. What excites you? What type of shoots do you daydream about? Be honest and embrace the things that turn you on, and steer clear of things that you don’t want to shoot. (And just to be clear, I’m not saying to turn down work and suffer. I’m talking about testing and trying to acquire new clients and jobs.)

Outside of photography, my hobby is collecting pocket knives. I started an Instagram account for it called @notoriousedc just to see what would happen. I quickly gained thousands of followers, outpacing my photography account in a matter of months, and I’m now over 31,000 followers in just a couple of years of posting. I ended up landing the biggest knife company on the planet, Victorinox, as one of clients and they have been absolutely amazing to work with. I think my passion for the hobby really came through in my photos, as well as my engagement with other members of the community. In turn, that helped build the following and kept me super excited to make the hobby a more serious creative outlet.

I truly believe that putting your passion in the spotlight will make you way more excited to create new and better work. I’m super excited to dive much deeper and develop some new skills. I want to build on my body of work, as well as shooting some new personal work and also get into motion. Now that I’ve narrowed my focus, I feel excited about photography all over again. Staying in only a few lanes has really helped me think of new concepts and lighting techniques. I attribute this to not being scatterbrained and being able to concentrate on these specific areas. There is that old phrase, ‘the jack of all trades and the master of none.’ It’s got some validity to it. I’d love to hear what you guys think about this approach. Please feel free to drop me a line on Instagram @tommedvedich!

You can see more of Tom’s work at TomMedvedich.com, and keep up with him on Instagram @TomMedvedich and @NotoriousEDC.

Hey there! Happy #TravelTuesday one and all! Since it’s nearly July 4th in the States, it’s just been Canada Day, it’s not raining (for once) here in London, and, hopefully, the rest of the world is loving life, too, and everyone is taking the time to unwind a little, I’ve decided to lighten things up a bit today and give you some easy reading!

So, here’s the thing: There are many, many different personalities within photography. Everyone is unique, but everyone still fits somewhere. By and large, photographers fit a category, and I’m not talking about “portraiture” or “architecture.” Oh no, I’m talking about something else altogether! I’ve seen many different types of photographers out in the wild whilst on my travel photography missions, and I’ll try my best to categorise them today. Which one of these are you?

The Junkie
The junkie thrives on social media—Instagram is their portfolio, Facebook is their life, and Twitter is their playground. This is the person who goes on a #walk in the #mountains with their #BFF and finds such #inspiration in a #tuft of #grass next to a #rock that they must #post #about #it #now!

Their brand is their life, and you’ll often find them in the wild, posing nonchalantly with a jacket strewn across their shoulder, arm outstretched to emphasize the brand of watch you’re never heard of before, and often not wearing any socks. They prowl in packs, all photographing one another in every piece of available light they find in a mutually reciprocal manner, checking their phone every few seconds for the latest comments and emails about which trainers are hot right now.

The Bokehnator
This photographer shoots one way and one way only—wide open! Every shot must bokeh the c*§p out of the last and, with their surplus of prime lenses, they’re often heard uttering phrases like, “zoom with your feet” or “look at the onion-shaped bokeh I’ve got here.” A personal favourite is the single term, “bokehlicious,” which seems to be a standard response in a lot of comment sections online.

The Bokehnator will generally be found at twilight in the city, contorting themselves into all manners of positions, whilst firing off shots and turning to their model (which is actually quite often an inanimate object) and saying, “ooh, that’s so silky.”

The Collector
This is the photographer who tends to go over the top. Their collection of gear is impressively unnecessary and far outweighs the circumstances. Their collection of lenses is bigger than their collection of photos, and in the wild this photographer can be easily found because they stand out from the crowd with one camera affixed to a tripod, another slung, a huge bag of gear, and quite often a raincoat and hiking trousers and shoes on even on the hottest day.

This is the person who asks, “What settings are you using?” and follows your answer with a gurned face and a slow intake of breath before staring intently at the back of their camera, slowly nodding but looking somewhat confused.

The HDR-er
This is someone who cannot simply take one photo, but rather they will take a series of at least five, sometimes even nine bracketed shots. It’s not acceptable in their world to take a single shot and use the single exposure to emphasise tones, to create an image of highlights and shadows. They’re often heard talking about stops, and back home they own at least three different software packages designed to create different HDR looks, passing each image through each one in a conveyor belt process until their image looks nothing like the scene they were standing in front of in the wild.

The Judger
This photographer is usually not all that good of a photographer, and colloquially referred to as a “troll.” We’ve all had experiences with this one. You’ve never seen a photo of theirs, however, they seem to always have an opinion on what’s wrong with yours. You don’t tend to see them in the wild, as they prefer to blend in and only reveal themselves online where their disguise affords them security and protection from reprisals.

Their specialty is popping up and offering their expertise when you least expect it because they took a photo of a butterfly on their iPhone that one time that their friends thought was super cool and, therefore, they are the leading authority on photo critique. There’s one potential defence against this strange breed, and that is to say “No CC” nice and clearly. This tends to get them to leave you alone, but it’s no guarantee!

The Filterer
This person cannot take a photo without something on the front of their lens. It generally takes them longer to set up than to take the shot, and that’s saying something because their exposure time tends to be way up there in the minutes. This person tends to be filled with talent and is capable of making incredible images. If only you had their patience!

The iPhoner
You know this person. You’ve been practicing your art for years and this person comes along, having never defined themselves as a photographer, and blows you away with something they shot on their iPhone. They appear out of nowhere, whip out their iPhone, and somehow their snapshot is perfectly composed with beautiful framing, perfect exposure, and mesmerizing content. This person has a natural gift for creating captivating masterpieces capable of leaving jaws on the floor the world over.

The iPadographer

I don’t need to go into much detail on this one. You’ve seen them, I’m sure. They were probably standing right in front of your lens when you saw them! You know, when you’re standing with your rig taking a shot and step, perhaps, a little to your left, then out of nowhere, the space you were standing in is immediately occupied by somebody who was watching what you were shooting? That’s them.

The never-righter
This person is close to a purist. Rather than spend a few seconds in post moving a slider, they want to nail it in camera. The light will change the most minute amount, and they’ll take another shot. They’re never happy and always want one more shot. One more shot. Just one more shot. Okay, I’m nearly done, just one more shot.

You
There’s one photographer who doesn’t fit these boxes. Never out of line, using the right gear at the right time, and balanced with the correct amount of selfies and appropriate use of social media. You. And me. And all of us. ;)

There are, of course, other breeds of photographer out there. Tell us which I’ve missed off in the comments here, or over on Twitter.

While I’ve got you, it’s only a week until my (really stupid) Sunrise Challenge where I’m challenging you all to get out early and shoot a sunrise! You can win prizes from KelbyOne and Platypod, and everyone gets 10% off a Drobo using the code ‘DAVEWILLIAMS’ at checkout! Find out all about it right here

Much love

Dave

Well, the images are mostly from Norway’s Lofoten islands, but if you’ve never been, I hope this makes you add them to your travel list. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen without a doubt.

Here’s the link to my Adobe Spark photo story (with behind-the-scenes stuff, too) if you’ve got a sec: https://spark.adobe.com/page/UfdOthc5pG4MS/

Thanks for giving them a quick look. :)

Have a great Monday everybody — it’s going to be an awesome week!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I’m bringing my Lightroom seminar to Raleigh, Lansing, and Washington DC
This month (well, in just a few days), I’ll be in Raleigh (July 11th), Lansing (July 13th), and Washington DC on August 17th. Come on out and spend the day with me learning all the cool stuff in Lightroom Classic. http://kelbyonelive.com

Yeah, ya do! We’re partnering with ProfotoUSA on this awesome giveaway, and all you have to do to enter is….enter.

Here’s what you get if you win:

  1. A Profoto B1X (I have one, they are the best!)
  2. Profoto Air Remote (you get one that works with your brand of camera)
  3. Profoto Softlight Reflector

The whole package is right around $2,800 and you could win it — but you can’t win if you don’t enter in it.

Here’s the link. Go enter right now (while you’re thinking about it). Hey, ya never know it?

We pick a winner at random on July 30th, 2018.

Have a great weekend everybody – see ya back here on Monday!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I hope you win! :) 

Fantastical Compositing: Combining Multiple Images To Create Fantasy Fine Art with Bret Malley
Learn how to do a family portrait with a magical twist! Join Bret Malley as he teaches you all the steps, from shooting to post processing, needed to create your own fantasy fine art composite. Bret takes you through the gear he uses, his process for pre-production, how to communicate and work with the subjects, his lighting setup, how to photograph each element of the composite, and then how to bring it all together in Photoshop. The first half of the class is a live shoot where Bret creates all the pieces, and in the second half he teaches you his tips and techniques for creating a seamless composite that brings your imagination to life.

In Case You Missed It
Matt Klowskowski goes behind the scenes with commercial advertising photographer Joel Grimes as he walks through every aspect of creating stunning sports composite portraits. This class is perfect for an intermediate or advanced photographer interested in sports portraits and composite photography.

Turning The Corner
It was my senior year in high school and I had just turned 18. I had been playing drums since age 11 – only 7 years – but to an adolescent, 7 years can feel like two decades. Just a week after my birthday I met some guys who had started a band called Third Day and fortunately for me, they needed a drummer. I obliged to try out and the rest is history!

Photo by Marina Chavez

I spent the next 24 years of my life making music and traveling the world. Third Day had quite a career and we experienced so much in that time. I never imagined music would be my livelihood or that it would last so long. But here’s part of the reason why I never imagined it… I sucked at it! Well, at least at first.

I’ll give myself some slack for the first 7 years of playing drums because really, it was just a hobby. I mean, I had a drum set in our damp, unfinished basement. I put stickers on the bass drum head. I duct taped my broken drum sticks back together. I hit a crash cymbal every four beats. Lots of crash cymbals. Never enough crash cymbals! My friends would come over and we would attempt to make music together. It was the stuff of garage bands and it was fun but certainly not career-worthy. And I wasn’t one of those high school kids who said,”I’m gonna make it in music someday!” No, I was more of the mind of, “What the heck am I gonna do when I grow up?”

I may never have grown up, but what started as an unpolished hobby became second nature, and I blossomed into my own style and technique. I said I’d give myself a free pass for the first 7 years of drumming, but I’ll just tell you that the next 7 years was trial by fire. I mean, after all, Third Day was in ever-increasing demand.  It’s one thing to play music at your own leisure and quite another when you’re obligated. When the “get to” becomes the “have to,” you learn to grow quickly. It was definitely an uphill climb but I distinctly remember the season when it felt like I was finally getting it. I was mastering a skill and becoming really good at what I did. You might call it, “owning it.”

An example of my early work before I knew the difference that shooting during golden hour made, or having clouds in the sky. Now I know!

My point in painting this backstory is that now, after nearly 6 years in photography, I believe I’m finally becoming halfway decent at it! In fact, I’m equal parts amazed and embarrassed to look at my earliest attempts at capturing great shots. I mean, who doesn’t love a shot of the clear blue, mid day sky over the rocky mountains with nothing interesting happening? Can we say Lightroom clarity slider to the rescue? I’ll never forget the day I discovered that slider. It was my best go-to trick!

One thing I’ve learned is that just because your family and friends say you’re great – and they certainly mean well – it doesn’t mean you are. In fact, I have learned to be more and more critical of my own work. It’s essential to growth in anything. You celebrate the wins but learn from the mistakes. I definitely had to learn that behind the drum set, and it’s no different with a camera in hand.

Yes, I finally feel like I’m getting pretty good at photography. I say finally because most of my favorite images up until recently were the result of spraying and praying, then sifting through the rubble and finding one gem here or there. Can you relate? Whereas now, I’m feeling more in control of the process from start to finish. My confidence has grown considerably, partly because my ‘get to’ is now my ‘I’m being paid to!’

Perhaps the same is true for you. However, if you’re kind of new to this whole photo thing, then I encourage you to keep at it, have fun shooting, editing and sharing. But also get gut level honest with yourself about your work and let others speak into it as well. Don’t be afraid to fail! Welcome failure as a guest of success because they go hand in hand. They are both equally part of what will get you to the next level.

David Carr is based in Atlanta, GA. Though primarily a portrait photographer, he always has and always will love photographing landscapes, architecture, animals and really anything that makes a great image. You can see more of his work at DavidCarr.com, and keep up with him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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