Posts Tagged ‘Canon’
When I shot this photo. I was working for free. Seth painted the wall for free. I paid for the supplies and installed the wall, for free. Seth used his own paint. Seth painted the wall on a separate occasion from the shoot. I shot and edited the video for free. Kyara was paid, but if this were a circus she would have been paid in peanuts.
From that free shoot we licensed this image to chefrubber.com who ran it as a full page ad in So Good Magazine. We split the money and got a nice tear sheet out of it. Seth sold a print at an art show. A plastic surgeon contacted me for an assignment after seeing the video of the shoot. His website and office will be decorated with images shot by me. My lab will make hundreds off my prints. A fine art framer in Australia will make thousands when they frame the prints. All in all I can directly correlate about $50,000 in income as a result of that one FREE shoot. Don’t get me wrong, not every test and for-fun shoot results in income. If there isn’t value in working for free I wouldn’t do it.
More than any other industry I can think of the the creative industry is built on the backs of free labor. It goes by numerous names: tests, trade, TFP, TFCD, intern, spec, portfolio, for credit, for my reel…We all do it. As long as I find benefit in working for free I will continue to do so. As I mentioned, I’m getting paid, it’s just not always in the form of dollars.
If you haven’t already read Malcom Gladwell’s book The Outliers he introduces the concept that excellence comes from practice, lots and lots of practice. He refers to it as the 10,000 hour rule; excellence comes after practicing/doing for 10, 000 hours. As a freelance creative how am I supposed to reach 10, 000 hours unless I create my own assignments? How does a photographer, filmmaker or graphic artist practice? By working for free.
I first learned the value of working for free when I interned during college. I interned for Merrill Lynch and learned first and foremost that I DID NOT want to be a
stock broker financial adviser. The next lesson I learned was that interning is about building relationships, not “learning”. I didn’t gain knowledge at Merrill; I made contacts. Those contacts and relationships led to me getting a job and building a successful career as an analyst.
When I was first started to shoot I needed subjects. I started with my friends, then I moved on to testing with models, makeup artists and stylists. We would work for trade; I’d shoot images for our respective portfolios and in turn they would model, style, do hair, or makeup for me. It’s a win win. I get to practice my craft, experiment, test new equipment all while building relationships and making new contacts. Am I working for free? Yes, but there is a huge intangible value I have gained by doing the work. First and foremost I got better at photography. In a lot of cases the relationships I made led to paid job. I shoot for free only when I know there is some value in me doing the work. If you can’t see value in doing something similar, might I suggest a new pair of glasses?
As I mentioned on my post about the Elinchrom Ranger, when I get new equipment I take it out and test with it. Up until my shoot with Kiana I had only managed to shoot a handful of images of my kids and was blown away at how new the Mark III and settings were. The Mark III is my seventh Canon digital body. With many of my previous upgrades, the upgrade was based on the image quality and size upgrade. The Mark III is a giant leap in quality, focal points and provides me with a full frame body that I have been missing for months.
As part of an ongoing series and to test some new equipment I have enlisted the help of dancers. My goal with the shoots is to learn about my new Elinchrom Ranger as well as to document the extraordinary ability and grace that these dancers have.
I also shot a time lapse of my shoot with Kelley. It includes a few more edited images. The shoot lasted about 30 minutes; it’s shown here in 46 seconds. Yes, I did use my daughter’s wagon as a cart on the sand.
A few month’s ago Seth showed me the latest art he had been making. Seth, who goes by the name MeexOne in the art and graffiti world, incorporated using the damask patterns he used in his art with a model in the photo below. I loved the image and immediately wanted to take it a step further and paint it on a larger scale.
I began looking for a model and got lucky with Kyara Tyler. I say lucky because she’s had a lot of experience modeling body paint and that ended up helping quite a bit in during the shoot. Although I’ve seen a lot of body paint images I’d never seen the process or knew how well the idea would translate. Seth painted the backdrop a few weeks ago and used a graffiti marker called Krink which took about ten days to full dry.
Early this week we finally were all available on the same day. Once Kyara was in the studio, we experimented with lighting before Seth began the process of painting her. Unlike the wall he used a latex based paint that was safe for her skin. After I found a lighting setup I liked it took Seth about 90 minutes to paint her. The actual shoot took about 15.
I wanted to document the process. The following was filmed using a 7D and an old Canon G9 point and shoot which I used to film a time-lapse of painting the backdrop and then again on the day of the shoot. The following video shows the process and what was involved in making it work.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I’ve started to scratch out a couple blog posts over the past month but each time I start a job comes up and takes precedence. This week I vowed to shoot for me. Shooting personal work keeps me sane. When I end up working on shoots for other people for weeks at a time I can feel the itch to go out and shoot a concept I have control over. Family portraits, TV commercials, architecture, Galas, receptions and pretty much every other paid job means my client is running the show. I often have creative input on my jobs but photographing people giving speeches and shaking hands doesn’t give me the satisfaction of going out and making great photographs.
This week the stars lined up and I got to shoot with three of my favorite models. I enjoy working with them because I know we’ll get great results and I’ve developed friendships with them over the years.
Eva was in town visiting from Germany. We’ve tried getting together for a shoot every time she’s in LA, but it’s only worked out once since she moved away a few years ago. I met Eva in July 2004. To put the history into perspective; I got my first DSLR in August of 2003. I looked back at my archives and she was the 17th model I worked with. Needless to say in the summer of 2004 I was green. Despite being a novice we got some great shots that still stand today. Since 2004 we’ve worked together a handful of times and I’ve always been happy with the results.
This week I wanted to shoot and I knew if we got together the concept for the shoot would work itself out. We ended up with some great fashion images and my style of a beauty portrait. If you call it a head shot and I take offense. I tend to think most head shots aren’t true representations of the person. Head shots are sales tools, portraits are personal. I want my photos to be true to the subject.
I also got to work with Tiffany Selby this week. We met in April 2009 after spending months trying to get together to shoot. When the day finally came it proved to be challenging. We were scheduled to start with swimsuits on the beach and then head to my place to work on fashion and portraits. We were blessed with beautiful blue skies but the temps had dropped down into the 50s. We figured since we were there we’d give it a shoot. I got my first shot off at 8:20 AM and by 8:44 we had shot two looks and were packing up. One of those shots ended up as a centerfold in a magazine.
This week we made the same plans. Start on the beach and then head to my studio (read my garage) for fashion and portraits. After our shoot she did makeup for a friend’s niece, an aspiring model.
I also managed to shoot with Neyla. She is in town visiting from London and, like Eva, we’ve tried to get together when she’s in LA. This week our schedules matched. I met Neyla in April 2007; at the time her name was Stephanie but that’s her story. In 2007 I shot a friend of hers who referred me to Neyla. We had a great shoot and vowed to do it again. A few months later she saved my ass. I had scheduled a shoot in Pasadena and enlisted the help of a makeup artist and a wardrobe stylist. The model flaked. A complete no-show. I didn’t want our efforts to go to waste so I called Neyla early that morning and asked her help me out. She rallied and the results were amazing. Like Eva and Tiffany the images from that day still stand.
Neyla’s trying to get a new portfolio together and when she showed me her concepts they were in-line with what I wanted to shoot. We had a great time and came away with a lot of amazing photos.
Relationships make for great photos. It’s one thing to meet a perfect stranger and work together as professionals with the same goal of great photos. But when there’s history and a relationship between the model and the photographer the level of comfort and trust help to make the images even better. Add the fact that all three of these women are great models and I had a great week.
I’ve worked with a lot of models and actors over the years. Some models have it; some think they do, but don’t. It’s always a great experience to work with someone who is really great at what they do, knowing that when I work with them the results will be amazing. In this case it was shooting with Tiffany Toth down in Laguna Beach. Tiffany and I have had the pleasure of working together on three different occasions and every time we shoot together we get the caliber of images that stand out.