Posts Tagged ‘photographer’
As a photographer I get to watch and participate in a lot of momentous occasions. Whether it’s a wedding, birthday or birth it’s an incredible feeling to contribute to a family’s history. I love that my images will be cherished for a lifetime. Knowing that the photos I made will outlast me is pretty cool. Earlier this week I was referred to Jordan by a friend. Jordan was planning on proposing to his girlfriend and wanted a photographer to document the occasion. Other than my own proposal this was a first for me.
I met Jordan at Palisades Park about 30 minutes before Suzy was scheduled to arrive. In addition to having flowers ready Jordan had arranged for a car service to pick her up and bring her to the park. We waited. I didn’t want her to see me when she arrived so I stayed about 100 feet from Jordan. Being that this is north Santa Monica I think most of the people thought I was a paparazzi. Jordan would shoot me texts with updates.
Suzy arrived just in time. My heart was racing. I was excited for Jordan and Suzy and needed to make sure I got the shot. It worked out perfectly. When everyone around us figured out what just happened they started clapping and cheering.
The following is a slideshow of the proposal.
One of the great things about shooting family portraits is developing relationships. This year I’m shooting with a lot of families I have photographed on numerous occasions. In a lot of cases I only see the families once a year but documenting the family’s growth is an amazing experience.
A few weeks ago I shot Tracey and Carley. This marks the fifth year I’ve photographed them. The night before our shoot I bumped into Carley at the El Segundo High School football game. My heart dropped to think she was already in high school, but it turns out she’s still in 8th. Carley was nine years old the first time I photographed her in 2007.
Tracey and Carley’s photos are always special to me. I love photographing their relationship and always come away with endearing images that speak volumes.
This is also the fifth time we scheduled our shoot at a park and the fourth time at Polliwog park in Manhattan beach. This year I asked Tracey why not shoot at the beach? The answer was simple…Tucker. Tucker is Carley’s dog and has been with us for the past four shoots. Since dogs aren’t allowed on the beach we’re at Polliwog (again) and I’m trying my hardest to make sure that this year’s photos are unique.
The following is a collection of images I made over the past five years.
Here’s to tradition.
Being a professional photographer is more than just taking pictures. When I look at my responsibilities I’m the following:
- Owner of a small business
- Chief Marketing officer
- accounts receivable
- accounts payable
- copy writer
- prop stylist
- inbound sales
- legal aid
- casting director
- graphic designer
- clown for kids
- coach for brides and those helping pay for weddings
I had a conversation the other day with a potential client about a job. The referral was for a small and fairly easy job. Basically a job anyone with a camera and decent photography experience could handle. The budget was X but my rate for the job was about 3X. Do I take the job? Do I lower my rate just so I get the job and have the security of knowing I booked one more job and made some money?
A few years ago I would have taken the job. A lot of photographers will take the job which sets a precedent: now this client thinks this type of job is only worth X and they shouldn’t pay more. Now that my business is more established I have to think past making a few bucks. I don’t want to lower the bar for other professionals or teach potential clients that the value of photography is X. When I look at my job titles/responsibilities above and think about the effort and expense it take to be a photographer I can’t afford to take those jobs anymore. The client had previously hired a photographer for the same type of job who shot the job and handed over a CD of images after the shoot. That’s not how I roll.
For every hour I have a camera in my hand I’ve spent about one additional hour prepping for the shoot and/or dealing with setting up for the job. After my one-hour shoot I spend a additional hour editing the photos. By editing I mean going through the entire shoot and deleting (the bad ones), color correcting, cropping and minor retouching every image. This is to make sure that the work I present to my client looks like it was shot by a professional and not the photographer who hands over the CD of unedited images.
I can’t explain this to my clients. I don’t know or care how much my plumber pays to keep his doors open, so why should my clients care? They shouldn’t. It’s part of my job to make sure that the service and product I provide has value and that my clients feel they are getting a great deal for their money. Every one of my clients has a camera yet they still pay me to do something they could do themselves.
In regards to some of the above mentioned job titles I’m better at some and horrible at others. Here’s a copy of the bookkeeper’s desk (which also doubles as the graphic designer and retouchers work station). If I could, I’d fire my ass as a bookkeeper, but I’m not there yet.
It’s been a busy couple weeks. With Phyllis of broadcastingbaby.com we’ve continued our partnership to offer packages that include the photo shoot and holiday cards and have managed to have a couple weekends of great shoots. The great thing I love about this time of year is the great variety of shots and personalities I get to work with.
First up, we have the Mahony brothers. When I was their age, a family portrait meant getting dressed up (in an outfit that my mom deemed appropriate) and trying to smile and look natural in front of a backdrop. With these brothers we get to walk around, take some shots and hopefully have a bit of fun. I try not to force things when I’m shooting kids and teens. If I push ‘em too far or try to force something that’s not for them I loose them. My goal is to make them look cool and have them walk away thinking “that wasn’t so bad”. Here’s the shot we got last year and I’m happy with the shots from this year.
This year I shot Annabelle, Lilly and Charlie again. Mom always does a great job of making them look great for the shoot. Getting three young kids looking cute, at the camera, at the same time takes a bit of luck and a small miracle. The great thing about shoots likes these are the stolen moments. The cute pic of all three ends up on the Christmas card, the other ones help us remember the fun.
With most family portrait shoots I start with the “safe” family shots, then the safe brother sister shots and then I set ‘em free to have some fun.
In some cases it takes a while to get people to relax. Let’s face it, when a stranger points a camera at you and asks you to look natural – does it feel natural? Not for me. My goal is to get past the point, or at least get a few moments, where they forget I’m there.
I was reviewing the images on my website and wanted to look back at all the shoots from the closeup portrait series. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series. It was another exercise for me in portraiture. It was my second series and I used the same lighting, background and look for all of the shots. Most were shot wide open at F1.2 using natural light.
With all of my portrait or fashion sessions I like to take some time for both me and the subject to “warm up”. When I’m working with someone for the first time I try to get to know them and especially get them to relax. In the case of the closeup series I asked them to bring a wife-beater tank top and an outfit of their choice for some photo options. Most of these sessions lasted 15-20 minutes.
The first person I met and photographed was Anthonio, an inspiring actor and director. The image without the shirt was cropped and used in the series.
I met and photographed Noah the same day. The birth of his first born was eminent and because I had a two year old daughter at the time, I was able to relate to what he was about to experience.