The session is over…now what? In the final part of my series on setting up a successfull headshot session. I talk about my practices after a shoot to insure an awesome customer service experience. I talk about the power of word of mouth, reviewing your images, and delivering your images. I lead it off with a great shot of the awesomely talented Zach Sutton, of Zach Sutton Photography. Zach is another kick ass headshot photographer based in Albuquerque, NM. Zach flew out to LA recently just to get a headshot, we had an awesome time and I learned a lot from him. Actors in the New Mexico area better look this guy up! Head over to Fstoppers.com for the full article.
In part two of series on setting up a successful headshot session I talk about challenges we face while at a shoot. From skin issues to makeup to getting your client comfortable in front of the camera, I talk about it all. There are many things that can weigh on both a photographer, and the client confidence level. Working with confidence in anything you do can be the most important practice when running your business. Head over to Fstoppers.com for the full story.
It’s 2015…Time to change a few things
Most successful photographers I know keep their sanity by doing a lot of personal work along with their paid work. Finding a balance to those two things can be challenging. I have been fortunate in the sense that when I got my business started I began doing a fair amount of work right away, between my headshots and hotel jobs I was staying pretty busy. Which, on one hand, is awesome and I’m very fortunate. On the other it hasn’t left much time to truly execute my own idea’s. Now I place a lot of blame on myself, and one of my major goals for 2015 is to stop talking about the things I want to do and just do them. It can be hard. You are traveling and shooting and it all seems awesome until you hit a wall going “why the hell am I not shooting the ideas bouncing around in this tiny brain of mine?”. Aside from my own laziness there are several other possibilities, one of which is that I’m tired. Running your own business can be exhausting. Always searching for more clients, branding, looking for ways to better market yourself, more ways to earn, and with my big commercial hotel jobs sometimes the start to finish process of completing those jobs can take a month. I shoot a hotel for a week and come home and spend another 2-3 weeks editing everything. When you spend days editing it can be hard to break away. I’m very much an all or nothing person which can be great when it comes to getting stuff done, but very detrimental if I’m in the “nothing phase”. All of that stops now. I’ll be an all or nothing person for the rest of my life, but it’s time to make a change and make time for my own creative endeavors.
It’s another challenge to overcome. Some days I just feel creatively stuck, and to be honest I have to real justification for it.I have plenty of opportunities not to be, and sometimes I think I just get lost in my own creative thoughts to the point that I just don’t know where to begin. Seems silly, and it is. There is a little guy inside me going “why don’t you start with getting outside with a camera dumbass”. All true. No more excuses. I think there comes a time in every creative’s journey where they feel like they are hitting a ceiling. I think these ceilings come in stages. You get a ceiling when the business is new and you are just starting to get steady work, and another when you are trying to figure out how to take your business to the next level. It’s time to pick up a sledgehammer and just start swinging.
My goal for this year is two fold. On the hotel and architectural front, I want to obtain some more high end clients. I want to shoot some seriously sexy properties, and that means I might need to give away a bit of work to make it happen.
On the headshot front I’m going to push even harder in LA. I knew leaving NYC would come with a temporary drop in headshot sessions. While I’m not dead by any means, I’m not as busy as I was in NYC…to be expected, but word is spreading and it will take some time to build up even more clients.
On the personal front I’m going to be working on a project that includes both video and stills. The stills will be aimed at taking my portrait work into a more commercial zone, and working with video is something I have always wanted to do. It’s time to make it all happen. More to come.
2015…I’m going to own you 🙂
In my newest article on Fstoppers.com I start a 3 part series on steps I believe can help ensure you create a successful headshot session. If you are a photographer who is just starting out, this is a must read. It is a culmination of many questions and conversations I’ve had regarding how I started, and what I do for each session. When I first began shooting headshots, it was a daunting task. Figuring out a rhythm for how a headshot session should go felt like an overwhelming problem. Head over to Fstoppers to read part one of this series.
This month has been crazy! We got back from San Diego shooting the Marriott in the Gaslamp district. I promptly headed back out of town for the day to shoot a music video, and then back to NYC to start an epic month of headshots in NYC. I had a roster of really fantastic clients this month. Headshots for me were fairly slow all summer and then BOOM! September and October have just rocked. On top of all of this I headed upstate to photograph the fall colors, and next week I’m going to start my next little personal video project of NYC.
On the Headshot front it’s been amazing this month. It always amazes me that 98% of my business is word of mouth, and now by extension social media. As much as blogging, Facebook, and Google+ can all drain hours of our lives it is very important to interact with our clients and encourage them to spread the word. Every couple months Google calls me to find out if I want to pay for a better rank (which mine is already pretty good). I often reply with a no. I tell them that even with all the amazing technology we have today, word of mouth for me, has still transcended it all. Most all of my clients find me from a friend, and I try to encourage this as much as possible with occasional referral deals, and so forth. Another item on the headshot agenda will be putting together another blogroll that is strictly for showcasing my clients and the work they have done or are currently doing as well. I have had clients recently appear in ads or articles for GQ, Bass Clothing, Nikon, Orlando Tourism, and more! So I want to be showcasing this more, and my clients rock so they deserve to shine! More on that to come!
It’s been a very stressful, exciting, and scary year, as I’ve been super busy with hotel and headshot work, which is amazing, but my wife and I are also going to move to LA and setup shop there. As a business owner who is self employed it makes sense on a number of levels. I tend to enjoy shooting outside for my headshots as much as possible, and living in LA will enable me to have the potential to make more money, and work more year round. It’s scary because I’ve become comfortable, and I enjoy the modest measure of success I’m having in NYC (and I LOVE NYC). My business has grown considerably in just 4 short years, and substantially in the last 2. Photography is hard to make money at, and I’m proud to be where I am. This of course leads to reservations about LA. All of this is natural but it just shows how important it is for any creative to challenge themselves, and not be afraid to be uncomfortable for awhile when your gut says 2 conflicting things. I will be coming back to NYC twice a year to start; for a week or two to shoot headshots, and based on my investigation of the idea so far there seems to be a lot of interest…so headshots are about to become Bi-Coastal!
I’m slowly pushing ahead into more and more video, and I’m looking forward to having more mobility in LA to enable me to formulate some creative projects that I have been wanting to do, which can be logistically a pain to pull off in NYC. I’m going to work on developing a video reel both for actors to accompany headshots, and their websites but also for real estate, hotel work, and some personal stuff, focusing on cinematography, and lighting. I’m also pushing to develop a portfolio with a couple projects geared at putting together a body of work that can appeal to a more commercial market, this will probably include some current works and some new ones I’m working on the concepts for now.
The change will be good and refreshing and in the end will be the best for me in the long term I think. More to come, for now enjoy a few highlights from the headshot side this month!