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.
The Year 2014
So the last time I wrote anything it was October of last year, so much for keeping up with the blog. 🙂 To be fair, it has been a crazy start to the year. First was the move. My wife and I packed everything up, bought a car and headed for Los Angeles. 2 weeks in the car with 2 cats and a carload of everything, and it was still a blast. We stopped in the beautiful southwest, which was really just a tease because we were there in February, and I’m dying to go back already. It’s a stunning part of the country and I’m stoked that we live a lot closer to it. Some serious camping adventures are coming. Below are just a few of my favorites, you can catch more from the southwest here.
We are settling into LA nicely, it is certainly different here. I’m in love with the weather and getting back to having a more active outdoor lifestyle. It has its minuses, but in the end I think we’ll be happy here, or somewhere in California for quite some time, as it may not always be LA. It has definitely been a very good change of pace. Once we got moved and settled I ended up flying back to NYC to wrap up a big commercial job I did for the new Crowne Plaza Hotel by JFK. Below are just a few highlights from that property. I love shooting hotels like this. Lots of style and thought went into the interior design which makes it a lot more fun to shoot.
Soon after getting home from NYC it was time to head to Charlotte for a big shoot at the Hilton Charlotte Center City. We spent over a week shooting still and video (more on that to come next week). Shooting Charlotte was a blast and I got one of my favorite hotel exterior shots. The hotel sat in a beautiful courtyard, and there just happened to be a perfect sized parking garage across the street. It came out awesome, we shot for over an hour and in the end I used over 50 different lighting layers to create the final image. The video below is the 3+ hours of retouching crunched down to 10 min. It goes pretty quick but it can give you a birds eye view of all the lighting work it took to make the image.
Here is a before and after as well 🙂
Stay Tuned…Big Things Coming!
When I left NYC I did leave the bulk of my headshot business there as well. I always knew this would be the biggest business challenge about the move. It took several years to build it up in NYC so I imagine it will take about the same or less here, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m going to work at getting back to NYC a couple times a year for headshots and I’m starting to push LA headshots more too, change is always a little nerve racking, but exciting at the same time. The headshot business has always really taken off with word of mouth, so I’ll go back and do it like NYC, just shoot and shoot and shoot and eventually people will talk! In the interim I’ll be working on some personal projects finally this year that I’m excited about. I’m looking to improve my commercial portfolio in the portrait department, so I’m going to create a few projects that have been eating at me for a while now.
Here’s a few fresh headshots from LA
Some very big things are going to be coming from me in the next couple months in the headshot department, and it’s geared for other photographers so keep your eyes peeled! Part of this process has also been a re-branding and revamp of everything. A special thank you goes out to Jeremy Deming of Jerm Designs and ArtCo Lab in Coeur d’Alene, ID. He killed it on my logo and gave me a really awesome branding package. If any photographers out there are looking for a killer graphic artist check him out, he kicks serious ass 🙂