It was actually a pretty fun exercise to go back and look at the set of things I shot in 2014. I feel like as each year passes, the set of things I get a chance to be involved in gets more interesting and rich with great relationships and a backstory. I can’t wait to see what this looks like next year.
I made another trek out to Vegas this year for WPPI which is an annual conference for wedding and portrait photographers...and video. They're increasing their coverage of the video world which was nice to see.
I attended several classes during my time there and came away with new inspiration and ideas to implement. My interest was a mix of business, marketing, and some technical classes. Some sessions were with a very large crowd by well known photographers and others were in a smaller venue by lesser known (at least to me) professionals. I really preferred the smaller sessions. Two reasons I enjoyed these more: 1) They aren't trying to sell you anything and 2) They have so much more meat to their presentations because - you guessed it - they're not trying to sell you anything!
A few tangible take-away's for me:
- There are marketing opportunities everywhere. Watch for them and take the time to think about how to approach them in a unconventional way.
- Find ways to partner with other businesses that provide them with nothing but an upside.
- Stay organized with regard to obtaining and utilizing contacts.
- For portraits: Own it. The difference between an okay portrait and fantastic one is the direction you give and the connection you make with the client.
- Choose your lens wisely to tell your story. This year there were several presenters talking about being deliberate about lens choice to make your images stand out.
There were many more but these are some that stuck with me.
While I was in Vegas I arranged for a photo shoot to happen. I planned this out months ahead of time and worked with the model to stylize the shoot. I also had a make-up artist (MUA) which makes all the difference in the final output.
We started with headshots and worked our way into other poses and looks. Here are some from the session.
Ralph reached out to me through Facebook and asked if I could help him put together a set of images that would look different than other classmates with a city setting. I've recently become more familiar with SOHO and opted for that area to shoot in. As it turns out, it fits well with Ralph's other interest which is fashion. He has a blog that he keeps on the subject.
We started with a colorful setting in front of a door and wall that has graffiti and some kind of paper mâché.
To add to the NYC feel, I had him head down the subway stairs and then stop for a break in the Vive la crepe for something to drink.
We finished with a stroll down the cobble stone street and then to some more formal shots.
Thanks Ralph for letting me show you around SOHO. We definitely captured the urban vibe of NYC.
So, for the 9-month photo shoot with Nyla, we mixed it up a little and brought in some friends. Suman (or Nyla's mom as she'll more often be referred to now) arranged for some kids from the same building they live in to join in some picture taking fun.
We started with some of just the immediate family (nice Valentine theme this time)...
And finished with three girls that play together on most days...
By the way, I loved this one for all the different things going on in the image. The expressions and moment captured is why I love photography. Looking forward to the 1st Birthday in April.
Okay, a little corney on my title. More to the point, something I enjoy is finding new, exciting, and photographically - is that a word? - relavant things on the web. I've been hearing lots of great buzz about this site called Pinterest. I created an account and so far, so good.
What I like about it is that its a different way to discover images. I like the concept of being able to create boards which you could think of like a folder or a category. Within that board, you can post images that you want to group together. I'm using it for two things so far. The first is to use it to put some ideas for my next shoot. The second is to start to work on a new idea I have that I'd like to call "Pleasing my senses". More to come on that. In the meantime...
At the moment, I have two jobs. My "day job" focuses on optimizing product teams to be as self-guiding and self-sufficient as possible. We build customer experiences that help people discover and license photos and videos for any creative project they're working on. For photos, we're targeting designers, marketers, and other creatives. On the video side, we're helping producers, editors and others that are usually involved with putting together commercials, documentaries or the like. The site is called Shutterstock. Check it out when you get a chance.
My other "job" is photography. Actually, it doesn't feel right to call it a job. It's a passion. It's my creative outlet. Its the first thing in my life, outside of family, that I'm focused on making sure that I spend time on and on improving each day, week, month, etc. The reason I brought up the "day job" is that I learn a lot about user experience, design, marketing, etc. from my day job and once in a while I need to remind myself to apply those learnings to my photography business. Case in point, my website.
I've made some changes to the site. Nothing too dramatic but I've added some features that keep me current with things I learn about by being in both the web/internet and photography industry. First, I've updated the design template. I tend to like a very clean interface with light, thin typeface and not too much happening on a given page. I think it helps you focus on the task at hand instead of being too distracted. Second, I've added some insight to other ways I produce material through a flickr module on the right side of the Journal.
There will be more changes to come so stay tuned.
There's so much information to consume these days that you have to be selective about what you choose to spend time keeping up with. For photography, there are only a handful of photographers I follow on a regular basis. One of those photographers is Chase Jarvis. He's a commercial photographer that has done a lot to bring a sense of community to photographers around the world and oh, by the way, he take some pretty great pictures too.
A recent project was of interest to me to check out, especially since it's being displayed in NYC and now that I'm working again in the city, its pretty easy for me to get to. Yesterday at lunch, I made the trek to the Ace Hotel to check out the "Dasein: an invitation to hang" display. Its a collection of snap shots from around the world, hand picked by Chase and placed in this gallery space for people to take it all in and contribute either in person or virtually. To some extent, it takes on the next step to a "Best Camera" app his team also developed. Fun stuff.
Here's a couple pictures I took of what the display looked like...