Brazil Portfolio Shoot

October 21st, 2014

Brazil Portfolio Shoot

 

Building a better portfolio.

As photographers and artists, we tend to focus on what our clients want. I get it, that makes complete sense. I mean, they are the ones paying the bills most of the time. But, what do you do for you? How do you invest in building your skills? How to you experiment, fail, rebuild? How do you attract those new clients you want? Below is a break out of what we did for a recent trip to Brazil.

Make time for you.

If its always about our clients, then we never get to invest in us or our own advancement. Wherever I go I try to make time for me. Recently, I was in Brazil teaching at an event called Wedding Prime. There was no way I was going to leave without shooting for my portfolio.

Wherever you are, as long as there is human life, there is a means and way to get a shoot in. Make it happen! Don’t make excuses. It’s the only way for us to improve as artists.

What areas are you weak in? Posing? Lighting? Composition? Invest in you.

Plan ahead.

This isn’t going to magically come together. It takes planning. We tend to put things together about a month out. We reach out and start looking for subjects to shoot. We start looking for hair and make-up artists. We start looking for locations via Google Earth. And finally, we start talking concepts.

I can tell you first hand, rarely does this part of the process go smoothly. Models cancel, locations end up not being what you thought, and like everything else in life – if it can, it will go wrong. Be ready to adapt to the changing environment and the dynamic nature of a live shoot. Don’t get frustrated. Get motived. Get competitive and tell yourself “I can do this!”

Think about the clients you want in the future. Not the ones you have today.

I have heard photographer after photographer cry “my clients won’t let me do that” or “my clients are traditional”. Come on everyone! Wake up. The clients you have today are the ones drawn into your current portfolio on your web site. Are you posting the images YOU want to take? Or, which is so often the case, is your portfolio suffering from schizophrenia? You have to be consistent. You have to show the kind of work you want to shoot and deliver to your clients. This ensures your clients in the future are the ones you are trying to connect with.

Get uncomfortable.

Stop doing what you always do. Don’t trust your instincts. This is your time to fail. No one cares. This is not about your clients. This is about you! Do something you have always wanted to do or try, but never had the courage to do or something your clients wont ordinarily allow you to do.

With this in mind, now you understand my mind set on these shoots.

For my shoot in Brazil, we had connected with a modeling agency and make-up artist locally. Prior to arriving, getting anyone to return an email was very difficult, but we didn’t stop trying.

We knew the beach location, so we knew we wanted to shoot this location.

For inspiration, we had done some searching online, looking at various commercial shots for inspiration and we knew we wanted something different for our portfolio. We wanted a headpiece and a wedding dress open in the back. We wanted something sexy. Being in the conservative mid-west, this is not something my normal bride has ever asked for. I think the main reason for this is because I don’t have shots like this in my portfolio. So, when I say sexy to a bride, she immediately thinks boudoir or something along those lines. I would imagine, now that I have something to show in my portfolio, it’s going to be an easier conversation to have with future clients.

This was the main goal of the shoot. Anything else, was going to be a little more fluid. We always allow ourselves some creative freedom based on the model, location, and other variables.

I hope you enjoy what we came up with. Now, get out there and build your own portfolio. There is no reason for you not to.

Gear

Camera // Canon 1Dx

Lighting // Profoto B1

 

CLICK TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE.

For the first two shots, we took these at the hotel room. I was looking to create something soft and use the natural light. The problem is, sometimes natural light is just not good enough. So, we had to make our own. As you can see from the behind the scenes, we used the Profoto B1 to fire in some light from outside the room. This really softened the light and gave us that little extra pop of light we needed. We then shot with and without the veil. My favorites are below – shooting through the veil.

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We had met Bruno at Wedding Prime in Brazil and really took a liking to him. A solid model, and probably one of the most helpful models I have ever worked with. Lights, gear, etc – anything we needed he was more than willing to assist with. I would work with Bruno any time any place. So, for the next scene, we started running into some challenges. It had been raining for about 2 hours and the sun was setting and of course, all our locations were outside. And as if by plan, the rain stopped when we rolled up to the beach. Here was the scene.

We used the Profoto B1 on a stand with a 2×2 softbox. I shot this wide open. Personally, I love the shallow depth of field, makes the background look fake – almost like we were shooting in a studio. We then messed around with lighting location to create a few dramatic portraits.

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Now, with Tacyana out of the makeup chair, it was time to rock her shots. Not gonna lie, I was in a bit of panic mode. We literally had about 30min of light left and about 4-5 shots on my shot list left. We all ran out to the beach and I found this patch of greenery. With the red top, I felt like this would just pop!

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This is one of my favorite shots and scenes. Alissa, my second shooter, went to a local store and made this headpiece, really adding that dramatic element to the shot. The cost of something like this is about $50. Well worth the investment. Time, of course, is the main expense here.

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5 Ways to Bring in New Business

October 1st, 2014

5 Ways to Bring in New Business

5 Ways to Bring in New Business

Marketing any type of business always has one essential goal: to bring in new clients. It can be daunting since it’s a never-ending process. Our efforts sometimes don’t pay off immediately, but instead give us a more long-term yield. That can be disheartening when you need clients now. I’ve found the best way to make sure you have a consistent flow of inquiries is to make sure you’re combining both short- and long-term marketing plans. Here are six ideas to help you formulate your new client campaign.

Long-Term

Creating and sticking to long-term marketing efforts can be time-consuming and a bit tedious at first. However, they’re crucial to establishing a credible brand presence with your audience, and they will yield results over time. (For more on other long-term ventures that yield amazing results, check out my last two articles on the “compound effect.”)Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // October 2014 issue or create a free account by clicking here.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // October 2014 issue or create a free account by clicking here.

Stop the Madness

October 1st, 2014

Stop the Madness

 

Stop the Madness

We live in a digital world, there is no argument there. How we, as photographers, adapt to this changing world is a subject of heated debate.

This month, we produced an episode of Shutter Network on this very subject, but there still seems to be massive confusion on how and where to incorporate this into your business.

Let’s have a reality check on the digital state of the industry. Yes, we are living in a digital world and yes, our clients want the digital files. So what? If they want your car keys, will you hand those over too? You are running a business. You are trying to pay your bills. You are trying to reinvest into your business. Where is this money coming from? You have to think and act like a business and not like a starving artist.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // October 2014 issue or create a free account by clicking here.

Wedding Photo + Video: Why You Should Be Offering Both

October 1st, 2014

Wedding Photo + Video: Why You Should Be Offering Both

Wedding Photo + Video: Why You Should Be Offering Both

Of the hundreds of photographers and filmmakers I know, only four offer both. Why? Isn’t it easer than ever these days to find affordable equipment and become a professional wedding photographer or filmmaker? Yes. Is the education easy to find? Yes. Are you already using a camera that allows you to take professional video and photos? Yes. So why isn’t every photographer offering both? Let’s look at the top excuses.

Excuse #1:
“I don’t know how to be a photographer” or “I don’t know how to become a filmmaker.”

Surely all you filmmakers feel it must be nearly impossible to take photos like a pro. Most of you reading this article are photographers, and many of you are scared to hit the Record button. How many of you video people have been to weddings where you feel like you know more about lighting and composition than the photographer? Hell, half the weddings we attend, we know more about music and sound than the deejay. Just to be fair, there’s a ton of new filmmakers out there who know nothing about communication, lighting or posing. You might think you don’t know how to do one or the other, but everyone starts somewhere. Brides and grooms are not comparing you to the greatest photographer or filmmaker in the world. If you just try it by throwing yourself in the fire, you will be just fine. Not knowing how to do everything is what makes photo/video jobs so fun.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // October 2014 issue or create a free account by clicking here.

Children’s Portraits That Sell

October 1st, 2014

Children’s Portraits That Sell

Children’s Portraits That Sell

These days, most moms have a nice camera, and many moms take photos of their kids daily. So why would someone choose a pro in 2014? And if they do choose a pro, what are the images that will sell?

Recently I had a group of photographers ask me for a “shot list.” When I asked what exactly they were looking for, one of them replied, “You know, a list of poses that sell!”

The truth is that once upon a time, I probably thought the same way as I went into a session. What list of poses could I create over and over that would be the best-sellers? But as time went by, I began to realize there really was no “money shot.” Sure, there might be some things that I do each and every time because of a reaction that I might get. There are games I play with different ages of kids to get certain looks or to keep their attention. But I learned that without a reason to buy, the photo isn’t going to sell, and the reasons moms buy are all about the experience we create for their kids. It’s about the way we interpret a child’s personality and interests—visually with the camera and verbally as we communicate with Mom about what we see with our camera.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // October 2014 issue or create a free account by clicking here.

Creative Editing: Adding Grit to your Urban Portraits

October 1st, 2014

Creative Editing: Adding Grit to your Urban Portraits

Creative Editing: Adding Grit to your Urban Portraits

When shooting portraits in urban spaces, composing the subject and architecture can seem daunting because the architecture can overpower your posed subject, especially when shooting wider shots. This common issue can be solved with proper post-production editing to give back the emphasis to your subject. Editing the image is as important as capturing it. Paying close attention to the details in the image and removing the distractions is the first step. Adding grit to your photos allows those unique vertical shots to stay in your portfolio and become a marketable piece for your client.

After all, these are portraits and not just documents of urban spaces. That’s where sizing, cropping and sharpening the image will give it that polished look. Let’s open your RAW image in Photoshop and get started.

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Marketing Your Portraiture

October 1st, 2014

Marketing Your Portraiture

Marketing Your Portraiture

Just a few weeks ago, I got a call from a photographer friend who was thoroughly frustrated with business challenges. He was on overload, and called me for a pep talk. Thirty minutes later, he was out of the slump, and had some solid reminders of his potential.

“Find out what everybody else is doing and then offer something different.”

That’s a quote from a good buddy, long-time photographer Terry Clark. It was the perfect starting point for pep talk.

Great portraiture can make your work stand out, and it starts with your skill set. You need to understand lighting and posing. Just learning a couple of basics and then practicing relentlessly is a great way to start.

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The Art of Boudoir Portraits

October 1st, 2014

The Art of Boudoir Portraits

The Art of Boudoir Portraits

In most portraits, clients want to capture an image of themselves at a particular moment in time, usually smiling and projecting what they wish to share with others, such as professionalism, happiness or serenity. Clients who want to share a more intimate side of themselves book a boudoir portrait.

Boudoir clients are encouraged to express private, powerful emotions in intimate settings. Clothing is minimal. We use lighting that accentuates the curves, outfits that cling and graze, and atmosphere that sets a sexy mood.

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The Changing Times: Family Portraits and The Economy

October 1st, 2014

The Changing Times: Family Portraits and The Economy

The Changing Times: Family Portraits and The Economy

Family portraits are among the most prized possessions in most people’s homes. I’ve heard countless people say that their family pictures would be one of the first things they would grab if their house were on fire. With the ubiquity of camera phones, family portraits seem less important. It is my mission to continue to remind everyone why it is so important to continue to update their family portraits.

For today’s client, the experience is just as important as the images. One of the biggest things I do to continue to grow the family category of my business is to give myself extra time to chat. I generally allow two hours for each family session. This allows me time to really get to know my client by making small talk. Most business exchanges these days are all about collecting money and moving to the next transaction. You want to make sure you are making it known that your clients mean the world to you. Customer service has never been more important. We need to create an environment that makes their spending feel justified.

Want to read this photography training article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // October 2014 issue or create a free account by clicking here.