Most of us love to travel. The excitement of new locations, new scenery, fresh ideas. It inspires us and feeds our creative soul. If you’re like me, I tend to put a lot of planning and creative energy towards shoots that take place while I’m traveling. I look forward to it, marking these shoots as standout portfolio builders and points of growth. But, have you ever stopped to think about all the missed opportunities for amazing shots right in our own backyards?
The problem can usually be narrowed down to business skills, although sometimes a bad personality peeks its nasty head in. But even if the marketing is good and the business sense is great, some serious bankruptcy-causing mistakes can be made in the pricing area. Let’s take a look at the basic structures of pricing so you can avoid common pitfalls.
If you love travel, then you have probably fantasized about traveling the world and getting paid to do what you love, photography. I still remember my first destination wedding. I was hired to shoot a wedding in Ireland and I nearly lost my mind. I couldn’t believe someone was willing to pay me money to travel across the globe to take pictures. I had already had the travel bug, but after this, all bets were off. I was hooked and would spend the next 10+ years looking for any and every way to travel the world doing what I love.
Over the years, I worked with Laura on several occasions. For a hobby photographer, it’s a true pleasure to work with a professional model. Laura doesn’t need much direction, works hard and doesn’t complain even when we’re shooting outside in the pouring rain. She also has a great sense of humor and it is always good fun working together. After shooting with Laura, the results are always “next level.” In this article, we will share the 4 pillars of a successful location shoot with you, based on our recent experience in London.
All in all the shoot came together really well and my client couldn’t be happier. Bringing your client’s concepts to life doesn’t have to be complicated or onerous. The key is good communication, a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish going in, and a simple, effective lighting plan. My advice is always to keep it uncomplicated and creative. Keep your eyes and ears open and always think about what you’re not seeing. The final you’re seeing here isn’t where I started out during this shoot. It’s easy to miss something potentially great when you’re in the shooting bubble. In my experience, the strongest image may not be the one you’re shooting but something still unseen and undiscovered. Stop, look around, reframe. You’ll be surprised at the hidden gems just waiting for you!
From a bird’s-eye view, this adventure looks quite glamorous and the end result of these productions most certainly is. But what folks don’t get to see are the 16-hour days in 110-degree heat put in to get the shot, the 4am call times for light, the intense pressure of clients’ high expectations, the cold-calling to get new clients, the all-nighters I pull to get retouched images over to a client before their print deadline, the endless hours my Dreamteam and I spend estimating and planning productions, and the hundreds of emails that go back and forth for each and every shoot. There are no sick days in this kind of work.
I am an artist—a creative soul that cannot be tamed, a dreamer with a big heart who refuses to allow societal rules to define me. But I didn’t pop out of my mother’s womb with big ideas and a nomadic spirit; it was something I fought for over the span of several decades. I was born into a world of manners and politeness; you are conditioned to believe the ideals of your community and are told what to say and when to speak. It was a toxic environment that killed individuality and creative expression, but I never realized that there was a different way while inside the comfortable confines of my hometown.
Underwater photography while mesmerizing is not for the faint of heart. You have all of the regular challenges that come with shooting on land, and then about 1000x’s more challenges that come from shooting in a moving environment. All of this is intensified when you are shooting in the ocean versus a pool. While almost everything can be controlled on land, that is not the case while underwater. You have a split second to get what is in your mind, set up and captured in camera to eventually share with the world.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you’re probably interested in shooting destination weddings. There are a lot of reasons why photographers want to photograph destination weddings. For one, you get to experience capturing the wedding in an entirely different scenario than what you’re currently used to. Destination weddings often have carefree clients who are interested in amazing photography and will typically choose places that feature beautiful scenery.
When it comes to traveling and personal photography, I like to edit and share my images on the fly. This means I’m not waiting to connect to my RAID storage drive at home before I can get started on my images. I want to quickly ingest memory cards, save Raw files to a fast external drive, and add my photos to Lightroom. Lightroom Classic is typically my go-to for photo gigs, however, in this case I want to be mobile and share edits fast. This is when I use Lightroom CC. I can truly travel light for post-production and have the ability to edit from my phone.
I’m on a mission. For some unexplained reason, I relish in seeing others experience the joy of being an artist and living their dream of making a living with their camera. Hang out with me for any length of time, and I will ask you a lot of questions. Such as: What do you love to do more than anything on the planet? How many non-paid, non-client self-assignments do you do a month? Are you working on a body of images in a series? How do you feel if someone tells you your work sucks? What are you doing to market your work? My goal is to get photographers to get off their butts, get out, and create their own path.
For us, it’s about empathy. As artists, we believe many things go into creating beautiful, unique work, but being empathic with our fellow humans is the only way to truly understand and grow the way we create art. That’s what photography is to us. It’s getting to know and learn about life from some of the most energetic, gifted, and spirited souls our planet has. What we do enriches our lives and our marriages daily. So we’ve put a lot of thought into creating an experience for our couples that will reflect this enrichment in our art and give our couples the once-in-a-lifetime photographs that they deserve. We call these “adventurous elopements.”
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Video production is a complicated world. Even if you’ve been involved in the world of video for many years as I have, the speedy technological advancements on the production side and the changing conditions on the business side create a state of constant required learning. If you’re not abreast of these changing dynamics and techniques you’re likely going to be losing money. One aspect that probably changes faster than the advancements in technology is the expedient furtherance of visual styles. This is either the bane or passion of any video maker (depending on who you talk to) trying to create a profitable formula with their video work, whether it be weddings, commercial, feature-filmmaking or music videos.
In this video, Sal Cincotta, the editor-in-chief of Shutter Magazine and a small business owner himself, breaks down some of the key points of this relief package and what you need to know for your small business to benefit from it.
Have you heard that the high school senior photography market and model programs are dying? I have … many, many times! Even from a photographer-specific business coach I once paid—needless to say, that didn’t last long. Let me tell you, those rumors have been around for several years, and they’re still wrong. So if you’ve heard that before, I have great news! As long as there are teenagers graduating high school, parents seeing their babies growing into adults, and professional photographers willing to provide a phenomenal experience for the senior and parent, there will be a market for high school senior photography and model programs!
Readers of this column know that I’m a big booster for the use of handheld light meters. I use them daily in my own photography and recommend them to every photographer interested in better lighting. In fact, if you want to take your lighting to the next level in addition to taking your light off your camera, learning to use a handheld light meter is the next best step you can take in that direction. I know what you’re thinking! “My camera already has a built-in light meter. Why do I need another meter, another expense, and another tool to worry about?” Those are each great questions.
What is behind the shutter?
Behind the Shutter is a free online photography training and educational resource created to help both professional and amateur photographers run successful photography businesses – covering lighting, posing, social media, marketing, post-production, pricing, sales and more.
Sal Cincotta created Behind the Shutter to give back to the world of photography. As an up and coming photographer, Sal was struggling to find answers to basic questions. Most of the magazines out there were filled with fluff. Sal needed and wanted to create something that would challenge photographers, something that would educate them.
Sal, an active wedding and portrait photographer in the St Louis metro area, wanted to bring a sense of real world understanding to the magazine and photography education.
Our mission is to create and elevate the photography community by providing relevant and timely education. At Behind the Shutter, we believe that an educated photography community will raise the bar for all photographers around the world.
Photography training and education for the modern photographer
In today’s competitive landscape, quality online photography training and education is priceless to your growth. Unfortunately, most publications contain a ton of fluff. No real meat to their content. Not at Shutter Magazine. We are committed to the photography community and improving professional photography by providing current, insightful, and in-depth educational content.
Training topics include photography lighting techniques, photography off-camera flash tips, photography posing guides, photography business concepts and marketing strategies, Facebook for photographers, boudoir and glamour photography training, high-school senior photography concepts, IPS (In-Person Sales) strategies, family photography, lightroom tutorials, photoshop how-tos, and much, much more.