scottmeide asked: I have been working on my carrer as a editorial/commercial Portraiture photographer for the last 6 years. I have hit the street and have had a couple of portfolio viewings but no hits on jobs. Well I now have a deadline on staying in LA or moving to Charlotte in 6 months. I have decide to contact "i heart creative" to use there service as a consultant. What i am looking to get is - figure out where I am on the map to my career as a photographer and direction to where to go. Good Idea?
We heart creative?
Can’t vouch for them personally or not.
What I can speak to…
Some shoe leather. Some meetings. That’s just planting the seeds. They are fresh in the dirt. You can not expect to harvest any time soon. Unfortunately this stuff takes T. I. M. E.
If… IF you are moving to Charlotte in six months then you need to be planting seeds there NOW! You need meetings when you show up. Maybe you get a job or two. Junior jobs that is.
There are folks who just sort of fall into work like I fall off a horse… easily. Then there’s the 99% of the rest of us who have to toil at this.
Hiring a consultant is a good thing but you have to really trust them. You have to love them. It’s like picking a spouse. Talk to them. Get to know them. Follow their social media feeds. Follow those they have worked with. It’s going to cost you but that cost may be WELL worth it.
IF you trust them then trust what they say. They may tell you that you aren’t ready for prime time. Or they may tell you that you are. Or that you need to do x, y, and z to get there. If they are worth their salt and have the experience to back it up then trust what they say and do as they say. I’m sure there isn’t a guarantee but it’s better than just whacking through the wilderness on your own with zero compass points.
Anonymous asked: When for weeks I compulsively check your blog several times a day to learn how the story of Pentax ends and every time I'm confronted with the March 22nd picture of Esin Görür laughing, is she laughing at me?
She’s laughing at all of us. I’m just not a professional blogger.
Today… today I was going to sit down and write that post…
But then I had a meeting. And it was my 7 year old’s field day at school. Then I had some errands to run. Then, I’m going out of town this week so I picked the younger ones up from school and took them to the park. Then we met friends for dinner. Now I have emails to do, some laundry, kids are in the bath, and I have time to squeak out a few Q&A’s. Then I’ll be done. I will have had three beers by the time the kids go to bed. That means I’m pretty much NOT writing a blog post tonight.
So tomorrow I’ll write it. But I have a lunch meeting. Then that meeting will end up at my studio. Then I have a meeting with my new assistant going with me on this trip this week. We have to go over gear, how I pack, how I work, etc. Then it will be dinner time. Then I’ll have to pack my clothes. Then I have to be to bed early because I have to get up at 5am to get to the airport.
Then I’ll be on a job for four days. Then I’ll get home for one day. Then I’ll be on a job for three days. Then I’ll have two days off. Then I’ll be on a job for a week.
AFTER that I’ll blog about Pentax. And Cuba. And the CNN anchor I photographed a year or more ago. And the Haverty’s exec I photographed. And the Kung Pao 560 II review. And the job I’m about to shoot. And then the one after that. And get ready for the Q&A book to hit the shelves. Then the kids are out of school. THEN I’ll blog. But I have a new web site to launch. THEN I’ll blog.
I will. I will blog. I have to tell you where Pentax was. She was helping a friend in dire need. Oh. Pentax has a heart of gold she does. I promise.
bensemisch asked: What are "Must Have" elements to a photographers website? Also are there any photographers you feel who have totally nailed the website thing?
• Location. (Tons of people don’t do this. I don’t get it.)
• Phone number! (Again, lots of people leave this off their site.)
• email (Not just an email form. A real email address.)
• Easy to navigate galleries. (Click to progress or arrow key to go back & forth)
• Thumbnails. My site is lacking this. Working on that.
• Links to your social media accounts.
• Links to your off shore bank accounts.
• Sausage links.
• iOs compatible!!! No flash or html mirror site or something.
• NO F*CKING MUSIC!!!!! OMG!!!!! NO MUSIC!!!! AAAAAA!!!!!!
• No self playing slide shows.
• No papyrus, copperplate gothic, or comic sans fonts.
Photographers who have totally nailed it? That’s a moving target. I like this person’s gallery. I like that person’s bio. I like that person’s color palette. That other person has cool blog integration. Etc. I can’t say that I’ve seen the most perfect site in the world.
Anonymous asked: Which card do you use with your new fuji x100s?
Whichever class 10 SD cards that are on sale when I need to buy one. I have a mixed case of cards. I’ve had name brand cards fail and generic cards fail. I have zero brand loyalty these days. I don’t think I can actually care less about a brand of memory cards. I was once into Lexar UDMA CF cards because they supposedly were made to be used with their UDMA card readers but then I found any card in the same speed class worked just as quickly as a Lexar card. I still like my daisy chainable Lexar CF card readers though.
ernestgarver asked: Zack, as a well known and respected photographer I wonder if you still get the occasional client that may balk at your rates and even go as far as to ask why it should cost so much? I've grown comfortable with my pricing and quality of work but I still struggle with explaining why my rates are what they are to the average client to be. Any advice on how to better explain why a good pro charges what he does?
As a well known (amongst photographers) photographer and respected (that’s highly debatable) photographer do I get clients that balk at my rates?
Yes. Quite often. From bands to commercial clients.
No matter where you are in your career you are going to be explaining and educating clients about your rates and services. From $50 jobs to $5,000 jobs to $50,000 jobs.
Don’t get offended. It happens to all of us. Take your car in for regular maintenance and the mechanic says some thing needs to be replaced on your car and it’s going to cost $1,700. How many of you casually reply, “Oh sure. That’s fine.” ?
You want to know why it costs that much, is there a less expensive option, how long can you put it off before you’re on the side of the road, etc, etc. Your mechanic then has to tell you how four major parts of the car need to be disassembled to just get to the part they need to fix. Then the part is X amount of dollars. Then all that labor to go back and put it all together again. Etc. How many of you start thinking about getting a second opinion from another shop? Huh? Yeah! All of you.
We all look for deals. We all want a rebate. We all want to find a good bargain. When faced with the face value of a service or product we’re quick to start finding a cheaper alternative. Some things just don’t make sense why they cost so much until someone breaks it all down for you. Once you understand everything that has to go into the thing you want then you start to understand you’re actually going to have to pay that amount of money.
Then there are times that everyone in town says it’s going to cost $1,500 to $1,800 to fix your car. Then one shop says, “Oh, I’ll do it for $300.” You know what happens a lot of times? You don’t trust that person. If ten shops quote somewhere between $1,500 and $1,800 for this job why is that person going to do it for $300?
And THAT is how a lot of photographers actually lose work. They’re too cheap! I once bid $4,500 on a job. Didn’t get it. I emailed the client a few weeks later to ask why I didn’t get the job. She replied I was too cheap. She liked my work but my bid showed that I wasn’t experienced enough for the job. If I knew what I was doing that bid should have been in the $25,000 neighborhood for a number of reasons. She was absolutely right.
They were wanting steak house. I showed up with McDonalds.
Yep! Guess who got a tad bit more “experience” from that phone call?
Anonymous asked: Hey Zack! Lens hood or NO lens hood? Do you think they really have effect on the images? Can't really find on the net a good lens hood vs no lens hood comparison. Thanks!
I am a big believer in lens hoods. Being that I don’t care for UV filters and I always lose my lens caps, I do like lens hoods for protecting the front of my lenses. They also help provide protection from unwanted flare across the front of the lens that can kill
sharpness contrast. (Sorry. I meant contrast. Edited this to fix that line!)
Some of my lenses actually have the hood gaff taped on the front at all times. Every lens I own has a hood for it.
Anonymous asked: Hi Zack, I have been photographing weddings with 550D & a 50mm f1.8, 35 mm f2. I had some focusing problems at 1.8 with the 50mm. Many shots go out of focus and they are not sharp even at 1.8. Could you help me with. What is the best way to get sharp focus shots in a wedding specially a Indian wedding. Another thing I wanted to ask is Back button focusing. Do you use it, does it really help. (this is my fifth question here, please answer this one :)
Oh. Too bad you are shooting Indian weddings. Indian people tend to be out of focus. Did you know…. “Bokeh” is actually the Japanese word for “Indian”. True story! Now Asian people, they apply sharpening very early in life and tend to be very in focus. Maybe you could switch to shooting Asian weddings?
I’m just joking. Just bustin’ chops!
Take a look at this previous Q&A. It addresses a number of focusing issues. It starts as a “focusing in low light” question but there are a number of things in there that you may want to check out with the issues you are having. I specifically cover shooting at 1.8 in that answer.
Here is an answer that goes into back button focusing and other focusing issues.
Focusing is a learned skill. You can have the best AF system in the world (which is probably a Nikon) and you can still blow focus.
In all honesty, be glad you are shooting Indian weddings! Of all the kinds of weddings I have shot in the past, Indian weddings are by far my favorite. The colors. The traditions. The people. The food. Mmmmmm. The food. :)
Anonymous asked: Most often I feel that taking good photos is all about being a good retoucher - creating dramatic skies when none exist, popping that extra colour in the eye (adding a tinge of coloured hue) et al. Unfortunately, from what I see - photography is nothing but creative canvas. Has the concept of photography shifted from freezing a moment to creating a fantasy story?
There are people who “see” in Photoshop. There are people who “see” in flashes and softboxes. There are people who “see” in window light.
By “see” I mean they pre-visualize in their mind’s eye. As they raise the camera to their eye they already see layers, adjustment palettes, masks, and toning techniques. They already know what is going to happen in post production before they even click the shutter.
Some walk into a room and know they are going to put a 50” strip box on the left, a 20º grid on the background, and fly a 7’ octa from behind them. They “see” it before the gear is taken out of the bag.
Some see that Friday is going to be mostly cloudy. They know what that means for their shoot. They “see” it.
You can’t say one is better than the other. You can have a preference. You can be drawn to one kind of thing or the other. This is called “style.”
I disagree with you that taking good photos is all about being a good retoucher. Retouching is not what makes great photography great. Sure there are photographers who do a lot of retouching who make great photos. There are also photographers who can shoot a great image straight out of their camera. It’s easy, and common practice, to flame and troll the other kind of a photographer than what you are. We all tend to do that from time to time but we can’t make it a hard and fast rule that the “other” kind of photographer sucks.
The one common thread though is content and moment and light and composition. Jeremy Cowart does a good bit of work to his final images at times. If you strip that all away though you go back to a very good photo to start with. It can stand on it’s own without the retouching. Then there are photos that are great but retouching takes them to a new level. John Keatley’s work is like that.
Garbage in… garbage out as the old saying goes. Work on nailing the content and then retouch as needed. The problem though lies when the retouching goes to far. When the “technique” overpowers the “content” then the image is lost. I’ve seen many a good photo absolutely ruined in Photoshop. Destroyed. I’ve seen many a good photo that could be made better with some Photoshop.
You see how you can’t set a fast and steady rule to all of this?
michaelrpdx asked: To pick up on that "shoot with an 85, nothing but an 85, for a year thread. OK, the year is up. Now spend a year with a 28 or a 35 or a 200? Or does a year with one focal length give you the needed lessons of zooming with feet, thinking/seeing the world that way, etc. (if new year, new lens I'll assume which one depends on the person and their interests.)
I’d say that if you just spent a year with a telephoto, try going wide angle for awhile. Spend some time with that. Then you’ll start see the world through two different focal lengths. If you prefer living in the wide range then your next lens will be something in that range or you get a different telephoto and learn that one for awhile. Personal preference and budget will dictate where you grow with this kind of thing.
michaelrpdx asked: Way back when a photojournalist visiting our photo class said "all you need is a 28 and a 200". It's been over 30 years and her words, and a couple of the images, still live in my brain. What's your take on the advice?
There’s a lot of truth in that statement and I have a similar philosophy except I say a 35 and an 85. The sentiment is still something wide and something long. Ahem. Yeah. That’s what she said.
I know a lot of photographers who sort of live by this philosophy although their personal preference on the two main lenses may be different. I would bet if you sorted your images in a catalog by focal length you would find your preferred focal lengths pretty quickly.
I’ve heard this sort of philosophy in many other professions. I’ve heard chefs talk about two or three knives that a must have and can do about anything. I’ve heard music producers talk about having a small number of microphones that can take care of most things they need to record. Etc.