photographer

New & Updated Portfolios!

About a year ago, I worked with the brilliant Suzanne Sease on a huge portfolio overhaul. She went through over a 1000 of my images and came up with what what you’ve seen here for a while. Her art buyer eye really helped me tighten the flow of my portfolio to help me get the message across of what I do best. And it worked! Since implementing her changes, work has been busier, I was published in Martha Stewart Living, I have a feature coming out in Dwell, and I got a rep. How’s that for results?!

I’ve been a little hesitant to make any changes since everything’s been going so well. However, I’ve been doing a lot of work that I’m really proud of and wanted to highlight some of it. I’ve been shooting a lot more people and lifestyle work, so I’ve updated my lifestyle portfolio. I’ve also been shooting a lot of editorial work, so I thought I’d highlight that with it’s own portfolio. Both these new portfolios got the thumbs up from Suzanne and my rep Adam.

Let me know what you think: New Lifestyle Portfolio | New Editorial Portfolio

Starting Out as a Photographer

Around this time of year, I get a lot of emails from photo students about to graduate. I think part of their curriculum is to go out and ask photographers they like how they got their start.

So, when Andrew Torres emailed me a few weeks ago, I decided to make a blog post out of it. Hopefully this answers his questions about how to start out as a photographer. At least it tells my story and I can reference it again the next time a photo student emails me.

AT: How did you get started in photography and what education/training did you receive?

LB: I learned the basics of photography in high school and did it as a hobby for a number of years. In 2001, I quit my web design job and started working as a studio manager/1st assistant for an architectural photographer by the name of Philip Beaurline. I knew some Photoshop from my design days, but I know nothing about professional photography. Everything I know today I learned by working for him.

It was a very lucky time to make the shift into photography. He was still shooting film and he was shooting with a view camera primarily. I learned to load film, label shot rolls, and how to set up a view camera. After the shoot, the film workflow became my responsibility. I took it to the lab, made selects on a light table, drum scanned the selects, cleaned it up in Photoshop, made prints and CDs, and then delivered the job to the client. So not only did I learn all the nuances of film and the look of film, but I also learned all the digital post production side of things, how to interact with clients, and to know how to properly deliver a photo shoot. It was really an amazing experience and I don’t think I would have learned as much had I just freelanced as a photo assistant.

AT: Would you recommend internships or assisting before starting your own business?

LB: Absolutely. I think internships are good place to start. It gets your foot in the door and there’s not a big commitment on either part. Once you move into assisting, make sure you assist a photographer who you admire or for someone who shoots the subject you’re interested in. If you like architecture photography, assist an architectural photographer. If you like food photography, assist a food photographer. If you like travel photography, assist a travel photographer. If you like all three, you can assist me.

AT: Are you a member of any professional organizations and would you recommend joining?

LB: Definitely start by joining ASMP. The main things you get from it are tons of business materials ranging from estimates, to copyrights, to legal documents; a national network of photographers that you can reach out to for help or advice; and amazing discounts on everything from computers to business Insurance. After that, if you want to shoot editorial, I definitely recommend joining Editorial Photographers (EP). The member forum has helped me so much throughout my career as a photographer. If you want to go more commercial, APA is a good place to be as well. They have a great find an assistant listing program as well as invaluable information and discounts.

AT: What piece of equipment could you not live without for your type of photography?

LB: Besides a computer, Lightroom and Photoshop, I could not live without the Canon 24mm TS-E II and the Canon 17mm TS-E. The TS means Tilt-Shift and these lenses allow me to shoot architecture almost as well as if I had shot it with a view camera. Architecture photography is all about perspective control. These lenses allow me to keep my camera level, yet rise and shift the lens to compose the without getting keystone distortion. Not only that, but these lenses are incredibly sharp and show very little (if any) chromatic aberration.  I just hope Canon release new editions of the 45mm TS-E and the 90mm TS-E. Nice lenses, but not sharp enough with for a 20MP digital SLR.

For digital, I’d say your lenses are more important than you camera. For film, they’re both important.

AT: What are the advantages/disadvantages of working out of a larger area like Portland?

LB: Portland (and Oregon) is fortunate to have all the support you need to pull off a really big production. Everything from an international airport to professional camera and lighting rental can be found here. Plus there are some amazing rental studios and great locations all over town. There are some great stylists living here as well. There’s a strong creative vibe here and I feel lucky to be a part of it. The downside of working here is the cost of living is pretty low and there are A LOT of photographers and assistants moving here all the time. With this much competition, you really have to work hard to make yourself stand out. I would not want to start my career here. Start someplace smaller and build up your portfolio. Then move to a medium sized market like Portland.

AT: What have you found to be the most effective ways to market yourself?

LB: You just can’t do one thing and expect it to be effective. You have to market everywhere and it has to be consistent of what you shoot (your brand). You must have an easy to use and fast loading website, a carefully edited portfolio, email marketing campaign, direct mail marketing campaign, social marketing network, all of it. It’s not cheap and it takes up a lot of your time. So you have to build it into your cost of doing business. Also, word of mouth is so important, so make sure you do a good job, deliver on time, and work well with others.

AT: Any other words of wisdom you would offer a photography student nearing graduation?

Being a working professional photographer is a job. It’s not romantic, it’s not glamorous, and you’re probably not going to make a living at it for about 5 years. But it’s a fun job and it can be very rewarding personally and emotionally. So, if you don’t have any business skills, start getting some. You’re going to need it.

Also, do your cost of doing business every year. I can’t stress enough how important it is to know the real costs of running a photography business.


Marketing 101 for Commercial Photographers

I think one of the most challenging aspects to being a commercial photographer is the marketing. It’s ironic because we are in a commercial marketing environment, yet reaching the people we want to hire us can seem voodoo and difficult. In my experience, no matter how good you are or how “cool” you are, if no one knows about you, then you’re never going to get work. I’ve tried all kinds of photo business marketing and read many opinions about what you should or shouldn’t do. I thought I’d share what has worked for me. [Read more…] about Marketing 101 for Commercial Photographers

We are Agents of the Free

I signed up for a twitter account this week and have been playing around with it. It’s fun. It feels kind of like texting yourself. Which would be good for me, because I often find or see things I want to remember and this is a great way to do it. I’ll try not to spitter (spam twitter) too much, but I’m just getting going. If you want to follow me, visit www.twitter.com/LincolnBarbour.

Speaking of, as I was setting up the page design today, I kept humming a lyric from R.E.M.’s song “Orange Crush”. You know, the part that goes “Follow me, don’t follow me I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush” Well, I looked up the lyrics and “We are agents of the free” is in the first verse. How appropiate for all this social media stuff.

    follow me on Twitter


    Recent Work Featured on Design*Sponge

    Recently, I photographed a remodeled home for my newest architectural client, Jessica Helgerson Interior Design. Jessica’s clean and modern design aesthetic was perfect for a young hip family relocating to Portland. From what she tells me, it was a pretty striking change between what the house was and what it is today. It was a real joy to photograph and we got some great shots.

    An article about Jessica and the home was published today on Design*Sponge, a website dedicated to home and product design run by Brooklyn-based writer, Grace Bonney.

    Here’s one of my favorites from the shoot.

    UPDATE: Design*Sponge’s Grace Bonney spotlighted one of my photos of the EMP Museum at the end of last week. Thanks Grace!

    December Gigs

    Fall was very busy around here and it all culminated with a big month of published work in December. I was in four separate magazines and also shot all the photography for a website for a new commercial client (I did the web design and code, too. Yeah, I geek out like that sometimes). Here’s are some samples and tearsheets that I could get.

    Portland Bride & Groom Feature: Glass Acts
    Portland Bride & Groom Feature: Glass Acts
    I shot an entire feature on wedding glassware in my studio for Portland Bride & Groom. The Art Director was Samantha Gardner. It was quite a challenge to light all the various colors and shapes, but the end result was awesome. Check out the Winter 07/Spring 08 issue on newsstands now for the full article on page 89.

    Portland Monthly: Pedicabs Lolo Restaurant - Food + Drink Opener Wonder Drink - Pour
    Portland Monthly: December Departments
    This was a cool issue for me. I got to shoot all three of my specialties (people, architecture, and product) for the regular departments. I shot 2 pedicab drivers in the studio for “Mudroom”, an interior of Lolo Restaurant for “Food + Drink” section opener, and Wonder Drink Sparkling Kombucha Tea for the “Pour” column.

    Northwest Meetings + Events: Sue Davis Profile
    Northwest Meetings + Events: Sue Davis Profile
    Unless you work for a hotel or a resort, you might not get this magazine. Even still, this is one my favorite portraits I’ve taken this year and I will probably add it to my LIFE portfolio. I shot it in studio using available light on simple gray background. You just can’t beat being on the northeast corner of a building. Plus, we’re on the second floor, so the light is consistent pretty much all day.

    Velvet the Dog - Best of 2007
    Seattle: Best of 2007 – Velvet the Dog
    Matt Bryant, his dog velvet, and couple of their friends were hiking Mt. Hood last winter and fell in to a ravine and got stuck during a snowstorm. They were all rescued safely and the rescuers attributed their overnight survival to the warmth that Velvet gave everyone. She was a great dog to photograph and Matt was the nicest guy you ever met. Learn more about their story here: click here

    fem-ology.com screen shot.
    fem-ology.com
    This was a huge project for me. Not only did I shoot the model, the products, and all the detail photographs, but I also did all the web design. I’ve been doing web design since 1998, so it’s something I still do from time to time. Fem-ology is new natural organic feminine care care product line made right here in Oregon. The owner Carrie Von Keil is just starting out and I wish here the best on her new venture!

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    We’ll that’s about it. Like I said, it was a busy fall and I’m looking forward to a busy first quarter 2008. Should have some more gig updates soon.

    -lincoln