photography

Tasty Good Times at Besaw’s

I’m starting to believe that fate exists. About five and half years ago, my wife and I were visiting Portland to decide if we wanted to move here from Virginia. Both of us love eating out and breakfast is one of my favorite meals. If we were going to relocate to Portland, it better have a good place to go for eggs, waffles, and pancakes seven days a week.  Looking through a tour guide, Besaw’s had exactly what we were looking for and so we went. It was absolutely delicious and we knew then that moving to Portland was going be alright.

Around the same time that we were having our first Portland breakfast, a young woman named Cana Flug had just become the new owner of the 105 year old establishment. Already famous for its breakfast, over the next five years, she breathed new life into the restaurant and grew their dinner scene into one of the best night spots in Portland.

Then through an interweaving thread of shoots, people, and connections, I get a call from Cana looking for new photography of their food and dinner scene. I can’t tell you how excited I was. I love this place and I love their food and it was truly a joy to shoot. Hope you enjoy the photos and if you’re ever in town, go to Besaw’s. Go three times, because everything is so good there.

Hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did making them. [Read more…] about Tasty Good Times at Besaw’s

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

Pricing Etiquette

Read this today and it really struck a chord with me. Just replace “sweater” with “photo.”

From Lauren Venell of Biz Miss. Originally posted here on Design*Sponge.

“Pricing Etiquette”

Yes, Virginia, there is a polite way to price. Here are a couple of common pricing faux pas to avoid:

  1. Changing your prices too often: yes, you should absolutely market-test your prices, but don’t just throw numbers out randomly to see what sticks. Focus on testing one or two products at a time, and try to do it at a live event like a craft show, where you can gauge customers’ reactions directly. Changing your published prices too often (like the ones on your web site) will make repeat retail customers think they are overpaying, and will make your wholesale customers struggle to keep their prices current.
  2. Pricing just to maintain your hobby: I think it’s lovely that you make so many beautiful things that you’ve run out of people to give them to. I also think it’s great that you sell your extras in order to support your hobby. It’s selfish, however, to sell a fair-isle sweater you knitted for just the price of the yarn. Your customers might be thrilled, but underpricing devalues creative work and makes it harder for creative professionals to make a living

43 Totally Random Pro Tips

This is actually an old post from a different blog I dabbled in. It was called Pro Photo Tips and it kind of fizzled out. Still, there are some good posts on there that I want to bring over here. Like this one.

  1. Get it in camera whenever you can. Photoshop time is expensive and can cause a drain on your resources.
  2. Digital is way more forgiving in color balance than film. It can also screw you up if you don’t have a grey card shot to judge from.
  3. Use a sturdy tripod with a head capable of supporting twice you camera’s weight.
  4. Join ASMP
  5. When working with art directors and/or a strict layout, ask for hand drawn comps or storyboards of what they envision the shot to be. It will save you hours of frustration in camera and on set.
  6. Draw diagrams of your shooting style. It’s great to learn where you succeeded and failed.
  7. Watch out for flair from back lit sources.
  8. Convert to DNG, work in 16bit PSD, save finals as flattened 8bit Tiff with no output sharpening applied.
  9. Add basic metadata to everything. Include at least name, website, ©year, and client name or subject name.
  10. Use a standard file naming scheme for your Digital Asset Management (DAM). Mine is INNITIALS_YYMMDD_4#SEQUENCE (i.e. LRB_070515_1234.tif)
  11. Delete everything unusable.
  12. Buy gear only when you need it for the assignment.
  13. Learn basic CSS and HTML.
  14. Mirror lock anything slower than 1/15th of a second.
  15. Watch movies for lighting inspiration. Watch commercials for stock ideas.
  16. Don’t promise anything you can’t come through on.
  17. Spend one day a week marketing.
  18. Don’t let work overtake your personal life. Make time for loved ones, friends, and exercise everyday.
  19. Put 25% of every payment you receive into a savings account to pay for taxes. At the end of the year, whatever is left over after paying taxes, put into retirement or back into the business.
  20. Pay yourself a salary every week. Give yourself a bonus for beating sales goals.
  21. Set sales and marketing goals.
  22. Calculate your CODB every year.
  23. Hiring an assistant will allow you to work faster, be more creative, and less tired at the end of the day.
  24. Be yourself, unless you’re a jerk. In that case, learn to keep your mouth shut.
  25. Commercial photography is not about you. It’s a collaborative process and you are one part of a creative machine built to get results in a timely and profitable way. Don’t throw a wrench (ego, doubt, fear, miscommunication, etc.) into the gears and you’ll do well.
  26. Always meet your client’s expectations, but strive to go above and beyond that.
  27. Never settle for good enough.
  28. Always be open and upfront with your clients about costs.
  29. Estimating is an art and is something you’ll spend your life perfecting.
  30. Shoot personally and keep it personal. Free your mind of the confines of commerce once in a while.
  31. Be excited about your work and show enthusiasm for what you do. Be confident.
  32. Show interest in your client’s project and get invested with them. Stay away from the “us versus them” mentality.
  33. Build relationships with your clients, but keep a professional distance.
  34. Photography business is cyclical. Protect yourself from slow times by building a 3 month operating cushion.
  35. Keep up with your bookkeeping and make sure to use accounting software.
  36. If you do it for work, you can write it off. But you can’t write off your own labor (so when someone asks you to shoot for free as a write off, know that you won’t be able to write it off).
  37. Your friends and family will have a big influence on you directly and indirectly. Make sure you listen carefully to the advice they give you. It may be very helpful or it may lead you off track. Weigh any opinions carefully.
  38. Negative thoughts, emotions, and actions will spread through your success like a virus. Be mindful of the company you keep and what you say to yourself.
  39. Do what you love and the money will follow.
  40. Live below your means.
  41. Don’t buy anything for your business on credit that you can’t afford to pay off within six months.
  42. Know yourself and be yourself.
  43. Enjoy and celebrate food. Especially if you’re on the road, seek out a good place to eat rather than settle for chain restaurants and fast food.

Portland Spaces Summer 2009 Cover Feature & More

Hot of the press, the latest issue of Portland Spaces features some beautiful interiors and furniture from Portland based designers. I had the pleasure to photograph two stories for this issue and both turned out fantastic. It also gave me a glimpse into the design scene here in Portland and I have to say it is top notch.

Jason Blackheart brilliantly art directed both of these features and he did an amazing job on the design, too. The cover shot features Andee Hess of Osmose.

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