Saturday, March 21, 2009

They are FREE!!!

In my modest 1100 sq ft photo studio space, I have a small fridge.  It is big enough to hold some water bottles, cokes/sodas, beers, etc, and stands about waist high.  I have it in the studio for clients more than for me.  Anything is the fridge is there for the taking when a client walks in, no need to even ask.  

Somehow, though, the fridge keeps growing dollar bills...  Yup, I opened it up one night and there was a dollar in there.  Then two.  Now three.  I don't understand why people feel the need to do that when I specifically tell them, "Feel free to take whatever you want."  

It would be different if I added, "Just be sure to leave a buck or two", but people do it anyway.  I'm not sure why, but they do.  Maybe I'm in the wrong business?  Maybe I need to open up a vending machine company?!?  

Lost in Liberia...

I plan on attending the Hal Samples Gallery opening of Lost In Liberia, a photography exhibit featuring photography by Justin Clemons.  I don't know much about Justin, but the promo images look pretty impressive...  

Saturday, March 28, 2009 
6pm - 10pm 
 2814 Main Street 
Dallas, TX  75226  

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dallas professional photographers want to know...

So, I checked out what keywords people are using to find my blog, and one phrase keeps popping up:  State Sales Tax  

Yup, all you Texas photogs, reading about my tips, links, and photo stories seem to be interested in sales tax.  I can't blame you.  It's an important subject, and EVERY professional photographer should be collecting it and paying it in to the state!  That's why I wrote a blog about it already.  

The popularity of that blog made me revisit this topic again.  This time I'm going to make it simple and sweet.  There are three things to say, regarding this topic.  One, it is simple to do.  Two, it is the law, so don't break it.  Three, there is a government website that makes it VERY easy to get things started:  

Go to the link, follow the directions, and you are done.  And don't forget the sales tax actually gets deducted from your income, so at least it's another deduction...  You don't have to pay taxes on your taxes!

I'm out to network...

I'm headed out the door right now.  Time to do a vital part of marketing myself and my business.  I am going to mingle and talk with my peers and potential employers at the monthly Press Club of Dallas happy hour event.  You should be using events like this to market yourself.  Networking is a HUGE part of a business.  Go find an event where your peers and potential clients will be.  Do it!

Speaking of assisting...

I met with a potential client today.  They liked my book, but I doubt I will be shooting for them.  I did my research going in.  I knew what types of photography they did and who their clients were.  They appeared to do mostly product and tabletop work, with some fashion and some lifestyle shots, too.  

Well, my editorial style fits into the lifestyle category, so I set up a time to meet and show my work.  When I got there, I discovered that they do a TON of product photography and a little lifestyle photography.  They also have staff photographers that handle most of the work, but do keep a list of contract/freelancers for overflow or to fill in on occasion.  

No big deal.  I might not get much - or any - work from them, but I DID make some new contacts.  Plus, I got to tour their beautiful studio space and facilities.  It was nice.  So nice that I started wishing I DID shoot product all day.  Well, maybe not.  I don't think ANY place could make me want to shoot product all the time.  

But, I'm getting off track here.  My point is that I was thinking ahead.  I knew that several of my connections in Dallas are photo assistants.  So, I asked what there need was, and I was told they are always looking.  Good news for my faithful Janikphoto blog readers!  

Now, he did make a point to tell me you MUST know the Capture One software, which I believe runs Phase One digital backs.  What, you don't know it inside and out?!?  Well, if you read my post below, you'd know that you still have hope.  Why not contact this company and ask if you can free assist a few times, until they feel comfortable enough with you on set.  You can learn how to use the software in the meantime...  

So, if this sounds interesting to you, contact me and I'll get you in touch with the studio.  And, I'll post other assisting and shooting opportunities here when they come along, so keep your eyes open for them.

Do you want to learn?

Are you still trying to learn all the ins and outs of professional photography?  Besides school and practice, the best thing you can do is assist.  I learned SOOOOOO much from assisting some great commercial, portrait, and editorial photographers.  

Did you know that you can make money as a professional assistant?  Maybe not enough to have a great life, but enough to scrape together a basic living while you build up your own career.  Here in Dallas, TX, an average assisting day rate is between $100 and $200.  Top assistants can make $250 to $350 for a day's work and brand new, fresh off the truck assistants will charge as little as $75 to move boxes/objects/stuff around a set.  

You can also do the intern equivalent to assisting, which is offer you services for free until the photog feels comfortable enough to hire you as a real assistant.  Or, if there is a shoot that you think you'll just learn a ton from, a free assisting gig may be worth it in the long run.  

How do you become an assistant?  A few ways...  One, contact a photographer directly.  I admired the editorial work of James Bland when I was still learning years ago.  Back in the Nineties, the internet was still new enough that it was standard practice to make a phonecall or mail out a postcard promo (what is this "mail" you talk about?  And phonecalls?!?  I thought phones were only used to text, AIM, and twitter???) introducing yourself and your services.  

Another way to find work is to contact a photo-based group like the ASMP or TPPA and ask how you can let their members know you are available.  The ASMP has a "find an assistant" list and you can often go to their monthly meetings and mingle with photogs.  Face to face meetings will work much better than emails will, I promise.  

The last way is to contact businesses that have a stable of photographers.  Over the years, companies like JC Penny and Neiman Marcus have used tons of photo assistants, including me.  I learned a lot from my years at those companies.  They have huge commercial studios (no, not the portrait studio in the store, but an actual commercial studio space for creating catalogs, advertisements, and POP/promotion stuff), and have several photographers on staff.  They often use contracted photographers and assistants.  You can contact their photo department and ask to come in and speak with them about assisting.  

So, go out and assist.  Now!!!  Assuming you want to learn as much about photography as you possibly can.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Random photo story...

The following link has nothing to do with Dallas or Janik Photography, but I had to include it here.  It was just an interesting story about a photographer and her long lost photos:  

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Marketing on the web...

OK, this link is not really about photography, but it IS about marketing.  As a photographer, you are a business.  As a business, you need to market yourself.  And (to bring this thought process on home), many businesses thing that slapping together a website, putting up a myspace/facebook page, and starting to twitter will bring in the customers.  Right?  Not necessarily...  Read the link to see the reality of twittering as your company's golden goose:  

You see, you can't just jump on the myspace bandwagon and expect people to flock to you.  But there's hope.  The story points out that the internet CAN be used to your advantage.  Look at their example of Google.  It started in a dorm room and went on to become an essential part of our virtual social fabric.  

I guess to sum it up, you can use the internet in a big way, but don't think it merely takes tossing up a website or a profile on a social network.  

Is Dallas awake at the moment?

I know there are other things gearing up this week around the state, like Austin's SXSW for example, but Dallas seems pretty quiet at the moment.  Does it seem a bit sleepy this week?  Not much in the news, clients all seem to have extra time for meetings (instead of working), local magazines are in a lull...  what is everyone doing right now?  

Am I missing something?  Visually, photographically speaking...  is Dallas taking a little siesta this week?!?

Monday, March 16, 2009

And more newspapers fall...

I hope you aren't going to school to become a newspaper photojournalist:  

I've seen a lot of changes over the eleven or twelve years that I've shot for Dallas area newspapers (even more changes, if you include the few years of college newspaper work before that).  I'd have to say that photojournalism isn't dead, but it will never be like it once was...

Read more about me...

So, you say you just can't get enough of your favorite Dallas, TX photographer, Jason Janik?!?  Well, now you can get even more (you can sense the heavy use of sarcasm as you read this, right?!?) of that super-adorable rock and roll music photographer  that all the girls have been screaming for:  

I may be joking about the importance of me, but I'm not joking when I say that Christopher Wynn (the writer/interviewer of the linked story) is really cool.  I'm am very excited that he took the time to ask me a few questions, especially questions about Mr. Rockstar Rhett Miller!  

So, that's the first official photo that has leaked.  Keep watching for more photos.  There should be more features and press coming, leading up to his album release date in June...

Incase you missed it...

Incase you missed picking up the recent issue of D Magazine (a great Dallas magazine that covers all sorts of interesting local stuff) featuring my photos of tasty food, they also have an online version in their archive.  Not quite as fancy as the print version, but still looking real good:  

Just look for all the photos with the "photography by Jason Janik" under them.  And yes, all that food was very delicious!!!  Go find out for yourself.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More to come, soon...

I'll post some more here real soon, but it may be another day or two.  I have a lot to finish up right now.  I need to finish up two projects for two different clients, print an invoice, and do a few other misc things (including the completion of two more portfolios for upcoming meetings and another photo shoot).  

In other news, I did a follow-up shoot with Rhett for his upcoming album, and I think things are going to look and sound pretty amazing!  I got to see the initial comps from the label and their layout/design looks really nice.  They really did my photos justice.  Plus, the songs are possibly some of his best work to date!  Unfortunately, the general public has to wait until June to see and hear it...  

Anyway, back to work for me.  But, I promise there is more to come... real soon!