Friday, July 3, 2009

Art you a pro photog?

At what point do you get to call yourself a professional photographer? Is it when you decide that you WANT to be one? When you buy your first semi-decent camera? When you get your first paying gig? When you have enough gigs to be considered a part-time or weekend pro? When you quit your "other" job and are only taking photo gigs? When you can actually support yourself with your camera and only your camera???

Seriously, what do you think? A lot of people call themselves a photographer - as in professional photographer. They don't say it's their hobby. They state "I'm a photographer!" like it is their life, their soul, their sustenance... their everything.

You wouldn't want a weekend warrior doctor trying to save your life, or hobbyist lawyer jumping in and exclaiming, "I'll take the case!", so why is the photography industry so much different? I was talking with the wife about it, and I think it is simple: You only need a pack of ten dollar business cards and a camera that looks halfway professional to feel like the real deal.

It's like cooking. Someone can make a satisfying meal for their family, be an armchair quarterback while watching Top Chef, then suddenly they think that becoming a professional chef is the way to go! They just need a stove, pot, knife, and spatula. Now they are ready to serve the royal family!

So, what do you think makes a professional photographer? Is there a line that can be drawn in the sand? Where can you look to differentiate between pros and hobbyists? I'm not trying to be elitist or exclusive here. I want people to achieve their dreams... their goals. That's one reason why I offer so much info on this blog. It's geared towards people trying to make it in the industry. A seasoned pro doesn't need to read a blog on how to invoice clients. He's been doing that just fine for years.

No, I'm not trying to be negative. It was just an interesting point that was brought to my attention. People think they are a professional photographer at all skill and experience levels. What point is the real, defining moment that makes a pro?


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Everything is running smooth...

I'm very happy that everything is running smooth at the moment. I like easy days. That's not to say I'm not busy - because I am... I'm just not dealing with drama. No broken gear, no complicated shooting schedules, no mess.

I just booked a couple new shoots for the month, and my new powermac seems to be plugging along just fine. All very good news!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Carter Albrecht video...

My video from the Carter Albrecht CD release show is finally up. View it here:

I try to keep all my video pieces pretty simple, partly because my style is stripped and simple, and partly because I'm still learning all the bells and whistles in Final Cut Pro. However, I think this is my most complex video to date, just because the audio transitions are more advanced - with flowing fades and other little tricks, as opposed to just cutting and pasting things together.


Vibe is no more...

Want to shoot for one of the nation's premier magazines for Rap and Hip Hop? Forget about it. Vibe is apparently shutting down:

And let's not even discuss the newspaper industry. USA Today is supposedly cutting more jobs this month. The Tribune Company, the parent company of The Star Tribune, is now officially bankrupt. The company that owns the Philadelphia Inquirer is bankrupt. As a matter of fact, a whole string of newspapers are shutting down or scaling way back. I just gave up on reporting it, because there were just too many every month.

This doesn't mean there isn't any newspaper or magazine work out there. Last month I shot a few thousand dollars worth of print publication assignments. And I'm only hired by a handful of publications. Considering there are thousands of newspapers and magazines around the world, there is still a decent living to be made as a freelance photojournalist and editorial shooter.

Plus, you don't have to be strictly a newspaper or magazine shooter. I supplement my monthly income with a wedding every month, corporate/event shooting, and other misc photo gigs (like music album covers, bridal shoots, etc). If you diversify like that, you'll make sure to stay afloat and pay all your bills.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Similar logo...

I stumbled across a photographer that is using a logo very similar to my design. I'm sure it is just coincidence. It's not like my logo is some "one of a kind" super-rare design. It's clean, simple, and to the point... probably why someone else is using the same approach.

This is mine, and has been for around twelve years now:

This is her website, where you can see her logo:

Anyway, I'm not crying foul here. I'm sure someone else had a very similar design before me. I'm sure more people will try something like this in the future. I'm just blogging about it, because it caught my eye.


Just re-shoot it!!!

This is one of those situations where you just need to hire a photog to re-shoot your cover. There is no excuse for such a lame attempt at Photoshop photo-chopping...



Don't forget...

Don't forget to make time for your personal photos. Take pictures of your family and friends, get them printed, and put them in a real scrapbook or album. It will do a lot to help clear your head. It will make you a better shooter. Don't forget to take time for yourself and your personal photos every week. Even if it just means looking back through your photo album. Trust me. It will make you feel better.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

About half a second of backside...

Sometimes stories are held for a while... a long while.  A few months back, I was assigned to do a video story for on some storm sewer spelunkers.  While I was there, I was surprised/happy to see Randy Grothe on assignment for the DMN.  

My video ran shortly after the assignment, but Randy said they were holding his for a while.  You see, if a story isn't time-sensitive, publications will occasionally hold onto them.  It helps provide content on slower news days, and makes room for more important breaking news stories.  I've done stories for publication that have been held for months before...  

Well, Today's DMN finally has Randy's video piece online, with a fun story by contributing writer Page Phelps and photo intern Cody Duty.  Why do I bring up Randy's video?  First, because Randy is super-cool, and second because you can see my backside for about half a second if you watch really carefully.  I know, not exactly my best and biggest "cameo", but it still brings back memories of that fun, dirty, slimy day.  

Here's a link to Randy's video:  

Here is a link to the one I shot:  

and a follow-up story with some of my photos:  

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