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What I Learned from Shooting Portraits of 80 People Over 6 Non-Stop Hours

80portraits6hours

You know that moment when you agree to do a favor for a friend, and it turns into something a bit… well… more? This past weekend I ended up taking headshots of 80 people during six non-stop hours of shooting. Here is the story of what happened, things I learned from it, and some random thoughts on the experience.

The Story Behind the Shoot

I’m not a professional photographer (I only accept payment to cover costs because I have a full time job and don’t want to ever view photography as “work”), but I do enjoy it and spend quite a bit of time on it. A few months ago, a friend planning a single day DC area startup networking event asked if I’d be willing to spend two hours doing simple headshots of people who wanted updated pictures to use on their Linkedin profiles or bio pages.

The event was called A Day of Fosterly

The event was called A Day of Fosterly

I agreed because I’ve never had the opportunity to take photos of other people with a full studio style light setup and knew it would be an immense challenge and incredible opportunity to gain a lot of experience in a (theoretically) very low stress / low expectations scenario. I also like helping people out and seeing them happy about seeing a good picture of themselves, and we all know how much lighting matters there.

Finally, I realize that most people have no understanding of what it’s like to work with a professional photographer or why it’s worth paying someone for good work, and I saw this as an opportunity to plug professional photography services — to give these people a taste and convince them to work with professionals (not me) in the future.

Some professionals don’t agree with this, thinking that an amateur like me taking good pictures of people cheapens the value of their work, but I very much disagree with this philosophy and I’ve seen many people I’ve had some fun with go on to hire expert professionals for future shots as a direct result of seeing the value of having someone other than “a friend with a DSLR” take their pictures.

I discussed this all of this with my friend and we determined I would set up and take headshots for two hours on a first-come first-served basis. We figured 10-15 people would be interested, and I thought with ten minutes per person I would be able to at least get some usable shots. No one had any idea what kind of demand there would be, and nobody remotely expected how the day would play out.

We determined that I would be set up in one side of a large rectangular ballroom area, which included booths and a speaking podium for sessions. I’d have a white wall to shoot against, but would bring a backdrop just in case it wasn’t usable.

Equipment set up on the far end of the ballroom. Photograph by Amr Mounib Photography

Equipment set up on the far end of the ballroom. Photograph by Amr Mounib Photography

Considering I’d be sharing the room with other people and would be trying to make people comfortable on camera and posing consistently as quickly as possible, I decided to shoot with a continuous lighting setup which I had previously only used for video interviews instead of strobes. I also didn’t want to worry too much about batteries, remote triggers, etc. failing when using strobes as my primary light source (I do not own studio strobes, only battery powered ones).

With the basic simple lighting setup decided upon, I made a final checklist of gear to ensure I didn’t leave anything behind:

dofcheck

This included my main Canon 5D Mark III body, the “cheap” Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L lens, and a backup T2i with a 50mm f/1.4 just in case. I also packed a backup umbrella and two strobes so I could at least shoot something if the main lights failed.

The gear used for the shoot

The gear used for the shoot

In order to avoid those frustrating situations where you think a photo is crisp on the camera LCD but find out it’s horrible on the big screen, I brought a laptop and a 24″ monitor so I could shoot tethered into the laptop and review the images quickly as needed.

In testing, I found that Adobe Lightroom was way too slow for me to review the images in anything close to real-time, so I ended up shooting into the Canon EOS capture app for immediate review (2s vs 5s+) while Lightroom auto imported on the back end. All of this turned out to be moot though, as the sheer quantity of people and pressure of the pace meant I did 99% of the reviewing on camera and instead the 24″ screen became a preview for people in line.

On the day, I was up at 7AM. Zipcar loaded and on the move by 8:30AM, on-site and setting up by 9AM. By 9:30AM I was all set up, everything test fired clean, and I decided to use the white background with a single strobe fired remotely onto it to lighten it up. My lighting was dialed in, ambient light was incredibly low which was perfect, the white background reflected just fine, and I was confident the day would be fun and exciting.

I was slated to start at 10AM, but at 9:45AM while joking around with a friend of mine someone came up to me and asked if I was ready to start shooting. I looked up and realized there were already nearly twenty people in line waiting for me… and I hadn’t even started!

The rest is a blur. For each person, I’d give them a card with a URL written on it where they’d be able to get their pictures later and give them a little speech about it. Then I’d have them hold it up like a mugshot so I could track them, after which I’d adjust the lights to get the best look for the individual.

mugshotting

I’d give them a little speech about posing, then let them do whatever look they wanted while I took a few more shots to check and tweak the lighting. Once I was all set, I typically had them start with a serious look straight on, then joked with them to get some smiles, switch them to a slightly sideways shot, and call it when I was pretty confident I had at least a few good images.

Some people required a LOT of help (especially those with massive forced grins), and I can’t even remember how many times I asked people if they were pushing their tongue against their teeth. The most successful responses I got seemed to be from asking people to “mean mug me” which almost always resulted in nice little half smiles ‘cuz apparently these people weren’t mean.

I had two subjects that knew exactly what they were doing–I spent maybe sixty seconds on them and done, perfect photos–but I had a lot more people who I had to constantly coach and make comfortable and calm them down for a couple minutes before I could get anything.

There was a point a few minutes in where I instantly noticed a huge flare of orange/red light. I looked up and saw that the overhead spotlights for the ballroom had been turned on and knew it was going to completely hose my carefully constructed light. I held shooting for a few minutes while someone tracked down the building event staff and we were able to get half of them turned off, but apparently the other ones were hooked up for the entire room at one go… and obviously, with a couple hundred people in a room doing other things, we can’t leave all the lights off just for the photographer. I’d have to roll with it and see what I could make happen even with some orange spotlights 30-40 feet overhead glaring down on us. And because I’m inexperienced in this kind of situation, I thought “I can fix it in post.”

Shooting one of the headshots. Photograph by Amr Mounib Photography

Shooting one of the headshots. Photograph by Amr Mounib Photography

At noon, after two hours, I finally looked up from non-stop focusing on the person in front of me and was going to call it when I realized there were still nearly thirty people in line… and they had already waited an hour or more. None of us had anticipated the demand, and apparently that little 24″ monitor had been getting people excited all morning as they watched photos pop up on it.

We determined I could keep the space for the rest of the afternoon and I said “okay, let’s do this!” and just kept shooting. Sometimes I’m a glutton for punishment, and even though I knew it was going to hurt I was totally caught up in the rush of the moment and the challenge of working with and shooting all those people.

A friend of mine grabbed me some tacos and I ate one in a quick break around 1PM, a second around 3PM (when I had to move my entire setup over ten feet to the left to make room for a new booth and a nice gentleman insisted I take five minutes to eat after doing so), and the third when I was tearing things down at 4PM. I only stopped at 4PM because we were literally closing down the hall–I still had people in line and was desperately rattling off last minute pictures.

I was partially dismantled with my stuff all over the floor and only the two light stands still up when one final gentleman came running up absolutely begging me to take his picture. I told him half my lights were down, I didn’t have a tripod or review system set up, I’d just shoot him and we’d see what happened. He agreed and ten seconds later I took my favorite picture of the evening:

fav

Everyone was incredibly grateful. My friend couldn’t thank me enough (yes, many beers are owed), and I was overwhelmed by all the appreciation people showed me for sticking around when I was just caught up and shooting without thinking about the time. I got home and I counted it all up: there were just over 3,000 images of 80 people using up almost 80GB of space.

I started sorting and preparing to edit and laughed as I checked my e-mail to find I already had a couple messages from people saying they’d gone to the URL I gave them and the pictures weren’t there yet! Argh.

I realized that I wouldn’t be able to spend all the time I’d like on the images trying to fix everything in post, so instead settled for basic color correction and trying to remove the worst of the orange cast from the images. I was really happy that almost every person came through with 5-6 usable images that I think will be great on-line profile pictures and some I thought were absolutely fantastic.

At this time I’ve spent around 15 hours and processed the first 60 people, and my favorite images for each of those is included below:

dof_set1

dof_set2

dof_set3

Some Things I Learned From the Experience

#1: When you’re editing free photos of 80 people, you start making compromises. Big time. I simply could not be bothered to smooth out the background of each image, though I did at least mostly clone stamp out the lightboxes. These people have to be content with gray gradients. Masking is just too much trouble. Also: If I had paid more attention to the big screen I would’ve seen that I was getting more falloff and needed to up my background strobe power, but on camera the backgrounds all looked perfectly washed out. Always review the lighting setup on a real screen.

#2: Not having full control of your lighting conditions sucks. The main lights for the ballroom were orange/magenta halogens about 30 feet up that apparently could not be turned off. There was basically nothing I could do but shoot through it and try to drop it out as subtly as possible in post. When I started I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal because I’d only have a few skin tones to fix, but when I went to edit 80 people I just gave up and accepted that no one is going to have a perfect skin tone. Damn orange lights.

#3: Always build in breaks to monitor your setup. I felt so pressured that I kept shooting non-stop. I didn’t check how full my cards were, I wasn’t monitoring my images in detail to see the strobe lighting up my backdrop falling off more and more as the batteries died, etc. This led to some awkward moments with someone standing in front of the lights as I had to switch cards or deal with stuff and stressed me out more than it should have. Worse it meant I was getting larger gradients as the batteries in the strobe got weaker and that kind of thing is very hard to compensate for smoothly in post, and with the orange/red overheads it meant a weird pink cast to the background instead of just gray.

#4: I expected to have time to review images with each person and get their feedback, then maybe put them back in front of the camera to tweak things. Didn’t happen. As a result, I had no need to import images into Lightroom and all that was just extra overhead. People did like seeing their pictures, but it was just a brief check before I went on to the next.

#5: On the other hand, having the images show up on a big monitor facing the line of people seems to have been one of the reasons I had so many interested people. I could at times get a feel for whether or not an image in a sequence was good because there’d be an increase in murmuring/commentary from the crowd who was watching the monitor. Weird feeling.

#6: I did not stop to take a picture of my setup. Or the line. Or, well, anything. This annoys me, I can’t believe I don’t have a shot of it.

#7: Whenever people see my photos, they often assume I’m a professional photographer. When I explain that I’m not, they always seem surprised. “Why not?” they ask. They always laugh when I tell them it’s because I can’t make a living taking pictures of people who think photos should be free. Sometimes, though, I saw the thoughtful look in their eye when I explained how much better the images would be if they got a true professional, worked with them, and paid a fair rate. I hope a few more photographers in the DC area will have some business in the coming months as a result.

#8: At first I was trying different approaches with each person because I got bored with saying the same thing, but I soon realized that giving the same basic speech about posing, the same general encouragement, and cracking the same jokes just flowed and worked the best. The poor ladies in the booth behind me were miming my speeches along with me by the end of the evening. Also, some people were impossible to work with, while a few people were just absolute rock stars. Sometimes it was very difficult to shift gears going from shooting a loose relaxed person to a tight nervous one.

#9: When you get home after spending six hours bent over a camera on a tripod, instead of immediately sitting down and working on your computer to sort the images, it’s probably a good idea to do some stretching or yoga. My back was so tight that evening I could barely move!

Finally, a happy ending: I talked with my buddy and he was not only crazily grateful, but relayed the many thanks of all the people who were there. None of us expected that kind of demand, and now that we know it’s there we can plan ahead if we do this in the future.

His quote was: “next time instead of covering costs, let’s make you some money.” I still don’t like the idea of getting paid to do something for fun, but maybe I’ll put the money towards some studio strobes so I don’t have to worry about batteries.

What an incredible learning experience! Trial by fire. I hope everyone’s happy with the pictures I took.


About the author: Pete Waterman is a photographer, adventurer, technologist, and writer who lives in the Washington D.C. Metro Area. You can find him on his website, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Flickr. This article originally appeared here.


 
 
  • http://twitter.com/intensitystudio Antonio Carrasco

    ugh, no, this post, an example of everything wrong with the current state of the photography industry.

    I take headshots for actors and corporate professionals. My low end price is $100 per person. So if you did 80 headshots for free including retouching, 80x $100 = $8,000

    Think of how much additional gear you coulda bought with $8,000. A new laptop. More Yongnuos. Another full frame body. Some lenses. Looking at your equipment list, you have already dropped a lot of coin on gear that should be paying for itself.

    Not only that, but you foolishly thought this was going to be some fun project. It turned out to be stressful. I can tell you that shooting headshots is neither exciting nor creative, it’s simply work. And that is work you should get paid for. Photographers seem to be masters at talking themselves out of money. Why is that??

    And if you shot with 80 people for free, that is eighty people that now understand photography to be a free thing, not a sellable commodity.

  • CrackerJacker

    If you are good enough, you’ll get the work.

    When you work in the arts you will be working cheek by jowl with the amateurs, the dilettantes and the up and comers and they will all charge less than the Working Joe Pro will. Your job is not to kvetch about them taking your work — your job is to do what you do so well that people paying you your rate still feel that they got good value.

    If you can’t do that, you will be miserable and bitter. And who wants to work with that?

  • Debo

    See, this attitude right here is why I can’t freaking stand a lot of so called “photographers”.

    Guess what, tough guy? I actually give lots of my photos away for free via Creative Commons, and I’m happy for it.

  • Mantis

    Nail on the head. Bam!

  • Mantis

    Times have changed. Maybe all of those working photographers can go and become Travel Agents or something.

  • CrackerJacker

    Matthew — How did this one day screw over your month so badly? Did you not agree in advance on your fee? Did you get stiffed? Were you incapacitated for the rest of the month by the shoot?

    If you don’t have a full time job perhaps you’d better be making sure you only take gigs that will get you to the end of the month. Leave the rest to the folks like our intrepid author who can use (and want) the learning experience.

  • http://whoispete.com/ Peter Waterman

    A fellow photographer at the event captured a shot of the ballroom where I was shooting, to give you an idea of how we were set up:

    http://www.amrmounib.com/p384445184/h5e2c1548

    All of the people on the right side against the wall were actually in my line… Eep.

  • http://www.matthewpautz.com/ Matthew

    I never said the issue caused that problem – you made that connection not me. It was a tough month period, with or without that happening. Maybe you should actually read my comment, which was positive about the author’s information which I have enjoyed and taken note of. Stay classy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alquiza Eisen Job Alquiza

    In which he would really need to invest in studio strobes :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/alquiza Eisen Job Alquiza

    I’ve made a pretty good career doing commercial photography. I’ve learned that if people are asking you to work for cheap then they aren’t worth your time. I’ve heard all the “you’ll get more exposure” excuses.

    There have been times when my usual clients do get someone cheaper… then they wind up calling me again because they found out you get what you pay for.

    I do love photography… got my first camera when I was 5. But if photography pays the bills, feeds the family, and sends my kids to school then you have to treat it as a business.

    So how do I deal with Mr. cheap guy with a camera? Just by being better than them.

  • James

    Complaining about Peter or any other enthusiasts doing this type of work is the equivalent of professional carpenters or plumbers complaining about people shopping at Lowes or Home Depot and doing home repairs themselves. You don’t hear professional landscapers complaining about people mowing their own yard or hiring the kid down the street to do it, and it makes professional photogs look absurd to complain about this. In a free market people will always come in at different price points for different services, from free to ultra expensive. That’s how capitalism works!

  • http://twitter.com/adamgasson Adam Gasson

    People like this are the reason why average photographers can’t make a living taking average photos. There are plenty of good photographers making a good living taking good photos. Unless a professional was asked not to attend so an amateur could instead than a pro hasn’t missed out. In fact all that’s happened is that a local pro hasn’t seen a gap in the market in a situation like this.

  • http://twitter.com/adamgasson Adam Gasson

    I don’t understand the British coal reference. The British coal industry was heavily subsidised by the government – not a single coal field in the UK turned a profit even up to the point of their closures. If it wasn’t for the strong union position they would’ve been closed or sold off (with substantial job losses) years before. I don’t see how loss making public industries have anything to do with a guy taking LinkedIn portraits!

  • http://twitter.com/adamgasson Adam Gasson

    I’ve been given less time than that shooting for national newspapers!

  • http://itevans.wordpress.com/ ivortevans

    Good article. Better than average discussion of the issues. Thank you for writing it.

  • http://twitter.com/adamgasson Adam Gasson

    I agree James, there seems to be an element of photographers who believe they have a God given right to be paid to take photos. You get paid for the whole service – your personality, experience, talent… The job starts a long time before a shutter button is pressed.

  • http://twitter.com/adamgasson Adam Gasson

    You know the main difference between a good pro and a good amateur? A good pro doesn’t make any of the mistakes that you learned from! It seems far too many people think being a professional is based solely on a final image. In fact being professional is so much more. It’s time management, people skills, experience, speed, knowledge, a smile at the right time, the ability to calm down a stressed client, the talent to turn a dead-end shoot into something worth paying for and publishing. Not to mention accountancy, marketing, legal knowledge… If being a pro was simply pressing a button and nothing more there’d be no professionals, just a load of people with full time jobs and a nice camera.

  • http://itevans.wordpress.com/ ivortevans

    My point was that every technology runs it’s course, then it is over. The coin of the realm in commercial photography used to be E-6. Talented photographers who could expose Ektachrome properly on a consistent basis got work. Talent notwithstanding. What the change in technology in the photo industry has done is make properly exposed and to some extent focused and composed images possible for a much wider group of people to achieve. Not a bad thing, but it has resulted in questionable choices of who to hire or ask to volunteer to shoot your job. The result, to a certain extent, has been a degradation in the caliblre of images produced. Now, having said that, we are seeing some amazig images coming out of places like war zones, where people with this technology can produce images unlike anything possible previously, Remember what happened to Robert Capa’s images of the D-Day invasion? Ruined by a technician. These days, there are many more cameras on any given subject.

  • http://itevans.wordpress.com/ ivortevans

    Really? Check out Holmes on Homes. Undoing poor renos by exactly the same kind of more or less unprofessional craftsmen. Shoot your own work for yourself all day. No problem with that. Just consider the cost of not hiring a pro photographer. A real pro. And really, for a job that needs the quality. Admittedly LinkedIn portraits can be mediocre. I think we established that today if nothing else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarahbugejak Sarah Bugeja Kissaun

    I know most people give much less value to photography as a profession, and many are surprised at how much photographers would charge for something that someone else would do for free, like this chap. Actually that is probably the reason they are surprised – because technically it is something everyone can do if they have money for a camera. There isn’t a very harsh line between photography being a hobby and being an actual full-time job, and being classified as either doesn’t always determine who is the better one. There are plenty good photographers I know who don’t go professional, yet I know others who shoot much worse pictures than me (let’s say I’m sort of average) and do actually get paid for their work. I guess it depends on where you as a photographer push yourself, and what aims you have for taking photos.

    I’ve done a couple of ‘photoshoots’ just for fun and experimentation, and charged no money – because my aim was not for the money (like a professional’s primary aim), but to get photos of people which isn’t a subject I capture very often; to experiment. So thought of that way, just because someone would do that same thing for money, doesn’t mean this chap had the same aims, so it might not actually be a self rip off after all :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarahbugejak Sarah Bugeja Kissaun

    Exactly! :) Maybe the fact that job opportunities are much more scarce so every such lost opportunity makes it feel as a loss on their side…

  • oripho

    I enjoyed reading this article, and the comments. Can someone help me out with a basic question: how do you get the photos you are shooting to auto show up on the external monitor for those waiting in line to see? Is it through the Canon Capture software?

  • http://twitter.com/ejsiej Aleksandar Aleksić

    so cute… try working on cruise ship as a photographer. :) it must be great experience, thanks for sharing it with us. :)

  • Jen

    If Terry Richardson can keep getting work, I don’t think professionals have to worry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=285900866 James Christopher Veale

    Well, he mentioned he was using continuous lighting… if they were HMI´s (none of us were there, so hard to tell how bright the orange lights were….but…) in theory he should have been able to close up/faster shutter/lower iso/nd filter and turned up the power on the HMI´s, thus getting rid of the orange light. Or (if the orange lights were tungsten) gell the lights and switch white ballance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.madore.3 Jeremy Madore

    Nope – he was shooting continuous lighting. Aaaannnd… this is why strobes rule.

  • http://whoispete.com/ Peter Waterman

    100% agreed! That’s part of the reason I shared my experience in the first place.

  • Guest

    I think that your comparison is not valid. Using the legal help analogy, you are the pro; the Matlock viewer is the guy/gal with an instamatic and this person is the legal web site with the legal forms and allows the legal forms to be downloaded for free.

    Lawyers survive because they add some perceived value over a person downloading and filling out the forms themselves.

    Your whole business model has to be aimed at convincing potential customers that you add value over someone who has the right equipment but is not as good as you.

    Sounds like you are not too sure of yourself and any value you add.

  • http://itevans.wordpress.com/ ivortevans

    Art directors will always remember the catered meal served at the studio over the finished shot. At least in a busy design agency.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cornelia.viljoen.18 Cornelia Viljoen

    well if u had a model release on each person u could have made money.- in micro stock. i would kill for a shoot like this.

  • alreadyupsidedown

    Yes! Well said!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jared.monkman.5 Jared Monkman

    Well said!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jared.monkman.5 Jared Monkman

    Photography is not a living for most pro shooters? that’s a rather bold statement.

  • http://twitter.com/mhmediaonline Peter Garner

    What a fantastic account, and oh, did it bring back memories: thanks for sharing! I can really empathise with you on the lack of time to do much checking. Actually it’s very easy to get suckered in to an assignment like this, but to those who say “leave it to the pros”, it’s a great way to becoming a pro. It’s not something you can just buy. If you really want a challenge, try doing a nightclub shoot and you’ll quickly find you learn more about about lighting and checking than you ever did :-)

  • http://ruirodrigues.pt/ Rui P Rodrigues

    Thanks for shring this experience. I laughed all tthe way because I saw myself in the same situation a few weeks ago while shooting for the best part of four hours single and group stills of a 30 plus guys of a medieval dance group, also by request from a friend. What you plan isn’t what happens, you allways think pictures are perfect until you review them on a big screen, lighting sucks most of the times, and everyone wants just one more shot. At the end of the day those incredible back and leg pains are unforgiving. Then everyone wants to see the pictures the next day, but some 2000 images are another pain to process. I enjoyed knowing I am not alone in this. Thanks.

  • PHOTOFELLA

    NOT charging for your work and having BUSINESS CARDS in your “gear spec?”

    So what ARE you doing in photography with all of that kit and not working for money?

    Just going around poncing about handing out “freebies” like some third world charity?

    The mind boggles.

  • Mansgame

    The lighting is just bad. When shooting against a white background, you have to make the background 1-1.5 stops brighter so you don’t get the half gray and ugly shadow look and it’s not so bright as to spill over to the subject. Nothing wrong with a gray background of course but this looks very non-committal and amateurish. I would never mistake this person for a photographer. His skills are not pro, not just his inability to make money off photography.

  • Photos by JK

    Great story but, even as a hobbyist, charging a measly $10 per shot (hell, even five) would have been a bargain for everyone and made you a decent amount for your trouble. As you well know (and, sadly, most everyone else doesn’t) taking the photos is the easy part. It’s the editing after the shoot that ends up taking so much time.

    One question I have is related to those orange overhead lights. I would think that if you were in manual and killed all the ambient exposure (1/200, f8 and 100 ISO is my usual starting point) that those lights wouldn’t even register. Either way, it sounds like you had fun and learned a lot but you definitely should have made a little cash. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • MRoss

    1) With that gear list, you could make quite a bit of seasoned pros get a bit of gear envy.

    2) I saw this on reddit and thought the same thing as I did looking at the photos here…”Wow, does the concept of lighting and warmth mean anything to this person?”

    3) Seriously? As a favor? A favor is charging $50 when you normally charge $80. Not “Sure, I’m ok with making nothing to rationalize purchasing a 5DMkIII.”

    4) Regarding #7 in your write up… 1- They thought these were pro? Well.. with Instagram nowadays.. Anything without a stupid filter may look pro. 2- Now they will think photography is cheap or free. Reason:”I tell them it’s because I can’t make a living taking pictures of people who think photos should be free.” WTF?!?!?! Maybe they didnt think they were free, but when you said they were, they were like “Sweet!”

    5) I hate how this went bold all of a sudden….

    6) I dont have any friends, or even family, that I would say “Sure, ill do that for free..”

  • Rabi Abonour

    Exactly. The couple who asks their friend to shoot their wedding because she owns a DSLR was never going to pay $4,000, or even $500, for the photos. It’s two distinct markets.

  • Rabi Abonour

    If he makes a living outside of photography and has no desire to make money shooting, then he didn’t get screwed over. Some of us love photography and chose to make it our careers, but I totally see the logic in going down a different road, divorcing photography from money, and keeping it a hobby.

  • jtr3

    This is not like someone fixing their own plumbing. This is like someone else giving away free plumbing work because “he’s not a professional.”

  • http://twitter.com/buckleyphoto buckleyphoto.com

    No You need a license for plumbing and have the board of health inspect your place of business to work for free for 80 people in those professions.

  • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

    Just going to slap every idiot here in the comments section. Were professional photographers approached for the job? doesn’t seem like it to me since it was unpaid – if the work is not available to them – then professionals are not losing work/money by Pete doing this job for free, for a friend. Quit bitching because maybe you’re not getting paid enough – who knows, maybe your work isn’t worth the kind of money you want to earn? ever think of that? just keep working and stop complaining about other people doing well – you’re never going to get anyway with a shi**y attitude like that.

    Anyway – these headshots are all fantastic, clearly a great personality and director, Pete. nice job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/makofoto Mako Koiwai

    Did you shoot RAW? Of course what you did is nothing compared to being a year book shooter and having to shoot hundreds of kids per day! But you were trying to give them more … good for you! On a shoot like this you should always have an assistant. On big pro shoots there is one person just monitoring and processing the images, at least one adjusting lights, on dealing with the waiting subjects/models … so you can, surprise … concentrate on the photography. Well done … but free work sucks … something I do for my buddy racers … while also trying to race myself. This year I’ve cut wayyy back on the photography and am doing better with my own racing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/makofoto Mako Koiwai

    What really comes through is your own personality … getting these folks to open up … a terrific talent!

  • http://www.facebook.com/makofoto Mako Koiwai

    A PRO is suppose to provide reliable services. Modern digital cameras allow instant feedback so people think that they can provide Pro services, but of course a real Pro does more then just provide a technically “correct” image. S/he gets “into” the subject/assignment with more depth, uses their experience to trouble shoot and over come, etc. Some “Pro’s” just go by the numbers. A friend liked my wedding photos more then the pro’s (I’m a Pro but not into weddings) because my familiarity with them and my work doing action photography allowed me to get those decisive moments while the Pro was just going by the numbers … his photos were stilted.

  • http://www.facebook.com/makofoto Mako Koiwai

    ” hope the photos in camera are fine (no LCD), etc.” A Pro does not “hope” his photos turn out … that’s why he’s a Pro … he produces reliable product.

  • http://www.facebook.com/makofoto Mako Koiwai

    @David … photographers use to make a nice little extra charging double for the film. That’s one of the things that has gone away with digital. They would of course buy in bulk

  • http://www.facebook.com/makofoto Mako Koiwai

    That’s why in TV commercial production the catering is over the top and never ending. We rent nice furniture for the client area (on locations), provide all of the latest magazines, sometimes thing are double over the top … fish tanks, massage therapist, musicians, etc. etc.