Posts Tagged ‘wordsofwisdom’

The Best Advice I Ever Received: ‘Put Down the D*mn Camera’

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My mentor was a cranky dude. He liked to put me through my paces every chance he got. Sometimes, when he needed something: “Hey, Greg—fetch that cable for me!” Yes, he said “fetch.” Sometimes, when he just knew better than I did: “Hey, Greg — get off your a** and come assist me.” Or when I was feeling superior: “Hey, Greg—stop being an idiot.”

Ah, fond memories!
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Why Picky Clients are a Good Thing

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A new client walked into my studio with her three little children, the eldest of which had a session. The little girl was all dressed-up, but very traditionally, so after conferring with mom, we began the session. And it was one of those sessions where everything went right. Happy child, great expressions, and yet, mom was hovering, straightening an already straight bow, smoothing invisible wrinkles in her daughter’s tights, “fixing” tiny details, some of which weren’t even in the frame.
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What Is Spec Work And Why Is It Bad for Photographers?

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“Spec” is short for “speculative,” and “spec work” is defined by the AIGA (which counts many photographers as members) as, “work done prior to engagement with a client in anticipation of being paid.”

This is the classical definition, and it began in the creative industries, where a photographer would shoot images for a desired client and then show them the work in the hopes of being hired. Notice the very important distinction: the work was done BEFORE contact with the potential client. This “free” spec work was not solicited or negotiated.
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Hey Kids! Wanna Be a Pro Photographer? Here’s How!

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There has been a lot of talk recently about how best to succeed as a professional photographer, now that “everybody is a photographer.” A recent post here by Alex Ignacio emphasized how important it is to “specialize and focus” — Ignacio believes that if we don’t, we’ll “perish”.

As someone who trains aspiring commercial photographers, I agree that some doors may shut if you don’t specialize, but many more will open if you’re versatile.
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Do You Need a Photography Degree to Be a Successful Photographer?

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As the recipient of a great education (thanks in no small part to my parents), I’m always fascinated by discussions of how college influence what we do and achieve later in life. As a music major, I could have never fathomed that I would one day become an entrepreneur, and when I think back to college, it had very little to do with the acquisition of technical knowledge, and more about being exposed to a wide range of subjects, people, and social situations.
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The Helsinki Bus Station Theory: Finding Your Own Vision in Photography

We are in the midst of sea change — a tidal wave might be more accurate — within the medium of photography. While the lens is still firmly fixed to the camera body, the body itself appears to have imploded. The inner workings — that is, the guts of the camera from Talbot’s days (when cameras were called “mousetraps” by his wife who was always tripping over them) — have changed faster than anyone expected.
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MIOPS: Smartphone Controllable High Speed Camera Trigger

MIOPS is a new smartphone-controlled camera trigger that combines all of the features photographers want in a high-speed camera trigger into one convenient device.

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Words of Wisdom Regarding Criticism by Anton Ego in Ratatouille

The Internet can be a tough place for photographers. One can pour an immeasurable amount of time, money, energy, blood, sweat, and tears into a picture (or a series of pictures), only to have his or her hard work torn to shreds by nameless and faceless commenters who hide behind the veil of anonymity.
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The Benefit of Researching a Subject’s Life Before Shooting a Portrait

Here’s a nice little video in which photographer Matthew Jordan Smith tells the story of a portrait session he had years ago with American actor/dancer/singer Gregory Hines. After finding himself in a sticky situation with a subject that wouldn’t offer the personality and emotion Smith wanted to capture, he reached deep into the knowledge of Hines that he had accumulated through his research; one particular fact saved the shoot.
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Spend a Day Apart From Your Camera to Recharge Your Eyes and Your Heart

Sometimes the best thing you can do to improve your photography is leave your camera at home.

Yes, practice is imperative if you want to improve. You do need to learn to work your camera instinctively and make a mastery of the technical aspects needed to create beautiful images.
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18 Facts of Life for Photography Students

Every year, I go to my alma mater and give a lecture for 3rd-year advertising-photography students on the business of photography. At this two-hour lectures, I cover all sorts of points about the ups and downs of being a busy commercial photographer in NYC, and also try to tell them straight facts of what the “real world” is like. Here is a summary of some of the most important words of wisdom I try to pass on to young photographers.
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