Photo 197 Spring 2012 Senior Projects in Photography. SJSU Dept of Art
To the students of Photo 197 and the readers of this book The Phot 197 Senior Projects in Photography is a capstone class. It is meant to bring to a close a time of exploration of the Arts and specifically the study of Photography. Many of these students are ready, maybe even passed ready, to move onto new and greater challenges posed in life after school. In my role as educator I work hard to push my students to push past their comfort zones and take their work to a higher level. I will be the first to admit that some are not ready to commit either the time, nor take the risk. Others rise to the challenge and invest their energy into making themselves and their work better. I am not the final judge and do not discriminate when it comes to presenting these works here. All students must present their work, it is up to them whether it succeeds or not. I like to think that I learn a little from each student in my charge during the semester. A romantic notion, but true nonetheless. Some are joys to work with, engaged, charismatic. Others are distant and can be a chore, but it is not an option to preach to the choir. I value my interactions with each member of my class even if those moments are fleeting. Thanks for taking the time to look over this years publication. -Keay Edwards 2012 The following body of portfolios are presented in alphabetical order.
Contents Artists Pages Alexander Abriam Meghan Bailey Eric Banks Jenna Barjam Brittani Davis Bahara Emami Daniel Haniger Nikolas Iampietro Allessandra Imazio Jones Maylin Jacobo Elizabeth Kresteller Anthony Larussa Howard Lee Adrian Lopez Elizabeth Medina Jennifer Ramirez Cecillia San Cristobal Quianna Sanchez Paulina Showalter Alec Sukoski Devyn Tamblyn Bianca Torres
Quote by Barry Moser “The best advice I could possibly give you, and forgive me if this seems glib, is to work. Work. Work. Work. Every day. At the same time every day. For as long as you can take it every day, work, work, work. Understand? Talent is for shit. I’ve taught school for nearly thirty years and never met a student who did not have some talent. It is as common as house dust or kudzu vine in Alabama and is just about as valuable. Nothing is as valuable as the habit of work, and work has to become a habit. This I learned from Flannery O’Connor. Read her. Read her letters especially, and her essays. You will learn more about what it is you want to do from people like her and Ben Shahn and Eudora Welty than you will ever learn from drawing classes. Read. Read. Read. You are in the business of words more than pictures. You must understand words and the craft and art of putting words together to move men’s souls and minds and hearts. Listen to music. Listen to Bach’s Art of the Fugue and the Goldberg Variations over and over and over. Every day, day after day after day until you begin to sense, if not understand, what he is up to. Then try to implement what you intuit from Bach into your own work. I don’t care if you don’t like classical music. Do it. It is invaluable, but you have to listen, and then don’t listen. Let it fill your mind at one moment and then let it flow over you and into you until you are paying it no attention whatever. Bach will teach you form and structure and rhythm and all sorts of things you never imagined. Second to the value of work is the willingness to fail. Faulkner said that to not fail is to be perfect and that if we ever did anything perfect nothing would remain but to cut the throat. Experiment and fail. Move on. Experiment and fail. Move on. Always keep in motion and finish the job even if it is not exactly what you hoped it would be, is not as good as it could be. It will never be as good as it could be. But each time you must try to make it as good as it could be. Its shortcomings will reveal themselves in time, sometimes to your embarrassment, but that’s ok. It’s part of the growth process. Failure is the foundation of growth. I’ve done over 200 books and not one of them is perfect. But.I would rather have the 200 imperfect books that comprise my history and mark the vectors of my path through my art form than to have one perfect book which would comprise nothing but its own perfect self and denote no vectors of a life lived, and an art form struggled with and occasionally, very occasionally, bested. More I cannot advise you except (as corny and prosaic as it may seem) put love first in your life, love of yourself and your work and of other people, and of whatever things of the spirit move and motivate you, and to have fun and maintain a fierce sense of humor. There is nothing so serious or important that it can’t be laughed at, or even poked a little fun at. Practice safe sex. Don’t do heavy drugs. Don’t get drunk and drive a car. Eat your greens. Get plenty of sleep.”
This body of work is an investigation of my Fraternity Brothers in and around the Sigma Chi Fraternity house which is set to be renovated this next summer. By photographing my subjects (my brothers) in diďŹ€erent locations within, it has allowed me to experiment with natural lighting and environmental lighting. The purpose of these photographs is to create a time capsule in a place which will be drasticly changed this summer. This body of work allows my Brothers to see themselves as I saw them. As they age, the pictures will present a moment in time of who they once were and will allow them to reeect on themselves as they grow older.
Interviews Students in Phot 197 are tasked with interviewing a professional working in the field they hope to move into. They are in no particular order.
Nathan Haniger 4/27/2012 Phot 197
Interviewee: David Frandsen
1. When did you first know you wanted to be a nature/wildlife photographer? I’ve always known I wanted to be a photographer ever since I played around with my dad’s 35mm Minolta camera as a kid, it wasn’t a carrier option in my mind though for whatever reason. It wasn’t until a was 24 or so that I realized people could make a living at this craft and I wanted in. 2. What were the major steps that got you where you are today? Working on the craft and producing amazing work is the single most important factor. With that said you don’t start producing great work overnight. It takes work, it’s a journey. My first breakthrough was an assignment for a local (but world renown) fly fishing shop that needed some last minute shots for their catalog that was about to go out. Sometimes being in the right place at the right time helps but more than that it is important to build friendships and relationships and to continue getting your name out there. 3. What method of marketing have you found most successful? Word of mouth is the single most successful marketing tool. When you have other people gladly spreading your name it is a good thing. Having an online presence is also a necessary marketing tool. When someone hears about you the first thing they do is go find you online. What do they find? An out of date website, or someone who is actively creating new and interesting work. 4. What is the thing you love most about your job? Being outside and seeing beautiful places is the thing I love the most. I love to explore. I also love sharing my work and seeing how people respond. 5. What is the thing you like least about your job? All the paper work and legal side of the business. It is a necessary evil. 6. Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you were to start over? Get over the idea that you need the latest gear and just go create amazing work. It can be done with what you have. 7. How has your field of work changed since you first started?
I started out shooting anything and everything including weddings, portraits, events, you name it. Now I try to focus in on one particular area of work. If you do everything you wonâ€™t be known for anyone thing. 8. Do you expect it to change in the future and in what ways? I think photographers are going to have to be doing more and more video work. That change is already here in some ways. 9. What is the most important advice you could give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps? Get over the gear, get a vision, and execute that vision. Once executed, share that work and repeat the process.
Interview with San Luis Obispo Wedding Photographer Ely Roberts When did you start your business? June 2008 Do you specialize in just weddings, or do you branch out into portraits, family portraits, events etc? I mostly shoot weddings, but also shoot portraits and some Corporate stuff, I’m always open to trying something new and different. If I could pick my job, it would probably be some type of documentary photography. What challenges do you see in your future as a photographer? I see two challenges in the future for a wedding photographer. 1) a lot of photographers are expanding and bringing in staff, which means less referrals and they will shoot more weddings under one name. I am happy for them, but this could cause larger studios to loose business. 2) Video may encapsulate photography, by just extracting stills or offering photography themselves. I’m seeing a rise in video, and if brides and grooms can get it all in one place, then there is no need for me. Also, happy for the video guys, but may need to adapt. How do you maintain being current in the ﬁeld of photography? Most of my effort is spent in marketing, via social networking and making my current clients happy. Next to marketing, is keeping up on my photo skills, by updating my equipment and better learning how to use it. What camera do you use? I use canon, since it’s what I started with and have invested in. I use all primes and love them all. If you could only use one lens for a wedding day which would be your go-to? If I had to pick one lens it would be the 35mm f1.4. Love it. How has the ﬁeld of photography changed since you started? I joined the photography game a little after the rise of digital age and with a lot of younger folks taking over the industry. I’ve seen lightroom rise in capability and add quite a workload and demand for higher quality work. With the current technology we can do almost anything with our images, so I feel, that, with this technology I must take the time to ensure that all of my images are edited to their full potential. In addition to that, there has been a split in styles. Some styles are more photojournalistic while some vintage or other unique styles. Both, routes are awesome, but I feel that as a photographer, you are mildly expected to pick one of these routes to show consistency to you clients.
Meghan Bailey 5/2/12 Photo 197 Interview Ondine Vierra was the first person I have met that had the career I want. She worked as a successful food photographer for many years and has been an inspiration to me from the time we met over four years ago. While she has since changed careers, I have found her insight on the industry to be invaluable. 1. How did you get your start as a food photographer? I decided in school that I wanted to live in San Francisco; it’s a food-shooting town so my senior year I decided to concentrate on food photography. I started out as a freelance photo assistant after graduation; I marketed myself to food photographers only. 2. What would a normal day of shooting be like for you? When a client was scheduled to come into the studio I made sure there were nice pastries and newspapers for them to read. All prop styling was done before the shoot day, and out for art directors to see. Food stylist showed up an hour before clients. We would do 5 different shots in a day. I used natural light only so my day could not go too late. My studio manager would arrange lunch in the studio. My assistant would be in charge of dropping off and picking up film throughout the day. I would set up shots, shoot test polaroids, art directors would make suggestion and approve the shots before shooting on film. An assistant on their way home dropped off film at the lab. Next morning I would pick up film edit it and send it off to the client. 3. How many assignments would you do a month (average)? Each month was different; I could go from shooing 7 days a week for 8 months straight to having one job a week. I was food photographer during the change from film to digital shooting. I started out shooting only film and ended up shooting only a digital back on my medium format camera or 35mm digital camera for catalog projects. 4. How had the industry changed while you were working? I was food photographer during the change from film to digital shooting. I started out shooting only film and ended up shooting only a digital back on my medium format camera or 35mm digital camera for catalog projects. I did not learn to use digital camera in college, just a Photoshop class. 5. Did you take certain classes in college to prepare you for your career? I took many studio lighting and still life classes in college. These were helpful but when I decided I only wanted to shoot natural light with food. A business practice for photographers was one of the best classes I took to prepare me for opening and running my studio. 6. Was food photography what you set out to do as a career? Yes, I saw that food was the main thing shot in San Francisco so I decided to focus on it. 7. What was your favorite job? A cookbook I shot for Chronicle books was my favorite project. I was given a budget and recipes and was pretty much left alone with my food stylist to complete the book. It was a lot of fun having that freedom. 8. Why did you get out? When it came to the point where you could not exist as a commercial photographer shooting film I look into the costs of setting a digital studio. I really wanted to shoot for magazines and cookbook projects only, those jobs to not pay a lot of money. I would have had to take on advertising jobs and catalog work; I had done these types of jobs and did not like them. The cost of the equipment was too much, it was not worth it to me to have to take on the type of work I did not want to do. 9. What advice do you have for a photographer trying to get a start in the industry? Go work for the people you admire. 10. Did you ever shoot for an editorial magazine? Yes, I loved editorial work. It does not pay advertising day rates but you have more freedom and most of the time art directors do not come to the shoots. 11. How did you market yourself/ get jobs? I mailed our 6x9 cards with a food image 8 times a year, mailed in an envelope. I also wrote to art directors that I admired I called them “ love letter”. 12. Did you do any traveling for jobs? If so what were the jobs and what were they like?
I worked for 3 summers traveling all summer with a photographer photographing benches, traveling to Portugal and France twice. I was the hardest I have ever worked, 12 hrs a day for $10 per day plus flight and food and lodging. They were great summers; I go to see many things that I would not have been able to if we were not photographing. 13. Any further advice for me as far as getting into travel/food photography? Working for people you admire is the best start. Learning how a successful photographer runs their business is really important. The time spent photographing is small compared to the marketing and the daily business duties. 14. How much did you get paid for jobs/ how did you write estimates? A one page shot for a magazine could pay $350 plus expenses. A catalog 10 hr shoot day could pay $1500 plus expenses. An advertising day rate may start at $2500 per day. I would start by asking new client what they had in mind for the shoot budget and work around that. For magazines and cookbook work I was always given a budget to stay within.
Since Ondine closed her studio, she and her husband, David, have opened a letterpress business. Their work is beautiful and all done on an antique letterpress and often hand set the type for jobs. Their website shows their craftsmanship and all the photography was done by Ondine, so you can still see her style. Enframingpress.com
Interview by Brittani Littlefield-Davis with
What is your current job title? Owner/photographer
What is your educational background? BA in Photography
What were some of the hurdles you had to go through to set up your own business? The hardest part for me was getting my name out there. It’s a slow process, and I’m not big on self-promotion, but I found that telling a few of the right people about my new business was key in spreading the word (as in, they essentially did the work for me).
How do you promote yourself/company?
I advertise on a couple wedding blogs, and the rest is word of mouth, so I really focus on customer service (people show photos, but they actually talk about their experience). I also submit weddings to wedding blogs as a way to get my name and work out there without paying for advertising. I don’t get a ton of work as a direct result, but it gets my name out there in the industry.
What woud you say you spend the most time doing for your business?
Probably office stuff; this includes emailing clients/vendors, blogging, submitting to blogs, bookkeeping, designing albums, etc. I outsource a lot of my post production since that is my least favourite part of the job.
Have you had difficult clients? If so, how have you handled those situations?
I have had the potential for difficult clients. Some of my clients were bad about emailing back promptly/picking shoot locations/approving album designs in a timely manner, but these were super easy situations to deal with, so I wouldn’t call those clients difficult. I’ve definitely had
clients ask me for bizarre things or for things that were waaay above and beyond my job description, but the thing about wedding photography is that almost every client who books me is new to this- hiring vendors, planning/ organizing an event, etc- so part of my job is to help guide them in the process and make informed decisions about what they’re doing, and to let them know that I’m on their team and have their best interest in mind. Another thing that has helped me avoid difficult clients is being selective about whom I work with. This is tough at the beginning, but I’ve had inquires from clients who were difficult to work with before I’d even booked them, and I knew that no matter what I did, they wouldn’t be totally happy with my work, so I’d suggest other photographers who’d better fit their needs. I’ve found that advertising on certain blogs help me find the right client for me.
What kind of clients do you look for?
I look for clients who I personally click with, whose wedding I’d like to attend as a guest, and who I could see myself hanging out with after the wedding is over. A wedding photographer is with their couple all day during the wedding, so it’s important that you like each other. I also prefer couples who tend to not lose their shit if something goes wrong on their wedding day (they’re out there!).
Have you had any return clients? (ex. Couple got married and needs pregnancy photos) I’ve had a few book me for portraits and family stuff, and a few more ask for corporate work (I tend to send them to other photogs, that’s not my bag). I’m sure I could get more return clients if I really promoted that idea, but right now I don’t promote that I do family/maternity/etc photos (though I’ll totally do it if asked).
Elizabeth Medina May 7, 2012 Photo 197 Interview with Denise Birdsong of Modern Love Photography • How did you get started in photography? When I was much younger I was a model, I was too short for runway work so I was booked for a lot of print work. This was my first experience with photography, it never even occurred to me to be on the other side of the camera. Fast forward seventeen years and I had a teenage daughter who was interested in photography, I thought I would use my business background to start a small hobby business for her but as soon as I picked up her camera it was like all the pieces of my life and experience feel together, made perfect sense and shooting was exactly what I should be doing. • Did you go to school or are self-taught? I am 100% self-taught • How did you know you wanted to create your own business and have a professional career out of your passion? I honestly didn’t, it just happened. • How did you get where you are today? I am tremendously driven and work 150% towards anything I set my mind do. I started this to create a thriving business that would support my family and I did it. If you want it, you have to go and get it, no one is going to give it to you! • What are your goals for the future? Business and personally? I would like to create a million dolar studio, I would like to work on better work life balance. • What was the most challenging part of creating your own business? I am a big picture kind of girl, in my career prior to starting this two years ago I was always in sales and sales management. I have always had a support staff to manage all the details for me. I struggle the most with being organized and managing the little details (boring) • What are the challenges you face in the future? Managing the details, growing the business, work life balance! • How do you maintain currency in their field? ? • How has your field changed since you began working? I am so new to the industry I have not been around long enough to see much of a change. • Who are your clients / who are you looking for as a potential client? My clients are WOMEN, I specialize in working with the, making them feel special, beautiful, giving them permission to be their most beautiful and let go of all the pre conceived notions of who they should or are supposed to be. Whether that be a teenage girl for high school sr portraits, A bride, and expectant mother, a business woman or a grandmother, my passion is working with women of all ages, shapes, sizes, races, religion , I love them all and want to document the beauty of every stage of the precious gift that we call our lives! Contact Information: Denise Birdsong http://www.modernlovephotography.com/ 510.566.5751 email@example.com
Photographer: Vincent Isola Genesis Photography
185 Moffett Boulevard Mountain View, CA 94043 (650) 967-2301 How did they get where they are today? -Im not really sure where I am but, lost of different things I started back 30 years ago. I started shooting landscapes like everybody. Then I needed to find someway to make money at it so I started working for some really good still photographers and learned lighting from them. I worked for pete turner who had a studio in carnigy hall bulling, I worked for a guy called hashi and worked for a bunch of people here and there.Working with these people gave me really god technically skills in terms of lighting that I didn’t really know about. Then I started shooting weddings because that was some quick easy money and I got a lot of experience with people some I liked and some I didn’t but it gave me the ability to work fast in different situations. It helped me work with people who were average. They weren’t super models but you had to make them look good. Then I moved to california from new york and and oped my studio in 87 and ive been here ever since. So 25 years if you believe it of not. We’ve shot a range of this believe it or not we started with weddings portraits then onto product and location stuff which I enjoyed the most because its different although I love working in the studio.then I think as the business started changing and the industry started changing you had to aquier new skills. I had to pay for all this stuff so I really decided to work with portraiture. And again with commercial work which we centered around portrait work but then again because I had a lot of lighting experience and 8x10 and 4x5 cameras I got a lot of studio photography. In late 96 I got my first digital camera but they were a nightmare because nothing worked together like they said it would.I went completely digital in 2003 or 2001. Then I started to want to print around the same time as well. I was already very into digital when they released the first affordable camera which I think was the canon rebel a 6mp camera which was two thousand dollars. All most none of the people I was in competition with in the 90’s are still around. Most of the people who are my competition are guys like you, right out of college they just open up. Unfortunately they don’t know how to price it and think a couple hundred bucks is great to make in a day and they font have they opportunity that I got to work at several commercial studios and also working at several wedding portrait studios wich did a few things. It allowed me to see how people ran business. I learned a lot about prices and business. I was lucky enough to pass by the mistake that many people make when trying to start. I saw these mistakes when I interned and knew what and what not to do. The thing I do the least is actually shooting.
What are the challenges they face in the future? -The challenges I face in the future are the same challenges you face. While I have more solutions about more thing you have solutions about other thing I don’t understand. One of the areas people tend to miss is social media. I get it but I don’t understand it. I see it as an invasion on privacy, but my clients are all over it. I think that one of the challenges is going to be how to get business from that with out overtly asking for it and how you take a media that was intended to keep people social that now all of sudden you could turn things around and touch those people and get the word out for what you want to sell them but at the same time remain genuine. To mix social and business is hard. You have a website that you put your best stuff on and to just put stuff out there that isn’t your best work can work against you. IM not really sure but thats my biggest challenge. I’ve been working on that for the lasts two years with some success. And also What is the studio going to look like. Photography didn’t really change much the first hundred years. Now its just not the tools that have changed its the applications. People want to use photos with everything but the want you to give it to them. What can you do that they cant. Will they be willing to pay for it on a regular basis for the work.It used to be easer to make money with photography. With the invention of digital people think its free. Where its not costing you money but its costing you time wich is more valuble. How do they maintain currency in their field? -I dont think you can stay current by thinking about it but by just doing it. If I had to give you any advice it would be love it because the monetary rewards are not worth it. Staying current is more out of wanting to play with all the new stuff. Seeing what works and balance. Its not as much about the equipment as much about what you know and the technique you use. People talk about getting everything new and getting a higher megapixel camera but if you don’t know the technique your going to see how crapy your shot really is. Its like this video, I took a project over my head and higher people when I didn’t know what direction to give them. As a still photographer how do you use camera movement to tell a story. Now when I see a movie I analyze why they moved the camera in a cretin way and break down everything. Its kind of like still photography on steroids. I had to learn how to write scripts and kind of learned it backward to what you are supposed to. You have to make sure you lay out the shots and lighting and make sure you know what your doing. If you don’t have it all
together like I did on my first couple if shoots your going to loose it. I think the future is going to be a hybrid type of photography your going to have to learn both you going to have to be rounded. I think you can do so much more with a combination of everything.Where just seeing a still image was enough now your going to have to shoot some video as well. How has their field changed since they began working? -Man sometime when I feel when I started working we were ridding horses. Its so different but its also the same. The tools are completely different. The tools make was we used to do a lot easier. You were considered a master when you knew something that nobody else did or nobody else had the time to do. A lot of those processes are animated. Processes is just so different know. Everything is fast.The more people who buy a really good camera think they know everything. The changes are constant. There are two things that wont change one is the image, it doesn’t matter about the equipment how were recording it how were printing it out its about the final image. The other thing that is going to change it that things are always going to change only faster before you had time to master something and you were the guy but now you learn something and your still a step behind. I would focus on the core of what we do which is the image and being able to get that in any type of lighting condition. The rest of the stuff no matter how it changes those are just tools and your going to have to learn how to use them. Even if you don’t learn them its still all about the image. Who are the clients? - My clients are everybody and nobody. I have a very broad spectrum of what I shoot. You cant generalize a specific type there isn’t a specialty market any more. My clients are more and more becoming everyday people. Cannon is one of my clients on the professional side. Its very satisfying because I get to work with very cutting edge stuff. I couldn’t pick a specific type of client that I work with. Before if I would go shoot in a dentist I would do a series of stills. Now I would go in and do a series of stills but also shoot some video and maybe chat and get to know why there the best. I would be able to work for a hybrid clients. I think clients are going to start to expert both. How did you become a canon master?
- I got lucky about 5 years ago now and I had the opportunity by canon to become a print master. They were looking to enter the printer market. They asked me to come on board and that lasted about two years. Then they asked me to come on as an explorer of light. So ive been doing that till now. As you can see today were set up to show an introduction on some tutorials to use the Eos utilities that you have on your camera. Today were showing a introduction video on how to use these. I use it kind of like using Polaroids. Last year I had the opportunity to shoot 151 major jazz musician all over the country for a new printer that was coming out. We were making these prints to sell off for an auction. They have given me a lot of opportunity.
Jenna Barjam Phot 197 Interviewee: Greg Mettler http://gregmettler.com/
How did you get started in photography? I was studying Biology as an Undergrad and decided to take photography as a break from all of the science classes. What I didn’t know was that photography would take over my life! How did you transition into fine art photography? Well, as a student, my background was in fine art photography. While living in San Francisco, I moved into commercial photography to make money but then transitioned back into fine art photography when I found the commercial work to be intellectually and artistically unsatisfying. You use several different processes throughout your work, how important is process to you, and how do you decide which process to use for which projects? I first come up with an idea for a new project or series, then I determine which process will work best to make the work fit my initial vision. I enjoy some processes more than others but I really keep my focus on the final outcome of the work. I think it is a mistake to become pigeon-holed as an artist who works in only one process. What are some challenges you face as a fine art photographer? Finding time to create art and be a husband, father and teacher. Finding money to complete projects that may or may not create income. After you finish a large project, how do you decide what to do next? Usually one project informs another so I build off of ideas from the last project. What do you think the future has in store for you? More projects and more exhibitions, hopefully more on the east coast and internationally. I plan to continue to teach and live in the Monterey area.
Fong Lai Event/Commercial Photographer firstname.lastname@example.org
• How did you start your career? Work for an assistant, learn the trade and start being independent. • What were some challenges when you first started out? Very few clients, part-time self-employed for a while, taking business for very little profits. • How did you get your clients? Friends, families, Bridal Shows, and referrals. • Was there a sense of competition? If so, how did you overcome those competitions There’s always competition but in order to overcome them, go the extra mile for your clients, make their money worth it. And always be professional. • Who are the clients / what are they looking for? Wedding, Engagement, Food business, Family portrait, Corporate clients • What is your normal work flow? Workflow depends the project. (don’t know what you really meant by work flow) Meet Clients, Sell your skills, scout the locations, shoot for clients, editing work, present it professionally and collect final payments. • How do you estimate your total work and handle your deadlines and not over schedule your work? Total work hours, deadlines and schedule are given to customers from past experience. Most important piece of advice, take projects within your workload ability. • Do you have any extra advice for someone starting to get into the photography field? Work for any photographer who wants to hire you as an intern or assistant. Learn the trade as fast as possible, then there will lots of opportunities in the photography field.
Quianna Sanchez May 3, 2012
For my interview I wanted to find a wedding and lifestyle photographer that has a passion for
photographing families and special events. I came in contact with Charlene Chavez through Facebook and was inspired by her work. As soon as I found familiar faces of childhood friends on her website I knew she would be a great contact. Impressed with her artistic and professional style her business is exactly what I would like to get into after graduation. I love on location shoots while incorporating landscapes and natural lighting, but I’m also interested in professional portraiture in the studio. She has the best of both worlds.
1. How did you transition from photography just being a hobby into a full time career?
Photography has been my passion since I was a teenager so I still view my job as a hobby with magical
checks in the mail. I am blessed to be able to do what I love everyday. I began picking up gigs just as side jobs for some extra cash and as favors for friends. Once word of mouth traveled and I became comfortable with my equipment clients kept lining up. I gave myself a goal of booking five photo shoots a week to start. Once I maintained a busy schedule with shoots I decided this was the perfect career for me and my family. It’s honestly hard to even call my business a career because everyday is a new challenge that I embrace. I truly enjoy photographing people and making them look and feel their best. Once you find your passion and devote heart and determination the money will come. 2. How do you maintain currency in your field?
Marketing. Marketing. Coffee. Marketing. It wasn’t until I took the plunge to working full time as a
photographer that I realized the importance of marketing and getting my name out there. Marketing101 boils down to simply being a good honest person. Simply by working hard, creating beautiful work and doing what you say you’re going to do will go a long way. Word of mouth is your best friend. Always follow through with your clients to make sure they are happy with their images and never leave the house without your business cards in your pocket. Keep setting goals, stay motivated and organized and you can control your own salary. 3. What are the challenges you will face in the future?
Unfortunately, in this field technology is constantly upgrading and it can be hard to keep up. When I
first started I simply wanted to shoot family portraits. Portraits turned into special events, then anniversary parties brought weddings. I welcomed these new opportunities because I love working with people. It wasn’t until families started asking for slideshows, projected movies, ecommerce websites and even if I accept AmericanExpress that I realized I really was in business and I had some learning to do. It can be
overwhelming and very expensive, but as long as you are committed to your customers and offer them great customer service technology is just a fraction of professionalism.
4. Who are your clients and what are they looking for?
Most of my clients are middle age adults looking to capture special memories of their families.
Everyone loves photos of the ones they love, but realistically it’s usually the parents (middle generation) that are the ones writing checks. Each client is different, yet many of them are looking for a laid back environment to shoot “half candid shots”. I came up with the term “half candid” by combining the idea of setting up a scene or finding a prime location for a family shoot, then letting things just happen organically. Yes, they are planned out and even sometimes color coordinated, but I encourage conversation and playfulness during the shoot to capture the family in their moments. It’s okay if everyone in the picture isn’t looking straight at the lens with a cheesy-fake smile and it’s even better to photograph genuine laughs and giggles. Everyone wants images where they look and feel their best so I try to really get to know each client so they feel comfortable enough to relax.
I have noticed recently that clients are still requesting large prints, however some are satisfied with
small digital images to upload and share online. Personally, I think that’s scary just incase anything happens in cyberspace, plus there’s nothing more powerful than a large framed family portrait. To each their own.
5. Any additional material or fun facts?
Stay organized and hire a tax lady. Seriously. As business started piling up I found myself actually
photographing taking the back burner to the business side. I always require wedding clients to book an engagement photo session before their wedding. This helps them to feel comfortable with me and the camera. Plus it helps to ask silly questions and to get insights about the wedding. For example: Stay away for Uncle Bob, he’ll try to hit on you. Please try to get as many photos of Papa James, this might be his last family event. My cousin Vinny’s new girlfriend will try to slip in the family photos, she won’t last long so help us try to exclude her from the group shots. Stuff like that can be very helpful and really adds a personal connection with your photographs and their special memories.
Overall if photography is your passion then people will see it and encourage you. How can you expect
others to have faith in you, if you don’t have faith in yourself? Times will be tough. You may find yourself working at 4:00am or driving around town looking for the perfect chair for a photo shoot. But in the end you can control your schedule and never miss your children’s soccer games or dance recitals. It’s worth it. www.CharleneChavezPhotography.com
Jennifer Ramirez Phot 197 Interview Project Willow Lorenz of Willow Rose Photography Do you enjoy your work? i absolutely love my work! The editing can be tedious sometimes but theres nothing like the feeling of delivering beautiful memories to someone and knowing that they will treasure them forever and you got to be a little part of that. Theres nothing like the feeling that you get when you get that perfect shot and it always surprises you which one is the favorite that u almost deleted! i love getting to know people and giving them a very personal experience its hard to be comfortable when u are having your photos taken and i like to try to make it fun! How did you get where you are today? i started taking photos when i was young and just kept going, everything i know has been self taught. eventually decided to start shooting families to help pay for my expensive hobby. That turned into second shooting weddings for a season and upgrading all my equipment. Then i took my first wedding and loved it! i had thought that i wouldn’t enjoy the pressure and that i would be extremely nervous but that didn’t happen so i went for it… What are some challenges you might face in the future? There is a lot of competition in photography and i have not found a great marketing strategy yet. How do you keep up with technological advances in your field? Just keep upgrading my equipment and learning by online tutorials. How has your work changed since you began working? when i first started my work was straight from the camera and all about capturing emotion and tons of candids, i have really expanded to getting everything on film… settings, details, and setting up fun shots. I’m much better at directing and have learned flattering angles to reduce editing. i use lightroom and photoshop for editing and have developed my own style. I’m sure my work will continue to change and improve as i keep learning more. Who are your clients and what are they looking for? my clients are usually attracted to the way i use the natural light. i really try to tell a story with my photos and get the raw emotion. Most of my clients are couples for engagement and
weddings. but i also do a lot of boudoir. i love to make a woman see that amazing sexy side of herself. How do you promote your work and what brings you the most business? thats probably my biggest challenge i havent found a way to really get myself out there. most of my clients are referrals from clients. i have worked with a few photographers who refer work to me as well.
Contact Information: Phone: (831)-254-5071 Website: www.willowrosephotography.com Email: email@example.com
Anthony Larussa Photo 197 5-3-2012 Interview: Jeff Cable
I first meet my interviewee working for a tech company in Fremont California. Jeff Cable was the
photographer that worked closely with the marketing and graphic design artist’s for the company. Before I knew who he was I noticed all the great photographs around the building, and asked if he was the photographer behind all this great work. Later on I asked him if I could ask him a few questions about who he was and how he got where he was today. Jeff was more than willing to answer any questions I had as well as showing me the work he’s done in the past and now.
Jeff first started off taking photos for family and friends just like many of us do. He acquired his paid job
unintentionally when he attended family friends Bar Mitzvah. The family needed some photos of the special event, and as a young photographer offered to help not thinking he would get paid. Later when He presented the photographs to the family they where so impressed with the shoots they offered to pay him. Jeff denied the offer but the family insisted that they pay him. He earned good money for the photographs, which lead him to make a career from his work.
The field of photography is always changing and Jeff Cable had to change with it. Jeff said that he
doesn’t mind the change especially if it makes it easier for his work. Switching from film to the digital has made it easier to do his work and present better results as well as a faster turn around time for his clients.
His Clients range from his bosses at Lexar Media to his clients he does personal photo shoots for as
wheel as the Olympic comity. The people he shoots for look for dynamic photographs that can be posted for all to see and enjoy. He also said that every client wants a quick turnaround time with the best quality and if you can handle that you’ll receive more recommended clients that will keep you in business.
Jeff Cable told me that having a desk job is okay as well as doing freelance photography on the side.
Both sides will present you with great opportunities as long as you are willing to take them and commit to them. Many of the jobs you take will be challenging but will only help you progress as a photographer.
Jeff Cable firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Hammel www.scotterpop.com 925.708.0436 How did they get where they are today? I’m currently a videographer/editor for Joyus.com, freelance/artist on the side. Received a BA in Directing in Motion Pictures and TV at the Academy of Art University. A high school teacher of mine told me that working at a job that’s not related to what you like and where you want to go is a waste of time. I’ve applied this idea to my career and it seems to be working.. What are the challenges I face in the future? I would say the only challenges I face are staying technically up to date and social media savvy. I also plan on moving to NYC and foresee adapting to such a different environment will be challenging. How do I maintain currency in their field? Staying attune to what’s going on around you is key. Whether it be the news, social trends/problems/media. This ultimately inspires and affects us. Being aware of what other artists are creating in their respective fields is also important. How has their field changed since they began working? The technological advances within the video/photo industry are exponentially growing. There are faster and more efficient ways of creating, giving artists more creative avenues to explore. Accessibility to art has become easier, social media now connecting artists with their audiences.
Maylin Jacobo Photo 197 Spring 2012
Interview with Thomas Northcut: Freelance Fashion Photographer email@example.com
1. How did you get to where you are today? I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. I had an older sister of 4.5 years that was always very creative, a mother that was as well, and a father that had a mathematical brain and an old camera that I found in the basement when I was 10. I fell in love with photography the summer going into the sixth grade. The creative side from my mother and the analytical side from my father made photography a perfect match. I shot pictures of my friends hanging out and skateboarding for fun until I finally got into a photo class in high school, my sophomore year. That year I got an “A” in photo, a “D-” in biology, and flunked the other four classes I had because I never left the darkroom. I use to hide out in there so the teacher wouldn’t see me and tell me to go to my other classes. That summer I went to summer school to make up all my failed classes and I knew then that I had to finish high school as soon as possible so I could go to college for photography, because that’s all I cared about. I did just that and went to the Savannah College of Art and Design… the only school I applied for. While there, one summer I visited a friend from Louisville that was going to school in Seattle. I fell in love with Seattle and as soon as I graduated I drove out there. I got a job six months later as one of four “Wholly Owned Photographers” at Getty images shooting stock photography. For five years I travelled the world and met a lot of cool people through Getty but I it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing. I wanted to be able to be more creative and not have to take pictures that were “salable”. The Getty creative department dissolved and I with three other photographer friends started our own commercial photography studio called “Lucile”. I was only there for a year until I finally made the move to go to New York and shoot fashion there. It was something that I always wanted to do but was so comfortable in Seattle I never made the plunge… until a met a girl. I have lived in New York for a little over a year now and I’m engaged to that girl. She was the photo shoot producer for the
Free People catalogs, that’s how I was introduced to that company. I started helping out on shoots, teaching, assisting, shooting behind the scenes pictures and video… and became super close with everyone there. They kept hiring me back for different things and I’ve pretty much been a part of every catalog since the October 2010 book. It was kind of crazy moving to New York because this city is so famous for its photography and there are so many people here in this business. I basically had to start all over when I got here. It’s a whole different ball game out here. It was like I backed tracked because I had to start assisting again instead of shooting all the time but it’s been a blast! I love it actually! Shooting is obviously better, more fun, and pays WAY better, but just being around photography is fun to me so I’d rather assist another photographer than sit at home on the computer. But yeah, that’s kind of where I am today… shooting, assisting, assisting, shooting video and behind the scenes… just whatever I can to explore New York!
2. In establishing your career what do you wish you would have known? Hmmm… maybe how to schmooze better. I work hard and I love photography but New York is a tricky place and a lot of your success comes from knowing the right people… and I’m so bad at that kind of stuff! I hate dropping names and kissing ass… I’m just no good at it so I don’t do it. Being yourself is the easiest thing and if you’re nice to people and work hard people want to be around you and hopefully hire you!
3. How do you keep your creativity going? Honestly I get a lot of ideas from watching skateboard videos. I’ve been a skateboarder as long as I’ve been a photographer and even though I’m getting older and can’t skate the way I used to I still get inspiration from it. It’s always progressing, always evolving; always adapting… it’s the perfect role model for anything creative really! Plus with videos and magazines being such a big part of it, I have plenty of material to study and apply to my photography. I think it’s good to have influences from other areas of interest. If all you look at is fashion gone rouge or whatever to learn photography you’re goanna end up copying the same stuff and being ten steps behind. You have to innovate… pull inspiration from things like music or painting or skateboarding even. At least that’s what works for me.
4. At what point in your career did you jump in with both feet? Do you wish you had done it sooner? Moving to New York in March of 2011. I left behind an awesome life in Seattle to pursue a career in fashion photography and be with the girl I love. I knew her for a year before moving and I knew she was the one from the day I met her. When I knew those feelings were for real and not just some infatuation with a girl living on the east coast I wish I could’ve moved right away but I had to quit my bands, tell everyone I was leaving, get rid of so much stuff, pack clothes, etc, etc, etc… the last few months in Seattle were the slowest months of my life.
5. How do you establish what you are worth? By how many zeros you have in your bank account, obviously! ;) No, honestly, I measure worth in happiness. I’m sure that sounds really lame but truly what else matters? I’m kind of broke right now… I mean, I can get by and I have plenty of money owed to me from working but being happy is all that matters. I’m taking pictures for a living?! That’s insane! I love photography and I get to do it for a job… a career? Plus I get to travel the world for work with the girl I’m engaged to?! I couldn’t be happier… that’s worth everything to me.
6. How did you determine what sets you apart from other photographers? I love photography, I really do. I don’t do it for any other reason than that. It excites me, it makes me happy… I’ve met a lot of photographers and heard countless stories of photographers that don’t care about it, don’t love it any more… just want to make money. I’m different from a lot of other photographers in that way for sure. I’m hyper, I stay positive, I have fun, I don’t stress, I take pictures.
7. Finally any tip or advice? “The cream rises to the top.” …My dad always says that to me… he also says “work hard, play hard.” I like that one too!
* I also wanted to know as a fashion photographer do you have an input in how the images are put together? Like how the apparel is used or choosing the location? Or is it a combination of teamwork? I want to be a photographer, where I am part of the creative process. Does this mean I am a freelance
photographer and send out my portfolio? At Getty we used to always say “it takes a village” on shoots, because to make a picture there are so many elements involved. Good hair and make-up, good styling, good locations, good lighting, good timing, good energy, and so on and so on. It’s definitely teamwork… even if there is no one there except you and the model; it’s still teamwork between you two. That relationship is everything. A pretty face is one thing, and there are millions of pretty faces out there, but you have to have that chemistry with your subjects. That’s how great pictures happen. And then when you get all this help from the stylists and the make-up artists and the hair stylists you can get something great. Like the whole “two brains are better than one” thing. I’m way into teamwork and collaborations! As for the “am I a freelance photographer “ part… freelance just means you work for yourself. Most photographers get an agent that sets up meetings, calls clients, shows off their books to potential clients, deals with the booking, and a million other things for them. That way the photographer can focus on just making good pictures. If you don’t have an agent then you do all that stuff yourself… lots of emails, phone calls, portfolio reviews, dinner meetings, schmoozing over drinks, etc. It’s exhausting doing all that, especially if you’re not good at that kind of stuff. It’s nice having an agent that will do that for you but you have pay them, you know? Either way, you’re still a freelance photographer. Unless you work for a company that pays you a salary or something but that’s pretty rare in the fashion photography world. Most of us are freelance.