Joined the Winter Park Photography Club on a portrait photo walk in the city of Winter Garden. Scouting locations and setting up portraits on the spot.
This past year (2017) I set out to be more active in local photo events. The goal was to meet new photographers and talent. For me the easiest way to do so was to attend a local photography event. I attended my first one back in June put together by a local Facebook group called Orlando Meet and Greet and it was held at the fantastic Studio One in Orlando, Florida.
I felt a bit overwhelmed when I first arrived at the studio. So many photographers all over the place shooting over each others shoulders. Soon after I rolled with the punches and started setting up shoots too. All it takes was a hello, my name is ( insert name here ) do you want to shoot? Yes. That simple.
This was a good way to set up new talent contacts for projects in the future. Getting to work with new people is always good even though not everyone is going to be a good fit to collaborate on future projects. I say collaborate because I dont expect the talent to become my client. Still , it's good to have a network of talent for projects that prove to be benificial to all parties involved.
Currently as I write this, I am struggling to set up shoots for the ideas that I have. I need to be a bit more selective on who I collaborate with on these projects. Not everyone wanting to collaborate on a project is professional and by that I mean wont be beneficial to the project. In reality they may only looking for someone to take "good pictures" of them for their socials and most likely neglect to even give you credit.
These events are also a great way to meet more photographers. Networking with your peers is a great benefit of attending such events. This can lead to possible jobs. Sometimes you can even learn a thing or two from them ( there is always room for learning something new ) .
If anything get out there and meet your "competition". You will be surprised at how nice they really are in person. Also , if your into gear, it's a time to chat it up with others about the gear they use or you may be using.
Since my first social event I attended last year, I have made it to several more. I plan to attend more this year ( 2018 ). Network. Get out there. Collaborate. Is all part of the plan for me this year.
Is there a local photo event coming soon to a town near you? If so, get out there and get social!
Back in 2006 I purchased a Canon Powershot S3IS for $300.00 at Walmart to photograph a friends wedding. Being a broke ex "PRO" photographer at the time it was all the digital I could afford. "It's the moron behind the camera ..." say's Zack Arias. I know this. I have always known this. Even before Zack has drilled it into our heads in that awesome video. Waaaay before.
I shot my friends wedding with it. End of story. That camera became my "comfort camera" for the many years I remained in active in photography. Shot a bunch of things with it here and there as one who loves photography would do.
One day I picked up a magazine called JPGMAG. They had a website that had tons of photo projects one can do to keep you shooting with hopes of your photographs ending up in their magazine of course. That lit a fire in me for photography again and even though I was no longer a "PRO" or had the "best" camera, I did as many projects as I could no longer caring if I made it on the magazine but for the sake of completing these projects. I felt alive again.
The Canon Powershot S3IS is a simple machine that can deliver if you know what "buttons" to push. Speaking of pushing, I have decided to push it as far as I can. Years ago I did an editorial fashion shoot with it and recently I decided to bring it along more shoots to see what can I do with it.
Keeping the Powershot S3IS at it's lowest ISO (80) , holding it steady or on a (tripod/monopod ) , good light and superfine JPG ( it cant shoot RAW without firmware hack) gives you the cleanest files. Atleast it does for me.
Once Upon a Time ...
I used to photograph weddings. I admit. It wasn't what I had planned in my wants as a photographer. In fact, I didn't want to photograph people at all. I loved photographing nature , wildlife and still life ( mainly setting up cool scenes with toys back in the 90's ) . Although I did document the BMX life around me ... photographing people was not my thing. Still , looking back I heavily documented the life around me. Always had my camera with me .
Does this mean that quite possibly , deep down inside , I liked photographing people? Capturing moments in time? Well, yes. Yes indeed! It wasn't until I had to complete a few projects in photo school that I realized I enjoyed making portraits. Soon after ( while I was working in a photo lab ) I was recruited by a local photographer ( Curt Littlecot ) who only processed and printed proofs in our photo lab. I loved his photographic style and it wasn't the boring wedding photography style I was used to seeing back then.
I learned plenty from him and later on I put to practice what was learned on my own wedding assignments. Currently my focus is on editorial portraits / headshots and music photography. Still , every once in a while I will photograph someones special day.
So let's say there is a project floating around you head. You want to get that done. Right? You may need a wardrobe stylist, a hair/make up artist, a model or 2. Are you going to shoot it at a location or in a studio? Do you have a studio? Are you gonna rent one? Endless questions and you are broke. No money to put into this project. Nada (none).
What can you do? Collaborate. Yes. Collaborate. Put the word out. Form a crew. Create something. Hit up your local makeup artist, hair stylist, model or whoever's help you may need in creating your vision. Sounds simple. Hit up some people, make something awesome. Mission accomplished.
You can find people to collaborate with on many outlets via social media. A popular one is Face Book groups. Find yourself a group that fits your needs. For example if you are wanting to make a project involving skateboarders and you know none, one possibility to join a group , make friends network, ask around tell them what you want to do with the project and such. Models is what you be needing? There is a group for that. Get social. Network. You will be surprise on how many people would love to be on board your project. However not everyone will want to collaborate.
Unfortunately many other creatives or people in the industry are not so keen on the idea of collaboration. They see no value in it. They are blind to the possibility of networking with the right folks or building an awesome portfolio. They are clueless to the fact that personal work ( work created for oneself and not for a client ) is where it's at.
Money is their motivator. Dont get me wrong, money is not bad thing. Most of us need it to survive. So their main goal is to make money even if they dont have the skills to obtain it. Example: A person buys their first camera today and minutes later they open a FB page with a business name involving photography and want to charge everyone and build a porfolio from it. with no experience what so ever. But that is another story for another blog post.
It should also be noted that not every project coming your way or offer to collaborate is a good thing. Learn how to tell what is a good fit and a bad one. One of the photographers I admire, Chase Jarvis , has more info that will help you do just that. And can be read HERE.
So now you've determined the people involved or potential people involved in your project are a good fit. It's a win win for everyone and that's a good thing. Maintain that networking for future projects and collaborations. Go ahead and be social. I myself like to hype about a project after I have worked on one. After its been completed. Why? Cause it by that time has become a reality. It happened and I can talk about it and all the cool people involved vs hyping about it before it has been completed then it may have never been completed.
Collaboration ( also know as TF,TFP ) in certain circles can truly be a wonderful thing. It can help all parties involved gain experience and level up, Now I am not talking about the "Hey if you do this for me ... blah ,blah blah I will tell everyone you did a good job" kinda experience. I am speaking of legit great minds coming together to create awesome work kinda experience.
The models above have all collaborated with me on projects. It's been years since I have worked with any of them stiIl, I keep in contact with them via the socials (instagram/twitter/facebook) . One is now a music artist, another travels the world doing what she loves another a full time mommy and another is madly in love. They are part of my photographic family. They have helped me create work.
Plenty of models,wardrobe stylist, hair/make up artist and other creatives, e.t.c. are willing to collaborate with you right this minute. Find them. Get that project done!