It was great to be featured on Shutterstock’s lastest post about running a photography business. “It’s time to take your freelance opportunities to the next level. Check out tips from thirteen industry pros on how they run a successful photography business.”…
If there’s something I’m really passionate about in New York City it’s a good bagel! Once I came upon B.B.C.C. I knew I was hooked. I’ve had my fair share of bagels and hit up the “hot” spots but a true kettle boiled bagel was the answer. NYC knows that’s the only way to make a bagel and anyone that has had a bagel this was they wouldn’t forget it. Here’s a couple brief articles about the science of it:
I really am writing this because it was so exciting to work with them to create a amazing bagel piece I could use for my portfolio but something they could also use for their advertising. I arrived ahead of the shoot to sit down with the owner to discuss my idea and vision and to make sure he was on board. Once that was settled I had some interview style questions to ask that would be sliced over the visuals in the end. When we agreed on a date my team and I shot for the good first half of their shop being open capturing the beautiful kettle boil process, their coffee being made, some of their signature sandwiches, and of course the happy customers. It was all about the beauty in the food so we had our cine prime lens on the entire time. In addition to that we had a tungsten light back lighting the steam and certain shots. Also we staged some shots at the front of the store and incorporated the natural light coming in. It was a fun day and flew by! The final product came out great, see it in my motion portfolio
Get comfortable because marketing isn’t going anywhere. Beyond that you always want to be pushing the boundaries with your work. You cannot get complacent in this business or you will drown. I don’t want to scare anyone but you have to be on your toes always seeing what’s new out there, what you can be doing better or different. I feel that’s part of the fun! It keeps things exciting and it makes for a fulfilling career. This industry is full of changes so keeping an eye and ear out for it will only prepare you. I look to continue to grow and add to my business. Always be networking with new prospects, and enjoy the ride!
I’ve been doing this for close to 10 years. To some that’s a long time, and to a lot, I’m just getting started. Either way you can learn a lot personally and professionally working for yourself. In the photography business you have to be prepared for a lot of loses and learn from mistakes. For every “No” you will get that YES! It’s a very hilly battle with competition, slow periods, and even insanely busy times. For all the chaos you still need a plan. Without a plan or goal in mind you will just be spinning wheels.
For the success I’ve had, It comes from my commitment to shooting new work and marketing myself to the right audience. Companies like Agency Access, FOUND, and Yodelist don’t make this stuff up when they always tell us to market ourselves. It’s actually true and it works! When I talk to photo students in college marketing is always my favorite subject to talk about. In school you are learning the craft and becoming skillful in taking pictures, but how are you going to present that to the world? That’s where marketing starts. Before I even get into specifics (which there is not 1 answer for) CONSISTENCY IS KING. If you think your going to do it, you might forget about it in a month, then 6 months goes by, “wait what did I forget to do?” Maybe you got busy, or lazy, who cares, you have to do it or nothing in the long run will happen for your business.
Let’s step back and honestly think about this, who markets? Why? Easy example: Coca Cola. Everyone knows who they are and what they are about. How do we know? Because they are always marketing their product! I bet even more than before because soda sales are going down. Coca Cola has been a staple product for decades and you don’t see them slowing down in their marketing. They want their product on the top of your mind without any hesitation. When you hear soda what’s the first brand that comes to mind? Maybe Pepsi.. But then Coca Cola! hahaha! Consistent marketing will grow your business.
For myself I have come up with a marketing plan that I analyze every year. This is no secret and anyone can do it, it’s just who can do it consistently. I have my plan broken down by month and I list out my To-Do’s for the month. I make phone calls, I send an e-newsletter, I post to social media, I test shoot or update my website, I update my blog, I check out my LinkedIn page, I send out a printed promo piece, and a couple other things here and there. I don’t send an email or printed promo every month. I take into consideration my marketing financials as well as my audience’s email space and know they don’t want an email from me every month! You have to find the balance of keeping your work at the top of their mind but not to over reach and annoy them. Having the marketing plan written out helps keep you on track. With all the above itemized out over the course of 12 months I print it out and tape it right to my door in my office. It’s there to remind me what I need to do for the month. This works for me, but I know some people need more than that to remind them. Put reminders on your phone or computer, whatever works for you. Also what I have on my marketing plan might not apply to you. It comes back to your audience and how they like to see new work or to be followed up with. Whatever that plan may be 1 really great rule of thumb is to have at least 3 modes of marketing outreach.
When your new to business the funds might not be flying in so being budget conscience with marketing at first is fine. Social media is free, so is Facebook, and LinkedIn. Printed promos, and e-newsletters will have a cost. If your still on your family phone plan then make some phone calls to potential clients. Any questions? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Putting a video together isn’t simply picking up a video camera and shooting. Just like in still photography you sketch out the idea and start to visualize what you want. With a storyboard you sketch out how each scene will develop. Even if it’s 2-3 second clip, what is going into that visual? Also like shooting any production what’s most important is the planning and communicating it to the team. The more organized and planned you are for the day of the shoot everything will go smoother and no time or money is wasted!
Making a storyboard can be sketched out anyway, but usually it’s a number of rectangles(where you draw your vision) followed by lines or an area to write your specific notes on the action, if there’s script, lighting, and camera angle. You can sketch literally by hand or composite stock photos together or magazine clippings. Get creative! The rectangles ideally would fit the 16:9 ratio as video. I usually use the program Keynote, it’s a simple software that you can change and edit with by using text and images.
This is new, this is fun, this is my latest personal project! I wanted to really have fun with this project and challenge myself by going with my gut instinct. In the process of adding motion work into my portfolio I always found the stop motion pieces interesting. Taking a series of still images and sandwiching them together to make a 15-30 second piece was bringing the stills to life!
Going to the dollar store as a kid there are always the memories of the novelty toy section; you know the really quirky toys you could pull pranks on your friends or siblings with. Maybe these would be stocking stuffers. One really fond memory I have is getting silly putty and squishing it on top of newspaper comics and seeing the print go onto the putty. That was magic to me as a kid. How was I going to bring this back to food but still have fun with it?
If you have ever gone into the dollar store you should also be aware of the off the wall food brands and item combinations you have come across. For example: Larry The Cable Guy; he has his own food line, some of which is frozen biscuits and gravy. You may have seen Twinkies flavored ice cream. Another one is those widely toxic colored drinks that come in the gallons. There are some weird brands of food out there and you could probably find them at the dollar store.
The combination of novelty toys and weird branded and flavored foods brought me to my latest project on Dollar Store Dining. The stop motion piece of these really helps capture the life in the novelty toys but gives me the opportunity to take the setup farther and show more humor and relation between the toys and the food. I hope you enjoy; this is about having fun with food!
This year has been an exciting transition to adding motion work to my portfolio. Building a motion section takes time, practice, and the right team to make the story come to life. Working with past clients like the few farms I’ve consistently been with over the years have been a great stepping stone to gathering footage and putting together in a cohesive story. The equipment we have been working with is the Canon C300, Canon 5D Mark 4, additional microphones, as well as various lighting and grip gear. Being on location is a challenge in itself but capturing moving imagery is another. The current piece we are working on has beautiful landscape pans of the farm as well as stationary shots interviewing the real farmers, not hired talent. I know the final cut will pair well with the still imagery I have captured over the years. DP STILLS BELOW.
Working with a group of creative, energetic, and talented people is what making a successful video is about. The time put into planning, executing, and producing makes that final piece all worth it. These are just some of first thoughts that come to mind working with ad agency Weber Shandwick, my food stylist Lisa Homa, props Kristine Trevino, hair and makeup Ananda Khan, camera crew of Good Boy Media, and talent Amy Castle. We produced beautiful recipe videos of the Alli brand highlighting their healthy lifestyle. The lighting throughout the pieces was bright with a natural daylight feel. We were able to produce this look for the whole day. Amy Castle’s personality shined through in these pieces running through the script with her. In the recipes we shared how easy it is to eat healthy and enjoy cooking! Check out the videos here. ALSO on my MOTION section of my website. BTS Stills by Kelvin Williams
This year has had such a great start. One of my new endeavors has been reconnecting with an old and very talented friend who has developed an extensive business in the video production world.
The photography industry has been evolving so much so quickly taking a back seat would not be the best move. I need to continue to grow my team and work I produce while adding value to what I offer in the end. Motion work seemed like a natural next step. It’s still in the works and plenty of ideas to be story-boarded but were getting there! This is our first full feature video on pasta making. Not a quirky “how to” but more about the romantic view of making pasta by hand. Sourcing the right food stylist, color, and sound really brought this idea to life. I’m excited to continue this and see what myself and the production company come up with.
Video Production: Savvy Video
Food Styling: Harry McMann