Last week I was in a foul mood. I had three photo shoots fall through and one of the models couldn’t even be bothered to return my email.
I’m in the midst of switching photography consultants and I interviewed two consultants over the past couple weeks to see who is a better fit. During the calls the goal was to fill them in on my marketing efforts, my photography and get their thoughts on the direction of both.
The great thing about being a photographer in Los Angeles is that there is no shortage of attractive people willing to model. I came across Kyle’s photo on a friend’s Instagram feed. I asked for an introduction and it turned out Kyle was just starting to get involved with acting and modeling. This was his second photo shoot.
When I shot this photo. I was working for free. Seth painted the wall for free. I paid for the supplies and installed the wall, for free. Seth used his own paint. Seth painted the wall on a separate occasion from the shoot. I shot and edited the video for free. Kyara was paid, but if this were a circus she would have been paid in peanuts.
My commercial portrait work has a definite vibe. It’s typically well lit; there a sense of emotion and I always want my subject to look beautiful. It’s a style I’ve fallen into over the years. When I first started out in photography I heard about the need to have a style, but didn’t know how to get one. Without knowing it, my style found me. In most cases when I am shooting portraits I want emotion over everything else. I want sexy and sultry yet still commercial.
Every once in a while I look at other photography and ask why cant mine look like that? I’m drawn to moody, uncontrived photos; very spur of the moment, filled with life or mystery. Sometimes I go out and deliberately try to shoot in a style that’s not my own. But there’s this force-field that pulls me back. My experience, knowledge and what I know resonates with the people I have photographed pulls me back to my comfort zone – well-lit and pretty.
The reality is that being a freelance photographer isn’t always filled with glamorous or interesting jobs. The fact is that most of my time as a photographer isn’t even spent with a camera in my hand. A few months ago Chase Jarvis posted about the realities of what it means to be a professional photographer (Via SwissMiss). If I break up the 12% piece of the pie into fun and/or interesting jobs I’m probably down to 6-8%. That’s why I shoot for myself. Self created assignments with fellow creatives allows me to experiment, control the outcome to suit me and the people I am working with and to just have fun taking photos. Me booking this job was a result of one of those, for-fun, unpaid, self assigned jobs. It’s actually the second “job” that’s resulted from that shoot. We licensed one of the images from the bodypaint shoot to Chef Rubber for use in a full-page ad in So Good Magazine.