Friday, November 19, 2010

VA. Bride Magazine shoot

Earlier this year I did a shoot in Lynchburg, VA. for Virginia Bride Magazine The magazine just came out, so now I can post those images for you to see. The images were all shot with the Nikon D3 with a Nikkor 70-200mm / 2.8 lens. As usual for me, there was very little post work done on these. I burned in the edges of the images and I upped the saturation.

Here are a few images from that shoot.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More Behind the Scenes

Here is another look behind the scenes of one of my recent catalog shoots.
We shot this over 3 days. 2 days on location in the NC mountains and 1 day in studio.

So check out the video to see the fun we have on shoots, and if you haven't seen my website lately, check it out as well.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's not who you know, it's who knows you!

The other day I was on a shoot and talking with someone about our business and how we've been getting work. At the end of our conversation, my friend said "it's all about who you know". After he said that, I started to think about how many times I've heard that saying and how most people believe that it is all about "who you know". But in reality, it has nothing to do with who you know, it has everything to do with who knows you and more importantly, who likes you.

Think about all of the people you know, creative directors, art directors, buyers, designers, company owners and other potential clients. Now, think about how many of them really know who you are, and now think about how many of those really like you. I'm willing to bet your numbers started out big and slowly shrank.

After doing this for 15 years, I know a lot of people, and I have come to the conclusion that, unless they know me and like me, they most likely aren't going to hire me. That's not to say I have never been hired by a client that I hadn't already established a rapport with, that has definitely happened. I've had clients hire me just from seeing my website and the first time we talked with each other was when they contacted me to see if I was available to shoot a job, but that is a rare occurance these days. With so many photographers out there, most clients want to know who they are working with. Clients want to feel as if they know you, not just your work. Nowadays, by the time a client contacts me to discuss a job or a CD, AD or AB agrees to a meeting with me, they have already looked at my website, possibly checked out one or more of my behind the scenes videos, read my blog and may even be following me on twitter. They want to have a feel of who they are working with and feel confident, not only in your work, but that they can put up with your artistic ass for multiple days if need be.
So the next time you hear someone say, "It's all about who you know", you'll know that's not nearly as true as "It's all about who knows you"! So start establishing relationships, write your blog, get meetings, keep your twitter and Facebook accounts up to date. Let potential clients get a feel for your personality. You'll not only get more work, but you'll get more work from clients that you really enjoy working with.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mexico, Swimsuits, Models, Not a bad job to have.

I was down in Cabo San Juan, Mexico a couple of months ago shooting swimwear for Siempre Mujer magazine. It was a great couple of days, and a lot of fun. We had an incredible crew of people, and it paid off in some beautiful images! I can't wait to work with those guys again.
Here is what we created. (you can see more at my website )

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mark is.... Thoughts from recent clients about working with me.

This is a video with some of my recent clients talking about their experience working with me. Hopefully they all say nice things!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Don't Believe Everything You Hear

I was thinking about past clients and past jobs the other day, and as I was thinking, I started to think about all the jobs I've shot for free or for a discounted rate, all because of a promise, A "dangling Carrot" that my client had provided. I think I've heard all of the standard lines, "We'll give you credit", "It will be great exposure", "I'm sure you will get a lot of work from this", "If you can do it cheaper this time, the next time we shoot we'll have more money so we can pay your normal rate".
Well guess what happened each time I fell for these lines or ones similar? NOTHING!
Giving me credit in a magazine or on an ad where the client couldn't afford my normal rate never got me one phone call or booking. My clients who promised to pay my full rate on the "next shoot", either went out of business, or, if it was an Ad agency, they weren't able to keep their client, so there never was a "next shoot". So when a client, or potential client, approaches you "dangling a carrot" I have found that most of the time you will never get the "carrot".

I've talked to a lot of other freelancers and they all have the same stories about jobs they've done for free or for a discounted rate, all because of promised future riches. Their stories all end the same. They all wish that they had charged their full rate, because the promise of future work, never came to be.

I'm not saying if you have an established client, you shouldn't help them out every once in a while. You shouldn't make a habit out of it, but cutting your rate once or twice to help out a good client, can be a way of showing your appreciation for their continued business. If it's in your best interest, YOU can even offer a client or potential client, a discounted rate for the work you're willing to do for them. If YOU make the offer, then YOU stay in control of your pricing, not your client. These type of offers can also help you get or keep your foot in the door with a client. Just make sure it's really in your best interest, and not because of some "carrot" that's being dangled in front of you, or the promise of the "next shoot".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Behind the scenes for Design Arnold Brant

Behind the scenes of my shoot for Designer Arnold Brant.

Behind the Scenes in Mexico for Siempre Mujer magazine

Here is a short video with some of the behind the scenes happenings on my shoot in Mexico for Siempre Mujer magazine.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If your client looks good, You look good

This is a philosophy I have had for many years. My goal is to always make my clients look good to whoever their client or boss is. Maybe it's an Art Director who needs the shoot to look great for the VP of Marketing, or an Ad agency that needs to look  like a hero to their client, or a company that wants to make their customers think of quality when they see the final images. Whatever my client's reason is for needing to look good, my goal is to fulfill that need. I want the VP of Marketing to think the Art Director did a great job, and I want the Ad agency's client to think they are a hero, and I want the customers not to hesitate before going with that companies merchandise. The reason behind this is very simple. If my client looks good, then I look good, to everyone.
So always do your best to make your client look good. Go out of your way to deliver the exact images they need and deliver them on time, or early. Give the best advice and answers you can. Get the best team to work with you. Shoot some images that may be a little more creative than what you were asked to shoot (As long as you have the time and after you get the "safe shots" ) I think clients like to see those shots, even if they don't use them.
So always go into a shoot with the goal of getting some great images and making your client look good. Because what it all comes down to is this, If your client looks good, everybody wins!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shoot After You Finish Shooting

I recently had a great shoot for Espera Magazine down in Miami. It was a full day shoot and we shot a lot of great images. But while one of the models was still there I decided to shoot some personal work. I figured I had a great model (Alessia Andrade), a great location, the hair and makeup was already done and looked beautiful, and I had, what I thought, was a great idea. So I asked Alessia if she would be up for shooting this idea I had and she said she was. Not only did she agree to shoot it, she gave her all and did a fantastic job!
This isn't the first time I've shot like this. I've found that I can get some great shots when I just pull something together after I've finished another shoot or even during a long lunch break.
You should only do this during your lunch break, as long as the model(s) you're shooting are not the models needed in the first couple of shots right after the lunch break, and your client is okay with it. I NEVER shoot personal work if it is going to interfere with the job I was hired to shoot! Your client must ALWAYS be your first priority.
When you shoot like this, you don't always get something wonderful, sometimes everyone is just too tired, but a lot of times you do get something great. And if you have the time to shoot something a little fun, it keeps the models full of energy and you never know when your client is going to love what you did and want to use it!
So, if you can shoot some great images at the end of the day after you've already finished your client's shoot, go for it and see what happens. If you have a lot of time between shots and your client is okay with it, shoot some of the models that are sitting around. It keeps everybody energized and cuts down on the amount of time you need for your model to get "warmed up".

Here are two shots I did at the end of the day in Miami with Alessia. Let me know how you think they turned out.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Let's hear it for New York

I just came back from 2 days of meetings in NYC, and as I always seem to be when I get back from New York, I am inspired and excited to get to work. There's something about NYC that makes me want to get out and shoot, bring my photography to a higher level. It could be the people I meet and the friends I see. The Art Buyers, Art Directors and Creative Directors all inspire me, either with their critique of my work or with their stories of jobs they are doing or have done. I have a great time seeing my friends that live in the city. We always have lunch or dinner at someplace new and just hearing how they're doing and what they're doing can be inspiring and interesting.
Last week I met with photo rep, Janice Moses. We met for coffee and discussed my work and her photographers and what she expects from the photographers she represents. I really enjoyed our talk and I left feeling like I  had a better grasp of what I need to do to bring my business up to the next level. Between Janice and one or two of the Art Buyers I met with, I left NYC feeling like I had a slightly new direction in which I want to take my photography. I also have a renewed energy and focus for the business side of this wonderful career I have chosen.
So, Let's hear it for New York! Whether you love it or hate, it can definitely inspire you.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Welcome to 2010!

Another year has arrived and everyone has hopes for a great year ahead. A lot of people make New Years Resolutions and they really stick with their plans for a few weeks or maybe a few months and then their efforts just seem to disappear. and I'm guilty of this as well, so that's why, a lot of years, I don't even bother with New Years Resolutions. No point in making them if you can't keep them. Then yesterday I read this blog by Donald Miller  "Living a Good Story, an Alternative to New Years Resolutions" He talks about making stories out of what you want do this year instead of making goals. You're really still making goals, but in a slightly different and hopefully better way. So I have made up a few stories of my own, and we'll see how this works out. 
No matter how these "stories" work out for me, I have a feeling 2010 is going to be a great year! I'm exciting about getting it started, about shooting a lot of great images and continuing to work with some Wonderful people and meeting/working with new people.
This will be an exciting year!