Building a Game Plan
Yes, that kind of put together a game plan. Um, this makes sense. You don't have to necessarily write it down and make this big journal of, you know, our notes of what you want to do. But you got to figure out where do you want to end up? What? What is it that you love more than anything? So that's the first thing I say is What? What is it that you like to photograph? So if you don't photograph kids, I don't have a business that you photographed, kids, you might end up in jail. You know, um, if you don't like new product, um, you know, like, still life. That's kind of tedious. Some people like that. What do you like to dio? That's the most important thing. Um, and and then you build on that. So you say, Look, I love people. Um, I start out as a landscape photographer in college, and then I took a one portrait class of my senior year, and it wasn't lighting Strobe, all that stuff. It was just basic, you know, portrait photography, But I kind of just all of a sudden I thought you know wh...
at I like people. And so I began the process of knocking on doors and Billy my my portrait, you know, book. And so that is important as you go out is what do you like to do? Because if you if you create a 30 year career like I have, you better like it. I did a book on the Navajo. I spent two years in the field sleeping in a Volkswagen van, has spent nights or for two days on the reservation. And so that's a big commitment. So once I started it, I was locked in. I couldn't get out of it, right, And I enjoyed it. But I'm saying, once you make that commitment, you gotta go and move forward. Now, as a commercial photographer, you can mix things up. I have been doing the exact same thing for 30 years, but I'm mixing it up and the style that you've seen that I do this edgy kind of portrait lighting stuff that's in the last 778 10 years, something like that. So I mixed it up, right, So I'm ready to mix it up again. So I'm gonna move on to something you know something a lot of in camera stuff. We'll do that later. We'll show you kind of a technique that do across light. So any rate you have to decide where you spend your time, that is, um, critical. Uh, in the amount of hours that you're going to go and say I gotta get to my end result. And so, um, what do you like to do? What's the most important thing in your life? Because it's gonna be all consuming passion for you. Now we talk about that a lot. You know, you have to just go all out. So listen, here's an important point. I get people coming to me all time and say, You know, um, I do Senior Portrait's when I say Senior Portrait's high school senior portrait, and but I'd like to be an advertising photographer, but, you know, I don't think I could ever make it like, Why not? Well, that's kind like the big nut, right? That's that's difficult. And I say, Well, OK, it doesn't take any more, Um, in terms of energy or talent or resource is to be a wedding photographer, as it does in advertising a photographer or a photojournalist. It all takes a lot of energy. You want to be the best in your field. It takes a lot of work. Get to work your way up the ladder. So here's what I say. If you like to shoot weddings, then go ahead. Build a career around that. If you don't, don't go out and shoot weddings. So if you say I want to be an advertising photographer, guess what. You dedicate your energy toward that goal and you can get there. Well, how do we know that? Because I did it. And I'm not the smartest guy on the planet. When it comes to talent, what is talent? Really, we are, You know, it's like we say that person is really talented. You know, a talented person is someone who has a goal, and they put a lot of time toward, and they practice over and over, and I get there. So that's the most important thing is that you have to get in your mind that if you set a goal and you put the time into it, you can recycle. So don't be intimidated by the fact. Oh, I could never work for you. know, 19 year or whatever. Some big corporations shooting ad campaign. Yes, you can. So here it is. You have to outwork your competition. And you know what? Um I talk a lot about being human, our human nature. So is there anybody in here that does not know how to lose weight? We know how right diet exercise. How many have any air? No reassurance. Way needle Newt. Lose a few pounds right is because it's hard. It's discipline. You have to be consistent. All those things, right? But if you set a goal and say I want to lose 15 £20 you can do that. You say I want it bad enough I can do it. And so when it comes to going out and creating a business with your skill set as a photographer, you have to say, I want it bad enough and I'm gonna outwork my competition. And I gotta tell you something. If you're a hard worker, it doesn't take that much toe outwork your competition because most people are lazy and they don't stick to the task long enough to see the end result. So it's not that hard to outwork your competition. You just have to do it, though. So you have to say, I'm Here's what have to do is work a little extra. I have to make some sacrifices, and I do that all the time. So you've heard the 10, rule. You know, Malcolm Gladwell talks about that in his book Outliers. So if you put in your 10, hours, you can master anything and so you want to be able to say, Okay, I'm gonna start put the time in. I play the guitar. Used to play in a band when I had hair and when I could do this, you know, and stick my head out the window and the wind would blow my hair. But I had a practice and the more practice, but I got. And even when I was pretty good at the guitar, there's a chord that comes along that you have to work to get, You know, you're like, Hold my hand just doesn't want to work there, Right? But you practice that 300 times times pre soon you do that song and your fingers go right to the spot. Right? Because you've practiced and that's The key to the success as a photographer is that you've got to put in your time. That's the most important thing. All right, so there's let's talk about There's two ways that I think you have to have a mindset on. How do you approach the marketplace? OK, this is important. I've thought about this for a lot. Okay, Number one is, um you build the bodywork that fits the sort of the certain trends in the marketplace. And so you look out there and you say all this is hot, right? This technique is hot. This is cool. Advertising agencies are using this technique or this, you know, Look. And so therefore, I'm gonna build a body work based on the current trends, okay? And or the demands in the marketplace. So you look at the marketplace. You okay? This is you know what? I'm gonna dio and other photographers are doing it. And so that's not a bad way. You could make a living doing that. I did that for years. And there's nothing wrong with that. Meaning that again you could make a good living. Right, But there's a better way. And that is you build the body of work that fits your vision as an artist. And you say I'm gonna create images and I don't care about the marketplace. I was gonna go build amazing images, and then you do it enough times and you build a look, and then you put it out in the marketplace and the marketplace goes or in our director comes longer. I love that. And then they go to the client, say, Look, we campaign going here, this would be perfect. And they go, Yes, bring that photographer in. Now, I can tell you this when it comes to what you charge, you could make a lot more money doing the second way because you stand out and they go. We want this photographer because that look is unique. And there's really no one else doing that, right? So you build a body work that creates the trends. All right, so you say, Oh, that's created a trend. Are you serious? I could create a trend. Yes, created trend is not that difficult. You think it is more difficult than it is created. Train is just You say I'm going to stick with my guns and what I like and do it really well and repeat it. Not just hundreds of times, but thousands of times. So the greatest compliment anyone could ever give me whether you mean it is a compliment or not, is that you say, When I saw I saw one of your photographs in a magazine, I knew it was yours before I saw the credit line. That's when I would talk about Brandon a minute. That's because you stuck with your guns and built the body of work that represents you as an artist. And therefore it gets noticed. And therefore you can charge mawr for your services. Does that make sense? Right. So now when you start out, it's kind of hard to kind of get that second, you know, option. So maybe you're starting out. It's okay. I'm gonna kind of get my you know, my, uh, you know, get out there, start making a living, and then at some point, you have to say, What kind of look do I want to build and and stick with it? All right, so we'll talk a little bit more about that in a minute. All right? So the power of brandy now I love talking about Bernie. I don't You know, like I heard this guy who was, like, an expert marketing guy talk on brandy. And there are people that really understand brandy. And I didn't go to school and study marketing, whatever. But I have a sense of branding, and we're talking about that, you know, the look, building a look, But I have a sense of it as I've been here long enough in the industry. 30 years, plus, and so let's talk about that a little bit. How is it that I can brand myself? And what does that really mean? All right, so here's some images. I love taking this a composite, but I love taking again. I love breaking the rules. Okay, so here's a real little tip, right? So you go to school. They teach of the rules of thirds, you know, composition. Or they teach. You never put, uh, someone in the center or never have a tree growing out of someone's head. You know, whatever all these little rules, right? And so I break all these rules I take and have a tree growing as someone's head. I center my subjects, you know, I do all these things that break rules. And why is it that, um, I am not purposes? Let's say, going out in breaking rules. But I am able to break rules, right? Why is it possible that when you because people say, Well, you can't send or something? Why not? Well, because I was top on my teacher. You can't center. Why? Well, because Well, aesthetically, Will you say that there's a better way to frame something right? You could say that aesthetically, there's rules that's true, and we need to know those rules, but there's nothing wrong with breaking the rules to get your vision out there.