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Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Lesson 18 of 22

Overcoming Rejection

Joel Grimes

Concept-Driven Commercial Photography

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

18. Overcoming Rejection

Lesson Info

Overcoming Rejection

I love music and I play the guitar and you know, used to sing in a band when I had hair all that good stuff and uh so I have this thing called country western versus wrap so let's say that I'm a country western singer there drinking tea and I have my little cd or now whatever you go to when you do you want to get a record label toe produce your album and I have that and I want to go you know, solicit if I walk into a rap label company and I take my little cd getting anything that sound and I go to them and say, would you listen to my music and they put it in I go and everything I think and I go what right out the back door I'm gonna end up right? They're not going to spend any time at a rap label company listening to me probably in country western because that's the extreme of one of the other but see in the real world we have a hard time knowing in the harvey realm that contrast, we don't see it unless now with the websites we could say, well, this this ad agency handles a lot of food...

clients or they shoot are they do a lot of car clients and so we could maybe sort through it back in the old days oh we didn't have the internet and I don't know x y z agency what do you do I don't know make a port appointment to go in and talk to him and so what would happen if I walk in the door showing portfolio on the go who thanks don't call us we'll call you when I go out the door and guess what rejection crying crawl in a hole right well I was showing country western to a rap you see but we take it personally because we're human it goes back to that we're human and so um often what happens is when we knock on a door we're just talking on the wrong door and we take it personally so don't take it personally a good salesman does not take it personally door slams keep going so let me tell you about my purse for first portfolio showing I was so excited my friend steve and I got these custom made portfolios we had foam and they were like laminated boards I can't never allowed no there were transparency with the lamination later but transparency blackboards with grimes embossed on the front I mean at his kind of coaching I did this right and they were like they were like duped up slides to eight by ten you know big transparencies I was so excited I got it going made my first a portfolio showing uh with uh a um creative director named france can l at fox winning troop now why don't I know that after all these years? Right? Because it's seared into my little brain so I was so excited walk to the door so nervous and I had mentioned that I had just moved to denver uh just graduated from college and you know, I'm setting up shop and so he l'm a portfolio. He looks at my first board and he says, ok, do you know how many photographers in the denver county have a business license and photography? No two thousand okay, now I want you to remember that number in the minute he gets the third board, he says and so where'd you move from to song kiss till the third board he said and why did you move to denver? I said, uh because of the skiing, it's green, whatever and they got a fourth board, he said, I've got some advice for you go back to tucson. The dagger was stuck right into the heart and turned and I shut the board the box before you box walked out the door. By the time I hit the pavement, I had a lump in my throat in tears in my eyes at the time I could bench probably over three hundred pounds of mr tuffy, but I wasn't that tough when it comes to rejection I was weak fragile security no I didn't realize how fragile I waas so I came back to my studio with my friend steve and he says to me I walked there daniels how tio we could see it all over my face he said what happened and I say well steve I quit I'm going back to tucson what one portfolio showing you're going out of town with the tail between your legs yes and I told him hey said I told him you know what happened he said you're gonna let one person still your dream and I'm looking straight and right in the eye and said yes you're gonna let one person still your dream yes he kept repeating it and I was this that are going I can't do it I can't do this is too hard and he sat me down he said look here's the deal that's part of life just a numbers game pulled your bootstraps move on and he kept coaching me and finally I said okay, I'm gonna give it three more months see what happens and I did and luckily it things happened and so I am so fortunate to have someone had sat down with me in coach me that said you don't have to camp out at the rejection don't take it personally it's just a numbers game you were peddling something they didn't have it didn't have a need for a third time now I'm a tell you really interesting thing about this story a year later, steve says to me fool, you got to go back to fox, sweetie and true I said with the brick in my hand and the old through the front window said no, you gotta go back he said go to an air cargo did make a point with the art director, not the creative director and so I did and I kept calm this lady and she'd say, call me on monday um my schedule's too busy after the six week she said, you're not giving up, I said, no, I'm not she's okay, come on in came in show me a portfolio by then it had been a year I had, I don't know, maybe twenty jobs that have done little jobs in denver, mostly architecture. She looked at me stop, she says hold on a second, she gets another art director come in she says, you know, I like your architecture stuff you're black and whites and all the stuff and we have this client do you think you could put a mom dad, two kids on a couch and an interior light them and make it look like, you know, it's like a home environment? Sure, she's okay, we got a fifteen campaign we're gonna give you I wasn't doing people the time I was I'd started a landscape that I did architecture and here's an agency giving me a people ad campaign, the agency that rejected me is of launching my people career is that not absolutely amazing? So the very first shoot I'm nervous as all get out right? And I'm sitting there getting ready and I'm like, okay and here comes francis and he comes over have we met? Is it not that I can remember? But I could I was I was nervous as all get out, we'll end up working for that agency for years and it all sorts of people ad campaigns launched my people career, I started doing all sorts stuff I had started going on national level and I don't know fifteen, eighteen years later, I'm standing in the lab france canal walks in the door, he says, joel man, you're doing great. I hear all these stories about you shooting had campaigns like you got an amazing career. I said friend, guess what? I got a little story to tell you and I told the story about him being my first portfolio showing and how it went I did that to you because I used probably thinking I was helping you by getting you, you know, uh but he wasn't a mean guy you might had a bad day he thought, hey there's so many photographers this town let me give this guy get him out of town get him backto you know where he came from I don't know what he's going through his head point is he wasn't mean I took it like it was this the dagger going into the heart but because I was a weak, fragile, insecure human being so don't take it personally um rejection is just indication indication you might be knocking on the wrong door so you don't know that so we already got through that cold shoulders off often a test that to see whether or not you're serious about winning that person over you ever did that to somebody they want you to, you know, do their carpet cleaning or clean your carpet and you say maybe and after ten times you go hating people serious sure I'll give you a chance so that happened in the real world you have enthusiasm, you are aggressive and, you know, making phone calls, leaving packets and they go this person's really serious about this and I won over many people by being just very enthusiastic and persistence so here I have a same persistence will win over more people than a great portfolio, but what we do we put all stock in your portfolio, right? Persistence is a key to a locked door a good portfolio helps but persistence is a lot better so people always ask me and I mean now I know it's gonna happen well can you be too persistent? Well so here we have the little voice remember the devil maybe do it kind of voice you know you're being too persistent okay don't overdo it don't ever listen to that voice you can never be too persistent and you say wait, wait what you could that's true but don't ever give into it because guess what if you plan your strategy out in terms of setting out of packet making a phone call whatever it is that you're going to do he spread it out you're not gonna be too persistent if you do it all in three days it might be too persistent but you just keep going bone, bone, bone the right timing is people say how often do you hit somebody I don't know it could be could be every week every two weeks every month whatever it is that few comfortable doing that you can handle just do it inconsistent order and guess what eventually you get in the door so persistence is a huge thing but don't be afraid to be too persistent so we talked about for cole calling just takes practice and that you know uh just and and also that that whole marketing thing in general how you do it just takes practice to get better at it um I have a mind set that one day I will have the opportunity to prove my worth and save a client from a client crisis so here's a thing I got a potential client and I got that name I know they do photography work they do add campaign work whatever it is it fits me to the t so I'm going calling packet packet calling whatever it is and um so I call up and I say this happened to me hundreds of times hi, I'm joel grand's a lot give my spiel they go oh, well we have five photographers that we use on a regular basis we don't need anyone else. Okay, so I go and cross that amount all my list right? One day I thought wait a minute wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. They have five photographers. What happens if one day they need a sixth? This concept popped in a metal head so the next time someone asked me they told me we have five photographers we use on a regular basis. I said well, is it possible? Did you number one photographer er is on vacation? Yes, we go to number two. Okay, is it possible to number two? Photographer just got married, is on honeymoon as possible is a possible number three photographer moved on and went little out of town or went from doing annual reports to add it and we move up the ladder so to speak so you're in one industry for a while you move on or you say I've done with shooting food photography I'm doing some other kind of same day left is it possible that the fourth, fifth whatever got hit by a truck on the freeway I don't there's a possibility that you have I need for a sixth is it possible it's possible he said then I'm there waiting for you I'm number six waiting for you okay, thank you very much click guess what one day they call one day they go joel can you please save us? All our photographers are booked and out of town on whatever can you please come in and we got a project for you yes and I say the day guess what? I become the number one photographer so when I get that little rejection of we're already taken care of don't worry about it I think in my little brain I say one day I'm gonna have saved their little butts and that's how I've had my built my business is that I don't let that get to me I don't go and strike him off my list because I know one day I'll have that opportunity alright overcoming your competition so let's talk about that now um we're gonna age now where okay so let's say when I when I wasn't in the eighties going back a few years um so I started a graduated eighty four um and start hitting the streets about the uh the model for commercial advertising photographers was the big studio five or six employees big space e six uh uh processor depend done processor big dark black white darkroom blah blah blah a big production so when I came into the eighties um the model changed so what happened was photographers started like me started sharing studios and we had a lower overhead I'll talk more about that later but the model started changed the big studios started getting competition from the smaller, smaller type photographers and so today with digital lots changed you ever heard that hay and I take a picture now did your camera and I could do it photoshopped anybody fix anything right and so there's a flood a flood of new photographers and the competition is greater than ever but guess what I got good news for you is that you can be in that five percent I'm a short to you right now that will in fact rock and make a good living because not everyone's going up there right I'll show you why so the truth about your competition so I was maybe a two years into my two years in the business and I was sitting at the table in a warehouse that had no heat sleep on a phone matt and living on uh cream of wheat and um we'll set macaroni and cheese and I was my goal was to be a photographer and to be a commercial advertise it hasn't photographer but I wrote down on a piece of paper I started out I wrote okay france can l told me there was two thousand photographers in the denver county with the business license in photography so every day I wake up what did I think my competition was two thousand right? So when you get up and you go I got a market today I gotta survive the marketplace you think there's hundreds if not thousands of photographers right? So that's what's in your brain so how confident are you getting out of bed now? Very confident I wasn't I'd be like oh I'm just cold I'm like you know and so I wrote down two thousand I said is my competition really two thousand so I said I don't think so so I wrote down something else we all specialize in things we have architectural photographers we have wedding photographers we have portrait our product photographers we have all sorts of different photographers right? So I said wait a minute how many I was doing architecture of the time or maybe just start doing some people but I just thought how many out of the two thousand could shoot an architectural job so that well I don't know these numbers aren't necessarily important but let's just say five hundred so that way when I get out of bed if I think if I have only five hundred photographers I'm competing against helps but guess what doesn't stop there we'll have stiles right? So we have the edgy style the soft styles and just look at baby photography you know you have the you know, the the baby that's in a little slight swing or whatever you call all these really cute little things flowers and and then you haven't just regular baby pictures when we have different styles how we approach things and that separates us to some degree so I thought okay, well how many of the five hundred architectural photographers do what kind of what I do which is kind of a bold you know really nice dramatic light that was my goal so I said okay two hundred fifty out of five hundred so now he thinks are looking better my competition is in two thousand two hundred fifty but doesn't stop there so there's nothing that separates us it's called price we're talking more about this later but price separates us at the time I had no idea what to charge but my friend steve said ok of an average day rate in denver for photographers about fifteen hundred day um you're starting out why don't you start out at seven hundred fifty a day and hi ends three thousand days or whatever I was like okay I'm seventeen fifty dollars a day I thought well if I make one job a year you know you can't survive on that but I case I started at seven fifty eight today but how many of those two hundred fifty or seventy fifty year around that day rate that's the bottom end of things right so I just wrote down a hundred so my competition is in two thousand it's not five hundred is not two fifty is not one hundred and here's the kicker of all ticker spokes remember what I read that article that if you have a market effectively you are in the five percent so if you have one hundred photographers that really truly are your competition you think but you mark it effectively your competition only ends up to be five and I'm gonna tell you right now this is absolute phenomenon go to any town that's half decent population and you say who are the top five waiting for talking through the top photographers in town and are in weddings or whatever they'll give you five julie five people their rock everything five advertising the tigers that do the best car shoots in l a name it anything it's usually about five that do it I was doing any reports in the nineties flying all of the world fifty countries two hundred thirty days a year I was gone and there was five photographers in denver that had it all wrapped up all the other tigers go on, we should go to africa. I wish I could go to south america and do a mining you know, brochure and your port how'd you get all these jobs? I go because I market effectively, not because I'm a better photographer because I got to where I could market effectively if you market effectively, you'll always be busy if you want to go in, you know wine like all the other photographers, ninety five percent of them that's fine, go ahead and do that, but if you market effectively, you'll be busy it's a crazy thing, it has nothing to do how good of a lot of you are. Yes, it doesn't hurt to be a good photographer, but what's more important is the fact that you can mark it effectively and learned to overcome your competition. So here's the key to all keys if I if I die, my wife's going to put on my gravestone. Joel grimes quote, hardwork will outperform talent any day of the week. Talk to any coach you got the town, the kids, they look great, but they're not the ones who become the superstars the ones that become the superstars are the ones that practice every single day put in their time do it over and over again I was in guanajuato, mexico I'm on a hill shooting the overview of the city with the late cars driving along here and I got carlos, my kind of my sidekick that was take me around. I looked down below there and there's a dad he's a little kid he's got a soccer ball, the kids about this tall and he's throwing the soccer ball to boom and he's feeling kids dive in and he's blocking it diving, blocking it diving, blocking he's practicing with his kid over and over again. You do that with a little kid and when he's in high school he's the superstar, right? You don't just say I want to be a soccer player, your practice and so they've done studies and they've proven they took they took, um I would like to plug, uh, malcolm gladwell's book the outliers and there's talks about how they took these kids took him to room two splitting up one group they had practiced like four hours a day. The other group they practice one hour a day and they followed him over like a five year time period. The kids that practice four hours a day with the superstars across the board and he talks about how in the asian culture they have the rice patty mentality which is get up really early work hard all the way till sunset and then you work you know you work twelve fourteen hours a day and the european lifestyle which we came from united states mostly is that you worked in the summers for me in that seasons and you took time off, you got fat and lazy on the couch and then you work hard in the summers, right? So we were good at burst of of work, but not all the time the asian culture you work all the time and so they tend to have ability to outperform a lot of us in certain things like academics, math and all that because their have that hard work ethic. So here's what I know cameron told you I'm not brilliant, I'm not a creative genius but I have a passion for the creative process and I have a really good work ethic that's the difference between me, the really good work ethic I work really hard and I could tell you right now you hang out with me for a week I will beat you into the ground that's what? My success is based on hard work working all the time now there's that could be a danger to write because I have a family I have a life write not really, but I mean I'm saying there's a limit can't work, you know, drop dead every day but the point is is that hard work is the key to the success in the end is putting the time it takes a lot to market takes a lot of energy to market I shall take a table, lay out all my packets, get my phone, send out lick and stick and put them in the mail and make phone calls and I have to just put it and do it and not make an excuse for it and so I always tell people look do not always wait yeah diet exercise there's all sorts of diets, all sorts of exercise programs but it still comes down to hard work that's what it takes and as a human being what happened go back to humanity were lazy that's our problem. I've quoted george burns on his ninety ninth birthday they asked him what's the success of going living two ninety nine he said, don't fall in love with your pillow now I actually like my pillow uh lay on that tonight also nice we have jonathan patrick in the chat room who said I love is quote about working hard there's a movie blow with johnny depp and it says at the end of his very successful life, he said at the end of the day I can be proud that my ambition far exceeded my talent says that always stuck with me and the reason for my personal success and asked me to show that absolutely, absolutely look at the best in the best of anything in our world. Jerry rice he was a what? Um a wide receiver, he re wrote the book on that position jerry rice literally when the season ended after the super bowl or that time he was practicing for the next season most but most football players took a couple months off. Right then when they come december, they'd start all over start training. Jerash river re wrote the book on spring training and how long was his career? Fifteen years or something and had broke all the records was jerry rice the fastest person on the field? Not even close was the most talented, not even close, but he understood the game. He worked it over and over again. And when when people would cover jerry rice he was like a little snake. He could just slither right through him because he practiced howto sell the fakes so many times that he could get you to go one way you go the other way practice now how fast you are, how strong you are, how talented you are, it's, how many times do you repeat it over and over again to get where you need to go it's hard work and so that's the key to it but we don't want to do that we're lazy here's the good news I want to give you guys a little bit of good news I want to present this to you and only about five percent of the people out there will take this advice so it is but I can't wait to see those five percent go on take it I can't wait to see or whatever maybe it's more than that hopefully it is more than that but I can't wait to see people get excited and say I can market and I can't work in the workplace and achieve my dreams and aspirations is possible that's what I love I love that to get people going and create a living now wait a minute wait wait wait hold on a second is, um if I get you excited about working in commercial advertising doesn't jeopardize my work my buddy steve and I we lived in the um the same uh well your same town same studio and um at first I thought what are we gonna be competition to each other and he was encouraging me and stuff it was two years of knocking on doors before we bid on on the same job so the odds are you're not gonna I mean, if they want the jewell grams look I'm gonna be in the mix and so yes, someone come along they could take my lighting techniques that could take all this stuff and build the bodywork rock and they could take a job right out from under me guess what what is that to do to do for me so I go in the closet cry calling you know in a fetal position and know what I do is go I'm gonna work harder I'm going to increase my level off skills to khun b competitive so here is the best thing about this every time I go out and present what I think is the um you know, success in this it forces me to be even better what's wrong with that nothing's wrong with that I don't want to be complacent and I think these two slides jump ahead I'm gonna I'm gonna go to the next one here all right so in life says success is not reserved for the brilliant but for those who had the fortitude to overcome adversity so here's what I want to share something else when I talked to a group of people and we got you know, an audience out there I recognize something that is everyone in here has a different history behind them you might have been uh orphan left on the doorstep and you had to overcome that in fact I'm reading malcolm gladwell's book now david and goliath and he talks about the people that had they did the studies that had like a parent that was tragically taken from them car accident they became unbelievable great men and women and they there's pattern showed up and they said, why is that? Well, because that in tragedy often gets birth something greater in our hardships you ever seen a spoiled brat got everything? How fun is it to be around those people? But if you have to fight for something all your life, you can reach greater heights if you've had a rough background or events in your life time, we all have a different story well, I have a different challenges rejections hurts but out of that is birth something greater forty two fortitude to persevere and move forward at all costs and I tell people this that when I went to college I didn't know if I really want a degree, but my parents helped me out a little bit but most of the income or most of the my tuition and or my school's paid through me painting houses, penthouse, a deconstruction and all that so I wasn't handed to me and so out of that I was a fighter had to fight fight to pay my bills fight to do this, you know, to make things happen and so today I'm still a fighter and my wife will tell you this when things are going really well and I got a lot of money in the bank that's the worst place I could be the best place for me to be is that we're at the verge of bankruptcy or whatever because I'm a fighter and I get going and I worked a hundred miles an hour and I guess what great things happen so don't be discouraged by your circumstance is it could birth something great out of you and so I want to encourage you that that that it's it's not reserved for the brilliant but for those who have the fortitude to overcome adversity so let's go to our next I think we still got time right? For twenty five years I've had two things on the forefront of my mind so I get up in the morning pull the cover off say goodbye pillow and I take off I have two things that I thinking about number one I want to create images because I'm an artist that fulfill my vision and that hopefully keep up or at least are marketable images I wantto I say keep up with the trends but I want to know okay where's um where's the marketplace going and I want to be able to compete but I'm thinking about really what is joel grimes want to create what kind of images that I want to create and to put my portfolio that's number one practice number two is I want to think about how to get those images in front of a client that's it two things on my mind brain while I won't have breakfast right maybe three but really I'm that focused I know how important it is to number one create images and I think we'll talk about that here in a little bit uh it's I do about fifty itself assignments in here um and then I want to think how am I gonna get that in front of a client what's my strategy I'll do new promo book or peace or I'll do this I'll do that at the all these ideas of marketing and so that's what I've had to do um it's actually kind of fun it's fun marketing now wait do you think about that market it could be a pain the butt right but it actually becomes fun it's a challenge but yet the results are unbelievable and so I've learned that so I shoot market shoot margaret shoot market that's my my strategy so you want to shoot nobody knows who you are kind of market so you just can't just market all day long you got to get some new material in there keep on keeping current and um and we mentioned in the last session that you want it ultimately not think about what your client needs but what would you can produce and then your client's go I want that that's the that's the best scenario

Class Description

This course is part of the Joel Grimes Bundle.

Commercial photography isn’t about mastering complex lighting ratios or obscure retouching techniques. Successful commercial photography hinges upon your ability to turn your creative vision into a polished product. In this class, commercial photographer Joel Grimes will teach you how to think of your photography as an artistic process, not a mathematical equation.

Joel, a commercial photographer with more than 25 years’ experience working for top advertising agencies, will reveal his signature lighting, shooting, editing, and marketing methods. Joel will teach you to trust your artistic instincts by demonstrating how he conceptualizes two different photo shoots: an edgy athletic portrait, and a commercial beauty shoot. Joel will also walk you through how to identify the right lighting to attain your desired result.

After transforming the way you think about conceptualizing, lighting, and shooting, Joel will unveil his creative compositing techniques and tips and tricks for retouching skin. By the end of this two-day workshop, you will have a tried-and-true playbook for creating works of photographic art that dazzle commercial clients.

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Fantastic!! He is so down to earth and humble. His work is unique an exceptional and he shares his techniques, experience, tricks, and best of all his life stories that took him to where he is now. One of the best instructors in CL. I love how he checks the ego at the door and just shares his art and techniques with us. I definitely recommend this course and I was lucky enough to get it at a great discounted price but it is worth its regular price imho.


He's my new favorite instructor, there are many CL instructors I really like but the second I watched and heard him I bought the course, love his style, love his knowledge and the way he conveys it. His way of Frequency separation is fantastic and pretty precise and takes care of a lot of flaws. Learned lots! Thanks Joel! Thank heavens I am not color blind ;)


Joel makes it easy to follow when it comes to editing and shooting. He is a wonderful teacher and very easy to learn from. I enjoyed the photoshop techniques he taught as well as his approach to lighting. My favorite part is his advice on business it's very motivating and inspirational. I thoroughly enjoyed this course!