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Defining Your Style

Lesson 1 of 1

Defining Your Style

John Keatley

Defining Your Style

John Keatley

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Lesson Info

1. Defining Your Style


Lesson Info

Defining Your Style

I'm john keeley thanks for being here we're going to actually start off if we can I'm gonna run a slideshow of a current project that I'm working I don't come back to it later I'm going to tell a little bit about my story and how I work, but I also want a preface everything that I say and this will talk by saying please ask questions because if you don't it's just me, my mom asking me if I'm gonna be a family barbecue next weekend and you don't want to hear us go back and forth but no seriously ask questions, I'm an open book there's nothing that I do that I won't talk about it won't tell you it's my strong belief that you are the only person that can take pictures like you and I could tell you every light that I use everything that I do, but the only thing that no one can copy is my decision making process and who I am and I'll get a little bit into that in a little more detail, but hopefully you guys will have questions as we go on along those lines for example, my favorite color is ...

blue and as you see some of these pictures there's a lot of blue in my work, this isn't something that I ever I'm actually just now beginning to discover this a little bit, yeah but I'm finding you know, the things that I hold on to in my personal life or my little quirks, my decision making process, all the things that I do or that make me me are the things that really make my work seems like my work there's been times in the past where I was like focusing on technical aspects and I was like trying to mimic this light and I would do all these technical things perfectly and it got to the point where I realized like my lighting is really nice and my composition is really nice, but my work is really boring and lifeless and pretty crappy and that was really because I was not in my work it was just technical know how and things like that and so that's what I hope we can have a conversation about a little bit today is how do you discover who you are today you're going to hear about who I am but it's really not going to help you out that much and only in the sense that it's only me and you've got to figure that out the same kind of things for yourself um uh let's see another thing that I that I often say is this is just kind of give you a better sense of my work and where I come from when I'm creating is my portrait so you can tell r are more a reflection of me than the person I'm photographing, and it kind of goes back again to my decision making process, some people or photojournalists there's nothing wrong with that. Everyone has a different style, but some people like to try to capture the person or an essence of the person, and I found I have this strong need to create and to be in control, and I'm working to those things with my therapist, but but in my work, though, you know, I want to create something I don't want to just capture something that happened, I want to have a hand in it, and I've always been that way if I looked back in my life, I've always wanted to create something explore and so really my work it's a reflection of me, I interject a lot, I tell people how to pose, I sometimes tell them to change their clothes. I choose the clothes, I choose the background and choose the light, so I like my work to feel very honest and genuine, but at the same time it's also very controlled it's definitely has my fingerprints all over it. Going back this lecture that you're seeing this is my iphone portrait siri's that I started about maybe six months ago I am not an early adopter, I just got my first iphone, thie iphone five and I signed up for instagram not too long after and I thought that for a long time again, things I'm dealing with in therapy, but I have this I didn't want to sign up because I didn't want to be told what to do and everyone was doing it, but I signed up and I thought, ok, I've got to figure out something to do I don't want to show pictures of my food everyday on instagram, no offence if you do that, I am a foodie, so I appreciate a good picture of food, but I felt like I needed I needed somethingto work towards on I was trying to figure that out and so I had my my iphone and one day I saw this like beautiful window light coming through a skylight and I was just I was getting so worked up, I had to take a picture in this light and but I didn't have my camera with me and I was I was just like, really I felt really defeated us like I need to photograph someone in this light and I thought, well, I'll just take a picture of my iphone I mean it's kind of pointless, but I'll do it and so I took a picture and it turned out it was interesting, it turned out it was really interesting to me and so this idea came on and it's in some ways, it's nothing groundbreaking, but for me it was really big to realize I could what if I took? What if I did a portrait? Siri's just with my iphone and as you'll see a little bit later as I show some of my commercial work, my work tends to be very produced and very stylized and very thought out, and it was really exciting to me actually to think about, um, the idea of just taking a picture on the fly and all these people that you're seeing here these are friends or co workers, some of them are people I've seen on the street, and I just stopped him like this guy and I say, sorry, this is a very strange question, but can I take your picture with my phone and it's been again going back to who you are and how you work knowing a little bit more about me? Aye, for a while like I mentioned was very caught up in the technical details and what makes a good picture to me at the time I thought was like, you know, clarity and all this kind of stuff, and it was really hard but exciting to just kind of let some of that go, and I think I'm gonna photograph people without thinking about any of the technical aspects and some of my mean lighting obviously it's all natural light so pretty much preface is again, I guess it's people with no production it's naturally in my iphone and some of that stuff like lighting you begin to internalize after you've done it long enough and I'm not going to make this into a lighting talk unless you have questions about it, but beyond that it's it was it's turned into me just having conversations with people and taking pictures of them on dh, seeing what happens in experimenting and exploring and it's been really fun and one thing I love about it is it is a really siri's like that it's not it's maybe I mean no sorry apple, but I mean, if you think about like, professional consumer s lars and things it's probably one of the lower quality cameras that you could use but it's still I like the imperfections in the grittiness of it. Andi also again for me, it's it's allowed me to take a step back and think about what really matters and be more spontaneous. I've always been a bit jealous of painters because I felt like they can they might say they might say otherwise, but I've always felt like they could just set up somewhere and paint something and I've always needed something in front of me I think that's why I gravitated towards photography but this has been my painting in a way it doesn't require production, it doesn't require scheduling with someone and doesn't require big budgets. It's just hey, let me take a picture, be really quick by this window or whatnot so that's going to be looping through his eyes? I talk again, any questions about this? Before I go on, I tend to talk really fast, so and I guess I should say, yeah, well, I was just going to say you you talked about some of these people are people, you know, some maybe not, but what is it? What are some of the ways that you do bring out not just to your style, but that person's personality and style because you talked about putting your control around? So what are some of the things that you're actually saying to people? You're dialoguing, you're connecting! How are you connected? Well, every everyone is different and some someone's like this gentleman I met on the beach and I literally took probably five pictures of a minute to thirty seconds, and I was done some people I'm talking tio this project is really for me no different in that sense from my commercial work is that it's a conversation with people? Sometimes I'm quiet and I just let there be stillness, and sometimes I'm talking or, you know, directing even one thing I've learned is, you know, if you have a joke or something funny, I used to always, like, set my camera down and say something funny, and I'm like, I just connected with this person. Then I realized that I get a picture of it, so I'll have him ready and I'll say something, you know of interest, uh, say something that might elicit some sort of response or reaction, and a lot of times you don't know what it's going to be, but that's, the fun of it for me is discovering what might come of this of this thing I say or this conversation, and it really does kind of feel like just molding a block of clay. Sometimes I'll just have someone stand there and I'll take a picture and you see the light, and then I'll talk to him and you begin to kind of see how they move or if they're uncomfortable are comfortable, and you just really start talking to him and see what develops so that's. Now the question about this siri's john from curio, so I understand you're shooting style to some extent, and you talked a little bit about lighting, but can you show us or talk about your editing styles for these images for these for these particular images, so all of these are edited and light room and one of the one of the reasons for that was again I do like to control things I was putting these on instagram and one day I went on not on the app it on in a browser I went to instagram and sound my profile and all of my pictures looked pretty terrible on my color calibrated monitor and I know you know I don't want to get into like I photography and instagram you know like uh etiquette and all that kind of stuff but I felt like these images do represent me in my work and my brand and so I do wanna have us element of control over how they look I want them to look how I want them to look I don't want to just leave it to chance through some app and so I just realized at that point that the app for the camera screen or whatever it was is not color accurate and so I decided to edit him in light room just to have a little more control that being said I've pretty much come up with the action at this point that I just run on everything and I'll change usually things like shadows and saturation adjust slightly on each portrait depending on color in the image and all that kind of stuff but I really am trying to just keep it loose and I'm tryingto let the imperfections go it's kind of like a good process for me because oftentimes you get so hung up on that but again the more I get into this like I want my work to be about emotion in a feeling is opposed to no one's ever going to like wow, that hair is technically perfect like I could stare at this for hours you know and so I don't want to get hung up on that kind of stuff on dso that's that's again part of the process is just this is the look that I wanted to have and just do it quickly in light room so thank you another thing too which is a story I love the share is on this has been a big this was a big moment for me and this might seem like normal that some of you but I think I grew up with this idea I was there I grew up with this very literal sense of art in my mind like I could do that like you know you go to a museum like I could put those paint splatters on the wall or whatever it is, but I didn't have a sense of feeling until until later as after I started working as a photographer I bought a painting from my sister when she was in college and it was a friend of mine did his name is jonah stark incredible artists and the painting is called sharks and minnows and it's this beautiful siri's of paint abs it almost looks like it was made with his thumbs but it's tze, beautiful color of like blues and greens and, you know, seafoam green all these different colors and it kind of blend and it looks like if you kind of like, close your eyes and just feel it almost it looks like ripples in the water and you can almost see like, you know, men it was underneath and someone had seen the painting and commented, like, what the heck is it? You know, it just looks like a bunch of night and I realized at that moment like it one point I could relate to that I always felt like I had to define what is this or what? What does it mean? And when the person left, my sister looked at me and she said, you know, sometimes I just sit here and I stare at that painting for twenty minutes and it just makes me feel happy and that was really impactful to me. And I always think about that moment and that's something that I really want in my work both for myself is the creator of it, but also in the viewers I want people to see it and feel something and we all have to acknowledge obviously technical, you know, details and things like that are important and lighting and all that kind of stuff especially photographers because it is a technical art but at the same time like we can't forget tohave the emotion and have ourselves in our work and so not to get too sidetracked but uh was there another question to anyone else have a question before I move on let's keep going ok, great. So I'm gonna I'm gonna tell you a little bit about my story and kind of how I got into this and hopefully I know for me a lot of times I like to relate tio through stories and okay, how did this is what you do now, but how did you get there? And so I'll tell you a little bit and again please, I would love for you guys to shoot a poor hand at any point. I really want this to feel like a conversation. So um basically I got into college without ever really having thought much about photography. I took a class in high school because I had to, but I don't really think much about it because it was something I had to do on dso in college I decided to just get my grandpa's old film carmen just to take pictures just to document my life that was really the only reason and I went home for break and I told my parents hand taking all these pictures and my mom said you need to stop. You have to pay for school. And so I thought, okay, well, I do need pay for school, so I took my last roll of film and to get developed, and I went back to pick it up and the lab manager, she pulled me aside and she said, hey, did you take these pictures? And I had a guilty conscience so I said, show me, you know, I'm not committing to anything here, and she showed me the pictures and she said, you have a really good eye. Have you ever thought about being a photographer? And I had absolutely no idea what that meant at all. I grew up in a really small town where there was a newspaper, but the writer was the photographer who took out the trash who delivered the papers. It was just not something that you, you know, thought of his profession. And so that was the moment for me. I just decided right then and there I'm going to be a photographer without even knowing what that meant. And so I poured myself into discovering what is photography. How can I do it all the time as much as possible and maybe even get paid to do it? And this was cash I don't know maybe this was in two thousand one or two thousand I guess so thirteen years ago there were no real online resource is for learning there was it was limited and so it was it was work trying to find out just a very little bit of information eventually I got into shooting assisting weddings at the studio that was my first paid job and it was awesome I got tio shoot film and the film was free and I got to develop film and it was free and so it was great practice it was not long after that I wanted to try shooting for the studio and I was just this you know, overconfident kid and they said no and so I said I quit I'm out of here and fortunately I was going to a small private university and a lot of my friends were getting married right out of college and so I started getting a lot of people come to me saying, oh, I heard you shoot weddings you know can you do ours? And so I started off shooting weddings and it was really great I made a really good living for, you know, five, six years shooting weddings and it got to the point I was also doing small little you know, odd shoots here and they're like no little corporate things airhead shot things and uh I got to the point where I started feeling really miserable I was not happy and I didn't know why I was confused I'm taking pictures wise it's not fun anymore but I got that point where I was no longer that guy with the camera who was just thrilled to have a camera I felt like there was something more that I wanted to do or something that I wanted to say and I didn't know what that was um it was around that time I discovered editorial portrait so I had never really looked at magazines or thought much about it it's kind of one of those funny things where it's out in front of us you know all the time but if you're not thinking about you're not going to notice it just like today you know my family always knows to look for my name in the gutter of a magazine but no one I mean if you don't know a photographer you're never going to look for a photographer's name you're probably not even gonna think about the photograph unless it's just really amazing so it hadn't really been in my in my vision and so I discovered editorial portrait photography and something really clicked that oh my gosh like I can these people are they're they're being they're being funny or there's you know humor involved there's all these things that I felt like that's something that I really want to do and so there were a couple local magazines in seattle that had just started up around this time also and every time my wife and I would go to the grocery store, I would go look at these magazines and it got to the point where we would go to the store and she would say hair, you're going just go look at magazines and get depressed again and I would say, yeah, probably I would go over and I would look at these, I just get mad, I'm like I could do that oh my gosh, why aren't they calling me? And it just gets so frustrating and it took me a while to realize why they weren't calling me, but eventually I started deciding, okay, I need to do this on my own like I need to start taking these pictures and showing people what it is that that I wanted that I want to do. And so I began taking editorial portrait and I slowly got a couple of jobs and a couple of breaks came my way and again I got to this point where things were picking up and I'm trying to do all these weddings and I'm trying to do editorial portrait and I'm feeling pulled in two different directions and I'm doing an okay job to different things and now again I have this feeling I want I want to try to be great at something, or at least die trying, and I realized I firmly believe you can't really you could be great at one thing. I don't think you could be great, especially today, with just the way the world is an information at our fingertips and everyone, someone else's always working harder than you, you can be good at a bunch of things that you could be great at one thing, and so I decided my true passion is portrait's of people and in animals and telling stories that seem so cliche, but photographing people and putting an idea across there's expressing myself through these portrait's. And so I decided at that point that I was going to cut off weddings because my wedding clients are not real happy with me, because I'm getting delayed on delivering products, and I'm not really doing these editorial projects I should be doing to grow my portfolio. Kes, I'm trying to finish wedding, so it was a big risk, and I just decide, okay, this is the point I need to take a risk and cut it off. And so I put all my eggs in one basket, and that was not scary because, like, ninety percent of my income was coming from weddings and, you know, ten if that was coming from the's portrait's on dso thankfully I had a little bit saved up from weddings and went out and started and started doing it it went pretty well there were some really rocky there were some rocky points I hesitate to say this in seattle but sarah palin kind of saved my my career I win there when things really went bad in two thousand nine I hadn't had a job in probably like nine months and I got a call for the sarah palin book cover and I got it and that was a huge huge job for me and I was able to leverage that into some other commercial jobs and so that was kind of the start of what I'll show you here shortly but going back to something else I said way all we all fall into this trap I still fall into this trap we'll look at magazines what have an idea of something that we want to shoot and we think I could do that or why didn't I get the call for that or something along those lines? And the thing is no one is going to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself maybe family but they don't count unless they're in our buyer or something like that that would be great if I if my mom was in but no one's going to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself and we can we can sit here all day long and think like I really want to start shooting celebrity porch it's hopefully I'll get a call but really the reality of the industry is you get you get hired to shoot what you show and so we all have to build our portfolios you have to start from somewhere and sometimes have to take jobs for the money but if you are taking local editorial jobs in your shooting shop owners let's say for a column guess what? Your portfolio is going to start to look like it's going to start to look like portrait's of shop owners which there's nothing wrong with that. The only problem with that is if that's not what you want to be shooting because now all of a sudden you want to be shooting celebrities and you have a portfolio of, you know, business owners and ceos and things like that that's exactly what people will continue to hire you for and so what we have to really do is take a risk we have to put ourselves out there and create the work that we want to create on our own so that people will see that and they'll hire you because it's especially when you start talking money people don't take risks with their money they want to know exactly what they're getting I don't last time I checked I don't think there's yeah like soda brand it's like a mystery bottle like hebei, this soda and that's like a low risk it's like a dollar, right? But no one wants to buy a soda and like not know exactly what they're getting and that's kind of what it is with photography people want to see exactly what what they want and they want to see that you've done it a thousand times before and know that you can really knock this out of the park and so that was a big you know still is, as I said, a big lesson that I try to relearn all the time because we always adjust our goals and what we want to be doing we always want to be, you know, usually not doing the same thing over and over and over again. And so as our interests change, we have to make sure that we're staying on top of that, not just waiting for someone to be like here's this assignment you've never done before and I I think this would, you know, be really perfect for your kind of thing, so, um talk really fast, any questions? How did you go about approaching this finding this type of work? I mean, my first I got really why the first thing I did literally I think was I started once I had a website together, it was mostly portrait's of some friends of mine and like the small little kind of shoots that gathered I had a website obviously I I started sending e mails to people and I sent an email to a local magazine and they hired me to photograph someone and this is back when film I had to shoot on film and I did I literally did not know anything like about how assignments worked about budgets and that kind of stuff and the chute did not go well they were not happy and they wouldn't return my phone call steps ahead and I was devastated I thought this was my last opportunity I've baloney like what have you done? So that was it and I still did the other jobs I was doing and then one day after going to a supermarket getting very depressed looking the magazines I found myself at home on the phone I honestly I think I really must have blacked out picked up the phone but I was on the phone and the art director at seattle met which is the magazine here in seattle answer which doesn't happen I don't get your hopes up like this rarely happens if ever but they are trickier answered and I said I'm a photographer I like to shoot for you and what happens next? I don't know I've never done this before so he had me come and he looked at my portfolio and he gave me an assignment and it went really well and then he gave me another assignment and I had been shooting obviously I've always wanted shoes celebrity portrait I had you can't just call up brad pitt like am build this portfolio so I mean, in those kind of situations, what you have to do is you have to photograph people in the style that you would a celebrity, you have to try to find someone who's attractive or someone who resembles you know, what is closely as possible? What is it you want to do? So that's kind of how it built? I got that one lucky break and I really built my portfolio from shooting for that magazine, but within their also there were several points where I realized like, okay, I'm shooting all these shop owners and that was great, like he was making some money and gaining experience. I learned a lot through there, but then I got to a point again where I realized like it's going to take me more time now to rebuild my portfolio in the way that I want to because I just got caught up shooting for everyone else instead of myself, you know, which is really oftentimes when that simon is, is you're shooting for someone else, so and hopefully you can integrate yourself into that as much as possible, but so that's that's kind of my little break and it's different for everyone but the most important thing that everyone should do no matter what your story is is you've got to pick up the phone you've got to send emails, you've got to show your work because just staring at the magazines in the market or not it's not going to do anything for him and it just boils down to like making it happen and calling people and not getting discouraged when that assignment goes bad and that's bound to happen and then eventually it's funny I did all those jobs for this other magazine and the one that I messed up on there like, oh, and then they started calling again and so it's just you know, it takes time, but you gotta be proactive so question has come in from curio so again, john, can you what do think about minimizing risk by doing several stylistically clean portfolios minimizing risk? Yeah, I wasn't exactly sure what exactly what curiosity, but I thought maybe it would speak to you, um well, maybe it's I think I mean, I'm just take a guess if if I could guess what they're getting at is maybe, you know, segmenting separating your work, you know, for different audiences, and again, I don't know if this is what they're getting it, but I think it's really important again tohave to not create brand confusion and toe let your clients know what it is that you do and you know way have lots of really interesting conversations with other photographers about this but I think the realities of the industry are our buyers do not really want to see that you're shooting weddings you know, maybe wedding clients sometimes might be impressed that you're shooting celebrities but it doesn't go both ways and so when I started out I didn't have a separate wedding portfolio in a separate you know, commercial portfolio but thanks to google like that's not really keeping it clean and there's there is there is there is wiggle room within this but you really do have to specialize is something like you really do have to focus on something because if your shooting like ten different things people are its causes confusion I mean again think about any brand and just pretend that they differentiated from their core set of values and products that would be very confusing you know, coca cola started making coffee tables like what is going on exactly that's very strange and it kind of is the same for photographers you know, people want to know that you're confident you're focused and you're great at this one thing and so sometimes people here that they get scared that like I don't want to just photograph one thing I'm a curious individual but, you know, I am too I photograph people, but I'm always pushing as you'll see here, I'm always pushing and trying to do something different there is stylistically, you know, similarities and all my work, but I'm always I don't want to just do, you know, even these iphone fortress, for example, I don't want to just do those all the time, I always want to try different things, and so I do think long answer to may be the wrong question anyway, it's and actually the beauty, the beautiful thing here about creative lives, that curio, so when I asked him to specify, wrote back and said that you had said that you were that getting specific with your style could be risky and so is asking, but what if you want to focus on several flavors? But I think you just answered answered that so anyhow, feedback thank you question when you're just starting out and you style may be changing quite a bit, and you're trying to describe herself to future clients in a way that's memorable, so they know kind of what you shoot, but you're still my chaining or it might not be quite very specific at are there any tips or suggestions of ways that we can present ourselves in a way that is still so my specific but, you know, when we don't have something really specific terminology applies to describe what we do well, I think that it's a simple answers to do the best with what you have and make sure that you're pushing yourself to grow it's easy, we constantly compare ourselves and sometimes have to take a step back and realize like my goals right now, you know, I want them right now, but it may take ten years for this specific goal or whatever it is, and so or, you know, we're comparing ourselves to our favorite photographer and, you know, I'm thirty three I sometimes stop and forget like, oh, he's actually like sixty five like, not that that's an excuse and I don't try hard, I just go about, but there is some realities that, like, you know, you know brandon reputations and built overnight, but I think you do the best that you can. I think you seek outside input that's really important tio have a consultant or someone in the industry, someone who has an outside perspective because, as I mentioned, we can get so emotionally connected to our work sometimes like, I'm going to say the same example again, I thought I was so excited I would look at these magazines and lighting was really important to me when I started out and I would emulator mimic this light in a portrait and it was really hard I don't know how the photographer was looking at did it but I would I would achieve this light it was new for me and it's very exciting and it felt like a success you know I put in my portfolio is like, oh, this is such a beautiful shot from my perspective it was and it took a while I took a step back one day and realized like this portrait is terrible like it's lit really well but there's no life to it I was so focused on the technical aspects and so in that sense too it's just really important to get outside perspective and sometimes it's hard sometimes like you should not put that near portfolio and and I might say but but I need it in there and you take it with the greatest salt sometimes I don't take advice and sometimes I have to acknowledge you know what? You might be right so you do the best you can you try to curate well with what you have get outside perspective and be confident that's the other thing too don't apologize. When I got my first celebrity portrait assignment, I put it in my portfolio and I told people I'm shooting celebrities and I put it on my website and I pushed for more of that kind of work and if you majored in business so I business is huge I mean it's huge for everyone but I think about it a lot I love business in my workshops I talk a lot about business but if you think about you know a car salesman for example if there is a new car that just came out it's only been up for two weeks and you go and your interest in this car looks really cool when you say that the salesman hey tell me about this car like what's the story is like well, I mean, it's only been out two weeks what you want me to say he's like some people have driven it he's like it looks interesting but we'll see time will tell right? I mean, I'm probably not gonna take it for a spin and like, well okay, you don't even believe in your own product but if I go there and he says, oh yeah it's really awesome he's like did you read the articles and car and driver got written up it's really it's really safe it's really a fun car so far everyone comes in here looking at this car but they tend to buy this new one instead because they fall in love with so much like it's much more enticing and so you you don't want to lie to people you want to be genuine and honest but if you did something and you're proud of that, you wanna do more of it, embrace it and be confident about it and show it and don't don't think like, oh, I need to wait that's the biggest trap is I used to always have these ideas and I would never shoot him because I'm like I should wait because in six months I could do a better job, you know? Then you just never create anything you've gotta just create in the same thing goes back long answered your question, but same thing for your portfolio, you have to always show your work like don't ever make excuses of say, I need to wait a little bit longer. Now is the time like I hate my current portfolio? I mean, I find being honest, I think it's pretty good, but that just shows you like you'll probably never be satisfied with her portfolio, so show and do the best you can, and when you identify things that need to change, change him, don't just wait around. So so, john, I really, really appreciate that, as does the internet and I saw all heads nodding here to those sentiments about the time is now but it's very curious to hear that even you say you're not wholly satisfied with your portfolio, what is it about it that you're not satisfied with well, I've already done it I think it's the biggest thing I think you know I've already done it and I don't want to do what I can and so it's I think probably ten million photographers have said it this famous line but it's like my best work has been created a knight I think that's just not to like be a quote machine but I think it's just kind of how artists often feel like you're not artists tend to be people who are curious and never satisfied and and so you know, I could have probably sped up my process of success sooner if had I not sat back so long I mean, I looked at magazines in the supermarket out for a year maybe a night waited for someone to give me that assignment to build my portfolio for a couple years rather than doing it myself and you know, you just can't wait and I think I constantly every day even today I was actually think reminding myself of all these personal projects that I wanted to do like eight years ago and I kept putting him off because I was against so focused on the technical aspect sounds like I'm going to figure this lighting out in six months and that picture would be so much better like what a waste it would be to create that picture now and have it look crappy when it could be better later and the result of all that is a whole lot of stress and thought process and nothing to show for it. And so I think that's, why it's it's important to just do it now and and to not wait around. So whether questions with that weight going, uh, so I hope that helps you. Can we can we bring up the my next keynote? You like my logo it's been sitting up let's talk aboutthe so and I will say to save them. But here's instagram I'ma do my iphone portrait series on there if you guys want to follow on my website and all my other social media. So this is this is just a large collection of some of my commercial work, my editorial work, my personal work, and again, please, at any point, ask questions. And again, I'm bashing, you know, technical speak here, but by all means that it is important. So ask questions if you have anything about eighties, I thought I would just talk about some images and kind of how they came about and how I worked through it, and maybe some of the behind the scenes things that happen just to give you a wider perspective outside the frame, this was actually an editorial assignment that I did. For seattle met which I mentioned earlier this is luke burbank he's a radio personality and I think he was on I could be wrong I think he had a show on npr on point and he was cancelled for bad ratings and so he started a podcast and when I got this college how long it had been maybe a year so he had like three million subscribers on his podcast and so the interviewer had the writer had done an interview with him and one of the things he said in the interview was the thing I love about doing a podcast is I could be at home in my underwear and no one would have a clue and so that's what? This idea came from this idea of him working home in his bathroom and so at this point in my career I had again been looking at all these magazines and see these beautiful portrait on like esquire and g q and they're always he's like amazing situations and one thing you always think when you're starting off once I start work shooting for these guys there once the budgets get bigger then it's going to be easy and that could not be further from the truth it just actually gets harder uh but the thing that you realise is where I want to shoot him in the bathroom I want everything to be white I was really into kind of monochromatic images at the time, and so the art director had this idea to have him holding the mic, and they have this on air sign in his bathroom, but the reality is, I knew from doing this long enough, where in the world am I going to find this clean, white bathroom? And I don't know about you guys, but I don't know, I've never seen a bathroom large enough to fit several octa banks in and get farther back enough to get the right angle and everything. I don't want to be like putting my head in the toilet and hoping to get the right angle, so this is a set in on my website have a behind the scenes section, where those pictures of the set and things like that, but this is just a simple set that we built it took about a day, but it's just a piece of flooring with tile on it and in a single wall, and then put the toilet on the scales and really again, my work going backto, what makes my work unique to me, one of the things that I in a kind of compulsive about its simplicity, like I always strive for simplicity, it's really important to me, I don't know that I could tell you why, but simplicity plays a big role in my work, and so we wanted to feel like a bathroom but not get distracting I don't want people to get distracted with the details it was really meant to kind of create this feel that activate kind of complimented the portrait of luke here so sometimes we see things like this and we go my cash like they found this perfect bathroom but entire fear you know any sort of art really it's it's rarely at least with my work what you see it's oftentimes lots of things that happened in the background yeah how far do you take this image like when you're working with your model is rather handsome in a little white socks but how how far do you take it like that you make him do different posters are in your brain you already knew he would be standing boom and carries how how much you work yeah that's a good question I did you know this is a seven this shoot with several years ago but if I remember as with most shoots that I do there were several hundred images and a lot of them were very similar but I tend to some people to go my guy should take a lot of pictures but I shoot a ton and sometimes expression emotion and just body language is so important to me I could go through like three or four hundred those images and there's only one that feels right to me and so I shoot is much as I can at least until I know I have it. And, you know, a lot of the images if you look at the out takes are very similar to this it's. Not like, oh, my gosh, this is, like, twenty original interesting images. It's all very somewhere I tried a few of him sitting on the toilet and give some slightly different poses, but a lot of it is him, like, standing there, you know, like looking down, looking up, talking, telling a joke like laugh and cry. Just all this kind of stuff. Sometimes you do that to get people comfortable. Sometimes you're doing it just because you're exploring sometimes you do it too. I mean, there's all kinds of things, I working with people. I mean, one of the one of the worst things about working with people is working with people, right? I mean, it's, just it can be hard. You never know what's gonna happen. And so sometimes if I ca n't tell like a person's really nervous, I'll just shoot. And I'm not even admitting carom two shooting for twenty minutes to get them tow. You know, one thing that happened a few weeks back, I was shooting a woman and behind me was for an ad and she was really nervous and it was she was just not getting what I wanted and she was trying, but it was just not happening and behind me I have to assistance a stylist to hair and makeup artist two clients in art director and producer and they're all standing behind me watching the shoot, which is very normal for an ad campaign. But I realized like she's she's uncomfortable, so I whispered my assistant like he knows because we do this all the time I get people out of here and so I don't want everyone just like rushing and making it more uncomfortable, but you know, he kind of whispered to someone time for bathroom break and then someone goes and get some you know, sandwich from the other room and then make a particle's ago, I forgot to clean my brushes or whatever, but they get out of there casually and they're not creating a scene for the model in all of a sudden it's just me and her and it was like a switch one on like she just became so much so it's really understanding your subject like being aware of your situation on just experimenting so and it's always different, but in this particular case I took a lot of different ones and it was just for me this moment where he he just felt right the art director and I think that when they actually ran we also had a red towel and he loved the red towel and I didn't they ran the red towel that which is fine, I'm happy to do whatever the client wants, but again it goes back to like you have to create something for yourself too, because it's going to go in your portfolio and it's going to dictate your body of work ng what you do in the future and so you've got to make sure you also first you satisfied client all the time, but then we've also got a says ourselves so even those small little details for me yeah, I get it, the undersigned match, the towel and all that kind of stuff, but just the simplicity and the kind of serene stark you know, setting was really what kind of help carry the images well, so yeah, all right, this is again kind of a perfect example of what I was talking about earlier shooting, showing and shooting what you want, what you want to get hired for. This is a personal project that I did and I had I had been bidding on several ad campaigns and I was not getting any of them, which is pretty normal. I know I will always not get out campaigns, but I got I started getting some feedback and people said, you know, your work's just not quirky enough or, you know, your work is your work is very subdued, or it just wouldn't work for this or, you know, you don't show enough environment, your work is a lot of studio, and I was really upset by that, but I took a step back and some of the stuff they said I disagree, but if I'm being honest with myself again, some of it was true and also when working in advertising or editorial, it is a let's call it a game, it's a game and there's certain rules to any game, whether you like them or not, if you want to play the game, you have to play by the rules. And so once you begin to get an idea of what it is that why someone might hire you what they look for, it doesn't work to just be like, well, I refused to do that I'm going to still get you to hire me it's not gonna happen, you have to figure out, okay, how do I become marketable to these people that I want to work with? And so what I decided to do was come up with a scenario of some of it's, a bit vague, but the idea was kind of have people drinking coffee and it was like kind of monotonous morning routine but for whatever reason like something went terribly wrong with the coffee was kind of jolting them awake and so I want to create something that felt like it could be an ad you know, this could be an ad for you know, starbucks are some sweetener something it's like, you know, whatever it is, but I wanted to show her I can do this you don't have to take a risk on me like this is the type of work I want to do I'm gonna create it on my own so I have a team as with everything I do, I don't you think this is just me like being amazing it's really a bunch of people that I work with who are all really amazing and so we put this together over the course of a week after probably months of talking and thinking, but this has been a peace were now frequently I get jobs and the images that they present to me they're like this is why we hired you this is what we're going for my personal work is always in there sometimes it's all this in there and that's really satisfying to realize that okay, it's working I'm showing what I want to create and so could we call this one coffee face for lack of a better phrase but the idea was to show production value show environment show mohr expression that I had been showing before so that people can't say oh, we're not sure how you handle like over the top expression this was again getting getting something for yourself this was a big shoot for me this is what I see in two thousand nine when work had really dropped off and it was a really tough time in my life on my family's life and I got this call the chute sarah palin's book cover going rogue and eyes exciting is that is and it paid really well like the book eventually is you know, other books they're going to come out and I knew that they wanted just a real tight head shot you know that they have specific needs to sell the book but I knew that book is going to move on at some point like I need something for myself that's going to help you again direct my brand and so there was a moment where I had shot a bunch of portrait's of her uptight portrait we're close very close up portrait's on this is her backyard in the dock up in alaska and so I just thought, ok, I'm gonna put on a really wide lens real quick yes sir she looking in russia I believe that's another thing that I try to always put in my work is I feel like for awhile, I refused to photograph people smiling, I I'm open to it now, but I feel like again people always need thio define or like understand what in images, and I find that if someone sees a picture of someone smiling sometimes if it's just a normal picture this morning, you feel like, oh, I know what they're feeling, you can relate to it and you move on, but if if someone doesn't know what it is that they're seeing, they feel this need to kind of create a story or a dialogue around what's this about and try to figure out from themselves, and I love that because it makes people look longer and so often times in my work, I don't have a specific idea like it could she could be looking at russia, she could be leaning to the right, whatever it is like, but I want something that's just going to make people think and be curious and so to give you like, behind the scenes look at what really happened here put this wide angle lens on and we had these huge lights on the dock and her daughter bristol came home from work and I had a mark on the dock and I said, please don't move like everything set to right here, so she just was leaning over to try to see her daughter and I picked up the camera and she straightened back up. I said, I'm just checking something, go ahead and keep talking and she leaned back over and I got two pictures and this was one of them and so this one went on tto win a bunch of awards and it's still in my portfolio. But I knew I have to get something for myself. I have to get at least one picture for myself because the book covers cool is exciting. Is that is it's going? It's going to move on pretty quick. So, yeah, I was just curious if you ever present the book, cover itself with your photo on it or you just present clean image, I'm not going to say always, but in general, I found it's best to just show your work. I mean, sometimes we want to show tear sheets or like covers because for notoriety reasons. But the more I talk to people on a high level, like the more you start to realize it's not it's not oh, you shot this for the brand on the bottom of the adverts. Impressive. It is the work, good or not, you know? And so oftentimes when you know your your work on its own is gonna be the strongest, the most important thing, so right, right now, for example, not to sound like a total hypocrite. I have a bunch of tear sheets on my website and it's, we're probably going to start changing that up because again, I'm trying to figure out as I go to, but I'm beginning to think it's more important to just show photography there is value to showing brands and it's I got some really big jobs because I showed people the book cover on any prom or something like that, but in terms of portfolio, I don't think I would recommend putting that kind of in the portfolio was my personal take someone else could say something completely different but okay let's see what we got here? This's this's ah, local mural artist here in seattle he goes by henry is pretty simple photo shoot I had to do a little convincing to get him to where the normal costume he does a lot of like whimsical sea creatures and kind of very childlike murals and I just loved the idea as soon as I got the oftentimes when I get an assignment something just comes into my head for one reason another at night usually that's the thing I tried to go for and as soon as I got to call the photograph him I just thought it would be so fun to photograph them in the sea creature cost human that's kind of the harsh reality of being a commercial photographers you get an idea you're excited about you talked the person like oh yeah it's cool but I'm not doing it s so anyway thankfully he came running it turned out really well I have this I have this printed huge in my studio it's one of my favorite pictures it's really simple but I really like it. Um this was this was an assignment I took it was actually this is a service dog and he worked he lives with a boy who has autism and for this magazine assignment I thought great, you know, never work with children animals and here I am working with both but this was this was a really interesting assignment for me. I was really surprised by the dog I got out of there and feel like, ok, I got what I needed and it wasn't till later I took a step back and I looked and I thought, oh my gosh, like this dog looks more human than most humans I photograph there was just something really expressive and interesting about this animal and so this lead which I think I have it here somewhere this led me to a project I'm working on currently in my spare time photographing dogs with human like expressions and it's fun because again I talk about how controlled everything is I love that this is pretty uncontrolled like it's working with dogs and you know, seeing what happens also for someone reason another I really want to be a dog trainer when I was a kid like through high school that was my goal in life and so it's fun for me now to kind of embrace that part of because I do love animals and incorporate that into my work um is a portrait photographer so sometimes surprises of the best things that come up as much as we plan this was a this was an assignment I had two photograph andy samberg and it did not go well he was not fun to work with for me personally and we had this big elaborate set up that he refused to do and that's kind of one thing you have to do with working with celebrities and working in a toilet you have to be ableto adapt and be quick on your feet and so oftentimes I am just focusing on expression importance and so I love that anyway, but in this case we had teo we'll step back but pull in really because we had all these things you want to show and he wasn't gonna do it so my goal for this was ok how did I get something somewhat interesting that's going to show him show maybe some mischievous nous because that's really how I experienced him that day but never underestimate the power of a good celebrity fortunate your portfolio, it it definitely it can open some doors. Maybe some of you have heard of her. This is annie liebovitz, portrait photographer this there's a I could talk about her for probably an hour and a half, but I was actually photographing john waters. I don't know if you know john waters, he wrote hairspray I was photographing him, he was really wonderful and he was actually one of the few people who stayed after the shooting talk. He was just really nice and hey had a publicist there working with him and it's some point in the conversation, his publicist said randomly, oh, you know, I'm actually working with any liebovitz she has a book coming out thiss fall called at work and I just blurt it out, I would love to photograph any leave of its and and she said she said, well, that would be nice, wouldn't it? And she said, yeah, she isn't really letting people photographed her, and that was really the extent of it uh, sorry water break and about two, three months later I got a call or an email, and it just said, would you like to photograph annie liebovitz? And after I was done screaming and like catching my breath, I said yes and I had to send my portfolio and I don't know her somebody on her team looked at my portfolio when I got the email back and said she would be happy to sit for you and so that was that was a huge huge opportunity for me this came shortly after sarah palin and I went through this like range of ideas most of which were terrible the first idea was I'm going to take a picture of annually but it looks like a picture and leave its took terrible idea never copy someone else's work thankfully I decide not to do that and then I decide okay? I'm gonna do this big elaborate set up on the rooftop we're gonna have you know, horses and all it's gonna be awesome and I'm probably gonna get like twenty different ports in summer and then I had this thankfully other moment of clarity and I realized like you've done this a few times you're going tohave probably have her in a hotel room for five minutes the reality so I pulled back and I thought all right, I wanted what's my goal my goal is to get one great portrait of her I want to show intentionality I want to show that I was with her I want to show that there was like there was was thought out and it was something engaging from her that I hadn't seen before and so I set up a very simple studio set up in the hotel room on dh she came in and it was she was really, really nice, really gracious. She was really nervous and but really also willing to experiment, and I had this idea specifically set up, and it just became clear she was not gonna happen. Not that she didn't want it to, but she was just fidgety, and it was kind of those moments I realized, okay, I can try to fight her kind of or aiken try to go with her and see what happens and be open, and that can be hard sometimes for a control freak like myself, but it's something again, I'm tryingto incorporate more and more into my work. She was casting shadows on her face, which is really interesting, and you probably could've made it cool in an hour to finesse the light, but just harsh shadows on your face. And so I just asked her, ask her, take your glasses off first of all, and I asked her to put her hand on her face, and it was just this moment that happened. And then the next picture is her bearing your whole face in her hands, which I have another picture of which I really like that. So many things I mean for me this was the only time still to this day I've ever been aware of the person I was photographing through my view finder usually it's just shapes and colors and kind of expression and emotion but there I was constantly like, oh my gosh like this's annually it's in my camera I know so for me emotionally, sentimentally all kinds of reasons it's really important image for me but also just not to forget it is so important to verbalize right down put out there what you want make those phone calls those e mails because I firmly believed if I hadn't a said I would love the photograph mentally, but I can guarantee you I would not have got that email it's just it's so important and I know how it works for nick and I think there's a book called the secret that could tell you how it works, but I'm here to tell you that it is important teo really put that kind of stuff out there. Yeah, I love that I really love that because it's true you make it happen you set these intentions and you went after it it may happen I have a question for you from your buddy peter hurley, who I saw earlier in your portrait and eso anyhow he had actually tweeted in a question shut up pete earley now when when shooting the likes of bill gates and annie liebowitz do you handle yourself any differently from the other portrait that you do and you mentioned a couple of things but anything more on that I used to handle it differently and now I don't try to always try toe try take each situation as it as it comes out when I first started shooting celebrities I got really excited and I thought I'm gonna be friends with these guys I'm gonna be so cool they're going to think I'm the coolest photographer ever they don't want to be friends with us nothing against us but this this is a job there's something to be done one particular example which is funny now not so funny at the time was photographing a celebrity and I came in and sat down and I made some comments and he was really really nice and friendly and this had not happened before I was like wow and so he started talking he actually asked me about my family and I was like, oh my gosh and I set my camera down and I was like this is really cool like we started having conversation ten, fifteen minutes go by and he stands up he's like all right great talking I think you got what you need thanks a lot and he walks out of the room and I'm like no no hey, I mean, if you go to the dentist, would you rather talk to your dentist about your vacation? Would you rather have your teeth pulled? I mean, he was just again is the game he knew what he was doing, he was going to give me fifteen minutes, I can do whatever I wonder in the fifteen minutes he'd like to talk, I talk back to me, he left, so now I approach things and I know I have a job to do, you know, it doesn't mean you don't talk to people in your polite, but I think, you know, after I got past those like childish ideas that I'm gonna be friends and I were impressive, but I was kind of stuff it's important, I think, to just be yourself and to respect people and also realized, especially with celebrities like their lives consist of people wanting things from them and getting pulled all time, and I think I found it's really refreshing once you get to the point where I mean, I still get excited. I get nervous about celebrities, but it also starts to feel kind of normal when you do it regularly. And so fortunately, like, it helps because you can be a little more normal there's not that nervous tension or that like excitement that the people can sense that about you if someone walks in room in there just like a ball of nervous energy, you can sense that and so I think it's important to just treat them normally and to try teo really do great work and be direct with them and, you know, sometimes different people might be more demanding than others just be ready to handle whatever comes and b you know, that is quick on your feet as you can. So so betty seven to three in the chat room john says, I wonder if annie ever gave me back after seeing that picture it feels weird saying this, but I did actually here that she liked the picture on dh I normally never ask what someone likes other picture because I just don't care because again for me, really I've learned I've got my feelings hurt too many times because I'm creating for myself and I could take this picture that I love and you like, what do you think I'm like? You know, again it's all back to perspective they're not looking at if it's a piece of art is something beautiful that you've achieved it's like I know my face is so brinkley or whatever like no one with the person is going to think that about that I'm talking about and I'm doing just in general, so I realized again, like, I've got to be excited about my work it doesn't matter what everyone because I could take any petrov ever created I could find one hundred people that hate and I could find probably twenty five people to like it or something, so I found it's really important to just not ask it doesn't matter if they say yes that's great, but you also have to be prepared for when they say they don't like it so but yeah, I did send her a print in this instance and I didn't get to meet up with her but I sent her a print and I did hear from her soon manager that she did like the picture so that was very flattering so oh, I have the control here is there another question I'm in control you like to be so this is yeah see, I told you no but that's the thing it's funny all of my like my worst qualities you human being are like my best qualities is an artist in the business owner it's a hard balance to have but it really is interesting like once you start to learn more about yourself you see these like things that happen between your work and who you are and you know it may not be great your personal of all time but I think the more you are in your work, the better your work is going to be um this is ben huh? Who's the ceo and founder of the cheeseburger network. Ella well, cats failed blawg a whole network of comedy humor blog's and this was not my ideas was the art director's idea they said, hey, you want to photograph him? We want you bury him on kitty litter and have his cat's walker on his face and so I got to kind of come up with how that works and convince him to do it that's the fun thing I mentioned sometimes you get these ideas, you're really excited and the person's like that sounds cool but I'm not going to do it sometimes art directors like, wouldn't this be cool? I'm like yeah, you talked to him like no, you do it like so thankfully he was really, really gracious and he went for it so we basically what we did is built a tabletop and cut like two half circles in it and then kind of put them around his neck like stocks or whatever and then cover the table with a hundred pounds of kitty litter hey told me after the shoot that he's actually allergic to cats so that's that's the best kind of person you could work with right there andi I saw him a couple months ago for another shooting he told me he was picking kitty litter out of his hair like the next two weeks but I think it does you no it is definitely everyone's going like to say that they've been buried by in kitty litter you know? So I think he can really say that he's made it his career um this is another personal shoot that I did on again going back to just kind of creating work that doesn't exist in your portfolio that you're curious about that you want to show there was all kinds of things again if you can tell this is my kind of monochromatic phase but this is a friend of mine jenny who menace he's actually a really great photographer her husband in their dogs and this is a set that we built we talked a lot about conti idea behind it and kind of casting them these is like funny dog people and so the reality is where am I going to find this room? I don't know someone commented like please tell me this room exists but it does not exist we tore it down it was just one of those things were again production value is so important like you can't leave things to chance if you have an idea you've got to make it happen and just so you don't feel totally scared this is a set but it probably cost like thirty dollars to make in a whole bunch of time it's just to wall panels and some framed art that we found in thrift shops my neighbor's coffee table and a couple of chairs which I don't even know where they came from and then the clothing a lot of this was done in post by my re toucher you there comes a point where it's like I like to do as much in camera as possible but we could spend two months trying to find a perfect matching brown chairs and perfect matching brown clothes or we could find the styles that we want and shift the color in post and so that's how this was treated it was I think one of the chairs was green and one was red and one of the shirts it was like kind of a light brown yeah more technical question how did you get the dog's hair to look so that sometimes I found with black animals in particular with flash from them like that are light in a certain way you consort of the hair can kind of look off or it could be too shiny well some of its retouching some of its lighting in this case one great another great thing about building a set and for those of you who are in the audience I mean these I mean this could cause this is a set that was like these two simple walls behind me you can hang lights over the set because it's it's not really they're not confined by the ceiling and so we hung two lights over the back set kind of his hair lights so that's a little inside joke. Charlotte peter early there, too, little hair lights hit the dogs, and so because this is a monochromatic scene, it's, very dark, and it's brown. If there wasn't something creating separation between the subjects and the back wall, they would just kind of blend in a little bit so that hair light helps create that edge that pulls them away from the background, and then I used, like silver lined up the bank to kind of create a little more punch, which brings out a little more detail in the fur and so flash in other animals. I haven't found that yet, but the moment I get attacked by a dog, I have found that it does them, but yeah, so far. For some reason, it doesn't really seem to bother dogs. Dogs hate to be upon tables and all kinds of stuff of flashes. You seem to be an issue. Is there another question? Well, I love that clearly, that is an inside joke between you and peter early, because he had also tweeted me the question about when you started to implement a hair light into your work, yeah, I won't even get into it, but he came in to one of my workshops once and if you know peter hurley he's hilarious outgoing guy and he got everyone real excited about my hair light so uh anyway uh this is a this is a shoot I did recently there's an ad agency here in town called lexie school for girls and I've done quite a bit of work with these guys these are callin ian the cofounders of wesley and again this is something kind of sprung from my iphone portrait series a little bit everything I typically do is lit this is one of the fortunes have done recently where it's just all natural light there's no lights involved andi I've been trying again teo do that used to be that I would look at a scene and I would think okay, I need to like this or whatever but we're starting to realize okay sometimes natural light is better than what I could create and so I'm trying this another way I'm broadening kind of what I do we talked about focus and it's important to focus but you don't have to feel like you're trapped in something there was a point where I started realizing like after people like oh while your work is so produced in shiny and retouched and I realized I don't want it to be like that and I don't think it has to be and so I think for me and for all of us it's always going to be a siri's of adjustments and and experiments and so for me it was realizing like, you know what? I've learned a lot with lighting and I love lighting I love controlling it, but what else can we do? Like what else am I missing and it's been really fun for me to experiment with natural light and get a different feel out of my portrait's the people I'm still working with the same way, but now I have this new kind of freedom that I can work with when I'm not tied down to light sometimes. And so this is one of more recent images that I shot that some of my new work is starting to have a little bit of a grittier feel to it now like this if you can see it in the screen to go back to the sex, did you find that you were doing that more after you were securing a commercial work or paid work? Or were you doing that before in your own personal stuff as well? And do you find that you're using a lot of it or is it more one time use? Well, I think once I once I started discovering that oh, you know, you can build sets and that's something that people do I was always always telling we should build the set, but it's usually kind of expensive and people don't always want to pay for sets and so some of the ones I did on my own for personal work and in some of them like that one in the bathroom were editorial and it's obviously great if the client will pay for that it gives you a lot more flexibility but again if it's not happening and you wanted to happen all you have left is to do it on your own but it doesn't have to be expensive it can be really simple I mean three of the sets were built in the last few months have been like under one hundred dollars and sometimes more time but doesn't have to be anything extravagant so yeah I always just take each project as needed like what's the best way to approach this particular in another example is like this this shot here I could I could see her for four hours hoping to get both dogs and both people perfect or I could say ok I know animals are not going to want to behave or do exactly what I want so when my approach was I photographed robin in his dog and I shot him for probably fifteen twenty minutes and I knew okay I got a shot of these guys and then I had him stay there but I just completely ignored him essentially and I'm focusing on jenny and her dog and I photograph them and my camera's locked down on tripods I'm not moving a photograph her for twenty minutes. Well I got a great one of her, and I got a great one of the dog, but I still knew I did not get a good one or both of them. And so in this particular image, it's, a different dog, head in a different hand in a different picture of jenny all put together, and so it's, like, you just kind of take each it's problem solving really, especially when you get into compositing and have a great reaches sure that I work with retouching that I work with, but also the more you do that kind of stuff you start to realize, especially when you're working for a client like time is money and no one's going to want you to sit around for five hours, like fumbling with the stuff, you've got to figure out a plan of action, like, how are we going to do this quickly and cleanly and get what we need? And so it's, that kind of process, just a tiny follow? Do you ever use proper companies or costume? Cos when you're you know, sometimes I mean it's great when you can work with a producer of production company, prop stylists and people like that sometimes it's harder to do that for personal work if it gets that involved, but whenever working with, like for an ad campaign, you always you don't want to be doing that kind of stuff yourself because it's a lot of work I'm doing in house work toucher do you send it somewhere? And if so, just cooking you recommend? Yeah, well, so the retractor I worked with his gigantic spread dot com jake and exclaimed, shut out! But there's, you know, there's all kinds of there's, all kinds of talented people. One thing that I always say is it's good to find a team you can grow with. I remember there was six years ago where I really want to work with the re toucher I realized my work had gone as far as I could, you know, with me doing my own retouching, and I reached out to like all these top firms and I was like, holy cow, it cost how much was like, well, maybe I just don't need to recheck her butt when my friend chicken excrement I we're both kind of the same points in our career were able to grow together, and now, you know, our work is much further along than it was when we started. And so you know, it's the same thing with, you know, producers and stylists and hair makeup sometimes I mean, I know I'm talking about my work that I created over the last eight years and now I don't want it to seem like, look what I've done like it's get can be daunting and I get that like I try to always remember what it was like when I didn't know like when I showed up for that first shoot that I failed and I didn't know what I was doing I don't know how to turn in negatives or anything it's important to find people who are eager like you are and who are at the same point in their career but also you have the growth potential that you want and grow with those people because that's a great way to do it otherwise I would not recommend anyone starting out building and portfolio go pay some one hundred fifty dollars an hour to do some retouching your portfolio and go hira said bill, they're like that's just not feasible unless you have a trust fund, which would be great but sir, I started daydreaming there, so yeah, I think you know, it's good to do research and just connect with people in that way and I'm in college again it's good, you know, but but also know that there's lots of people that I'm fortunate and thankful blessed to work with now that I wouldn't have been able to work with even just a couple years ago what what recommendations but you have for people who are looking to start working with the team of people doing types of chutes that you d'oh, I mean, just networking and finding people with similar interests and talking and really what it all boils down to his networking and who, you know, I mean, just today I was upstairs talking to another one of the instructors, and I'm working on this project that I have to do in new mexico and turns out he's from there, I guess I can do to fix her, and he gave me someone and it's, just, you know, it just kind of happened, so it just put it out there, talk to people, ask questions, go to your local camera, store a rental house, or talked to an assistant or a producer and just get some names mean, we're also connected these days, facebook social media on, you know, you won't get calls returned from everyone, and some people won't make sense, and but you just work with people and that's another great thing, too, is I have a team ready, because when that job comes in, you don't want to be like guessing and fumbling, trying to put a team together. You want to have a team in place that you've done personal work with, that you can trust and that, you know, is not going to like, scare people off had assistance working on jobs that I've never worked with before, who are really out of line and it's like that reflects on me. It was my responsibility. I should've figured that out before you know the job. So I know it's. Not like a magic bullet. Answer, but networking. Uh, all right. Uh, isa, father of the hollywood stunt punch. I'm going speed through somebody's just for the sake of time. How we doing on time? But if you guys have questions on some of these, this was this was a dennis haysbert. This is a quick again celebrity portion in the hotel room. Sometimes you have, like, literally four minutes of these people. I had this idea again, monochromatic phase of my career, but I really wanted to try to create something very monochromatic. And I knew just because that's how it goes, he's probably gonna wear a bright pink shirt just like just to teach me a lesson here or something. I s like. I didn't have any one's contact info till I got there. And I called his agent and I said, hey, curious if you saw dennis today what? He's wearing he's like eyes were in this really cool blue shirt, you're gonna love it, I was like, okay, here's the thing that's probably cool but I'm wondering if he might have a black shirt or anything he's like we're shooting in ten minutes it's like I know I just got your contact info I'm just no big deal but if it all possible would be great he's like well it's not gonna happen it's too late but you know thanks for asking anyway so this walks in ten minutes later he's wearing a black shirt he's like hey is this okay? And it was like oh if I hadn't asked I mean you just it would have been it may be a fine portrait but again like for me it's the smallest little detail that you can have the best light you can have the best hair and makeup you could have the best location no location here but you can have everything but if that shirt is pink or something it's going to say something completely different like you've gotta do whatever it takes ask any question you can go to whatever lengths you can to you know, get every little piece set so that you can create the best image because if I hadn't done that and he just showed up in a pink shirt and let's say I put in my portfolio I mean it's it's hard to explain but it's not gonna have the same impact that this is no one's going to look at the picture and think like oh that would have been really good if he was all black, but I'm sure it was hard for john. I love this picture anyway, no, they're just like, oh, that's, kind of distracting the blue shirt. I wonder why he did that? Well, I didn't do, but so you have to just remember there's, no excuses, like do whatever it takes and create your vision and take control of it again. There's that control this is some personal work that I've been working on and hoping to do a lot more of in the coming months. But again, going back to exploring an experimenting I had this came at a point where I had really started to establish kind of my portrait's, and I got to a point where it's, just like I want to do something different, I want to create something I want to be in wide open spaces. I just had this craving in curiosity for wide open spaces and in the siri's of falling bodies, which is not really related to the diver in that is, but a series of falling bodies was really this experiment and like idea that changed a million times until I landed at this point, but one thing I began doing was photographing environments. Landscapes and through that process I realized just how important the human element is in my work like even if it's not a portrait, I just crave human interaction the idea that even if someone was here even if you don't see them and so that it was a huge learning process for me is learning how to shoot something different, how to make it look like my style still but also learning for me the importance of people in my work it's not just something that happened upon it clearly is important cause I can't get away from it even if I try and now I don't want to, but in that in that point I did and so this someone down here in the bottom is called diver in the desert I went down and spent some time and death valley, california and I'm beginning to work on pieces now that really only idea behind them is just kind of I've been inspired by my kids, I have young kids and their vivid imaginations and I've been ableto begin thinking about like what it's like to be a kid and have these wild imaginations and my goal for somebody's is what would I want to put on my wall and not what do I need to put in my commercial portfolio to get paid or what we need to do to get this job or anything like that um it's, just purely what I want to do and maybe I'll never make any money on this, but I want to do it because it's it's fun for me, the great news is this kind of stuff actually does lead to work eventually, like whatever you do if you are passionate about it, and if you care about it, it's going to lead the work you can, and when I started out people like, especially in seattle, you can't really take corky portrait's of people you're not you might want to rethink that like maybe you should see something more marketable or commercially viable, but the reality is there's a market for anything, you just have to do it well and be the best had it. And so, again, not something I'm trying to like let into my thought process on this work, but it's something I want to show you guys, I still don't show this work very much because it it's not a full body of work in it does it is hard to show it with, like a bunch of portrait, but I'm hoping in the coming months to be able to have more of this type of stuff to show and it's it's really fun for me, it's just a totally different creative process from my portrait work, is there any questions? Well question had come in earlier from curio so about achieving achieving your consistent color look and you've been showing us some of that is there anything more about that? I think some of that comes through again like your decision making process that colors the wardrobe the location that you pick sometimes you're not even aware of it were like oh yeah shoot blue skies a lot or whatever it is I mean I wear blue all the time it's just it becomes part of your just thought process but some of that also comes from retouching a lot of my work even if there's no blue visible in the scene like sometimes we're adding blew into the mid tones to slight shifts to give it like a cooler field so you know a lot of that consistency comes from retouching it comes from doing something repetitive lee and you know over and over again but this was one of my favorite assignments I've ever done and it may still be one of my favorite assignments this was for the cover of wired uk last year for those of you who don't know this is for an adrian who was considered to be one of the greatest chef in the world he's coming the father of molecular gastronomy his restaurant and outside of barcelona albu lee was maybe the top restaurant the world two years in a row and he shut it down kind of pulled a seinfeld and step back at the peak of success and so this article was about his reinventing himself despite the fact that he many said didn't even really need to s o I got to go to barcelona for a few days and photograph him in his kitchen and in his in his restaurant and the kicker for me was we got to go to his new restaurant we have a thirty course meal in the last night so that was I could go on and on this like all kinds of stories but it was amazing it was one of those perks that you know everyone always goes on I love it I love tired because you get to meet people we at well we all like people on we all like therapy but this is one of those times where I kind of have to brag because I mean there's not nothing that I did but it was just one of those experiences and never would have got to go to the places I got to go without a camera in my hand and so um I'm very fond of of this memory this is this's an ad campaign I did last year and this was this is like the best assignment I think for many reasons that I could ever ask for I've got to work with a great ad agency green ruby no incredible people on this on this ad this is greg groups whose the host of whose line is it anyway? He's a great improv stand up comedian he's the new face of washington wines and so thie idea this is called he's called the recommend door and so we shut this down in hollywood and we've built I shot him in a hotel room if you see the theme here with celebrities but we built this set and we found this chair then we put together to kind of create this create this idea of you know him being this kind of snooty but washington type personality and I worked with the great team who who helped kind of bring this vision together. But one thing that was so exciting about this again was when I got this job my personal work was laid out on the table. This is why I got the job if you remember the the couple with the dogs and the all brown scene it's actually like same background elements in this picture is those all those pieces all my personal work was like we really love this person we want something in this vein people need to see that they need to see those examples because they're not going to take a risk on you and so this felt to me like personal work like I was getting paid to create something I would have just done on my own with no one telling me to do so sometimes it takes time like you're not gonna create personal working the next day he calls but after even a year two years three years you start to see these you know these patterns for me this is again another result of I had been told you know you can't do over the top expressions your work is very common in subdued and I showed you the people drinking bad coffee earlier had done a little more work like that and I got this job because they loved how I handled expressions this is for a heavenly ski resort in california and tahoe I think I know which side of tahoe was in california so they created six profiles of target clients and this is again another really fun assignment that came from personal work gonna fly through some of these last ones that's it this was one example I was telling you earlier I had to send people out like there was just not this like intimacy intimacy that I wanted that wasn't this like playfulness there was a whole crew of people behind me we send him out and then this happened it was just you know, knowing your situation the person you're working with and knowing when when to change things up I got to photograph macklemore ryan lewis just before their album came out the's air thes airport personal portrait's in some way but they become they they're using now for all their press and promo images for their current tour but it felt like person work it was just kind of us collaborating and these are images that come up all the time again and pitches that I do like I get it to pay I get paid to do things and they showed me this or brown town and the other things I've been showing you guys and it's really it's really gratifying it's hard and it's scary to create personal work and put your own money into it but it's really, really important and it's one of the only way it was really the only way that you're going to be able to do the kind of work that you want to do by just taking control of that and showing people exactly what you want to do in that you can do it well, so I think we just have a couple of minutes if we want to end with questions are awesome any friend of questions in the your bond of incorporating natural light were recently but some of your lighting here's obviously the hair light spectacular how the sniper lighting setups that you're particularly fond of our go to lighting that you like I try to keep it a simple is possible I used to think like the picture, the more lights the better, but I think the fewer lights the better now I mean, I I sometimes we'll just use one light I can use very large modifiers now like five foot seven foot soft boxes are often banks but often times like in all these amusing just two lights maybe sometimes three sometime in that ones of the kids for the ski resort I think that was like five or six lights but most I would say most often I'm using two to three lights and I just more does not make it better it's just what's needed for that situation what do you want it to feel like it's really just a feeling for me sometimes anymore questions what's next for you well I'm going teo I'm really it's it's kind of unrelated but in the style of the images of the falling bodies in the diver in the desert I'm really trying to carve out some time to create more personal work in that sends a lot of times my personal working like you said commercially driven but I'm really excited to be doing some some of those just purely personal projects for the sake of creating and having fun and then I'm working really hard on my iphone portrait series which I showed you guys earlier I'm I've photographed about two hundred people now and I'm hoping to just keep going with that I'd love to do a book there's been some really amazing stories that have come out of the people I've met through there and so I'm just continuing to explore that and see what happens. But hopefully a book, maybe in the not too distant future.

Class Description

With the increased accessibility of cameras, the ease of snapping digital photographs, and the sheer number of quality photographers today, how do you differentiate yourself from the masses?

Pro photographer John Keatley will break down what goes through his mind during a shoot and shed light on how you can actively work to define YOUR personal style. John will speak to his own experience, and show you how to strategically incorporate your style as you build your portfolio and client base.

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a Creativelive Student

I really loved this class and was very inspired by his work, great style. Now I have the motivation to find mine !

Margaret Lovell

I'm trying to narrow down what my style is. I took this class to find inspiration and direction. I enjoyed John's commentary about the trajectory of his career. I'm taking his other classes, and look forward to completing those. I wound up feeling inspired once I completed this course.

Dana Miller

This was my first class with Creative Live and it was amazing! John Keatley is very informative and made sure he took the time to answer any questions thoroughly. I will definitely take another of John's courses!