In Focus: Taboo Questions from the Photo Industry with Chase Jarvis
far away. Hi. Good morning. Good morning. Morning. Morning. Is it? I'm sorry you're in the second row in the third row. I can't get you guys, um, super grateful to be you guys care if I get a lot closer. It's like story time, and it freaks me out a little bit about your own perfect line. Can you guys, like, loosen up just a little bit, like, maybe move your chair around a little bit? Just, um So when as kind of said I For some reason, I have always felt that creativelive was a platform for my peers who I feel like are the best photo educators in the world, the best designers in the world. The best folks at building businesses. Um and so I rarely I think I'm in a better role putting that stuff together and helping connect to community of millions of people with those folks. When we created creative life, the beginning, I always thought it was an opportunity for me to step out of that middle and just let the the people who wanted to learn to connect with the people who were the best and ...
every once in a while I I do grabbed the mic and come on on stage. I was on with Vince yesterday, just a little 15 minute thing. But I noticed something that that made me want to present today a photo week and I don't have a bunch of fancy slides. I'm not showing you my pictures. I'm not talking about this exotic location or that amazing campaign I'm talking about or the big failures. What I noticed that I wasn't seeing enough of is talk around the hardest things in the photography industry. The taboos, if you will. How much money do you make? What, what what are the big failures, where they look like what happens when a shoot goes completely wrong? People they especially with the way that social media is oriented today. It's all are you know, they're selfie generation and making ourselves look a good as we can, because that's what we want to market to. So I wanted to take an hour today to answer what I consider to be some of the taboo questions. I have some, you know, some questions that I will pose to you, uh, and see if they're the ones that you want answered. But I've also asked on my social feeds over the past 48 hours. What are some things that you all out there in the world where there I was just Facebook, live ing. And there is Toronto in Moscow, in Turkey and people from all over the world. What are those questions that you're afraid to ask? I promised all this would be anonymous. So there are no names next to the questions that I have, um, to talk to you guys about. I've also reserved about 20 minutes of my our for your questions. Now it's very hard for you to ask the question and be anonymous, so I would encourage you to find a place within you where you can be vulnerable where you can ask the most dangerous question, the riskiest question today the question that you have deep down inside. But sometimes you're afraid to ask your assistance or your peers. I'm gonna do my best to reward you to applaud you and congratulate you for coming forward with that question. Because what I know and I have learned, you know, in 15 years of this business is that we all have those questions So, um, for those of you who don't know anything about me or my background kind of did a very sweet and kind intro. But I always pretend that no one knows anything about my background when I take the stage and just to share a couple of highlights and low lights, I dropped out of medical school. I bailed on a career and professional soccer, and I quit a PhD in philosophy. I quit all those things in four years. I quit each of those things and basically dropped out of the life that everybody else had planned for me, because I think if you ask yourself a real honest question that many of you were here for for a career and photography, not all of you, some of you want to get better and get more likes and take better pictures, your kids, that's fine. But if you were at all like me, there was a lot of social pressure not to be a photographer because their terms starving artists. You have here all these derogatory terms about what it's like to to struggle to make things for a living, and there are things that are respected and applauded, like being a doctor or a lawyer or a pro athlete. That air the highest aspiration. There is a lot of things in the middle, but I just wanted to share the fact that that it took me. I think it's one of the hardest things that I've ever done in my life. Toe walk away from the hopes and dreams and my parents are very supportive. My my immediate friends there. I think a lot of the pressure was self imposed, but to step away from the careers and the things that everybody else wanted to me to pursue my own dreams and passions. And actually, that's the genesis of Creative Live. In a nutshell is to help people live their dreams and career hobby in life. So I'm like the first thing I want addresses that I had to do, that I feel like I also come from relative privilege. I'm middle lower middle class. My dad was a cop. My mom was a secretary. I'm very proud of what they provided for me. But I had upside down Nikes. I had a needles with four stripes. Um, you know, I didn't want for much in the way of food, but I came from relative privilege. Is based on where I was born. The color of my skin, my gender, Um and so I think if I had so many struggles pursuing my dreams, what about people who are even less fortunate or had more social, social, economic challenges? So it's my goal, and it's the goal of creative life to expand the photo industry, expand the creative industry and allow anyone to pursue their dreams. Um, first foremost you guys, it's okay to pursue your dreams. In fact, what an amazing world it would be if we all did that. You guys are all looking a little bit shell shocked. I don't know if I'm like hitting a nerve too soon or what Too soon. Chase Too soon. 10 in the morning. Um, so I have personally live through that again, I realize and acknowledge that people have. They will have to overcome more to pursue their dreams. But I want you to know that it's okay and that people will ultimately respect you more for living your truth. Um, the short backstory is that after I dropped out of those things, I hesitate to reveal this because it says something about my age. But this was pre Internet. I took. I learned photography from taking a picture and writing down my exposure and taking another picture and writing down my exposure and then taking that film to the developing and to the developer and then paying all of the money that I made that night waiting tables to develop my film to get that back and look at picture one that looked like crap picture to that was a little bit better. Okay, F eight at at 2 when it's sunny, okay? And going to the library. So when the net came along, I was so eager to not just learn but to share, because I realize that it really wasn't that much out there on. And the stuff that I did find out there it was very closed. And so I went knocking on doors. Hey, I'm interested in working. I'll sweep the floor. All the biggest photographers in New York and l. A I'll do anything. It was basically like, Yeah, it's okay. And I realize that what they really didn't want to have happen was they didn't want to have their secrets stolen. So I took it upon myself and say, This is wrong. I looked at where information was going. It wanted to be free. Azi Internet came up and I started sharing that stuff. Um, reasonably quickly. I found my way in the world. And it is that journey that on the school of hard knocks honestly, that provided me with a lot of the value that I'm hoping to share with you guys today. I've made all the mistakes you can make you talk about. How much money have you made her lost? What about an agent? What about showing portfolios? How do your clients I have done all those things the wrong way? Because when I tried to do it the first time, there was no guidance. Fortunately, I think there are things like Creativelive. Another resource is online, so it's getting better. But the focus of today's talk is on the taboos that I didn't have answered for me, that I still think you're not having answered for you. So I won't go on to starting the best camera or creative live. I think, um, I feel like Kenya did a very nice intro there. Thank you kinda for shot. Not about that. And we can high five and have a much bagels and coffee as we want afterwards and talk about that. But I'd like to right now if we can get into some of the questions. So as I'm going through some of these things Oh, this was supposed to be the slide that was on what I was talking says no. Because, um, no. Was the thing that I heard more than anything. Will you help me figure this out? Uh, sorry, man. Don't have time. Um what settings? You know where your camera on? Sorry. No, man. I can tell you that cause that's my secret Trademark lighting. Can you help me? Are there any, you know, guide guidances for pricing in the world of commercial photography? That's my background. No, there was no software. There's no pricing. There's some books. They were woefully misinformed and from the sixties and seventies. So I spent a life. So, you know, up to that point hearing? No. And I'd like to turn turn that no into a yes. And more importantly, a Yes, and and that's that's what I'm here to do today. So I'm just gonna get in the questions. And again these people's names have been removed. Um, and again, while I'm getting into this, please think about your most taboo questions. So how do we deal with photographers that aren't spectacular and yet still charge crazy prices? Does anyone feel something wrong with this question? Just from the beginning. Now again, I don't want to frame it as wrong as I don't want this person to have any shame. That's what we're here for us to not have shame. But the way that it's it's sort of coming at it from the wrong P. O. V in my mind is that Who cares about the other photographers? Like literally, you should know what your peers air doing, because that's sort of market awareness. If you're flying an airplane, you should know where the other airplanes are, where airports are, sure, but you better concert and flying the airplane because you've got to stay in the air. The same is true with photography. I see. I hear so many people bitch about this person is ripping me off or that person is promoting themselves too much or this person they don't know what they're talking about. But I heard they charge $5000 a day and who's so stupid to hire them yet magically, they get hired all the time and they're making a living in a life doing what they love. So I think the most important take away from here is that that's other people's business. Why would you care for every every ounce of energy that you're putting into thinking about what someone else is doing rather than what you are? That's something that's not being put into learning your craft, mastering your business, mastering your skills, mastering who you are as a person and as a professional photographer or again, not necessarily professional, but achieving your own goals. So to me, this is this. The back story here is that the orientation is not the right orientation. What can you do? Better to learn, and I'll just give you one thing that, um, myself and Mac are CEO at Creative Life, who I have a ton of respect and admiration for. We were just talking today at breakfast about how important attitude is. You know, we have the people come to work and create a live every day. It's like I've like I come to a place of business where people are so joyous about what they get to do for a living. And imagine if in your day to day you carried yourself like that into every job into every, you know the idea of a swan very graceful on top of the water, kicking like hell underneath. And I think that's a thing that we all think that everyone has got their shit together. I'm here to tell you that to this day I'll step onto a site like a set, and I'm like, Wow, what? We have a lot of work to do. There's a lot of people here. I don't know how we're gonna do it. I know I'll figure a way because I've done it, you know, 100 or 1000 or 10,000 times. But what can you do to bring that positivity to your day to day and look at? We all have rough days. What can you do to put yourself in a great mental state? Because a great mental state makes life so much better and your work will great work will precipitate out of it, So I think this is, um you shouldn't be thinking about their folks, and pricing will get to that later. How do I show value to potential clients that find good enough free images from folks who shoot expensive gear set on automatic? Do you see there's this underlying thing about what other people are doing? Do you think that this is a thing? Do you guys see these in the in the YouTube comments and the Facebook comments, All this ranting about other people. It's in the first. I mean, granted there is probably 500 questions came in and we curated him down. But I'm starting with these two for a reason, because there's so much energy put on the stuff that other people are doing that just does not matter. I think it was Steve Martin that said, Be so no Kevin Spacey or Steve Martin be so good they can't ignore you. Steve Martin. Is that right? Great. What does that have to do with anybody else? It has nothing. Be so they is that they're going to finally recognize you because you're so good, so expensive. Gear automatic. Who cares what someone else's cameras on automatic? I don't think pro most the pros that I know don't shoot on automatic, but it has nothing to do with who you are as a photographer in the kind of images images you take now, good enough free images. If you are competing against someone else who is very happy having a free image and you are trying to get that person to pay you, you have the wrong client in mind. I have never to this day taking a client who came into my world as a 1000 or $5000 client. I've never turned him into a $50,000 plant this many times. And I promise you that if you take money at a low weight and low weight and low rate, I'm not saying don't take money too low rate because if you can get paid, use a camera. That's probably a good thing. But if you're hanging on to the idea that you're gonna take this person who once gave you $500 turned it into 5000 or 50,000 you are high. It never happens because here's why. When the person gets that say, they gave you 1000 bucks. And how much do you cost you, like $8000 like I only got 500. Okay, first of all, there's a lot of things wrong with that, but and they say you figure out a way to justify it in your mind. And there are many ways. Um, but they say, OK, great. Here's 500. You go take that picture and you deliver and they say, Man, if you just do this one job, there's all kinds of jobs down. You know, on the other end of this, when they have $5000 budget, when they do get that budget, do they go to the person who did it for 500? Will they ever go to the person who did it for 500? Who will they go to? They will go to the person that they couldn't get, who said I'm 10 grand and they say I only have 500 they said, Go find a $500 photographer. Have a great day. I wish you the very best. And I think you can. There are plenty photographers out there who do that work, and I think you know, if your budget changes. Give me a call sometime in the future. Best of luck to you. Very positive, very direct. Say they maintain their own value. And the person who said no to them when they had a $500 budget that was 10,000. When they have 5000 they call it that person. They will never call you back at $5. So stop trying to make it that so good enough If the person is using free images and they want you to give them free work because they're talking about free images or very cheap images, do not chase those people. You can work with those people, but never expect them to be something that they're not. Is it the scorpion and the, um, the Scorpion and the frog? So there's this frog sitting on the side of the river. Scorpion walks up. It's a frog. I'd like to get to the other side of the river. Would you give me a ride? Rock says you're a scorpion. You sting me, I die. We both drown. He's like, Yeah, but why would I do that? I'm on your back. Can you give me a ride? Neither side Rock thinks about it, says Yeah, okay. Why would why would the score being killed Me? Because we both die. Corbyn hops on the frog's back. Frog start swimming across the river, Scorpion to Sting to share the frog, Brock says, Wait a minute, I thought we were. We're both gonna die now. He's like, That's right. But I'm a scorpion. That's what I do. And that's not to say that in individual clients they won't evolve over time. But I don't believe that you should wait around chasing the clients who were a $500 client trying to make them into 5000. Keep moving, and if they are focused on good enough free images, move along. You don't have to disrespect them. You can be friendly because someday you never know where they're going to go. They're gonna go from their job at the local newspaper to the art director or creative director at Elle magazine, and you want to shoot fashion. So if they if you said no to them, you are super polite. They're gonna come back around. I've had that happen 100 times in my career. The person who was at one place Ghost, another place and all sudden does have a lot of money. And if they respected, admire you work and you as a human, they'll hire you. How do you decide how much to charge a client without giving the client the feeling being cheap or expensive? I think there's some, you know, I kind of addressed a lot of those things in The last question are in the last answer rather but in particular the client feeling that you're cheap or expensive. I don't mind what how you want to price yourself. I'm not here to judge. There are photos of photographers and photo studios that have a low price in a really high volume. I know a lot of people could make a lot of money. Senior Portrait's How many senior poor Christie's You shoot a ton of them in a season of portraiture or graduates. You're like they're walking off the stage going *** *** *** is there, walking up the stage. You're taking hundreds of pictures of the day. That's great. It's easy. It's good. And I'm not gonna judge you and tell you that at 100 bucks a pop for 50 bucks a pop. That's a bad business, because if you have enough volume you can make a really nice living. Let's talk about the other end. The other end is you only get out of bed for X $1000. You are great at your craft. You know what it is you're doing and you know who your clients are and where you can make money. That's all very, very intentional. I'm I'm saying, don't don't disrespect one or the other, but the only thing you can do wrong in my mind is accidentally fall along that spectrum without intention. If you try and be expensive and prestigious one day and then the next day you shooting something for $5 the next day you're all over the place. You don't have any consistency in your brand, and people don't know how to place you. And generally speaking, they will put you farther down the line. If they see you doing, you know, one activity that's very cheap and then trying to be expensive, sort of. You can position yourself that way, so this is all about intention and positioning yourself as an expensive and do not put your your personal worth how you value yourself. Those voices in your head at 3 a.m. Do not attach that to how much your day rate is two or what you charge for a wedding. Those things are totally different. There should be a business decision, not a personal one. So I also see that a lot of people they feel like if there I got I got paid to shoot a wedding and how much you make, how much it does not matter as one of things that I'm trying to sort of ask you to be bold about. And when someone says what they mean and they say it with confidence and like, Oh, yeah, man, I only got paid 150 bucks. But you know what? I have a plan to change my wedding radar, my day rate or my portrait rate or whatever, Teoh. 2500 bucks. And here's what I'm getting at here. I'm gonna watch these costs on creativelive. I'm gonna get meant toward by this photographer who has done it before. And that's my plan because getting paid to make money with a camera, you know, making money with a camera, if that is step one of your dream. That's a great place to start. All right, keep moving. I'm taking too long. There's, like 50 of these things I'm not gonna get through. How do some people get incredibly popular and photo websites when their pictures are just average or worse? Three out of the 1st questions are about other photographers. How are they making so much money? They suck that chase guy. Oh, my God, what a buffoon. He just makes these online videos. I'm telling you that in the world of professional photography, I'll speak about commercial because that's where my I'm I'm most grounded and rooted when it's a very small industry. As I said earlier, our directors, they move from one place to another, brands and ad agencies only, like, you know, maybe 50 ad agencies, and they'll have people who moved between them. 50 ad agencies that higher at scale. So in short, people know what's going on. And if you do a really shitty job on a gig, more than just the person who is in charge of your gig knows about it. So there are in the commercial where there is little room for error That's why I encourage you to fail a lot early. When you're doing smaller jobs, the pressure is always on. It will always be on. If you don't like pressure, do not photograph weddings. Do not stand next to the mother of the bride on her one and only day. It's a very tough, tough position to put yourself in this. This whole mentality about thinking of other photographers is average or worse than you are is a waste of time popular on photo websites that equals promotion and promotion. The idea of self promoting if you do not want. If you want to be an independent artist and you believe that your work should stand by itself, you're also hi, I'm anytime I like this. You guys just say hot. Okay, So what is a person who believes that the other people who are getting a lot of traction on social media websites around their pictures? When you look at that person and you're thinking that they suck, you are the person who is high, okay, because that person's out there working hard, and the reality is whether they get their kicking, biting, screaming, even cheating. I don't advocate that. But that happens. And you can either do. You can do one of two things. You can complain or you can make better art. You can complain or you can promote yourself. Mawr better, more meaningful, more authentically. That is a way of standing out as being incredibly authentic. Being vulnerable brain a brown. You guys know burn a brown. Yeah, she is incredible on my favorite humans on the planet. She's been on my show Chase Travis Live before she when she steps on, say, she says, I am a shame and vulnerability researcher and she she articulates this P o v wherever is like Oh, okay, because nobody wants to talk about that. And yet she has made a career out of that, like literally being vulnerable, telling other people how to be vulnerable, how to face the world and not be shameful. So that is a way that you can position yourself as the vulnerable, honest artist. Um, my only ask is that you don't let this kind of stuff bother you. That you think of how you want to promote yourself and you be true to yourself. I don't think you should cheat, lie and steal. But if you're not willing to promote yourself, the concept of your work standing for itself and the phone just ringing is false. If someone is an overnight success, the chances are and I have no experience with this not being the case they've been working their ass off for 10 years underground before they popped their head up and became successful. Macklemore consider Ban a personal friend. Um, people like Macklemore out of nowhere. 15 x platinum? No, no, He was making music in his parents basement for 10 years, literally. And the same is true for so many photographers. The flip side is I was out of nowhere, and they just came and tapped me based on my instagram and I shot this kick ass campaign for Nike. And now I'm like, gonna be Adidas after that. And then Mercedes And then, you know, what do they do? Have to get the Nike job? Nice job right back down here. I see that time and time and time again, I've mentored, if not millions, certainly thousands of photographers and the idea of getting your first big gig and then it just going like this from there happens literally this many times. Zero. So, as soon as it happens to you, do not like pop the champagne quite too soon. Get back to work. Industry is only for the youth, or is the industry only for the youth? Or does a 61 year old living in the boonies have a fighting chance? I love this question. Age Location does not matter now more than ever before. The fact that you can commute and connect digitally is is there. I want to acknowledge that there still are places on this world, despite the mindset that we live here in the West that don't have Internet and thank God, folks like Zuk and Facebook and Google. They're trying to do things about that. It will be a long while, but by and large we are so lucky. It's the first time in the history of the world that we don't require permission to share things at scale, to have a personal brand, to put ourselves out there in front of other people and to make a living in a life doing what we love. So whether you're 61 regardless of gender, regardless of race, regardless of age, you have MAWR opportunity now than before. I encourage you to pursue it. The boonies. Yes, you will have to travel more and you need to be prepared. But you can also make a great living in a life in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Used have to sort of think a little bit more if I don't want to travel because I have three small kids. How can I build a living in a life here? It's very easy. I take a take a couple of creative like classes. There's a world that is available to you, but you have to be intentional about the way you approach it. If you do want to get the big time and live in New York and L. A. Um, that's a choice that you would make, but it's not required an age now. There are also lots of ways you don't have to always be on set with the client and be 61 years old. You can sell your images great landscape images if you like to hike and be out in the wilderness for a week or two on end. There is a way to make a great living folks like Tom Mendelson our wolf. They got into photography a little bit later in life. That's when their career blossomed. And they are. I don't know how old they are, but they are older relative to the people that you see on Instagram killing it with 10,000 likes or whatever, so on. And they've also found a way to do it where they they're selling prints instead of their services. Is the real money designing, making selling modifiers? Or should I continue shooting? This person is, Let's see that one time this person is now again, I I'm only jesting. I really value the question because I think what this person is seeing is, Oh my God, there's so many people selling products. But let's talk about how many people are selling products relative to the numbers of photographers in the world. So there used to be something like 20 million people in the world who call themselves a photographer in the sixties and seventies early data. And now there's probably on the order of a 1,000,000,000 people who call themselves a photographer. So of the people who buy DSLR cameras or cameras that are more than $ there's 51 million of those people who buy a camera like that every year. Globally. How many people make my light modifiers? 20 50 40? Let's take the companies out of it. And individual people who take the time to go develop a product working the product manufacturer. Go to China, find out of the factory, figure it out, then ticket distribution so online they know we were $100, years. Limelight modifiers. How many people do that? It's the equivalent of having a mortgage like, Yeah, when I'm worried it's a seven bedroom, one bathroom house. Your banker is going to go. I don't think I want to give you a mortgage for that house because it's weird. It's out of it. Doesn't look like 30 year fixed mortgage to bed. Three bath like That's what I want to give you money for. So it's not to say you can't because there are examples of those. 20 people are doing it. And if you are deeply passionate about making light modifiers, do that. If you're trying to be a photographer, do not get distracted with trying to find how to source materials in Hong Kong to build a light modifier that you don't know how to distribute. You don't know how to stock. Do you have inventory? Do you have a warehouse? Do you stop? Be a photographer If you want to be a photographer, you wanna make products for a living cell Products I recommend you sell digital products, is that it's a hell, a lot easier, but definitely if your goal is to be a photographer, anything but taking pictures is a distraction. Also, I will tell you the margin on that shit's not that great, and you can make hundreds of thousands or millions as a photographer or even a nice a nice living at $50,000. It's much easier to do that in my mind if you are a talented or reasonably talented photographer who is willing to hustle and market themselves over doing some of this. So ask yourself that personal question. How do I get sponsored or being a brand ambassador for a gear company? If that is your aspiration, I think you might like I think I don't want to denigrate that aspiration, but I would recommend that you do not choose that as an end in itself because the person who has that is a goal. Um will be seen in a different light because you can spell it, you can feel it. And the companies, if they're going to describe their brand to someone whose end goal is to be a sponsored photographer, which just to be crystal clear that literally didn't exist. When I was coming up, we made it up as we were. A Zoe went along, made it up. And there are also our photographers who look like a NASCAR driver with all the patches and stuff on there, whatever that's that is a thing that they have chosen to do. But why? If you're a brand, would you put your patch on that person? Why would you that? Because they authentically represent our stand for something that is in line with the values your company. So that's not to say that you shouldn't do that, but consider what the end in mind is like. Build it with the end in mind. I don't if you've heard people say that before, how do I do that for the people who do want to who consider yourselves I'm chasing my dream. I think that's what I'm on the path to become a photographer. How do I do it? Be so good they can't ignore you. If, uh, what's that of the liners? It's like if you're wondering if you're good enough to have to get sponsored by a brand, you're not, And that's again I'm trying to. This is the goal here is to address your taboos. If if you're wondering, you're not because what are they trying to do? They're trying to establish a pattern of the person or people you know, the woman who has this sort of career and lives by these values. That's what Nikon or Canon, or whatever inspires to us align with. So consider the Web. Just sum up here is considered. Why do you really want that? I'll tell you personally, it's not all that great. I have I. I feel like I have had the largest sponsorship deals of any photographer in history. Um, working with brands. There is if there is a real upside in many ways, but there's also a downside. It's not a one way shiny, shiny gold path. If you do want to do that, be great at your craft. That is a foundation of everything that I'm saying here today because smoke and mirrors they It works. But it works for about this long, and for about this this far, everyone will figure it out and to be also transparent, like we're all. We all have Imposter syndrome. I go on, I'm like, Wow, I wonder if I could make this. I wonder if I can do this. I hope I can. I think I can. I believe in myself. I will tell you if you don't believe in you who Who will so try and find a way to believe in yourself first and foremost. That's why I encourage people to fail small bill on a small scale on a daily basis with with a picture that you want to make that you're challenging yourself. And I know if you can, as opposed to trying to do it on stage of the client. So ultimately, how do I do it? Be so good they can't ignore you. I do think it makes sense to participate in the industry if you want to, to run around with that crowd and be a part of it. I think that's that's great. It's sort of like contributing. What? How can you do to add value to the industry? That's one of the things that I think we do hear creative live really? Well, that's something that I did early on as an independent photographer, long before creative life existed was, you know, I added value in the best way I could by making videos on my own dime about what it was like to, you know, to be a photographer. If you do that, that will help. So again, I don't want to denigrate it. I just don't want to chase some shiny thing. That's probably not all that shining when you get there. Should I be trying to find an agent? This is a really similar answer to the one that I just gave. If you can't sell your pictures, an agent won't want to work for you. It's I know it's weird. Agents will work for photographers that air so busy they don't know how toe work their way through their own business. They struggle with general business acumen, but they're busy as hell. Those are the photographers that agents want to represent. It's not like I don't have any work if I just had an agent. I would get all this work. Those people are true. I don't know why I started that. That's kind of weird. We're gonna go with it. We're gonna go with it. Um, so that's not There are exceptions of someone discovering a photographer and saying, you know, you are so talented. Help me take you on that. Allow me to take you on this ride. We're gonna form a little joint venture together, and away we go. But again, it's single digit. Like I know less than a handful of people who have had that experience. And even then, it's not only is it not common, but I also find it doesn't doesn't always go that well. So again, be so good that the agents air knocking down your door, participate in the industry, go to the industry events, submit to photo awards. Get your name out there. That's called general hustling. Nothing happens in this industry without hustling. And I'll also earmark one thing. If you are happy to take pictures, get take better pictures. Your kids shoot the occasional wedding. I think that's absolutely OK. Admirable, valuable just in and of it, you know for yourself or I want to make a small side hustle side house of 53 million Americans have a side hustle, and that's gonna be half of the American workforce by 2020. That's okay. All the things I'm talking about here, they're not just geared to the person who wants to be literally the best photographer in the world. If you dio, you are not going to get there on a part time basis. You do not have so much talent in your little finger that you're going to do this on nights and weekends and compete with people whose every cell in their body wants to be the best in the world. So I just say, know that it's okay to not be that person. You can carve a very comfortable lifestyle business out for yourself and be okay and be happy with that. Be proud of what you're doing. I didn't have to make a dime. You can. You know, Facebook likes and pats on the back from your kids and your friends. That's great to just be intentional about it and be authentic and honest with yourself what you're trying to do. There's nothing worse than wanting to have that that, you know, wanting to be a top working professional and yet telling yourself and your friends that you, um that you don't because then you're in conflict with yourself and you're not gonna really It's not gonna go well, you're gonna beat yourself up too much. So how do you drop a six figure income to become a photographer? You don't because you will not step out of your six figure job at McKinsey into a six figure job in photography. I only know of 120 people who have done that. You need to be prepared to eat ramen and move Downsize from a four bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment, Brandon Stanton left a career as a bond trader moved to New York with the goal of taking portrait's of humans on the streets of New York. He lived in a one room apartment mattress on the floor, and he did that. He shot thousands of Portrait's before he made a dollar with photography. He opened his keynote here at Photo Week with a picture of some branches. They were nicely backlit, and he he said he tells a story about calling all those friends about how this is selling this fine art. He sold a picture to his buddy for 300 bucks to help make it so that he could move to New York and put a down payment Eyes first apartment. So I don't believe that all of the horror stories are true. But if you think you can leave a six figure income and step right into a six figure income, I think you're mistaken. Now I'm gonna answer another taboo question that did not come up. How much can you make As a photographer, I know lots of people that makes seven figures $1,000,000 or more. I don't think you should be in this business to chase money and money alone, because that's a dangerous proposition. You need to love the act of creating, because if if the industry can smell one thing, if clients can smell one thing, it's if you care. You know, when you sit down to someone how much they like their job, their friends, their wife, their dog. Based on what they exude, you can feel that people who hire people to make stuff for a living, especially when their ass is on the line because what happens in the campaign sucks. Who gets fired, not you. Your freelance may get fired, so they have to feel it in you. And that's where you just being honest with what it is that you want. And photography will carry you so much further than anything else. Authenticity. Personal about personal boys. How do I get paid to shoot kind of images I enjoyed shooting. I think that you should only put out pictures on your website that has your name on it of the work that you want to get hired to do. Does that mean I can't shoot weddings on the side? It absolutely does not mean that. But should you then have a wedding section on your on your on your site? Not unless you want to get hard to shoot weddings, because what people see is what they will hire you from for if you want to shoot badass commercial imagery of cars do not put weddings and babies and and birthday parties on your website because you won't get hired for that. It's a very simple equation. If you if you have been a car photographer and you want to get hired to shoot babies and birthday parties. It's the same exact thing they're going to see. They're going to say This guy's an automotive photography. You know, This woman's been shooting for Atlas Van Lines in UPS and and so I'm not gonna trust her with my kids. So I only put work out there that you want to shoot. That's not to say, Don't make money with a camera. Do that. Just do it quietly. If someone is willing to put your friend or your friend's friend's, we're gonna pay five grand. I got a buddy who's awesome photography. Great. Shoot that wedding for 2500 bucks. Take that money, put it into a website that shows the kinds of pictures that you want to take. Take that money, put it into a shoot. A self funded shoot. I talked publicly about this 10 years ago and got totally ridiculed on the Internet. Why would you put your own money? And this is so stupid? I'm like, I don't actually understand how to do it and, er, wait, because there's this chicken or the egg like you need experience before I get hire you as a commercial photographer like how do I experience if no one will hire me? It's a tough question. The way you do it is you take your own money and you fake a shoot. You build and it's not. It's not being faker inauthentic. You create the kind of images that you want with your own money. You hire your friends, the stylist, you're bringing a proper bring an athlete, you pay a model and you make the shoot. You say great. I'm gonna do 10 of these, build a portfolio, and then Nike is gonna hire me, do a little rapid fire answer here. And so this is your cue to, like, get a little bit uncomfortable. You're seeing around a little bit. Start conjuring up these vulnerable questions I can see like maybe maybe on that may be in the final cut of this class. Will will silhouette you and, like, mess up your voice. Like Howard, there are Maybe that's the way we'll do. I can guarantee that. But all ask. I think I might get shut down. Eso rapid fire over here and then we're gonna go to all y'all and out into the Internet. I was like, Yo, I got some questions over here. Some people, um what I do in a shoot just isn't working. Can you call it quits? Pack it up or go home? Depends on what kind of shoot it is. It is you and your friends, and you're working on a portfolio peace Absolutely, like shit. It's raining. If it's a client and you have to deliver the images, that's what people pay for. You are problems over from the very 1st 2nd you accept a job and there will be problems. The gear won't arrive on time. The weather will be off. The model will be not the right fit for the clothes. Like all of these things will happen. It's your ability to be a problem solver that will define you from your others. It's literally it's the work is critical. It's like being a professional over. If you cannot hit the ball down the middle of the fairway when it's raining and 10 million people watching, you're not gonna make it. But just so happens that on the PGA Tour, there's on how many people, how many golf pro golfers. Other Mac, 150 in the PGA. 150 people. 300 golfers. What's the difference being, you know, 300? Everything else. Problem solving image with the media. How do they handle themselves under pressure? Are they likable? All of those things are the things that when you're in this box with everybody, can there's a There's a lot of people who want to do what you guys want to do. What makes you stand out? It's all of the other things. Problem solving is one of those things. Can you make a living if you don't shoot weddings or family? Yes, I've never shot one of I've never shot either of those. And I made a very nice living in photography. I had a small town girl in rural West Texas play with the big boys. I love this question, and I hate it. I hate it because I do not want this woman. I do not want gender to be a part of the conversation. I believe it is. I believe we have to do more as a culture to change this. How do we change it? We changed our mentality. We change our actions and we do. We go out. So, um, I want to say to the small town girl, Yes, absolutely. 100%. You've got this. Listen to the previous 40 minutes that we've been talking about and apply yourself. There doesn't matter where you live. You can do it. I think you can overcome the gender gap. Is there a gender gap? Hell, yes. As a culture, we have miles and miles to go Your work. Let your work be the baseline and what it is that you want to do. And then all of the other stuff. What can you How can you be likable? Smarter, more sophisticated? Uh, better or different than everybody else And the big boys. I hate that it z there's a real part of it. So I understand the question. I just don't I don't love it. I'd like to see a change. Do any the most expensive camera to book a client? That person is all right? Uh, no. Is the answer gear doesn't matter. At some point, gear helps you if you want to shoot action sports having a camera that's a Raleigh flex or eight by 10 Polaroid, where you get one frame every 10 minutes not a good choice in gear. 10 frames a 2nd 11 frames of seconds going to much more helpful, Does it? Is it required? No. The first camera that I had was a 35 millimeter Minolta that focused about If I put it on your nose right there, it would go literally that long to focus. And then usually it was little soft. And yet I made images that I sold for 2030 $50, with that camera so not required. Do you own assistant before you make a commercial photographer? I've never assisted today in my life. So the answer is no. Does it help? Sure, Because how do you get experienced by being on set knowing what's what it feels like? That's what this person doing that great, great work my ass off. I'm still carrying heavy items I'm doing. What the photographer wants to do, I'm anticipating is a great post on my block. Put on my blog's around. You know how toe how to get into the photo industry. Being a p A or assistant and working your ass off is a great way to learn everything about what it feels like to be on set before you experience it. I never assisted a day in my life. Not required. This will be good for you. This will bring your great exposure. Do this for free, and I'll give you lots of work already. Address this. The $500 person never becomes a 5000 person that free never becomes the paid. All right, that's the last one. Yes. All right. I don't know if I'm just like to intense, but I look like I'm free. I feel like I'm freaking you guys out a little bit. Like I'm taking notes like, now is the time to get a little vulnerable. I want to take two questions here, and then we're going to the Internet. Yes, sir. Say who you are and and then hit us with your question. Robert from the Philippine Robert from the Philippines. Welcome, Robert. So I'd like to talk about pain and blind spots kept. You've mentored a lot of photographers, know what did the top two or three? Yep. Areas where a photographer arc any creative has to address. Great. Did you catch that? Painful? Sure. Paint. The most painful process I under I believe of becoming a photographer. There's two of them. One is your creative vision. How dough I have style. You don't have a style on day one. You don't have silent a 10 you have. The way you figure out your style is by shooting so much shooting thousands, if not millions of images and then your style will emerge. It is the biggest mind F in the whole industry is like Wait a minute, I need a style it on. I'm taking pictures of ducks and weddings and all kinds of stuff. Believe it or not, If I took a picture of a duck in a wedding in a snowboarder, I think you could actually recognise them as mine, And that's because I would approach it the same way. But how do you get there? You take a lot of pictures. It's not something that could be forced. It's something that you land in and has to do with becoming comfortable in your own skin. That's my favorite thing about becoming older. Is that more, more and more comfortable with who I am? I've got all kinds of faults, and the same is true is an artist you're gonna not gonna sock it, Something's you made great other things lean into your strengths. What do you great at? Lean into that shoot a lot of them and your style emerged. That's thing. One thing two is around positioning they The biggest challenge that I see is people they don't understand positioning in the market. If you go to buy a Mercedes, you have an expectation what that experience is gonna be like If you go to Wal Mart to buy detergent, you haven't understanding what that experience is gonna be like, and they're radically different from one another. The same is true for positioning yourself into photography market. Where do you want to be? What? What are you capable of? What is your market like? Where do you would you want to operate in New York and L. A. In London? Or do you want to operate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama? Because there are some some, um, loose circles that you can draw around what's possible in those environments, and I encourage you to be honest and authentic with those things and be intentional about them so people do not understand pricing, and they didn't understand what it takes to have your own personal style. Anything else? You got it. Great. Next question in here. Yes. Let's get him a mike if we can. Oh, nice one. And my name is Jennifer from Korea. Jennifer from Korea to stay anonymous. If you are in a small market, we have talked about developing your craft, learning it. So as you can increase the value that you give to your customers. He hasn't increased the price. Yes, If the clients are about same people, it's a small place. How do you increase the price to the same client in the long term? Uh, I think you need to be realistic about your ability to do that because there is a threshold in every market. Um, I'll just confess. I got to a place in my career where I was charging so much that it was like it started to feel absurd to me. It's like God can believe people are still saying, Yes, it's crazy, but and then the way I started doing it when there was, I start to feel that ceiling because it started to get absurd. Was I built in other services to add money to that? So which likes to make a behind the scenes video. Would you like me to post it on my social media and those air? Always that I managed to add cost and value concurrently to the client. I think the same is true in a small market you will feel, But I will tell you the ceiling is way higher than you think. It is way higher than you think it is. So I think being the best in your market is an admirable target. It's not required. If it doesn't match with your personality, your style you want have a lifestyle business absolute. You can do that. Do not make yourself do something that is not in here. This is where the answers are. For all of the questions that you have, I'm just a talking head who's sharing experience. Having surveyed hundreds of thousands of photographers from all over the world, people are tuning in from all over and mad respect for you. So thank you for sharing all these things. Happy to do it, uh, question that came in and rather taboo. Can you talk about ways of depression in a creative career? I have suffered from depression. Um, the way it came into my life was, um I got a thing called viral labyrinth itis, which is? I woke up one morning, Felt a little off. Um, I think I'm gonna go exercise it out. I like to move my body. So I'm gonna go for a run. My wife, Kate, got in the shower. I woke up, sent an edge of the bed. I took four steps down the hallway, collapsed in my face in the floor, bloody nose, my eyes racing around the head, throwing up like the most I've ever thrown up in my life and was rest to the hospital. I thought I had an aneurysm and I was basically dizzy. It's an inner ear infection that may give me a beer buzz for about four months, couldn't drive, couldn't walk, couldn't shop for a Christmas present. For my wife, it was horrible. And as someone who's active and I was in the middle of my career, rise was the most dramatic thing I've experienced. I actually suffered PTSD because any time I would move quickly and I'm my body just felt a little bit dizzy. I felt like that thing was gonna happen to me again. There's that kind of depression. There's the kind of depression that comes from self judging. I want to know. I want you all to know that it's very riel. It's an epidemic in our culture. Most importantly, you're not alone. I think the most important take away is that air not alone, but be that there is help your friends, your peers, your community, the hotline reach out This act of what we talk about now, vulnerability. It has become an act of courage. It is becoming an act of courage to say I need help for your friends who reach out to you and say, Can you help me with this? How do you feel towards your friends? You feel compassion, You feel empathy. So when you're in this sound mind that you may or not may or may not be in, think about what it's like to not be there. Appreciate where you are, but always have empathy, sympathy, empathy, sympathy for the people who are not there, because someday, I mean, I consider myself a hard charging type, A like freakish amounts of energy. My crew hates me because I'm always running around doing stuff and I have fallen victim to this. I don't know if disease is technically the right term, but condition, Um, especially as someone who Who? There's this quote that Bernie talks about from Theatre Roosevelt called the man in the arena that if you're going to be in the arena, be a public figure, share your work, you're going to get criticized. It's literally part of the thing if you don't want to be there. If you don't want to be criticized, then don't put your work out there. I believe and burn a talks about it, that that it is courageous to put yourself in the arena. And if you can have the mindset to Onley, take criticism from others who are in the arena. Those anonymous YouTube comments It might sting for a little while, but and they need to find a way to deal with them because they're a reality of the digital world. But stick on point. It's a very real thing. I think there's a Jose Rosado has a thing called creatives, uh, against depression. Something like that. Yeah, yeah. Um, reach out to your peers. Please put your hand up. Sandy, Help! Um, and if someone asked you for help. Be that kind, empathetic friend. Let's keep going. I know once against depression creatives against depression dot com There you go. Hose. I hope you are able to help some people who might be going through some shit right now. My name is he having grand Hello, Gavin. Hello, Chase. Gavin is numbers kidding. So say I have built a portfolio of images, commercial images, a portrait share lifestyle that I feel strongly about. Um how do I go from 01 when it comes to reaching out to art buyers? Teoh art directors. Where do I start? Sure. First of all, the goal is to be different. Not better. Incrementally better in a world that is art and creativity is so subjective, so subjective. I would work on something that you're deeply passionate about. Put so much of yourself in that image that is, it has raw stopping power. Those images get those images in front of the people who make decisions by whatever means possible. Like wheat paste their car in these images. Maybe not a good idea. But the point is that for you sitting back thinking about how to ideally or perfectly or magically or serendipitously get your images in from There's someone else who is ram it down their throat and there are pressures called time and consideration, and you got to be there. You know the timing. All that stuff matters. I think you need to be relentless in your pursuit. Perfect is not the right thing. The more you do it, the more you'll figure it out. And there are enough people out there who by by photographs that if you screwed up one person, you'll probably have an opportunity to make it up somewhere else. I think it's a really important thing that I'm speaking about commercial, but I think the same is true in wedding. How many weddings does? Does one need to shoot in a year to make a decent living? Let's say you, um, there you charge 5000 bucks for a wedding, and how many weekends are There's 52 weekends, so let's just say you're booked for 15 of them 15 times five that 75 grand. It's not a poppers wage. So, like I feel like there are enough people, you don't have to have 1000 customers. I would be happy if I had 20 shoots a year. 15 sheets here. It worked for the toward the the last couple years. Handful. It's all you need because the price was very high. So at the core of your question is putting it out there. And for all the time you're spending, I'm thinking about how to do it perfectly. There's someone else who has a lesser portfolio that's hustling twice as hard, and they're doing it by whatever means necessary. Email. Now it's not to be. No expand is not the right answer, but promotional mailers, portfolio showings, email, social share all this stuff and be it. Be a member of the community. If you're start to send over here and not be a part of the conversation, it's gonna be a lot harder for you. So participate next question from the studio audience here. Jacob. So quick. Question. If you're charging a specific great yep, and then you feel like you're under charging. What do you think? It's OK. It's just jumped, like 10 times your rate. I would ask everybody in the room when they leave here to double your rates like you have to do half as much work for the same amount of money. Try it. You will freak out the first time the person says Yes, Both Gary and I've heard Gary Vaynerchuk and I tell a story about the first time I was hired. He talks about first time he was giving a talk. First time I got hired. They're like, OK, we really love your portfolio. Um, we'd like to hire, but I need, you know, I've got sort of, ah, budget. I need to stick stick within. I do it very differently now, but this is 15 years ago. And so what's your day rate? I don't even like do that anymore. But I was like, 2000 bucks actually said, No, it's bucks. Is that great? We'll take you for five days on the from the 31st of six. I should have been five. Ideally, you come into like this where I love to come in. I actually mind. My method is actually I'm going to find out what the budget is and see if I can do it for that much. Because I have put myself is a premium product. Like, you know, what is the budget. And usually there's a separate budget from production and the fee for the photographer. I like that. I don't need to know what the budget is because I need to know if you might have champagne ideas on a beer budget and I'm not going to set myself up for that. So let's talk really, frankly about it, and then I decide, Can I do it? And I mean, I usually try and be just a little bit more expensive. So they really have to think hard, go back to their boss and say kayaking. I can get him for another five grand because then they appreciate the effort that they had to go through. It also makes the stakes a little bit higher. But when I deliver and I know I will, they'll never leave. So I think should double your prices tomorrow. I don't I don't know what you're charging. I don't know. I don't care. I think you should challenge yourself and see if you can get someone to buy it, because what you need, you need someone to buy into that. And then what do you do with that conversation? You take that to the next line. Would the last person pay you? Gosh, I really you know, I don't know if I could work for that. Much. Last few jobs have been at this rate, and then you can start negotiating from their Jacob. Thank you very much. Thank you.