Defining Your Style: Advice for Intermediate Studios
All right, So here we go Intermediate starting to build some confidence. You're starting to find your rhythm. You've got to find ways to establish a look And you've got to trust your instincts. I can't stress this enough. Follow your gut. Your guts always gonna be right on as you look at our style. You could see that as we got to that middle stage, our style started emerging right. You started to see architecturally based style of images. Either 2000 and nine issues or 2000 and nine we start again. HDR was making its, you know, kind of presence on the scene. And we loved HDR. We don't care what it did to your skin, but so you start seeing the style emerging again. Black shadow details are optional, but this is Look at our style, though. Look at the posing. Forget the editing. Take the editing off the table. This is back from 2009. You can very much see my style of posing groomsmen emerging right It's got that reservoir dogs look and feel That is my style to this very day editing has ch...
anged But my posing my communication my confidence was starting to build very fashion forward. This is a real bride. Okay? I had no time to work with Her was a hot day. I took a chair from where she was getting her hair and makeup done through it outside. Took it, took an image of her. So you're starting to see my style emerge here. The connection is there. They look like they're really in love. They're kissing. Where on the were on the L in Chicago, where you're not supposed to be. Once again, my style emerges, emerging just a giant middle finger to authority. I'm doing my thing. I wanted to get my image. This is when I really started pushing limits and going into places that I couldn't go because of clients like this who would see an image like this. Remember that we got chased off by the police. Remember that we broke into a location that we shouldn't have been into and saw the uniqueness and value of it. And when I started getting that positive feedback from clients, I started doing that more mawr. The confidence started building and to this very day, any time we get into a place, we're not supposed to be the best picture. We have the best pictures and the best sales. And so that's kind of been our m o. Moving. Moving forward. Bayamo. Yes, you don't. You don't like doing that. So you've got to find ways to establish your look now, right? If you're at the three year mark, you've got to find your look. You can't keep floundering following everyone everyone else's lead on then, of course, be consistent in your post production. The post reduction is very important that you're You're figuring this out, man. You're editing. Can't be all over the place every every event. That's very, very important. Can't stress it enough. Think about your clients. Here's a key. Not the ones you have today. The ones you want in the future, like South Side. Go with your gut. There were a handful of weddings where we knew we kind of had a bad feeling about him and like they were being high maintenance, you know? Should we take it? No, we need the money. We'll take it. Worst decision ever. Every single time when we did not listen to our gut and they were a nightmare at the end we might have lost money from all of the trouble that they caused. So stick with your gut. Have that confidence to say no, right, You've got to do it. It's hard to say no because we want the money. And so it's greed that's getting in the way. But everybody out there has to have a horror story where they're they're Spidey senses were going off. They knew they shouldn't take the wedding or the portrait or the senior or whatever it was and they took it and they regretted it. For all of you were looking, you're looking at each other. It's happened because just one man trust your instincts on this stuff. I promise you you'll be in a better place. But the devil's in the details. And so the biggest thing I see images that are coming in and people ask me to do reviews is the detail of the image is my biggest. I'm talking about hands, right? It could be hands in the pocket. You ever have. You pose your group, grow many standing like this. It doesn't look right. He doesn't look constant. It's like this. No. Yeah, well, the the other the other popular pose trying to manhandle me. Three other popular pose I see is, you see an engagement couple, our wedding, and they stand like this, and then they come like this. Do we look like we're in love? No. Right. That drives me bonkers. But so show me the connection. The detail. Right. So get them in, Show me connection. Show me love looking at each other. Hey, girl. Hey. But that's the kind of that's the difference between when you're opposing. It's the difference between saying okay, you to go over there and hold hands with each other. Look at Taylor's body lines. Right straight body. It's not flattering. You're not making her look good. We don't look like we're in love. So do you think the client's gonna buy those images if they're not gonna buy him? This is intermediate. This is advanced. Look at how we change. We shaped her body lines, right? Pull into each other together. Right. Pay attention. Is hands off her hands there and we're like this. We don't look connected. If her hands here Now, we're a little more connected. If I'm reaching around like this, I'm making her look heavy. Okay, so you've got you've got You've got to control every little detail when you're working on the stuff. And that's what I do when I get my couple. I say to them, Hey, go over there. Did you ever move your hand? Just a little South starts the head and works his way down to the feet and make sure that everything looks perfect. And he is amazing at that. I'm still struggling with that. I can always improve my posing. He'll come back and be like, Oh, look at this like no, right, we still do that thing. So I'm still trying to get to his level. But the posing and that that little detail will take you from intermediate to advanced Devil's in the detail. So that is the one thing I see in a lot of photographers that where they're struggling is getting that that little piece together. Imposing is something we all struggle with, But I feel like, you know, I still don't feel perfect opposing. I'm still evolving. I've got my go to poses that are just money. I know the clients are gonna buy him, and then every once in a while I'm trying something new, something different because it does depend on the client right? Certain clients are just not going to be able to pull off certain poses. That's where you have to go back to your go to. You know, I always laugh. I see. For Tarver's man there, you've got a plus size bride or a plus size model, and you're trying to make him do things. That would be a struggle for zero a size zero model or size zero couple. So you've got to know your client and put that make them look flattering. If you don't, they're not going by the pictures. I guess. What? They're not going to say why they're not gonna tell you why. They're just gonna look at it. And, no, there's no connection between me and my spouse, right? So if you're doing, if you're back to doing stuff like this, they will not be able to articulate typically, that the reason I'm not buying this picture is because I don't feel like we're in love. They won't be able to say that, But if you make them look in love, your job is an artist is complete. That is a big part of the process is that connection and that doesn't happen. You're one year to That's something you have to want. Be aware off. To start working towards immediately connection is big, so I'm good at posing, but sounds better at connection so I can get a great pose. But that image isn't gonna win an award because there's no connection. You don't see emotion in the picture. That emotion is advanced. Agree. All right, let's keep going here. So people who you know, people want opposing class from you. I think you know it's funny because people know this is like the business. You know, we're like the business gurus and they don't really believe like we can shoot for some odd reason. I don't know. They think my business was built on not being able to for a while. I guess if you saw my original pictures, I can't shoot. I feel bad for the people who are watching this and just tuning in, and that's the only thing they see come up on the screen there. Probably I'm out of here. But the people over the years who have inspired me, Jerry Jones was a big inspiration when I was coming up your Vons, who was recently on the show Kevin Cambodia, who I think has been on show. I'm going back. I'm going back 567 years ago when I started out. These are the people who have inspired me with their work with their just their their whole aspect of their business. JB Salikh was another one that inspired us. And so now those people have served their purpose as we grow our business. And then we got to a point where we didn't want to be Jerry bonus. We didn't want to be your von Tor or JB Selee. We got where we needed to be. And then we started putting our own twist and grow our business our own direction, OK, and that's what I expect you to do. I don't care if you copy everything we do. I'm okay with that. That's why I teach. I expect you to do that. But once you get to that certain level, you've got to find your own way. You've got to find your own style. I just want to give you the foundation. I think that's the ultimate goal for us. Is as educators. Let's keep going. Can't stress enough the importance of instinct. I've said it a 1,000,000 times. Trust your gut. 99% of the time. Your guts gonna be right. I have to start thinking about clients you want. Okay. Not fine to want you, the clients you want and be willing to make some changes. Toe. Get there. You gotta walk away from the ones you don't want. I have to start showing the work you want to shoot. This is very, very important. So we talk about things like this. If you think about it, the work you showing your website that's gonna drive traffic to your business. OK, so if you're showing traditional work on your website, you're gonna track traditional clients. If you're showing pet portraiture on your website, you're gonna track pet clients. You're not gonna track wedding clients. And so you've got to get this through your mind. Don't put a collage up on your website. I'd rather see less work on your website. More powerful than just kind of throwing up on your website, throwing everything up there and not having any clear messaging. Hope that makes sense. Teoh. Everyone postproduction equally is important. And then, of course, as you to start transitioning from where you are today to where you want to be in the future, start taking those images meaning, Let's say, the client you're attracting today or traditional clients you've got to take those images form or they're not gonna be happy. But, you know, and I know you want to move to that place of maybe a little bit more high fashion fashion forward. How do you get there? How do you build your portfolio? What I would do is I would photograph the day the way the client expects it. So they're happy. Then I would say to the client, Hey, guys, I got everything you want can do me a favor. Just entertain me. I want to try this one thing and this one thing could be putting them in a waterfall. Okay, maybe that's not something your average traditional client would want. But, you know, it's where it's the direction you want to go. Azzam Making this transition transition, I could care less if they buy that image or not. All on my goal is is to get what I need so that it can start attracting the clients of the future. Is that making sense? All right, so work on emotion at this stage of the game, right? We showed you kind of just a little brief demo. You've gotta work on emotion. You've gotta work on posing. You've gotta work on lighting. Lighting tends to be even though it's difficult at times. Light intends to be a little bit more of an easier thing to work on because it's kind of black and white. Read a book, Go practice. It is what it is. Lightings life, right, Rembrandt. Broad lighting. But emotion is not easy. Getting your clients to give you emotion is actually really difficult. And that's where you have to turn almost into a little entertainer to get them there sometimes. Right? If you look at my work in my portfolio, you might see my client just cracking up laughing. It's not because I'm a photojournalist. I'm anything but I totally created that moment. And I get you know, my client. I will say the most random, ridiculous thing to get them to say we're in this pose, you know, we're doing the advanced posing, but there's no emotion and sounds over there taking the pictures. Like what? Does he have that bad breath or something? Suddenly, as they start laughing and you have an amazing image, right? Or the other thing I'll do is I'll come over the shoulder here. So if I'm posing like this, I know it's not opposing class. If we're doing this, one of the shots we might get is wide, right. So you would see a shot like this, OK? And we're gonna get the wide shot, the big shot. But next to that, right, If we start adjusting where we're going, I might float this way, okay? And then take a shot of just Taylor over my shoulder. Then I would float this way and take a shot of the groom, right? Or the guy over her shoulder. And when I get over here, one of the things I love to do okay, in this moment is I'm like, all right. So if I'm talking to me, Sal, do me a favor, whisper in her ear, and then all of a sudden you'll see this right? And I don't know what he's whispering, but it ain't funny because she's just got the worst look on her face possible, and I'm like, I do whisper something freak, nasty, dirty inner ear. And then she can have any kind of expression, from just cracking up, laughing to pure horror, depending on what he wished in her ear. But either way, it makes for an entertaining moment. And so that's not I would say that it is a natural moment, but it's a moment I staged I created, and you've got to start understanding. Pure photojournalism is a beautiful thing, but if you want, couples don't have that natural interaction on a photo shoot to where they're going to just be all lovey dovey on each other and laughing and giggling and kissing. So you have to create those moments just like South saying That's exactly right. So hopefully that's that's making sense. Great. What we did ask people to go to the creative life Facebook page and talk about their ah ha moment. So I want to read a couple are people things that they were dealing with. So Daphne Thompson Ellen Berg said, Sal You and Tailor's Workshop have helped shape my business into a success. I have doubled my sales. I'm happy to report that high. I have outgrown my home studio and have a new 2000 square foot commercial storefront on a busy street. We open August 1st. That is awesome. Congratulations. That is huge. It is huge. It's very cool. Another one from Wendy Rube implementing all we're learning from Salin Taylor, Rebranding and focusing our style has had a huge impact not only on our business but also on our personal rejuvenation and energy for doing what we dio thank you when he is a great case study. I want to pause there for a second. When he came out their team, they had an established studio for a very long time, and they went backwards, right? So life got in the way. Business didn't go the right direction. And this is this is Ah, husband, wife team that has been completely rejuvenated, and they're there. It's almost like they're rebuilding their business from scratch, something that's been in business for over 15 years. And so that for me as an educator as a coach is a mentor, is what gets me excited is knowing that no matter where you are in your career, I can help you because that's what we ultimately want to do. And I'm so proud of those guys because they came out to ST Louis, trained with us, and we helped them immediately take it to the next level, so very excited for them that they're still learning.