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Q&A 2

Lesson 22 from: Foundations of a Working Photographer

Zack Arias

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Lesson Info

22. Q&A 2

Lesson Info

Q&A 2

All right, so the first question is from j j photo and the question is if you have an established yourself as a specific type of photographer, should you wait until you have found yourself before creating a website? Um that's a good question so if you're still trying to figure it out, you're still saying I don't know what I'm shooting yet we were having some of these conversations that lunch just now you got a kind of shoot everything under the sun you'll hear me say two different things you'll hear me say focusing on one thing and just shoot that and then you're gonna hear me say kind of just shoot everything when you're just stepping out there saying ok, I want to become a photographer what does this look like? And you're still learning your limbs and learned in your life and you don't know your reciprocal is yet you're going to take in anything that comes your way right family portrait saara friend's wedding or, you know, children, portraiture or, you know a band you're friends with...

a band and they say come take pictures at our show, okay, I'll do that or, you know, somebody starting a business and they say I need a head shot, you just start shooting whatever there's sometimes there's certain people like you look at jasmine star, she had a very uh, laser beamed focused an idea of what she wanted to do right away. I want to do wedding photography, sam and that's what she went for, right and she's become very successful in wedding photography. All right, um, so some of you are like, this is what I want to do. I want to shoot bands or I want to do fairly portraiture, and if you already have that kind of feeling going on, then focus in on that and that's what you work on, you learn about photography while you're shooting families, you learn about lighting under while you're lighting a family, you know, you learn about what your lenses air doing while you're putting your lenses on families, right? Um, some of your kind of like, I'm kind all over the place and if you're just getting started like you need to go ahead and get a website going because here's, what I have learned, if you wait until you're ready, you'll never get started. My book and my portfolio and the pictures I have currently in my body of work are not what are still up in my brain yet to be shot, and if I wait until these pictures were shot to say, ok, I'm going to put a book together once I get that project shot well, then, I am never going to get that done because as soon as that projects finished, I'm it's behind me, and now I'm on to the next one. Well, ok, now I'm gonna add this project and I'm I'm going to build a website within that gets done. If you wait until you're ready, you'll never get it done. So whatever you have, just go right? Jeremy, we're talking, you're like, oh, I'm not happy with my work. I'm not happy with my website, it's, just but you know what? You have a website and you have some work up there and you know what? You're out there going? Is it where you will be ten years from now? Good god, we hope not, right? But where you get to ten years, you won't get there until you've started here and you are already doing the process you're already going through the process, you're learning lessons, you're learning what to do, what not to do, what works, what doesn't work, and we're hoping that in ten years time you'll be able to look back at this first website of years and go, wow, look at where I've come from, right that's like someone like me going, I want to run a marathon and like I run to the store in a car right? I got to run to the store and I get my car don't run to the store, right? But if I suddenly I want to run a marathon you think you throw my butt in a marathon today like I'm going to make it about one hundred yards and I will be faced down in the pavement I gotta like john to the mailbox and then back from the mill a box and then do that three times and then you're just going through the steps, right? So if photography is that important to you and right now you're not feeling super confident your photography are you know you're just like, oh, my god and there's probably voices hopping up in your brain going dude, you're a hack quit leave go find something else to do with your life this isn't working out I have so far to go I'll never get there and if you let those voices take control in your life did not you won't ever get there? Then you will quit and you will leave the industry right? And we see all these people coming into the industry and we can freak out about it, but we got to know ah holton of them are going to fall out and the successful ones are the ones who have all those voices and just still keep stepping out there past them and say no, I'm gonna work on this and I want to do this and I want to be better at this and I'm so upset with myself right now but damn it all I'm going to get it I don't care what people say I'm going to make this happen and it's that tenacity, the build your career right this is this is my word we're gonna talk about this stuff up here and I look at it I'm proud of what I've created, but man it eight where I wanted to be yet and I look at it and go, I got so far to go right? And I think I'll be eighty years old going I have so far to go I hope I hope I'm eighty going and I still got work to do really hope that that's the case, more questions yeah, uh, next question was from and matheson who when we're talking about looking at daphne site and we're talking about her portrait work and so they said, how do you display projects like daphnis amazing work, by the way, on your site next to that commercial wedding and family work, we talked about the distinguishing between blawg and website, but for that type of projects, right? Well, what on we were talking about this a bit at lunch is all right, definitely. So your wedding work is this level of wedding work but that personal work was here and your goal is don't bring your personal work down to your wedding work bring your wedding work up to your personal work and you want the goal as a photographer is that wherever you point your lin's whatever subject it maybe it's your signatures on that um there's a photographer in atlanta named joey I vance go all right he was a photographer for the a j c the atlanta journal constitution our local newspaper for years he's uh now to doing freelance work and I could open up the a j c and I knew if joey shot that picture and he shot portrait's he shot sports he shot travel pictures he shot some fashion stories for the paper he was kind of a jack of all trades shot whatever came his way away, you know, daily newspaper assignments. But when I opened the paper I didn't I didn't have to look the byline joey shot that picture because he had such a distinct style and your your personal work specifically those square portrait's of people had this there's some daphne signature on them and if you can say I'm going to take that signature and put it on a wedding image so that his eye as a potential client I'm looking at your work on how wow I love these portrait's and then when I go to your wedding, I see that same kind of look and feel in style right there with your wedding work to try to shoot it with the same flavor and deliberation on attention absolutely yeah, if you hire me to shoot a wedding I'm going to approach it the same is I'm going approach whatever job I'm not gonna go, I'm in wedding mode now. Now they're times like here should a head shot of this actress I love dramatic lighting like that picture you shot, you know, gavin's a drawing that I like that, you know, like, oh, I'm drawn to that horrible head shot totally would fail is a head shot, so their times I'm like, oh, I'm living in a box today but here's, what happens is like, ok, actress walks in says I need headshots click, click, click head shots but they're they're great clients have a good look they have nice style um you know what you've got? You've got an extra fifteen minutes I want to shoot some different kind of poor treats. I have an idea I want to shoot a portrait of you it's going to go over my portfolio over here somewhere it is not for your headshot here's your headshots, I'm gonna go shoot my thing and then what I get out of that job is a check and a picture for me who this is for me and here's your headshots and I'm not like oh you're headshots air stephen I don't care I know I put care into those headshots but this is what I want to create kind of thing alright other questions what's the job so I love you there all right just want to let you know that high jasmine hey jasmine um we have a question from save in the chat room who says when designing a website should I make my prices visible or should I use contact me for prices and just set them individually as you're getting started put your prices out there to the world I'm a big believer of that as you're getting started when you don't have a client base there's no word of mouth about you yet you're just trying to break into whatever market you're trying to break into aside from like commercial advertising editorial cause that we'll talk about that price and coming up but you're doing weddings you're doing portrait because here's the deal I look at pricing on a website as pre qualifying your clients if they come to your web, if they find you through your website they look at your work, they're interested in you and they're thinking of hiring you and you have very straightforward pricing when they pick up that phone to call you or they send you that email they know what to expect price wise from you whether you're out of their budget or you're in their budget so when the phone call high I was at your web site I was looking at your work I'm interested in hiring you for a wedding um okay my rates are this this year it's not a surprise that whole contact me for pricing they don't know you might be a thousand dollar photographer or five thousand dollars photographer and you might be getting a bunch of phone calls you like oh you're five thousand dollars I'm sorry that's can you do it for a thousand now I can't do it for that no I can't do it for that no I can't do it for thousand right so as your business grows and you have word of mouth who have referrals coming in you have let's say wedding vendors sending you work that wedding coordinator has a bride and groom come again they've hired them to coordinate their wedding uh we're looking for a photographer they already know you they probably know your pricing structure they already know the budget of this brighton groom and they can refer you based on your probably within their budget or you're within their budget or you're their style but this other client I have is your stuff right you would but that's an established business so is your getting started put your prices out there? I'm a big believer in that cool thanks exactly for a number of questions about just starting out and how tio approach building a web site if you don't have a budget tio hire somebody to do a full blown site, but you don't want to look too template e so one question was from david waggle when you're not internet savvy, where does a beginning photographer start trying to learn web design and software that they need to be successful to be able to be successful if you don't know internet design and coding like I don't even know how to spell html right? My first websites I built myself and they were hacked together via photoshopped fireworks and dreamweaver, and if I wanted to change one picture out in a gallery, it was like a massive undertaking. Um, I'd have to rebuild all these pages and photo shop just to deal with, um, if you're limited budget and you don't know web design and you're not even like the kind who could pick it up out of a book quickly, then you are kind of in template land, right? There are good template ids websites out there there's life books there's big folio there's just click book I was with click book for a long time look for maybe a template site that allows you to go in and change colors or change you get to change elements out of it but from a very uh easy to use back end of it right keep it simple find yourself a template site that's very simple, very clean we cal you have this very simple clean website right generate you're working with something but it's got all this stuff you get remove all this stuff and just be about the pictures then if you're good you go right just keep it clean keep it simple don't go too frilly with it just make it about the photography easy way to contact you find out about you a little bit you could have a blawg um a wordpress temple it is great my entire news site is all burnt built out of wordpress but I've had to hire someone to do it but I'm you know I'm approaching eight years of full time freelance work of hey, I'm hiring you to take this website and create something custom for me. Prior to now it's been me using a template site that I could kind of tweak and it's just keep it simple to go with the word press something that you have a blogged and then you have a gallery and if you have ah one website and one blogger at least keep them visually um alike so this week if you have a white background on your web site have a white background on your log if you ever black background on your web site have a black background on your block if you use one style of font on the website, use that same style of thought on your block at least keep it consistent keep it consistent and if you can fill your block if you're dedicated enough to be blogging two or three times a week right now you have blood could be your website just go to my blogged go through a couple post you'll see the work I do keep all the pictures of your cat out of there because you're trying to keep people just seeing work alright, okay um I'm going to kind of go into the shoot with the students a little bit sure you okay? Absolutely. Um copper blue had asked when you think drama are you thinking on lee about lighting or because they think storytelling and they say, you know, grab the suitcase maker pout look at her watch that kind of thing you khun build drama out of the opposing out of whatever I've seen dramatic photos that weren't all darkly lit um but you have to you've gotta pull something out of your subject that if I'm saying the word dramatic right, I'm saying the word dramatic like I need I need this to be a dramatic but I want someone to stop and not laugh at it or go that's pretty or how beautiful I want them to go how that's dramatic right? So you either have to pull that out of your client in some sort of like amazing eye contact and and piercing sort of look or you do that with your lighting? Um the easiest way to do is with lighting I need you to make a dramatic portrait for me now against that wall I want it dark I want a shadowy I want to start drafting dramatic go to get that out of gabby you've got to get to know her you've gotta work with her for a while you've got you've got to find out what sort of key words could pull that from her and if she's even capable of it, I know some people that they're just dramatic people no matter what there's some people there so laid back it's hard to do anything but I could take a funny picture of robin williams in dramatic lighting and he could be doing something totally funny and it's a funny you look at, you know that's funny because it's robin williams doing something funny right? But you could do it under dramatic lighting things switch it up like that another question back from that that section from kevin st ck was how often does a test shot become the rial shot zakhar others ever use thie oh, this is just a test shot to relax the subject to take us what ends up being the real shot. Does that make sense? You know, sometimes, like, um it's almost like it. Does a practice swing ever become a homerun? Right? Um, you could take a practice swing and knock it out the park below. Ok. All right. I hit that one pretty well, uh, is there this one shot up here? Um, you see, if I yeah, I had a shot. A butch walker. Uh, right here. Um, that I was just testing my lighting and caught him. Bless you. Caught him in a mid expression. Um and it was just a test shot and there's, just something about that. And, er, butch is he's is just an interesting dude, and I like it because it's not a typical portrait of him. Um and it is just about it, like, well, I did that. So that was a test shot. Everything else? Um t I this was a test shot when I shot ti I I only got two frames of him click just exposure, click and he walked away. I was supposed to have fifteen minutes with him I had three whole scenario set up I was going to meet him at the back door where he was entering this club was going to shoot him here, here and here I got their hours early um and I had a bartender sit in I did all my test shots, I knew at every little vignette I was going to photograph him, I knew I'd walk from, you know, five, six, sixteen of a second to eight at whatever toe, whatever I had it all written down um and all he need do is walk in the back door and make his way the v I p he was really late he walked in the front door, he went straight to the pipe and I'm downstairs in the basement of this place waiting for him and his manager comes running down code if you you know you're a get your portrait, you got to come up to be happy right now and get it you have to eighty five I put a lunar probe pocket balance on it, a handheld that I ran up there, he's sitting on the couch and he's like take a picture, I'm like not taking a picture, you've slumped on the couch just need you to stand out he didn't want to stand out for me so he stood up I took a picture I adjusted by an aperture I take another picture and he's like that's it it's done and he walked off so that's kind of a test shot and then I deliver one picture and was for publishing companies like where's the edit that's it that's all you got because it's all they gave me that's it that's it well at you know my goal is a photographer you know as a business you know how I started this off about you got to know the technical if you want to know business you want no business for me I want to know if you know what you're doing no which doing with camera right I still got paid for that job I still send an invoice for that job it was my fault he showed up late and was a jerk to me well I showed up I was there on time I got a picture of him I got two frames to do it and my goal like I want to be that photo ninja I want to be that zack jack white is right over there in the hallway even take go take one portrait of him one frame and I want to be able to grab my gear think through all my gear think they're all my settings as I'm walking back that way here's jack white someone and I really really would love the photograph and I have one click to get it like I'm an eminent one shot one opportunity right and click and I want to get it I don't want to I want to be thinking through my whole process as I get there that's the goal I have for myself as a photographer all right next week okay there's been quite a few people that have asked about facebook pages and mark mcgill would like to know if you can use a facebook fan page as your blawg no, I would not use a facebook fan pages my blogged number one you're stuck with facebook layout and you're just on facebook right now have facebook I'm a big believer in that um especially if you're dealing more on the consumer side of the industry and that when I say consumer side I'm saying weddings portrait ce children photography, pet photography where you're dealing with general public um I'm not expecting art director to find me via facebook kind of thing I'm on there I have a presence but I'm not really trying to push that towards art directors I'm figuring art directors or on facebook just to hang out and talk to their friends they hang out somewhere else looking for photographers but you want someone I go to my facebook page and look at my pictures well then they have to log in maybe or you know like there's there's always like I hate it when I someone has a twitter like, oh, check this out, you know and I click on it and it takes me to facebook and then I got a log in and then sometimes it doesn't take me directly to it. I didn't I have to go navigate back to wherever it is they twittered link from and now that I'm locked in on, I don't like have facebook that's fine, but do not let that be the face of your business whatever you put on your blogged put it right back over to your facebook and and all of that, but have your own place okay, cool on the internet think zack, thanks next question from laura ann uh, how many shots from each individual individuals session would you include in a portfolio? So we talked about this a little bit, but in those ten to twenty shots, how many khun b from the same session? But my goal would be if I'm going to show let's say twenty portrait ce is going to be twenty different people if there are two pictures that I just love from one shot something what mchale does with his, he puts them together and they're different from each other but they're of the same person from the same shoot and then is you go to the next slide it's another shoot it's another sheet it's another person right when you've only got one wedding right? It's hard to build a whole gallery of that I would have a gallery of that ready to go so someone says, hey, my friends get married. Do you have any wedding work? Yeah, here's a little gallery, right? But if I'm hiring a wedding photographer, I want to know they have some experience, so I want to know that, you know, if you have twenty images and it's, all of five people, you've only photographed five people in your life, right? You have twenty photographs and you photographed twenty people, you have four times the experience, and I don't think joe public's going, oh, yeah, this person has five times the experience that this person has, but but it is you want to see different kinds of people, all different kinds of, you know, shots going on through your portfolio, other questions we'll take, we'll take a cup of more than we'll get into this. Um, this is from michelle mcnichol, and I don't think she's talking about t I or jack white, but how long does a headshot session usually lasts? How many photos do you take and how many do you turn around the client, um, I do a headshot session in about an hour head shots in about an hour right? Um I do have just about an hour doing an hour and a half it goes a little longer if the client uh, pays for hair and makeup they want to hair and makeup artists which I always suggest to people it's great to have a hair makeup artist on on hand so but that's an ad on um so if they don't have that they're doing their own hair and makeup I can get about three looks done three to four looks done in an hour with hair and makeup it's same amount of looks but in about an hour and a half of time um I'll probably shoot I don't know one hundred fifty pictures and I'm going to show them an edit of fifty and I'll deliver about five or ten of those um but I usually like have a gallery built uh because a lot of times they haven't agent or someone who needs to see the pictures so that they can just email the agent a link to a gallery of their head shot session there agent knows what they're looking for and says I want number fourteen as your head shot and then I work that head shot up and send it to him right next question is from really sure cora leaney uh is there any sort of photography job that should be below you as a photographer like kidsbirthday parties or doing micro stike micro stock type stuff um I don't like to use the term below me that's follow me because that for me that's that's you know kind of I would never use those exact words are there jobs I won't shoot or their jobs that air just once I don't want to shoot or or whatever yes like um I have shot kidsbirthday parties seven years ago seven seven a half years ago when I have a camera I have a lin's I'm zack, I'll shoot anything we're having a kid's birthday party will pay one hundred bucks I'll take it because I need a hundred bucks today, right? Well, I shoot a kid's birthday party for one hundred dollars today no, like I have to remember bring my camera, my kid's birthday party right way we're talking about this over lunch the number one thing I'm glad to say no to now our corporate events I shot a good number of corporate events and corporate events actually they pay pretty well really I just hate shooting him and just not something like I show up in a corporate event and I'm not like yeah corporate admit yeah grip and grin you know janitor of the year and and you know bob and susan from accounting, having cocktails like I don't want to shoot that so I don't always have a referral if something comes in that you don't want a photograph it's all thanks for calling me no actually I don't shoot kidsbirthday parties but call so and so always always know people in your area that you can send work to your booked for that wedding date send it to somebody send it to another photographer you're the person on the other end of the phone will appreciate the referral I cannot help you but let me help you all the same by finding someone for you and then secondly that person over there's like hey, thanks for sending me some work you know what actually I'm booked on this day let me send a referral back to you always have a referral ready to go one more question okay question from audible vision how has your view and overall attitude towards the business change from when you first started to where you are today and what do you do now or what do you know now that you wish you knew then well my first time starting as a photographer my second time starting is a photographer right? Um don't go into debt like don't do that um learn how to talk to people the number of people who know your lives is directly related to the number of jobs you will get um the industry's influx like prices have dropped and there's a whole ton of people in it now um but it's it's cool and exciting a tw the same time like the old paths of doing things have sort of disappeared and it's now just go hack your own path into wherever it's a little more difficult to stand out from the crowd right? Um it's a little more difficult to stand out from the crowd so you have to get into that coming up in creativity and vision coming up but you know you it it makes me you have to work harder for it it makes it a bigger challenge and in some ways that makes it more fun when you have this big challenge set ahead of you like if you could take a tram to the top of everest and get a t shirt and a coffee mug like what's the point of going up everest right and just take the tram up there and get to the top himalayan gift shop, right? No you want to go to evers like you might die and people do it all the time and that they like I have to climb everest it's a huge challenge I could die, I'm doing it so the more challenging it gets, the more you'll like this sucks because it's your climbing up it I would imagine people are they're just breathing in there lack of oxygen. Just trying to get words out this socks, but they're doing it. You know, their days, like, oh, god, this sucks, had love my job.

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Ratings and Reviews


Outstanding! There are so many gems, any photographer aspiring to venture into business will gain much from this course. There are plenty of technical how-to's with superb examples, from choosing the right lens for a given situation, to learning about reciprocals, expressed in Zack's warm and fun style. He's a joy to watch. But, this class is much more than that. Zack is extremely generous in sharing very personal experiences and insight, on how he began from early days of struggling, to current projects, how he built his portfolio, and looking ahead to the future. And, in the final discussion with his wife Meghan, they open up and share their personal struggles balancing work and family life, and their strong support of each other. We can all relate to this. This class is a great guide on what it takes to start and become a successful pro photographer, and pulls no punches. It's not easy to do, but with some creativity and an insane amount of hard work, is doable and very rewarding!

a Creativelive Student

Zack's always been one of my favorite photographers and when I think about why he is, it isn't even his work that comes to mind. Zack's technical knowledge and ability to pull off really stunning images is reason enough to check out this course. While he does a good job at teaching the fundamentals, he even better job at explaining why he makes the choices he does. Anyone can tell you what "rules" to follow and what you should and shouldn't do but Zack does a good job explaining why those guidelines are JUST guidelines and shouldn't be taken as law, which can be limiting. I highly recommended this for anyone who has an interest in becoming a better photographer.

a Creativelive Student

I haven't finished the course yet either but I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I love Zacks work I think he is an amazing teacher and a very funny man. I loved one light and I'm looking forward to finishing this and starting the his studio lighting course also.

Student Work