Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Do You Need a Photography Studio?

I think at one point or another, every photographer dreams of having their own studio.  It's an amazing feeling to have your own place to call home, hang your own images, set your own lights, meet your own clients.

I wouldn't know.  In the nearly 20 years of professional photography, I've not had one.  I've also not had a need for one.  But I have always wanted one.

If you're considering it, then it's time to ask yourself a few questions.

Will having a studio make you more money?

Not that we got into the photography industry to make boatloads of cash...but, with a studio, your expenses will increase dramatically.  Is your business prepared to take on the added weight of extra expense?

Do you need a photography studio?

Sure.  You want one.  But do you need one?  Will a photography studio fulfill a necessity for you?  Do you find yourself constantly looking for rental studios or private space to shoot in several times a week, or do you shoot on location 5 days a week?  If so, then, maybe it is time to consider a studio.  If not, then what will that studio be doing for you when you're not shooting?

Have you considered the financial aspects?

When moving into a studio, you will most likely want to have a meeting room, with nicely framed photographs, a sitting area, coffee tables, albums or some kind of a multimedia presentation.  You will also want to have a studio that is easily findable by your clients.

What is your contingency plan for your slow times?

An unfortunate part of the business...at one point or another, we all have slow times.  What then?  If you're able to solve this question and have a valid plan together to get you through the slower times in your business, then you are much better off.  Remember, your studio might be your largest expense.  You have to make sure you can handle that.

There are many other factors to consider when it comes to opening your own photography studio.  Your marketing will most likely be vastly different and possibly have a higher budget, in order to attract more clients.  You may need a staff.  You may need to upgrade some of your equipment.  Starting with these questions, however, will get you going in the right direction to make the right decision!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Drones and Photography - New Giant Trend

Both the photography and real estate industry tend to be heavily trend driven.  In the photography world, there have been numerous significant advances over the years.  From black and white to color, to different size formats, and, of course, with the advent of digital photography, and the availability of new affordable technology to the masses, the photography industry has become vastly different than it was even ten years ago.  Nowhere is this more evident than with drone photography.  Prior to this new technology, the only way to get high quality, proper aerial photography was to rent out a helicopter or small plane for the day, which pushed the concept of aerial photography beyond the plane of reason for many applications.  This was both costly and time-consuming routine, which was used only in necessary applications.  Aerial Photography for Real Estate, simply put, was just way too costly, and burdensome, to be widely used in many applications.

Enter the drone.

In many respects, the Real Estate and Photography industry are incredibly similar.  Agents and brokers are constantly selling themselves and their services, constantly looking for new clients, constantly looking for ways to set themselves apart from the competition, much the way photographers are constantly searching out new clients, putting together new marketing projects, and constantly selling their services.  One of the most distinct ways for a Real Estate Broker or Agent to do just that is to introduce high-quality photography, with the addition of drone photography, into their listings and/or reports.  In the commercial real estate market, drone photography has become a simple and affordable way to capture images of a large property or track of land.  Drones are now heavily used by developers and land owners during planning stages, prior to entering a sales period.  Drones have been found to be useful with land surveyors and inspectors as well, in reaching heavily wooded or hard to reach areas.

In the residential Real Estate market, the drone has become a simple and effective way to easily capture images that set an agent’s listing apart from their competition.  Most Multiple Listing Service organizations (MLS) have a requirement that the first image on a listing be of the front of the house/property, and a drone photograph that captures the front of the property from overhead fulfills this requirement in almost all cases.  This is especially important, because an overhead photograph, shot by a drone, that fulfills the MLS requirement, is oftentimes the most important aspect to an Agent’s listing.  It is the easiest way to set a listing apart from all other listings and usually captures the most attention by prospective buyers.  The drone image has become almost essential in today’s luxury Real Estate market, as it is again a very effective way to capture an overhead image of a large piece of property, showcasing the grounds, and giving a clear image of the roof, a part of the property which normally was ever clearly seen by inspectors.

There are very clear benefits to using drones for Real Estate, but, the biggest one is this: homes photographed with drones sell 60% faster than homes photographed only with traditional methods.  This is because simply put, there is no easier way to clearly capture the property while providing an opportunity to showcase a specific lifestyle with luxury properties.  Drone operators are even using videos to create scenic films from overhead to capture not just the property, but also entire neighborhoods, that in turn help drive traffic through social media platforms.

Although the FAA has introduced several regulations on the drone industry and introduced licensing requirements, there seems to be no slowing of the drone industry in the Real Estate world.  Drones have cemented their place in the Real Estate world. 


Drone operators flying for business(photography) purposes instead of just recreation should have proper licensing and insurance, and while for use on private property, there should be no major issue, many cities and towns across America have passed different laws and regulations, governing, and in some instances, restricting the use of drones in certain areas.  It would be important to become familiar with those regulations prior to operating a drone.  The FAA has also passed legislation requiring certain drones to be registered.  Drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds are required to be registered, and the weight limit for commercial drone flying is 55 pounds.  Operators should also take note that the FAA is very stringent on flying near airports, and should map out a flight plan to make sure to avoid such potential hazards. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Couple images from an event I shot

I shot a private party recently.  Here's a few images.  Enjoy!








Need some images of a special event?  Click here and let's chat!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

5 Questions Photographers Should Consider Before Dropping Their Rate



Let’s face it.  At one point or another, every single photographer has been asked to slash their rates.  Whether it was a client who just didn’t respect our craft, or a tighter budget than normal, we’ve all had to make the decision to accept or reject a gig that was much lower than normal.  When should you or should you not?  Here are five questions to get you started:

1.       What kind of project is it?

Is this a hard project for you?  Is it a project you typically shoot, or is this a one off?  If this is a very simple and easy project, then this should be a yes.

2.       How time intensive is the project?  What’s required in pre and post?

What I mean here is how long is it going to take to complete the project, from beginning to end?  Sure, the actual shooting portion may only take fifteen minutes, but we all know that’s not the only aspect to our jobs, so its important to consider the entire scope of the project.

3.       Will the one-time slash in rate hurt your business in the long run?

You never want to be known as the “cheap” guy.  Being the “cheap” guy will get you a whole bunch of “cheap” work.  There’s nothing wrong with a one-time drop in price, when its well placed.

4.       Will you work with these folks again?

Prime example.  I recently dropped my rate on a project.  It was a two hour event, they wanted just basic photographs(think grip and grins) they live in the Northeast, and are only here for a weekend.  Odds are, I won’t be hearing from these folks again.  Simple project, quickly done in post, and I was comfortable with the price drop…plus I was completely open on the day of the event…so…why not?!

5.       Is it worth it?

We all want to make sure our work, even on more ordinary or mundane projects, reflects our brand, right?  While you can make adjustments and sacrifices on the bottom line, you should never sacrifice your standards or brand as a professional. 

Simple enough, right?  😊

There’s obviously much more to consider, however, starting off considering these questions will get you going in the right direction at least.  What other considerations do you think should be made when considering a one-time price drop?


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Donald Trump and the Arts

***Although I am EXTREMELY opinionated politically, this post is not meant to be a political "beatdown" or lashing in any way.***

Donald Trump has released his budget.  In the budget, as expected, there are drastic cuts to entitlement programs and departments which many lower and middle class Americans depend on, not that this is much of a surprise to anyone.  I think we all kind of expected that, no?

We also shouldn't be surprised that he's proposing to completely eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for Humanities.  Again...we should have seen this coming.

Just because we knew it was coming doesn't mean it isn't worrisome.

If we look at the Arts, all through human civilization, funding from the government has almost always been a constant.  Virtually all of Michelangelo's works were made possible by financial support from the Church and the government.  Same thing for Shakespeare, and the Queen.  In fact, if you were to go through history, you would find that the majority of influential artist, at one point or another, benefited from governmental support.

The NEA total budget for the entire year amounts to $158 million.  While major museums or galleries may not see a major effect on their day to day, this change would mean that the majority of other galleries, museums, theaters, school funding programs, opera houses, dance centers, film festivals, art shows and festivals, will struggle to continue to find existence.

Any kind of school arts or humanities programs would be very close to depleted...unless your children are in private, well funded schools.  Our children would be receiving two different types of education.

This is all over $158 million dollars.  Sounds like a lot, right?  Sure, it does...here's the thing.  It represents 0.003% of our national budget.  Not 3%.  0.003%.  If you've got $100 in your pocket, pull out 30 cents.  That's what we are talking about here.

Want to see what kind of projects, individual and community projects, and events the NEA funds, in your own area?  Click here.

At the same time, Trump is proposing spending unprecedented amounts on a wall and increased military spending.

Odds are, when you finish reading my rant, and you hop in your car to get to work or lunch, or, quite frankly wherever you're going, you're going to pass at least 1 place that will no longer exist if the NEA is abolished.

I've written a great deal on this blog about how the arts are under siege by outside forces, but, never before in the history of our country have the arts, or we as artist, faced this kind of a threat.

It is so important that we let our elected officials know how important it is that we as a community of artist and art lovers continue to demand funding for the arts.  The future of our industries, AND our society, are at stake!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

5 MUST DO'S for every Photography Business

After almost 20 years in the business, plenty of busy times, slow times, crazy and quiet times, I've learned a couple things.  While there's tons of MUST DO'S for every photographer, here are a few:



1.  Network, network, network.  You don't get away from this one.  As a matter of fact, for us artist, we must network even more.  We've got to be in front of people, constantly reminding them of our services.  Not just at networking meetings, but also with robust marketing campaigns, advertisements, social media, etc.  Remember, on average, you need to make 5+ impressions before a person remembers you, in today's overly graphic world.

2.  Put the camera down!  Sounds weird, I know...but...ask a successful attorney or businessperson how much time they actually spend in a courtroom, versus the time they spend working with paperwork, consultations, prep, and building their businesses.  It is so incredibly imperative that you spend a significant amount of time actually tending to ALL portions of your business...not just the camera in hand part.  Which leads me to...

3.  Then pick the camera up!  This is what makes it challenging to be a photographer.  We must be businesspeople, and artist.  All the time a shop owner, salesperson, doctor or attorney devote to building and maintaining their business, we must do as well; but it is important to remember to make some camera time for yourself.  You've got to keep the creative part of your brain moving.

4.  Don't be a slave!  Look, our industry has been taken over by manufacturers who have tried so hard to convince us that we need to have the latest, greatest, biggest, fattest camera and lenses, and the newest tech.  We try to convince ourselves that we need to have all these other things...we don't.  Get equipment that works for you, that satisfies your customers needs...by all means don't turn into a dinosaur, but don't get caught up in the consumerism.

5.  Invest.  Invest your money correctly(back to #4.)  Invest your time wisely.  Invest in educating yourself.  Take some business/finance courses.  Open a retirement account.  

There's no handbook, or instruction manual, but these basic points should keep you pretty much clear.  Do any of you have any other good suggestions?  I'd love to hear some!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My Favorite Photographers

I am often asked if I have a favorite photographer.  The answer is a very clear yes.  Me.  J

The reality is that I absolutely do.  There are quite a few photographers actually who’s work I thoroughly enjoy.   Here’s a few, in no particular order:

Javier Medina
Javi is actually a long time friend of mine; we went to college together.  He currently lives in New Zealand, and captures the most incredibly stunning landscape images of the beautiful countryside.

Steve McCurry
Because who can talk about photography without mentioning this man’s contribution?  You name it…he’s shot it.  Probably twice.  He’s about as big a legend as a legend can be.

Greg Gorman
Another legend.  I saw Greg speak years ago, and I was struck by how down to Earth he was.  After he spoke, I went and had a conversation with him about his difficulties starting out, as my career was still in its infancy.  What he said to me was striking.  In a good, supportive way.  Maybe I’ll post it one day J

Clark Little
Stationed out of Hawaii, Clark has made some of the most amazing and iconic images in his particular niche.  Whether its of the surf or marine life, his work is truly inspiring.

Henry Dekuyper
Well known for his stunning work in the automotive photography realm, Dekuyper has a long standing reputation for quality work.  As an automotive photographer and fanatic of the entire scene, I couldn’t possibly make a list of my favorites and not add him on here.

Don’t fret…I have plenty more…these are just a few who’s work I truly love.  If you need some inspiration, and need to see some quality work…go look any one of these guys up…I promise…you won’t regret it.