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Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 2

Lesson 2 from: Commercial Photography: From Start to Finish

Joel Grimes

Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 2

Lesson 2 from: Commercial Photography: From Start to Finish

Joel Grimes

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Lesson Info

2. Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 2


Class Trailer

Day 1


Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 1


Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 2


Ten Things You Need to Know about Branding


Shoot: One Side Light Beauty Shot Part 1


Shoot: One Side Light Beauty Shot Part 2


Shoot: One Overhead Light Headshot


Shoot: Edgy Three Light Setup Part 1


Lesson Info

Ten Things That Spell Disaster for a Photographer Part 2

Member of the p p w c professional photographers whining club this is, um really something that I sort of noticed in the last thirty years that photographers tend to sit around and wine they whine about their industry wide about their clients whine about the competition wine, wine, wine and I've had enough shared studios with, um photographers that were the king of whining and how annoying is that? And what happens is when you start hanging out with people that wine, you start whining be careful who you hang out with photographers a bunch of whiners don't get into that mode wine, wine, wine yes, we have a difficult interest industry. Yes, we have clients at her pain. Yes, we have competition and sometimes you know that way I feel overwhelmed by our competition. Yes, we have issues a lot of this because we've gotten into debt and we've spent too much money on equipment, you know, and we're broke, and so then we get choked as we want, but don't get caught up in the p p w c club and in fa...

ct, I won't I won't say who, but I've been to um um it local, you know, gatherings of photographers and I I acquit billing couldn't handle it I want to be someone who number one encourages others, so he ever hear me talk I'm tryingto take you to the next level I'm trying to get make your dream come true I want you to get excited about the creative process because I'm excited about the creative process so I don't want to get around wait wait make me because I'm like I'm not encouraged by that how many times and you encouraged by a whiner not you want encouraged so when someone says you know what I'm struggling baba but you say you know what's okay here's here's some things maybe you should look at encourage someone so don't get caught up in the wining and we do sometimes human right goes back to the fact that we are human so be careful so that's just something I thought about it and um we want to be uplifted alright in it for the money we all have to make money money makes the world go around if you don't have money coming in you're not gonna be doing photography very long unless you have a trust fund and when I got married amy said that she had a trust fund but uh I haven't seen it yet and some waiting for that trust fund but um no trust fund so I have to make a living you gonna hit me later but I have to make a living right so that money's got to come in the door right but there's a trap you think you're just doing it for the money? Um we'll talk some more about this down the road here I got some other, uh, my the sessions, but if you ain't for the money you're in trouble and here's why I do a lot of my colleagues, a lot of my friends that were in it for the money, none of them survived and thirty years later none of them are doing it. The ones that weren't for the money aren't doing it now why? Because when you're in for the money, the money comes and goes there's times when I made a lot of money there's times when it just wasn't coming in what kept me going the passion for the creative process I'm an artist that's why do it that kept me going? And so if you're in for the money it's, your going to only be around when the money's good and when the money is not good, you gotta try something else and so be careful that you can make a lot of money in this industry I have in times, but I think that from day one I've always had the vision that I was in it and the passion I was in it for the craft and the you know I loved it, so be careful now if you're smart business person, you can manage it make a lot of money and still create images that you love but be careful if you're in it for the money the money comes and goes so um like I said put that in check so any cliff and I we we talked about a little about that there the night you know if money's good in it and you can make some good money but be careful all right inept at marketing now last workshop for creative life I did a whole section on I think it was the saturday or one of those I talked about the about the marketing side of things and we're gonna talk some more about marquis related stuff um in the next couple of days but basically as a photographer you went there where a lot of hats and we know this from studies that creative we're creative people right? The creative people tend to be really bad a marketing because it fits another mindset way wannabe artist generally um and I talk about the idea of picking up the phone making a cold call right? Because we have this problem this big brick wall in front of us is called the fear of rejection and I covered us all last time um and I'll touch on a little bit as we go through the next couple days because it's hard for me not to over lap a little bit here but if you can't pick the phone up and talk to someone that you don't know and pitch them say hey, I'm a photographer photo editor our director, our buyer client no matter who he is, whatever type of business that you're doing photography you've got to exert yourself and you've got to overcome that fear that they're going to say no are say you suck or whatever that's there because we're human, but if you can't overcome that you will not survive so one hundred percent guarantee you won't move make it I get emails all time well hey, what if I you know I never got market but what if I get a rep how you gonna get a rep? They're gonna come to you could happen one of the odds that our reps going to come to you not real good you're gonna have to send your workout to reps and say, hey, I'm available on the new rising star and industry and I'd love to you know have you read me? You got to sell yourself always have to sell yourself constantly selling yourself thirty years I've been selling myself sometimes I get tired of selling myself but it's part of the game and that's what you have to do now some of this are a little bit more natural at it than others, but I could tell you this there's no one on the planet that can't learn how to sell themselves takes time takes practice it takes a lot of fumbling and when I first started at making cold calls nineteen eighty four I was shaking it was so hard for me first time I get in front of someone talking is hard the more you do it easier gets that's life she'll learn how to take the phone make a cold call exert yourself send out packets whatever it is that you're doing to become good at marketing it you've got to solve that and so when my kids come to me and they say dad I want to do this do that it will case on you need to learn how to go and exert yourself call up their director and I have a whole thing and I I'll tell you I'll sum up marketing in this simple rule and I said it last time on create alive but I must say it again because it's so important people coming to me say buddies it'll be I'll say okay you could if you could do this you'll make a very good living in photography and that is this as a human being when I have to go exert myself to put to pitch a potential client as a human being I usually don't give more than two attempts so maybe I go hey I'm a photographer you know? Maybe I have my ipad out and here's what I do and maybe I'm meeting an art director it may be at a meeting or something or run into someone says yeah I do I do have a company that does mm eh you know wardrobe you say here's my work so you pitch him that's good pitch and then you say can I call you you know and follow up on this yes that's two times okay two times usually if they don't you don't hear back from you quit give up after two times and the odds of you securing work after two attempts is less than ten percent but here's the craziest thing on the planet right here I'm gonna tell you guys worked for me I've proven it over and over and over again if you pitch someone at least eight times the odds go up to about eighty percent you're gonna return on it crazy so ninety five percent of the people will quit after two attempts five percent of the people understand the concept of marketing and they'll keep pitching someone keep pitching that art director keep pitching that photo editor keep pitching keep pitching and as your work is not good enough right over a year it gets better right so cliff when you you pitched a couple people this last month and you've got some good results but a year from now what do you think if you keep doing what you're doing, you're gonna have a whole new portfolio and a whole new set of images that khun poor man and what you said I mean it's so huge because after I came to your workshop you know we talked about it looked back at my work and I'm like I got slipped bad that I had sent that to hector lombard and I said I'm gonna be coming down a top team and shoot got no response I went now because I'm going in miami next month I looked at the image I sent him I go oh my god, how embarrassing and I said I'm so embarrassed I set him a current one I'm coming and then he said here's my cell number call me when you're in but the thing is it's that consistently pursuing it and so I've learned now because I paid attention to your workshop is every night I probably spend two hours a day on social networking, contacting people and you know and showing my work and just getting it out there continuously and that makes a huge difference because as a human being the receiving end okay, so you're the photographer pitching me I'm in a hurry I'm overloaded, I have pressures I gotta boss I've got a wife and kids at home and all these things and you present your name to me, I don't remember it two times I'd remember it eight times I remember it that's the way our human brain works they've done studies approved this after six to eight times a person will remember who you are up to two times they won't remember who you are I don't care how good you are so marketing is huge part of what it takes to be successful as a photographer and it's something that we all have to learn okay, so you're not you're not I mean you have to go through that process of learning so it's not impossible all right next thing living a rock star's lifestyle all right, so here's what happens your photographer and you know you wanna be an artist and you're out there and you're doing the party and late night party in and I have down here, you know later and sleeping with the models well see, I know a lot of friends that their whole goal as a photographer was, you know, toe score get to get the model right? But this lifestyle is very destructive overtime it's not it's not kind of it's going to come back to you living the rock star lifestyle is photographer I've seen it folks I grew up with and had all these photographers that I rubbed elbows with the ones that were living the rock star lifestyle they're not doing it today and and and and it's like when when amy and I we're you know, having little babies and these photographers would have these great gatherings and we'd all show up and we have these little babies run around little boys. I had a wife and kids and, you know, I had a family and I had I had responsibilities and I and I took it serious, and I wasn't in it for it for the brock star lifestyle, I was in it because I was a passion, the creative process and all these photographers, I know that we're in for the the, you know, their lifestyle, we're not doing it. You can't have a thirty year career and survive doing this, so be careful and if you're a photographer and you're in it, teo, you know, you know, pick up models, word gets around really quick, folks, you think it's a small world, it is not, and that goes back to maybe we'll touch on this too. It's, when you're dealing with money, you got assistance and you've got people at your pain, you don't pay them on time, your mud in the industry really fast. Amy and I for the last twenty seven years because she keeps track of me every shoot we do, we pay it right there at the shoot models, assistance make up, everything is paid right there at the day of the shoot, we'll talk about that more. And there's two reasons why do that one I don't want it hanging out on the books I don't want to forget someone ago someone coming hey spent thirty days I have got a check I hate that number two is that um if I pay someone on the spot they're going to be much more loyal next time around they'll do anything for me how many people pay at the spot pay at the dance shoot very few photographers do that they drag him out and I have assistance I used and I say hey, you know who have you assistant blah blah blah blah, it's all so oh, how is it working for them terrible why's that if they still owe me money six months later then paid so your reputation is huge and even among the creatives army, the clients are directors are buyers photo editors if you have a bad reputation, you're out, they're not gonna use you, so be careful but living the rock star lifestyle very destructive and would recommend it and I put that in there you know, kids again, I'm talking to my sons to think about the mindset that I have when I put this together but all right inability to brand your vision as in ours we're gonna talk about that in a minute, but you've got to learn to brand yourself and this is something I've learned mohr and maura's, I've grown and doing this when I first started out, I had nothing about branding myself and even today you know me joel grimes. Why? Because when you look at a joel grams image, you know it's a joel graves in it that's brandy that's not easy, but it's possible? It takes a lot of discipline and it takes ability to stick with something until you branded we'll talk more about that, but if you can't brand yourself, then nobody really identifies you with a certain looks feel whatever of photography and so we're in an age where is getting even more important to brand yourself than ever before think about this one so in last six years, seven years and the years keep going. But irene, I read just completely reinvented myself six years ago, seven years ago look, did you know joel grimes? Look, now I'm fifty six years old, so I started that was fifty years old, fifty years old, I started over at a time frame in history when more people are taking pictures than ever before. So how is it possible that I could cut through a lot of this mass of photographers on the market? How's it possible? Because I understand the power of brandy, okay? And I wish I had known earlier in my career but it's taking time to understand that we'll talk some more about that in a minute um all right? So here's a big one huge the inability to make changes now I could say this about ninety percent of the photographers that I rubbed elbows with the last twenty five years or so are all still stuck in the eighties and nineties I look at their work and they're doing stuff that doesn't look any different than they did ten years ago twenty years ago just their whole attitude everything is there stuck in time and inability to make a change now we had to go go just older photographers we had to go through a huge change from film to digital and it was like it was brutal it's like pulling teeth for me I love film why did why why you know why change now? So is brutal but now I can't tell you what once I said okay, digital is where it's happening and digitals of future micro exploded and you know I'm always doing things that are at the cutting edge of what's happening I'm working thirty two bit hdr now I'm actually strobing and clip we just did that with your bike strobe outdoors hdr bracketing eso and I'm doing things constantly at their edge of what's happening in the industry trying to at least and because I know that if I don't change I died and I know so many of my colleagues are dead because they can't just make a change, you look the same old thing, they're happy and there's that's a problem with a lot of photographers, they see a lot of success and they have a ten year run and then the market changes and they just keep doing their sample thing and nobody cares anymore. I've seen that mike my career I was a hot thing I was doing type fifty five polaroid black and white portrait and I was doing ad campaigns all over the country and in the world and all of a sudden one day the phone stopped ringing and I want what am I going to do? Change gotta go and move forward and something completely new and that's what I did so it's, if you can't change that's what you'll die so it's hard, it is not easy, so let's move on any questions, my observation and again, I'm pretty new to this, so but I've been pretty aware and paying attention and I know when joel asked me several weeks ago, you know, coming up your way, you know anyone has motorcycles to shoot, I go, yeah, I got quite a few shoot and so joel asked me, you know, you have any idea of where to shoot, so I'm thinking, okay tell my wife I can go find something really cool this is joel grind so I'm like running around five locations so I take amount on friday night yeah and I'm thinking I hope he likes this hope he likes it joel looking all of this is cool he's excited I'm going this is great I told my wife I said I think I did okay and so we go back saturday it's no one's there we go back saturday and it's like photographer city there everyone's coming to shoot jules tell him he goes this's like, you know, a wal mart parking lot but it made me really think about when I went home I was telling my wife go men it is more important to have a change and brand a look because everyone in their sister and brother are shooting I mean everyone's out there shooting they're all doing portrait sessions and I told them I'd go I'd hate to have to compete that I got to find something unique and develop my skill set because otherwise going to be doing that I don't want to do that but you know everything that the joel says I mean, when I was in his workshop in january I seriously took it and went with it everything he talked about on branding and he talked about telling me, you know, go do editorials, get your name out there and make it is we'll be talking more about that a cz we go along here but yes and I just want to say to, you know, a lot of people are anyone that has been in the business realizes that how much of photography is business, how much of it is actual photography if you if you don't have the business down, I mean it's really eighty percent of the job when you say joel, well, it is a big chunk of it, and we wish it wasn't because I like it just say I want the artist all day long and great that's when you have the trust fund, right? But we don't have trust funds and we have to go and survive um but here's here's, what I would like to instill on you guys and those listening it's possible to break through all this. So he said, I can't do it yes, you can is possible. So keep in mind that not everyone's going toe breakthrough because a lot of them don't take some of the basics, but I'm talking about, but it is possible so we have that hope and confidence that you can do it if you apply the right lily, right basics, how about we take a couple of questions up until this point? Yes, ok, so a lot of people when we started talking about here first out the gate this morning a lot of people had some questions about that and I know as photographers we really think if we want to be at that commercial level at least in our mind that we need a medium format camera that's what a lot of people are thinking cindy see want to know do you need that medium format camera she's been using a seventy but thinks that maybe it won't be good enough all right, I just wrote on my block joel grinds workshop stop calm ah whole block on this why medium format and I think it covered pretty well and and I would encourage someone to go and take a look at that because I am shooting this camera now but the fact is is let's put this way I discovered this back in nineteen eighty one when I went from thirty five millimeter too many format that my picture doesn't look any better on medium format effect a bad picture looks worse on medium format because this is a lot more megapixels now or resolution back then so the camera doesn't make any picture it's the creative vision behind it the artist behind it so be careful here's what I would say take what you've got and get out the most single most important thing that could ever happen is that you get out and take pictures let's put it this way if I'm a guitar player right and I'm in my room and I'm practicing all my scales and my chords and my you know, if I have let's say an olsen guitars thirty thousand dollar guitar or I have a just a flea market special what difference is going to make it that stage in my career? None it's the practice is that's going to make the difference what guitars in my lap is not going to make the difference now if I'm performing in front of you know, a fifty thousand people you want to have a really good guitar but I could tell you member willie nelson here that old beat up guitar and a whole one and everything and he's doing georgia on that old beat up thing and he's a hit right? So don't get stuck with that mentality you'll be you'll be beat yourself up all right one more question so quite a few people have been discussing the concept of you know when you said don't go into debt for your gear photo man wanted to know what point do you know when to buy the gear instead of renate and also derek had said, is it possible to build your business on the side while having a full time job to finance it or is it better to just focus a hundred percent of the business with no distractions? We'll have to fool questions yes okay number one keep your day job until you have enough money bring coming in and there is a point we have to make the jump right when I don't know it's a little scary so maybe fear's gonna keep you back holding back a little bit but some points to make the jump if you start to get into some pretty good work but keep the day job until you got enough a vision of, you know, making it happen now in terms of equipment if you rent like what? Years and years and years and years ago I was shooting for m c I back when emc ours around and I didn't have a camera flash and I got this the client that called me and said, I just need you to cover this like event and I wasn't an event photographer and I did not have a non camera flashes all studio strobes and I said, ok, for a ridiculous amount of money I'll come out and shoot on camera flash I had to rent that stupid flash, right? Well, I rented it for two years I probably bought three or four or five of those flashes by time I quit, but I just like I did not want to do on camera flash but I kept running it but probably looking back I should have bought one, so just how many times you gonna read it in a given year I figure you know it's like you pay about ten percent of the value of the piece of equipment every time we read it so if you read it ten times you could buy it but here's the number one don't go in debt buying it okay, I think we have one more question from a simple question equipment, equipment related but I, uh had I shot for this client and in the needs announce that owned by the way some of the images may go on, we might put him on buses, that type of thing, you know? But then in terms of equipment, obviously I need to know have the output that would match their needs. And so it's like I have a five d mark two and curious what is it? What point do you need? Thio billboards with eleven megapixel camera? She with it work nobody's gonna know for the most part no one's gonna know now I would say this when it comes to managing your files. First your capture in the files you can destroy an image really quickly. So you seen you shoot on tripod? Why do I shouldn't travel? I'm always sharper. I should hit the sweet spot of my lens to three stars and wide open, always sharper optics and when I managed my files and photoshopped, I minimize destruction so you're gonna have a meeting format and beat the crap out of that handhold and have a sloppy image and it it's going to be worse than, say, a little rebel so it's, a lot of it has to do how you manage your image capture and your photoshopping of retouching side. So listen, take the images with that camera and I can tell you this that I've been doing national ad campaigns for I don't how long let's say the digital side of things now fifteen years, ten years, no, our directors ever asking what medium format or what? Megapixel camera amusing. They want the joel grounds. Look at whatever cost that whatever get get getting here so it doesn't matter what megapixels. So be careful don't get caught up in the megapixel war. But it's, nice to have it if you can afford that makes sense. Yeah, I mean, but listen, I spent used to have here, but back in the days when we had thirty five millimeter meeting format for about five eight by ten, we were always arguing about which is better. Well, everything has its own. Um roll right. So what? You're in result? Look at my blogged it says the number thing, what's your in result and can you afford it?

Ratings and Reviews


Joel Grimes reflects the true meaning of a passionate modern artist. Seamlessly blending his old school film techniques in todays ever-changing digital world with such amazing realistic results. Not only in his own body of work, but achieving the same outcome while teaching LIVE, even when things don’t always run smoothly, much like the real world. Thank you Joel for sharing your hard work and talents, your struggles, most importantly, your honest open teaching style with such detail in every segment. Much appreciate CREATIVE LIVE for keeping it real with good talent, on and off screen showcasing common humanity in us all. Indeed, a revolutionary company. Manny DaCunha.

a Creativelive Student

As an editorial and photographic professional it's refreshing to find new cerebral information that goes beyond simple instruction. It was motivating to see Joel, a highly respected professional who is successful in "real-life", display his thought process, points to be successful, and insights into his art. When you have been in the industry, working full time, you need those moments to relax, visualize and re-energize so you can look at projects with a renewed vision and passion. Joel and his Commercial Photography course did that and more for me. If my schedule allowed, I would certainly join Joel at one of his workshops. Only thing better than this CreativeLive would be attending live. Thank you Joel.

Student Work