Thursday, October 26, 2017

My Open and Honest Thoughts...

I have been thinking of something for a long time and that is the sheer number of terrible photos being produced by so called photographers are quite impressive.
It’s bad, and the reason is often because people aren’t stringent enough when culling photos (choosing your best photos) and too hastily posting online. Many want to hear what others have to say immediately (your friends are lying to you) instead of simply trusting their ability to evaluate their own work.
I totally understand that tastes differ and photography is an art and art is subjective, in fact some of my photos may not appeal to others, that’s not in my control. However, what does fall within my control is how scrupulous I am when deciding what goes out to the world.  
I don’t understand why so many photographers conduct a shoot for a client and then post 30-40 images on Facebook and Instagram.  The shoot was for the client not the general public!
I’m not taking a shot at people that take bad photos; I have many bad photos myself. But that’s the entire point of also having a very strict selection process to decide what’s going to make the cut.

It’s a fact: your portfolio is only as good as your weakest shot. Anything you post online is, to a certain extent, part of your portfolio as things live forever on the Internet.
Photographers should be their toughest critics, and I mean brutal.
Sadly too many just aren’t because they trust online comments from their aunt, their neighbor and their kid’s second grade teacher such as “nice shot!” “great composition”, “beautiful light” and so on which they get on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest and feed their addiction for social media affection.
But in reality these comments do not help you improve. They just corrupt the overall quality of your portfolio.
There is a great story of Picasso waiting in a restaurant for his food, while waiting he began to draw on the napkin, a customer came by and asked if they could buy what he had just drawn. He said sure, $20,000. The customer said, "It only took you 5 minutes", Picasso agreed, then he said, " However it took me 40 years to learn how to do it in 5 minutes!” If anyone thinks I am going to give him or her what took many years to learn for free, they are mistaken.
Some may not always like my delivery or even my work for that matter, heck I have been called many names by others photographers and people that don’t even know me in my community. But that’s okay I was born to take a punch. 
Making mistakes is part of the game. And I have made plenty and will continue to do so for the rest of my career. 
I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at myself lately, I’m finding out it’s not about the other people though. It’s about you and I. I’ve made the mistakes. I’ve followed the sickening trends early on and unsuspectingly listened to the masses. But I’m the only one who can do what is right for me. I need to remind myself that coming into my own and having success hasn’t been an overnight process.  A friend of mine Stoney Jackson actually prompted this manifesto so to speak with a quite humbling comment he made on one of my posts on Instagram he said, “you definitely have developed a style, I can’t explain it I just know that I can pick out your photos just by looking at them without reading whose it is.” Although great words I must say that I’ve spent thousands and thousands of hours trying to find my voice and place within the industry. I have yet to even scratch the surface and I still have thousands of hours ahead of me.  Thank you Stoney!
At the end of the day it all comes down to one thing and that is being true to my profession, my clients and myself.
All the Best!


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Photographs Are Our Livelihood

Photographs Are Our Livelihood

***I am writing this for all the photographers that go through this daily…HERE WE GO***

I receive messages everyday from models in my area and around the country requesting shoots.  I kindly respond the same way to each and every one if they are local… 

“I'd be happy to sit down an discuss a plan for you. My portfolio session is $495 dollars.
If you'd like to meet please let me know when you're available.

This response is usually met with “I will promote you on Instagram” “I can find someone to do it for less” “It will help you build your portfolio” or the newest “I am not willing to pay that much”

I do have to say each one of these responses and many more like them come with a level of courage to even hit send.

Here are a few of my thoughts:

Creating compelling images is the way we make our living. If I give away my images for free, or spend too much time responding to requests for free images, I cannot make a living.

With requests for free work premised on budgetary constraints is often the promise of providing “credit” and “exposure”, in the form of a specific mention on Instagram.  I take issue with this one because a “special mention” doesn’t pay the bills.  I work hard to make the money required to reinvest in my equipment and to cover related business expenses.

Professional photography services are not a hostage negotiation where we eventually “come to an agreement”

Photography is a business. We have bills; pay taxes, business expenses just like any other place you might frequent. Do you walk into your hairdresser or barber and ask them to work for less than what they are asking for? Do you go to the gas station and haggle over the price? Would you go to work and expect your boss to say, “I really like the work you’re doing, but I’m not willing to pay you. However, I am going to tell everyone how good a job you do”? I don’t think anyone would.

You wouldn’t work for free, so why would expect a photographer to do so?

You are not doing us a favor by stealing our time and “telling your friends how good we are.” You will never bring us any business that is worth our time if we give you our time for free.

If you value the work we do, there is only one way to compensate us, pay us.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Thankful Perspective

When I began my journey in photography many years ago with a Canon 35mm film camera I never thought that I'd be where I am today.  I've been published both domestically and internationally in 3 different publications.  I have participated in international print competitions against the greatest creatives from around the world, my work has been commissioned by fashion designers that have worked with Lady Gaga and Beyonce' just to name a few.

Back in the early 2000's when I was shooting Indy Racing and the IRL did I ever believe that I would become a sought after portrait, fashion and headshot photographer.  It's two different worlds going from race cars tracking at 230 mph to a model standing still.  That being said I love what I do!

My clients mean the world to me, and I cannot thank them enough for trusting me with their images. From my corporate headshot clients to my high school seniors each has a need and we deliver on that need.  My headshot clients are either trying to brand or rebrand themselves and my work and style allows them to do that perfectly.  After all a professional and well done headshot is in some case the first impression a business has to make in front of a potential client.  Decisions to spend money with a company at times comes down to that headshot.  I know personally I have hired individuals because of their headshot...It shows they care!

As for my senior clients I have one job, and that is to make their dreams come true.  Being a senior in high school and graduating is a major milestone in the lives of young people and that time in their life must be captured perfectly.  It must be captured professionally. And it must be done to the need of the client.  I never schedule a session unless I have met with the client and at least one parent.  I like to call it a "getting to know you session" where we discuss their contract and plan their shoot all the down to the smallest details in hair, makeup and wardrobe. My team is such a valuable asset, they allow me to create over and above what they do with the client.  We create a very relaxed, professional and personal environment both in the studio and on our location sets.

I am not a photographer that takes every job or potential client that calls or emails me.  And I realize for one reason or another I may not be for everyone but to those that have hired me I thank you and couldn't be doing it without you.

This is a business, R Nolan Photography is a full time studio.  I am not a guy with a camera and a few open weekends when the weather gets nice.  I am not a guy that will expand my offerings and compromise my own business beliefs by adding baby mini sessions just because I want to take a "Dream Vacation" or but a hot tub.
I am not in this for short term dollars.  I have built a business organically, I have struggled at times to fill my book when I first began but that is no longer happening.  In fact, I have senior portrait clients in my book for the 2019 and 2020 graduating classes already.  And that has happened for a few reasons, one I have worked my ass off and two MY CLIENTS ROCK!

You may be to this point and say well, where's this thankful perspective the title states?  Well, it's right here.  Without my clients it's pretty obvious my business wouldn't be around.  They have spread to word to their friends and family that have become clients and that is the most humbling thing in the world to me.

So thank you for reading, thank you for your consideration and most of all thank you for being the best clients in the world!