BPP 161: Daniel Milnor - Story Telling without Social Media

Daniel Milnor is a self proclaimed creative evangelist, disinclined to social media, film shooter his work can be found in the Los Angeles museum of art, and the George Eastman house. Today we talk all finding and telling the best story.

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In This Episode You'll Learn:

  • How Daniel got started with photography

  • Why Daniel went to college to learn photography

  • What Daniel hoped to learn by going to college

  • If Daniel thinks college is still relevant for photographers

  • What Daniel has to capture to consider a shoot a success

  • How much of Dan’s stories are planned out

  • How Daniel goes about planning a trip and story to capture

  • How shooting film has made Daniel more connected to his work

  • Why Daniel swears off social media

  • How not being on social media has effected his work

  • What Daniel feels is the best way to share his work if it’s not on social media

Resources:

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Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!

Full Episode Transcription:

Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

Raymond: 00:00:00 Welcome to the beginning of photography podcast. This week we're talking all about how to find until the right story with your camera. So let's get into it.

Intro: 00:00:10 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, Home brewer, La Dodger Fan and Indianapolis wedding photographer Raymond Hatfield. Oh, welcome

Raymond: 00:00:39 back to this week's episode of the beginner photography podcast with you. As always, I am Oh Raymond Hatfield and today is a fantastic interview. You know, sometimes I have interviews where the photographer is very technical minded person and we talk a lot about, you know, settings or logistics and you know, how to be in the right place at the right time. And then other times I speak to photographers who were very emotionally driven and they look at the big, uh, idea of photography and it's more of a feeling for them than a strict manual of how to take photos. And very rarely do I get to talk to somebody who is both. And I think that today's guest, um, is, is just that is just that they're there. Whatever it is that your mind focuses on, you're going to find a lot in this interview that is just fantastic and I had such, such a great time.

Raymond: 00:01:37 So I'm super excited, uh, to get into this. But first I want to give a listener shout out a listener shout out this week it goes to Danni Leigh who left a five star iTunes review. Danni says, this podcast is wonderful. I love hearing the journey of each photographer and love how Raymond Geeks out asking them questions. He seems just as excited as his listeners to be listening to something new. Raymond does a great job making sure terms can be understood by everybody. I really recommend this podcast tech, everyone interested in photography. Danni. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for that review. And I cannot stress enough how, how happy I am that a, that you picked up on my excitement as well because, uh, when the podcast was started, the idea came from, I just simply wanted to talk to photographers who were better than me.

Raymond: 00:02:33 And, uh, I continued to do that. It's, I'm not here to just ask, you know, um, how do you take photos cause I don't care about that. I want to like really get into it. I don't care about what gear you have. I want to get into it. I want to find out more about you as a photographer, how, how you see the world and then also those technicals as well. Um, but I think one of the most important quotes I've ever heard in my entire life is, uh, or I guess it's a piece of advice is just simply be the dumbest person in a room. Because when you're the dumbest person in the room, all you can do is learn and soak up more information. And then that is how you're going to skyrocket your growth. And, and, and learn and grow and become a better photographer.

Raymond: 00:03:15 And this podcast is your room. I want, I want you to be the dumbest person in this room, right? Because when I speak to other photographers, I'm the dumbest person in the room and I try to learn more from them. And I hope that by you listening, you feel that same way, that wow, there's such a big, vast world of photography out there and there's so much to learn and I hope that it gets you excited and as excited as, uh, as I get as well. So thank you again, Danni, so much for leaving the podcast, a review. I truly do appreciate that. So we are going to get into today's interview right now with Dan Milner. Now, Dan Milner is a, uh, he's a documentarian, photographer, so he goes out on assignments and shoots, uh, all over the world and does new and interesting things. And I think that that is a really interesting, and it is a, a, a fantastic interview that we're going to get into right now.

Raymond: 00:04:12 But, uh, I want you to know that there are some, um, I had some difficulties with my audio recorder. It recorded all of Dan's audio extremely fast. Uh, so I had to fall back on just the standard audio that was recorded with Skype. So, uh, if you can get through kind of the cracks and the pops and a little bit of a freezing from time to time, I tried to clean as much of it up as possible, then I know that you're still going to get a ton out of this episode. So, uh, let's just go ahead and get on into it right now. My interview with Dan Milner, today's guest is Dan Milner, a self proclaimed creative evangelist, uh, with over 25 years of professional photography experience disinclined to social media. He's a film shooter and his work can be found in the Los Angeles Museum of art as well as the George Eastman House today.

Raymond: 00:05:04 I am so incredibly excited to talk to Dan. Dan, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Of course. Thanks for having me. I love talking about this stuff. This is, this is, this is a fun one for me. I learned about you through a mutual friend of ours, Mark Silber [inaudible] a quite a guy. I mean this guy obviously has been in it for a long time and the way that he kind of sees photography is very, um, very different compared to how a lot of other photographers today talk about photography. And when you two sat down and had your conversation, I knew that you as well would be a perfect fit for the podcast to kind of share your, your story of photography. You have a very, a different take than a lot of other photographers. But before we really get on into all of that, can you take me back to when you first picked up a camera? What was that like for you? I think you have to go

Daniel Milnor: 00:05:58 a slightly further back. It wasn't what made me pick up a camera was my mom picking up a camera. So when I was a kid, uh, we lived from Indiana to want to Texas and my mom had a Pentax k 1000 and Kodachrome and she had this caliber. The pace. Yeah, the, it's probably her camera's probably still out there. Someone's probably still using it. Those things are bulletproof and up everywhere I went we had that Halliburton case. So in Wyoming, if we were in one truck, he always had to move the Halliburton case over and mom was shooting all the time. So the idea of recording with the camera was always kind of in the back of my head. And, uh, I started actually writing before I did photography, which I still do, I write every day, but I, I would, I just started writing like fictional short stories when I was in elementary school and I would write down conversations that I heard and my parents talking to their friends.

Daniel Milnor: 00:06:50 And I don't know why I did that exactly, but I just started recording and the camera became sort of an extension of the writing, whereas I just, I, and I still feel the same today. I just have this need to record things. No one sees what I'm recording or reads or any of that. I just do it constantly. And it's an addiction. It's a curse, whatever you want to call it. So, uh, and then I've got out of high school and, uh, I actually had a scholarship as a shooter, shotgun shooter, believe it or not, uh, which was a really good scholarship and it was to a very good academic school. And the coach that taught the, uh, the shooting team that traveled internationally, it was a really amazing thing. He had seen me shooting when I was a little kid and he came to my dad and said, you know, with the pay when he's older, if he can qualify, get into the stool to the school, I'll give him a scholarship as a shooter.

Daniel Milnor: 00:07:40 And so my life was headed towards that. And also studying geology. I really wanted to be a geologist. And the admissions building and the admissions program at that call was, was moving. And in the process of moving, they lost a huge number of incoming transcripts, including mine. And so the dean of admissions called my mom and said, look, it's our fault. We've locked, we have no record of him. So he's going to have to go somewhere for a semester and then transfer in the following semester. And the only school left open was San Antonio College, which was a two year community school. I knew nothing about. All I knew was that, all I thought at the time was the only people that go to sac are the ones who can't get in anywhere else. And so I was sort of heavy hearted. I went down there, I signed up for basic classes, English history, whatever, that would transfer over to this other school.

Daniel Milnor: 00:08:28 And low and behold, I find out that they have one of the best journalism programs in the country run by a guy named Jerry Townsend. And Jerry was like a no nonsense guy who, who basically saw some images that I'd made and said, hey, if you want to be a photographer, I'll give you a scholarship to be a thugger. Wow. And that was it, man. And I had, I walked in Rudy Gonzalez, who's a photographer. I think at the rocky mountain, no, the rocky mountain news has gone, I don't know where Rudy is now, but Rudy, it was amazing. Photographer was the person I met in the program and he walked up to me with a and an old icon with a screw mount 35 millimeter. And he gave me this little printout that was the sunny 16 rule for exposure. And he gave me an assignment. So literally I had never used a camera for real. And I was, I was going out on assignment. It was that quick. And you learned very, very quickly working on a daily paper, wood blinds. It was a weekly paper, I think at the school. Anyway, it freaked me out. A, I was terrified for about five minutes. And then I just said, I have to own this and I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna go halfway. I'm gonna make this my life. And that was it.

Raymond: 00:09:30 Wow. So let me, let me go back there. When you, when you first showed up to San Antonio College and you decided to take this journaling or journalism class, was it, um, was it through? Uh, the stories that you were writing, is that what you were, were getting the scholarship in or was it through the, the photographs that you had shown?

Daniel Milnor: 00:09:51 So, my mom and I were driving home one day and San Antonio and there was a massive flood happening. And so, uh, when I got out of high school, I was in the, uh, uh, merchant marine program out of Texas a and M at Galveston. That was like a four month program. And one of my roommates on the ship had a camera and he was kind of serious about photography and the ship had a photographer. And I remember being in that ship and watching the ships photographer work. And I had never seen a human move the way that this guy moved and I couldn't figure out why he was moving the way he was. And then after about a month and a half on the ship, I realized he was following light. He was looking at light and he was moving himself into positions for light. And I had never thought about light before.

Daniel Milnor: 00:10:34 So the I, when I got off the merchant marine ship, I picked up a camera. I thought I found an old camera in a closet in our house and I just started wandering around with this thing, no idea what I'm doing. My mom and our driving home one day and there was a flood happening and we come to a low water crossing and there's a school bus full of kids that's about to get swept over this bridge. And the army's brought in, or the air national guard or somebody brought in this big Chinook double screw. Hello. They're trying to lift this bus out. And so we're just standing there watching and I'm like, you know, hey, I have a camera. Maybe I should take pictures of this. So I shoot a couple of pictures and then I shoot a couple of other pictures during the flood and I'm at lunch at school with a bunch of friends sitting around the table and I have these little four by six.

Daniel Milnor: 00:11:14 This is on the table and I'm showing my friends like, Hey, look how great I am. I did these pictures and this instructor walks by and he leans over and he goes, who took those? And I thought I was in trouble, so I'm like, they're not mine. I didn't take them. And so we're all sitting there and then one's like, nope, don't know where they came from, who not ours. And he goes, I'm not leaving. I know one of you took these and that was Jerry towns and actually he was the head head of the journalism department. And I said, okay, I didn't want my friends to get in trouble. I said, okay, these are mine. And he said, I'll give you a scholarship if you want to be a photographer. And that ends, and this was not, this was a community call it, the scholarship was probably less than a hundred dollars.

Daniel Milnor: 00:11:50 It probably paid for my books. But what I didn't realize was that Jerry was, had a really remarkable career and Jerry was driven. And again, he was no nonsense. This was prior to the Internet. This was prior to digital technology. This was prior to politically correct political correctness. This was prior to having to basically baby people who were getting into photography. This was high pressure, high demand, you know, do not mess up if you come back without an image, don't bother coming back kind of thing. And so you're on assignment and people who are there are taking it very seriously, whether you're a writer or a photographer. So the first assignment I had was as a writer and I got sent to a bomb threat and one of the buildings on campus. And on the way there I thought, I wonder why they're sending natives. I'm proud I'm expendable. And then I got over there and they said, hey, we don't have a photographer free, can you make pictures? And I said, I don't really know. And that's when Rudy gave me the camera and the, and the Lens and the sun 16 rule for exposure. And I, I did a couple of assignments and I never went back to writing, even though I write everyday, I never did it for a career.

Raymond: 00:12:53 Oh my gosh. Wow. What a, what a way to get into photography. Like, Hey, here's the camera. Uh, let's go photograph a possible, uh, life, uh, you know, ending situation here. That's insane.

Daniel Milnor: 00:13:04 And the, the funny thing is the first, the first assignment I had after that was to photograph a speaker who, I don't remember who it is now, he's a well known guy. I show up and it's in an auditorium and there are at least 300 people in this auditorium and I'm like, I have a 50. I'm like, I have to be right next to this guy. I have to be up on the stage or in front. And everybody in the room is going to see me. And I stood in the back of the auditorium for a couple of minutes, minutes and I was really nervous. I thought, man, I don't want to do this. And then I thought, you know, I made a decision that I've stuck with for the rest of my life and it was a great decision how I came to it. I don't know, but I, I just said, look, I'm never going to see anyone in this room ever again. And if I go up there and trip and fall over and everyone gets a laugh out of it, that's probably the worst thing that can happen. So I'm going to own this and I'm going to go and move or I need to move to get the pictures. And I did and I still remember what the picture looked like. I still remember where it ran in the, in the, um, the paper. The school was called the ranger and uh, yeah, it was, it was great. It was a great way to learn photography.

Raymond: 00:14:09 Yeah. Very cool. Very cool. Especially to get one of your first images printed. That's a, that that's pretty rare. So that, that's, that's awesome. Um, so I kind of want to know a little bit more about, cause this is at that moment you had decided that you were going to stay at San Antonio College. Is that, is that correct to, to fulfill this? Uh, oh no, that's not what happened.

Daniel Milnor: 00:14:31 No, I, I was there knowing it was a short term gain. I still had the shooting scholarship and the geology school in play had, I wanted to go that direction. But once I started shooting photographs, I, I was like, oh, this is kind of what I've been waiting to do my whole life. And so I looked around for a four year that was in state that had a good photo journalism department. And at the time this, that the school that stood out was a Texas ut Austin. Oh. So, and at the time, this is pretty funny now because, uh, ut Austin, like all other colleges in America have changed dramatically and they're so, they're so expensive. It's what people are paying to go to school there now as beauty on my comprehension. So literally, this was like two weeks before classes started and I was like, I think I want to go to Texas.

Daniel Milnor: 00:15:23 So I applied and they were like, yeah, sure. Come on up. I got, I got in, I paid more for books than I did for tuition. I think my tuition was less than 300 bucks for the, for the semester. Oh my goodness. And Yeah, and I studied photojournalism and I had minors in Spanish and anthropology and fo it was good. The program during that there in the 80s had been one of the premier programs in the country. And when I got there, I would say that the program was in somewhat of a trough. It hadn't sort of kept up with some other programs like the University of Missouri, Western Kentucky, these were photojournalism schools. Um, and then you had the big art schools, like you know, our art center in Pasadena. You had Parsons and an ICP in New York and you know, there was a very different kinds of things.

Daniel Milnor: 00:16:07 We were very specific to photojournalism. And so I realized very shortly after getting to school that whatever I was going to come out with was going to be on my shoulders, not from the faculty saying you're going to do this. Because the faculty was training us to go in one direction. And I realized that the media lead that I needed to go in another direction and consequently I sort of fell out of favor, I think with some of the faculty who just looked at me as either arrogant or, uh, something. Because I said, look, I want to know black and white. I want to photograph black and white, but I need to know color. Because if I get out, I want to be a magazine photographer. Everybody shooting transparency, I can't, I can't shoot, try excel all the time. And they were like, no, no, no.

Daniel Milnor: 00:16:48 You're going to shoot tri-x and a 28 millimeter and everyone's going to love it. And I knew that was not going to be the case. And so I got very fortunate, um, I started shooting color right away and I bought a police scanner, an old police scanner, and every night I would drive from my horrible apartment to the I 35, which splits Austin, uh, north to south. And I would park park underneath the [inaudible] and I would turn on the police scanner and I would just wait because East Austin at that time was very unsettled. There were huge gang problems, there were, there was a lot of crime. There's a lot of stuff happening and at the time I thought, oh, as a photo journalist, this is kind of what I'm supposed to photograph. So I would go and I and I just would show, you know the police scanner would crackle and it would say, you know, box alarm, whatever.

Daniel Milnor: 00:17:39 Or they had codes for domestic violence, they had codes for shooting and I learned what all the codes were and I would show up. Oftentimes I was the first person on the scene. I'd be there before any law enforcement. And this was another education that I never saw coming was how to navigate in the field. And when you, when your police scanner goes off and you roll up on a crime scene and there's no one there, it's not just about photography, it's about all these logistics and scenarios that you have to understand before you can actually get in. Make successful pictures and get out, you know, where do you park your vehicle? If you park and you block an emergency responder, you're in trouble. If something goes sideways and your truck is blocked and you can't get out, then you're in trouble. Um, all these different things, you know, it does.

Daniel Milnor: 00:18:22 Somebody need help for more than, you know, it does that. Trump's making pictures kind of things. And so while I was out one night photographing a house fire, a guy approached me, older guy, suit and tie, oddly enough even at a fire and he was the Austin Fire Department photographer, guy named Erwin had. And Irwin said, you know, I've seen you around at these fires. Who are you? What are you doing? And I told him, it's photo journalism student. And he said to me, do you want to know how to print color? And I said, yeah, because we don't, we're not, they're not going to let us print color for like another two years. He said, come to the fire department, I have a dark room, I'll teach you how to print color. And he did. And Irwin was, was really great. He was a guy that like bent over backwards to help me.

Daniel Milnor: 00:19:06 And, uh, you know, at school you had these Joe blow processors to do a color print, which take about 10,000 years to make a print. And you know, they're good and they're fun. But after a while you're like, okay, I'd love to not have to spend 45 minutes on this print. So Irwin had an automated color processor and an enlarger with a color head. And he taught me not only how to print color, but then also told me how to use color settings to printed black and white. And that like blew my mind open. So I got lucky and, um, I had a good run at the paper. I started to freelance while I was still in school. I was doing assignments for the daily Texan, which was the paper at ut. Really good paper. And the people I was working with. I mean, um, John McConico who went on to AP, John Moore, who's at AP John Fronts, uh, John Mark Bizu who won two Pulitzers at AP, you know, these were my, um, we didn't hang out a whole lot, but these were my, my fellow students, Scott Dalton, who, who's covered the drug war in Columbia for 10 years.

Daniel Milnor: 00:20:04 Um, I went to school with some really amazing photographers. Oh my [inaudible]

Raymond: 00:20:09 goodness. So just before we move on, how long were you a a, a nightcrawler going and photographing these, you know, possibly horrific scenes. How long were you doing that for?

Daniel Milnor: 00:20:21 I did that in Austin for a couple of years. And then my first internship as I got out of school and I looked forever to try to find an internship. And this is kind of a long story with that. I'll spare you the details, but at the time it was incredibly difficult to find internships and I kept getting rejected for all kinds of reasons. Very rarely was it about imagery. It was always about extraneous things that would keep me from getting these internships. But I finally got one, I think, I don't know for certain, I think someone called on my behalf, I think I know who it was that called them on my behalf, but he has never admitted doing so. But anyway, I've got this internship, Arizona, Republican Phoenix, and it was amazing because the republic had a huge budget. It's, you know, it's a big paper.

Daniel Milnor: 00:21:05 It's state paper. They did international, national, local news. They covered the whole state that a big staff. Um, but I worked the three to 11, 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM shift as an intern and after seven o'clock, because it was a morning paper, it, unless a UFO landed in the middle of downtown, nothing you shot after 7:00 PM was good to make the paper basically. So I had my police scanner and I would leave the paper and I would drive straight south on central avenue and I would pull over and south Phoenix at the seat at the time was a war zone. It was not a happy place to be after sunset. And so for me as a photographer again, and I was like, oh, I'm a journalist. I'm supposed to be doing this stuff. So I started shooting the same thing and it was worse than Austin.

Daniel Milnor: 00:21:53 It was, you know, every night there were, there were, there's a lot of bad stuff happening. And so I got to know some of the police department. I got to know some of the fire department. And I also began to understand editorial policy and marketing and advertising and how what you saw in the paper was not necessarily representative of the news because I started coming back with images that were not popular in the newsroom because management saw them and said, no one's going to buy the paper if we're showing this stuff. And we're trying to sell ads for golf courses and they don't want to see domestic violence shootouts in south Phoenix. And so I come. And so what I started to do is I compiled this huge folder of all the work that I've made in Phoenix in the middle of the night. And when I quit at the paper and moved on, I went to the photo editor and just dropped it on his desk and said, you know, you can kind of deny that this is happening in the city, but this is happening in the city.

Daniel Milnor: 00:22:48 You know, we can't, you're supposed to be a news organization. You have to cover everything. Yes, the golf course is important. Yes. The Phoenix Suns are important and the cardinals and I get it. It's, you know, and that's the thing about a community paper is you have to cover the community. And thankfully by the time I left South, Phoenix was making some progress and I don't know what it's like now, but you know, most of these places have been gentrified to some degree. The violence levels are down. I mean, there are exceptions in the country where there's some pretty dicey places out there. But, um, I learned a lot, you know, and the fact that I could speak Spanish, uh, the police loved it because I would show up sometimes at like domestic disputes and translate where the police, yeah, they would say, hey, you speak Spanish.

Daniel Milnor: 00:23:27 You guys speak Spanish? Well, Hey, what would he saying to her? And vice versa. And, and I'm like, and at the time I forget what I was probably like 22 and I'm, I'm walking around like, is this really happening? And uh, and just crazy scenes, you know, I mean, I got shot at once in [inaudible] at a little league baseball game. There were people all over the place. There had to be 2000 people around. And I was photographing a, a kid who was part of the gang in Austin and I'd known him for a long time. We'd spent like four months together and we were hanging out. Uh, I was with his gang and we were all sort of hanging around drinking beer, hanging out in this little section of the buttery over that was theirs. And someone came in and said, hey, so-and-so from this rival gang called Egv east of audio there, he's at this other location and you know, we've got to go get him.

Daniel Milnor: 00:24:18 And so they all run to go. And I was like, well, I want to go to take pictures. And I didn't know what get him meant. No. I was like, oh, they're probably gonna fight. And so we roll up and I get out of the car and like an idiot first of all at a 24 millimeter lens on, which is mistake number one. Number two, I've strobe on major mistake number three. I put myself in the worst possible position, which was between the guys that I was with and between the guy that they were going after, but there were people all over it. So there was a little league baseball game happening to my right. There was another one behind me and I was like, nothing's gonna, nothing's gonna happen here. And then I heard a window break car window and it just, I saw literally it was like, it was as if a gunshot had gone off.

Daniel Milnor: 00:25:07 All the people at the little league games collectively went like this. Everybody froze, duck and started taking cover. And again, I'm like looking around, not quite putting it together. And then full auto rounds guide, the guy whose car window was broken gets it's trapped in the parking lot. He stands up, turns around with fully automatic and just unloads on the parking lot. So like I'm hearing these rounds hitting and I'm like, maybe I should take cover. I didn't take any photographs, which is not not good. But I remember looking down at my feet and there was a mom and a little boy behind the front wheel of a car and, and you could tell that this was not, this was not the first time they'd had to do this, that this was, this kind of violence was relatively common. And so the whole, you know, 10 seconds goes by, I have no idea what I did.

Daniel Milnor: 00:25:58 I wake up and I'm next to her on the ground behind the car and the guy, that's stupid. The shooting is driven away. And I waited and I waited for the police to show up and nobody showed up. Nobody came. And about 10 minutes later, the games were gone again, everyone's back plan. And I was like, wow, this is a, you can get used to anything. Wow. So did tell me that you made the conscious decision not to take any photos in that moment? No. Hell No. I didn't know what I was doing. I froze. I mean, I, there's a, there's a 10 to 15 second period where I have no idea what I did. I got from standing down to the ground. So I did something smart. But the other thing was the distance involved with a 24 and a strobe, if I'd pop the strobe, it would have highlighted my position, which is probably not a good idea. And with a 24, he would have been, you know, microscopic in the frame and I just, it was just a bad move. It was bad all the way around, but I didn't get shot. So.

Raymond: 00:26:54 Yeah. Well, yeah, you're here today and I'm, I'm, I'm thankful for that. I'm sure it's, you're thankful for that as well. Wow. Uh,

Daniel Milnor: 00:26:59 but I also realized that, that, you know, the sort of getting shot at thing was not something that I was keen on. Oh yeah. And the other thing was the idea of having a picture of the guy doing the shooting was not what was intriguing to me. What was intriguing to me was the game starting again five minutes later. And the fact that this was conditioned, this was a conditioned response to, to perpetual simmering sort of crime and violence and you get used to it and all of a sudden, you know, uh, it's normal. It's like, oh, they're not shooting at me. This is totally fine. I'll be fine. That's what was intriguing to me. That is really the moment that I went from being a photo journalist to a documentary photographer that I was not the front lines and stuff was not, I don't think I have the fortitude to do the front line stuff, but what I did have was the fortitude to do longterm stories.

Raymond: 00:27:54 Yeah. I definitely want to get into to you as a documentarian and doing these long form stories, uh, as I think that sets you apart from, from a lot of other photographers. But as you mentioned as well, a lot of people are, you know, we're, we're still kind of, uh, under the impression that you should go to college to make it in a profession that you want to be in. But with the rising cost of college, a lot of people are wondering, you know, is photography something that you really need to go to school for? So I'm sure that when you made the decision to go to, uh, Texas and Austin to, uh, to go specifically pretty much for photography, I want know, uh, what did you hope to have or what did you hope to know by the time you left school? And do you think that it's still as important to go to college today, uh, as it was when you went,

Daniel Milnor: 00:28:50 what did I help to get out of it, you know, fame for

Raymond: 00:28:52 in a famous I right out of college.

Daniel Milnor: 00:28:55 No. And uh, and I had an apartment right in the middle of all the sororities, which was a good move. That was, that was a good move. Uh, in hindsight now I ha, let me think about that. What was my goal? Getting out? I wanted to be a professional photographer. And at the time there were, there was a clear foot path that you followed to go from a to B to c to d and how you became a photographer. Uh, the short answer to the second part of the question is it's not necessary. It's not critical, essential to go to college. However, in my opinion, it is critical to actually learn photography. So whether you do that in college or you do that with a mentorship program where you do that through a series of workshops or a combination of all the above, if you're going to be a legitimate photographer, and this is, people are going to take offense at some of this I know, but there's a big difference between being an online photographer and being an actual photographer.

Daniel Milnor: 00:29:49 There are two industries working simultaneously. You have the online photo community and you have the on on earth, realtime human being, editors, agents, agencies, assignments and professional photographers. These are two entirely separate groups of people that oftentimes don't even recognize one another. They don't know any, they don't know each other. So, for example, you can have a guy that has a million Instagram followers who does youtube that has a ton of followers and blah, blah, blah. And if you said to any agent or editor or photo art buyer in the photo industry and said, have you ever heard of this person? There's a good chance they're going to say no idea who that is because that's the online photo world. The online photo world to me is very deceptive because you have a lot of people selling things. And so, you know, hey look at me. And basically it's based on numbers based on following and traffic.

Daniel Milnor: 00:30:39 And that's a very dangerous thing. Very different thing from saying, here's a really good photographer. I know tons of good photographers, elite level people who have no social following whatsoever. They just, cause they're busy working all the time. They're actually doing real assignments, they're doing editorial work, they're doing commercial advertising, fashion and fine art, automotive, et Cetera. So these two very different things. There was no internet when I got out of school. So my goal was to get into the, into the photography world for real. I wanted to make my living from photography and that meant I wanted to have health insurance, I wanted to have money in the bank. I wanted to, I didn't want to, I've never been a believer in this concept of the starving artist. I think that there are plenty of starving artists, but I think that that in some ways is something that you have to mentally get over.

Daniel Milnor: 00:31:25 There's no reason if you're a, if you're capable of making unique work and that's easier said than done, but if you're capable of making unique work, there's no reason to starve. You know, you have to, you have to be intelligent about it. But there's a way of doing it. At least there was at the time. So I got out of school knowing that I needed to get a job at a newspaper that was step one on. And then while I was at the newspaper, after I had been there for awhile, I would start freelancing for editorial clients on the side magazine clients. And then eventually when you had enough magazine clients, you would leave the newspaper and you would jump into the magazine world. And from the magazine world that led to commercial photography and from commercial photography to advertising where the serious money is, and that's still true to this day, is advertising. Photography is really where the massive budgets are. Not nearly as massive as they once were, but the ultimate end game was to be able to shoot advertising very sporadically, just enough for me to be able to pay for my own documentary projects. That's really the rub is most documentary photographers, it seems like, or a significant percentage are doing other kinds of work to try to make money to do their own projects. That's the, that's the key. It's hard. It's not, it's getting harder every day.

Raymond: 00:32:40 Yeah. So as a documentarian, in your own words, what would you say is your job as the photographer? What do you have to do or capture to consider your job a success?

Daniel Milnor: 00:32:55 I think you have to make original work. Um, that's, that's the key. It's very easy for me to go online and see what somebody else has done and go out and copy it. There's people who are doing that every day, every generation of photographer, every generation. There's a handful of people worldwide that come along that add something new to the conversation. I am not one of those people. I wish I was, but I'm not. But every, you know, you have Sebastian, you had, let's go way back. You have Jean Smith, w Jean Smith, documentary photographer, probably the best documentary photographer that's ever lived after Jean Smith. The next person that jumps out to me would be somebody who likes semesters. So Gado. And so Gado was not only a good photographer, but he was able to secure funding. He was able to secure longterm assignments. He was able to envision where his projects would be in 10 years time.

Daniel Milnor: 00:33:45 And so God would also work on a project for 10 years before it was before it was released. So he did, you know, uh, the, his first project, big one that got recognition was the famine in Ethiopia. And then he did a project in the Americas than he did workers. And these were 10 year increments. And so Gada would come to someone like Kodak where I worked at one point and he would say, I want x amount of money. And they would give it to him because he come in and say, if you give me this money, this is what's going to transpire. And it was all worked out over like a five, six, seven year period. And you're like, nobody else is doing this. While it's remarkable, you want to be able to key for really the key to be an a to being a photographer is to try to tell unique stories in a way that people can immediately recognize who did the work. And that's hard today when there's so many people working in. So much of the work you see looks exactly the same. And it's hard. It took 10 years of shooting every day to figure out what I was doing. Literally 10 years.

Raymond: 00:34:43 I believe it. I believe it. So was it, you'll work for the paper, which seems very running gun. Do it now let's tell the story right away, which is, maybe I'm wrong, but I would consider kind of short form. Uh, did that kind of, um, open you up to the idea of long form stuff or, or get you excited for that?

Daniel Milnor: 00:35:05 Yeah, so the, the daily paper, especially a big day daily where you're getting multiple assignments every day, you get up in the morning, you go into the paper, there's a little basket that has your name on it and it is a stack of paper. And each one of those is an assignment. And the beauty of that is that, and we're shooting at the time, I'm shooting 35 millimeter transparency film. So I'm shooting slide film. This is not easy. It's not easy. You've got to get it right. Your exposure has to be right. And the assignment range on a typical day would go something like this. Um, city council meeting in a windowless room with three people and overhead fluorescent lighting, which, which meant you had to put a green Magenta filter on your camera and a Green Gel on your strobe, balance it out for the, you know, with, with a hundred speed, Fuji Chrome pushed to three 20, you could shoot it f for at a, you know, 30th of a second with a strobe bounced off the ceiling and you do this and these pictures are horrible and they suck and no one should have ever assigned this.

Daniel Milnor: 00:36:02 But you've got it and you're like cursing the paper and you're cursing the person that assigned it and the people in the city council don't want you there and you don't want to be there and you, so you bang that thing out and you're like, okay, well get me Outta here. And then you get in the truck and your beeper goes off. At the time we had beepers, no cell phones and it's, and it's always nine one one. It's always a panic emergency. Hey, this fell through the gaps. You know, you have to go photograph the mayor. And so you go, okay. And you go and you shoot a portrait of the mayor. And then on the way back to the paper, there's a brush fire that fires up in downtown Phoenix and there's houses on fire and they're like, go shoot the brush fire.

Daniel Milnor: 00:36:40 So you're going from all one thing to another all day long. And it is the ultimate training ground. But it's frustrating because you don't get time. So on this on the side, on the days of the week that I was not working or from, if I work through 11 I was still up at whatever, six in the morning I would be out shooting projects. And so what you were hoping for was that the paper would occasionally would throw you a bone and say, look, we're going to give you a picture package on, you know, the community section. And they ended up running three, four, five pictures and that, what's your appetite for [inaudible]? This is great. And also my, you know, I'm, I'm at the half price bookstore in Austin looking at books of my idols. I'm looking at Salgado, I'm looking at Nachtwey, I'm looking at Jill Perez and I'm looking at an Alex Webb and Maggie Steber and I'm looking at the books and the work that they're putting out. And I'm like, that's who I want to be. I want, these are multi year, you know, 50 to a hundred images over a five to 10 year period on the same story. That is intriguing to me. It still is.

Raymond: 00:37:45 Yeah. Yeah. So, so when, when did you, what was, I guess your first assignment of, of this caliber? Was it something that you had given yourself that you decided to tackle? Did you get an idea from somewhere else? Was it commissioned?

Daniel Milnor: 00:37:59 So all of the best work I've ever done. This is really sad, but I think it's true for about 95% of all the photographers out there. The best work I've ever done was all self assigned because what I learned very quickly, and I'm, I just, I turned 50 in January, so I'm, I got the tail end of what I would consider the last sort of real photo industry that existed as ar, as the generations before us new. So there was a real editorial world. People were paying rates, you could get contracts, all of these things that are really out the window, these, so, but I learned very quickly that to get a multi-day assignment was rare. So you know, I'd get a three or four day assignment editorial assignment. Those were few and far between. Most of them were these quick hit things that I thought, this isn't helping me at all.

Daniel Milnor: 00:38:51 I'm shooting all these pictures and these pictures are other people's pictures. These are not mine. Yes. So in 19 1997 I'm living in southern California. I'm assisting for a photographer named Rick recommend. And Rick, who I think is actually from New Mexico. Um, Rick was really helpful to me because he sort of took me under his wing, taught me a lot of things about photography, not actual image making, but taught me about invoicing and assignments and working with editors and all this stuff that I had no experience with. I didn't know what I was doing. And so Rick, I assisted for Rick for several years, um, and he was super helpful to me and he would get multi-day assignments. He would do stuff for the geographic and life and time and people and all these things. So he was, uh, he was a working, uh, editorial guy all the time.

Daniel Milnor: 00:39:39 And so, but I realized that the odds of me becoming him were very slim. And so I decided my wife works for Canon or worked for Canon for 30 years, and she got a call from someone she knew that worked at Kodak and they said, Hey, we're looking for rep in southern California. And my wife said, oh, and she'd get my husband to do it, he'd be great. So I did that job for a few years and to get the job I had to sign a conflict of interest letter that said I would no longer do assignments because if I was doing assignments then I'd be competing with the people that I was trying to help at Kodak and I said, okay, I'll sign this if you sign something that says I get all the free film, Chem host and paper I can possibly use, which for Kodak was nothing.

Daniel Milnor: 00:40:23 Of course they signed it, they signed it, but it was not a big deal and so I sold all my equipment except for like a 35 millimeter thick guy to like 50 and a 35 and for the next four years, the only pictures I made were longterm projects of my own assignment and I realized at the end of four years what I was onto and that this was the best work I've ever done and the only work I wanted to do. So I didn't want to do magazines work anymore. I didn't want to do commercial photography, I just wanted to do longterm projects. That is very difficult to do in the u s because there's so little market for it. And every year the market was getting smaller and smaller and now there's virtually nothing. There's virtually no outlets for that kind of work outside of the books.

Raymond: 00:41:07 That is a shame. That is a shame. Uh, I know growing up and I, I talked about this in the beginner photography podcast Facebook group before. I've always said that kind of when I first got into photography, my dream was always like to follow the band, you know what I mean? Like, or follow the team from, from the underdogs to like winning the, you know, the world series that year or whatever it was, or coming out with a granny winning album. Um, and, but cause you never really saw those photos. You'd see everything in between and you would never see the entire book. And that's when, that's, that's where when you would go to these bookstores and you would see these photo books of these, of these singular events, you know, a singular topic that, that took up the entire book. It really puts you in that place because suddenly you knew the story and it didn't take any words at all. So I want to talk more about the storytelling aspect of photography. As I've said many times on the podcast that a great photo is so much more than just the sum of its settings and a lot of what makes a photo great is the story that it tells now specializing in these longterm stories. D, How much of the story is planned out and you know like, like, like you know what you want to capture versus just showing up and simply reacting?

Daniel Milnor: 00:42:30 Well it entirely depends on the project and it depends on two primary ingredients, which are time and access. How much time do you, and what's your access? Like assets back in the mid nineties was very easy. If you had a press credential, you get anything you want and you'd show up in the middle of nowhere and some part of the country and without a press pass and people would be like, hey, you want to come into our house, we'll make lunch. You could hang out, whatever those days are. Those days are gone. Everybody's suspicious now. So time and access are really critical. But for me, I was working at the newspaper in Austin at the daily texts and I was freelancing for like anyone who would hire me that doing these, you know, little assignments here and there. And I went to half price books one day, and I'll never forget this, I go into the photo book section and there's two books.

Daniel Milnor: 00:43:16 There's one book called Mexico, which is by a magnum photographer named my boss who I met 15 years ago. And his, his primary work at that time was a multi like 15 year product on Islam all around the world, which is this remarkable book, if you can get it. But he did this little book called Mexico and Mexico was basically all black and white, all like, uh, and it was just kind of random. It was like a personal notebook from Mexico. And I looked at it and I'm like, oh, I like this. And then I opened this book called Telex, Iran by a photographer named Jill Perez, who's a French guy who, a magnum photographer as well. And I just froze because one, I had never seen pictures like this before. They were so different and so sophisticated compared to what I was looking at. It literally freaked me out.

Daniel Milnor: 00:44:05 I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it, but the book was about the Iranian Revolution in 79 and GL had been there for a long time working on this project and this story and the book, the copy, the writing, and the book were telex is between he and that Magnum office in Paris. If I have that, if I remember this correctly. And what got me was that was the honesty in the telexes because here's a guy that's already established at Magnum. He's got multiple stories under his belt. He's an incredible photographer. He's a very intelligent guy that's way more than just a photographer. But there's a vulnerability in these telexes that I did not expect to see of of the, of the doubt that he had in his mind and the uncertainty and the challenges. And I was like, wow, I'm in the same boat that he is like he's, even though he's way better than I am.

Daniel Milnor: 00:44:54 And he's way more established and he's got these books, you know, he's, there's hope for me because he's, there are cracks in his armor, he's admitting. And so, but I didn't buy that book, which was a big mistake because that was a first edition telex Iran, which is now probably worth like $5,000 but anyway, I was like, I can't, I can't buy this. It's too intimidating for me to look at this. So I bought the Abbas book, which I still have, but it haunted me that I'd never bought this book. And then like five years ago, I'm sitting in a cafe in Brooklyn and I had my camera on the table in front of me, which is an emperor like a, and a guy walks by and he goes, nice camera. And I look up and it's jeal and it turns out that the coffee shop I was sitting at is like half a block from his studio.

Daniel Milnor: 00:45:38 And I said, holy cow. I go, he's Y'all Perez. And he sat down and then he goes, hey, let's go to the studio. And then I called the founder of blurb who was in New York at the time and I said, you're never going to believe this. I'm going to show Perez a studio. And she was like, Hey, I want to go to show a studio. So we went to a studio and we had lunch with him and he gave us like a t. It was amazing. And he and I wrote letters back and forth for quite a while and I told him, I said, I screwed up. I didn't buy your book. I should've bought your book, you know, in Austin all those years ago. And then something funny happened about six months ago, a friend of mine moved from California to Wisconsin, a really good friend, good photographer.

Daniel Milnor: 00:46:20 And he called me and he said, we're having a going away party. Make sure you come to the going away party. I said, okay. So we get to the party and he goes, where's your truck? I said, oh, I parked around there. He goes back your truck up over here. And he opens up the back of his truck and it's filled with photo books. And he said, look, I can't take these with me. And the first book on the stack on top was Tellico Iran and he's like, and he's like, here's the book I know you're really going to want no. So I got my copy. Wow. What an amazing story. What an amazing story. That must have felt really good in that moment. Oh Man. That book is, it's still freaks me out. I mean he gave me a stack of books that are theirs.

Daniel Milnor: 00:47:06 To me, books are evidence. You can't deny what's in there and they are, they are the quality bar that has already been set. So if I'm, if I'm coming to new Mecca, northern New Mexico and I'm going to do a project about the culture here, then I have books like Norman mouse costs, the descendants that, and Jimmy Santiago was the one who wrote the copy for the book, a Jack Woody at twin palms published it and Norman Mascot is the photographer. That book is there. It's my responsibility as a photographer to know about that book and to know what's in it. And I'm either going to add to that conversation or I'm not doing the project because it's already been done and it's been done at a very high level. And that's one of the big things that you'll see today with the online photo community is there's very little research done.

Daniel Milnor: 00:47:55 So with sometimes I'll see, I'll hear about a project and it's being hyped and everyone's like, oh, that's amazing and it's great, it's amazing. And I look at it and I go, not only is it not amazing, it was already done five years ago by So-and-so, and when they did a much better job, it's that the new photographer was able to learn how to market the thing and spin it with through social and marketing numbers and traffic and be like, well look, I'm getting all this buzz. But ultimately when you look at the work you go, this is just not that good. That one of the big misconceptions about photography in the digital age is that it's easy now because of all the technology and that is completely inaccurate. It's as difficult to make a good image today as it always has been. And it's just as rare because to get a lifetime sort of signature image you need, you need the right light, you need the right timing, the right composition.

Daniel Milnor: 00:48:44 And it's really hard. And it's rare. I mean, I go maybe if I'm lucky a couple of times a year I'll get something that I think would fit if I, if I've reduced my life down to the top 20 images, it's rare that something new comes along and knock something out of that original 20 it's really hard to get work like that. And so I think the Internet and the technology fools us into thinking that what we're making is really good. Most of the time it's not. And that's totally fine. I think as a photographer you need to be prepared to fail the vast majority of the time. And for some reason when I was in school, and again I'm 50 so it was a little bit different philosophy back then, but failure wasn't viewed in the same way. You kind of expect that you are going to fail most of the time.

Daniel Milnor: 00:49:29 And when you put your work up in front of your peers, they were going to tear you apart piece by piece. And that's typically what happened. And then suddenly failure wasn't viewed the same way and you weren't supposed to talk about it and you weren't supposed to admit it and whatever. But I think, I mean, look, if you're a photographer and I'm a photographer and you put your work down in front of me and I put my work down, you're going to see things you like and you're gonna see things you don't like. And you have to be able to say, look, Milner, you know, I, I see where you're going here, but you're not there yet. It's not good enough. And then I have to be able to set thick enough skin to go, hey, well thanks for being honest with me. What do you think I should do?

Daniel Milnor: 00:50:04 Like what's missing? What? How do I fill the gaps or whatever. And so that's the kind of education that you get when you're learning photography in a school. It's not about technical stuff. You know ut Austin, the tech pickle, literally the entire amount of time that will be spent on technical was probably less than a week. And the rest of the three and a half, four years of the stuff was had nothing to do with technique. It had everything to do with process about story, about editing, about sequencing, about design. Those are the important things. The equipment, nobody cared. I mean, you know, people had of Nikon FM body with a 28 and a roll of triax and they were like here. That was the extent of the gear conversation. Sure. W we probably spent more time talking about printing technique and photographic technique. Yeah, cause it's con it's complicated.

Raymond: 00:50:58 So, okay. So, so we talked about when you first started creating a a gallery of say 20 images of your life's work, it's very hard to, to, to break that, to move one of those out and replace it with a new photo today. Yeah. So if we wanted to do that, if we want to take better photos, just so that I'm clear, the best way to do that is constant critiquing, constant ripping apart our own photos to, to, to continue to grow. Is that it?

Daniel Milnor: 00:51:32 Well, I would say the first step is you have to practice, you know, photography is a, is a physical skill, right? It's, it's hand eye coordination. It's anticipation, it's knowledge of your subject matter. It's an understanding of light, of timing, of composition. But it's, it's like working out, it's a skill. It's like riding, riding your bicycle. You ride every day for 30 days. At the end of 30 days you're like, well, I feel pretty fit. But that first day you're riding and you're like, oh my God, I think I'm going to die. Like that's, and photography's the same. So for example, um, I had not worked on a project for quite awhile and two and a half weeks ago, I flew to Albania and I shot every day for two weeks in Albania trying to produce a project. And the first couple of days in Albania I was terrible.

Daniel Milnor: 00:52:16 I mean I'm looking at things happening and saying, oh, there was my phone. Oh, I should have shot that. I just wasn't good because I'm sloppy. I'm slow, I'm not looking, I'm not anticipating, I'm fumbling around and I've been doing this for 30 years. So practicing and staying sharp, um, I think being aware of what has already been done and, and understanding where you fit in as a photographer and what the context of you, what your context is in the grand scheme of things. Really important. Let's say for example, I want to do a project on the border. The border has been photographed in a million times over. I've done multiple projects down there myself as have many of my friends. So if I go to an art buyer or an agent in New York and I want to show my work and I'm showing a project on the border, I better know what's already been done.

Daniel Milnor: 00:53:02 Because if I put something in front of this person and I say, look at me, look how original I am. And she looks at me and says, you know, so-and-so, and so and so and so and so already did the same project. It makes me look really bad. So even if I, even if these people have already done the project and I can sit with her and I can say, look, I know that bill and Mary and Tom all did this project before, but this is why I did it and this is I'm Kay, I'm going to take the baton from them and I'm going to move at one step forward because I'm adding this other element or I have a different angle or I got better access. And so you're adding to what's been done and for whatever reason today, I see there's a lot of aversion to this idea that you have to know what's been done because people want to believe that they're amazing and they want to believe that very quickly that you know, you get out of school and you're like, I want to be famous, you know, I want big assignments and do this and that and you kind of, that's a hard game to win.

Daniel Milnor: 00:53:54 And I think if you're, there's a big difference between being hot for a year as a photographer and having a 30 year career. Those are two entirely. It's a, it's a marathon and a sprint and I'd always rather be in the marathon conversation and to be in the marathon you have to do some basic fieldwork and some groundwork and have some basic knowledge, so practicing having a fundamentally sound, but then also just learning who you are with a camera because if you can't make original photographs, there is no chance that you will have a 30 year career. None because there's too many people who can do everything. Jack of all trades, low level commercial photographer has a studio, what do you shoot? I'll shoot anything that comes in. I'll shoot a wedding, I'll shoot a portrait, I'll shoot a product, I'll shoot this, I'll shoot that.

Daniel Milnor: 00:54:41 There's 10 thousands of these people out there and what you end up doing is you get into these pricing wars where the price goes down and down and down because everybody's competing for these small jobs. That's a hard run. I'd much rather take my chances, have a part time job doing something else, learn who I am as a photographer or be able to make original work. And then when clients see that original work, they say if, if we want that kind of photography, the only person who can do it is that person that has value. That's why people still pay for photography is because certain people do things that nobody else can do and there's value in that.

Raymond: 00:55:16 Yeah. So you mentioned being not being a jack of all trades and if you want to have a 30 year career, you have to really be a master at something. You have had that 30 year career in your own words, what are you a master of wasting time? That's why you're here with me today. Yeah, that makes sense.

Daniel Milnor: 00:55:38 Photographically, I don't know. I don't know if there's anything that I would call, it's hard to call myself a master at anything. I think that there are things that I've learned how to do well and there's things that took me a long time to figure out, but once I figured them out, I think that they, they've helped. I think this is probably not a great answer for you, but I think what I realized a long time ago was that it wasn't enough anymore to just be a photographer. You need to be a more well rounded human being. Because here's the funny thing, there is a lot of photographers out there a lot more than ever. So let's say that you want a commercial assignment and the creative agency that's in charge of assigning the photographer, a photographer, they're looking around, they're looking around and when they meet with you, let's say you go to a portfolio review and there's, they're looking at 10 photographers that day and you walk up there and I walk up and our friends walk up and this are our buyers looking at you and she's looking at your portfolio and she's looking at my portfolio.

Daniel Milnor: 00:56:39 She's not just looking at your portfolio, she's looking at you and she's listening to you. And she's looking at your, how you're dressed, she's listening to your vocabulary to see you have a sense of humor. Does he have a massive ego? And more importantly, are the clients going to like this person? Can I leave this person alone on the set with a client and they will not embarrass me? Will the clients like them? Will they, if something goes wrong, will they be able to handle it? What's their, what's their crew like? What's their plan B? Like all of these different things that in photo school, they don't teach you anything about this. Right? So you learned that being a photographer is about being a well rounded, intelligent human being that is continually on the hunt for new knowledge. The photography will come with practice and with sort of perseverance. But all the peripheral things to me are more important today than they ever have been because it's way more than the pictures. That's it.

Raymond: 00:57:37 So what was I going to get into this for a few more questions, but is this one of the reasons why you are, um, according to your website, you, you believe that, uh, social media that you are a complete and total non-believer of social media and that these platforms have done irreparable damage to human communication skills and attention span?

Daniel Milnor: 00:58:02 Jeez. Did I say that? Well, it sounds, whoever wrote the copy on your website, that sounds negative. Uh, yeah. But yeah, in essence, I believe exactly that, but there's a little background here. So I don't want social media. I think things like Instagram, uh, are proving themselves to be one of the most detrimental, uh, contributions to our society that I think I've ever seen. I always kind of joke with my friends. I'm not sure that that's a species we will survive. Instagram, you know, it's unleashing a LE, a level of consumerism on the planet that we simply can't sustain. It's unleashing a, a battle against the environment that we can't sustain or can't win. But this goes way back. So, um, and here's the ironic part is that I was one of the first people that I know in the entire world to be on Facebook.

Daniel Milnor: 00:58:57 I went to New York to do an assignment and it was for someone that had something to do with the Central Park Committee. So I'm talking to her in New York and she says Facebook. And I'm like, what's that? And she goes, oh, this is new thing called Facebook. When you get back to California, you should sign up for it. And so I'm like, okay. I fly back to California, I sign up on Facebook. No one I know is on Facebook, not a single person, it's just me and I'm on there. And there's other people on there. I'm like, Hey, this is kinda cool. And same thing when in scrap hats, I'm walking down the street in San Francisco. Friend mine calls me and goes, hey, there's this new thing called Instagram. You should check it out. I stop in the middle of the street, I download the app and I start Fitbit, fitbit, start taking pictures and posting on Instagram.

Daniel Milnor: 00:59:35 So I was on these things long before any of my friends were on there and including all my friends who are basically given their entire life to be platforms. But six years ago I was here in New Mexico. My birthday is January 1st I woke up on my birthday and I was like, I don't believe in this anymore. This is not what we were originally sold of what this is. I said, I am watching this. These networks destroy my friends. They are like skittish, scared little creatures who can't get through a conversation without looking at their phone. They're insecure, their work has gone downhill and the work they're producing is only being produced to try to drive numbers on these social networks. And it's garbage cause it looks like everybody else's, it looks like Instagram content. So I called the founder of blurb and I called him the marketing director of Laura, who was my immediate boss at the time.

Daniel Milnor: 01:00:26 And I said, uh, I know this is probably isn't going to go over well, but I'm deleting seven networks right now and I don't ever want to go back on his networks. And the marketing director said at the time, she said, I hate them too. I think this is all, you know, go ahead. So I thought, oh, that's great. And then the founder said, go ahead and do it, but write about why, why does you're doing it. And so I did and I did a couple, I deleted social media, which is by far the highest traffic post I've ever done. And look at you went to those numbers. Well it's because here's something funny happened. So two weeks goes by and I went through detox. I would literally, in moments of like call, just pick up your phone just to look at first. And then I just pick it off for no reason.

Daniel Milnor: 01:01:09 And I'd be in the field shooting and I'd go, oh, I should check like Facebook. As I'm walking down the street somewhere trying to shoot, I'd be thinking about Instagram and I thought this is bad. So two weeks detox. And then after two weeks I kind of came through the veil and I looked back and I thought, man, I am I, that was just not good. So I, uh, wrote a post, the posted got all this traffic. I don't know the specific numbers, but it was by far more than any post done. But something funny happened, kind of tragic, is that people began to write me asking for help. They were saying, I'm physically addicted. I lost my house, I lost my job, I lost my family. I can't stay off of Facebook. I'm on Instagram 60 hours a week. I'm on nerves, nervous, I'm unhappy.

Daniel Milnor: 01:01:53 I'm taking depression medication. So I had to write a follow up post and saying, I'm not a medical person. I'm not a psychiatrist. If you need medical help, please seek, you know, attend, seek medical attention or psychiatric help. But that's not my role. I'm just not qualified to, to help in that way. That post was six years ago. I get emails every week from people all over the world saying, help me help, help. Um, you know, I can't get out. And that's the, one of the things that's very interesting to me is that I think all of us are probably touched by someone in our family or close to our families that has substance abuse problem, right? Either alcohol, drugs, whatever, and you and people are pretty thirsty. Uh, it's pretty easy for people to say, yeah, that's an addiction. You know, it's too bad.

Daniel Milnor: 01:02:36 Get help, whatever. Then you move down the scale and you come to things like sex and gambling and you go, well, I've got a, I've got, I'm a sex addict, or you know, I'm a gambling addict and you get up. There's a lot less people that want to say, Yep, those are legitimate addictions. You know, there's a lot of people that go, oh, those are just choices. You should just stop. Then you slide down the scale even further and you get to technology and there are so few people who want to admit that something like Instagram is a physical addiction, but it is, it is a dopamine physical addition. And I have seen it ruined. So many of my friends who are photographers whose just their entire existence is based on that app and it's not, I don't want any part of it. I have.

Daniel Milnor: 01:03:22 So I deleted all my accounts and then about four years later, the marketing director of blurb at the time said to me, it would really help us if you had an Instagram account. And I said, never gonna happen. I'm never going to do that. And so about 15 minutes later, or I'm sitting right next to her, she says, I just created an account in your name game. Don't worry. Don't worry about it. We will manage it. And I said, okay. And so two days goes by and I'm like, I better look at what they're putting on there cause it has my name on it and none, it's not their fault, but they don't know me. You know, they're not intimate with me as a photographer. They don't know my philosophy. And so the work they are putting on, the captions, the style, the look at it said, no, I can't do this.

Daniel Milnor: 01:04:02 So I started managing the account and then that lasted until I guess about six or eight months ago and I thought, why am I doing this? This, I don't like anything about this. I don't think it's helping blurb really in particular. So I quit posting and I haven't heard anything. So go back and look, why are you not posting? But you know, I think, I think anyone who gives themselves two weeks away from social, I think you'll be amazed because if you can survive two weeks cold Turkey, no access, no like sneaking peaks, no nothing. If you do two weeks, you will look back and you will see it in a very different light and I can almost guarantee that it's going to make you at least take pause to one, how much time you're putting in and two, how fake it is, how phony the entire thing is. You know there's, there's a big difference between being a good photographer and being someone who knows how to build following. Those are both, those are both legitimate skills. Absolutely. Building a following is a legitimate skill because it can give you the freedom and independence to operate on your own. But don't confuse the fact of someone with a big following is a good photographer because very often those two things do not overlap.

Raymond: 01:05:19 So, so then, so then let me ask you a question. Let me ask you a question because Canon, uh, not too long ago, uh, had hired a photographer to do an ad campaign and then they ended up letting that photographer go because even though they said that this photographer was, uh, was, was well suited for this ad campaign, she didn't have enough Instagram followers, so she let her go. So this is, this is just horrible to hear, you know, it, it's devastating to a lot of new photographers. Uh, how has, uh, not having a social presence affected you and um, I suppose for lack of a better term, your, your ability to, to get work?

Daniel Milnor: 01:06:01 Well, a couple of things. Number one for Canon to do that, it's just dumb. That's just a dumb and it's short, shortsighted, and then it looks really, the optics on that looks really bad as well. Um, but that's all the companies are doing that and the companies are lost, right, because all of this stuff came on so fast. They were caught so flat-footed and they're playing catch up. And a camp, a company like Canon Kennedy's a very conservative, slow moving company. That's a little bit like a big cruise ship. You know, you turn the, the, the, the uh, the, the steering wheel basically, what am I blanking on the a, you know the, the wheel ship. The wheel. Yeah. There we go. You turn the wheel with the ship. It doesn't just turn left. It keeps going straight for like eight miles and then it slowly makes a turn.

Daniel Milnor: 01:06:42 That's what these companies alike and they're lost because they're the mark. The industry's going away. Professional photography industry is disappearing and people are not buying equipment like they once were. And these people are, the companies are a little bit desperate. They're a little bit, you know, crazy trying to figure out what the next trend is. And so that's a hard thing for somebody like a company like Canon to have to over come and somebody is in the same boat like a Fuji where whoever it is, they're all in the same boat. I mean all these people, they're all pandering to Instagram followers and the crazy part is for a company like Canon, I shoot Fuji Company like Fuji. They're going after these Instagram stars. 99.9% of all those images are made with phone. They're not made with food cameras or Canon cameras. That makes no sense whatsoever and instead of slowing down and actually hiring somebody who could make original work that's going to last longer than five minutes online, that would be interesting because there's plenty of people using canon equipment in the world who are doing amazing stuff.

Daniel Milnor: 01:07:39 I was able to do a project a couple of years ago with a guy named Ron [inaudible] who who's a war photographer, documentary guy out of New York City, one of the founders of the seven agency. Ron's canon shooter. Right. Just off the top of my head. Yeah. Let's say that I had x amount of money for budget and I have no idea what his social following is. No idea. I don't care. But that's a guy who's capable. If I had budget to say, Okay Ron, is there something happening in the world that you've always wanted to do that you haven't been able to do and what can we do with it that's completely different, that's going to make people look and think in a different way. That interesting marketing campaigns and me not pandering to his social following thinking that their following is going to be your following. So for me, I'm in a unique spot.

Daniel Milnor: 01:08:20 So in 2010 I decided I did not want to work as a photographer anymore because I had done it for 25 years ago, almost 30 years, and I just wanted to do something else with my life. So it was a Tuesday afternoon. I just deleted my email account and I'm like, I'm done. I'm out. And my wife said, well, what are you going to do? And I said, I'm going to move to New Mexico and I'm going to change my career. And so I was kind of lurking around California still. And my phone rang and it was the founder of blurb, a woman named Eileen Gittens. And um, Eileen said I'd been on blurbs, advisory board going back to like 2007. And she called and said, hey, I heard you're not what's up with the photography thing? And I said, yeah, I'm going to move on, do something else.

Daniel Milnor: 01:09:00 And she said, why don't you work with them? And so what started as kind of an informal part time thing within six months was a full time job. And it's been by far the best job I've ever had in my life. It's been great helping people make books. There's been a lot of travel. I've been able to see the industry from a direction that I would've never been able to see it as a photographer. And I work with photographers, designers, artists, illustrators, educators, all over the world, Australia, Europe, Canada, the u s et Cetera. So it's given me this great perspective. And the other thing it's done is it's allowed me too, when I pick up a camera, only work on the projects that I want to work on. So I don't need to do assignments anymore. I don't have to do shoots, I don't want to do.

Daniel Milnor: 01:09:45 But here's the funny part is the second, this sounds so counterintuitive, but it's important. The second I said, I'm not a photographer anymore. I started doing projects. People would come to me and they'd go, Hey, uh, you want to work with us and do this? And I'm like, how did you even find me? The fact that I had disassociated myself with being labeling myself a photographer almost opened the door because what I realized was more important than the photography was the fact that I was somebody who has ideas, right? I, I read every day. I'm, I try to spend as much time as possible thinking about things. Um, I'm constantly trying to educate myself about things, stuff that I don't know about. I'm reading a book right now about the San Andreas fault and just ironically after the quakes of last week and people were like, why are we reading that book?

Daniel Milnor: 01:10:34 And I'm like, cause I don't know anything about the fall. Nothing. Oh by the way, you know the guy Richter, they're from the Richter scale. You know, he um, apparently never experienced a heavy duty earthquake in his entire life. And after he passed away, he owned a house in Northridge, California. That was then in possession, I believe, of his son, which was filled with all this stuff. And in 94, it burned down in the North Ridge earthquake. So it talks about, I talk about irony, but here's the weird thing is when your knowledge base expands beyond photography, you're suddenly interesting to people far beyond photography. So I was able to do something last year as well, a contract for a creative contract for a, with a, an organization that's in an industry that I know nothing about. And they came to me and said, look, you have interesting ideas.

Daniel Milnor: 01:11:20 You know, we want to hire you for a year and we'll give you a contract. We'll do this and that. And so I did that and I wasn't looking for that. It's not something I particularly wanted to do, but I thought, okay, this is a challenge. And they did not want a photographer, even though I did photographs for them. They want it stuck. Someone who had creative ideas, you know, how do you get this group to talk to this group? And if you're going to get this group to talk to this group, what are you going to make in the middle? Is it a film? Is it a still is it's copies of the magazine, is it a book? Like how's it gonna work? And so I have ideas like that.

Raymond: 01:11:52 W there was so much there to unpack. A what? A what a what a journey. Um, okay. I gotta I gotta no, no, no, no. It's not a mess. It's not a message. Just this whole time that you're talking, I'm thinking, oh, that's a great point. I want to go off of there. That's a great point. I want to go up there. That's a great point. I want to go up there, but at the same time I still have, I still have a few questions that I really wanted to touch on today. One of them was blurb. Um, I know that you're a huge proponent of uh, creating books, especially, you know, not being on Facebook, not sharing your images on Instagram, but having that physical copy there yourself. Um, when you talk to me about, about creating that book, talk to me about that first time I, well I guess I have to rephrase the question because you, you, you, uh, were in the position to have your images printed in a newspaper. So now that maybe people don't have as many images printed in the newspaper, what do you tell people about getting their images printed in a book?

Daniel Milnor: 01:12:59 So a couple of things. 1993 or 94, I made my first trip to New York as a photographer, which at the time is what you did. A lot of people still do that, that New York is where the people with who make decisions are based. It's where the people who have budgets that are based, et Cetera, and so I went and I showed my work to throw agents at the time primarily, and I realized that not a lot of these people, believe it or not, had a loop or light table to look at the time. Your, your portfolio is a single page of 20 slides. Like you throw it down, threw it down on a light table and they looped it and they went through and I was like, God, there has to be a better way to do this. So I went, I left New York, I went back to Phoenix, I went to the newspaper when an incident, the design department, and I said, I think I want to make my own book because that would be way easier to read than this page of slides.

Daniel Milnor: 01:13:50 And they were like, eh, go away. You're an idiot. Takes too long, you don't know what you're doing, blah, blah, blah. So three months later I had my first book, which was not really a book. It was like glorified oversized color copy that was laminated and bound and I made 10 all I could, I could only afford 10 copies. You could do this at Kinko's. Now I'm like five minutes, but was like, oh my God, this is a book. This is great. And so what I did is I took a list of the 10 clients that I really wanted to work for, National Geographic, German, Geo Stern, all these magazines around the world. And I was like, I'm going to send a copy to them. And of course this was snail mail and no announcement, just blindly mailing these things off. And a funny thing happened was they started contacting me, German Geo.

Daniel Milnor: 01:14:35 My phone rang and it was this very heavily accented German accent, female voice. And she's like, you know, we got your portfolio. This is on the believable. How did you do this? What is this? You know? And they were so intrigued by what I had, was able to do. And then the photo editor at the National Geographic at the time I got in Kent Koberstein, he wrote me a hand, like full page handwritten letter saying we've never seen a portfolio like this before. Like how did you do this? And so that's what got my bookmaking on the road was all the way back in 93 so when blurb came along it was sort of a natural progression of that. But the book is very important. And the funny thing is you have, you know, the digital online technology proponents and I think all those things are great. Digital, online and technology are all fine, but there is this a different level of consideration when it comes to print, especially at high levels of the industry because print signifies a couple of things.

Daniel Milnor: 01:15:29 And number one is it signifies concerted thought specific thought about your work because there's a big difference between putting your portfolio on an iPad and putting it into a book form because the book makes you, forces you to apply critical thinking to your work. What's the best image? What's the cover? What's the sequence? What's my ed? Is this good enough to last in this book or is it not good enough? The same thing, what happened back in the day when you go in the dark room, I'd go shoot, I'd worked for a day, I'd come back processed the film and your head, you're like sort of compiling what you have or you don't have and I would mix chemistry. I would get in the dark room. I would take my negative, get it in the enlarger, put it in the enlarger, turn the enlarger on and stand there and stare at this thing and say to myself, is it good enough?

Daniel Milnor: 01:16:18 Is it good enough for me to spend the next three hours making one print of this image if it's not good enough. There were times where I sat there and I go, it's not good enough, and I took it out of the larger, I poured the chemistry back into the bottles and I left because I didn't have something. So the book is a great way to get your head around what you actually have. And the book is confrontational because you have to put your phone down to look at it. So when you go into a meeting with someone and you hand them a book, they're not looking at the book and looking at their phone at the same time. They have to take it. They use both hands, they flip through it, it's tangible, and they're so inexpensive and writing, even if you, even if you did a copy of a book and no one in the world saw it except you, it's totally work that I do it all the time. By the end of day tomorrow I will make the first, I'll print the first test copy of the magazine I created from Albania.

Raymond: 01:17:12 Oh wait, wait. So, so I uh, actually had this on the podcast before. Every year I make a family yearbook, um, uh, of me and my wife and we have two kids. And, uh, before we had children, I quickly realized I am making all these photos and okay, let me step back. When I was growing up, I would go visit my grandma and we would look through those shoe boxes of images and they were great. And then when they were done, they were done. We would put them back and then the next year I'd go back for summer and we'd look through them again. And uh, you know, after getting the, what the iPhone four or whatever, and then, uh, getting into a digital SLR, photography, I'm taking all these photos, but that's only half of the equation. You're never looking at them again. You'll make them, you'll create this image or edit it, whatever.

Raymond: 01:18:03 And then you never look at it again. And I thought to myself, and luckily this was right before we had our first child, uh, Charlie, that I didn't want that to happen. I didn't want that to happen. And Luckily, uh, that is luckily light room has a partnership with blurb to be able to create books. Uh, and that's what I did. And every year since then, I have done so. And I can tell you that one of my favorite memories every single year as time has gone on is the second week of January when we get that book in the mail and then the family sits down, we all sit down together and we look through the book of our previous year. And then that of course sparks, well let's look at all the other books as well. And that to me brings back the joy of photography more so than even taking the photo. Um, because oftentimes you can, you kind of forget, you know, you kinda forget what had happened, especially if it's just a snapshot with a cell phone in the moment. But getting it in print is really, really something special. So I love this message that you are, I love, I love what you're sharing. I love blurbs message to trying to make photography tangible, you know, and just get it in your hands because that is the missing piece of, of photography. Um,

Daniel Milnor: 01:19:17 yeah. Watch what you're doing. Doing an annual book on the family is way more difficult than what I'm doing. And, but what you're doing, the annual with the family is what a lot of people that using blurb are trying to do. And there's a million ways to get derailed. You know, you shoot a lot of photos, you don't know how to, where to store them, you don't know how to tap a log down, can't find them. And so there's a lot of things that keep people from doing this. Um, I think one of the things to toss out the window is the idea of a perfect book. You know, people, I've see them just grind, grind themselves to a halt because, oh, it's gotta be perfect. Gotta be perfect. I don't know what a perfect book is. I've probably never seen on. And if I didn't see on, it's probably going to be really boring.

Daniel Milnor: 01:19:54 So, you know, I'm in Albania and I'm shooting and every night I'm designing, I'm taking the work that I made that day and I'm designing a magazine. So when I left Albania, I had 90 pages of magazine already fairly well thought out. I am changing it around quite a bit now, but by, I sort of gave myself a deadline of this Friday saying I want to have the first test copy and then when I say test copy, it's a test copy. It's not perfect. It's not even remotely close. There's going to be a million things wrong about it. But to see it in print, uh, is a whole different ballgame. It's, to me, print is a, is the great equalizer because again, the online photo community and in many ways there's a lot of people, very successful people in online photo community that have never printed a single photograph.

Daniel Milnor: 01:20:36 And I'm not talking about dark room printing, I'm talking about any kind of printing. And so bookmaking for them is like climbing Mount Everest. They go, Whoa, I don't know how to do that. And I saw it, I saw it in my photo students going back 10 years ago where people would like, I used to teach in Latin America. Every year I would go to Peru and teach a workshop and people would shoot 10,000 images. And I'm like, I had, I had someone shoot 22 gigs one morning shooting one morning, and then I try to edit on an iPad. And I said, why would you shoot 22? Like what could you possibly do that? And for her, for her it was about quantity. You know, she'd been listening to online community. People talk about, you know, well the first 500 Jews of the day doesn't count, you know, because they're never going to count.

Daniel Milnor: 01:21:21 I'm like, who told you this? This is absolute insanity. So I was there, I was in Albania for two weeks. I shot about a thousand pictures total, um, film. Oh, this was all digital, digital. Um, Yup. And uh, I edited the 193 that was the first sort of one-star big chunk. And then that went down to about 50 pictures. And then within the 50, there's about 20. That would be pictures that will sort of be the nucleus of what the project is. But that's in that, you know, I'm not, I don't think any of those were, were, are gonna knock anything in my sort of top 20 lifetime work out of the way. The trip really wasn't about that, but it was fun.

Raymond: 01:22:04 Yeah, it's a jigsaw puzzle I would imagine. I would imagine. Um, I feel like I could sit here and talk to you for another two hours or so, but, um, I, I really do want to be, um, conscious of your time. You've shared so much with me, Daniel. My next question is how can people find you online? Obviously you're not going to say Facebook or Instagram, so where, where would you like people to find out more about you?

Daniel Milnor: 01:22:33 The easiest way to find me online is a website called shifter, s, h. I, f, t, e, r, and it's dot media, not.com shifted or.media that has like the audio interviews that I do. It has, there's one tab of photography which rarely ever changes cause I'm lazy. It has a creative tab that talks about books, other people's photography, other people's books. I have an adventure tab that talks about cycling, hiking, fishing, climbing, et Cetera, which I do a lot of. And there's a tab about yoga, which I'm a big fan of and, and also to have about Lyme disease, which I got six years ago. And there's a global community of people that are all suffering from the same thing. There's a lot of stuff on there, probably more than anyone wants to see, but there is some good photography stuff from time to time.

Raymond: 01:23:19 I love it. I'm going to go check that out right away as well. A, I will put the links or the link to that in the, in the show notes. So if anybody's interested in just whatever podcast app you're listening on, just swipe up and you'll be able to see some of Dane's, uh, images as well as links there. But, uh, Dan, again, thank you so much for, for coming on and sharing just a piece of the knowledge that you have accumulated over the past 30 years of, uh, of, of, of being a photographer. I, I've really enjoyed my time with you today. So again, thank you so much for coming on.

Daniel Milnor: 01:23:49 Absolutely. Thanks for happen. And I hope that somebody, uh, actually gets something from my weird views

Raymond: 01:23:57 if, if anybody did, it was me as well. But I know, I know that. Plenty of that as well. Uh, uh, too. So again, uh, thank you so much.

Daniel Milnor: 01:24:05 Yup. Absolutely. Thank you.

Raymond: 01:24:07 Wow. I got to tell you, that was honestly one of my favorite episodes that, uh, were interviews rather than I have ever had the pleasure of hosting. Dan was a fantastic guest with so much to share. Um, my biggest takeaway from this interview was absolutely just how much more connected, uh, Dan came after he, uh, got off social media. Now there is, here's the thing, there's a lot of, um, talk or suggestions or blog posts out there that, you know, say, you know, we should get off social media. We should get off social media, we should get off social media or that it's, you know, ruining society. And I get that. Right. But then there's also a lot of people who make all of their money from social media, right. I the majority of my money through social media, through finding, um, clients, bride specifically as for me, Facebook just makes it, uh, the easiest platform and the cheapest, uh, to be able to do so.

Raymond: 01:25:09 So, um, while I, uh, you know, would love to cut out social media from my life completely, and I loved hearing Dan's take, I don't want everybody to think that the, you have to go out and, and get rid of it, you know. Um, but being more intentional about how you use social media, about how much time you're on social media, I don't think, I don't think that it would hurt. You know what I mean? I don't, I don't think that spending less time on Facebook or Instagram is really going to hurt your business because, uh, even if you do use social media for business like myself, you know, that's not all that you use it for. You go on there, you read dumb articles, you watch dumb videos and you waste a lot of time and, you know, ultimately do think about it a lot.

Raymond: 01:26:03 So, um, I really appreciate, uh, Dan coming on and sharing his, uh, view and I envied the ability to be able to just go completely off the grid and not worry about status updates of people who I knew, you know, in high school, you know, 13 years ago. So, um, I thought that it was just fantastic. I thought that it was an absolutely fantastic interview and I hope that you got a lot out of it as well. So, uh, I know that this was a long one today, so I'm gonna cut this outro short. Um, I would love to know what your biggest takeaway was from this episode. Please feel free to share it in the beginner photography podcast, Facebook group, and that's it. I will see it there and uh, we can continue the discussion. So that is it for this week. Until next time where I have some really exciting things, I will be sharing a, I want you to get out. I want you to keep shooting, I want you to stay safe and most importantly for this year, I really want you to focus on yourself. So that is it. I'll see you next time. We'll love you all.

outro: 01:27:11 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

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BPP 160: Aaron Nace - Mobile Editing 101

Aaron Nace is the host of Phlearn the educational website and amazing youtube channel focused on photography and post production with Lightroom and Photoshop Tutorials. In this interview we talk all about editing with all the options available for mobile!

Become A Premium Member is access to more in-depth questions that help move you forward!

In This Episode You'll Learn:

  • How Aaron got started in Photography and Photoshop Tutorials

  • What a post production artist does and why Aaron considers himself equally a photographer

  • The difference between lightroom and photoshop

  • Why you should be editing on mobile

  • What apps to use to edit photos on your phone

  • The downsides of editing on mobile in 2019

  • What you should do to your boring photos before uploading them to facebook

  • and How to know when youre done editing

Premium Members Also Learn:

  • How new working photographers can improve their workflow

  • How to use mobile editing to your advantage with clients

  • The best way to manage client expectations

  • How to find the balance between perfection and progress to not waste time

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    Full Interview Transcription:

    Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

    Raymond Hatfield: 00:00 Welcome to the beginner of photography podcast, where today we're learning the ins and outs of editing on the go. Let's get into it.

    Intro: 00:09 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymon interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, Ho brewer, La Dodger Fan, an Indianapolis wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield.

    Raymond: 00:37 Welcome back to this episode of the beginner photography podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. I am Raymond Hatfield and today we have a much requested interview about editing that I cannot wait to dive into, but first I want to give a shout out to Leah for leaving the podcast, a five star iTunes review. She said I get valuable information out of each and every episode. I enjoy the interviews and this is the only podcast I am a patron of and it is well worth it. Leah, you are way too kind. Thank you so much for your review. As Leah mentioned, she is a patron of the podcast, which means that each week she gets an extra extended interview where that week's guest shares information specifically related to the business and making money with your camera. If you want to start making money with your camera, do like Leah and considering becoming a patron by heading over to beginner photography, podcast.com and clicking the premium membership button at the top.

    Raymond: 01:40 In today's interview, premium members will hear how to improve your workflow to save time and get your clients their photos faster. How mobile editing can give you an advantage over your competition, how to manage client expectations. And honestly a what Aaron shares here is massive and caused me to reexamine how I conduct my business. And lastly, how to handle progress over progression to get things done fast. So if you want to know the answers to these questions, become a patron by heading over to begin photography podcast.com and clicking the premium membership button now. So let's get into this week's interview with Aaron Nace, and if the name isn't familiar, he is the founder of PHLEARN the Photoshop and Lightroom education website and super popular youtube channel that has helped me on more than one occasion and be sure to stick around to the end where after the interview where Aaron gives me something special to share just with you, the listeners of the beginner photography podcast. So without any further ado, let's get into this week's interview with Aaron Nace. Today's guest is Aaron Nace, the host of PHLEARN the educational website and amazing youtube channel focused on photography and post

    production. Today we're going to be talking all editing and all of the options that we have available now for mobile. So Aaron, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

    Aaron Nace: 03:05 Yeah. So great to be here. Excited to talk about all the fun things we can do with editing our images.

    Raymond: 03:10 It's, that's one of those things that, uh, it's crazy. The, the, the amount of, um, just the, the scope of the world that editing is, uh, how many different nuances there is that comes within editing is, uh, sometimes it causes me to have a headache. So I'm excited to be talking to an expert and, uh, and really getting into, uh, editing and what it can do for our photos. But before we do that, can you share a, how you got into photography slash when you started focusing on post production?

    Aaron Nace: 03:43 Yeah, for sure. So my background in Photoshop actually came first. Uh, I am traditionally trained as a designer. I went to school for product design and got out of school and was doing a lot of like three dimensional product designing things like cars and you know, tools and, and things like that. And so we had a lot of work to do with actually like visual rendering and creating competition. And this was more like using Photoshop as a piece of paper, you know, using layers for like basically if you want to like design a car, you have to draw it first, right? And then you have to like see how it looks in different dimensions and things like that. So I would do all that in Photoshop using a tablet or like a, a pressure sensitive screen. So that's where my background in Photoshop, uh, started and photography actually came to me a little bit later down the line.

    Aaron Nace: 04:36 And I was taking the trip after graduating from university and just fell in love with photography through the fact that I had a camera with me. I was going to a lot of really interesting places and I was like, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I got to capture everything that I can and kind of fell in love with photography during that process. So when I got back I realized, Hey, I can take my love of Photoshop that I'd been working on for years. And combining that with my new love, with typography and really creating things that are just like kind of out of this world. So my background in the photography side of things is mostly conceptual and fine art photography. So doing things like making people levitate in the air or you know, making a person as big as a house and, and doing this and trying to make it look 100% real, not look like it was Photoshop, just make it look like a photograph. And that's kind of what drove my passion to, to create through both photography and Photoshop.

    Raymond: 05:35 So when, when you first kind of made that connection in your head like, Hey, I've got these photos, I can turn these into something, you know. Fantastic. Um, what was the goal for kind of where you are today? How did, how did that progress into end of this kind of education powerhouse? Uh, that it is?

    Aaron Nace: 05:52 No, it was all just for fun. In the beginning I was just doing like I had, I had these ideas in my head and I just wanted to see if I could pull it off, you know, can I, can I do this? Uh, I, it was just a hobby. I had a full time job at the time and it was just a way for me to get my creativity out there and kind of give myself a little bit of a challenge and I suppose do my work online. And the comments just started pouring in like, this is cool. How did you do this? How did you do this? And I realized there was a big gap in the marketplace. There were a lot of people teaching how to do these techniques. And so I started teaching people individually just one-on-one through like Skype sessions and hold ma'am.

    Aaron Nace: 06:34 Yeah, yeah. It was just like, uh, you know, very natural progression and I had such a good time and you know, the, the response was really great. So it was pretty much immediately obvious that there was a need there. And I started releasing videos for free on youtube. This was back in, Oh boy, this almost 10 years ago now. And you

    know, almost from the beginning we had a really, really great response. So that was to me, just again, not necessarily like a business, it was more just something I was doing fun or we didn't give back to the community and it kind of turned into a natural business when I realized, you know, not only people were interested in short snippets on Youtube, but they wanted longer, more in depth, like more difficult topics. They really wanted to master this stuff. And that's when I founded flirt.com and, uh, we fast forward today, we actually have a subscription service where you can pay, it's kind of like Netflix, you just pay a monthly fee and then you get access to everything. So, uh, that's basically the whole thing in a nutshell.

    Raymond: 07:40 Yeah, that's insane. What a, what a great journey. That's crazy that it took 10 years. You know, when you think of kind of like online and uh, uh, you just have this idea that things happen fast, fast, fast, but it's a, it's great to hear that you, you know, you stuck with this for, uh, for so long and here you are today. So, uh, I kind of want to know a little bit more about you and kind of what, aside from obviously founding flirt, would you call yourself like a post production artist? Is there a different title that you would have for your, for the, for the job that you're teaching, I suppose?

    Aaron Nace: 08:13 Yeah, for sure. So I would say as far as my art is concerned, I would consider herself myself more of a photographer than a post production artists. Uh, I use post production as a tool. So the way I kind of see Photoshop and, and any type of editing tool, it's just, it's, it's another skill set. It's another tool that you can use to create the artists that you want to create. So, you know, we're getting out there. A camera is just a tool to interpret how you see the world. You know, if you decide maybe you're going to photograph people in a studio setting, you can bring in lighting and you can do backgrounds and you can use props and those are all just tools as well. And then when you get to the computer, you have different programs that serves as different tools as well.

    Aaron Nace: 08:56 So it kind of all starts with an initial vision of what do I want this end product to look like? And then gathering the tools that are necessary to create that end product. So for my personal work, I do all of my own photography. It's all purpose driven. And then Photoshop is a tool that I use to bring those concepts that I photograph together. So, uh, both as a photographer and as like, I guess a digital artist. Um, but my primary passion in teaching that's, you know, that's what I'm all about. Like how can I, how can I get this information to as many people as possible?

    Raymond: 09:31 Yeah, no, for sure. For sure. Um, so when it comes to, uh, the editing side of things, you mentioned Photoshop there. Uh, there's a lot of photographers, especially in the beginning photography podcast, Facebook group who um, maybe aren't at that level yet where they understand the difference truly between light room and Photoshop. So before we actually go any further, can you just settle once and for all, what is the difference between Photoshop and Lightroom and which is the right choice for who?

    Aaron Nace: 10:00 Yeah, so Lightroom is kind of like step one in Photoshop is step two. So if you, if you're at zero right now, if you're not doing anything, start with lightroom and start with step one. The things that you can do in lightroom are make your image brighter or darker. Let's say you know, you've overexposed your image or you've underexposed your image or maybe not even your whole image. Maybe your subject looks good but the sky is too bright. That's the sort of thing that you can fix in light room. Maybe you have a lot of distortion from your lens or the colors aren't exactly like what you wanted. Maybe your white balance is off. In other words, your photo came out a little too blue or a little too yellow. That's the sort of thing that you can fix in light and it's an incredibly powerful program.

    Aaron Nace: 10:42 It can do quite a bit of work, just improving a photo as a whole. Now step two is Photoshop and this is where we get into a little bit more advanced techniques.

    Things like retouching, taking a a portrait and you know, removing blemishes, doing advanced techniques to make the skin look a little bit smoother and a little bit cleaner. Also, things like compositing, you know, if I want to take an image of a person in this location and put them in a different location, I can use Photoshop to do that sort of thing. So I would say, you know, I use the same step one, step two with my own work as well. When I take photographs, I first bring them into light room and get them to look as good as I possibly can. Enlightening. And then from Lightroom, I go into Photoshop and take the next steps. So it's a step one step two process.

    Raymond: 11:38 Gotcha. So it's not like if you're a beginner to start with light room. If you're a professional, you only use Photoshop. It's you use both in tandem, but that's the order in which you, you go through editing your photos.

    Aaron Nace: 11:49 Yeah. Yeah. Most definitely. And you want to start with light, no matter where you are in the process. If you've never used any photo editing software, you want to start with light room or if you're a professional, you still want to start with lightroom. So it's, it's the great first step after getting your images on your computer.

    Raymond: 12:06 Yeah. I've, I, I've been asked before. Yeah. As you can imagine, there's a lot of confusion between the two, for new photographers, kind of what, what do I use? And obviously the answer is both. Um, but I think as a wedding photographer, I would, I'd, I'd say that I use Lightroom probably 98% of my work and then the remaining 2%, uh, like you said, the retouching is done there. They're in Photoshop. So I can totally see how there's, there's the use there for, for, for both of them. But when it comes to Photoshop, I want to talk, I really want to kind of get into this, right? Because the Photoshop is more of the manipulation, you know, within a photos on your phone, you know, on, on your iPhone, you can change the exposure, you can change the contrast and these things are simple and they're built in, but you can't, um, add a son or you can't add anything or truly manipulate an image without, uh, kind of taking the next step, I guess. Uh, we'll just continue with that analogy by going into extra, uh, apps or whatever. So, um, before we really talk about the manipulation side of it, can you kind of share with me what are some, um, tools, uh, for mobile that are, uh, specifically, I totally phrase this question wrong. This is a bad question. What, what would you suggest are some tools that beginners can use, uh, on their phone to, to get started with, with manipulating their photos past, uh, just simple exposure adjustments,

    Aaron Nace: 13:34 right. So I'm actually light room for mobile is a really fantastic program. Uh, so recently Adobe came out with a new software suite. It's, you know, it's a replacement for lightroom classic, which technically they haven't phased out lightroom classic, we that's still available. But there's a new program called light room. It's for your computer, but you can also use it on your phone and on a tablet. And the editing capabilities in that program are really fantastic. So you can really go beyond just making your photo lighter or darker. For instance, there is selective editing in that program where you can, you know, grab a gradient and drag, you know, just affect your sky. So you could have your sky be a little bit more blue, a little bit more vibrant. You can select individual colors and make those, you know, maybe you want the Greens to be a little bit more saturated or you've took a photo and you know, like the background might be a little bit distracting.

    Aaron Nace: 14:34 You can kind of lower the contrast and the background to make your subject stand out. So you can do all those things in Lightroom for mobile. And the best part about that is that program's free. So it's very easily accessible. You don't have to load in, you know, professional, raw images. You can load them images that you've taken right from your camera and edit those right on, on your mobile device. But if you do load images in from your camera, you can work on your raw images on your mobile device as well, which I think is just insanely powerful. And the editing capabilities within that program are really very, very

    good. So I think anyone who has used Lightroom classic in the past is going to have no problem with the transition to light room mobile. So that's really like my, my main, um, you know, my main program when I'm editing on my phone.

    Aaron Nace: 15:27 Uh, now Photoshop, uh, is in the process. They're releasing Photoshop for the iPad, uh, relatively soon. I know they announced it with the iPad. Uh, there's a Beta version out, uh, which I've had the opportunity to test and it's going to be a fantastic program for taking that next step on mobile devices. Uh, and then, you know, we'll see the iPad version come out in a couple of months and then further down the road, uh, there's a good chance we're going to see a mobile version for that. I've had as well. It basically, it's, it's, uh, you know, we're kind of waiting on hardware to catch up with the software, but, um, I've had the opportunity to use some of the newer tablets, like the iPad pro and I got to say the hardware on that thing is just, it's mind boggling. It's, you know, a tablet that's as powerful as a, as a modern computer. So I, as we see mobile devices take more of the marketplace and become better computers, uh, we're going to see software that improves to be able to match the computing capabilities of those devices as well.

    Raymond: 16:34 Yeah, yeah. It's, uh, I remember, I remember the, the, the day that the iPad was announced, like the original iPad, I looked at my, uh, my girlfriend at the time who's now my wife, and I said, I was like, one day I'm not even going to need a computer. Like, I cannot wait to just like be able to edit an entire wedding on the iPad. Like on the way home from the, uh, in my testimony, my self driving Tesla, you have to drive. I can just set it by the time I get home, uh, the wedding's done and I can deliver it. It's going to be fantastic. I think that now, even though it's, uh, it's almost 10 years later, um, we're, we're starting to get to that point and it's, it's really exciting. But with that said, even though that we're almost 10 years in, mobile editing is still very new. It's kind of a bit of a wild west. You know, we're desktop editing is, it's pretty polished. We've been doing this for a long time. So why would anybody even want to edit on mobile today?

    Aaron Nace: 17:27 Well, I got to say, you know, that that dream scenario you had where you can edit your entire wedding on your iPad. I believe 100% that, that's here now, we're already in that stage. And I, again, if you have the right technology in your hands. So, uh, I picked up, you know, the new iPad pro 0.9 inch, uh, because I'm going to be doing some workshops using this as a mobile editing device and I was a little skeptical. Like is this all it's cracked up to be like is this software, there is a hardware there and I got to say it's there, like we are in that time. Uh, they're doing a really nice job with the software releases that are coming out soon. Soon you're going to be able to plug in your SD card directly into your iPad by a little, you know, Dongle accessory or whatever they call them.

    Aaron Nace: 18:19 Uh, so that day is, is very much here, uh, anything on your mobile device honestly, because light room for instance is, is cloud based software. And what that means is any edit that you make on one device, you know, uploads to the Internet. So when you look at it on another device, the change is already there. It's syncs across all your devices automatically. And for that reason you and why I believe it's an actual viable tool now is a bit, you don't have to do any of your work twice. You do your work on some of it on your computer, pick up your iPad and the work you did on your computer is automatically applied on your iPad. You put down your iPad, pick up your phone and the work you did there is automatically applied on your phone. So you're never doing multiple edits of the same image.

    Aaron Nace: 19:10 It's all of it is sinked at the same time. So it's really just whatever device you have. And for me, I carry an iPad with me just about wherever I go. So if I have an extra 20 or 30 minutes where I'm just kind of hanging out at a coffee shop, like why not do some editing? They're like, the tools are there and if you have the device with you, you know it's hard to predict when you're going to have extra time. And you know, I find myself having

    extra time just in the randomness of cases. And sometimes I'm just like sitting in my car for 20 minutes, like waiting for a friend to go grab a coffee and come back to the car or whatever. And if like if I can grab my iPad there and edit your photos, like, you know, in a professional capacity and not have to Redo that and I, well that's 20 minutes that I would otherwise just be like sitting on my phone browsing Instagram or just like totally my thumbs and that's an extra 20 minutes that I've saved and working at home.

    Aaron Nace: 20:09 So I think these mobile devices, it's not like, Hey, now I'm only going to edit on this mobile device. But the deal is most people have a mobile device with them at all times. Right? Like I've got my phone with me at all time, I have an iPad with me a lot of the time and if I can get this editing done when I'm, you know, in random situations and having just like a, I'm in bed right now, you know, I'm not quite tired. I want to stay up for another 20 minutes, I'll flip through my images and I'll make some edits there. Perfect. And then tomorrow when you open up your laptop, those edits are automatically there. That's, that's where I think mobile editing really has its place nowadays.

    Raymond: 20:51 So, uh, I kind of guess where I get 'em caught up is sort of the, uh, and we don't have to go too in depth in this, but it's more of like the file management side of things because, uh, if I, you know, if I'm on my way home from a wedding and I'm loading 150 gigs worth of raw photos on my iPad to then, you know, then the next day when I wake up to start editing, it's, it has to upload all those photos from the iPad to the Adobe cloud and then back onto my computer. And then I gotta figure out what to do with those. Uh, so I could see how in a sense of like I have an idea for a, a conceptual photo or fine art photo and this is only going to take five raws rather than 5,000 where this makes sense today.

    Raymond: 21:38 So if we're in that situation where we have this idea, because oftentimes photographers kind of get overwhelmed by editing tools like Photoshop because they just don't know what they want to do, right? Like me in particular, I go out and I shoot photos of my kids all the time. So I bring those photos into Photoshop and I have no idea what to do with these photos. And yet then I see a photo of a, you know, like a New York skyline and then somehow a waterfall is added to it to becoming through the buildings. You know. So to be able to create a photo like this deal, you need to know what you need when you go out shooting, uh, before you edit it. Or can you just bring in any old photo and create something out of your imagination?

    Aaron Nace: 22:26 I think you have a much better chance of creating a good final product if you have a clear idea from the beginning. So for me, when I'm, when I have an idea about an image that I want to pull off, it's I spend a great deal of time in the early stages, pre production, thinking about this idea, what's the story that I want to tell? Like how am I going to tell this story? And if I'm going to need to capture multiple images and combine them together later on, how am I going to, how am I going to capture these images in a way that they're going to wind up looking realistic so that that planning and the preparation stage, it's, it's not always the most exciting, but it really does help you end up with a better final product. And you touched on something that's really important.

    Aaron Nace: 23:15 Uh, you know, not knowing what you want to do in Photoshop. I think we've all gone through that, but kind of like the way I use it, an analogy like in the kitchen, right? Like, you know, if you go in the kitchen and you're like, I'm going to make food and then you just like, but what food am I going to make? You know, like you're never, you're not going to get anywhere. You know what I mean? But if you're like, you know what, tonight I'm going to make chicken Tikka Masala. And then you look up a recipe for chicken Tikka Masala and you go to the store and you get all your ingredients and you come back and you follow the recipe. At the end of the Diet, you're going to have chicken Tikka Masala. It might not be them best you've ever had in your life, but you're going to wind up with something.

    Aaron Nace: 23:57 And that's a very different situation than just like staring into your refrigerator and you know, hoping something appears. So opening it every five minutes, like, is there something, is there something new in there now? Like what's the deal? What's come on? Uh, I've been in, you know, I'm a avid cook. I love cooking. And I've had those moments so many times where it's just like, there's nothing here in the, in the kitchen for me there. There's no meal. Um, but the deal was I didn't have a vision of something I wanted to make and I didn't get the ingredients of, you know, of this thing. So starting out with an end product in your mind will help you get there. If you don't have an end product in mind, well you're really not gonna get anywhere at all.

    Raymond: 24:45 Yeah. That's, that's, that's a great point. That is a great point. And that's a really good analogy too. I didn't think about that. So, so then, uh, at some point we have to, in that scenario, we have to know what chicken, uh, uh, Tikka Masala is, right? We have to know what that is. Or it could be cereal and milk, right? Either way, you're gonna need your cereal and you're to need your milk, right? Right. But if, if you want to go out and you want to, um, try something new, something that you've never made before, you know, you don't know what the kitchen is, is possible of, you know what, this is getting wasted.

    Aaron Nace: 25:23 No worries. But like the whole thing is, you know, when you're, when you're looking for something you want to create, just like we have with food, right? Like there are restaurants out there that serve delicious food where you could go try something and be like, you know what? I like this food. I didn't realize I like this food, but I kinda like that. I want to see if I can make it on my own. We've got the same thing with Instagram, you know, browsing images and saying like, you know what? I really like this photograph. I want to see if I can make something similar. You know, I don't want to copy it, but what do I like about this photograph? Maybe I really liked the lighting or maybe I like the way that, you know, this person was captured. I really feel like I can get to know them. Maybe I want to try to retreat that with my next photo. So having all these tools and inspiration allows us to kind of build a little bit of a reference point to where we can say, okay, cool. That's what I want to do now. Let's go ahead and try to get that done. Okay.

    Raymond: 26:19 I Dunno if ended up past life you learned how to read minds, but he just did it to me perfectly and you got the answer that I was looking for. Terrible, terrible questions.

    Aaron Nace: 26:29 So I was like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's, yeah, I think, I think we can pull him together.

    Raymond: 26:37 Uh, and so I, I kind of want to know a little bit about, um, this is kind of the next step, right? You get started, uh, you start wandering into, um, editing at, you know, maybe you're charging for your work photographers who are just starting to charge for their work. What is something that they can do, uh, perhaps with mobile to improve their workflow?

    Speaker 4: 27:00 Hey, Raymond here. And if you're listening to this, you are listening to the free version of today's interview. If you want to hear more from today's guest about the business of photography, consider becoming a premium member every week. Guests answer questions about products, pricing packages, and so much more that will help your growing photography business thrive. This is the next logical step to join head over to beginning photography, podcast.com and click the premium membership button at the top of the page.

    Raymond: 27:30 I love it. Um, I just had so many ideas there running through my head about how even myself could kind of improve how I, how I communicate with that with clients. So I got some work after this.

    Aaron Nace: 27:43 Well, it's like you go to a restaurant, right? And you order something, you know, like you have a certain expectation of what you're going to get when you order something. You know, if you weren't a hamburger and you get a chicken sandwich, you're going to be like, uh, I ordered a hamburger. Like, you know, and there'd be like, well, chick is kind of like hamburgers, you know, that's, you know, we have an expectation, but if you go in and you're like, I order a hamburger and the, you know, your server is like, oh, you know what, we're actually out of hamburgers but we do have chicken sandwich. If you want that, then you can decide, okay, chicken sandwich would be cool if that way when you get the chicken sandwich it's like, Yup, this is what we agreed upon. Yeah, exactly. So it's all about managing those expectations.

    Raymond: 28:26 segue by the way.

    Aaron Nace: 28:32

    Raymond: 28:32
    my iPad continues to, uh, get me excited. It was specifically for wedding photography. I know that it's like we talked about, it's easier for, um, conceptual photography or smaller, smaller batches of images. Um, but, uh, this idea continues to get me excited and for some reason I keep buying the newest iPad because I, I keep thinking that there's something in that iPad that is going to let me, you know, uh, get to that next step. But I keep finding downsides, whatever it is. So I want to know from your point of view, what are some of the downsides to editing on a mobile device here in 2019?

    Aaron Nace: 29:13 Well, you know, what are the deals with a light room for mobile? For instance, if it is a cloud based, you know, software, so all of your images are being uploaded to the Internet. So if you're on a really slow connection that's just gonna take a little bit of time. And like you said, sometimes you're coming back from a shoot with 150 gigabytes. Well, you know, that's a lot of information to upload the Internet. And if you're not working on a fast connection, it's going to take a long time, then that might be a little bit frustrating for you. Not to mention that that cloud storage isn't free. You know, anytime you upload something on the Internet, someone's paying for it, right? It's mainly younger. Yeah. I mean it depends, right? When you upload your images to Instagram, you're not paying for it. But guess what?

    Aaron Nace: 30:05 The company that owns Instagram, Facebook, they're paying for that storage, right? That image is on a server somewhere and they're paying for that. So there's a funny little quote like if you're not paying for a service, then like you are the service or you are the product. And like when it comes to Instagram, the reason you don't have to pay to upload your images to Instagram is because they're serving you ads. They're making money off of you being on there. But let's say you have another like cloud storage platform where you want to backup your images, chances are you're going to have to pay for that. So the same is true with Lightroom. For mobile lightroom desktop, you hit a certain amount of information that's included with your monthly plan. But if you want to start, start uploading 150 gigabytes, you know, per session, you're going to wind up paying a larger and larger monthly rate to store that much image, uh, to store that many images on the cloud.

    Aaron Nace: 30:58 So I would say if you're in that position, it may not make sense to upload every single photo to the cloud directly. It might make a little bit more sense to get your images on your computer first. Go ahead and call out the images that you're like not going to

    so speaking of managing expectations, this is a very terrible

    Yeah.

    Um, thinking about like the idea to be able to edit everything on

    use. Cause out of 150 gigs, there's a good chance that some of those are just throwaways, right? Like all of them are perfect. Right? Yeah. And of course, like, you know, we, we want to take as many images as we can, but you know, just the image, it's like grossly underexposed or like, oops, I forgot I took a picture of the ground on accident. You know, get rid of those first before you put those on the cloud. Uh, so that's a potential thing that we want to look at too, especially if we're working with a lot of files.

    Aaron Nace: 31:44 Um, you know, and then really just bandwidth. You know, when you're working on your images on your computer and they're on a local hard drive, fantastic. You know, that connection between your hard drive and you computers likely very fast. But if you are in a slower, uh, you know, a slower network situation, it might be a little bit of a slower bandwidth. You know, I got to say though to that, what could be seen as a con on the exact opposite side of that, all of your images are now backed up permanently on the cloud. So let's say your computer did have a failure or someone for, you know, stole your computer or your hard drive crashed your whatever. Well, all of your images by using one of these cloud based servers are already on the cloud. So it's not only is it a way to edit wherever you are, but it's also an instant backup solution. So it's, it has like, you know, very positive side of it as well. It kind of takes all of your image backup, uh, and it does pretty much automatically.

    Raymond: 32:48 Yeah. Yeah. So one of the things that I run into when it comes to editing is I'm, uh, when I edit on a computer, the, the monitor is calibrated. I have the light in here dialed in right where I need it so that every time I edit, it's a very consistent experience so that I'm editing the exact same way every single time. With mobile. I could be on my couch or the lighting is entirely different. Maybe there's a window right in front of me, and that's kind of skewing how I see the image itself, which can affect how the image gets edited. Um, now I know that apple at least has put in things like, uh, is it true tone or whatever that, that calibrates the monitor itself. But aside from that, uh, is there any way that we can kind of get around that just so that we can ensure that we have a more consistent, uh, edit so that when we posted online, it, it looks as though it looks the same way it did on, uh, on our mobile device.

    Aaron Nace: 33:48 I would say, you know, if you are concerned about color to that degree, I would do all of, you know, the majority of your editing on your mobile device, on your iPad, whatever, when you're out and about, I mean, do it on your computer. Well just do it on whatever device you have with you. But then when it comes time to send those images off, get in your environment that you know is dialed in and just do a quick look through and you'll be able to see, okay, are these up to my standards of where they should be? And if they aren't, you can do a little quick tweak before their, so it totally depends. You know, not everyone has an environment like you do where the lighting is perfectly dialed in and they've got a calibrated monitor and that's totally okay too. But you know, if you're a person who does care about having your colors exactly, you know, render perfectly and you have one of these environments, then I would just say make that the last step in your chain before you upload them to the Internet.

    Raymond: 34:46 Okay. Good tip. Good tip. One thing I see a lot is, um, whenever I scroll through, Facebook is just really boring. Cell phone photos from my family and friends that just, just very boring. There's nothing to it, you know, straight out of camera. They took the shot, uploaded it directly to Facebook. What are some things that everybody listening could be or should be doing to their photos to prevent them from posting boring, boring shots?

    Aaron Nace: 35:13 Well, I think, you know, part of that is, uh, depends on the, the desire of the person taking those pictures too, right? Like, oh, sure, yeah. I get

    Raymond: 35:22 my, my aunt, uh, a free pass because you know, she doesn't understand but, but I'm assuming that for those listening, uh, they're obviously have some sort of interest in photography and they don't want their photos just to blend in with everybody else. What are some, what are some things that, what are just some, uh, simple beginner things that we should be doing to our photos, uh, to make them stand out just a little bit more?

    Aaron Nace: 35:42 Right. Well, I think even a lot of that can be done with the photography side a bit as well. So, you know, capturing things from new angles that might be just a little bit more interesting. Um, maybe bring your phone a little bit lower to the ground or getting a little bit higher. You know, uh, these angle changes can make a huge, huge difference in the perception of a photo. You know what, when we look at photos of the paths that have caught our interest, you know, we're talking about photos that are 50 or 60 years old and the technology that those images were, you know, like 50 or 60 year old camera is dinosaur in terms of technology compared to what you have on your smartphone. So the technology there is already really good. So, you know, using the techniques that people have used for hundreds of years to create great images, those techniques will continue to make your images stand out.

    Aaron Nace: 36:40 So, uh, you know, finding out what's interesting about an image and then framing your photograph to focused on that interesting part of it. You know, one thing that draws me into photographs a lot of the time is I want to feel like I'm getting to know the person in that photograph a little bit more. I want, I want a little bit of a sense of story, like what's going on here, what I want to be pulled into this image and I want to be asking more questions like I want, you know what I mean? It's like you take a bite of a hamburger and it's like, I want more of this, right? Like, Ooh, there's something interesting here. I want, I want even more of that. And that's what I want to see with photography. That to me is what makes it photograph interesting. So you know, photographs where everyone's looking at the camera and smiling.

    Aaron Nace: 37:32 Totally good. Those have their purposes. Those have, you know, their uses. But those don't usually tell me a lot of a story. It doesn't pull me in and it doesn't have any asking what's next, what's more, what happened before this? What's gonna Happen after this? So definitely take those images where you're, you know, everyone's smiling and looking at the camera, but then also take those images where maybe you're getting up close and personal and, and taking pictures of people in the moment or maybe they're don't even know you're taking those pictures. So a little bit more of a candid style of photography and trying to get those reactions. You know, if a person is laughing or you know, like having like, uh, you know, an organic emotion that if you can capture that sort of thing, it's just going to be a little bit more interesting in general.

    Aaron Nace: 38:20 And I think that we can go with our guts as far as like what's interesting to us to look at in person. Like, you know, if I'm looking at a bunch of people smiling, looking at me, that's not that interesting, right? That's not, it's just, you know, but if I'm looking at someone like working on an engaging task and maybe they're frustrated or maybe they're like crazy excited because they just like did something new for the first time, like that just officially is more interesting to look at just as a person. So just using your eyes first as your camera and like, is this interesting or not? And if it is, that's a good time to bring out of camera. And if it's not well maybe change something up. Maybe wait a few minutes till something is interesting. One thing that I like to do is if I am taking a picture of someone who's like, you know, quote unquote posing for the camera or a little bit like doesn't want to have their picture taken, I'll take a couple of those pictures and then I'll say, okay, done. And then I'll take a couple more when they think that we're done. But they like relax, they become themselves and then like maybe they'll like laugh in a genuine way cause they're not posing for the camera anymore because I think that I'm done taking the pictures and then those kept pictures a lot of

    the time. Or like the golden gems where it's like that's them for real after they think the posting is done.

    Raymond: 39:40 That is a great tip. That is a great tip. I think everybody's always looking for how to get more genuine photos while in a post and a, if anybody follows that, that's, I don't see how it couldn't work. I, it's funny, I interviewed, um, I believe it was, oh, I interviewed Kevin Mullins, who's a, who's a documentary wedding photographer from the UK a few weeks ago. I'm trying to remember. A few years ago, I watched a video that was all about documentary wedding photography. I can't remember if it was Kevin Mullins or if it was actually Zach areas, but regardless of the tip was, um, when he wants to take a photo of somebody, he'll go up to them, um, to, to make sure that they're not, you know, like Kimra aware or whatever. Um, and then he will, uh, take their picture. They're gonna look at them, no way. You know, I just screwed the whole thing up.

    Raymond: 40:27 But there was something to the effect of like looking down, no, like looking up. Oh yeah, that was it. Okay, here we go. Let me start again. He walks up to them. Uh, he'll like take a picture. He'll make it look like he's taking a picture of the sky so that the people don't care. They don't think that he's looking at them and then he'll point the camera at them and make it appear as if he's looking at the photo that he just took. Now these people are, you know, they're not aware of the photo being taken to them, completely relaxing for the camera. That's when he takes the shot. And uh, it just getting that, that kind of natural reaction, which is a, uh, what you were just sharing there. And that was a very roundabout way of getting there. But once again, fantastic tip. Fantastic tip.

    Aaron Nace: 41:06 Yeah, that's super cool. And you know, like I get it, like I try not to feel like I'm taking advantage of anyone. So at the end I'm going to show them the pictures and be like, Hey, look at these awesome pictures. We gotta be sure the goal is to like, I want people to feel really good about the pictures that I take of them. You know, like I think as long as that's your goal, you really can't do wrong. You know, it's, it's when we'd run into situations where, you know, we feel like maybe we're taking advantage of the people we're photographing. That energy to me is something that I always try to avoid, you know, so it's not, it's not a secrecy in the way of like, this is for me, it's a secrecy of like, this is actually for you and it's a way where we're going to get really great pictures of you if you don't like them or delete them. Like, I have no interest personally in posting images of people that they don't like. Like, you know, this is, it's not for me, it's for them. So, you know, if they're happy with their photographs, like cool. My, my job is, you know, I've got a gold star. Right?

    Raymond: 42:13 Yeah, yeah. I get that sticker from the day for sure. Exactly. Exactly. Uh, well, uh, Aaron, I, I, I really want to be conscious of your time. We've been speaking for almost an hour now, so I only got two last questions for Ya. Are you ready? Let's do it. Okay. Uh, so wow. I hope that this conversation, uh, was helpful to, to many listening. Um, it definitely was for me, so I have to thank you for that. Uh, there's, there's just no replacing practice. And this is where obviously PHLEARN comes in, uh, on flaring. You have mini tutorials. I want to know where do you think that listeners should start? Like what, what, what is lesson number one? What is something that everybody should know when it comes to uh, editing or the post production side of photography?

    Aaron Nace: 43:00 So as I said earlier, light room in my opinion is step one and Photoshop is step two. So if you're interested in learning light room, we've got fantastic tutorials. We've got a tutorial called the beginner's guide to like room classic, which is starting from, Hey, I've never opened this program all the way to the, by the end of the tutorial you're like, oh, I know how to use Lightroom classic now. And I feel like I can improve my photographs through what I've learned. That's a great place to start. If you're interested in light room for desktop and mobile, we have a tutorial on Lightroom, desktop and mobile. All these

    are available on PHLEARN.com and it's a subscription service, kinda like Netflix. So you just pay monthly and you get access to everything. There's a really great discount if you pay annually and you just get access to everything so you can kind of take your learning to the next step. Uh, when you're ready to start learning Photoshop, we've got a tutorial called the beginner's guide to Photoshop, which is the perfect place to start learning Photoshop. So we try to just make that process a little bit easier. So like, you know, here's a great place to start. And then when you're comfortable with Lightroom, when you're comfortable with Photoshop, we've got some other tutorials that are gonna really kind of stretch you and teach you all the wonderful things that you can do in these programs.

    Raymond: 44:18 I love it. Perfect. Those, those definitely the place to check it out. I've been watching PHLEARN videos for years and I can tell you personally that they have helped me, uh, fixed many problems with my father. So a personal five there. Um, and I can, I can attest to that too. The quality of these videos, you guys spend no expense. So, um, of course I got one last question for Ya. And it is, I would think that the most frequently asked question that I get about editing is how do I know when I'm done? Can you please shed some light on this question?

    Aaron Nace: 44:54 So I would say, again, being goal oriented when you start is a great way to know when you're done. If you have really no goals, it, it's, it's hard to know where you're going. You know, it's, I think about it like when I get into my car, if I don't have any destination in mind, I'm just going to drive around for a while. Right? And how do you know when you're done driving around? Right? But if you have a destination, it's pretty obvious when you get there. Uh, so I would say that that's a fantastic place to start. Another little test that I give is just the do I like this image test. And for that test, my recommendation is to take a little bit of a break from your editing. So go ahead and work on an edit and get it to the point where you feel pretty good about it and take a break. Could be five, 10 minutes a day is even better. Come back and look at it again. And if you still like the image you're done. Yeah. If there's something about it that you don't like, then you got a new goal in mind and you can go to work and try to fix that. But if you like the image you're done and you know what? Some images, you'd like the image straight out of camera, so you're done.

    Raymond: 46:02 Yeah. It doesn't require a much, much extra than that. So, uh, just kind of follow up on that. Um, every photo doesn't necessarily need to be edited.

    Aaron Nace: 46:16 Um, no, every photo does not need to be edited. I think most photos can benefit from a little bit of editing, but again, it's not always a huge edit. Maybe it's just like bringing your shadow levels a little bit brighter, increasing the vibrance a little bit, adding a little bit of texture and clarity. Like it's not every photo needs to be edited. You know, greatly or to a huge degree, but there's a good chance that you could improve little aspects of your photographs and those areas still issue, you know, warrants a little editing. I took issue, uh, photos of my partner and I recently at the Garfield Park Conservatory here in Chicago and you know, we were photographing out of the window and I wanted that to be exposed properly. But I, you know, she and I worked dark, we were a little bit too dark, so I brought that into light room mobile on my phone. I use the brush selection tool, so I brushed over our faces and brought up the exposure a little bit and then boom, we were properly exposed and the background was properly exposed as well. So not a huge edit, but something that definitely helped the photograph.

    Raymond: 47:23 Yeah. That's awesome. That's awesome. Well, Aaron, again, I have to thank you for on sharing everything that you did. Um, like I said, you opened up my eyes to a lot of things that I didn't know about, uh, about editing. And I know that the listeners, uh, are just going to be blown away and that they probably need a notepad right now. They've probably already filled it out. Again, thank you so much for coming on. Before I let you go, can

    you please share with the listeners where they can learn more about you and PHLEARN as well?

    Aaron Nace: 47:53 Yeah, for sure. So, you know, p h learn.com is just a fantastic place to start and we have hundreds and hundreds of free tutorials available. So if you're interested in the idea of editing but you're not ready to start spending money, check out a, some of those free tutorials and you'll get a good sense of what you can do. And then when you're ready, you can go ahead and subscribe and get access to all of our pro content as well. Um, we're on PHLEARN on Instagram and Facebook and all of the major social media platforms as well. So if you want to connect to us, we'd love to hear from you.

    Raymond: 48:27 Perfect. Wonderful. Aaron, again, thank you so much for coming on and, uh, hope to chat to you soon.

    Aaron Nace: 48:32 Yeah. So good. Thanks Raymond.

    Raymond: 48:34 This interview was a tough one. I'm not going to lie. When I was coming up with questions it was difficult to, uh, figure out things to talk about that were more uh, technical things that could be explained. Uh, you know, over over audio cause editing is, is, is technical. It's more technical than it is philosophical like photography. I tried my best and I really hope that you enjoyed this interview, but like I said, I, Aaron had a little bonus for you. Listeners of the podcast as Aaron mentioned on the, uh, his website PHLEARN. He offers, uh, Lightroom and Photoshop training. He wanted me to give you the code BEGINNER20. That is BEGINNER20, one word, no spaces or anything to take 20% off of a yearly subscription to PHLEARN. So now you can learn anything and everything you would ever want to know about Photoshop and Lightroom for 20% off. So a huge thank you to Aaron and the whole PHLEARN team specifically in loop a for that one. Okay. So that is it for this week's episode, and until next week, I want you to get out. I want you to keep shooting. I want you to focus on yourself and I want you to be safe. All right. I love you all.

    Outtro: 49:50 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

    BPP 159: Chris Owens - How to Photograph the Indianapolis 500

    Chris Owens is the manager of photo operations at the Indianapolis motor speedway, home of the Indy 500. Today Chris talks about the logistics of how to cover such a large event.

    Become A Premium Member is access to more in-depth questions that help move you forward!

    In This Episode You'll Learn:

    • How Chris got his start in photography

    • What an indy car photographer does and the job title of photography manager of the indianapolis motor speedway

    • What Chris shoots monday through friday when there is no race

    • How persistence paid off when trying to get hired as a race car photographer

    • How far in advance the photography team has to prepare for the Indianapolis 500

    • Logistically how to photography an event as large as the Indianapolis 500

    • How many photographers are on Chris’s staff and how they keep in contact

    • How to creatively photography race cars

    • How to add story elements in photos

    • How many pictures are taken of the Indianapolis 500

    • What happens to the photos once the race is over

    • The one piece of advice Chris would give to any new race car photographer

    Resources:

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    Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!

    Full Interview Transcription:

    Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.


    Raymond Hatfield:            00:00:00       Welcome to the beginner photography podcast, where today we're talking about how to capture race cars barreling towards you at 230 miles an hour. So let's get into it.


    Intro:              00:00:11       Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, home brewer, La Dodger Fan, and Indianapolis wedding photographer Raymond Hatfield.


    Raymond:            00:00:39       Welcome back to this interview of the beginner photography podcast. I am Raymond Hatfield and we have a great show lined up for you today, all about photographing Indy cars. Now, if you're not so much into motor sports, I think that you will still pick up a lot from this interview specifically about how much goes into getting the shot in such a high pressure environment. So be sure to stay tuned. But first I want to give a listener shout out this week to Tina sims who left a wonderful five star review in iTunes. Tina says, this podcast is a must. Listen. It is a photography life changer. I have an entire new way to approach my photographs when I am behind the camera. I am in charge now. The camera is not in charge. Keep it up please. Well, your wish is my command, Tina. I will keep it up and thank you so much for your review.


    Raymond:            00:01:38       Reviews are truly the best way to help out the podcast. And if this is your first time listening to the beginning of photography podcast, go ahead and hit that subscribe button. It is free and every week you too can experience the same joy and excitement about photography as Tina. Thank you again, Tina. I have a personal story to share with you. Uh, back in 1988, right before I was born, my father bought a Pentax k 1000 film camera. Now, uh, he pissed he passed. He passed on many years ago and as I got older, uh, I didn't even know that he had this camera until I had went to film school. I came back for, I believe it was Thanksgiving and my mom pulled it out and said that she had found it in a closet and wanted me to have it. Cause obviously, uh, I was interested in photography and uh, and film at the time.


    Raymond:            00:02:28       So she gave it to me and this camera was, it was really interesting. It was really cool because at the time I had a, I knew how to shoot manual. Uh, so I went out and I wasn't intimidated by the camera at all. Um, so I went out and I shot a few rolls of film and when I got the photos back, it was just so cool to see the process. Right. It was so cool to see the images, but I quickly learned that one, as they say, photography is much more expensive than digital, which it is. And for two, I didn't realize this at the time, but, um, the same settings on a digital camera don't exactly relate to a film camera because film, uh, interacts differently with light. Uh, each film stock is entirely different and therefore you don't always know exactly how the photo is going to turn out.


    Raymond:            00:03:16       And I realized that a lot of my photos did not turn out, um, the way that I wanted them to. So, uh, while I saw that it was cool, it kind of felt more, uh, not like a gimmick that's wrong, but it kinda felt more like a, like a fun thing to do rather than a way to photograph the world as I saw it. So, uh, you know, I just had it and I'd shoot a few roles here and there throughout the year, but I really didn't spend too much time with it. I focused a lot more on digital, but, uh, one time I, then I believe I dropped it or it was in a bag and it got knocked around or something. And then the light meter inside did not work anymore. It stopped working and I was pretty upset. I tried to get the light meter fixed, but it ended up, uh, I was quoted, uh, more than the cost of a new k 1000 to fix it.


    Raymond:            00:04:06       So I thought not worth it. So I just didn't, I didn't fix a light meter. And then for, for several years I didn't really shoot any film, um, until probably this last, uh, last maybe two years. I then started shooting film again, uh, since I feel like I can see light a whole lot better now than I, than I did back then. So I don't rely on that light meter as much. Um, but over the past two weeks I put out two rolls of film through the camera and shot, just kind of whatever I felt like shooting and I went to go get that film developed, uh, at our local, a camera store in Indianapolis called Roberts Camera. And shout out to Adam if you're listening right now. He's the, uh, he's the guy behind the camera. He's the guy behind the counter and uh, it was just awesome to chat with him for a little bit, but when I got the photos back, when I got the scans back of the, uh, developed film, I'll tell you what, I will tell you what man, there's something about photos, film photos.


    Raymond:            00:05:08       I don't know if it's, I mean it's a combination of everything, but I can't exactly put my finger on it, but there's a richness of the colors. There's, there's a feel feel and there's really nothing quite like film when you shoot it. Right. So I'm kind of on this high of the excitement and, um, you know, looking back at this film, I've made it my mission this week to shoot more film, which means, uh, I am to save, uh, on developing costs. I'm going to have to buy some gear to develop my own film at home. And surprisingly, you're looking into it today. It's all much less than I expected. Uh, so I'm really excited to get going on that. And if you are in the beginner photography podcast, Facebook group, no doubt, you will be sure to get the updates on, uh, some new projects that I'm working on.


    Raymond:            00:05:58       So super excited about that. All right, well let's get into this week's interview. This was a big one for me and I am completely in awe as you're here this whole time. Uh, speaking with Chris, uh, he is a, he was an open book and it was just great to see kind of behind the curtains of what it takes to really photograph an event like the Indianapolis 500. So if you're ready, hold on tight because it is about to get crazy. Chris Owens is the manager of photo operations at the Indianapolis Motor speedway home of the Indy 500 today. I'm excited to talk about the logistics of how to cover such a large event. So Chris, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.


    Chris Owens:        00:06:41       Hey Raymond. Thanks for having me.


    Raymond:            00:06:43       I am really excited to get into this, uh, episode. Obviously living here in Indianapolis. Um, uh, I've actually kind of a transplant to indi, uh, but growing up my family has been into racing, so I've always known of the Indy 500. So moving out here was really exciting. And this year actually after having been here for seven years, was my first time going to the 500. And it was quite as it did. It did, it did. But it was, it was an amazing spectacle, um, uh, to actually see in person and then to find out that you who have been following on Instagram for a long time for that reason. Um, to actually see you working was a really cool thing. But before we get into, like I said, the logistics of shooting an event like the 500, can you share with the listeners how you, uh, first got your start in photography?


    Chris Owens:        00:07:33       Um, you know, that's, that's kind of a, there is really a few ways. It's kind of interesting. I more sometimes say that photography kind of found me, um, growing up as a kid, uh, with a lot of events and of course car races, which kind of explains where I am today. But, um, I was always gifted a disposable 35 millimeter camera when we'd go to those events. And, um, you know, I just was so, I was so passionate, so interested in like the Indiana Pacers and like, you know, NBA basketball on car racing and all that. Growing up it was really important to me to capture these events on this camera. And it wasn't, the camera was something I was asked for. It was just given to me. Um, so that was really great to be able to not forget, which is a lot of my relationship with photography.


    Chris Owens:        00:08:20       I think what also interested that, and me growing up was just, I didn't want to forget some of these special moments. So, you know, between that and then actually early childhood, the strangest thing, I was actually gifted, um, as well as like a toy. I'm talking like four or five years old, this old like German camera. My grandfather brought back, I guess, like my parents didn't want to mess with it or wasn't important to them or whatever, but this was literally in my toy box. So I can remember like walking around and like marking things up with this camera and, uh, and literally saying the words, you know, make it work, make it work. I knew it did something. I knew it wasn't just you walk around with this. So I think that like, it was really embedded with me at a young age. And then, um, as a senior in high school, you know, I, we finally, actually as a junior in high school, um, they offered a photography class, uh, at school. And I instantly knew whenever I heard and you know, saw that was on the list, I was like, yes, I will be very interested in this. Um, because I had already, you know, been shooting all these things with my disposable 35 millimeter. And also, um, even like buying them with allowance, which is kind of weird for a kid to do, you know, there's all this


    Raymond:            00:09:34       I did the same thing, man.


    Chris Owens:        00:09:37       Yeah. And I remember I actually have even these 35 millimeter negs where I'd set toys up in the yard and moved them. They would shoot, like tried to make a flip book. Of course I had like no tripod and the, they were out of focus, everything. So I looked horrible. But, um, you know, that photography class I'd always been, I wouldn't, being so young, I wouldn't say a photographer, but I had an interest in new of photography. So, you know, once I got going in that, um, things just really took off. I had a great photography teacher, Lenny buyer, Walter and high school, and he was just super supportive of my, um, just me being overzealous for photography, which, um, it gets quite a bit stranger from there. So after taking that class and you know, being a senior in high school and making these like life decisions of like, what am I going to go to school for, what am I going to do? Well, as I'm kind of going through those moments in life, ,


    Chris Owens:        00:10:37       you know, I kind of started to venture towards media, which is kind of, you know, obviously in the same realm, but radio and, um, then with the day you graduate from my high school, they give you a letter okay. That you don't remember because you write it to yourself when you're in fourth grade. All right. So I opened this letter and I'm like, this is the coolest thing ever. What is, you know, fourth grade me gonna have to talk about, well, there's questions


    Raymond:            00:11:06       and you don't remember this at all.


    Chris Owens:        00:11:08       I mean, now I do, I do now. But when you're a senior in high school, you don't remember, you didn't remember that was waiting on you. Does that make sense? Until you get it and you go, Oh yeah, we did this years ago. So you know, there's some pre drafted questions that teachers make up for you and to have you answer, well mine was, what do you want to be when you grow up?


    Chris Owens:        00:11:31       Don't ask me why. Some reason on this day I write a ESPN or sports illustrated photographer. It gave me chills. It shook me. I was like, this is weird cause I'm really right in my life. I'm really interested in the photography. And then that's when I think I even realized that at that age of 18, like this is something that's Kinda been with me for awhile. Um, so, you know, from there I got to school and um, started doing the radio and the media thing and I was like, no, I'm a photographer because all I was doing in my free time was right around and taking pictures. So from there, you know, I just kinda started to pursue my passion for photography. I've always photographed my friends. Um, and just snapshots are my favorite. I know that sounds awful cause everybody's trying to be an artist and they're trying to get all these trade of images and I am too. Um, but I find that I get a lot of those by just messing around, taking snapshots.


    Raymond:            00:12:29       Yeah. Yeah. I get that. That's, that's an incredible story. So at what point did it go from, you know, graduating high school, you're now working in radio and then deciding that you wanted to be a photographer to finally working at, well, okay, let me rephrase this question before we actually get into how you started working at the, at the Indianapolis Motor speedway. Can you tell me first what your job title entails


    Chris Owens:        00:12:56       at the speedway? Yes. Yes. Okay. So I'm the manager of photography, uh, for the Indianapolis Motor speedway and indycar series. And that has a lot of responsibilities and a lot more responsibilities than the fun part, which is shooting. Um, there's some days I feel like I'm lucky to get out there and shoot, but, um, I have an incredible staff, um, that, that helps with that. So I guess, sorry to back up. Um, to answer your question, just to, to say a little bit about what would I do there, I guess as the manager of photography, um, so that would involve like selecting all photographers who, uh, for my staff, for the Indy and IMS staff that go to all indycar races, um, picking their travel dates, um, you know, making sure they get hotels, all that kind of stuff. Um, coordinating shoots, uh, you know, booking shoots for our studio days where we do our like wipe drought backdrop, media portraits.


    Chris Owens:        00:13:58       Um, I shoot day to day, whatever pops up. And most of what my job is is popups. So that will be like, um, you know, So and So from the Indiana Pacers is dropping by and they are going to take a tour of the museum and go for a pace car ride and all that. I'm your guy, I'm there. So when you see the picture on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or the still at the beginning of the youtube video, um, you know, that's something that me or my staff, um, shot. Um, yeah, from there it was just cool. Yeah,


    Raymond:            00:14:34       I think, I think that sounds like a dream job for a lot of people. You know, a lot of people loved the creativity of photography, but maybe they're, they don't want to venture into the business side of things. And I think the idea of, of working, uh, under a company or something to still be able to create what it is that they want to, um, just sounds amazing and myself included. I think this sounds very cool. So,


    Chris Owens:        00:15:01       and that's, yeah, it is, but I'll, I will say as a photographer is, is huge adjustment for me to go from being a staff photographer and having people, you know, being just being a shooter know, that's a lot different. That's, I could handle that. And I, and I, I did handle that and I love that. And I love being, obviously in a manager role too. It just means a lot more emails. I can't a lot more meetings and planning and really when it's event on a time that you are, um, that you're out shooting, doing what you love, that's actually a moment you are getting behind on planning. Tomorrow's, you know, of front row photo shoe and it comes down to little things like making sure there's chairs there, making sure there's a flag of the nationality of the Poll Sitter. I was, I was running around the offices at any atlas motor speedway up 5:00 AM frantic the day of the front row shoot looking for Simon Pagenaud's, French flag and then we have, it just, it's, there's, there's a lot of things people don't understand yeah. About that. And um, if you want a role like this, you know, obviously starting as a beginner in photography, but if you want to grow into a role, um, like something like this, they do exist. I'm proof of it. But you just have to know that shooting becomes the last thing. Sometimes you're far too busy taking pictures to even go take pictures, if that makes any sense at all. Taking pictures that are required parts of the job.


    Raymond:            00:16:36       Yeah. Yeah. So thank you for sharing that. That is, that's a great insight into, into your position. Can you tell me now how, how this job became available for you, how you found out about it and how you pursued it?


    Chris Owens:        00:16:51       Well, um, you know, I first basically my first introduction to the Indianapolis Motor speedway was like 2004, I think I was 14 or 15, a youth group, um, at school with, you know, I wasn't a part of, but I was really into car racing and drag racing and all that as a kid. So living in Indiana, you know what this Indy 500 thing, right? Like you were talking about earlier. Um, I'm just like, you know what, I need to check mark off my motor sports adventure list. I want to go with these people. So I'm like, yeah, I get, I'll go, I'll go. We went, um, you know, they send us there. We supposed to flip burgers like in a, uh, one of the concession stands for the youth group or whatever. They said somebody needs to take a break first. I was so jack up about the place, I'll take a break first.


    Chris Owens:        00:17:42       You guys work, I'll come and shift. You know, I left with a few friends. We never came back the whole day. They were, they were pissed. The bus was waiting on us, like it was full. All the kids were mad. We left like an hour late because we were over like try to seek victory circle. So you know that, that really watching those cars, anybody that's been to a professional car race or especially the Indy 500 seeing those cars come past you for the first time, you'll never forget. It's incredible. And um, you know, at the same time I have pictures from that day cause I might disposable, you know, so I, these wheels were turning far before I knew. Um, so you know, from there kept going to the race and as I got as a senior in high school, like we were talking about may is when you graduate and may's during the 500.


    Chris Owens:        00:18:30       I'm thinking about it. I remember sitting in turn three with my camera going, there is a person who works here, this is their job to take these photos. I couldn't never have this job because someone has it, but I can have a job like this. One day I remember telling myself that and inside I turned three and um, you know, from there ended up transferring, um, really to be closer to Indianapolis, the city and the track. I've always loved the track, transferred to Indianapolis to go to a art school here and you know, just started knocking on the door out there at the track. Um, started showing up. I showed up twice there and the manager of photography, that time, director of photography, he wasn't there. Um, but I was given a phone number and an email address started sending to that, started sending that wasn't hearing anything back.


    Chris Owens:        00:19:22       And really all I wanted to do was try to build a portfolio and um, be a fanboy. At the same time. You have pictures of my favorite race cars and race car drivers and um, you know, after doing that long enough and sending those emails, um, just being persistent, just keep going like, you know, monthly sending an email, hey, hey, hey, just because I knew I only had one shot, so, um, if they don't respond, you know, you, you, you keep going. And I would tell that to any photographer, um, that wants a position. Sometimes people, they're not ignoring you or it's something they don't like you, they're just busy. And I feel horrible because it happens to me sometimes people are like, I sent you an email on may whatever, or a random April weekend when I'm in Long Beach shooting the Long Beach Grand Prix. And I'm like, I got 40 emails that day and I was doing another shooting as well, you know.


    Chris Owens:        00:20:20       So, um, to finish up on that though, how I got there, eventually I, I was working, selling cameras and I always kept, uh, uh, at a retail store and I always kept a portfolio book on the table. Right. Um, because, uh, as a photography shoot, you'd be promoting yourself and showing your best work. And I always wanted, you know, to keep that they're hoping maybe I could land a job from that in photography one day. Um, right person solid said, these are great race car pictures. Um, I should show these with my friend who was the director of photography at the speed. I was like, yes, you should because I've been trying to do that, um, for a year, you know. Um, and so, you know, she did, she was, you know, I was lucky enough that that person came into my life that day and did that and sent that email.


    Chris Owens:        00:21:10       Um, I don't know if you know, he owed her a favor or what, but he responded that day, said, I looked at your pictures on your flicker. I love them. They're the kind of thing we're looking for. Um, because at this time, you know, photography and especially photography is kind of transferring on ditch film to digital. There's still some guys that were, they weren't shooting film, but they were fresh to digital cameras. And this, um, you know, in 2007 maybe they'd been under 10 years shooting digital. So, um, you know, from there I got in just as a volunteer, I would, you know, take time off work unpaid just to go out there and try to shoot every day, you know, scrimping and saving.


    Raymond:            00:21:52       So at that point, at that, okay. Actually I got two followup questions for you. One of them you talked about, um, being persistent and following up and keep sending those emails. Is there as somebody now who's in that position who is continually getting emails, is there, um, a fine line between being persistent and, and being pushy, trying to follow up and I know that's something that a lot,


    Chris Owens:        00:22:19       well, you know, I'm not sure and I'll tell you why. Um, for me, I like to be, if someone is trying to offer me something that maybe sounds great and is great, but at that point in time I can't use, or maybe, you know, my credential allotment is up, I'm not allowed to add more people or things like that. Um, you know, where I can't shoot something for them that they need shot. For me, it's just important to, to tell the, tell them quickly and be fair and be transparent. Clearance. Say, hey look, thanks for reaching out. I can't do that for you right now. So I think that's also up to whoever you are trying to be persistent towards. If they aren't answering you or they're not giving you clear answers, I me personally, that's my personality. I would say, you know, hit them up, keep returning on your, on your thoughts until they tell you until they are, we can get them to say yes or they decide they do need what you have to offer or they just say, hey look, I'm sorry we can't do that right now. I've had people do that to me and um, I think that I would say, yeah, be, you know, you don't, I don't know what you want to send somebody an email every day saying, hey, I'd love to shoot for your product. Or Hey, I would love to be on shoot for your, um, team company brand. But, um, you know, yeah, I would say do until you get a yes or no. Right,


    Raymond:            00:23:46       right, right. Okay. I gotcha. That's, that's a great answer. So this is what you did. You finally got the opportunity to show up and volunteer your time. Was this just a, were you following somebody or was it, hey, here's your credentials. You can just walk around and shoot whatever you want.


    Chris Owens:        00:24:05       I gotta be honest with you. I had no idea what I was doing at first. I couldn't believe they brought me on. I've looked back at some of the pictures I sent as a portfolio. They were like, a lot of her were like out of focus. She know. So like, I think that they acknowledged that they needed new blood. They needed, you know, they needed to keep rotating and getting new photographers from new styles. But, um, at first I really didn't get a lot of attention paid to me and I contribute that. Um, I actually think that that really helped because it was literally like, I mean, I was 19 years old. Um, you know, they were like, yeah, man, I, here's your credential. Don't go over the pit wall, don't get hit by a car, you know, things like that, which is easy to do.


    Chris Owens:        00:24:51       You, you know, you, it's easy to stay out of the way. But um, it was kind of those things. So stay on the way and come back with some neat pictures. I did it. I mean I, I had, I was hardly coming in and sitting down. I was just out shooting all day, popping whatever I thought looked at me, you know, taking, trying to get a unique perspective really without even knowing I was, because they had all been doing it so long. A lot of them were doing it the same way. So, um, yeah, I really contribute being, not having assignments at first, my first year or two, not having assignments, not having anything. I was responsible for allowing me to go out and kind of make great pictures. I hope that answered your question. I know I already forgot what your question


    Raymond:            00:25:37       it was when you first started, did you, did you have assignments or were you kinda off given free reign and uh, you did answer that. You did answer that. So, um, okay, so let's, let's transition a little bit because now you, you're in this position, so let's talk about the 500. The 500 Indianapolis 500 is arguably the, probably the most high profile event that you guys should at the speedway. Is that, is that about right?


    Chris Owens:        00:26:03       I mean, without a doubt it's, it's one of your larger single day sporting events or claimed to be the largest single day sporting event in the world. So definitely the biggest thing we got,


    Raymond:            00:26:15       I said I did not know that. That's interesting.


    Chris Owens:        00:26:17       Yeah. I mean there's, there's events that bring in more people and festivals and things like that, but it might be over a weekend or a week or like the Olympics, you know, more people that's kind of going, but for, you know, for like an eight hour day, it's the time. It's the most people. It's the biggest single largest sporting single day sporting event in the world on, it's right here in Indiana, right here in speedway


    Raymond:            00:26:41       every single year. So for an event, like that, how far out does preparation start for the 500 for you?


    Chris Owens:        00:26:51       So, you know, that's, that is also interesting. Um, because for us it can be almost a full year effort. And, and why that is is because when you think about what would make sense as yet a few months before we should really start ramping up and you know, transferring our lenses and our computers and you know, loading in and all this stuff. Um, and you know, starting to think about shots from our creative standpoint in marketing, which puts they do earlier in the year, but us sitting down as a team and starting to talk about it, you'd think about us doing that a few months before. But the reality is a few months before, we're already working a car race in Saint Petersburg, Florida, the street race, uh, the ground praise St Petersburg or the Long Beach Grand Pre, uh, we're in Birmingham, Alabama, the, you know, we have a schedule list goes on. So, um, if working on the Indycar side, that is, the indycar series is a championship. Just like any other sport that you know, but they travel from event to event instead of playing team to team, it's event to event trying to win. So yeah, I mean a few weeks before the 500, I'm in another city shooting a car race so that, that makes it very difficult. You're doing a lot of your planning on, um, you know, Wednesday, Thursday or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday because Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday you're often in another city, um, staff to make quick, quick decisions and how you just have a lot of long hours and that's something you have to be committed to, to have a job of photography


    Raymond:            00:28:20       of course. And I think if it's something that you like, tried to pursue, that makes it probably a little bit easier to do though those long days rather than just kind of taking a job because it was the only thing available.


    Chris Owens:        00:28:32       100%. Um, I truthfully am lucky enough to say I work very hard, but I really, we've all had jobs and we all have jobs and we work. I, I haven't really worked in a long time. You know what I'm saying? Because of what you just said. When you do what you love, um, it doesn't feel you said it yourself best. It doesn't feel as much like work and, um, it's, it's fun for me all the time to when I met, you know, a party or with friends or meeting New People. I have a lot of pride in getting to say what I do when they say, well, what are you? And it's, that's a great feeling in life to be able to do that. But to hear somebody say, well, what do you do? And just go, I'm a race car photographer and just watch them, watch them just be like, what? This person is an accountant and there's nothing wrong with that. Or this person, you know, does heating and cooling, what do you do? I take race for a post. Well, what do you do? Like that's it. That's how I get a paycheck from that. It's incredible. It's incredible.


    Raymond:            00:29:39       Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I, I had the, I had the fortune of, uh, of, of I believe it was two years ago now, photographing when, uh, when red bull came, uh, to, uh, the, where was it? Just I guess whatever.


    Chris Owens:        00:29:55       Were they racing motorcycles?


    Raymond:            00:29:57       No, no, no, no. It was their, their, their like world rally cross that they were doing, they'd had like a rad across series and I had the fortune to be able to go and like shoot that. And it was, it was an incredibly taxing day. You know, like you said, you're on your feet all day. Uh, you got to the racism very that long. It's a bunch of different legs, you know, so you got to really be prepared. And preparation was, was a huge thing that I had to learn to, to, uh, to expect right. To look forward to there. Um, and I can't imagine, but at the end of the day, my feet were sore. I was sweaty cause it was like 200 degrees that day. And it was, I didn't even do anything with the photos cause it was just, it was just so like enjoyable for me that at the end of the day I felt, you know, I felt fulfilled. So, so you're absolutely right. You're absolutely right.


    Chris Owens:        00:30:45       She did. That's where a lot of my work starts is whenever you're done I then am like you have to sit down and crank out cause you're working for the media as well.


    Raymond:            00:30:56       Yeah. Yeah. No, I definitely want to get into what happens after we, uh, after we photograph the images. But um, real quick, I want to go back again to kind of kind of the prep side of, um, of the 8,500. So how many photographers are, are, are under you?


    Chris Owens:        00:31:16       So I'm currently, I have somewhere between 15 and 20 photographers and that kind of can adjust. Yeah.


    Raymond:            00:31:25       Staff, photographers,


    Chris Owens:        00:31:26       they are staff photographers. And you might ask why would it take that many? Um, yeah, I mean you are, a lot of people think that what I'm doing, so how about this and going out and taking the pictures of the race cars. That's the easiest part. That's what everybody wants to do. That is like this much of what is needed for my job. Because you know, whenever you're shooting for a company, and this might, this is, this might be interesting to anyone who's interested in any kind of event photography or shooting something they're passionate about. You know, I'm, what I'm doing is sometimes, sometimes what I'm responsible for may be like, Hey, um, we need pictures of a, a, a beer sponsor is having a party in a pavilion tent during qualifying someone. I need someone to go over there and take a picture of their, their event or what's going on.


    Chris Owens:        00:32:26       Well, qualifying check presentation type thing is going on. You know what I mean? So obviously someone has to cover that cause it's the racing. That's why we have jobs and we're there. But at the same time there's something else going on. And then while that's going on there may, um, who knows, it'd be something that's important to the marketing department, some poster autographed poster giveaway that's going on at the same time. Because, you know, at these events, there's things going on for different demographics of people at different times. So, um, you know, and we have requests throughout the whole company. Someone from facilities may say to me, hey, we need a picture of every branded garbage can because that brand paid a lot of money to have their name stapled on every garbage can. You didn't think about stuff like that. You know what I mean?


    Chris Owens:        00:33:15       All this is going on. Why on a Friday practice session, while, you know there's a lot going on, it takes a lot of people. And I'm like, at this point, uh, I have myself, I love race car photography. I have so many, you know, photographers on my staff who are so talented at race photography. Um, what's really important to us is, um, our staff, the most valuable right now are the staff that can go out and take a picture of a, um, hospitality event after hours, guests doing track labs, things like that. So those are, those are the kinds of things that are less, you know, glorious about the job. That's, um, you know, people here sometimes they're like, oh yeah, well I'm up at, or you know, you're out shooting race cars and having a good time and doing all this stuff. It's like, I'm also there at 7:00 AM with, um, guests have a sponsor while they take a two seater ride along pace car labs.


    Chris Owens:        00:34:13       You know what I mean? That's not as cool as being in victory circle for the indie 500, but it's part of the job. And, um, I got where I am by paying my dues, volunteering and doing those things, you know, and that, and that's how I'd say part of how I got the call for the job, um, was because there was a time where I, I left Indianapolis, I moved to Fort Wayne, um, to be home for about six months. The speedway would still call me. They thought I lived in Minneapolis and they'd say, hey, on a Wednesday, they'd be like, Hey, can you come take pictures of these people doing pace lap rides on a Wednesday in October? Tomorrow? I'd be like, yeah, I drive two hours. You know, just to go down, just to stay in good graces and to show them that I was committed to them. And that's kind of dedication. You have to have. 'Em


    Raymond:            00:35:03       and you said how many years it took you to do that to, to, to kind of get the attention.


    Chris Owens:        00:35:11       I've been about three years of doing that until, um, you know, they got to the point where the director of photography had retired and they kind of started looking around for, um, I guess lack of a better term, a new and young perspective. And um, they called and asked me if I'd come in and talk about it and I lost my mind the coolest day of my life at that point. It was pretty awesome.


    Raymond:            00:35:39       Yeah, no, I can imagine. I can imagine. That is so awesome. That is an awesome story. Um, for, for those, for those who have never been, who are, who have never had the, uh, uh, the, the ability to go to the Indianapolis Motor speedway. It is, it's huge. Uh, so I did a little research and within the walls of the ims you could fit a, it's like the Roman coliseum, all of Churchill downs where they have the Kentucky Derby, all of Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty is the Rosebowl stadium, which is the second largest college football stadium, the Taj Mahal, the White House and the entire Vatican City. Oh. And dodger stadium. All of this can fit within the walls of the ims. It is massive. So on race day for the 500, there's no way that you could possibly shoot everything. How do you decide what gets covered and what doesn't?


    Chris Owens:        00:36:39       Yes. Um, also to follow up on your saying how big it is, sometimes it will be pouring rain in turn three and we will be on the front stretch and they'll call a yellow flag for safety. And we're like, what's, what's wrong? It's a sunny day over here. It's that big. I'm not kidding. That's not a joke. And I'll be like, there's rain in three and then you look in, there's like a cloud over there. But, um, yeah, I guess how do I, your question is how do you choose what to do? How do you get it all? How can you attempt to get it all? You can't, it's too big too and too big of an event and too many things going on. First off. That's why obviously we're working on a staff, but, um, you know, like you said, it's about preparation. Um, there's not a whole lot of time to prepare during, um, an event like this because I'll be shooting the day before a couple of days before the 500 or even the day before the 500.


    Chris Owens:        00:37:31       I have events to shoot. And sometimes it's not leaving there till nine at 10 at night done with your product, with your photos, editing and all that. So, you know, you're not gonna stay there longer and you can, I have, but to, to plan things, you've gotta do a lot of this earlier in the month. And a lot of what it comes down to is, um, seeing what other photographers have done, saying, Ooh, this is great, but they, that's a nice photo that somebody took it a 500, they kind of missed this. I would've done it this way to put this in. Um, so basically, you know, lack of a better term, I don't want to say stealing other people's images, but all, you know, all creative, all creative thoughts and images that they've all already been made. The only thing you can do is elaborate and make yours and make a different way what kind of others have done.


    Chris Owens:        00:38:28       And sometimes in the process you make something that you never, um, you never, you've never, and that is new and fresh. And to me that's the best advice. I'm oil and being creative, uh, and doing something new. But for me, um, really doing that image investigation from what I've shot from what others have shot in years past, how do we make it better? Um, cold day in the winter when there's not as much going on, going somewhere in a facility that you have an idea for of a co where a car would look on track or where the fans are going to be. I've done that a dozen times where I'm up in the stands with a camera in February, you know, and I'm having cold snowy that that might work. I have to wait till people get here. I have to wait till there's cars on the track.


    Chris Owens:        00:39:16       But um, you know, preparation, just being, being prepared, thinking ahead. Um, throughout the year, keeping notes, I like to kind of keep a next year's 500 note on my computer. I recommend anybody who shoots an event, um, or shoots a regular reoccurring event. Does that do it? When it's fresh, you kind of jot down and then by the time you get ready to investigate it, if you can remember what your notes mean, you can, you know, you might be able to make something neat, um, from it. Uh, also, you know, my rule of thumb is to start really the, this might sound silly to you, but kind of planning equipment, even the the day before. I know it's a stretch, but um, you know, even like, you know, before I go out and do something, I used to have an issue a lot where I'd get up to a point like, uh, I forgot the polarizer I forgot this, I forgot that you really have to almost make yourself a shot list, which is a personal shot lists.


    Chris Owens:        00:40:17       Obviously we have one for all our photographers, but one for you, what do you want to achieve and what equipment are you going to have to take with you? I've been known to make a small on my phone. All the men make basically a small list of I need to get this equipment for the day. And that's, that's how you don't forget it because it's crazy running in and out the door shooting assignment needs to be uploaded quick. You walk back out the door and you go, I forgot what I was going to bring with me. Um, yeah, hopefully that's some good guy by some preparation, but it's for showing, you know, it's very high paced doing the racing. It just, it's crazy because there's so many items on a, on a daily shot list and


    Raymond:            00:40:52       yeah. So there you go. You mentioned the shot list. I kind of want to know a little bit more about this. You talked, does each photographer have their own like region of the, of the uh, speedway that they have to cover and then things within that or is it all free rain free


    Chris Owens:        00:41:12       reign and it's kind of all over the place. And back to, you know, when you first asked me some of the responsibilities in my job, this is one of the hardest days of the year. The day before the 500. I have a handful of things I shoot in the morning. And then from there I just, I kind of shut off because I have to make, I don't even know how many items it's, it's well over a hundred item shot list. Okay. And that is things from credentials has, uh, assignments that they, for me, they want things shot for their next year's ticket, something earlier their ticket or their lanyard. Um, you know, every facility like back to facilities, they throw the garbage cans, all this, all that stuff I was talking about. That is all on this race state shot. So I have, it's like making a puzzle that nothing fits and, but you have a knife so you're able to like trying to bend all the pieces and make it flat.


    Chris Owens:        00:42:08       That's kind of like what making the Indy 500 race day shot list is. And I mean there's everything on this from who's responsible for shooting the dead center car coming in at victory circle, you know, and who's going to get these milk shots all the way down to um, yeah. Who's going to take the trashcan photos? So m I s and that literally takes me an eight hour day. That takes me a full day to put everything that everyone that works in our company that has an image request that they need on to one document, piece of paper. Um, you know, it's like triple padlocked and a briefcase, so I don't lose it. Um, it's very, it's, it's, um,


    Raymond:            00:42:49       it's obviously important right to the speedway too.


    Chris Owens:        00:42:52       And a lot of people that are just going out and taking pictures, man. You know, and, and this is kind of where, you know, people who do want to start something at photography have to decide, is that your kind of workflow? Do you want to work like that? You know?


    Raymond:            00:43:08       Yeah, of course. And it was you who, uh, d do you play in yourself in the, uh, in the great shots? Cause you, if I remember right from a post that you put on Instagram, you were the one who photographed a willpower last year, uh, drinking the milk that eventually went on the, uh, everybody's tickets. Is that right?


    Chris Owens:        00:43:25       I mean, that's kind of the perk, right? I've got a couple things that I kind of planned.


    Raymond:            00:43:29       I think that would be filmed in my house.


    Chris Owens:        00:43:33       Yeah. So I normally take obviously being the track photographer, the series photographer, any card I normally do the dead center low. Um, you know, car coming in the celebration of the winter and what always, what's really though is great is I have our staff photographers peppered all throughout that grandstand, um, to get the winter and they get better stuff than I do. They get great shots, they get incredible stuff. Um, yeah. I mean really just having an amazing staff of guys is what, um, that's what makes me look good. Those guys are awesome and then I get to do the things that I want to do as well because of them and, and wouldn't be able to do it without them. And that we just have grown so much there. We're getting a really good man.


    Raymond:            00:44:22       Good. That's awesome to hear. I mean, every photo that I, that I see comes out as just like, it's not, it's not, you know, the old NASCAR photos that saw growing up in my, in my uncle's garage, like this is new photography. It's fun stuff. And that kind of brings me into my next question, which is obviously when you're shooting film, it costs a lot of money, or at least it costs money. When you take a lot of photos, it costs a lot of money. Uh, so having the ability to shoot digital, you kind of have this freedom to be able to, to, to play around, to add more context to your photos. And ultimately what we're trying to do with the photos simply just tell a story within a single frame. So I would imagine that a photo of a car going, you know, 230 miles an hour around the track can only tell so much. How do you incorporate more story into your images?


    Chris Owens:        00:45:15       You know, that is, that is interesting and it's kind of evolved for me. Um, over time there was a point in time where for me just getting the image, the car in the frame and getting it's sharp, like I was like, hell yeah, turn that. You know what I mean? Um, but as time goes on, I've kind of explored myself, um, with different, um, you know, different techniques of doing that. Um, what I like to do, you know, the last few years ago, what was really big to me was I wanted to start showing more of the race tracks, so where a lot of people are doing what I said, they're just zooming in with a zoom lens or getting shot at the car still. Um, to tell its story. I was kinda trying to do more of these big sky shots, car small at the bottom, big sky, and incorporate some motion, slow shutter speed photography.


    Chris Owens:        00:46:11       Um, which is another thing obviously to look into. But, um, you know, showing motion in the images anyway you can, um, showing a little more of the venue. That's kind of what's, what's important anymore. Um, employed to me. Uh, and, and then from there, just getting, you don't always have to shoot the car from the back or from the front. Sometimes you can shoot the car from the back, you know what I mean? Um, any angle, any that's any photographer, any race car photographer who's, who's truly invested, these guys, they're like cockroaches. These guys are crawling all over everything. They're there up at the street courses. We're up in the buildings looking down where, you know, we're, you know, you're laying on the ground and shooting through a crack, through a separation in the wall. Your, um, and it's really, that's an important thing to tell beginning photographers is um, that's what makes a good photographer.


    Chris Owens:        00:47:08       A lot of photographers are going to these predesignated photo holes that are, you know, a safe bet. You know, you're going to get a photo from it for credentialed photographers. But some of your true, your best images are from somewhere different because think about it, everybody's going to that same hole. So if you're doing something, someone else isn't, whether your images is good or not, there's no comparison. Another one doesn't exist. Yours is the best because it's the only one that exists. Now, if you and I go to both shoot out of the photo hole, you might beat me, right? You might get a better shot because we shot the same picture.


    Raymond:            00:47:44       Oh 1000%. Yeah.


    Chris Owens:        00:47:46       So I would tell photographers, um, the best way I can find to make myself useful, and I've always thought this and I still try to stick with this, is how many, how many photographers can I turn myself into an issue? So I want to be the guy standing here getting the main shot, right. Cause that's the shot and that's the safety net. And that's what we need. That's what we're all here for. All right, I'm shooting, I'm shooting. I got it, I got it, I got it, I'm done. Let them stay there. And you go around now you go, as long as you're not in their shot, move around and get something different, you know, or if it's something that's not overly important to you or you're not overly invested, but you want a nice photo of, if you see all the photographers are standing over there, you go somewhere different because now you have a one of a kind new different perspective that doesn't exist in the world except for yours because no one was there. But, right. But you pick somewhere new, go somewhere new, go somewhere different.


    Raymond:            00:48:41       That is that, that's a great tip. I think just kind of in life, you know, if you just replace the word shot with decision, you know, that's like solid life advice. Right. You should put that on.


    Chris Owens:        00:48:53       Maybe I ought to have a job done. Some kidding.


    Raymond:            00:48:57       Yeah. Um, yeah, I think, thank you for sharing that. I think, I think a lot of people are going to get a lot of value out of, out of, out of that statement right there. It is something that I don't think is taught as, as practical as that, you know, as clear as that we're told to get different shots. But there were some real concrete examples there including laying on the concrete. So yeah.


    Chris Owens:        00:49:18       If it say go for it.


    Raymond:            00:49:20       How, how does, uh, camera gear work in a, in a position like this? Is this a job where you bring your own camera gear or is gear provided?


    Chris Owens:        00:49:30       Well, um, you know, it's kind of a mix of things. So, um, for, you know, obviously for my staff, um, we have a great partnership, um, you know, with Canon cameras where they let us try out and loan, um, loan us equipment to try out. We own our own, uh, you know, equipment for the company to staff and our photographers have their own equipment. But, um, with the backing of a, uh, cannon professional services, which travels to a lot of sporting events and events in general and, and car races, um, you know, those guys are awesome. They, uh, they, they provide a lot of, uh, unique equipment for us to try and, uh, then if we, you know, like that, and that's something obviously to purchase, um, down the road. So Canon is, uh, is pretty awesome stuff. It's a great equipment for the, uh, you know, for action in sports. It's always been known for that myself. I've shot an icon in the past and that stuff was great. Um, but you just, you really can't, you can't beat the cannon professional services as a professional photographer, um, and their equipment and their people.


    Raymond:            00:50:39       So, so I'm going to kind of branch off here. Let's say that you have an idea for an image in your head and it's going to require something like a, something separate, super specialized, uh, either tilt shift or like a 800 Mil Lens and you don't have it. Um, is that something that you would reach out to Canon and say, hey, we want to try the shot. Can you ship something out?


    Chris Owens:        00:51:04       You know, that is, I'm not sure what that, I'm not sure how that relationship worked for, um, you know, for, for, um, for all photographers. I know on site at a lot of events that's an option. Um, but yeah, for, for my staff, um, yeah, if that's something canon has available, um, yeah, that's something that they could help out with.


    Raymond:            00:51:26       Very cool. Very cool.


    Chris Owens:        00:51:27       And then they do that. Like if you're at a, if you know, let's say you were shooting, yeah, I don't know, some kind of sporting event and come canon professional services. They're in your credential photographer. You can go to their booth and you know, and talk to them. They'll clean your lenses, they'll clean your camera bodies, they'll let you borrow lens for the day if you want to try something new. So for photographer credential, that events that CPS canon professional services is at, um, yeah, they'll hook you up and they'll, they'll do it with a smile. They'll clean your camera. Hell of a deal.


    Raymond:            00:51:59       Yeah. So for, um, for an event like the 500, which is really a once a year event for your staff photographers, do you, how much do you stress getting the safe shot versus getting that crazy equipment and doing something that's never seen?


    Chris Owens:        00:52:17       Oh man, that's, so we need it all. We need it all. You know, the, I think most photographers in what I do and what an in in event photography in general, maybe this, I would imagine this is most photographers, that's the first thing you do. You get your safe shot, you know, you get your sharp still well exposed, you get those out of the way and then you play. And I tried to do that with everything I go do. So if I need to document the way the crowd looked from the stage, I want a picture of a crowd, I just go wide pop it. I normally carry two cameras so I'll go wide high shutter. So it's nice and still in sharp opposite. Then if I want to do something, if I have another creative lens with me or I want to do a zoom, you know in or show some depth, then I play from there.


    Chris Owens:        00:53:05       But um, I think that's probably, you know, I do that with my on the side. I do concert photography and I do that with that too. I think that safe you, you really as a photographer, I mean everybody wants the flashy, the banger shot, the amazing picture. You really got to cover your bases first cause that's how you have clients, that's how you keep clients. So, um, you know, get your staple, get your, get your stuff out of the way that you know is required and then play because at the end of the day, this stuff they're probably gonna use is going to be all your creative stuff anyway. But if you don't get the still sharp documentation shot than what they hired you for, you know, it's a tortured game. This whole photography thing, it's a lot of fun, but it's um, you're constantly in your head bouncing back to not wanting to do what you're doing and wanting to do it a different way. You're just being torn. You know?


    Raymond:            00:53:58       I haven't thought about it like that. That's a, that's very true though. That's very true. Yeah. They'll always be mad if you don't get the safe shot. Never be mad if you get a more creative shot.


    Chris Owens:        00:54:08       Right.


    Raymond:            00:54:11       Um, so, uh, okay, so, so we go, we know what needs to be covered the day of the 500. We know who's going where, what shots they need to get the equipment that they need to use as well. Winners, you know, the winner wins. You Go, you photograph the milk, you photograph the kiss of the bricks, you come back. And how many photos would you say that you have at the end of the day? A, of the 500. Do you happen to know from this year's numbers? I mean, is it thousands?


    Chris Owens:        00:54:39       Yes, yes, yes. I would guess that it's in the years past. Um, you know, I would say probably I would for some reason the number like four or 5,000 sticks out to me. That might be crazy. But um, you just from the five photography, yes, just from me, but um, at the same time I have learned and having more responsibilities and more assignments and understanding of what will and won't work in photography and have to track that number for me has gone down a little. I recommend for anybody who's a new shooter, shoot a ton cause you have more things to choose from. But, and especially if you have time and none another job following up, you know, me, after shooting the 500 on Sunday, I then have an assignment and the next morning at like 8:00 AM with the winner. So I've learned over the years if I take 5,100 photos as 5,000 pictures I have to look at and I have to spend five seconds with making a decision whether I'm going to use it, whether I'm going to scrap it. So to think about that too, you know. Um, yeah, so I, um, I want to say like this year is probably quite a bit less. Probably half of that probably took a couple of thousand photos on race day. Tons of them are from victory circle. Whenever, you know, when the winter gets out of the car from there, I'm not going to lie to you. It's, you know, the still that you see that's the one, it's not some creative genius. It is a one picked out of 300 from a, you know, so, um,


    Raymond:            00:56:16       again, you got to get that safe shot.


    Chris Owens:        00:56:18       Yeah, you got it. I couldn't wait though for the one second, for the decisive moment. But I know, no,


    Raymond:            00:56:25       you still have a job to do and there's a lot on the line, so I get it. So you mentioned earlier that your job kind of starts at the end of the race, right? Because now you have all of these photos. So what happens to the images after race day?


    Chris Owens:        00:56:40       So the last couple of years, the way we've done it is, you know, kind of stand there. I'll wait. I'll get that reaction shot from the winter. And then once that shot, once those shots are done, the winter goes out to the yard of bricks and does their, um, kissing of the bricks and some other traditional shots at the speedway. Um, at that point I then literally sprint like I run into the media center, throw the card in because at that point, you know that that moment's already five minutes ago. And that's, that's what the racing world is. Uh, you know, in sports world is waiting for. So, um, I have been somewhat to fill in for me and do some of the other sponsor commitment photos with the winter. Um, you know, and then from there you're just, you're there all night, you're there until, you know, if the race gets over and I don't even know, cause I never have time to look at the clock.


    Chris Owens:        00:57:36       Three, four, whatever it is. I'll be there till nine 30 or 10. And then eventually you just, you call it quits, you go, you get tired and go, I have, this is what I'm going to have. These are the images I'm going to have from this event, you know, bundle them up, ready to turn them into our internal archive. And I put them on our, um, our media page where media goes to get images, um, you know, after our events. And of course some of them are more important than others. So I'm throwing some of those up while I'm trying to finish the rest. I mean, it's a juggle and it's a constant brain assessment of what's the use of this image? How important is it? Who needs it? Can they wait a day? Does it need to be shown to the world now? Um, you're just firing on all cylinders mentally and physically for an entire day of the 8,500.


    Chris Owens:        00:58:23       Um, and you know, when you're out shooting, sometimes you're waiting on a shot. You see this awesome shot, the one you want the shot and you go, I can wait your two more minutes for this because there's so many other things going on. So for me, it's just an entire day of celebrating your victories and like not, you know, walking away from your losses. And, um, and then having a plan before the day starts, before the month starts of on race day, I want to go to this spot and get this shit. I want to shot, I want to do this shot this way, I want to do this shot this way. Um, and having them in mind and not spending too much time anywhere, just bouncing.


    Raymond:            00:59:00       Yeah. I would imagine that for every shot that you do get, there's gotta be at least one or 10 more shots that you don't get that you,


    Chris Owens:        00:59:06       every year that I was a part of, I was there for, I'm just like, oh, it's okay, but it's not that cool, you know?


    Raymond:            00:59:11       Right, right, right. So, okay. So, so just to clarify, when you run back to the media center and then you said that you're there all night, you're going through those photos, you're selecting of the, uh, the images that are, that are going to go out, right?


    Chris Owens:        00:59:25       Yup. Correct. Correct.


    Raymond:            00:59:27       So when, when you're doing that, about how many images would you say go into the, uh, go into the, I believe you said the archive of the,


    Chris Owens:        00:59:39       yeah. You know, for the day, I probably contribute, I would say under four, around maybe 400, 300


    Raymond:            00:59:50       and that's between all the, the photographers?


    Chris Owens:        00:59:54       No, that's my cell for the day. Yes. Those are just mine. And others, you know, they have, they might do the same or are more. Um, I, I don't, my big thing is I don't, I was told, you know, from my photography teacher young and I stuck with this, that a photographer only shows their best work. I don't find benefit in turning in a ton of images. Um, a lot of times I just find for clients that, that gets them confused on what to pick. You're putting creative decisions in their hands. They, they didn't, they paid you to make those decisions. You pick the best one, you give them that. And it never fails. As a photographer, I've heard this everywhere and it happens to me daily. The photo you liked the least, that's the one they're gonna use every time. Every damn time. So the boat don't give them to, you know, you don't want to give them too much.


    Chris Owens:        01:00:46       You want to give them what's good. Um, so yeah, I, that's the way I do it. Probably race day is between three, I'm guessing it's under 400, probably 300. Um, but, but we're doing, we're not doing any 500, but we're doing events and practice and qualification, time trials, all that kind of stuff. And in a road course race at the beginning of the month, we're doing that every day in May. So I mean by the end of the month, like I am in tune with this camera on one with this camera. Two years ago I got a little like rough, almost patch, like callous on the tip of my nose from hitting a camera, gets my face for a thousand pictures a day or whatever. Like I'm sorry to, to fight. Yeah, I ramble. What was your question? I'm sorry.


    Raymond:            01:01:41       Uh, I mean really that was it. I was really trying to figure out how many images get added to the archive, so that makes sense. That makes sense. You know, really delivering the best work is, is still part of your job. You know, it's not, it's not just taking the photos, but it's delivering the best photos. I would imagine that having to, uh, deliver photos quick for the rest of the world too, to see that there's next to no editing being done to the image itself. Right.


    Chris Owens:        01:02:12       We're, you're just, we're moving quick. I'm moving quick, man. I'm getting him in there. And um, you, if it's a slow day, not a race day, I have time where I play with them and I, you know, I do a little manipulation. Um, I just, I don't, I don't do super heavy manipulation. Part of that is because I'm trying to make editorial images that are used, you know, and in magazines and on web stories and really the world is lightened up. Believe it or not. I mean, not your big publications, but for standard editorial news, they'll use an image that's a doctored a little bit, um, or as we like to call it cooked, because sometimes, sometimes you see somebody over at, it's an image, it's, their colors are messed up. It's a little crispy, too much clarity. They cooked it.


    Raymond:            01:03:01       That's not who won the race.


    Chris Owens:        01:03:05       We work in a coal mine, there's charcoal all over this guy.


    Raymond:            01:03:09       So, uh, having, having, uh, captured all of these images and then, you know, submitting them, um, you're essentially not a freelance photographer. Are you allowed to use these images for your own personal use?


    Chris Owens:        01:03:24       Yeah, so, you know, I, I'll use them on my website portfolio, which makes sense. That's as a photographer, that's how I make my, would make my living moving forward if I weren't to be with the speedway, would be showing what I'm capable of. I'm also, you know, social media. It's today, you know, that promotes the brand that promotes, um, the speedway and [inaudible] speedway in indycar series and all that. So, you know, obviously anything that you see that I post, it's always in a positive light. I don't have anything bad to say about the series of cars that the drivers, it's all just promotion of Indycar and I'm showing the way I see the world in car racing. So yeah, it's, I'm able to do that. Um, I don't, my images, I don't, I'm, they're not for sale. I can't sell them prince of them, you know, cause tactically when you work for a company, you know, or a client like this, they own their likeness and the, and um, that's what they're paying me for. So they're not my images to sell. But um,


    Raymond:            01:04:25       trying to share that. I think now I could be totally wrong here, but for awhile I was really trying to get pizzas on the podcast who was Barack Obama's a photographer in the White House. Uh, it never came to fruition but I remember reading and doing my research somewhere that he doesn't own those. Like he can't use those photos for anything. And the question that I wanted to ask was cause like apparently those photos are government property and obviously he has a very popular Instagram account where he posts photos that he took. And I guess the way around it, again I could be totally wrong, is that he has to get those photos off of flicker and then post them almost like with a link because again, like he's not allowed to use any of these photos. I could be totally wrong. This could be totally made up, but I guess I was just trying to get more of an idea of,


    Chris Owens:        01:05:14       I would believe it. Um, because, you know, I recently, um, had conversations with someone about the current White House photographer and how they had some images of themselves and just, I guess an interesting thing of how they were going to acquire those images to use them. And it sounded like it was, um, a process. It was a me, maybe it couldn't be done or process. And I've heard this kind of thing about military, um, photography as well that I, I don't know that you're really even technically allowed to keep those images you take for the military and government. I don't know how those images exist in the world and how those people get their hands on them. And maybe it's just literally they're stealing them. They're backing them up. That's what I would do. I don't know. You know?


    Raymond:            01:05:56       All right. Yeah, I guess, again, I guess I just wanted some sort of insight as to, cause I've never had to deal with this as a sense of like photography,


    Chris Owens:        01:06:04       you know, it really, it's basically, um, yeah that you own certain, you know, companies will do, we'll do it that way and it makes sense. It's, you know, you're, they're paying you, it's their property. You're creating the property, you're creating the creative, uh, you're creating their creative likeness and that's what they pay you for. So yeah, I, I don't, um, own those images. I would actually, I'd have to look into that. I mean, I'm sure there's a photo lawyer out there somewhere that could tell you, uh, how many years, you know, those copyrights last,


    Raymond:            01:06:37       I think it's a hundred. Again, I could be wrong, but, okay,


    Chris Owens:        01:06:39       man, I'm not going to live that long. That's disappointing.


    Raymond:            01:06:42       Yeah, I think, I think that's what it is for a, for music, for music to become royalty free. I think it's a hundred years, so, and a hundred years we're going to have some really interesting youtube videos for sure. But yeah. So we're kind of winding down here. I've got a few last questions for Ya. Uh, you've, you've been super gracious with your time. Um, I, I want to know what is something that you think most people don't realize about shooting an event? Like the, like the Indianapolis 500.


    Chris Owens:        01:07:09       Hmm, that's a great question. Um, you know, I think the thing I, that I find a lot with photographers is I'm probably this slow generic, but it on the racing side of it, catching the cars, you know, people see these awesome images that, um, my teammates and myself make. And I think a photographer, a good photographer, like a good photographer thinks I can go out there and do that. Some of it you can, but some of it's like, I'm not really great at and I've been working at it for years. So you have an example. Um, you know, I would say more of the, the, the blurry stuff to creative pans. You see, if you see these cool pictures of race cars and um, you know, there's Buller everywhere in these neat colors coming off the side of the wall or because a fence is in the way or whatever, you know, a good photographer can go out and get that stuff and you, and they still would come back with a big, big blurry messages.


    Chris Owens:        01:08:17       It's a very, very thin line between making it blurry photo creative and a blurry photo, a scullery bad photo. So I would say that I find, and I, I say that because I've known a couple of photographers who have literally, um, done that. We've had come out and said, hey, you know, I want to try to help you for the day or whatever. And they kind of come back saying like, hey, that's way harder than I thought it was. Um, just because like I said, the fine line between a blurry creative photo and a, a blurry, blurry, bad crummy photo. It's a fine line. I'm trying to find it. I'm close to it. I don't know right where it is, but I can always tell which side of it on one. So, um, I would say that I think people, like you mentioned earlier, don't realize, um, sometimes the hours put in on and the commitment involved too.


    Chris Owens:        01:09:10       Event like, like the 500 or, or any big event, you know, a horse race or anything like that you have to cover of being there at four or 5:00 AM before all the people flood in and the traffic is too full and you get stuck out on the highway, you know, stuff like that. Standing like you had mentioned, standing on your feet the entire day, staying alert, um, not getting bored, not losing focus. Um, and you know, every time you go to take a shot, just realizing that whatever obstacles or resistance you have inside you that's telling you, I'm too tired. I need a break. Um, this, I'll be fine with what I got already. Um, things like that. That's just resistance. And that's keeping you from having great portfolio images and it's keeping you from your next paycheck and your [inaudible] or even extending your hobby or one day creating your career in photography resistance. Just that's what people don't realize. There's a little, you know, there's a lot of resistance in and what I do get tired, get sore, get hungry, get bored. You know, you gotta it's a, there's a lot. Um, it's really gotta stay, you gotta stay on it for lack of a better.


    Raymond:            01:10:30       So my last question for you was going to be, if you showed up tomorrow and you had a new assistant, which obviously you would know about because you would be the one in charge of finding them, but let's say you showed up for work tomorrow and there was a brand new assistant there for you, what is the one piece of advice that you would give them? But would it be that, would it be persistence?


    Chris Owens:        01:10:48       I would, I would say yeah. You know, don't, to, to not raise, not resist. Whenever something great comes to you or when you get tired or whenever you start losing focus. I would also tell them I'm the greatest way, you know, to be at the top of this is, um, to be there, to be present, to volunteer, to raise your hand, to be the one to get up and go do something when it's needed by another photographer. I'm being helpful. I know that's so generic, but I feel that that was the way I got, you know, to the point where I'm at, you know, who can go shoot the sponsor event and the tent me did. I want to know. I know I hated it. I didn't want to do it, but I guess I just figured out that if you're helpful by being helpful is um,


    Raymond:            01:11:41       okay.


    Chris Owens:        01:11:41       The way is, it is a great reason for people to use you, you know, as generic as that sounds. Um, you got to, you got to pay your dues and photography. You have to, and I know a lot of photographers, you hear them say things like, oh, I've never worked for free, blah, blah, blah. If I wouldn't have worked for free, I would never be doing what I'm doing because I had no, I had no portfolio. You're not the greatest when you first start with your brand new digital camera. You have to have a reason to be good. And I'm the best I would tell this person is also to shoot, shoot, shoot. Because the, the way I feel that I got to be a good photographer is by always volunteering and doing all this stuff. So I'm always the ones shooting while everybody's sitting around.


    Chris Owens:        01:12:25       So, you know, and I just, you figure things out. There's no school, there's no, there's nothing that can really, there's some small things that can help you, but nothing can teach you to be a better photographer. Nothing and no one than yourself by just going out and shooting and figuring it out. So I would say a lot of shooting, find what your interests are, you know, volunteer for if you're new, if you're literally, I mean, if you're a photographer, I'd get it. But if you're a new photographer, maybe you're not ready to be taking money from clients and people. But if you are working with people who are taking money from clients and our, I'm working professionals, you, you're getting to watch what they do, you're getting to learn from them and one day you're going to be in their shoes. It's not gonna be next month.


    Chris Owens:        01:13:10       It's not going to be next year. It's not going to be the following. But you never know. You may few years, five years down the road, you might go, wow, I've been shooting a couple events or a couple of portrait sessions, volunteering for years. I got this. Now I know, I know all of the trials and tribulations of it. I've seen the problems, I've seen the pros, the cons, and I know how to get through it and get over it. Um, that's kind of what I feel about myself. You know, I've, I've learned a lot in what I've done from, from others and I can take that to do whatever I ended up doing eventually, you know, whether it's your shooting car racing forever or doing anything else. So, um, I would just say, shoot, you've got to shoot a lot and you got to volunteer to shoot.


    Raymond:            01:13:58       It all comes back to persistence. Yeah. That's incredible. That was, that was like a roadmap for, no pun intended, but that was like a roadmap to, to like getting where you want to get to. Like from the beginning. That was wonderful.


    Raymond:            01:14:13       Yeah.


    Chris Owens:        01:14:13       You just got to pay your dues. Yeah. Try things out, get your, get your friend, go take pictures, your friends, go do portraits of your friends. Go and ask a wedding photographer if you can tag along there, your images are a bonus, you know, you won't get in the way.


    Raymond:            01:14:25       Right, right. Yeah. I've, I've told people the exact same thing. If you're just getting started, why not shoot for free. And I think that that, that gets lost. So I'm glad. I'm glad that you shared that. Thank you Chris. I, oh my gosh, I've kept you for so long and I apologize again. You've been so gracious with your time and sharing the seemingly everything that there was to ask about shooting. Um, before I let you go, can you let the listeners know where they can find, uh, some of your work and follow you online?


    Chris Owens:        01:14:58       Sure, absolutely. Um, so my personal webpage is, uh, Chris Alan's photography.com. It's that easy. Uh, Chris Owens, photography.com and on there, um, you see everything from car racing, highlights to, um, street photography, which is kind of my, you know, that's my other passion other than shooting car racing is just street art. It's a lot of that on there. I do stories from music festivals or from concerts or from car races on the blog section on there. So, um, that's something that gets updated pretty often, uh, or something new rolling on there. I'm also on Instagram is where I'm most active, and that one is also super simple. It's just my name at Chris Owens. So that one, uh, lucky enough to have that handle. That's an easy one. Um, then from there, obviously if you're interested in, you know, solely car racing photography, indycar.com, which is the sanctioning body that hosts all their cars that race in any 500. Um, so indycar.com is a great gallery from uh, me and even more great creative stuff from all of uh, my teammates, all the awesome indycar photographers who inspire me and, and hopefully I inspire them to, so there's, there's great stuff from all of us on there.


    Raymond:            01:16:15       Awesome. I know that there's going to be a lot of listeners checking out your work and, uh, just interested in something new. You know what I mean? It's all about hearing new, fresh perspectives. And this is something that I have never done in the podcast is Kinda talk about the logistics of a singular event like this. And I learned a ton. So again from me and from the listener. I thank you so much for, for coming on, Chris.


    Chris Owens:        01:16:37       Yeah, thanks Raymond. Thanks for having me.


    Raymond:            01:16:40       Oh, I will tell you what my biggest takeaway from this interview with Chris was just simply how much pressure he must feel, how much pressure is on, to not only cover an event this size. I mean, you heard how big the Indianapolis Motor speedway is. It is massive. So, not only to cover an event of this size, but manage a team of so many other photographers to cover the event as well. And, and actually how much of the photography side is not glamorous, not being in the winner's circle, you know, not capturing that, that iconic note shot, not capturing those national news worthy moments, but things like trash cans, it's all linked and it is all important. And that is what I got a lot out of this interview with Chris and it reminded me that sometimes when I'm in a wedding, um, and I asked myself, I'm wondering why am I, why am I photographing the table settings?


    Raymond:            01:17:44       Who cares what a plate and some silverware and uh, you know, dinner glass, like who cares what this stuff looks like? These photos don't go in the album. These photos, you know, don't get printed. Nobody hangs this photo on their wall. And I asked, why am I shooting this? But thinking about this interview with Chris, you realize it's all connected. It is all connected. And those photos, while you know they will be important to somebody and if not now, they will for sure be important to somebody in the future. So Chris, if you're listening, thank you so much for coming on. I had a blast speaking with you and I look forward to, uh, catching up here soon as well. So that is it for this week. Um, this week's interview here on the beginner photography podcast. Until next week, I want you to get out, keep shooting, focus on yourself and stay safe. All right, love y'all.


    Outtro:             01:18:41       If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

    BPP 158: How a Rubix Cube made Me a Better Photographer

    In todays episode of the Beginner Photography Podcast I share how a rubix cube made me a better photographer and how you can take the lessons I learned and apply them to your own photography journey!

    Interested in enrolling in Auto to Amazing? Click the link below to enroll now!

    https://learn.beginnerphotographypodcast.com/p/auto-to-amazing

    Here are some of my bad photos that I thought just because I was shooting in manual, they had to be great. As you can see, they were far from great!

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    My biggest problem here was that I was not getting any feedback. I was not opening the door to the possibility that others could share their thoughts that would help me grow.

    Here is me solving a rubix cube.

    Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!

    Full Episode Transcription:

    Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

    Raymond: 00:00 Hey Raymond here from the beginner of photography podcast. And today I'm going to share how a Rubik's cube helped make me a better photographer, the lessons that I learned and how you can become a better photographer too. So let's get into it.

    Intro: 00:16 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfields, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raman interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, home brewer, La Dodger Fan and Indianapolis wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield. Welcome

    Raymond: 00:46 back to today's episode of the beginning photography podcast. As always, I am Raymond Hatfield and I am an Indianapolis wedding photographer and a your guide for this journey that I'm going to take you along today. Uh, I'm really happy that you are here and I hope that you can learn something from today's episode. And if you do, I would be so appreciative if you would share this episode with, uh, with somebody who, you know, who could use a listen. So last a few weeks, a few weeks ago, uh, my mom, uh, came out here to Indiana to go with us on a family vacation, uh, down to holiday world, Indiana. Uh, I know it's, uh, Santa Claus, Indiana, which is the home of holiday world. Now. Holiday world is like this themed, uh, it's like a holiday themed amusement park and like, uh, um, like water parks. So it's a lot of fun for the kids.

    Raymond: 01:47 We, we love to go. Um, and it's a wonderful time. And my mom and I spent a lot of time talking, just kind of sharing a stories about the past and, uh, w we would, we would, what my mom liked to do was compare, uh, our son Charlie, who is six years old to me at his age. So that of course got us talking about, uh, just me as a child and the things that I did, and I was sharing what was frustrating as a parent and she was, you know, commiserating and saying, I was there too, and you were the exact same way. And, uh, you know, just, just kid things. And, and the more that we got to talk about it, um, I was thinking a lot about my own childhood and how I perceived things. Um, and, and I realized, you know, sometimes when you take a look back you think about how much things have changed, how much things have grown.

    Raymond: 02:45 Um, and in this case I was thinking about, uh, how I learned as a kid and I thought this was really interesting as a kid. I was the, I was the kid who was, you know, interested in absolutely everything. And I mean, I was interested in everything to a fault. Like it would get me in trouble. I was interested in so many things and I think I was interested in

    everything because what I really wanted was to find the one thing that I was just naturally good at. And as I started thinking about this and, uh, really diving in deeper, I remembered, uh, when I was, I dunno, maybe six or no, I guess I was a little bit older, but I was younger than 10 for sure. I was, I was a young child still in elementary school for sure. Probably first or second grade.

    Raymond: 03:42 And I remember, um, my parents were watching 60 minutes and they were highlighting on 60 minutes a young piano prodigy. This kid was, and he, he was probably four or something. He was very, very young. He was younger than I was. And, uh, the parents of this kid had no idea that he was good at piano. They didn't like put them in piano lessons or anything. They were just at a friend's house and the friends had a piano. So the kid sat down and they realized that he could, you know, pick things up just by, just by hearing it and he could, um, mimic, mimic it, uh, back on the piano almost immediately. This kid had a real ear for it. And again, he was really, really, really young, probably four, but they kept calling this kid, you know, natural. I kept saying, oh, he's such a natural, this is amazing.

    Raymond: 04:36 He's natural. He's naturally great at piano. And it almost seemed as though they were playing down how extraordinary it was that I, four year old was playing pieces on the piano that season. Pros struggled with. And looking back, maybe they didn't, maybe they weren't playing that down, but as a kid, all that I picked up on was that how this kid was a natural, he was naturally good at playing the piano. He found what he was naturally good at and it was completely by accident. So I think that is where my hunt started and kind of where this, where this episode is going. Uh, I thought to myself, if this kid just naturally found something that he was good at, there has to be something that I am naturally good at. So if I look for more things, if I do more things, I'll eventually find it.

    Raymond: 05:36 Right. So, I mean, I remember very quickly getting into a lot of things. Uh, I remember I had a magicians kit. Uh, imagine me as a magician. Jake's, um, pastels. I mean more than just like, you know, pen or pencil and paper. Like I went straight to pastels. Uh, I took ceramics lessons. Uh, I was into rollerblading, like BMX bikes, adject tennis lessons. Uh, I had a compass and a camelback for hiking. You know, there's 10 year old kid who's just going to go off and hike on his own. And then also I had, uh, a Rubik's cube. I mean, I was just all over the board with things that I was quote unquote interested in. Uh, and really I wasn't interested in any of them. I think I just really wanted to find the thing that I was good at. But the problem came when I gave something a try.

    Raymond: 06:36 And I'm sure as you have experienced in your own life, I was not world-class the first time I tried anything. You know, and looking back as an adult, it's easy to see why this, why this young child was, was being, uh, featured so young as a piano player. It wasn't because he was naturally good at something. It was because it was extraordinary that he was naturally good at this. But regardless, that caused me a lot of frustration. It caused me to be really frustrated and side. And then I would give up immediately on everything if I wasn't great, I thought, nope, this isn't it. Onto the next thing, man. Now that I think about it, I had a, I had a hacky sack as well. Again, I was probably like eight, maybe 10. I tried for a long time to, to, to be real good at that.

    Raymond: 07:35 Just cause you know, all the kids at school were, we're really good anyway. Uh, but the one thing that that really stood out to me was, was that Rubik's cube, because when it came to pastels, when it came to, um, you know, a magicians kit, when it came to ceramics, you figured out pretty quick, you know, that you weren't world-class. You figured out pretty, I mean right away that, that this is something that you're not naturally good at. Right. But the Rubik's cube was what always intrigued me the most because, um, you, you felt like you never knew how close you might be. Like it was just one more twist or one more turn and then things would just come together. And I mean, I tried to solve that thing for weeks.

    I tried to solve that cube for weeks. And I'm not sure if you've ever tried to solve a Rubik's cube, but at times it feels impossible.

    Raymond: 08:34 It feels like you are just wasting your time. Like this is just an impossible task. It doesn't make any sense. And I would twist and turn and rotate that cube four hours and somehow no progress ever got done. I never got any closer to solving it, no matter how many times I twisted it, turned it and rotate it. So I just, I just ended up throwing it in the drawer because you know, it was, it was pointless to me. I wasn't naturally good at it. And then in that drawer is where it sat for six or seven years, you know, except for several or a few, you know, days at a time where I would give it another try before realizing, oh, pointless. You know, maybe a friend would come over and they'd be looking through my stuff and they would find the cube and, and we joke around and we'd play with it for a little, but ultimately it would always end up back in that drawer for six or seven years.

    Raymond: 09:32 That was, it's home. So then fast forward six or seven years, it, it had come time for me to move to La to attend film school. And as I was packing up the things in my room, I got to the Rubik's cube. At first I hesitated, but ultimately I, I decided to bring it with me and I remember, um, one night, uh, it was probably eight months or so later, um, I was way, I was in way over my head at school. I was in the middle of this huge project that I was not prepared for. I was getting less than four hours of sleep at night. You know, it was, it was a rough time for me in school. I think one night I just felt kind of, you know, done like I needed, I needed a break and I was sitting there in my room and of the cube.

    Raymond: 10:36 It always stayed on my desk. It always stayed on my desk. Well, you know, I didn't mean that I would always play with it, but I'd always stayed down at my desk. So as I'm sitting there in my chair, just wallowing in self pity essentially. Um, I saw the cube and I just picked it up and I started just mindlessly spinning it. And at this point you may be thinking how in the world business relate to photography, but if you're still listening and you haven't, you know, tuned out, stick with me. I'm getting there. So as I was sitting there and just mindlessly spinning this Rubik's cube, my roommate Ben had walked by my room and, and he, he peered in and we were talking for a few minutes and he saw me messing around with the cube and right then and there he, I remember, I remember this so well, he bet me $10 that I wouldn't be able to solve it by the same time the next day. Now what I should have done was just laugh it off and go to sleep.

    Raymond: 11:38 But what I did instead was take him up on his offer. Now you may be thinking right now you may be asking, why would you do that Raymond? Why did I think after seven years of to figure it out with, I mean no luck that I would be able to do so in the next 24 hours. And to be completely honest, it beats me. I have no idea why. But regardless, I got to work and to everyone's surprise, including me, 24 hours I handed and my roommate a complete solved Rubik's cube. So how did I do it? I didn't take it apart and reassemble it in the right order. I didn't take off the stickers. I legit solved it. I did it the right way. Just do twists and turns. And the way that I did it was simple. It was so simple. Are you ready?

    Raymond: 12:41 I googled how to solve a Rubik's cube. That was it. That was all that I did. Now, you may not know this if you've never solved the Rubik's cube, but you can solve any cube, no matter how many you know, jumbled twists and turns. It has in just four simple steps, four simple steps. You don't need to have a phd in math to solve a Rubik's cube. And I thought, in fact, fun, fun little tip, the instructions are included in every Rubik's cube that you buy. So if you wanna learn how to solve a Rubik's cube, you can just go to the store by Rubik's cube and the instructions are inside. But I thought why? Why had I never even looked it up? Why had I never even decided to take the first logical step, which was figuring out how this thing worked? It was because I assumed that you needed to have a natural rain man type talent to solve a the cube.

    Raymond: 13:45 So I never looked any further and that's how it had been my entire life. Like I said, if I would try something and it wasn't the right thing right away, if it didn't naturally click with me, I would just simply move on to the next thing and right then, right then when I solved the cube, I realized I had made two huge mistakes that really hindered growth. That really hindered my growth to learn new things my entire life. Now this is where photography comes in. All right, so mistake number one was assuming, assuming simply having the assumption that others are just naturally good at things and if I'm not good at something right away after the first try, then just to stop looking altogether. Just stop. Don't go any further. If you're not naturally good at it, don't waste your, you have to be naturally good at something.

    Raymond: 14:53 So go out and find that thing. Don't try to get better by practice. Just stop. That was mistake number one and mistake number two was just trying to figure it all out myself. I mean clearly the seven years of trying on my own and not completing the cube, well, it didn't work. It didn't work. It irrefutable, it did not work, but it took me reaching out to those who had completed a cube before to help. In the moment that I did that, I learned how to solve a cube within 24 hours consistently. Like this wasn't like a onetime thing. Like, Hey, I solved it. Please don't ask me to do it again. Like I'm not doing double or nothing. I mean still to this day, 11 years later, I can solve a cube, no problem in under two minutes. I promise you. It's awesome. It's fun.

    Raymond: 15:58 So those were the two lessons I learned, right? Assuming and then trying to figure it out on my own. And I've found this to be the case, um, for everything. If you, if you reach out and you get that help, you will be able to figure out things so much faster than you would if you just went out on your own. And again, I found this to be the case for everything from building a fence, uh, losing weight and especially in photography. And I, you know, I don't want to say that I know how you feel cause I don't, I'm not you, but I can say that I am an introvert. I hate to inconvenience people. It is one of my, it scares me to death, to inconvenient inconvenience people. I hate to ask people for things. I hate to, uh, put people in a position, um, where they have to go out of their way and help me.

    Raymond: 17:02 I like being able to solve things on my own. I like that idea of being able to bootstrap and you know, just do it, put in the work and you will be able to do it. But the truth is so many things in life just simply don't work that way. I think personally that includes photography. So I have always been the lone wolf and I just simply tried to do everything myself, but I learned in that 24 hours that that is just simply not possible if you want to do anything. Great. So from then on I felt right away as if nothing was impossible as long as you know how the tool works, all I had to do was figure out how does a cube work and then once I figured that out I could solve it. This is also how photography works. Some days when I would rather just stay in the comfort of my own home, I think of, I figured the line from a go your own way by Fleetwood Mac, which is one of the best songs of all time and the line is open up.

    Raymond: 18:30 Everything's waiting for you. It takes courage to open up, but once you do, everything is waiting for you to take. If you open up, every opportunity is waiting for you. Everything is waiting for you. So believe it or not, you know, no one is born with a natural talent to take incredible photos. That four year old kid who played piano, look, he's an anomaly. Obviously. That's why he was being, you know, featured. But nobody's born with a natural talent to take incredible photos because it requires the use of a tool. But most people believe that they have to either get lucky or spend years of trying different things. In order to be good at something, you have to know how the tool works to make something with it. And that is vital to reaching your goal. Now, luckily, if you're listening, you can tackle mistake number one by yourself assumption.

    Raymond: 19:42 It just takes time. But yeah, you know you can, you can do that all on your own. Just stop assuming. Stop assuming. And you tackled number one, you're halfway there. But mistake number two needs outside help. There's, there's, there's simply no way around it and that's why I've spent so much time to incorporate community. Even in my newest course audit to amazing learning will only take you halfway because you will inevitably have questions at some point and that's where a Facebook group comes in. Having the ability to share photos, to get feedback, to ask for help whenever you need it in a safe environment is one of the most powerful tools to growing as a photographer. I mean for years I was taking photos in manual mind you thinking that I was just creating works of art because I was telling my camera what to do, but the truth be told, those photos are they're not good.

    Raymond: 20:46 They're not, they're not art. They were borderline trash and if you want to see an example, I posted them in the show notes. If you're listening in apple podcast, a swipe up, you should be able to see the photos. They're not, not that great. Not that great. But once I joined an online community, once I started sharing my photos, once I started to get feedback from others, that is what really took me, that that is what it took for me to really feel like I understood photography. And that's everything. That is everything. And for that reason, and for that reason alone, my course audit to amazing has been kind of built around the Facebook group setting. Now you can learn more about other two amazing by simply heading over to learn dot beginner photography, podcast.com and to make the whole thing more fun. Everyone who enrolls in the course by July 31st will be entered into a raffle where I'm giving away $1,365 worth of photography prizes, prizes like a cannon nifty 50 backup hard drive memory cards of one year pro plan to cloud spot online, uh, uh, online galleries, which is more than a $400 value alone.

    Raymond: 22:08 And I'm also giving away copies of Mark Silber's new book, create tools for seriously talented people to unleash your creative life and many more prizes. There are 25 prizes, uh, in all and everybody who enrolls in the course will be entered to win. And now enrollment, uh, in auto two amazing closes in just a few days. If you're listening to this, the day that it goes out, enrollment closes July 31st. So if you want to enroll, just head over to learn that beginning photography podcast.com and you will see auto two amazing right there. So whether you're like Gwyn or listener who finds most benefit from going to in-person photography meetups, or maybe you're more like me and like the comfort of online groups, whatever is right for you, you need some way to, you need, you need to find some way to share your work in a way that allows for feedback. Don't go asking for feedback right away, but you need to find a safe place where you can accept feedback. Now you can go to meetup.com which is not a dating site, I promise. And you can probably find 30 photography meetup groups within your community. So if you need one last shot of encouragement to join an online community and get that help, get that feedback and grow as photographers together. Here you go.

    Raymond: 23:43 You know what will happen if you go, you know what will happen if you don't join a community, nothing. Nothing will happen. You will stay exactly the same, but you don't know what will happen if you do go. If you do join that community, if you do reach out to that photographer, I mean, you could meet your next best friend. You could be opened up to a new form of photography. You could meet somebody who will let you tag along with them, uh, to a shoot. You know what will happen if you don't go, but you don't know what will happen if you do go be open. Everything's waiting for you. See what I did there? I tied back in that Fleetwood Mac reference. Yeah. Okay. Anyway, that is it for this week. I hope that this episode helped change your mindset in some way. I hope that if you were stuck feeling as if photography was hard, as if it was complicated, as if you weren't naturally good at it. So why do we even continue to try? I hope that I changed your mind. I hope that I showed you that

    there is another way and that if you continue to push, you will make it because this takes practice.

    Raymond: 25:13 So that is it for this week. If you want to see a video of me solving Rubik's Cube, head over to the show notes and a, there's a video right there, uh, that you can check out. So that is it for this week. Until next week, I want you to get out. I want you to keep shooting. I want you to focus on yourself and I want you to be safe. All right, that's it. I love you all.

    Outtro: 25:37 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

    BPP 157: Marc Silber - Tools from Seriously Talented People to Unleash Your Creative Life

    Marc Silber is a best selling author, photographer, filmmaker, and producer of the very popular Youtube series Advancing Your Photography, where he has interviewed scores of some of the biggest names in photography. 

    He started out learning darkroom skills and the basics of photography at the legendary Peninsula School in Menlo Park, CA, in the '60s, and moved on to hone his skills to professional standards at the famed San Francisco Art Institute. Marc moved into teaching photography in workshops all over the country, he became renowned as an engaging and helpful speaker and coach, as his greatest joy comes from helping others. 

    He loves adventure and you'll find him out backpacking surfing or snowboarding, or maybe just chilling, taking a walk through Carmel with his wife and Golden Retriever. 

    Enrollment is open for Auto to Amazing until July 31st! Click here to learn more!


    In This Episode You'll Learn:

    • How Marc got started in photography

    • Where Marc got the idea for his new book Create

    • What surprised Marc most when interviewing non photographers about creativity

    • Common misconceptions people have about creativity and where it comes from

    • Key tools Marc learned from seriously talented people

    • Simple ways we can increase our creativity

    • When a piece stops being a photograph and becomes art

    • The most actionable takeaway Marc has for photographers who read his book.

    Resources:

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    lone cowboy no doging with noise reduction-1-2.jpg
    Marc Silber- my mexico 1969.jpg

    Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!

    Full Interview Transcription:

    Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

    Raymond: 00:00:00 Hey Raymond here from the beginning of photography podcast and today we are learning about tools from seriously talented people to unleash your creative life. So let's get into it.

    Intro: 00:00:13 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfields, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymon interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, Ho brewer, La Dodger Fan and Indianapolis wedding photographer Raymond Hatfield. Welcome to the [inaudible].

    Raymond: 00:00:42 This week's interview, as always, I am Raymond Hatfield, your host and Indianapolis wedding photographer. This has been a a quite a week here in the Midwest. It has been extremely hot. There's been a lot of times spent in doors and when you have kids who kind of have to stay indoors because it's, it's almost unbearably hot outside at the, you really don't get a lot done throughout the week. I've realized a, so I am ready for to cool down for sure, but I know that this has affected like I think they said 220 million Americans. This, this heat wave that we got going on. So, uh, if you're out there and you're listening, um, you know, I'm with you. I'm with you here today. So hopefully soon it'll cool down and, uh, it'll be a lot more comfortable. But this week, this week, I am, I'm, I'm very excited, uh, because I have the pleasure of speaking with past guest who's been on the show twice before mark Silber about his brand new book called create tools from seriously talented people to unleash your creative lifestyle.

    Raymond: 00:01:47 So this book, um, is, is mark interviews a lot of people who aren't just photographers. That's mainly what Marka focuses on himself, but, and all of his past books, in fact, he has a youtube channel called advancing your photography. But in this book he talks to CEOs, uh, motorcycle instructors, uh, just a ton of people who aren't maybe what you would think traditional creatives. Um, and then he kind of breaks down their creative, how they've created a very, how they've created, know how they created a very creative life. And, uh, it's just a wonderful, wonderful interview. And talking with mark. I always know what's going to be a fantastic interview, just loaded with great tips and takeaways. And his book is exactly the same. So I actually got an advanced copy of his book and I can tell you that if you like the style of this podcast, which is a lot less technical than a lot of other photography podcast and more about the why and how, then you're going to love his new book.

    Raymond: 00:02:51 So if you're interested, you can get a on Amazon, his new book starting tomorrow, July 23rd. Um, or you can just swipe up on the podcast player and check out the show notes. I will have a link to where you can buy the book now, but if you want to win a copy of Mark's new book, I have some great news for you today. I am opening very limited enrollment to my new online video course, Auto to amazing. Now you're thinking, I've heard you talk about this before, so you may be may remember that actually launched through this course last month to a group of Beta students. And I'm not going to lie. It was a whole lot harder than I expected. Um, and there were some, there were some rough spots within the course that I didn't see at first. But with the help of all of the Beta students we worked together, I took their suggestions, I added additional trainings, modified the format.

    Raymond: 00:03:58 And I'm pleased to say that this course is better than ever. So in order to amazing, I promise that you will learn how to shoot manual in 30 days or less guaranteed. This is the fastest way to learn photography. The course is broken up into four weekly modules that are prerecorded so you can actually watch them whenever is convenient for you. So in week one we cover exposure and this is where we learn how to know what settings to change and when. And this is where we get into shooting manual. Week two we cover composition and how you can immediately improve the quality of your photos just by changing where you point your camera. Week three is all about light, different types of light and I'll show you how to see light. So you always keep your subject looking great. And then in week four we kind of wrap it up by bringing it all together in a series of exercises designed to solidify your understanding of photography and how to shoot in multiple situations.

    Raymond: 00:05:00 So each week, some module we'll end with a simple practice exercise that focuses on that week's topics. So in the first week, which is all about exposure, I challenge you to get out and actually take your first photo in manual. So this course is not for somebody who is already comfortable with manual or or feels like they have a good grasp that they need to get to the next level. This is for those of you who are starting from zero, are shooting in auto and are ready to finally take control of your camera. And you know, take the photos that you've seen in your head and not the photos that your, that your camera sees. So after each week's a simple exercise, then we take those photos and you can come into the private auto two amazing Facebook group, share your photos, get feedback and ask questions to get you learning even quicker.

    Raymond: 00:05:53 And I'm so confident that you will learn how to shoot manual in 30 days or less. But if you complete the course and you do not feel like you've learned to manual, I will give you double your money back. I'm serious. That is how confident I am in this course. If you follow it, you will learn manual. So enrollment is open today and closes on July 31st so that we can start training the next day, August 1st so August is going to be probably one of the most transformative months of your entire life. If you, if you sign up for the course as it is the month that you will learn photography. So to enroll in order to amazing, you can do so right now by hitting over to learn that beginner photography, podcast.com again, that is learn l e a r n. Dot. Beginner photography, podcast.com and I have a huge bonus also that I know you will love.

    Raymond: 00:06:56 Students of Auto to Amazing. Will get access to four live Q and A's from past guests who are professional photographers. Yes, this will happen within the Facebook group. I'm talking photographers like Andrew Helmets who is also the host of the beginning of, I'm sorry, on the host of the beginning of photography podcasts Andrew Helmitch is the host of the photobiz exposed podcast. He has decades of experience and he is going to share how to best prepare for your first page shoot. We're going to have nick church in there to answer your questions, who went from zero to full time in 24 months and we'll share what you actually need to learn and what is completely, you know what is not necessary, so what you should be focusing on to get you to learn as fast as possible. There's also going to be Matt

    Payne, who's a landscape photographer and he's going to walk you through how he finds locations and how he prepares for his incredible landscape photos.

    Raymond: 00:07:57 So this is your opportunity. There's also one more photographer who I can't share yet because they're still confirming whether or not they will be able to commit. But I'm extremely excited. So this will be your chance if you enroll in order to amazing and become a student. This will be your chance to ask your questions, your personalized questions, questions that maybe don't apply to other people or, or you know, because of based on where you live or the gear that you have to ask your questions to these professional photographers. Oh, alive. I'm so excited about this. So again, this is only available to students of Auto to Amazing. But the bonuses aren't over. Yes. If you enroll in auto two, amazing before July 31st I guess. Yeah, by July 31st you are also going to be entered to win one of 25 different prizes totaling $1,365 I'm serious, $1,365 worth of prizes.

    Raymond: 00:09:03 I am giving away prizes like today's guest, Mark Silber's brand new book, create tools from seriously talented people to unleash your creative life. So for a list of prizes and to enroll in audit too. Amazing. Just head over once again to learn that beginner photography, podcast.com that is a learn l e a r n dot beginner photography podcast.com right now. I really hope that you can tell how excited I am about this course. So much work went into it and I truly want to see each and every one of you succeed in wherever you want to go with photography. So again, if you want to enroll in audit too. Amazing. Just head over to learn dot beginning photography, podcast.com. Okay. That is it for now. How about we get on into this week's interview with Mark Silber?

    Raymond: 00:10:04 Today's returned guest is a listener favorite. Today's a photographer and creative Mark Silber is back to talk all about the process of how to become creative, which a he has documented in his brand new book, create tools from seriously talented people to unleash your creative life. Mark, welcome back to the podcast. Raymond, happy to be here. As always, a pleasure. It's always nice to see a familiar face. It's fun. I feel like it is, we just have these a, it's like every time you come out with a new book, we get to another face to face. And a, I just want to let you know that I truly enjoy these, uh, these meetings and I know that the listeners do as well. So I know that this is going to be a great interview. Fantastic. Yeah. So, uh, I want to, I know that you've been, this is now your third time on the podcast. You weren't on back in episode 65 and episode 97. So for anybody who's listening, go back and listen to those because, uh, they're just, they're just wonderful. Um, little, uh, little bits of insight into Mark's life and, uh, um, I'm excited for today's episode, but for those who haven't, uh, maybe those who are new to the podcast, the podcast has grown quite a bit in the past year. Can you remind us how you got, uh, to, to where you are today?

    Mark Silber: Raymond:

    00:11:19 00:11:26

    Wow, okay. There's a lot with a very simple question. Well,

    Mark Silber:
    definite point where I became a photographer. Um, here's the before point. I was shooting with a Brownie camera, taking the rolls of film to a drugstore and getting back, very disappointing prints that were muddy, small, very uncreative. And I, uh, really never felt like a photographer. One day my teacher in the seventh grade said, hey, uh, I have a dark room. Would you like to see how it works? And I thought, yeah, that would be cool. So we developed the roll film and that was the first point of magic. You know, you, you, you put the film in, you shake the can around and you come out with a roll of film. But the real magic occurred when we put it into the enlarger and all of a sudden, instead of these mighty tiny little prints, they might've been five by sevens, maybe even an eight by 10. And all of a sudden we could, uh, adjust the contrast. We

    00:11:26

    you know, I started as a photographer at age 12 before there's a

    could crop. We did all these magical things. That's when I became a photographer age. Well, in fact, in my new book and previous books, I, I have photographs from that time period.

    Raymond: 00:12:38 You know, it's funny because, uh, I've seen those photos in the past and I didn't know the story behind them until I read your newest book and some of your photos that I saw that you took on your trip down in Mexico just blew me away. And at the time you were still like a child, you know what I mean? Like you're still very young and developing, and yet these photos that you were producing were, uh, uh, were wonderful. The technical skill that was required to take those photos was a fantastic

    Mark Silber: 00:13:05 thank you. You know, they even surprise me because not even, well, you know, I was 17 years old and even PR, yes, I had the technical skills down already by them. But really I can see that I put these people at ease because when you go to, especially a third world country, a lot of times you just get these very stiff poses as soon as you pull out a camera or worse. I've had people shake sticks at me for, oh wow. Oh yeah, come right after me with a stick. But you know, because there, there's a feeling that you're going to capture their soul. Right. And to some degree we do that as photographers. We hopefully don't do it in a negative way, but there's, there is that feeling of uncomfortability that you have to break through. And that's, I see that in my photographs, I was kind of amazed that I, at that age even, I was able to chill these people out enough to, for me to take a photograph that had some meaning to it rather than it just, you know, stiff pose like this.

    Raymond: 00:14:05 Yeah. Well, I don't want to give away a too much of the story that, uh, that you shared there in the book, but I would imagine being able to get out of your high school and go to this brand new location must have, uh, uh, just kind of put you in this new mindset. And I think what a brain, oh, I bet. I bet that's, I bet that's exactly what it was. And that is, uh, that's a great chair. So I, I apologize for cutting you off there halfway to, but uh, so you started very young. Uh, and then where did it go from there?

    Mark Silber: 00:14:31 Well, I, you know, kept honing my own skills, uh, largely self- taught as a photographer. I did go to the San Francisco Art Institute, um, which, you know, the main thing, the takeaway from that was all of a sudden I was into the world of other photographers because before that it was kind of just me and my own little universe showing my work. And now I'm in a more competitive situation. You know, you're dealing with a lot of other really good photographers you're getting critiqued in that started to sort of prove me up to what it was like to be a professional photographer. And from there I just kept my own learning process. I actually went in and I talk about this in the book. I went into to a completely different direction and came back to photography, uh, in the early two thousands when digital was just starting to become something that you could actually employ as a tool rather than a kind of a toy.

    Mark Silber: 00:15:29 A, I, my first camera was 3.5 megapixels, you know, so, you know, it wasn't a very serious camera, but then in 2005, I really jumped into the digital world and so had to really train myself all over again. Yeah. And then from there I learned video and became a videographer and a video producer. So I just kept going on that same path and that's how I ended up doing my youtube show of, you know, the many, many photographers I interviewed over the years, which I'm still doing. Yeah. My books have grown out of that, of those conversations to a large extent.

    Raymond: 00:16:06 Yeah. You know, it's a, it's funny, that's kind of where it, right. Where I was going with, uh, with my next question here is that like, you are a photographer, like that's where w where it all started for you, this kind of journey of creativity. But in your book you don't exclusively interview other photographers, which I enjoyed a ton to be able to hear

    everybody else's take on, on creativity. I want to know. Um, well, I guess first can you tell me a little bit about the book and then where did you come up with the idea for the book?

    Mark Silber: 00:16:38 Okay. Uh, I'm not even sure where I came up with the idea of, uh, you know, it just sort of bubbled up. Uh, I believe it was, you know, for me it was the whole transition from, okay, I feel like I've talked about photography enough at this point. I want to talk about the bigger picture, uh, of creativity because really a photograph is, is a way of communicating. It's one means of communicating what you feel or what you see, but there's a lot of other ways to do that. And I'm kind of involved in many different forms of creativity, uh, aside from photography. So I just decided to tackle this subject Kinda head on. My process at this point is to take the subject and take it apart as best I can. But then to augment that, my own learning process and what I've come across with interviews from other people that I admire in one way or another.

    Mark Silber: 00:17:34 And that's basically this the same approach I had with this book. So I decided, you know, the book is an interesting thing. It kind of develops as you go. Yeah, you should, you know, you should put an outline together and you should try to follow that as best you can. But it's a big work in progress and I can imagine. Yeah. You know, it's, it develops as you go. And, um, part way through. I decided wouldn't it be cool cause I knew I was going to do some interviews but I thought wouldn't it be cool to get a variety, a wide variety of different creatives so that I wasn't just talking to photographers, I was talking to musicians and um, digital other digital artists and even a friend of mine who's a serious motorcycle racer, you know, these are all different forms of creativity. And I thought it would be interesting to see what the commonality was. So that was my premise and it paid out. You know, we did find certain common denominators, certain things they had to overcome that were very similar from person to person. And, um, to me it was a delight. Every time I did one of these interviews, I was learning something to, yeah, which has always been the case for me. I'm going to take a little sip here.

    Raymond: 00:18:49 I love that because that's always been kind of like the thesis of this podcast. You know, I, you know, you can only learn, um, so much from like actually doing something, you know, and you can be like really great at it, but it's not until you get kind of the collective mind of a society, uh, that you can really learn and grow and expand on, um, these new creative ideas. And I think that's why I resonated so much with the book. I truly did take away a lot from it. And in fact, my favorite interview for sure was when you were sticking with, uh, your friend Keith Cole for sure. It was, uh, um, just really insightful, you know, as somebody who has written motorcycles before, as somebody who also photographs a, to see how the two connected, uh, really, really expanded my idea of exactly what creativity is. So,

    Mark Silber: 00:19:38 yeah, I'm really fun, Buck. Well. Thank you. Yeah. I think the other thing, Raymond, is that, you know, as photographers, we shouldn't just divorce ourselves from other forms of creativity and you'll find many truly outstanding photographers have also been multitalented. Ansel Adams is a good example. He was a classical pianist. In fact, I did not know that. Yeah. As a matter of fact, he was groomed to become a, a, you know, professional pianist. And he then found photography. So He fell in love with photography. He had to make this decision which way was he going to go because he knew that you really couldn't pursue them both professionally and he decided to go with photography, yet he continued to play a piano. Uh, you know, you know, and he wrote and you know, he was involved with other creative skills than just photography. Another one of my mentors, Henry Cartier EBR Song also became a filmmaker and also a pen and ink artist. Uh, you know, I think he just transitioned to the point where he wanted a little more challenge. And I do believe that happens with some photographers that get to a point where, okay, I need a bigger challenge. And for him it was drawing and pen and ink. Wow. But no matter what the skills are, there are these common points, which is what I try to put together in the book. Okay.

    Raymond: 00:21:04 W that's kind of interesting. Um, hearing, hearing everybody else's take. Now you interviewed, um, quite a few people for your book. Yeah. I want to know, um, because you interviewed a lot of non photographers, I want to know, uh, who surprised you the most with maybe one of their answers?

    Mark Silber: 00:21:23 You know, um, to me the most startling and the most kind of insightful interview is with the photographer, but he's not known. He's not a pro photographer. And that's Chris McCaskill who is one of the, you know, he and his family founded smugmug, which has now become huge, really, really huge. And they, they ended up acquiring flicker. So they're kind of the biggest in the industry. But Chris's interview, I knew something about it because he had told me this story kind of a while. Actually, while we were setting up for a workshop, he sort of told me a little bits and pieces of this story and I couldn't believe it. I always thought I wanted to come back and find out more. But basically what happened was he grew up on the streets of Oakland homeless. His mother was a schizophrenia and she just lost it.

    Mark Silber: 00:22:14 So she had actually, you know, been a research scientist and whatnot and somehow, wow, they ended up on the streets of Oakland homeless. But the short version of this story is that he was able to get back into society. He earned his MBA at Stanford. He became a serial entrepreneur. And along the way, I worked with Steve Jobs, but one of the things that kind of blew me away is that he said every single day he didn't take for granted the things that we have in our culture. The fact that you could open your refrigerator and it's stocked with food, that you could get on a bus and go skiing, that you could take a warm shower, that there were educational facilities available to you that anyone can access. So he said every day is a joy for him because he knows how bad it can be. And I found, I found that to be really remarkable because I think we can overlook the fact that, wow, we were pretty privileged no matter where we are now, what our station is as a whole, as a culture, we're pretty privileged and we can forget that a lot of people aren't living that way.

    Mark Silber: 00:23:27 Sure. And overcoming that is pretty remarkable to go that far.

    Raymond: 00:23:32 So that's, that's, that's really interesting. Do you think that it's because of his, uh, now obviously you can't speak for him, but do you think that he got that point of view because of his, of, of, of being homeless and having, having nothing?

    Mark Silber: 00:23:46 Oh, absolutely. You know, he went from homeless to up kind of an upper middle class family. And for instance, he said, you know, the fact that you could go on a bus and go skiing was just unbelievable. Yeah. You know, he had a comparison point for the rest of us. You know, we're, we can go along with things to the point where it just seems normal and natural, but for him it was just such an on off switch, you know, nothing to something in a very short period of time really caused him to be aware of all the, all the cool things that we have available to us. And I think his love of photography really is part of that.

    Raymond: 00:24:26 How do you equate that, that mindset, um, to, uh, I don't want to say being more creative, but adding creativity into somebody's life. Does that make sense? Does that yeah. Shouldn't have substance?

    Mark Silber: 00:24:39 I think so. And I, I think it's kind of the story of most of these interviews, these, every one of them had something to overcome. You know, some were personal hardships. Some of them were like Nancy Cartwright, who is the voice of Bart Simpson, you know, and something like nine or 12 I lost track other voices on the Simpson. Oh yeah. As well as all sorts of other voices that you wouldn't even know. But you know, she tells the story about coming from catering Ohio, which isn't exactly the Mecca for an actress. Sure.

    Coming from catering Ohio to going to UCLA, obviously in the middle of Hollywood near Hollywood, and getting her career launched and it just, as she was launching her career, her mother died and it was a huge setback and a huge turning point for her. Do I go home? What do I do?

    Mark Silber: 00:25:34 I mean, what am I doing now? Her mom was obviously a really important part of her life and then just after that her brother died. So she was hit by these two really traumatic experiences that could have thrown her off track. But you realize the importance of even to honor them to remain on her creative path. And I'm not exactly directly answering your question, but I think that the answer is that each of us has to overcome certain things. We've all got, you know, whatever it is, financial or emotional or inner demons or whatever that we have to push through and push over and push past to achieve the goal of, of being a creative. And it's not just a finger snap, you know, something you have to work at.

    Raymond: 00:26:22 Yeah. Well that, that's funny cause I think, um, before I read your book, if you were to ask me where creativity came from, I probably would've said a place of pressure and like out of spontaneity. But now after reading your book, I can now see like that I was looking at it all wrong. What do you think are some other misconceptions that people have about creativity?

    Mark Silber: 00:26:50 You know, Raymond, I think the most common misconception is I'm, I'm not creative. So some people are, you're born, you're born creative, you're born with a paint brush in your hand. You know, Pablo Picasso, it's like he must've been a great artists from age two or uh, you know, Chase Jarvis was a stellar photographer and had no hardships or whatever, or Chris Burkhardt, you know, it just became an overnight success if you're not familiar with him on Instagram. But let's, let's take Chris as a, as an example. You know, he said it was a lot of work. It was like a 10 year overnight success. Yeah. And you work hard at it and you persevere. And I think the most common misconception is some people haven't and some people don't. And I don't believe that's true. And a number of my guests at the same thing, I believe everyone has some area that they can be creative in.

    Mark Silber: 00:27:46 And let's expand the idea of what creativity means. It doesn't just mean being a great photographer. It could be in any form of art, including life itself. You know, I, I believe that, uh, you know, somebody who's a great cook that's creative. Obviously you're making something, which is what creativity means. You're creating something out of raw material and you're using your imagination to put it together, which is what you do with a photograph or you do with a painting or you do with decorating your house. So the, the key I believe is this, find your passion, find your area of creativity and roll with it. And then just expand from there and know that you do have the ability to be creative no matter what it is. So that to me is the most common misconception.

    Raymond: 00:28:35 I love that. And I want to share a personal anecdote real quick. Yeah. And that's, uh, every year I have a pretty short wedding season. I don't like to book too early. I don't like to shoot too late. Um, and I always find that like, uh, I'll have a good year and then come, you know, may when it's time to start shooting again, I feel really, really rusty. And when I get out there and start shooting, it's nowhere near as good as the photos that I take towards the end of the year. Like October when I've done that practice when I've put in the work and when I uh, you know, just made that time to be doing more photography. So um, I can, I can vouch for, for that statement right there is that you're either born with it or you or you're not. Because in May I would say, ah, what am I doing? Like people are gonna find out I'm a fraud, but in October I'm like, I'm feeling good. Like I need to be doing some of those. Yeah, exactly.

    Mark Silber: 00:29:24 Yeah. You know, it's interesting cause that kind of ties in with the whole cycle of creativity that I go over, which might be a good point to just touch upon that. Absolutely. So at this, at the starting point at the center, which actually never ends, is the idea of visualization, which is vision for whatever it is you want to create. If you're a wedding photographer, you have some vision of the, of the wedding, you have some idea who you're going to take photographs of. You have a shot list. You, you have a style that you've already visualized it. Maybe you've talked over with the, with the couple, you know, that's your visualization. Ansel Adam said it's the most, or he actually said it's the key to a photograph. So he, he was somebody who talked about visualization all the time because if you just press the shutter without visualizing first, you're missing that whole artistic process and to become a reporter.

    Mark Silber: 00:30:19 Yeah, yeah. You're, you're snapshotting and you're recording rather than creating the second, uh, step in the creative process is knowing your tools and what you described is, you know, if you're a little rusty, you got to kind of get back into gear with your tools. Right. And we all have to do that. Unfortunately, you know, you leave something, sit there on the shelf for awhile, you got to get back into the groove of it. Absolutely. But knowing your tools is incredibly important. Bob Home said, don't let the camera get in the way of your photography. I love that. And you know, we've all had that happen. We've had the camera get in the way of our photographs. So you got to know your camera so well that it doesn't get in the way. Then you work your craft, you get into production, you do whatever it is, whether it's photography or shooting film or writing a book, it's just work.

    Mark Silber: 00:31:09 You know, it's, it's, it's a job not in a bad way, but it's, you have to look at it like that. Writing a book, you have to sit down every day. And Ryan, if every day you don't write the book doesn't write itself, wouldn't be nice. It would be nice. Uh, photographs don't take themselves, you take them. So it's working, making sure you have a schedule, a work schedule, and overcoming the biggest barrier that I believe the biggest excuse would be time. And I devoted a whole chapter to overcoming that barrier. But um, from there you edit and you refine. We all have to, you know, obviously I never let a photograph go anywhere without editing in some way, you know? I'm sure you're the same way. Oh yeah. You know, it doesn't go on Instagram for my camera. It goes via Lightroom and then it goes to Instagram.

    Mark Silber: 00:32:04 But editing has all sorts of different forms to it. You know, there's, there's uh, editing in terms of how to put a body of work together. There's editing your writing, there's editing, even your life, cutting out those things that are distracting. Yesterday I gave advice to somebody, you know, and I said, uh, how many hours a day are you watching TV or playing video games? And I s it was a, it was a fairly sizable number. I said, why don't you invest three of those hours into learning your skills instead of that? Yeah, I mean that's just common advice I would give anyone take that time that you're, you don't feel you have, cause you're using it for something you really don't need to do. It's just, it's an investment. So invest it wisely just like you want to invest money wisely. And then finally, after you've edited, then you're going to share it with others.

    Mark Silber: 00:32:54 And that's the final part of the creative process. And it doesn't mean giving it away for free. It means putting it out there to the world. In some form, whether it's putting it on your wall, a print, you know, that's nicely framed or putting in a book or putting in in an exhibit or in a case of wedding photographers, you know, sh obviously you're sharing it back to the bride and groom and a family, but you're getting it back to the world. You're giving it back to the world and if you get paid for it so much, the better.

    Raymond: 00:33:25 Yeah, no kidding. No kidding. But uh, it's, it's a lot harder to, to pay the bills when you're not getting paid for sure. Yeah,

    Mark Silber: 00:33:31 it really is. I find that extremely satisfying. You know, there's a lot of different ways you can make money, but I think the most satisfying is through a creative process and if you enjoy my creative process, all the better, all the better, all the better. Absolutely.

    Raymond: 00:33:46 As I said earlier, your interview, you have interviewed a lot of people in this book and uh, my favorite was your interview with Keith Cole, who again, as you mentioned earlier, is a motorcycle, not only rider but instructor. And it was his process of taking action with new ideas that really got, uh, my brain flowing. That was cool. That was very cool cause it wasn't, it's not that he's creating something visual to show people, it's that he's creating a process to uh, give to others so that they can create something to show people, I guess in a way, in a way. Uh, what did you find are some of the, uh, other key tools of seriously creative people or I'm sorry, seriously talented people.

    Mark Silber: 00:34:30 Yeah. Well they're both talented and creative. Yeah. You know, here's the biggest one that I think was just that resonated through everyone of these interviews and that's perseverance and persistence because it does take a while sometimes to get your ideas out there. And he is a good example of a guy who really did persist and has become the number one motorcycle. Uh, he has number one training school for motorcycle enthusiasts. Um, but it's, it's getting past those hurdles, especially the inner ones. And virtually everyone of the people I interviewed mentioned something about the inner demons that you have to overcome. It's a really mentioned it, the real thing. You mentioned it just a minute ago, you know that imposter syndrome, you know, they're going to find out, I really don't know what I'm doing. This camera, you know, it's like we all run into this stuff and unfortunately a lot of those can come from an external source.

    Mark Silber: 00:35:29 Somebody who's negative a troll essentially. And you know, the worst thing you can do with that is bring it into your own mind and start using it against yourself. And that just takes some discipline. So I again, I believe that that we each have this inner ability to be creative. I think it's part and parcel of who we are. Uh, whether you consider that it's a spiritual quality, which I haven't to Bambi can trial who I've interviewed a number of times. One of the most amazing portrait and wedding photographers said, you know, look, here's what I consider a photo shoot is all about. It's finding that spirit, the spirit of the person. Anyone can learn to use a camera, but not everybody can cut through and put the person at ease the way she does. Yeah. And, and allow them to show themselves. And those are the things that we have to be able to do to really master the craft.

    Mark Silber: 00:36:31 Geez. Yeah, that's, that's, that's a very good point. That's a very good point. What would you say to, to people who feel like they can't, like they're not good at connecting with people enough to, to, to see their soul, I suppose. Yeah, it's definitely a skill that one has to acquire. And, um, you know, one of these days I might give a workshop just to address that because at the end of the day, you know, you have your, you have your technical skills as a photographer, but then you have your people skills. And, you know, I've done a lot of interviews, not just the, the ones with photographers, but a lot of commercial interviews with CEOs and you know, people who've created incredible startups and so on and so forth. And not everybody's comfortable on camera, as you probably know, right? Very much. Ah, they, they get nervous. They freeze up.

    Mark Silber: 00:37:23 They even start sweating and feel really uncomfortable. And I consider my job. Uh, of course we're going to capture it technically, but my real job is to put them at ease. So it's a set of skills and unfortunately I, you know, the book is a little beyond the, it's beyond the scope of the book, but who knows, maybe I'll teach a workshop just on that because there's definitely skills that want to, one can acquire and using them helps people

    feel who they really are, you know? Yeah, absolutely. I would imagine having that ability to just calm people down is very important tool to have in your tool bag, I suppose it is. So what do you think are some, I guess, why do you think that we need a set of tools for, uh, creativity? Well, in any creative field, whether it's photography, I mean, that's pretty obvious.

    Mark Silber: 00:38:16 Your tools or your camera, your lens is a, you know, all your various pieces of equipment. Like you've got a physical tools. Yeah. Tripod behind you. You know, you've got all these physical tools. Those are pretty obvious in any craft. You know, if you're a writer, it's either, probably not going to be writing with a pen these days. Yeah, no, but you might, you might have a voice recorder. I'd record. I did some of the book, a hidden, a little anecdote about the book. Um, I'm a surfer and uh, I, I had a fairly long, it was like a 45 minute drive to go surfing. And I thought, well, let me try recording some chapters and see how that turns out. Well, it turned out okay, but it turned out I had to do a lot of editing to make it work. Some people I guess can turn on a recorder and it just flows right out.

    Mark Silber: 00:39:07 But for me, I had to, I had to almost do as much work as writing it from the original, but it did give me a framework to work from. But that's a tool, you know, recording, transcribing. These are all various physical tools one uses. And then there's the, the nonphysical tools of knowing how, you know, your editing software works and frame what framing you should use and your, your skills of composition. Uh, you know, these are other tools. You've got to know all those tools because they're all part and parcel of how you're going to create something. You know, I, I walk into a kitchen, I, there's about three meals I have that I can do really well. You know, I've maybe five, maybe I could bump it up to five if I really had say five. Yeah, we'll make a second. Let's say there's five.

    Mark Silber: 00:39:56 I can make incredible pesto. I can barbecue great chicken, I make great salad, and the list kind of dwindles out from there, but at least I can get away with it. And people think, wow, he's pretty good cook. Well, yeah, with those three meals. But then I look at somebody else and another friend of mine who's just totally at home in the kitchen, they know what utensils to use, what, you know, temperature, this, that, and the other thing. They have a wider variety of things that they can master. So knowing those tools is, you know, it's just an extension of your skillset. Because remember, what creativity is, is it's basically making something out of nothing or out of raw materials. First you have to visualize it, but then once you visualize it, you've got to put it together. So, you know, there's all sorts of ways to do that.

    Raymond: 00:40:47 Yeah. I don't know if you've seen that a, that I don't know if it's a new show. Maybe it's an old show on Netflix called, uh, a fat, uh, acid salt. Oh, wait about, there was one episode specifically where, uh, the host, and I forget her name, uh, if she's listening, I apologize. She's not listening, uh, where she goes and she, uh, she's in Italy and, uh, she is creating pesto like from scratch with somebody who has been doing it for like generations. And watching that alone. It's funny that you had said that because watching that alone made me, made me, uh, uh, see it in an entirely different light. You know, the way that she, she almost like weighed like, like counted the pine that's the Geo put into this recipe. And I was like, wow. Down, like down to the, the, the, the smallest little, um, ingredient, you know, she used the tools of this is what works, this is how I know to make this and this is what I'm going to do. And uh, I remembered that I thought of that scene specifically when I was, when I was reading through your book, looking at the, the five elements or the five stages of, uh, creativity. So that was cool that, that you are also a, a, a connoisseur of Pesto as well.

    Mark Silber: 00:41:54 I don't, I, I may, I do make really killer Pesto and I met, I probably will never reveal the secret. Oh no, that's gotta be your last book. That will be my last book making remarkable Pesto.

    Raymond: 00:42:07 Uh, in a recent study that I had sent out to, um, my audience, 23% of the people who answered this survey, uh, of the listeners claimed that they were not. Yeah. And I've thought that that was a, a huge number for people who are trying to get into photography. What would you say are just some simple ways that we can increase our creativity in our everyday life?

    Mark Silber: 00:42:32 Okay. I think, you know, Raymond, I actually believe that number is higher than the average person because think about it, you know, they're already at least photographers, but I think if you walked down the street, I think it becomes a much lower number. Like maybe 40% believe that they are creative. So maybe 60% think they aren't the easiest thing, and this is really simple and it's something that if you follow it, it will improve your creative skills. And that is going to museums, go to museums, look at works of art and it doesn't matter. It doesn't even have to be in your genre at all. In fact, it's sometimes best if it isn't. But, um, whatever museum you have nearby, go to it. Because what you're finding there is you're building your visual library up. What resonates for you? You know, what is it about that Picasso that you really like?

    Mark Silber: 00:43:30 What is it about, you know, Rembrandt, what is it about that sculpture or even, you know, other forms like movies? You know, when I watch movies, I'm looking at the camera shots and I'm looking at, you know, how they framed it and how, you know, how they edited it and timing and music. All these other things are kind of like going into my kind of visual or my library, my mental library and I, you know, that's really cool how they did that. And sometimes the oddest things can stimulate your creativity. One of the guys I interviewed a while ago, Joseph Holmes, fantastic landscape photographer, he, I asked him who his inspiration was and I expected to hear, you know, the usual ansul Adams or Edward West. And he said the Beatles. Wow. Really? He was at the last beetle concert in 1966 and it just blew him away.

    Mark Silber: 00:44:26 And something sparked for him creatively. But you wouldn't, I wouldn't look at a landscape photograph and think that had anything to do with the Beatles, but for him it did. So that's the simplest thing. Just sat out a course of following, you know, various artists and going to museums, looking at them, but really go past, wow, I like this, I don't like that. Try to look at it in terms of what really resonates for you. And I mentioned that in the book. Take a notebook with you and jot these things down. You know, because you're going to come away with, with the ideas that you can then use later. And they may sit there for a long time before you pull them out. It might be years, but you go, you know, I remember something that Leonardo Davinci said, this is actually pretty cool. He said, go around and walk around and look at people, look at them in all sorts of situations.

    Mark Silber: 00:45:27 Look at them when they're angry. Look at them when they're upset. How do they move their hands? What are their feet look like? What is their facial expression look like? That's just material that you can kind of again, plug into your understanding of how people really react in life. Yeah, and he used those little illustrations. You know, he drew, he drew these things and later he came back and used them, uh, you know, in really remarkable ways because he had such a realistic idea of what people actually look like. That's something that really strikes us. You know, that he really observe people and that's a key skill right there.

    Raymond: 00:46:10 And then when it came time to replicate that in one of his pieces of art, he could use that visualization. The last supper reference. Yeah.

    Mark Silber: 00:46:16 Yeah. He'd go, you actually have little sketches of people that he found in various places that he used in the last supper painting. You know, it's pretty amazing.

    Raymond: 00:46:25 I did not know that. I did not know that. That is really cool. Jeez. Yeah. Uh, so, um, I got, like I, I, I mentioned, I think before we started recording, I got a few questions from the love to hear the group. So I asked what kind of questions do you have about creativity? And I thought there's nobody better to ask about this. And surprisingly, I got a lot of questions about composition, so you know, that I link them to okay. Because it's, it's hands down just the best resource, uh, for composition. So the first question came from Wayne and Wayne actually asked a a great question that I think that we covered in our first, or at least that we touched upon in our first interview together back in episode 67. And he wants to know about bridging the creative gap. So he wants to me, he said, bridging the creative gap between what you envisioned and how you make that a reality. He said, I don't know about anybody else, but I have crazy photography based dreams of photos that I would love to capture. And then when I wake up, I have no idea how to start the process. What would you say to Wayne?

    Mark Silber: 00:47:26 You know, Wayne, that's a really good question. That's a discussion I had with Chase Jarvis back in 2008 we had this, uh, we were talking about the creative gap. You know, it just, it's just something you have to work towards and it's a matter of not compromising with your vision. You have a vision, which is great. Just keep working towards it and finding ways to express it because really, ultimately it comes down to your skill. If you can start to match and we're trying to close that gap, you know, maybe it starts out a pretty wide gap between what you visualize and what your actually your visualizations up here and your ability to produce it is here. But as you keep working at, you're going to close that gap and that's really what it's all about. It's just increasing your skill in that area until you can close that gap.

    Raymond: 00:48:22 It takes a lot. It takes a lot. It takes a lot. And I think that, uh, one thing that has helped me in the past when I've had an idea for a photo is a digging your advice. Just having that notebook, kind of writing it down, thinking about, well, what would I say to the person in front of me to get them to look the way, uh, that I want to and enabled to know what I want to say. I have to know exactly how I want them to look. And there's there's or that visualization, uh, comes in. But exactly. I think of the day like it's all, it's all just like putting in the time, putting in the time behind the camera, doing the work, getting to know everything about your cameras, situation, how it reads lights so that when the time comes you're just that much closer. Exactly. Yup. Okay. So the next question that I got was from Charlene and she wants to know this is, this is one that a lot of people struggle with. She wants to know, I'm curious as to when a piece stops being just a photograph and it becomes art.

    Mark Silber: 00:49:16 Oh boy, that's an age old question. Yeah. When is it art? When is it just a, a reproduction of what's in front of you and that discussion has been going on for, you know, really it, it, Ansell Adams is one of the first photographers that crossed that gap in and I think that it, it really has to do with, you know, what is art? Art is something that you're creating, but it's very subjective also. You know, what's beautiful, what isn't beautiful. You know, music is a perfect example. Um, you know, there's a lot of rap music that Rosemay the wrong way, but then I can hear, let's say m and, m I think. Wow, that's pretty cool. I just listened to the rhythm and it's very poetic, but it's, it's, it's very subjective and photography is the same way. I'd say the answer to that is if you're just being a recording person, you're recording a scene by pushing the shutter.

    Mark Silber: 00:50:15 Uh, that's not necessarily being an artist. It's not necessarily being creative. But if you're doing something beyond that where you're, you're highlighting the, or, you know, Ansul Adam said, you know, people consider me a, a realistic photographer. It's just not realistic. You don't see skies that are black and, and pure white and pure black. And he said he's manipulating this whole scene, you know, in the dark room. But that makes him an artist because he's changing something about what's out there. Or He's putting it in a certain

    way that, you know, you can stop and see the beauty of it. But my only advice, because this is really a discussion that's a really a pretty fundamental philosophical discussion, um, is to, to really understand what it is you're trying to create. And the best way to do that is get your dictionary out and look up some of these keywords.

    Mark Silber: 00:51:17 Look up creativity. Look up are, I do have these definitions in my book. I make it a little easier for you, but by understanding those words, this is something mark Isom, who's a musician friend of mine, won multiple awards. A, the guy is just unbelievable. But he said really understanding, uh, that these concepts in these words really helped him out with his art. So, because at the end of the day, it's something we all have to decide for ourselves. What is art, what it is, what's your art? You know, I know the difference between, for me, you know, I take a lot of pictures just to record the moment, you know. Sure. Somebody's birthday party. I'm not trying to turn that into work of art, right? But I want to, I want to take a shot. I want to remember it. I know that I'm not creating art at that moment. Sometimes you surprise yourself though.

    Raymond: 00:52:12 No. Okay. That's a good point. I want to ask you then because I think as, as we become more skilled, as we build those tools, uh, that we have suddenly for us, maybe just a snapshot has some artistic intention, right? The photos that we take, we're now framing in a different way than just pulling up our phone and taking the photo. We're like true. Pulling the camera up and pointing it down or something. Is that, is that still just a snapshot because now you've introduced that artistic intention?

    Mark Silber: 00:52:38 No, I don't think so at all. I think that what you're doing is so natural to you as a photographer that it doesn't seem like much, but to the average person, you're doing something. Okay. Here's a perfect example. Uh, I was at a restaurant with a friend. Um, the head chef came over to give him something. They actually gave him a bottle of, uh, olive oil that had been brought over from Italy. And, uh, so he said, would you take a picture? You know, and I took, you know, I held up my iPhone and I said, hey, move over here, move there, change the bat, you know, clean up the background a little bit and took the photograph. It didn't seem like anything to me. I wasn't, I wasn't thinking I was creating a work of art. Uh, I may have even put it on mode to blur the background. Even if I did and I cleaned it, certainly cleaned up the background and framed it. And my friend said afterwards, you know, watching you is amazing because I saw your skills come out and just the iPhone photograph. But to me, I didn't even notice. It just seemed like brushing my teeth, you know? Okay. Hey, you're doing a good job, mark. Really, I'm just brushing my teeth. Yeah. So I think it's, yeah. So maybe I could turn that into, um, a work of art

    Raymond: 00:53:55 there for that line is, is so blurred. It's so blurred. You know, it's interesting stuff. Well.

    Mark Silber: 00:54:02 Okay, look at some of these artists like Banksy or, uh, Andy Warhol, you know, with, with the classic, uh, Campbell Soup. Yeah. How come that's art, but it is, it definitely is.

    Raymond: 00:54:14 Yeah. Yeah. I think, uh, yeah. I don't know. I mean it's so, it's so subjective. It's so hard to tell. It really is it really true to it? Um, so you are a photographer, so I'm excited to get your perspective on this. I want to know what you think is one of the biggest actionable takeaways that, uh, one of the listeners can take away, uh, from your book.

    Mark Silber: 00:54:37 Wow. Read the whole thing. Let's start there. That's step number one. The biggest takeaway is this, I would say is that one can improve their creative skills. It's not just something that is inherent or there's no control over it or whatever. This is similar to my premise when I started my composition book because uh, you know, I realized a lot of people

    had asked me, you know, for advice with composition and I really didn't have a good answer for them because I felt that it was a fairly intuitive thing that you had to just sort of learn the feel of it and blah, blah blah. And then I realized, wait a minute, that's not really, that's not how you learn how to cook. So how you learn how to paint, you know, you follow some sort of template, right? So I thought there must be a template to composition and sure enough, you know, like I came away with these 83 compositional elements.

    Mark Silber: 00:55:35 Now it's really important to understand those are not in dolls right there. They're just elements and you still have to put them to work. You still have to, you know, put the rest of your creativity in, into the photograph. But if you know these skills, if they're in your mind, chances are you're going to be able to pull them out and use them when you need to. And I think that the biggest takeaway that I hope people get is that you can improve your creativity. You, it isn't something that, you know, levels off and that's it. You can work at it and you can strip away the things that get in the way of your creativity. And I tried to give people exercises. By the way, at the end of every chapter I have summary questions where I try to ask questions that get people to really look at the material they've just read because it does absolutely no good to just intellectualize it. You have to put it to work, you have to make a change. Otherwise it's like reading a book on um, Yoga, but never doing one yoga exercise,

    Raymond: 00:56:42 every photography, Youtube video on the Internet and not picking up a camera,

    Mark Silber: 00:56:46 not picking up a camera or watching cooking shows and never going into the kitchen. So you've got to go past the intellectual phase of this thing. That's why I asked those questions. And at the right below that I give action steps. And in my action steps, one of the things I asked for excuses that you had for these various things, like I brushed on it and we don't really have time to get into it in detail, but time is probably the biggest excuse. I just don't have enough time, you know? Yeah. We have to make the time and we have to carve out, you know, the excess stuff where we're wasting time and put it to use where you want it to go.

    Raymond: 00:57:26 I've got to admit, uh, as I got to the end of each chapter, I, uh, was looking forward to and both dreading that part because it was like, oh, here we go. Now I gotta look at myself and face all of my flaws. Uh, but it was truly helpful and that was definitely the hardest question of, of, of, uh, what excuses can you come up with to not do that. So, uh, but overall wonderful. Uh, mark, I truly enjoyed our chat today. I know that we're running out of time and I truly enjoyed our chat today. Can you let the listeners know where they can find you online and where they can get a copy of your new book?

    Mark Silber: 00:57:58 Absolutely. So mark Silber on Amazon, m a R C S I l B e r will lead you to my books and create, you'll find we'll be there, uh, or go to probably a better yet. Go to my website, Silber studios.com and that's sil, B as in boy e r studios.com. From there you'll see links to the books. This one and my previous books. You'll also see resource pages. We're adding resources for what's in the book so you can easily look things up and follow up on things. But those are the easiest ways to find the book. And I even have a preorder bonus if you order it, uh, and come back to my website. There's a free download, which is a quick start guide to creativity. How about that?

    Raymond: 00:58:49 Really? That's interesting. That's, yeah, that's really exciting. That's really exciting. Um, I dunno if this will be in, I'm not sure exactly when the a episode will come out, but um, when does the book officially launch? July 23rd July. Oh yeah, no, it will definitely be out by then. Okay, perfect. Perfect.

    Mark Silber: 00:59:06 So, so if you, or if you order it before then just go ahead and get your preorder bonus. You'll get it shipped as soon as the book comes out.

    Raymond: 00:59:14 Awesome. Well, again, mark, thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and thank you for putting it together. These books that have so

    Raymond: 00:59:22 many people including, uh, my audience. Uh, it was a pleasure to talk with you today. Thank you Raymond. My pleasure as well. It is always a pleasure chatting with mark. He has this down to earth approach to some, you know, sometimes pretty complicated ideas and you know, just hearing his view is really refreshing. My biggest takeaway for this episode was just how much, how much creativity can truly be incorporated in our everyday lives. It doesn't have to be the main thing. You don't have to create one thing to be creative. And you know, creativity doesn't have to be all a bright colors and a whimsical design. It can be everywhere in meal planning, in how you pack your camera gear in, how you learn something new. It is everywhere. It is everywhere. And that that I hope that I know you are going to take away, uh, definitely from his book if you pick it up.

    Raymond: 01:00:22 So again, you can pick up a copy of Mark's new book on Amazon and again, a highly recommend that you do so. Or You can win yourself a copy by enrolling in auto two. Amazing today. So to learn more about auto to amazing, just head over to learn dot beginner photography podcast.com or click the link in the show notes now. So that is it for this week's interview. Until next week, I want you to get out. I want you to keep shooting. I want you to focus on yourself and I want you to stay safe. All right, that's it. I love you all.

    Outtro: 01:01:01 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

    BPP 156: GFWiliams - Commercial Supercar Photography

    GFWilliams is an automotive photographer from Great Britain. He has been ranked as one of the top supercar automotive photographers to follow online, take one look at his work and it’s clear to see why.

    Become A Premium Member is access to more in-depth questions that help move you forward!

    In This Episode You'll Learn:

    • How George got his start in photography

    • The hardest part about photography to learn

    • The job description of an automotive photographer

    • How to create a story in your image when your subject has no face

    • How much planning is involved in an automotive shoot

    • The importance of light and artificial light

    • The biggest mistakes new automotive photographers make

    Premium Members Also Learn:

    • Who hires Automotive photographers

    • How to book your first magazine shoot

    • Selling your photos vs licensing and how George is changing the industry

    • What kind of gear you need to be taken seriously as a professional

    Resources:

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    Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!

    Full Interview Transcription:

    Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

    Raymond: 00:00 Hey Raymond here from the beginner photography podcast. And today we're talking about supercar photography with one of the best. So let's get into it.

    Intro: 00:10 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfields, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, Ho brewer, La Dodger Fan and Indianapolis wedding photographer Raymond Hatfield. Welcome

    Raymond: 00:40 back to this episode of the beginner photography podcast. As always, I am Raymond, your host and a wedding photographer here in Indianapolis. And if you have never been to Indianapolis in the month of May, you are missing out Indianapolis in May, uh, Indianapolis hosts the Indy 500, uh, during the month of May and kind of all over the entire month is kind of, um, focused or, or centered around automotive racing. And obviously automotive racing has a huge history here in a Indian in, in Indianapolis. That was kind of hard to say. And uh, for, for more than a hundred years. So this is like, it becomes an event and the entire city, the community gathers around and we all get excited, uh, for one thing. And that is, uh, just the smell of, you know, engines and in just the sounds, it's great. And the flyover practice, it's so much fun. And because of this, I think I've had a bit of, um, you know, a lot of a car, um, you know, ideas just kinda running through my head.

    Raymond: 01:53 Uh, so surprise today I interview a commercial automotive photographer and, uh, I've never interviewed a commercial automotive photographer before, and in fact, I've never spoke with a commercial automotive photographer before. So this is a really interesting interview. Um, w that, uh, that caught me off guard for, uh, you know, quite a bit of it because I didn't know exactly what I was getting into. There's, there's a lot of little nuances that are different in every, every form of photography. And, uh, automotive photography is no different. So before we get into this interview, I want you to see some of the photos that we will be talking about, uh, in, in, in the interview. So, uh, I want you to check out the show notes. I posted some photos of today's guests in the show notes and you should be able to just swipe up on your podcast player.

    Raymond: 02:47 Um, if you're, if you're in, uh, the, uh, apple podcast app, I know that you can for sure, and then just take a moment to look at some of the incredible, incredible photos. All right. So, uh, once you do that, come back here. Uh, and I just want to note that there was an issue with my audio recorder, um, for George today's guests. So therefore the audio is noticeably different from recent interviews, but if you stick with it, I know that you're

    going to take away some great information. And as always, I, uh, reserve a piece of the interview, uh, where me and today's guests talk more about the business side of photography. So in this case, automotive photography. So, uh, and then I saved that piece of interview for premium members of the podcast. So in today's interview, premium members are going to hear who it is that hires automotive photographers, how to book your first magazine shoot, selling your photos versus licensing your photos and how George is kind of changing the industry honestly and what kind of gear you need to be taken seriously as a professional.

    Raymond: 03:58 And we all know that you can take a great photo with an iPhone and that's one thing, but when it comes to print and advertising, it is entirely different in iPhone photo just doesn't really cut it. So George talks about that as well. So if you are looking to make money in automotive photography and you want to know the answers to today's questions, then a become a premium member. Head over to beginner photography podcast.com and just click that premium membership button right there at the top and you can join to day. All right, that's it. Let's go ahead and get on into today's interview with GF Williams. GF OEMs is an automotive photographer from Great Britain. He has been ranked as one of the top automotive photographers to follow online. And if you just take one look at his work, it's clear to see why. George, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

    GFWilliams: 04:49 Thank you. It's nice to be talking.

    Raymond: 04:51 Yeah, I'm really excited for today's episode because we don't really get to talk to a lot of automotive photographers. I don't know why I've tried and tried many photographers like race event photographers or, um, and for some reason or another it just doesn't get to work out too well. So today, uh, I'm excited especially to have somebody of your caliber, uh, this is going to be a really great interview, but before we really get into the nitty gritty of automotive photography, can you share it with me and the listeners how you got your start in photography to begin with?

    GFWilliams: 05:22 Yeah, well, it all started for fun as I think most photographers do. Um, and it was back about 10 years ago. Um, I was 16 years old and at first it wasn't a love of photography. It was a love of cars and it was an excuse to move my dad's cause around his driveway and take photos of them in the process. So that was sort of the real beginnings and just experimenting with a camera, working out what it did. I, I really liked the techie side of photography, so that really appealed. And after a while I got a bit bored of just being on the driveway. So I asked them friends to photograph their cars and it developed from there basically. Wow. 10 years later.

    Raymond: 06:09 Yeah. Here you are still doing it. So how, yeah, I kind of want to know about how it started. Like when you first picked up the camera, obviously you wanted to take photos of, of your dad's car, but when you picked up the camera, did you have any idea what you were doing at all?

    GFWilliams: 06:23 I'm not massively, I picked up the technical side really quickly from youtube videos, that kind of thing. Again, like a lot of people do. I think, um, and I understood how to use the camera in manual and what achieved what results fairly quickly, which meant that I could then be focusing, ignore the pun. Um, um, the more creative side and trying to do things a bit differently and trying to get the actual quality of the photography better.

    Raymond: 06:54 I gotcha. I gotcha. So it all started from this love of cars. Did your dad have a, a particularly interesting car that, that made you want to photograph it?

    GFWilliams: 07:04 Yeah, so he had a couple of cars at the time. He had Kate from seven and he had a replica push, three, five, six speed stuff and if you know anything about me

    and then um, I still drive that push speeds then now so that I'm allowed to drive now, which is nice. So I borrow that as often as possible. And I bought myself a k from seven, three years ago. So cause that's Instagram. It is, yes.

    Raymond: 07:34 That's a, that's a very cool car. I'll be sure to post the link in the show notes so that people can check it out. It's a, it's very interesting. It's open wheel, it's open roof. Uh, it's not a very traditional car that you would see on the road. And, uh, and if that's the car that, that your dad had that you wanted to photograph, I could see how, uh, that would, that would want to get you to get that camera in your hand. So do you still happen to have like those first photos? Like, do you remember how it turned out? Did you achieve what it was that you were looking for?

    GFWilliams: 08:02 I could dig them out potentially. Um, I can't remember whether I've still got them. I've got photos from my earliest or from my first proper shoots. Um, which I was looking at today actually this morning. Um, it's fair to say I've got a bit better luck. Um, but there was definitely some good stuff in there, surprisingly so. Um, it's actually quite nice to look back, but this stuff on the driveway wasn't great if I'm totally honest.

    Raymond: 08:37 Well that's good. Yeah, it's good to, it's good to be able to look at those photos and then, um, you know, at least assess what it is that, uh, that you either like or don't like and then, and then move forward from there. So how challenging was it there in the beginning to, um, try to get more cars to photograph if you know, if at the time you didn't even have your license?

    GFWilliams: 09:00 Uh, well it was only about a year before I got my license. So at first I would get people to pick me up and we would then go and do the shoot. So they were all quite local. Um, and this was before the days of Instagram. Really? No one really used Instagram, so times have changed. Back then it was forums, um, eastern heads being the main one I used, which was very popular and I just asked stuff and said, is there anyone local that I can photograph their car? I will, not the money, I just wanted to have fun. It was never going to be a career for me at that stage. I just enjoyed it and wanted to take photos. And I wanted to learn. So luckily I had about five people come back to me saying, yeah, we'd love to do it. Let's go and take some photos. And Sarah, my misses judged purely off the photos I'd taken on the driveway, but they gave me the opportunity. So I was quite lucky. Um, so I ended up shooting a Ford Mustang, Roush, uh, ultimate DTR, which is a British kit car and a Lamborghini Guyardo.

    Raymond: 10:06 Wow. Right. So like the first four guys were still like, like very, uh, like traditionally nice looking cars too.

    GFWilliams: 10:15 Yeah. And that helps. They were right up my street because I have an interest in supercars as I think a lot of people do. I'm taught not to. Um, but yeah, it, it was, it became my niche that I would be photographing these kinds of cards and it's still is today. So right from the beginning until now, it's stayed true.

    Raymond: 10:38 That's awesome. That's awesome. That's very rare, I think in photography that many people start off with something and then, and then continue on with it into their career. So, uh, if you could take me back to those first few shoots that you did. Uh, did you have some sort of game plan or they just picked you up and they asked her where do you want to go and did you photograph in their driveways? How did that work?

    GFWilliams: 10:59 So what I did, I went onto Google maps and Google street view and I went and found as many locations as I could locally that I thought I could get away with using. Um, I wasn't too clued up on private land and where you're allowed to shoot and where you weren't of course, cause I was 16, but I figured I could get away with it because I was 16.

    Um, so we went and shot some photos on a local vineyard, um, and also on a ended up real estate. So industrial sites I would very rarely use now, but in terms of an easy place to practice technique, that's perfect cause they're quiet. Um, and the vineyard, I still take some photos there today, so I explain clearly onto a winner. Yeah.

    Raymond: 11:51 Do you ever, uh, this is kind of a side question. Do you ever like share those photos with the vineyard

    GFWilliams: 11:57 at night? No. Gotcha. I tried to make sure they don't like this. I'm taking both of them. I did actually call them up before that first shoot and ask for permission. They said yes. And I've taken that to be permission forever. Definite permission. We buy, I sit at the, I don't do any, uh, commercial photography that and you'd just the fun.

    Raymond: 12:22 Oh, right. Yeah, of course. Of course. Now I got it. I got it. Um, so, so as, as a, as an automotive photographer, I kind of want to know what do you view your, your job description as, what is it that you're trying to get out of these photos?

    GFWilliams: 12:39 Um, now I would call myself a commercial automotive photographer because I, a of what my client base is, I am working for the manufacturers and I am working to a brief every time, uh, which is challenging, but I don't know. That's difficult. I, I, yeah, I'd say that sort of answers it vaguely, but I already have a job description as such. I am just a photographer. I like acts.

    Raymond: 13:14 Okay. Okay. So follow up then. Uh, I guess what I'm getting at is that in wedding photography it's very easy. Like my job is to tell the story, right? It's very easy to show up on a day. People are already happy, they have emotions. Um, and it's easy to capture those emotions on subjects that have faces, you know? So how do you create some sort of story around your images?

    GFWilliams: 13:38 Um, I think it's the context of where you put them is a big part of the story and it's how you, I mean, it's combination of everything if we're honest, because you've got to have the lighting, right? You've got to make sure all the lines on the car look correct. Everything counts towards that final image. And it's not necessarily that I'm trying to tell a story the whole time. Quite often I am, but it's a story that we are creating from scratch on the whole, we're making it a story as opposed to actually being a story. It as it would be with a wedding, with a wedding and events happening on the whole. I don't really shoot events, so I am making it an event. That makes sense.

    Raymond: 14:28 That does make sense. And you kind of mentioned earlier about shooting a to a brief. Can you kind of talk about that a little bit? Is it, um, can you tell me what it is and where these, these briefs come from?

    GFWilliams: 14:43 So the brief either comes from the agency or the client that you are working for and it in how it is, but sometimes, and this is probably most common with most of them, my work, you will have what's called a creative director and the creative director will tell you exactly what they require. Um, in terms of assets, which is what you are ultimately creating.

    Raymond: 15:11 Can you tell me what that means? Is, does that mean like the photos that you give?

    GFWilliams: 15:14 Yeah, exactly. The final finished photo. Um, and that asset will have a particular usage which is determined before the shoot. Say for instance, it will go on such and such a position on an Instagram feed, which is quite a common one now, but you

    plan it all out in a bond so that the feed looks correct and, uh, I had the right look to it. So you've got that. And then the brief will say angle of the car, uh, if there's a look and feel that after they will state that. But quite often they will leave that down to me and they'll just give me a general steer. And I think I've got quite a lot of experience now, so they're happy to do that more when you're first starting. There'll be hopefully if you've got good clients, more specific and then they become a bit more relaxed as they've worked with you a bit more.

    Raymond: 16:10 Sure, sure. So, uh, just, just so that I'm clear, it would be something like they say, hey, we need, um, five photos for Instagram. We want the car in this position and we want it to feel powerful. Go ahead and go do your thing. Does that sound about right?

    GFWilliams: 16:31 Um, yeah, it's more in terms of how natural they want it to feel. Uh, whether they want the car to pop off the frame or whether they want it more to be in part of a scene, that kind of thing. And they tend to be fairly specific with angles for each shot because it needs to look correct and context and maybe for layouts of stuff as well. If it's, if it's got other usage like print, then they might put texts and they need space in a certain area of the photo and you have to think of all of that and get it correct.

    Raymond: 17:10 So then you get that brief, you're like, awesome. It can you give me an example of a car maybe that you shot recently?

    GFWilliams: 17:20 Uh, so I shot a high on die in America. I shot three cars, race, car.

    Raymond: 17:26 They come to you and they say, here's the brief. What's the next step? You say, okay, I got Hyundai. They want this, this, this and this. How do you, how do you go about planning the shot?

    GFWilliams: 17:38 So you have, the first thing you have to do is go through the what's called the bidding process, which I won't go into too much, but it basically means you're working out how much time it's going to. So once you know where you're shooting it, you can kind of work out in your mind the logistics of everything, whether you're moving between locations, that kind of thing, how long you've been, how long you think you're going to need to get those shots and you give yourself a bit of a buffer for if anything goes wrong, like weather or car issues, that kind of thing. And you then sort of allocate the amount of time and you build a schedule. Once you've done that you say how much money you want. Like yes, hopefully, uh, that's, that's the boring business side of things I don't really like. Um, and then it progresses to a, it depends on the client, but on the whole, I will then have what's called a pre production meeting with the client and talk to them in detail exactly what image and is which and how I will achieve it for both the creative and the technical aspect. Okay. Just to kill aspect as well.

    Raymond: 18:56 Gotcha. So at this point where you're, where you get this brief, you're not even hired for the position yet?

    GFWilliams: 19:04 Uh, no. On the whole, the brief will be sent to more than one photographer.

    Raymond: 19:08 Oh, I see. Oh my gosh. Wow. So then they just kind of pick the one that fits this campaign the best for them and then they move forward

    GFWilliams: 19:18 on the whole, I think this is correct in saying, I think when they send the bid out, they know who they want to use and they have to fill a process where they

    get three people, at least the bed and they can do it. Um, and you have to be roughly in the right ballpark figure, but that fairly easy.

    Raymond: 19:41 So then can you walk me through this process that you had with Hyundai, with this latest a set of shots that you did when you got the brief, did you already have an idea of how the photo would turn out in your head?

    GFWilliams: 19:54 Uh, yeah, I could, I could work out what it needed to be from what they had said on that brief. It was, it was actually a pretty good brief. The agency were good, um, and I could work out exactly how much time it needed. Unfortunately, we had to cut it down a little bit, but such as life. Um, and I was quite lucky because the job was out in America. Obviously I'm British and I happened to be in la where the agency was so I could go and meet them for face to face and it just meant we could go and clarify exactly everything on the free or, um, the final stages of getting the logistics and everything like that. Right, right. So then walk me through the logistics. What, what, what, what does this mean when it comes to burn building the shoot day?

    GFWilliams: 20:48 So I was lucky that I had a very good producer and that is someone that will do all of the logistics. So I don't have to think about that too much. But what he is effectively doing is hiring the race track that we were shooting on a sorting out accommodation, flights, food for everyone there. Anything you might need. So if you need to hire any equipment locally, that kind of thing. Um, so the, I can turn up and shoot and not be distracted thinking for instance, Oh I hope the food's going to be okay for the client. Lunchtime. I don't need to be thinking about that. I need to be shooting like, especially when we have so little time.

    Raymond: 21:33 Right, right. So I these people your team or are they, do they come from the agency?

    GFWilliams: 21:41 Uh, it is, I use freelances and often I will ask the agency to say who they like working with. Cause I think you've got more chance of winning the job if they're working with people they've used for sure. But I also have a selection of people throughout the world that I know now who are very good at it.

    Raymond: 22:00 Oh good, good, good. Okay. So, um, I, so like you said earlier that it's more common for a company to hire you rather than a single person. Um, how is that, how it worked for you in the beginning, like for those first few shots that you did? Um, no,

    GFWilliams:

    Raymond:

    GFWilliams:

    22:22 22:22 22:24 22:25

    lots of,
    not at all. Okay. Can you,

    yeah, that,
    Hey Raymond here and if you're listening to this, you are listening

    Raymond:
    to the free version of today's interview. If you want to hear more from today's guest about the business of photography, consider becoming a premium member every week. Guests answer questions about products, pricing packages and so much more that will help your growing photography business to rise. This is the next logical step to join head over to beginning of photography, podcast.com and click the premium membership button at the top of the page. Interesting. Okay. So that, that perfectly ties into my next question, which is, uh, how important is, uh, lighting for, for automotive photography. So if you had to guess, if you just had to take a shot in the dark, what percentage of your photos would you say are mostly natural lighting and what percentage of your photos have some sort of artificial lighting?

    GFWilliams: 23:22 It's hard to say as a percentage term because it more depends on the job and the brief. But well over half of my, I'd probably say over 60, 70% of my work is natural light. Oh Wow. Okay. So quite a lot. I, I, I'm of the opinion that if you can simplify things, do, um, especially if you get a do the result by simplifying than do it cause it's more efficient. Uh, and that's quite important in a commercial world, but thinking more of a creative sense. Um, I think you're best off using lighting. So get a natural light shot, make it look as good as you can and then add flash only if necessary to sort of lift the image a little bit. They trying to be fairly subtle.

    Raymond: 24:24 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So how, if you know, most people enthusiasts, right? Car enthusiasts, even hobbyists will go out and if they see a supercar, they're like, oh, I got to take a photo of this. And then they take the photo and the photo is usually garbage. Right? Um, even though that is done with natural light. So do you have some tips for beginners to kind of manipulate natural light in a way that will make a car look more pleasing?

    Speaker 4: 24:49 Okay.

    GFWilliams: 24:50 Yeah. So a big thing about car photography is polarization and how that reacts with the car. So a polarizer is a filter that only lets through certain way blends I believe is probably the best description of it. And what that really does is it means you can cuts out reflections on a reflecting car, body or window, and you can twist the polarizer to get different, uh, sections of the car blanked, not blanked out, but less reflections on certain sections. Uh, so that is a really useful thing to have on your Lens. As a car photographer. You have one on every lens and you use it pretty much all the time. And it's only if you want loads of reflections that you'll ever take it off. So I'm sure that's pretty important. Not really.

    GFWilliams: 25:48 Um, I think the second part of that is you should be walking around the car looking at various different things on the car. Um, in terms of reflections, in terms of where the light is captured, cap catching on parts of the body work. So if certain Bates are in shadow, it creates more shape in the car sometimes. Um, and kind of showing the car in the best light that you can, that is available if the car is parked. All you can do is walk around it and step back from it, different heights, that kind of thing. If you're then controlling the car and you can park it anywhere on a location, you have total flexibility to get the car with the best background, with the best lighting possible. So yeah, it sort of opens up a world of opportunity, which is quite interesting and takes time to learn, but you do learn what works best and it becomes second nature. So

    Raymond: 27:03 that makes sense. Yeah. Have you ever had a, uh, I'm sure you have. Can you tell me about one of the most challenging shoots that a, that you've had a you've had to go through.

    GFWilliams: 27:14 There's sort of challenging in different ways. Of course failure is a very challenging thing to deal with,

    Raymond: 27:24 but that that's out of control. Right? Okay. Oh, I guess a lot of things would be out of control I suppose. Like you show up to a situation, camera works fine, car looks great but something's not working.

    GFWilliams: 27:37 Yeah. It's, that's pretty rare actually. Um, it's normally an external factor that causes the problems. Um, I think the client picks you to because they like your style, the problems arise when there's conflicting opinions between various different people within an agency or within the client. And so while one person may like it, another one might hate it for instance. And then you've just got to try and work through these things in order to

    get to somewhere where everyone is as happy as can be to get it signed off. And I think that is probably the biggest challenge that you will ever face is when someone just doesn't like it. But if you've done it in your own style, which is what they hired for, you've kind of, you've got to be confident in your own ability. And if they don't like it, then that just is what it is. And you've just got to keep working with them to try and get to a point where it works. And sometimes you may not like the end result, but they might like it for instance. And such is life. You're getting paid. So who cares. Okay. That's frustrating though. Very.

    Raymond: 29:01 Yeah. So what sorts of things would they be, sorry, I thought you was coming back in. What sorts of things would uh, would I guess producers or creative directors, uh, want changed, um,

    GFWilliams: 29:17 that you were kind of normally situation? Normally it stuff that you can change in retouching. Um, so the effect on the car, how it's fitting with the background, sometimes even what the background is. Um, so I had a project where the creative director really wanted CGI and he was telling me exactly what CGI he wanted. I'd shot the car in a studio. And in my opinion, it looked great with the studio background. The creative director was very set in his decisions of what he wanted and ultimately we just couldn't make the photo look good and we really struggled to come up with a solution that worked. And ultimately it ended up with us going higher in the company. And I'll escape me talking to one of the directors and saying, look, I can't make this work the way that he is asking for it because ultimately I believe what he's asking for is wrong. And the conclusion was the director agreed with me luckily, and we ended up making it work with a studio background.

    Raymond: 30:40 Oh, okay. Okay. I see. Yeah, that can be, uh, something that, you know, if you can't fix it on set, I would imagine that most people would try to, would not know what to do. So. So thank you for sharing.

    GFWilliams: 30:53 Yeah. And it's, it's ultimately about your relationship with the client. And just dealing with that because there's always a solution. It may not be the solution you want, but there is always a solution.

    Raymond: 31:07 Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Um, so we were talking earlier about kind of those first photos that we took in the, in the driveway. You said that you saw some of your first worker earlier today when you were looking at those photos, you had said that he was like, Oh wow, I'm glad that I've progressed in my skills that I've gotten a good bit better. What are some of the mistakes that you saw in those photos that you see other amateur, um, automotive photographers making?

    GFWilliams: 31:36 I think you can break it down into different sections. Um, so you take composition and lighting as probably the two things and then you've got the technical aspects as well. Um, in terms of composition, I always try and make it so the car within the frame of the shot has a bit of space around it because your client might want the crop. Um, but also just generally, I think it's a bit more visually pleasing and you don't want a car right next to the edge of frame, that kind of thing. It doesn't look nice. And I think general composition, you just over time, I've got a bit, I've got a better, I basically, I know what will work, what doesn't. Whereas when I was first starting, I would experiment and things, so I didn't know what worked and whatever. And because of that, some of them didn't, hadn't my opinion what works and what doesn't might have changed as well.

    Raymond: 32:41 Yeah. So it's important to go out there and take a lot of bad photographs at first.

    GFWilliams: 32:47 Yeah. Yeah. Ultimately you won't learn unless you go out there and take lots of photos. Yeah. So you've got that from the composition on the lighting. Um, I think when most people start with lighting, they go a bit over the top. I think we're all guilty of that. Um, I certainly was. So that's, that's not great. One thing I say to people is when your lighting, certainly with cars, I don't know what it's like with other aspects of photography, it's the shadows and what you're not lighting because that creates shape and ultimately you should be trying to show the shape of the car or your surroundings by using light. And when you're using flash you've got total control of that in theory. So you should be able to get it absolutely spot on. So that was an area where I've certainly improved where for an example, before if I was liking the side of the car, I would just have let the side of the car full on.

    GFWilliams: 33:57 It's a flat panel. Now I would go from up high for instance, which means you can see the gradients of the shadow across the door, which shows that there's a shape in it. And that's just practice and knowing what works. And I think I get a better blend between ambient areas and the lit areas. Now that it looks a bit more natural. And to me, if someone can't tell whether it's natural light or Flash, I've done a good job. Right. And, well, it's before you could definitely tell it was flash because the car was popping off the frame. That might correct looked a bit like,

    Raymond: 34:40 and I try and avoid that now. Sure. So how important was learning off camera flash for you? Like right in the beginning?

    GFWilliams: 34:47 It's an essential to understand how it works. Um, because I mean, you never know when you're gonna need it. Yeah. Like it's rarely for anything professional, whether that's magazines onwards, you need it and you need to understand that and I think that opens a lot of creative potential as well.

    Raymond: 35:10 Perfect. Perfect. So you as an automotive photographer who kind of specializes in supercars have had, um, a lot of opportunities to photograph some beautiful cars that people would have no opportunity to be able to do so. But I'm sure that you have a dream car in a dream location, uh, that you're just dying to shoe. What would that be for you?

    GFWilliams: 35:34 That's a really hard question because I felt like I, every time I come up with one, I tend to make it happen and I'm not, is my aim, whatever. I come up with an idea of something I want to do like that. Um, I loved shooting stuff in the desert and I think just interesting areas in America, certainly. Um, like shooting in death valley was a dream for me and I did it with a Bentley a couple of years ago. Uh, and shooting in the desert out in the Middle East with supercars and putting them in the sand where there's such a juxtaposition between them. I love that kind of thing. And then one that I achieved the other day when I was in la, there was a location called lower grande, which is probably the most overused location in la, but I really wanted to shoot that. So now I have, and it terms of cars really, and I, it sounded bad to say this, I've kind of shot everything I would want to

    Raymond: 36:42 up to this point. Right. Who knows what's going to happen in the future.

    GFWilliams: 36:45 Yeah. So what's exciting for me is when you cause come out and when I'm the first one to shoot them, that's super duper exciting for me. I've got one next week actually, which is a car no one knows about at this stage, which I'm shooting, which is going to be the global release of it. And that is the ultimate excitement of my dog when you get to do a massive job like that. So that's awesome. Congratulations. Thank you. Got It. Got To do it. Well,

    Raymond: 37:15 yeah. Well, I mean just by, by looking at your work, I can tell that you're, you know, you're competent, you're very creative, you're not going to screw it up. I'm not worried about it. If you were, if you were worried about that, you know, I'm not worried about that at all. Um, George, I really want to be mindful of your time. I really appreciate you coming on here, sharing everything that you did today and just helping out the listeners kind of understand automotive photography a little bit better than what they did before. Uh, your talk. So, uh, before I let you go, can you let the listeners know where they can find you online and where they can follow and just drool over all of your photos?

    GFWilliams: 37:52 Of course. So if you want to have the nicest look at my favorite work, then go to GF williams.net and go to the portfolio. Have a look through there. That's my favorite work personally. Um, if you go onto the retouching section as well, you can see some nights before afters, which it seems to always be quite popular. And then if you're on Instagram, going to act GF Williams and you will see whatever my latest work is on that.

    Raymond: 38:24 Perfect. George, again, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and I'm really excited to keep up with you and then all of your future automotive work and I can't wait to see what you're working on next.

    GFWilliams: 38:34 Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure.

    Raymond: 38:37 As somebody who's, uh, my car has been in the shop now for three weeks because the dealership is just, you know, I just hate going to a dealership anyway. Um, my, my, uh, the sink rose in my transmission went out. Not that that matters to this podcast, but anyway, after this interview, uh, I got really excited to go out and, uh, you know, just try something new, photograph my car and uh, just see what happens. You know, I love interviewing other photographers of, of different genres because it, uh, it's really the best way to grow it is the best way to grow. And it's by trying new forms of photography to, uh, you know, to find out what it is that you like and then transfer those skills into what it is that you do or what it is that you love. So I've really been itching to get my car back and hopefully by the time you hear this, I will have my car back.

    Raymond: 39:25 But I t I doubt it anyway. Um, I want to know, are you going to go out and photograph your car? It, you know, you don't have to have a supercar like George was saying in his interview, any car will work. It really, uh, it, as long as you add the right context to the photo. And you know, you make the car the hero, you're going to get a great shot. But for me, I think my biggest takeaway in this episode was just how, how shooting with intention grew George's presence in his market incredibly fast. You know, from the beginning, he knew that he wanted to photograph cars, so he didn't mess around with portraits or landscapes because he knew what he wanted to shoot and then he went for it. And as a result, he became established rather quickly, honestly. So I'm not saying that you need to know what sort of photography that you want to shoot is right now.

    Raymond: 40:23 Right? You don't have to, in fact, I think that it's best to go out there and taste everything and shoot for free until you know what it is that you want to shoot, what it is that gives you that passion, you know? And then once you figure that out, go all in and that's it. All right. So I just wanted to let you know next week I have a huge announcement, uh, that I'm making all about the official launch of auto two amazing, which is my course guaranteed to teach you how to shoot manual in 30 days or less. And I'm making an announcement that I, I, I honestly can't even believe what I've lined up for those who sign up for the course. It is going to be incredible and I know that you're going to get a ton of value out of it. So if you wanna know more, join me back here next week where I will share all of the juicy details with you. So that is it for this week though. All right. Until next week, I want you to get

    out. I want you to keep shooting. I want you to focus on yourself and I want you to be safe. That's it. All right, I love you all.

    Outro: 41:37 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

    BPP 155: Emily Brunner - Performance Dance Photography

    Emily Brunner is a Performance dance photographer from Philadelphia PA who says She loves dance photography because of the way it allows us to see the movement, the lines, and the power in a way that we cant with our own eyes. Today she talks about the 1 trait you need to master to be great at dance photography.

    Become A Premium Member is access to more in-depth questions that help move you forward!

    In This Episode You'll Learn:

    • When Emily got her first camera

    • How she started shooting dance even though she didn’t dance when she was younger

    • What goes into creating dance photography

    • The different types of performance dance photography

    • How much posing and directing the photographer does

    • How important focal length is to dance photography

    • A simple trick that will make the dancer look better immediately

    • How to choose which lens to use when photographing dance photography

    • The best way to photograph a dance performance

    • Signs of an amateur dance photographer

    • A common misconception people have about dance photography

    Premium Members Also Learn:

    • How Emily booked her first dance client

    • Who hires the dance photographer

    • The best way to sell photos online to parents

    • Emilys advice on how much products to offer when starting out

    Resources:

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    Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!

    Full Interview Transcript:

    Raymond: 00:00 Hey Raymond here from the beginning photography podcast. Today we're talking all about performance and dance photography. So let's get into it.

    Intro: 00:08 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now, with you as always, husband, father, Home brewer, La Dodger Fan, and Indianapolis wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield. Welcome

    Raymond: 00:37 Back to today's interview of the beginner photography podcast. As always, I'm your host, Raymond Hatfield, and I'm just happy to be here today. Today is going to be an interview, which is a, which is very fun and something that I actually have not done before. So you're going to hear me struggle to find the right questions. But I think, I think that that's important for me to, to tell you right now because that's okay. That's okay. There's, there's so many different types of photography that even as you know, I want you to know that as being a quote unquote professional photographer, that doesn't mean that I know everything about photography. That's why I started this podcast so that I could learn more about photography and become a better photographer. There there's so many genres that there's just no way to know everything about everything.

    Raymond: 01:25 So this is why I get to ask the, the professionals, the questions to learn. So I'm really excited for today's interview, but first I want to give a quick shout out to a recent a iTunes review. And this review came from Jair. She says, I have no, her review starts with, I haven't shot in auto sense. She says, I got the notion to search up podcasts while trying to choose from the millions of how to books on Amazon. And I'm so glad that I did. I spend a lot of time in my car for work and this podcast is taken me from shooting an auto to refusing to do so. Every podcast has a great tidbit of information that I didn't understand before and fantastic tips if you're looking to take your camera knowledge and photography skills from what to wow, you have to download this podcast now.

    Raymond: 02:20 Jared, thank you so much for that. Five Star iTunes review. It really does mean the world to me, but I want you to know that it wasn't the podcast that did any of that. It is you, you know, you can hear, you know, whatever it is that you hear on the podcast, but that won't make you a better photographer. It's you who went out and you put what you learned into action and then you grew from it. So again, Jared, thank you so much for leaving your review leaving a review for the podcast. It only takes a minute of your time and it really does help the podcast grow. So today's interview is, is kind of like I mentioned earlier, is going to be a good one, and it's one of those episodes that even if you don't photograph you know, this, this types or dance photography, I think that you're still gonna find it incredibly interesting.

    Raymond: 03:07 You know, for me, just hearing how Dan, how different dance is to shooting a wedding like, like I'm used to. And also just the amount of attention to detail that has to be paid while shooting is incredible. So, as always, I have saved a portion of our interview that focuses on the business side of photography, just for premium members who want to actually make money from their cameras. So today premium members will hear who it is that hires the performance, a photographer, and then who pays them to different people, how to set up an online gallery to sell your photos and then what products to offer your clients and how to price them. So if you want to learn all of these things and all the business tips from past interview guests, then I want to invite you to become a premium member of the beginner photography podcast.

    Raymond: 04:02 And if you want to do so, you can by just heading over to BeginnerPhotographyPodcast.com and clicking the premium membership button at the top of the page. So that's it. All right, let's go ahead and get on into today's interview right now with Emily Bruner. Emily Bruner is a performance dance photographer from Philadelphia Pencil who says that she loves dance photography because of the way that it allows us to see the movement, the lines, and the power of dance in a way that we can't with our own eyes. Emily, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

    Emily Bruner: 04:35 Thank you so much for having me. Raymond,

    Raymond: 04:37 I am super excited to talk to you today for a few reasons. One of them being is that over the past few months we have become closer within a group of photographers where we kind of talk about our goals and getting there. And I've seen, I've seen you already just in the past few months grow your business and it's, it's, it's something that I had no ideas about before getting into photography. I haven't interviewed somebody who does dance photography. So, and just out of happenstance, somebody was asking about dance photography the other day in the beginning, photography podcast, Facebook group. So there is a need for people like you in the world. So again, I'm really excited to talk to you about you and your journey, but before we get there, can you share with me and the listeners how you got your start in photography in the first place?

    Emily Bruner: 05:26 So my start in photography really came about from becoming a parent. I wanted photos of my kids to share with my family who lived far away. And I just immediately loved how capturing my life allowed me to see it in a different way and allowed me to share, share what was going on in my life. I remember being a kid and enjoying photography with my parents cameras. So maybe I could say I've always been a photographer, but I got really, really into it when had kids. So maybe about from about 14 years ago and I just wanted to learn everything I could about it.

    Raymond: 06:03 So what was it, obviously you wanted to capture stuff to send to your family, but why weren't just the photos on, say, an iPhone good enough for you?

    Emily Bruner: 06:12 I wanted them to be beautiful. I you know, I would see other photos that I would love and I thought, I want my photos to look like that. So I guess I just could, I, from the beginning, I could tell the difference between a snapshot and a photo taken with intention. And I knew that I wanted my photos to be, to have that intention behind them. And I also knew that if I was taking photos, I just, I wanted to learn about it. I wanted it to become something that I could enjoy and improve upon so that it can be something that's fulfilling for myself rather than just a snapshot that I didn't think twice about it.

    Raymond: 06:49 Right. Of course, of course. So when that time came to, to get your first camera, did you already have an idea that you wanted a specific DSLR to get into? Or was it just, let's go down to Costco and buy, buy the first camera that we see?

    Emily Bruner: 07:03 No, I mean, I was my husband bought my first DSLR for me as a Christmas gift. So before that I had had a little, you know, like Canon powershot digital cameras. Before that I had a film camera that had interchangeable lenses that my parents had bought from me. But my first like real camera in the digital age, my husband picked out for me and it was a canon and I still shoot with Canons today.

    Raymond: 07:31 Yeah. So getting the camera, when you first got it out of the box, I want to know if you had to judge yourself on a scale from zero to 10, zero being you had no knowledge of photography whatsoever, this was your first time ever seeing a camera and 10 being world-class. Where would you say that your skill level was?

    Emily Bruner: 07:53 I would say my skill level was maybe around a three or four. I had taken photos. You know, I'd use my parents film cameras when I was a kid. I never shot in manual. I remember trying once to shoot in manual when I was at Niagara Falls because I knew that I wanted to get this, you know, the blurred water. Yeah. I didn't have a clue how to do it. This is what the phone camera when I was in college and when I got the photos back, they were terrible. I mean it's blurry and they were like blue and purple. And so that was my only time that I ever really tried to shoot in manual before. Like there was no internet than really, sorry. I had no knowledge whatsoever. Nowhere to research how to do it. So I would say that when I got that first DSL out of the box, I knew just a tiny, tiny bit, but, but really very little. Most of what I knew was more along the lines of composition rather than technical knowledge of how to use the camera.

    Raymond: 08:54 So how did you go about learning photography and I'm assuming that you are shooting in manual now, is that correct?

    Emily Bruner: 09:01 I do, yeah. Pretty much. I usually shoot manual unless the lighting situation around me is changing super rapidly and I can't keep up with changing my settings.

    Raymond: 09:10 You're right, of course. So, so how did you go about learning manual once you got this? This new a digital camera from your husband.

    Emily Bruner: 09:18 So when I got the new digital camera for my husband, I actually shot with it for several years just with the kit is not really an automatic. So really focusing on the composition, capturing the moment in my perspective, you know, any, anything that I could do within my own mind and control with my own hands. That's kind of what I was focusing on. But then I wanted to, I wanted to do more and I researched and I realized I needed a better lens. So that was like my first step into really getting super serious into photography. I got a new lens. What Lens was that? It was a sigma 30 millimeter, one point f 1.4. So kind of just went all the way I did. Yeah. And I loved it. It really transformed my photos in a big way.

    Raymond: 10:04 Yeah. Coming from the kid lens, I would imagine that it would just be a completely different experience.

    Emily Bruner: 10:09 Yeah. I loved it. It was a, it was a great purchase. And even though I rarely use it now cause it's for sort of like about the crop sensor camera and now I shoot with a full frame camera, I don't want to sell the lens because it's kind of like meaningful to me. But yeah, so that, that was my first, my first like real serious, like dive into it. And then I again, I knew that I wanted to learn, learn more. When I, when I got that first great lens and I saw the difference, I realized, Gosh, if I really learned how to use my camera, I bet I could do even more. And it was at that point that I I purchased an online course to dive in and just learn as much as I could about my camera.

    Raymond: 10:49 So you didn't even go like the book route or Youtube tutorials? It was just I'm gonna jump head first into an online course.

    Emily Bruner: 10:57 Yeah. yeah, I did. I, they just, if it's my personality, I don't tend to read much. And there's too much of a rabbit hole than youtube videos because you d I needed somebody to like guide me really specifically keep me on track.

    Raymond: 11:13 Yeah. Shit, you, this is exactly what you need to do. That makes sense. That makes sense. A, I too love online courses for, for just for that exact reason. They're so hyper focused and you don't have to go hunting around for literally there's like 24 hours of videos uploaded to youtube every minute or something. So trying to find the right ones is insane and it takes a long time. So can you share what course it was that that you signed up for and how did you, how did you like it?

    Emily Bruner: 11:39 Yeah, so I signed up for Shultz photo schools, a photo fix class and I really loved it. I just completely loved it. It, it was everything I wanted it to be. It told me it was teaching me all the things that I kind of knew I wanted to learn and it did didn't in a really focused way. It was a great experience doing that.

    Raymond: 11:59 [Inaudible]. So at the time you were still focused on just photographing your children. Yes. So at what point did a, I want you to tell me a little bit about the dance photography side. At what point did this come along in your life?

    Emily Bruner: 12:13 Well my oldest daughter, who's 14 now, she started dancing ballet when she was four. And so for those first few years I was just taking kind of like snapshots of her. But she really got into it. Quickly. It became obvious that she loved it and she started performing more and more. And I wanted beautiful photos of her performing on stage. And I didn't, if I could have hired someone to do it, I would have to be honest. But there is, I just didn't, there was nobody I could hire to take the photos that I wanted of her. So I said, you know what, I'm gonna learn how to do it. I'm going to do it.

    Raymond: 12:50 So when, so, okay. So, cause that's a big jump from, I'm going to photograph my kids to now going into a various like specialized area of photography. So did you go, you photographed your, your daughter, these photos were beautiful. Did other people see them? Like what, what gave you the spark to, to pursue it even further?

    Emily Bruner: 13:11 Yeah. it was really just sharing my photos. So it was a gradual progression. It wasn't like snap overnight. My photos or for performing on stage are beautiful. I had to learn a lot of violent, do it like a trial and error and learn that way. And she, she dances so much. I had a lot of opportunities to practice and figure out what I needed to do. But once, once I got some photos that I was proud of, I, I, I shared them on Facebook, the, the photos of my daughter. I shared them on Facebook and then the photos that I took of other dancers in the performances, if, if I knew the parents, I would give them the photos. And then the school I gave them, the photos that I took as well. And really me giving those photos to the school was what prompted dance photography to become a business for me.

    Raymond: 13:59 And how so did they ask you

    Emily Bruner: 14:01 When you asked me? Yeah. They said, oh, these are wonderful. These are great. We didn't know you were a photographer. Would you be willing to photograph our upcoming recital and sell those photos to the,

    Raymond: 14:12 Ah, I love it. I love it. So this just kind of fell in your lap. I mean obviously with, with lots of practice and, and, and passion for that fell into your lap. But so let's talk a little bit about, a little bit more about the dance photography itself, because there's really two different types of dance photography. There's the performance and then there's portraits. So if dance photography is more than just photographing people dancing, can you explain more about what else there is to this?

    Emily Bruner: 14:43 Well, with dance photography in particular it's, it's really a collaboration between the photographer and the dancer. Even if the is in a performance and doesn't quite realize they're being photographed, it's still kind of a collaboration. That's their art. The photography is our arts. And in the same way that we as photographers would kind of be horrified. Like, imagine, you know, you're, you're your worst image or a photo you take it's blurry, dark. The white balance is Yucky. Imagine if that photo was shared all over the Internet by your friends and family, you would be embarrassed. So in the same regard, when we're taking a photograph of a dancer, they want to look their best. They want their techniques to look as good as it possibly can. So as photographers, we need to be very, very careful that the photos that we are sharing of them that we're giving to them or selling to them or, or sharing with our friends and family in that, in those pictures, the dancers technique is good, that their toes are pointed, that their feet are nice and straight, but their legs are straight. You know that their shoulders aren't all 10 stuff, that they that they have a nice expression on their face. All these things, all these things that they worked so hard for and they've trained for a, we need to make sure that our photos are showing that showing the dancers to the best of their abilities.

    Raymond: 16:06 So that, that's more of that performance side. What about, what about the portrait side, because first of all, is this, is is doing the portrait something that still requires a stage or, or does it require a studio? Where do these portraits typically happen?

    Emily Bruner: 16:25 Yeah, so poor, I mean a dance portrait where you were, it's more like you, you know, just you and the dancer and you're taking the time for them to pose and you're working on their pose and trying to take a beautiful photo. You're creating the photos that can happen anywhere. In my experience, we never do that on the stage to rent out a stage or find a stage that's available to us to do that. It's just not really feasible. Right. So in my experience doing dance portraits, we would be doing that either outside. So some of it similar to any other portrait, finding a place that has nice light and a nice backdrop. And then for a dancer in particular and it also needs to have a nice and safe ground for them to work on and stand on and dance on outside is an option on streets in parks.

    Emily Bruner: 17:16 Really just anything that you would do with a normal regular just portrait session or you can do it in a studio and by studio, I don't literally mean you need to have like a photography studio, but find a room that's big enough. You need a pretty big space to photograph a dancer. I find a room that's big enough and either bring in your own backdrop or use the walls in the room and a, when you're photographing a dancer inside, you're really gonna need to bring in some light. You're going to need to start using strobes to get enough light to photograph them cause there's so much less light inside.

    Raymond: 17:52 Right, right. I want to talk a little bit more about the posing side though. Cause this is something that I feel like so many beginners already have a hard time with enough for just regular people. Right now we have to deal with somebody who is used to doing something in an exact way. Are you, are you manipulating that at all or are you, can you kind of walk me through, through that whole process there, how you get somebody in the pose?

    Emily Bruner: 18:19 Yeah, so we are manipulating it in a way with, with dance photography, we're taking something that's like four dimensional, you know, there, there's time and then there, then there's the three dimensions of space. We're taking that and we're compressing it into two dimensions. So I'm taking time out of it as one thing. But then taking the three dimension dimensional pose and transforming into two dimensions makes it a little bit tricky. So when we're posing someone a dancer, I start with a dancer and ask them like, what are your ideas? What sort of poses do you want to do? There's all dancers have different abilities, so we want to make sure that whatever we're trying to photograph for them, that it's something that they're good at, something that they feel strong and safe doing. So we never want to push them into doing something that we think is amazing but might be beyond their comfortability.

    Emily Bruner: 19:10 Yeah. So we, I always start with them and ask for some inspiration ideas and they always, they always have ideas. They always know what they want to do. So we start with that and a, and then I have them do it, do the movement or do the post for me a few times and I look at it and I'm looking at it trying to decide what the best angle is going to be for the camera. So if they're doing an Airbus, that's where their, their leg like goes back in the air behind them straight. Their leg is straight. If we do that, so their leg is pointing behind them, like away from the camera, I'm not going to see that back leg at all. It's just going to look like they're standing and they have one leg and that's not what we want. So for we're photographing and Airbus, we want to see that leg.

    Emily Bruner: 19:57 We want that leg to look nice and long. So we want that leg parallel to the camera. So those are the kinds of things that we're thinking about at the beginning of a pose. And then once we have them positions, we might turn them ever so slightly to get their leg to look as good as it can possibly look. Then we start shooting. And we might tweak it a little bit as we go. I, when I'm shooting them, I wouldn't have a nice low camera angle that makes them look tall. It makes their legs look nice and long. So in that regard, it's a lot different from, from a portrait of a person, you know, more photographing people. We often went to their eyes to look nice and vague. So we want to be slightly above eye level. But with dancers we want to get lower so that we're not distorting their body in an unflattering way. We want their legs to look nice and long.

    Raymond: 20:46 Yeah, man, that, that's really interesting. I never,

    Emily Bruner: 20:48 Never really thought about it like that. And it, it's, so obviously before I interview, I was looking at your website, I was looking at your portfolio and I was looking at your images and there's kind of this very comfortable feeling as if I'm, all the dancers were on stage and even like for your portraits. That's Kinda like why I thought that the camera was so low because we as an audience would be sitting lower. But that makes so much more sense that it just looks better on camera to, to accentuate those legs. Okay. Cool. Tricks of the trade fair. Yeah. I love it. I love it. Yeah.

    Raymond: 21:23 So what if what if you were to show up in a situation where okay, let me rephrase the question. Are the poses that you are asking these dancers to get into, are they just holding like a, I was going to say a pose, but like a, like a, like a dance move that they are used to or, or are you trying to get them to do, to do more? Did that, did that question make sense?

    Emily Bruner: 21:47 Yes, I think that makes sense. So the, I'm with classical dance with, with ballet, there's really there's really like a lot of sort of standard poses that we would do with modern contemporary dance. There's going to be a lot more improvisation going on, but in a, in a photo session with a dancer we're typically working with, with some sort of oppose something that's kind of established in it that is often in pieces that are going to be choreographed for the dancers. So these are things we're not, we're not usually starting with something that's never been done before. We're calling, we're starting with something that already exists and people are familiar with. And we might tweak it a little bit. You know, we might rotate the body a little bit or do something different with the arms or the direction in which they're looking with their head to change it up a little bit.

    Emily Bruner: 22:41 But, but there's, there's standards with dance just like there are with, with music performance, you know, with playing an instrument or photography, there's, there are standards that we, that we need to stick to. And when the dancers are posing, I'm not really asking them to like hold a pose. Because dance dance is his movements and if, if they're stationary and trying to pull hold a pose for a photo, it's going to not look right. It's going to look kind of tense. So I think of the poses that we do as movements and I asked my dancers, I say, you don't need to hold that for me. I need you, you know, to, to get into it and then go out of it the same way that you would in a performance or in a class. And then I'm timing the shot to capture at capture it at the apex of the movement that they're doing.

    Raymond: 23:32 Wow. How many times do you think you have to have them Redo a move before? Yeah, before you nail the shot.

    Emily Bruner: 23:39 Sometimes it's really like we sometimes same size who get it on the first shot. Sometimes we get it just, you know, two or three other times we work it for 20 minutes. Wow. It really just depends on what we're trying to do and the dancer and how quick my reflexes are that day.

    Raymond: 23:59 So okay. That was, that was a good amount about posing there. And I think, I think that it might I think that I was looking at dance photography kind of all wrong possibly because I am just so uneducated in the field completely. That to me it looks so much more difficult, right. In terms of, in terms of the posing where I said that a lot of beginners have a hard time enough posing regular people. Now we have to, now we have to post answers, but if these dancers already have some sort of base where of moves that they already get into, would you say that it that that is helpful to to you as the photographer?

    Emily Bruner: 24:39 Very, very helpful. Yeah. And especially for me, I am not a dancer and I was not a dancer. So everything that I've learned about dance I've learned over the last 14 years from watching my daughter and and, and then taking a dance class myself, which was very humbling. But I wanted to learn more about it. So it is, it is not with older, more experienced dancers. Like knowing how to pose them isn't, is not quite as difficult as it seems, but knowing how to recognize in your photo that they're doing the pose correctly or that maybe they're doing it correctly, but that the, your camera angle is flattering and that we have them turned in such a way that it's showing them, showing their lines, literal lines of their legs and their feet and their arms, that it's making all of those look as beautiful as possible. That's the tricky part. And now younger, younger dancers you know, kids who are maybe like eight, nine, 10 years old, that's going to be a lot, a lot harder honestly to, to photographs them. And because I'm, we're as photographer is going to need to give them a lot more guidance.

    Raymond: 25:46 Oh, I see. So that's where being more educated in dance in the movement would, would really help. So yeah, we're talking a lot about lines and the importance of, of kind of showing that power and stability. I guess. So how important of a role does focal lengths play in, in your, in, in capturing these images? Because a wide angle lens is really gonna Distort lines. So can you, can you talk a little bit about that?

    Emily Bruner: 26:15 Yes. Yeah. I prefer to use the, the longest focal length that I can. So somewhere in the range of 70 to 200. I really if at all possible, I don't want to shoot any wider than 70 millimeters. This is one on my full frame camera. Because you're right, wider angles are going to completely distort their shape. And for a dancer where their body shape and movement is their art, if we stored that it's really not flattering to them and it's not a very honest way to show what they're doing. It doesn't really show what they're doing very well. So when I'm inside, I usually am using 70 millimeters because that I'm inside the spaces that I have access to inside are just not big enough to allow me to go all the way to 200 millimeters. Right. If I'm shooting a performance, however, where we're in a big auditorium, I am often shooting at 200 millimeters

    Raymond: 27:15 Just because you have that extra space. Yeah, yeah, sure. So I'd imagine obviously being that far back, needing that telephoto Lens do you have any recommendations for anybody just getting into a photography who wants to start dance, who maybe maybe the 70 to 200 to eight is a little bit of a stretch. Do you have any recommendations for, for what else they could use?

    Emily Bruner: 27:36 So if we're talking about photography of performances, so in inside the theater really you really are going to need the wide open aperture of like a 70 to 200 lens or a 24 to 70 lens year to, to have enough light to capture them. The movement, yes. But with dance there's also a lot of moments where people are not moving, you know, where they are. Just taking a second in between poses to not even transitioned, but at the end of the pose, or at the beginning of a movement at the beginning of a piece that they're starting at the end of a piece there, there are times where people are not moving or they're not moving very fast. So even if you don't have a super fancy Lens, you could, you could use your, you could use your Kit Lens, you know, and zoom in all the way to 55 millimeters. Or if you have a kit lens that goes all the way to 300 millimeters, you could, you could use that and you're just gonna need to compensate for the, the, the more stopped down, closed down appetizer and increase your ISO to make up for that. So when we hit lines, your shutter speeds going to be a little slower. It's going to be, it's going to be slow enough that if a dancer jumps across the stage, then there'll be a little blurry,

    Raymond: 28:51 A blur. Sure. So would you say to prioritize a faster aperture, say over longer reach of the focal length?

    Emily Bruner: 29:01 That's a good question. It depends on what you're doing. If you have a young, you know, a dancer, if one of your kids is dancing and they're doing a lot of performances I would say in a performing inside, I would say maybe prioritizing aperture might might be a good thing. You know, 50 millimeters will be okay. Like if you have like a 24 millimeter lens or even 35, you might end up with a little distortion, but you can scoot further back if you're not right on top of them. Taking a picture with a wide angle lens. If you're a little further back, they're not in there in the center of the photo, they're not going to be as distorted as if you're, you know, right there taking a picture of them. Yeah. Photos of your dancer outside before or after her recital or his recital for example. And then, then you don't really need the [inaudible] quite as much because if you're outside and you have lots of light you don't necessarily need that big wide open aperture. So in that case, for the, a portrait outside of your dancer to celebrate the recital, I would say prioritize the longer focal length, use a longer focal length and get yourself download. Don't take the picture from up above kind of looking down at them so their heads big and their legs are tight.

    Raymond: 30:12 Right. That's funny. Yeah, exactly. So obviously you wouldn't be able to do that in a, a in a performance setting. But during a performance setting, are you, are you running around from side to side during the actual performance? Like while parents are, are, are in the audience to capture these photos?

    Emily Bruner: 30:33 No, no one should ever do that. I go to dress rehearsals. That's my secret. I you know, if I'm doing, if I'm a, a dance school asks me to do a job for them and to photograph their performance, I strongly suggest that I go to their drugs rehearsal rather than the performance. Because at the dress rehearsal I can move around and I can try different can't, you know, I can try some, some photos where I'm close to this stage. I can try somewhere in far back and capturing the whole stage and in the Lens. I do not, I'm not in favor of photographing during performances, both as a photographer cause that's just no fun. And as a audience member that's distracting. If you're a parent trying to take photos during the performance, you're missing the performance, taking photos and then for the dancers on stage it can be distracting. It can be very distracting if they see somebody moving around or walking around. They might, might think somebody's leaving their performance. If you, one big thing about performance photography, if you are taking a photo during the performance and even if you're taking the photos during a dress rehearsal, turn your flash off. Don't no flash, no flash.

    Raymond: 31:44 That's why you got to get that faster lens. Yeah. I it's, it's funny cause once, once we had a Charlie and we started going to these, you know, like little school performances that they put on, they're not dances or anything but just, you know, like little kindergarten songs that they sing for all the parents and you know, you watch all the parents not watch their kids but just watch their phones, watching them watch. They just watched their kids through their phones, you know what I mean? And a while I like to, you know, pull out the phone to take one photo just to kind of remember the moment and use it as my one second a day. It's, I can imagine that it's very, it as a dance in the dance setting that you would really want these photos of your child being in a situation doing something that, that, that not only are they a lot of time working on, but also you don't get time to go see it very often unless it's a performance. So having a photographer run around during the performance would a would, would just be very distracting. It would be very distracting. So

    Emily Bruner: 32:55 It's going to be to get ingredients, I would assume so. And then if you're sitting in a seat, tried to take photos from your seat, you're not going to be that great. You know, there's going to be like heads in front of you. You're probably like not at the angle or the perspective that you want. So just go to the dress rehearsal and ask, ask permission, ask the school, Hey, can I, can I go to the dress rehearsal and, and take, take some photos. Then if the school, if the school has an open dress rehearsal where they allow parents to come in, they would so much. Rather you take photos in then during the performance, a lot of performances we'll, we'll say the beginning, you know, please put away all recording devices. Okay. Yeah. Whether it's photos or videos. So yeah, dress rehearsals. It's the perfect time to take your photos.

    Raymond: 33:44 Yeah. More weddings need signs that say please put away your recording devices. I shared a, I shot a photo on the, in the Facebook group in the beginning, photography podcast, Facebook group of of a guest at a wedding that I was just at who I couldn't believe it, like, just got right in front of the eye as like the bride was coming down and you know, you, you missed the shot. It's like, what, what do you do? You know, you always got to prepare for these things and get out of the way. But I mean it was just so blatantly right in the middle of everything and it was just like the brightest yellow neon dress that you've ever seen in your life. It was, it was atrocious. But I totally went off on a tangent there, so I apologize. I want to talk, I want to go back to your first client. I want to know how, when you decided to start charging for this, when you decided, oh, maybe, maybe I could do this. How did they find you? Were you nervous? How did the session turn out?

    Speaker 4: 34:48 Hey Raymond here, and if you're listening to this, you are listening to the free version of today's interview. If you want to hear more from today's guest about the business of photography, consider becoming a premium member every week. Guests answer questions about products, pricing packages, and so much more that will help you your growing photography business thrive. This is the next logical step to join head over to begin on photography podcast.com and click the premium membership button at the top of the page.

    Emily Bruner: 35:17 Yeah, and I think, I think most people who are buying things from you understand that you are not Walmart. You know, they, yeah, I really do. At least in my experience, people, people understand there's a difference.

    Raymond: 35:29 Yeah, that's a hard thing. But I'm, I'm glad that you shared that. I'm glad that you shared that. Again, that's another huge for beginners to get over. Whenever I hear any sort of question about pricing, I know that's going to help a lot of people. Can you kind of share, now that you've been shooting dance for a while? I'm sure that you've seen a lot of dance photos. I know personally that you've taken dance photography workshops. What are some things, what are some signs of an amateur dance photographer?

    Emily Bruner: 35:59 Okay, so some signs of an amateur dance photographer are having the camera perspective where the camera is high and looking kind of like, like maybe the camera is at face level or maybe like chest level or maybe even higher. Especially for the little kids even like above them. Using, using a wide angle lens, especially if you're, if you're close up taking a photo of somebody. And then probably the, the, the really big thing is if the dancers not doing the pose correctly, you know, if their, if their fluid is, is like sickle, the, which means it's sort of like, like turned in like this. If they're, if they're doing a jump in their toes or not pointed, but their, their toes are kind of like straight out up or just kinda like halfway pointed. If a knee is been twin, it shouldn't be been. So if the dancers technique is not correct in the photo even if it's a beautiful photo with the most beautiful light, you know, and the, it was gorgeous background ever. It's not a good photo. So I would say those three things are what would tell me that it's an amateur or somebody who hasn't yet studied and learned how to, to take some really great dance photos.

    Raymond: 37:12 Yeah. What I'm learning is that this form of photography is very, very, very detail oriented and requires a very a trained eye from the photographer. And it is, I think it's great to hear that you didn't even start off dancing like as a child that you got into this much later after just watching your own daughter which is kinda like goes to show that even if you didn't grow up in dance, you can still pursue something like this and be successful. So

    Emily Bruner: 37:42 Yes, we can hope we can always learn. I mean, you know, until our last day, we're always learning. And this is if, you know, if you were like me and you, you didn't learn about dance earlier in your life, you can, you can learn now I took a dance class. I, I asked dancers around me, I would show them photos and I would say, what's good about this photo? What's bad about it? I'll go to workshops, watch youtube videos of dance classes where you, you see the instructor teaching the class, observe any dance classes that you have the opportunity to observe. Cause when you're observing a class, you hear the teacher correcting the students. So you learn what's proper and what is not. There's, there's a lot of fun ways to learn about it.

    Raymond: 38:28 I never would have thought about that. I never, I never would have thought about that is so smart. I would have just googled photography tips on Youtube. But the fact that just like, well, let's just see what a class entails is your, that's so smart. I'm not, I'm not a very smart person. This is why I like having these conversations with others because now I get these other perspectives. But it's awesome. What do you think would be something that somebody would be surprised to find out about being a dance photographer?

    Emily Bruner: 39:03 Hmm. Oh Gosh, I don't know. Something people would be surprised to find out about being a dance photographer. Maybe, maybe that you need to have like wardrobe supplies on hand. You need scissors to trim away like loose strings. You need safety pins. Because the, the costuming like what they're wearing. The wardrobe is also an important part of the photos. So you kind of need to have just some backup supplies. You know, and there's, there's also a lot of retouching that often needs to happen because a lot of dams, photos, there's a lot of skin showing arms, legs, spaces. You know, when people have bruises on their legs, maybe they have a line around their ankle from where they were wearing socks earlier in the day. And it, it's me and they, they take the sock off before the photo session and it takes several hours for that. That like, I don't know, you call that line around the ankle to go away. Yeah, it's still there. You know, you have to edit that out later. So editing dance photos because of all the skin retouching and, and the wardrobe is pretty intense.

    Raymond: 40:18 That just all goes back to paying, you know, having that, that strong attention to detail. I love that. Well Emily I wanna thank you for your time. You've been very gracious and you have answered every question that I have thrown your way and then sound my ass way more questions than I even had written down and you answered them all wonderfully. I know that the listeners gonna get a lot out of this interview with you, so, so thank you. Before I let you go, can you share with the listeners where they can find some of your work online?

    Emily Bruner: 40:48 Yeah, so my website is www dot Emily Bruner, photography.com and Bruner is with two Ns, B, r. U. N. N. E. R. That's my website. And then I also have an Instagram and it's Emily Bruno photography and the Facebook page for my business, Emily, Bruna photography. So they all found the same name. So you can find me in any of those places. It's fine. The brand. Yeah. The local theater. Taking photos of dancers.

    Raymond: 41:19 Yeah. [inaudible] Well, again, Emily, I want to thank you so much for coming on and I always love keeping up with you and your stories and even on Instagram. I love you a little weekly stories that you share on there as well. So I forward to keeping up with you and and everything that you're doing.

    Emily Bruner: 41:36 Thanks so much Raymond.

    Raymond: 41:38 You know, like I said earlier, it really is amazing how much truly goes into proper dance photography. My biggest takeaway hands down was just the amount of collaboration and teamwork required to pull off incredible dance images. Because oftentimes, you know, on a wedding day when I shoot weddings, I pretty much tell the bride that just leave me alone. I mean, this is her day, you know, I want to capture what her day looked like. I don't want her to pay attention to me, to, you know, take time away from her friends and family because I'm, I'm the stranger at the wedding, you know? But in this setting, in this setting for Emily in dance photography, it was so great to hear you know, the other side and truly how much goes into a a working together. Just to pull off a great image. So Emily is actually in the beginning of photography podcast, Facebook group.

    Raymond: 42:35 So feel free to share your biggest takeaway with her and I'm sure that you would be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have about dance. So if you're not already a part of the beginning photography podcast Facebook group, you can do so by just searching Facebook for beginner photography podcast and it'll, it'll show right up. You got to answer a few questions to be approved into the group, make sure that you're not trying to sell sunglasses or anything weird like that. And then you're in. So that is it for today's episode. Until next week, I want you to get out, keep shooting, focus on yourself and be safe. Alright, I love you all.

    Outtro: 43:12 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

    BPP 154: Kevin Mullins - True Documentary Wedding Photography

    Kevin Mullins is a London Documentary wedding photographer in the truest form. Kevin has an incredible ability to capture rich stories in a single frame with next to no interaction. Today we clear up some misconceptions about what it means to be a documentary wedding photographer and some of the challenges he has to face.

    Become A Premium Member is access to more in-depth questions that help move you forward!

    In This Episode You'll Learn:

    • How an article in a magazine convinced Kevin to leave his IT job to start shooting weddings

    • Documentary wedding photographers that inspired Kevin

    • The definition of documentary wedding photography and why most people get it wrong

    • How Kevin interacts with his couples to best prepare them for the wedding day

    • How to tell a story with documentary wedding photography

    • A comon misconception of documentary wedding photography

    • How much posed photos Kevin does at a wedding and his philosophy on group photos.

    • Why Kevin does not use artificial light in low light

    Premium Members Also Learn:

    • How to convey the power of documentary photography in a world of bright airy popularity

    • How to tell the story of a wedding through the wedding album

    • How Kevin builds his documentary wedding photography packages

    Resources:

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    Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!

    Full Interview Transcript:

    Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

    Raymond: 00:00 Hey Raymond here from the beginning of photography podcast, and today we're talking about documentary wedding photography was one of the best. Let's get into it.

    Intro: 00:10 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfields, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymon interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, home brewer, La Dodger Fan, an Indianapolis wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield. Welcome back to this episode,

    Raymond: 00:40 The beginner photography podcast. As always, I am Raymond, your host, and I wanted to start off today's episode with a big shout out for a iTunes review that we got in. This review comes from Ashley. Ashley says you can stop looking. You have found it a, the rest of her review says, this podcast helped motivate me into turning my dream of becoming a better photographer and building a business into a reality in the interviews. It is refreshing to hear that even photographers that are living their dreams did not get where they are right now overnight. This podcast is truly the best. Thank you so much Ashley for leaving that review in iTunes. I would, I would be so grateful if you are listening right now. If you haven't left the podcast, a review for you to leave a quick, quick review in whatever podcast player you were listening to.

    Raymond: 01:33 And to Ashley's point, I think that all of this comes down to persistence, right? Is it all the photographers who I talked to just didn't get there overnight and like she says, it's all about persistence. It's all about once you start, just keep going, half the battle or 99% of the battle is just showing up. So if you just keep going, you're going to find that success. But if you are having trouble even just getting started, I wanted to invite you to take my online mini course called conquer your camera, where you will learn about the three most important aspects to photography and how to use your camera to conquer them. So if you want to learn more than you can a about the mini course, just head over to learn dot beginner photography podcast.com. Again, that is learn l e a r n.

    Raymond: 02:19 Dot beginner photography podcast.com. So today's episode is with one of the world's best in his field and we clear up or he clears up rather a lot of the confusion about what it really means to be a documentary wedding photographer. And as always, I have cut out a portion of the interview. I've, it focuses on business just for premium members. So in today's the premium members are going to hear how to convey the power of documentary style to couples to to book for their wedding. We're going to hear Kevin's

    approach to telling the story of a wedding day through the album and how it affects the way that he shoots on the wedding day and how Kevin structures his wedding packages for sale to work best for him. So if you want to become a premium member and hear all about the business side of photography, just head over to beginner photography, podcast.com and then click the premium membership link at the top of the page. So that is it. We're going to get into today's interview right now with Kevin Mullins. Today's guest is Kevin Mullins, a UK documentary wedding photographer in the truest form. Kevin has an incredible ability to be able to capture rich stories in a single frame with, with next to no interaction today. I'm really excited to chat about seeing the the bigger picture, as you might say. So Kevin, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

    Kevin Mullins: 03:42 No problem. Raymond, thank you very much for inviting me.

    Raymond: 03:45 Of course you are a photographer who I am very excited to chat with not only being a fellow, a Fuji photographer, but I'm a photographer who I've been following for a long time almost since I started. And I think that it's just because of your approach that you take at weddings. I've heard you on other podcasts and I just Kinda love everything that you stand for. So today I'm really excited to have you share with the listeners kind of what is documentary photography. Cause I think that term gets skewed in many ways. And if anybody can talk to that point, it's going to be you. So before we get into that, can you share how you got your start in photography?

    Kevin Mullins: 04:28 Oh man, it was a, it's quite a long story really, but I'll keep it short. I was what was it, 2007, 2008, something like that. I was not a photographer, never owned the camera at, didn't have any ambitions. We have to talk at all. I was working in it has a lot of talk for start date and five hours community and every day, two and a half hours each way was just a bit too much. And one day I picked up a magazine on a train, you know, one of those free magazines and it was an article about weddings, not photography, but at weddings. And I've just about to flip through it and like weddings had no interest to me whatsoever. And then I saw these little black and white pictures at the bottom from a photographer called Jeff Ascot, who you know, ended up becoming a huge inspiration.

    Kevin Mullins: 05:17 And so I went home to my wife and I said, I'm going to do it. This is what I'm gonna do. I'm going to become a rep right away. Yeah. And she was like, well, you know, you hey, you don't want a camera. B, you've never taken pictures in your life and see, you really do not have the personality to be a wedding photographer. So, but that was it. And that's, that was the, the seed was so nan and I just kind of went with that and went on some workshops and stuff. And I think now I've done like 490 odd weddings 10 years later. So, yeah.

    Raymond: 05:49 Oh my gosh. What, what was it that, what was it about those, those photos from Jeff that made you think like, I could do this, like, I want to

    Kevin Mullins: 05:58 Do this. Yeah. It wasn't a case of I could do it. It was a case of wanted to. Yeah, that was, that's, that's, that's worth pointing out because I just loved, you know, I'd always admired documentary photography, but without really knowing it, you know, like we have the Sunday Times over here and the Sunday Times magazine is a very famous photo journalistically based magazine. And I'd always look at those images. Often they were about war and poverty and stuff, but, but it was always the photojournalism of, you know, people like dominant color and, and stuff where those images were always the ones that I knew spoke to me. I had no idea of why I'd run much, rather look at those types of images than a post portrait or something, you know. So when I realized that there was an opportunity in photography, wedding photography to do that, I thought, well, hang on, I'm going to try this. You know, this seems great. And the whole idea was to, you know, to give me my life back and spend more time with the family and, you know, not have to do this terrible commute every

    day. And you know, and it worked, worked really well. It was a big shift because you know, I used to play rugby and that was always on Saturdays and you know, that

    Kevin Mullins: 07:06 Got a lot more time during the week, I lost my Saturdays generally. So kind of a rugby pals and all that kind of stuff. But, but yeah, it was a great move. And you know, we've, we've, my wife has helped me enormously in the business of course, and it's facilitated us having I think, a way better life. You know, I don't drive around in a Maserati unfortunately, but, you know, it's, it's definitely a better life.

    Raymond: 07:29 Yeah, I understand that. So when, before you had seen those images, kind of those more reportage style wedding images, did you have a, a skewed idea of what wedding photography was like? Did this change things for you? Is that it?

    Kevin Mullins: 07:46 Yeah, absolutely. So I guess, I don't know whether it's the same in the states, but over here certainly. And definitely that time, you know, wedding photography was seen as the bottom of the barrel. It was a, if you were getting married, it was just another commodity on the list, you know, within a venue, dress, shoes, car, hire, photography, and you would normally just pick up the phone and ring the nearest photographer here, turn up, he'd stand on a truck, on a stepladder, he boss everybody around, he'd take a picture of the cake, then he'd go home. And you know, that's, that's why I always thought wedding photography wasn't, all of the, my friends went inside being too, which we're all getting married around about the same time. It always been like that, you know, don't get me wrong, they were taking nice pictures, but it was very formulaic and it wasn't part of the day that everybody hated, you know, no 25 group shots and you know, the long list and everything like that. So when I realized that that wasn't necessarily the way it had to be done, then suddenly, you know, I thought, hang on this, this could be really interesting. And, and that's, that's how it kind of manifested itself really.

    Raymond: 08:52 Wow. That's so cool. How kind of like, once you saw those photos that kind of grew in your head, like, wait a second, I can kind of do my own thing. So the next step was do buy a camera. So when you bought that camera, would you like, what would you say were your technical what would, what was your technical knowledge before you had picked up a camera or before you purchase that camera on a scale from one to 10? One, one, so that was obviously a hurdle.

    Kevin Mullins: 09:20 Yeah. I mean, of course when I was a kid, I, I'd had like instance kind of Kodak beach cameras if you like, you know, and point and take the film and it got developed. There's no talents whatsoever involved in that. You know, you never had any kind of idea of exposure or, you know, the, the only thing I ever remember is my dad always used to say to me you know, make sure the sun is at the, is of the back is behind you basically. And that was that. And so I bought a canon what we would call 300 d, which I think is, was the entry level rebel, whatever, x t I believe they'd like the cheapest, cheapest DSLR I could get my hand on. And really the only reason I chose a canon one over a nick on one was because my the printer we're using work or we're using work at the time was a canon printer. So I just ran the awareness. And so I thought, well, they make pretty good printers. Then photocopiers and stuff. So I went when to Jessops and bought a canon DSLR. And you know, the manuals that come with those cameras, all cameras still are terrible. So you know, there was no such thing really is like youtube was very embryonic there no such thing as a online mentoring or training. And so I just picked it up and just did what I could with it.

    Raymond: 10:42 Was it so totally self taught you just went out there and just practiced until you figured it out?

    Kevin Mullins: 10:47 Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, totally. And we've just had a baby at the time. So of course I had the perfect way subjects and, yeah.

    Raymond: 10:54 Yeah, it's a, it's funny, we have a member in the Facebook group. His name is Jason and he just a over the weekend had had his first child and he was excited. What he posted was that that he got time to practice with his 35 Nolan's is brand new, that five Mil Lens and didn't even mention the baby. So I'm sure that he's gonna appreciate that as well. So what would you say was one of the hardest aspects of excuse me, maybe exposure or photography for you to Kinda kind of get the grasp of, was there anything that you were struggling with it that took a while to figure out?

    Kevin Mullins: 11:28 Yeah, I think, I guess it's a bit of a Cliche, but it's this idea of understanding the light I suppose. So when I first started shooting, I would you know, I'd fight against the light all of the time. So it was always right and exposure, compensation and you know, never really had an understanding that the light was, cause I shoots all natural light or available light. And so I had no real understanding that light is, is a, is a friend rather than an enemy. And you know, I was just like say ride an exposure, compensation and stuff. So, so now of course I, I use the lights to see where it's coming from on meter for the lights coordinator, use a lot spot meter into to help the light make something for me and the camera. But that was really something that, that was, that I found very hard.

    Kevin Mullins: 12:15 So right at the beginning I would go into perhaps a, you know, let's just say a. Dot. Bridal prep room with one window. And I couldn't figure out why you know, from one end of the room, everything was just silhouettes and from the other ends of the room, everything was blown out and you know, so I was constantly riding that exposure, compensation and to try and deal with that. And, and then, you know, then I'll kind of all kind of comes together with exposure and understanding and exposure triangle. But yeah, that was, that was a kind of light bulb moment, so to speak. You know, when I finally figured that out, which wasn't too long after I started, but that was, that was the thing that I technically wise I struggled with the most.

    Raymond: 12:53 Right, right. It's hard, like if you're not used to photography, seeing with your eyes light, because I think that our eyes are, they're so good at not only distinguishing light but color as well, that you just kind of feel that when you go into a room, the entire room has an even amount of light. But a, as you said there, you know, you get towards a window and everything changes. That's awesome. That's awesome. So I think it's kind of interesting for you like to hear your story about how you got into weddings. Like it was kind of from the beginning. You're like, oh, I want to get into photography because of this idea of shooting weddings. So you needed to learn about weddings, kind of the wedding day and how you were going to shoot it. So this is kind of where you started in er, finding documentary photography, documentary, wedding photography. Can you define what you considered documentary wedding photography?

    Kevin Mullins: 13:51 Yeah, I think I mean, part of the reason why I've, I kind of did it in a way, the reason why I still do it and I still enjoy it is because I was not shackled by any of those rules, you know, the kind of pose in and group shots and, and all of that kind of stuff and the, the formula if you'd like, of wedding photography. So I always knew from the beginning that I wanted to do it in a documentary way. What documentary was at the time for me basically meant not in group shots. That's, that's really, as far as the I, you know, I didn't, I did not and still do not have the personality to, to organize people like that. So for me, a edit that right at the beginning and essentially it was just snapshots, candidate snapshots, a lot of head shots.

    Kevin Mullins: 14:39 When I started shooting weddings properly, you know, I bought the kind of lenses, a good lenses and stuff. I had a 70 to 200 and they were, there were essentially headshots of you know, people just like not doing much. There was no story to them. And you know, I kind of realized after a while that actually I need to be going wider. I need to be getting closer, but going wider with why the lenses and started telling more of a story. That's, that's what documentary meant to me then. But initially it was, it was really this idea of just taking candy pictures if you'd like candid snaps. And I suppose to a certain extent that's what they were. They were just candid snaps. And you know, I've, I worked, I still work very hard at trying to layer the story and you know, work on a lot of themes and mantras of kind of start, middle and end. And, you know, telling a story properly rather than it just be in a whole series of snapshots, you know, head shots of people. Because I think that to a certain extent, everybody does those anyway. I still do them as well. You know, I still think it's important to have record shots, but it's it's not necessarily something that lends itself now, at least in my understand into a story. And ultimately it should be a story rather than just a series of individual pictures.

    Raymond: 15:59 Sure, sure. So if, if, if starting if getting into documentary wedding photography, you were excited about it because you weren't going to take a group photos or you wouldn't be pressured to take these group photos. Did you get any kind of pushback on that in the beginning or, or was there any fear?

    Kevin Mullins: 16:18 Yeah, I think and, and you know, even these days, I still do a couple of group shots if people want it, although it's, you know, it's very minimal partner, but, but yeah, right at the beginning I'm in, I'll, you know, when I do workshops and stuff, I actually show pictures from my very first wedding to, to that, to the students because I think it's important for them to see that. And you know, one of the things that happened at my very first wedding was I said to them, you know, this is, this is the way that it things is documentary. And they were like, yeah, that's cool. We love the idea. And then at about nine o'clock, just as I pour my cameras where they said, what about all the group shots? And I was like, Whoa, what'd you mean? And then when, yeah, we need to lose a group shots.

    Kevin Mullins: 17:00 And so I just panicked and you know, just took these pretty poor group shots of, you know, like i think it was 45 of them in the end. My gosh. Yeah, exactly. So I came home and I said to my wife, I said, I don't think this is working because you know, the whole idea was for me to have a better way of life. And it just stressed me out really bad. So you know, I made a very conscious decision to adjust the branding and marketing of the business to ensure that as much as my brand in is to, is there to attract people, it's also, there is a filter. So it doesn't happen these days doesn't happen so much. And, but back in the beginning, yeah, was definitely a case of not really being brave enough to say to people, or I suppose not to say to them, but to educate them and say, actually, you know what, this is, this is how I, I'm, you know, this is my style.

    Kevin Mullins: 17:53 And of course, if you want something else, then I can recommend somebody else who can do that for you. But, but you know, if you want me and you want the stuff that you see on my website, then this essentially is how, how I do things. And you know, that that works. It works really well. So I rarely, rarely have any issues with, with kind of that that idea that people see what they want on the websites and then want more, you know, want more of the traditional stuff because the clients are filtered and you know, works really well now. But yeah, right to the beginning it was, it was a bit of a challenge.

    Raymond: 18:26 I can imagine. So I know that from my own personal story when I started, I did a lot of things that I didn't necessarily want to because I wanted to be shooting weddings and then, like you said, use my website to filter out to people. And then now I'm kind of at this point to where I'm shooting more of what it is that I do. Like. Would you recommend

    taking a similar path? Or would you say just straight from the beginning say, I do this, I don't do this. If you want somebody else, go for it.

    Kevin Mullins: 18:53 Yeah, I think, you know, just be brave and, and you know, the whole point of most people become what in photographers, like, you know, like there is nobody in school in high school when they say to you, what do you want to be when you leave school? Nobody ever puts a hand up and goes, I want to be a wedding photographer. Right. Just doesn't happen. And they might want to be a fashion photographer or a sports or music photographer, but not what is, so you end up becoming a wedding photographer through fortune circumstance. Whether that's simply that, you know, your brother or sister asked you to photograph a wedding cause you had a nice camera or whether it's because you wanted a completely different way of life, something that was a bit easier on the, you know, on the, on your kind of family life, whatever reason you ended up doing it through vocation.

    Kevin Mullins: 19:42 You know, I think, and if it's vocational, you're doing it because you want to be doing it, then you certainly don't want to be coming back from those weddings. Thinking that was, I didn't like it, I didn't enjoy it, you know? So you have to, I believe people need to be brave and be able to just say, actually, this is how I do it, you know? And if there's not, there's absolutely nothing wrong in being a documentary photographer that also does lots of group shots and lots of portraits and all that. There's plenty of people out there that do that, of course, but they're the elements of the day that you don't want to do. You know, the don't do them or don't market them at least because you, you will end up falling out of love with her and because of his party of vocation, then you're gonna end up, you know, going back to the old day job or whatever that was and, you know, hitting the, hitting the road again.

    Kevin Mullins: 20:32 So yeah, yeah, you've got to, you know, you do need to be pretty strong, I think, and without being rude. But education is the, is the key thing for the clients. You know, there's, I'll never say no to somebody, you know, I'm not going to say no way. I don't do that. But, you know, I'll say, hey, well, you know what, I can do that, but that will take up so much time, you know, and you just won't get the stuff you see on my website, which is, you know, really what you want. So have a think about it and, you know, let me know and, and, and that works all the time.

    Raymond: 21:03 So you said something there that really caught my attention in that was that a, you can be a documentary wedding photographer and still get like group shots and post portraits and stuff. I guess I'm a little confused, I suppose. Like what would make what would make that still a documentary photographer? Does that make sense? Could you expand on that a little bit? Yeah, yeah.

    Kevin Mullins: 21:30 No, it does. Absolutely. And I guess the point I'm making is, whilst I don't do that, I mean, like I said, we'll do a couple of group shots, but that, but that's it. The, there are plenty of people out there who will set aside half an hour of the day to do bridal portraits and you know, more group shots, et Cetera. And, and just because they do that doesn't mean for the rest of the nine and a half hours of the day where they're shooting. Candidly, they're not good documentary wedding photographers, you know. And it often, often it comes down to the marketing side of things where the confusion lies. I think for example, I don't think anybody can come to my website and expect me to be anything other than what they see. But there are plenty of people out there who market themselves as documentary and then actually on the day they spend all of their time setting up candid shots of, you know, which aren't candidate of course, but setting up shops to make them look natural.

    Kevin Mullins: 22:25 And, and that definitely is not documentary photography that's stage or something to look natural. And not only is that kind of disingenuous to the term, but also I would imagine it's quite upsetting for the clients who might be expecting to just have a

    funnel day with their friends and family doing their thing while the photographer does his thing. But then being told to, you know, go and stand by that window or you know, do this, do that. And that's, you know, my, my kind of definition if you like called and of course it's only minor, the people's definitions can be different is that, you know, I will not, I do not have any guidance or direction for my clients whatsoever. So for example, if the if the wedding dress is in a, in a bag lying on the floor in the, in the bridal prep room, that's the picture, you know, orange just wouldn't take that picture. But you know, it's, I'm not going to be taking that dress out and hanging out, up anywhere or anything like that. You know, if the bridesmaid is doing that for whatever reason, then I'll probably take pictures of her doing that rather than the actual thing. At the end maybe, but it's, it's about the, the inference of direction. I think. You know, and like I say, people can and do set aside time to do the more traditional stuff and that doesn't make them a worse or better photographer.

    Raymond: 23:50 Yes. I gotcha. That made it perfectly clear to me. So I totally understand that. So thank you very much for a, for, for clearing that up for me cause I'm not I think you're right. I think a lot of it is the marketing. Cause you know, you see, you see a lot of wedding photographers market themselves as documentary, but then maybe they'll post like there's one photographer I'm thinking of who does like some behind the scenes photos at like weddings and stuff. And it's very much like, hey, come over here. Like, let's do this, like smiled together. And that's not as you said that, that's, that's not documentary wedding photography. So if, if kind of your job is to tell a story of a wedding day, you want to properly capture everything, including light as well as emotion, emotion between family members willing days are, there's lots of emotions already. Is there something that you do before the wedding to get an idea of a family dynamic so that when you show up, you already have an idea of a story that you're gonna tell? Or do you show up and say, let's go, let me figure it out from here?

    Kevin Mullins: 24:51 Yeah, basically I don't, I very rarely meet clients beforehand. Very rarely if they want to meet me, if they want to come to the studio and have a coffee or something, then then absolutely fine. But generally I don't. And you know, sometimes when the conversation comes up about, you know, do we need to meet, I actually say to them, no, because if I come with a complete blank canvas without any expectations or any preconceived ideas of, of what you are like or your family, or like, then, you know, everything is as natural as it possibly can be. You know, and, and that works really well for me because I, I can just do my thing and, you know, I don't need to know that you know, mom and dad are divorced and hate each other or you know, there's a, there's a brother that nobody's spoken to for 15 years because if they, if I know all of those things, then, you know, that can affect my judgment perhaps.

    Kevin Mullins: 25:46 You know, of course it makes no difference in terms of the photos really, because I'm not guiding or setting anything up. And you know, if, if they're not going to stand next to each other because they don't like each other, then there will be no pictures of them standing next to each other because they don't like each other. I'm not going to try and force them to do that. You know, so, so, yeah, I mean, a kind of example was this weekend at this weekend's wedding, I went and it turns out that there was a pretty, pretty well known person at the wedding. It was the sister of the groom, in fact. And I had no idea. I, you know, I had no idea whatsoever. Nobody had taught me that. And in fact we'd go all the way through to pretty much the speeches before I realized who this person was. And then I kind of, I put two and two together and I was like, ah. Right. Okay. No, I understand. But you know, and I, and I'm guessing because they hadn't told me that they didn't, you know, they, I, I reacted in such a natural way that I wasn't kind of starstruck or anything or, you know, it was just like, you're just anybody else who, you know, who I didn't recognize.

    Raymond: 26:57 Of course, of course. Now, kind of going back to that, did, did, knowing that, did that new piece of information change the way that you tried to capture any photos? From there on out?

    Kevin Mullins: 27:10 Not really. I think, I mean, I've done, I've done several kind of y with classes minus celebrities, minus lefties to me, major celebrities to other people. And yeah, I mean, I don't, I don't really, I don't know that it were to bother me.

    Raymond: 27:27 So you weren't trying to find the one shot for the website or anything like that?

    Kevin Mullins: 27:31 No I don't. I always think, and I think this is kind of important that the, my job is entirely on the day is entirely to produce pictures for the wedding clients. Okay. I never, I try not to, it's hard not to, but I try not to ever think about portfolio awards, blog posts or anything. If a good blog post or a good picture or a good award or whatever comes because of the pictures I took on the day, then that's a bonus. But I try not to allow my shooting on the day to be effected by, you know, what, what I want to put on my marketing. You know, and lots of people, a lot of people will, will do that, you know, and, and, and I think that's sad because ultimately what I want to do is give a set of images to my clients that they can look back on in 40 years time. And it'd be just a true memory of their day rather than infamy or my business, you know, they've already paid me. And that's, that's the most important thing.

    Raymond: 28:30 Yeah, of course. No, that totally makes sense. So, so then in, in kind of this world of like you know, we're Pinterest and very bright and airy type photos, how do you personally convey the power of documentary approach to your wedding clients? Does that question make sense?

    Kevin Mullins: 28:58 Yeah, I think you know, there's, there's a lot of subtle messages on my website in terms of you know, for example, it's not just pictures, like my portfolio is a, is a store. I talked to people on my portfolio page about how I took this picture, why I took this picture. I even include some bad pictures and I explained that, you know, technically it's bad picture, but the moment is the important thing here. So I you know, try and manifest it in terms of the way that I would speak to them face to face as if we were flicking through their childhood photo, help them you know, and, and you know, or I'll even say things like, you know, when you look at the pictures that you have from your childhood, do you are you interested in your school portraits or do you smile and laugh more at the pictures of you and your mum at the park on the beach at Christmas?

    Kevin Mullins: 29:49 The candidate stuff that your uncle took on is old. You know, it's that instant printer picture camera, you know, it's faded and is blown out or whatever, but it's those pictures that are the important ones. Right. and that as soon as you start having those kinds of conversations or passing that message, then people really understand that, I think. But you know, you're right about there the kind of Instagram generation and Pinterest and the brightness of everything. And you know, there are for those people, there are the photographers and you know, there's plenty, there's plenty of wedding photographers to go around

    Raymond: 30:25 Absolutely. Especially who shoot very bright and and every style for sure. So on a wedding day, I know I often get asked by, you know, the bridal party to take a certain photo or I'm, you know, can I see the back of the car? Like, can I, can I see how that photo turned out or anything? How do you, okay, I'll get, I'll give it, I'll give you another example. I am not the cheapest wedding photographer here in Indianapolis. And I shot a wedding for a couple who I would say that I was about 90% of their budget. They really wanted amazing photos, right? Is what they said. They said, we really don't care about anything else.

    We want great portraits. We want, you know, great photos that we're going to remember the day by. And I said, okay. Absolutely. So I showed up great couple, but the bridal party was very much like, you know, okay, now let's you know, do this photo, let's do that photo and it was hard for me to say, you know, that's not what it is that I do, but it was the bridal party who was taking more control over the photos than the couple was.

    Raymond: 31:35 Do you ever find yourself in a situation where a bridal party is either asking for a certain style of photo that may be goofy or Pinterest like and then because your, your couple is going to have a better idea of your photography then then they will. How would you handle a situation like that? Hey Raymond here and if you're listening to this, you are listening to the free version of today's interview. If you want to hear more from today's guest about the business of photography, consider becoming a premium member every week. Guests answer questions about products, pricing packages, and so much more. It will help your growing photography business thrive. This is the next logical step to join head over to beginner photography, podcast.com and click the premium membership button at the top of the page. Okay. Yeah. Do you think that there are any misconceptions or something that would surprise people to know about being a, a, a documentary wedding photographer?

    Kevin Mullins: 32:36 I think, well, I dunno, I, I, I think a lot of people, not, not potential clients, but potential photographers think that it's an easy way of becoming a wedding photographer. It's easier to do this than to understand posing and lighting and all that kind of stuff. And to a certain extent it is, you know, don't get me wrong. I mean, it's, it is a talent to be able to pose well and unlike bile, etc. But the, it's not just a series of, it's, you know, there are a lot of people, a lot of photographers out there who will take 20,000 frames our wedding and take 500 friends at the end and, and, you know, essentially hoping for the best. Sure. and that's, that's also fine if they, if that's the way they want to operate and that's the way they want to work.

    Kevin Mullins: 33:24 Absolutely. but you know, I think from a photography point of view, it's telling a story and layer in a story and connecting the dots and having the cohesion throughout the day that tells a full history of the event rather than just taken thousands and thousands of shots and hoping that you get, get some good pictures. That's the challenge. That's the hardest thing. And they don't get me wrong. I overshoot as well, you know, the, as much as the next person, maybe not 20 face and pictures, but I do overshoots. But you know, I, I like in my camera bag, I have the five W's written underneath the, the lens of my camera back and these stand for who, why, what, where, and when. So if ever I'm struggling or to where they're in length you know, I can't, there's nothing happen in what, you know, it's, it's slow.

    Kevin Mullins: 34:17 It's, it's pedestrian. Look at that. I re I'm reminded of those folk W's and as long as I've answered who, why, what, where, and when, then that's the story. That's all of those, those parts are connected. And it's just like writing a newspaper article or writing a novel. It's the WHO, why, what, where, and when you get that part right, you've got the story. And that stops me from having to run around with a, like a headless checkin and thinking, Oh man, I haven't got any pictures. I don't know what to do. And then, then you just end up taking pictures for the sake of it. Yeah. You know, and I think, and I think also one of the challenges for documentary style photographers is to have the confidence to stop photographing and listen, watch, look at the light and look at the characters, put the cameras down and understand the environment and then start taking pictures again.

    Kevin Mullins: 35:11 You know, I feel that, and this is true for all whatever your talk was, I guess I feel that because we're being paid to be there, we'd feel like the, if the clients are looking, we should be taking pictures. We should have a camera and stuff to her face. And that's, that's not true because that means they're just paying you to be a a mechanical

    photographers. Somebody's pressing, anybody can press the button on the top of the camera and you, but anybody can do that. But only you can see what you see through the viewfinder. And only I can see what I see through the viewfinder. And so sometimes you need to stop and slow down and watch and wait and listen and, you know, smell the kitchen, whatever it is that manifests in order to get the pictures that will tell the story of the day. And don't be afraid to just stop, you know, and it's not, you're not there. And I often say to my clients, I'm not there as a photographer on there as, as an observer. And, and that's the thing, a photographer has a technical function. Photography is a technical function. Seeing is, is not, that's, that's kind of a difference.

    Raymond: 36:13 Yes. I think that that's really important to hear. Especially from me as somebody who I feel that exact same way. I feel you know, if I'm being paid to be there, a lot of people look at wedding photography already as very much a luxury. And here I am as a service provider, not doing anything, you know, like if I'm just standing there, and this happens a lot during meal time is typically people don't like photos of themselves eating. Do you find anything? Is there anything that you do during meal time to kind of fill that gap? Yeah, let's sit down and like, Hey, I, I take a break.

    Kevin Mullins: 36:55 Yeah. you know, and that's, that's all in the contract. And if they, I mean, if something happens, for example, the speeches might be between courses, then obviously I'll come in and out. But yeah, I mean, I, I

    Raymond: 37:06 Pictures of people eating is not a, nobody wants that. People, people don't want that. Yeah, yeah, go on. So no, I was going to say sometimes if

    Kevin Mullins: 37:17 Thought maybe a child doing eating something like stuffing a cake in their face or something, then maybe that's an interesting picture. But generally once they sit that normally either be shooting for six hours or so by the time they sit down for their meal. So I'm ready for them to break at that point

    Raymond: 37:30 Yeah, I always think that it's weird that, that how popular the cake cutting shot is. Then people want that picture of them meeting cake. I think to myself, like, you're not going to frame this. Like who wants a picture of them being stuffed with cake? So yeah, unless that's a child. I don't understand. I don't understand. A, so in the group I asked some people some questions what questions they had about documentary, wedding photography and [inaudible] I think I pronounced that right. I believe is French. I could got that totally wrong. He wanted to know specifically, he asked how difficult is it to cover the whole wedding day in a reportage style? So I know that you answered that a little bit earlier. We kind of talked about your, your, your philosophy, but I will expand upon that a little bit without doing much posing. When you show up, what is it that you're looking for aside from the WHO, what, when, where, and why. There's obviously light, right? And there there's emotion. So is there a way that you try to go about capturing a scene in, of you that kind of makes it

    Kevin Mullins: 38:39 Repeatable for you, that is like your style? Did that question make sense at all? It, yeah, kind of. But the answer is not really because you know, when you shoot in a purely candidate style, every single wedding is different, like every single one. And there is no, there's no formula as such. I mean, weddings themselves are quite formulated yet. So, you know, they, they, they kind of fall into a pattern. You know, I suppose because I, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm really obsessed by kind of the interaction between people and the emotional play between them. So when, for example, at the end of the ceremony when people start hugging each other, that's, that's really my important time. That's there, the pictures that I really want to get and I get in really close to get those pictures. But at the same time, I know that I don't want to be in the way or [inaudible], so I'll nearly always make sure I'm behind the bride or the groom

    or the person who's being hoped and I'm capturing the, the huggers rather than the, the hoked.

    Kevin Mullins: 39:43 And, and that way the brides, you know, doesn't even see me, doesn't notice me. I do my thing and I, I get in close and I move around very quickly. And you know, that's, that's kind of the thing that I'm, when that doesn't happen for whatever reason, when people don't have that, that part where they don't park at whatever, you know, for whatever reason, then that's quite sad for me. And I know that there often sets the trend for the rest of the day. But yeah, I mean, it's, yeah, literally every single wedding is different. One, you know, I, I rarely, I don't, I've never gone down the route of being recommended by wedding venues. I'm not, there's anything wrong with that of course, but I just have never gone down that route. So it's rare for me to be at the same venue very often. You know, so it's everyone is a new adventure. Sure. So

    Raymond: 40:36 That taking photos of guests kind of sparked another question. I think, I think it was you who I heard on Andrew Helmitch's photobiz exposed podcast. I believe that you said something to the effect now it could have been somebody else's. So please correct me if I'm wrong, that that like your ultimate goal or dream would be to go to a wedding and be confused as a guest so that like nobody knew that you were there. Does that sound familiar? Am I thinking of somebody else?

    Kevin Mullins: 41:01 No, no, no. I mean, it's something that I probably would have said. Yeah. It's I, you know, I, one of the testimonials I have on my website in fact is, is so to that point yet she says that you know, the common she got from a lot of the guests where they didn't even know they had, I, they had a wedding photographer and that, and that's the ultimate, and that's, that's the utopia of course. And as, apart from during the ceremony I suppose, where you're often the only one either at the front or the for the rest of the time, I just am, I behaved like a guest. I use small cameras. I dress like a guest as much as I can. You know, I just, I just do my thing and you know, I don't, I'm not telling people to do anything to say cheese or anything, you know, like they do often just totally forget on there, you know, and that, and that's a great thing. I mean generally it's obvious I am the deficient, you know, I'm the only single guy there with, with two, two cameras, I will, other than that, I'm doing my absolute best to, to just be a guest. Yeah. Yes, yes.

    Raymond: 42:09 So how does that is there ever been a time where you've had to interact with with a guest? You know, maybe they're asking lots of questions or something and like you need to get back to work. How, how does it so it was John specifically within the Facebook group asked, well, what is it like interacting with guests when you're just trying to be a fly on the wall?

    Kevin Mullins: 42:29 Well, yeah, I mean, when I say that, you know, I don't interact with them. If they talk to me or we have a conversation, you know, just a general chat. Often people ask me about my cameras and you know, that kind of stuff. Of course I'm going to speak to them, you know, occasionally are, if I can see some of the guys looking at the football scores or wherever, I'll go over and see what's the score. You know, that kind of thing. I'm not a, you know, I'm not trying to be completely invisible and never speak to anybody. But what I won't do is, is kind of affect a particular moment by doing anything. So yeah, I mean, I'll, you know, I will chat to them and everything and occasionally you do get the, the odd guests that is a bit more friendly than others in terms of you know, especially kind of photography questions and everything and yeah, it just polite and then walk away. And then my friend, he always says that I'm, you know, one of the questions we always get asked is oh, how many pictures have you taken today? And, and Neil always says to try to confuse me. He says, Oh, about 20 gallons and that, and then of course, their face just changes in, and then we just leave them in this confusion yet.

    Raymond: 43:40 That's genius. I was, I was thinking, I was like, maybe if you said like a small number, like 12 converted to gallons, that, that's wonderful. When, when you, when you're shooting like I can only imagine, I've never been to the UK, but from photos that I've seen of weddings typically their older venues they're much darker than you know, not as much available light. And I know the cameras today, especially Food Fuji can operate it just like incredible ISS. Do you use any sort of, any sort of artificial light at all and what do you do when it gets too dark?

    Kevin Mullins: 44:24 Yeah, so the only, the only lights that I typically take with me these days is a it's called a Lumi Muse. So it's a little handheld net. It's I don't have it to hand, but it's, it's no bigger than, than this, this thing. So that's a memory card holder, but it's about the same size. And I can hold that. It's, it's actually, it's, it's rechargeable any day. I charge it once a year and I just use it for perhaps the first dance or something. And that's it. And like my philosophy is that if it's light enough for people to see each other, then it's light enough for my camera to see them. That's, that's the way that I work. And you know, if I have to slow the shutter speed down or push the ISO up and then, then that's it also, that's fine. But honestly it's the Djs that this goes to the bands, they all have lights that we can work with. It's,

    Raymond: 45:24 lights they've already set up.

    It's fine. So just finding a spot to where you can utilize their, their

    Kevin Mullins: 45:30 Yeah. And if they, if the light isn't good, then I'll use that Lumi Muse. And I don't like using it because it's, it looks artificial. It just doesn't look, it's, you know, if, if the DJ or somebody sets up specific lights, then I want the pictures to remind the bride and groom of the particular lighting that was there when they had that, that their first dance, you know if you, if I go and set up off camera flash and all that kind of stuff, and then all that does is remind them of the time that I set up off camera flash. Yeah. So that's, that's kind of why I don't do it, but again, just because I, you know, I don't do that. It's, it's partly a, you know, just no knowledge and Latin and laziness perhaps even, but it doesn't mean that it's wrong to do that. You know, I've got, I've got very good friends who do do that and do it very well. And which is, as you said earlier, would be a boring world if we were older.

    Raymond: 46:25 Right. Right. So then last question here for ya. Have you ever got a couple who said, oh my gosh, this photo is way too grainy. What were you doing here?

    Kevin Mullins: 46:40 No. no I haven't, but that doesn't mean they haven't thought that or said it to themselves or they've never actually said it to me.

    Raymond: 46:49 There you go. If it's never been told to you, then it's never happened. We're going to go with that. I think a lot of beginners get, so I'm worried over ISL performance scared to push their camera past like 800, you know, and you're just living proof right here that if you know you're shooting in a very dark venue, you can push it upwards of higher than 6,400.

    Kevin Mullins: 47:11 Oh yeah, I get 12, 800. Yeah,

    Raymond: 47:13 You got a 12,800 and you've never heard a complaint from a client to you never. He go, just focus on getting that shot. Just focusing on getting that shot. Yeah. Kevin, I really want to be mindful of your time. I appreciate everything that you've shared today. Before I let you go, can you please let the listeners know where they can find you online?

    Kevin Mullins: 47:33 You kind of did. Thank you very much. It's m my website is Kevin Mullins, photography.co. Dot. UK. Instagram is Kevin Mullins photography. And we also run a podcast called the Fuji Cast, which they could find that FujiCast Dakota UK or on any podcast network specifically Fujifilm kind of stuff. Yeah, that's it. Yeah.

    Raymond: 47:55 Well, Kevin, again, thank you so much for coming on the show and I, I, I just want to tell you one last time that I truly enjoy looking at your photos and you inspire me to be a better photographer. So this was, this was a joy to talk to you today, so thank you.

    Kevin Mullins: 48:08 Thanks Raymond. And it's been great. It's really pleasurable to be here.

    Raymond: 48:12 How about that? If you are unaware of, if you were unaware of Kevin Mullins before this point, please, please, please check out some of his work. If you're listening on your phone, you should be able to just swipe up to view the show notes where I've included links to some of his photos. But if you're on Instagram, Facebook, please look at his work, check out his website. It is really something that is almost, I mean the photos that he is able to anticipate and take that are almost complete, that are completely candid, but no interaction are so much better than the photos that I try to manipulate and, and create a moment around. So that is a skill that has just so impressive to see. And I think one of my biggest takeaways was that, that everyone kind of told Kevin that he wasn't set out, you know, to shoot weddings, but it was because of his, his fresh approach and he that he found something that, that he meshed with and obviously, you know, he's killing it. So just don't listen to, you know, what others are saying. If it feels right to you when it comes to a photography. So there you go. That is it for today's interview. Until next week, I want you to get out. I want you to keep shooting. I want you to focus on yourself and stay safe. All right, that's it. I love you all.

    Outro: 49:41 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

    BPP 154: Kevin Mullins - True Documentary Wedding Photography

    Automated transcription by temi.com

    BPP 153: How to Stand Out as a Photographer in a Saturated Market

    Now more than ever it is hard to stand out as a photographer. Anyone can create amazing photos with the phone in their pocket. So how to you stand out and become the photographer you are meant to be?

    Know that gear does not matter. Like I said earlier incredible photos can be taken with a telephone. You need to have an understanding of the most basic elements in photography before you can move on and start your journey to stand out.

    Learn about my mini course “Conquer Your Camera” here

    https://learn.beginnerphotographypodcast.com/p/conquer-your-camera


    Once you understand the basic elements of photography you can move on to taking the steps to stand out.

    Step 1: Develop your Style

    You do not pick your style, your style picks you. It can not be created just refined by taking thousands and thousands of photos.

    Step 2: Focus on ONE THING

    Don’t be a jack of all trades. Focus on one thing and go deep. Don’t be a portrait photographer, be a lifestyle portrait photographer for families with multiple foster children over 7 years old. Don’t worry about the clients you are cutting out. McDonalds is the most profitable resturant in the world and is not worries about those people who want tacos.

    Step 3: Charge More

    If budget was not an issue would you rather hire a $500 wedding photographer or a $5000 wedding photographer? Chances are you would choose the $5000 wedding photographer because even though you have not seen their photos, they must be better to charge that much money. It is all perceived value.

    Step 4: Care about People

    Go 1 on 1 as often as possible. You could pay to have an ad shown to 2000 people to hire you and 1 might book. But if you were in a room with 100 potential clients and you talked to them individually I bet 5 would book you. Take the time to understand people and they will feel valued and want to help you and share you with their friends.


    All of this takes time. I know I still need to work on caring for people better. But all of this is not possible if you don’t know the essentials of photography.

    Chances are you can not implement all of this tomorrow because you don’t know who you are as an artist, as a business owner if thats where you want to go, or how you want to make the world a better place.

    If you have ever been on a shoot and it just wasn’t working and you didn’t know how to fix it, you need to be working on that first. Thats step 1. Because if you still get lost just trying to make sure your photo isn’t way too bright or too dark then developing your style can not be your priority.

    That exact reason is why I have created a mini course called Conquer your Camera. I dont want you to feel stuck when shooting, I want to give you a helping hand so this is not your average mini course.

    In Conquer your Camera I go over the essentials you need to know before moving ahead to the next step.

    In Conquer Your Camera you will learn about the 3 most important elements in photography

    • What is exposure and how its controlled

    • How composition is used to frame your photos

    • and the importance of light and the different kinds to look out for.

    But what makes this mini course special is that included in the mini course you will receive the Conquer Your Camera field guide. This set of cards held together by keychain are the perfect companion to attach to your camera bag or camera strap. Never again feel lost when you are out shooting. The answers will be at your finger tips!

    It covers everything from when to use what camera settings, where to find soft light, compositional guidelines to improve your photos right away, a checklist of what you need to prepare before going out on a shoot, and a list of photography terms you need to know.

    This is the first step you need to take before focusing on all of the extras.

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    BPP 152: Jessica Rae - Powerful Boudoir Photography

    Jessica Rae is a Vancouver boudoir photographer. Take one look at her website and you will see she has an incredible ability to create soul and tell a powerful story through the images she takes. Today we chat about how she creates such beautiful images.

    Become A Premium Member is access to more in-depth questions that help move you forward!

    In This Episode You'll Learn:

    • How Jessica got started in photography

    • Challenges she faced when learning photography

    • Jessicas main source of photography education

    • How Jessica got into Boudoir Photography

    • What Boudoir photography is

    • How to get intimate lighting when shooting boudoir to add mystery

    • What it means to be a Believer in the power of Vulnerability

    • Weather or not you need a studio to shoot boudoir

    Premium Members Also Learn:

    • How to approach someone to do boudoir when you’re building your portfolio

    • How to make clients comfortable when in a venerable state of being partially clothed in front of a strangers camera

    • How to book more clients when its hard to share images on social media

    Resources:

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    Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!