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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 23 Jul 2013 (Tuesday) 17:54
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Thoughts from a Commercial Photographer | What you're most likely doing wrong

 
AlanMura
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Jul 23, 2013 17:54 |  #1

Hey everyone, a while back I posted a thread about commercial photography. I opened the discussion to allow for anyone to ask me questions, and I would do my very best to answer them. I would like to start a similar thread once again.

To start, I am Alan Mura. I am a represented photographer (non-exclusive), with multiple agencies. I have shot for name brand clients such as Black and Decker Tools, Paul Mitchell, Arbonne, De Leon Tequila, and Nouriche. I shoot commercial, fashion, beauty and still life.

My point of discussion in this thread stems from a conversation I had with a fellow photographer in southern california. He kept referring to me as different. We vs. you. Freelancers vs me, meaning, I dont have to get my own clients. I want to dispell a myth, and bring something to your attention.

Photography is like farming. If you only farm tomatoes, you will eat for a season. If you cultivate various crops, you will eat year round. Think of photography like seeds. plant various seeds in different areas of your farm. cultivate when needed. For example. a photographer who is dependent on craigslist to book gigs will starve. But if craigstlist is one of many forms of marketing you can thrive. So think about where to plant your seeds. Anyway, I will answer whatever questions you might have about any form of commercial photography. Just keep in mind I have an accountant to handle the financial things including licensing so that is not my expertise.

On a side note, I have recently been approched by a luxury studio in DTLA, 1906 Studios, to bring my team, and an agency on board to provide a 4hr commercial photography seminar. I am going to speak for 2hrs, have my MUA, Desiree Foote speak for an hour, and a representative from 'Trailer Park / art machine' (2nd largest ad agency in LA) speak on what they seek in photographers. If anyone is intersted in this event (in downtown los angeles) please feel free to PM me for details.


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nathancarter
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Jul 24, 2013 09:58 |  #2

It's often suggested on this forum that professional photographers keep their different areas of expertise separated, or even hidden from one another. For instance, if I'm pitching product photography, I wouldn't want those clients to know that I also do pinup photography and concert/show/performan​ce photography. Some suggest that one should even go so far as to have two (or more!) separate websites, multiple social media presences, etc.

I tend to lean toward your "various crops" school of thought: If I can do two or three things well, why would I tell clients that I can only do one thing well? Maybe this agent's brother-in-law is the stage manager for the new act that just rolled into town. Of course, I don't try to sell something completely different than what the client needs at this time, but I don't see the point in hiding all the other things I have to offer.

Thoughts? Am I viewed as a less desirable commercial photographer because I also have a couple of other specialties?


http://www.avidchick.c​om (external link) for business stuff
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AlanMura
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Jul 25, 2013 17:04 |  #3

Hey Nathancarter

What I realized a couple years ago is that commercial photography requires many skills. Product, lifestyle, portraiture and in some cases beauty and fashion. For example, many of the print ads I have shot have all these elements in them, combined and composted to make one ad. I do shoot some strange things, more artistic content, but this simply show cases creativity, and creative execution. These help grab the attention of prospective clients. What ties all my work together is the level of drama in each of the images. I treat each photo as if it were a fashion shoot, ultimately this creates a unified 'style' amongst my images, yet still showcases the various skills I have as a photographer. So if your passion is with pinup, approach yourother shoots with your signature pinup style. This will unify your portfolio.


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JacobPhoto
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Jul 25, 2013 19:23 |  #4

Speaking of composites, how many different frames tend to make up a final shot that you deliver to a client? It seems like more and more, commercial work is spiraling towards CG and away from classic photography. I'll be the first to admit that I'm terrible at compositing, and thus stick within my comfort zone of executing a single frame as best as I can and applying minimal touchups in post to deliver a frame that closely resembles what was visible in the camera. Do you think commercial work will ever move back towards this, or do you foresee it to continue to move towards 20-frame (or more) composites with massive work in post?


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AlanMura
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Jul 31, 2013 21:49 |  #5

Hi Jacob,

unfortunately I do see the industry moving towards more CG and 3d rendering. The tchnology is simply getting too good. Whats holding it back now is price and timing. I can get a fully composited shot (say up to 10 actual individual photos) to a client quickly and far cheaper and faster than CG, however when the price of CG comes down, so will the photographer. Thats my opinion. The benefit for a photographer right now is volume. some companies have too many products of various shapes and sizes so its easier to send them to a photographer for a clipped shot rather than CG. I dont see this changing in my lifetime tho.


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Thoughts from a Commercial Photographer | What you're most likely doing wrong
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