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Thread started 21 Nov 2006 (Tuesday) 01:52
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Jason Cole - You asked for it ...

 
Jason ­ Cole
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Nov 21, 2006 01:52 |  #1

Hi All,

I have had so many emails asking me about how I got started and my background I figured I would just post it here for all to see ?

I started in Photography about seven years ago. I have always been interested in photography and had a really strong calling for it deep down. It took me a while to understand what it was that was calling me though. I was on a train, at Parramatta and this amazing looking girl got on. I had such a strong desire to photograph her, capture her beauty and style, freeze that image in time for ever. No matter how she changed, or how old she got or how many wrinkles she developed over time, she would always have that snapshot in time. It was then that I realised I was in the wrong profession. Im actually an Engineer by trade, but now, thank god, im a full time photographer!

So this moment came and went and then life got back to normal. Then out of the blue, a mate of mine called me up. He had started a promo girls agency and wanted ME to do the photos. I nearly fell over, my first real job (non paid – but a real shoot none the less). I had my brand new Sony Cybershot camera (At the time it was the bees knees in digital) and I set off to photograph all 15 girls over a two day period. I had an absolute ball and really felt like I had found my calling. The photos compared to my work today are shocking (I wouldn’t admit to having ever taken them hahaha) but it gave me the bug.

So over the next few years I worked two jobs, doing engineering which I steadily grew to hate and used to spend all my spare time at work on photography forums like this one. I also worked a second job doing free photos for potential models. I gained a lot of experience doing this and even had a fairly good portfolio too. Nothing by today's standards but at the time I was happy with it.

Then one day, Wayne Daniels called me (Ralph’s main photographer) and asked me to assist him on a shoot. I went along for the weekend and helped him out. That weekend I learned so much from him it was amazing. It totally opened my eyes up to how a pro does it. He gave me a list of what he uses and I went and brought it all. Over time he helped me refine my skills (especially my business skills as well as my photography skills) and I give him full credit for moulding me into the photographer I am today. The man is a genius with a camera, one of the most talented men I have ever had the absolute privilege and humbling experience to work with. He’s a dark South African bloke and after working with him, like I said before, my God was for ever a dark South African man!! ? He’s the most amazing photographer but the most amazing person too. So with a little bit of encouragement from Wayne I decided to try my hand at Magazine photography. I did my first published shoot, the mine shoot, about 2 and a half years ago.
http://www.jasoncoleph​otography.com.au …_effort/gutsy_e​ffort.html (external link)

I sent it to FUEL Magazine and no reply ? So I emailed it again and still no reply. I was devastated that they didn’t like my work and figured maybe it wasn’t good enough, but everyone kept telling me it was BETTER than what was in the magazine at that time. Then, someone asked me, “What did the editor actually say on the phone?” and I replied that I hadn’t actually spoken to the editor on the phone, more that I had just emailed. I think deep down it was a hidden fear of rejection. So I mustered up the courage, called the editor (about 5 times) and finally got a meeting to show him my portfolio. Wayne and I sat down and went through three portfolio albums and picked out the best 20 shots that would fill up one album. He made a really good point, ONLY show the editor your best work as your saying to that editor “this is the absolute best I can do”. The editor Andrew Mara, loved my work, brought the shoot, then commissioned me for a few more shoots, then FINALLY he booked me for a regular set of shoots each month. I figured if I had done it with FUEL, I could do it with FHM, and being a published photographer, I had a track record now too. I spoke to FHM, and put together the Gangster girl shoot. They loved my theme based shoots and commissioned me to do the “its Your” section each month. From doing this section my contribution has now grown to the “Its Your” section, “Under the Sheets”, “UNI Student of the month” and “sex confidential” sections. There are also other spin off jobs like the Lara Croft shoot we did recently where I got to photograph TEN Lara Croft look alikes ? check my behind the Scenes gallery for some shots.

Now that im established, Magazines seem more keen to talk to me. I understand what a deadline is, I know how to shoot a full shoot that can be laid out in a 4 or 6 page spread and I know what works and what doesn’t. My lighting is much better and my technique is becoming much more honed now. Most of all, I am a down to earth person. I talk to anyone and I don't have a big head about how much work I do. That's Wayne’s secret, be a normal person, don't get over yourself about what you do. That's the rule I live by. I never knock back a question and I never leave until I am confident the person understands what I am trying to explain. With this job comes a lot of responsibility too. Above all else, treat people how you want to be treated and RESPECT models because without them, you don't have a job.

To give you a quick idea of my setup. I use a Canon EOS 1DS Mark II (16.7 megapixels) digital SLR, all L-Series lenses, my fav lens is the 24-105 L F4.0 (not that I ever shoot at 4.0, F8-F11 is the sweet spot of this lens) F16 is even better but only really good for bright conditions, I use 2 Medium Chimera softboxes (only 1 outdoors), a Broncolour Verso A2 studio battery powered studio light pack for outdoors, and two Bowen’s Esprit II 500 lights for indoors. I don't use umbrella’s ever and I rarely use reflectors or flutes. The 1DS Mark II has a sharpness setting, I set it to 4 to get really clean crisp photos. This does a much better job than sharpening later in Photoshop (IMHO). I use Adobe RGB for my colour profile as that's what the magazines use.

So that's me in a nutshell, any questions, ask away ?


Cheers, Jason Cole
nfo@colestudios.com.au (external link)
Canon EOS 1DS MK III, L Series lenses, Broncolour Studio

  
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Zepher
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Nov 21, 2006 02:07 |  #2

Wow.
I am at a loss for words.


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GIrven
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Nov 21, 2006 02:12 |  #3

Great post Jason and an interesting insight of how you got to where you are.

You can't ask for anymore doing what you enjoy. Its what most of us serious photographers want in life.

Q. Did you ever doubt that you not make a sucess of glamour photography?
Q. Do you shoot any other work that your equally proud of?
Q. What has been your biggest achievement to date?


Many Thanks

Glen Irven LRPS, CPAGB.

My Website: http://www.irvenphotog​raphy.com (external link)
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Jason ­ Cole
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Nov 21, 2006 02:22 |  #4

Thanks for your kind words :-) To answer your questions:

(1) Not really, I wanted it so bad, NO was not an option, and once I met Wayne Daniels I pretty much knew I had it in the bag. Running a photography business is 30% taking photos, 70% marketing and PR.

(2) I shoot Weddings, and I do some of the most creative Beautifully lit Weddings in the business. Check out the Wedding part of my website for some really awesome shots. Check this link, especially slide 5. There you see modeling and Weddings blending into one photo...

http://www.jasoncoleph​otography.com.au …?t=Featured_Wed​ding&id=77 (external link)

This photo, probably more than any other, to me, sums up the beauty and passion that is a Bride on her special day... its such a beautiful shot.

(3) My biggest achievement to date was getting the FHM contract, im pretty stoked about that. It really put me on the map as a serious player in this extremely competitive market place.


Cheers, Jason Cole
nfo@colestudios.com.au (external link)
Canon EOS 1DS MK III, L Series lenses, Broncolour Studio

  
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Beeej21
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Nov 21, 2006 02:35 |  #5

wow.. Jason. Thanks for sharing your story with us all. You have truly inspired me, and although I'll never shoot for any magazines or anything, I completely appreciate your drive, passion, and talent. You are a blessed man in so many ways. Thanks again for sharing.


Biju "Beeej" Pandit

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amonline
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Nov 21, 2006 04:40 |  #6

Jason, I really enjoyed reading this. I'm in a similar situation myself where I'm hearing a calling recently... I can totally identify with much of your story at this time... this was a great post of encouragement for me to continue my efforts and will be just as valuable to many others on this forum. Thanks for taking the time to share this!!




  
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DayHawk
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Nov 21, 2006 06:07 |  #7

ok I really need your courage :) I have started my own buisness here in Denmark and need a magazine contract! (don't we all?)
take a look at my website and let me know if you think I am ready to take a leap like that www.nphoto.dk (external link) :)

I LOVE your work and will defn be watching your career with a big smile :)

Blessings

Nick


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Jia ­ Wang
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Nov 21, 2006 10:26 |  #8

This is inspiring... :)


Jia Wang...
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24Peter
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Nov 21, 2006 10:42 |  #9

Thank you Jason. I really appreciate you sharing your story (thus far - I'm sure the future is even brighter.) I'm on a similar trajectory and intend to make a career (would be my second) in fashion and commercial photography. Obviously I still have lots to learn as a photographer, but I can see the only thing really standing in my way is my fear of rejection. So I just need to put myself out there.

The only technical question I have for you is, are you shooting .jpegs?

Thanks again for posting your story. :cool:


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MDJAK
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Nov 21, 2006 12:27 as a reply to  @ 24Peter's post |  #10

If he's setting sharpness in camera, he's got to be shooting jpegs. As far as I know, you can't affect a raw file in camera.

Jason, not only are you an excellent photographer, you're a great writer too. Maybe you should get another contract to do the copy for your shots.

Excellent story. Very informative.

Please dismiss my rather intrusive question to follow if necessary. I completely understand. I feel this may be going through many of our minds here though.

I know that there are many people here who would love to make their living in the exact manner you do. Could you give us an approximate figure of what one makes when one gets a magazine contract?

I also know that it is something I'll never do. I'm 49 years of age and in my 28th year of my present career. There's no changing now for me.

Thanks again. Loved reading your story almost as much as looking at your work.

mark




  
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Jason ­ Cole
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Nov 21, 2006 13:09 |  #11

Hey Guys,

Wow, thank you so much for your kind words. Im glad I could inspire you :-) Wayne very much inspired me in the same way :-) Awesome :-) Ok to answer everyone’s questions:

I always shoot JPEG, I use a Light Meter all the time (although now I can pretty much measure light from my Bron box by site (distance and light conditions) I still double check). I shoot RAW for Catalogues for one customer as the designer likes to use RAW files, so in that case I shoot RAW + small JPG so they have a thumbnail preview of the RAW file. Always ask your customer to ask the designer. Customers love the fact that I have put this much thought into it. I always do a free edit of a catalogue too, once I see it from the designer, and suggest better shots or improvements. Customers love that too. Repeat business comes from a happy customer. Im not a huge fan of RAW though, I think if you have your exposure and white balance set, then you don’t really need raw. If there is any other reason to shoot RAW then please let me know, Im always open to new ideas and information. Someone once told me I can extract a bigger file out of a RAW file, like larger than 17 megapixels, but I tried it and its no better than resizing in Photoshop from what I can see. Im totally open to new ideas though, so if someone has a reason or better way to use RAW files PLEASE let me know ☺

Its in my contract not to disclose how much I earn from FHM, so unfortunately I can’t say, But I do well out of it and even better out of the spin off work that comes from it. People says "Wow you shoot for FHM?" and book me all the time, it shows customers I really am in the pro league and deep down customers (male and female) seem to have a respect for someone that shoots at this level. Its opened a lot of doors for me that otherwise may have stayed closed. Once your established it all starts rolling on from there. Each year my business is growing and growing. Its all about being passionate about what you do. You know Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter that recently sadly died? Well when im explaining photography and how I shoot to potential customers im that enthusiastic, I make it very clear how keen I am. That's my Purple Cow. (if you haven’t read the Purple Cow, go and get it, it’s a marketing book by Seth Godin and its an awesome read for a small business owner). I make a decent living out of photography. I have just hired another photographer now, and she will be doing Weddings on her own for me too, so overtime the business will grow and grow. The secret is continual marketing in the same space (advertise in just one or two magazines and do it every year). You can see some of my advertising for my Weddings here. I don't advertise modeling.

http://www.jasoncoleph​otography.com.au …?t=Featured_Wed​ding&id=74 (external link)


Cheers, Jason Cole
nfo@colestudios.com.au (external link)
Canon EOS 1DS MK III, L Series lenses, Broncolour Studio

  
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calicokat
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Nov 21, 2006 14:17 |  #12

Thanks for sharing your story, I really enjoyed it :)


"You are going to fall off a cliff trying to get a better shot someday"- My hopeful and loving wife :eek: :twisted:
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RadAL
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Nov 21, 2006 14:24 |  #13

even more inspiring, he likes to share it, give us his background and help us how he can and try to answer our questions (and a lot of other peoples i'm sure).


Equipment: Canon PowerShot A650IS (semi retired) and Canon Powershot G10 (primary) and Rebel XT 350D w/18-55mm kit lens and Quanterey 18-200mm-- www.youtube.com/alexan​der1485 (external link) (has links to some of my pictures on the main page)

  
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newgenphoto
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Nov 21, 2006 14:27 |  #14

Jason, the same exact thing happened to me but on the wedding side of things. I ended up getting to work for a very successful local pro who tought me everything. I then sub-contracted for her for three years until recently (2 years ago) started my own company and branched out. It's been so awesome to see what has happened in such a short time. I'm also an engineer by trade and my name is Jasen...too weird!!!
Anyway, love the work and your use of light....beautiful!


Jasen Master
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weka2000
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Nov 21, 2006 14:42 |  #15

Jason Cole wrote in post #2292807 (external link)
I was on a train, at Parramatta and this amazing looking girl got on. I had such a strong desire to photograph her, capture her beauty and style, freeze that image in time for ever. No matter how she changed, or how old she got or how many wrinkles she developed over time, she would always have that snapshot in time.

That spoke to me. Its like you see someone though a different set of eyes. Words cannot express what you are seeing but you know a photograh would.

Some people are in colour while the rest are B&W as you walk down the street
they just jump out at you.


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Jason Cole - You asked for it ...
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