Photography: Personal Work, Social Media, Marketing and Promos
Wowzahs! I havent posted in a long time! This year has been a strange year for a few reasons. I have encountered a number of injuries. Most recently I suffered a pretty sizable mountain bike crash. If you were to rank it 1-10, I would have scored a heavy 8. I took a risk and it did not pay off well. The reward was a face plant on a rock and some new battle scars. I looked like I had gone half a round with Mohmad Ali. I am taking a break from the downhill stuff, permanently. With my career and work on the major uprise, I would rather focus my energies on taking major risks with my business as opposed to doing things that will delay my work or put me on the bench.. "Put me in coach." Life: "No, you take the back seat and heal." Ain't nobody got time to waste healing..
I suffered a minor knee injury in February. It was a two part doozy. I was taking a yoga class and that was the major factor. However, when I was hiking the Pacific Northwest, a beautiful spot along the Oregon Coast, I twisted my leg while turing on a muddy corner and my knee didnt do what it was supposed to. That was a fun couple of weeks. NOT! A few weeks after the knee was better, I had a back injury put me out for almost a week. That came out of no where. What was mentioned was that due to the knee injury and compensating for that, my back was like, "hey, you, I'm going to quite out on your for a few weeks.." That was also not cool.
Growing up I always heard, from my mother, "If you want to play, you are going to pay." Well, this year I have played and I paid. This kind of risk, when you own a business and do not have a large staff to take over is challenging. When I was with the back injury, that was the worst of it. I had two full weeks of work and walking around, carrying lights, cameras, and shooting was very tough. I was not very happy to be in that condition. Like I said, I want to take bigger risks with my business, not so much my health. I am planning some awesome, fun, new marketing strategies that will be bringing me to new places. I am striving to shoot some new work and travel more. All the new marketing I am going to be implementing will be the foundation for this to come to fruition.
I firmly believe that I was born 20 years to late. I was just telling that to the guy who processes my film. Yes, I said film. I made a conscious decision a few weeks back. All personal work is going to be photographed using film. I have some pretty awesome film cameras. I just scored a vintage Yashica range finder. I have an awesome Nikon F4, a 35mm Canon from the 70's, an older twin lens reflex, not a Yashica or Rollie, but something fun and simple to play with.
Last week I was working on a marketing task and the light was splendid. Perfect golden hour light. I closed my macbook and grabbed a bag of film cameras and hit the road. I had no idea what I was going to shoot, but I knew where I wanted to go. I drove a half hour north of the studio and found some fields with views of mountains and some farms. I shot primarily with the Yashica, playing with the simplistic mechanisms that are so well engineered into this body.
I am not a hipster. I am a photographer. I am not shooting film to give people that aura that I am oh so cool, like a hipster. I am shooting film because I grew up with film. I worked in a few different 1 hour photo labs. I shot with film in school 1999-2001 and then again in college 2006-2009 and 2010-2012. If I was born 20 years earlier, most of my work would have been on film. Film is different than digital and I will explain below the images, shown below.
How many of you are guilty of taking a photo into Light Room and hitting a preset button? How many of you are also guilty of just allowing that preset to be the total result of the work? I know a lot of people rely heavily on presets and actions, (if you are using photoshop) as a means of making their photos look the way they do. The photographs above were photographed on 400 speed Fuji film. I scanned them in once I got the negatives from the lab. I spotted out all the dust that appeared during the scanning. I have not made a single local correction, exposure, brightness, or corrected the colors. I will not and do not want to. While I could nit pick the images, for example, the image with the trucks, I could go into photoshop, play with some levels, some curves, adding some darkness to the sky, but I don't want to. That is not important to the image. The image is paired with the photograph of the steering wheel shot through the window. The point of the photographs are about seeing, composing, using the mechanics of the camera in conjunction with film, and showing the work as part of a collection of images of what I see. The stories I tell through film are scripted through composition and light, not by the latest presets or actions.
I was explaining the cameras to a friend of mine. He is a few years younger than I am. He didnt understand a word of what I was saying because he, like so many other people, including most youth, will not have the benefit of learning from the use of film. In some ways I am keeping film alive, for me, by using these cameras and producing work with film. It is my way of honoring where photography has come from. It is my way of saying, this is what photography was and can still be, for those who know what to do and how to do it. There are still a lot of resources to learn film photography. There are new manufacturers producing film and keeping it thriving. There is a surge in people, them damn hipsters, buying vintage film cameras. Film is still going to be around for some time. Go play...
I am on Instagram as @jeffreybphotography I have been using IG for a few years now and have posted, as of today 2567 photos. For a while it was anything goes. Now, this account, is soly for my business. I share work, current mostly, behind the scenes, and humors moments on sets. I share what I am seeing at sets, my equipment, and the life of a photographer. I am getting a fair amount of little red hearts. I have yet to land a big shoot because of IG or connecting with someone on IG that leads to a great shoot. I am struggling to get to that point. I know that a lot of it has to do with where I am located most days. The work that I want to shoot is not in my region. I am relying on my other marketing efforts to lead to that. While my IG is a major component of my branding and identity as a photographer, it is taking a little bit more time than I would like. That is fine. I see it as a challenge and will not only increase the followers, fans, but increase the potential to use it as a means to score big shoots. You dont need to be a social marketing guru to use the app, but you need to be posting the right content and directing it towards the right audience, both in terms of fans and followers, but also towards the people that will see it and want to work with you. That is what I am working on, aside from shooting film, and creating new marketing strategies to implement.
Until the next post, stay cool my friends.