Shooting for Brands: Know your Worth!

Over the past year or so, I have begun to shoot more for clients and brands, large or small. Throughout that time, I have had to remind myself to “KNOW MY WORTH.” Most of the “start-up” brands that reach out to me via Instagram or email me, tend to always gravitate towards sending me free gear in in return for content. While this is “nice” and seems like a good offer, and in some instances it might be, if you want to grow and make photography a career, rather than just a hobby or a way to get free stuff, then you need to KNOW YOUR WORTH. By this I mean, what is your craft worth to you? How much time shooting and editing will go into the content that you are going to or might be creating for this company take? Once you know this, then you can begin approaching brands or replying to their messages with what YOU can do for them and what it will cost them and WHY you believe your work is worth what you are asking. If they shut you down….MOVE ON. There are more opportunities out there for you to take advantage of. One piece of advice I took from a close friend of mine is if you want something bad enough go after it, they will not just come to you. You have to grind, hustle, and put in hours of work to get that ONE brand to finally say YES! You might email 1-20 brands and get one yes or maybe not a single yes/reply. DO NOT let that discourage you from obtaining your goals. There are SO many brands that I would love to work for and trust me…I have emailed them and done what I can, but still have gotten shut down, but I will continue to reach out to them periodically to hopefully get that YES one day! If you take one thing away from this it is to always know that your work is worth more than free gear or “features” on their account. It might sound enticing to you, but look at the bigger picture. If you are wanting to be a full time photographer, whether you shoot brands, portraits, weddings, etc……KNOW YOUR WORTH and NEVER give up! You will not regret it in the end!

Is Social Media Ruining Photography?

There can be a lot of controversy around this topic, but I want to give my opinion on photography and how it plays into social media. As a photographer, social media is subsequently how I even began to fall in love with the process of taking photos, editing, collaborating with brands, etc. If it wasn’t for platforms such as Instagram and YouTube I probably wouldn’t have even realized my passion for creating and sharing my work with others. Let me bore you with how I began photography and the role social media played.

I was just your average Instagram user in late 2016 following friends, family, celebrities, etc. Then I was invited to an “InstaMeet” with my buddy…..this is when the addiction began. I showed up to the event with just my iPhone and was snapping simple “touristy” photos. During this meetup, I was engaging with the other photographers, conversing about cameras, settings, etc like I knew what I was talking about. I probably sounded like a total newbie. Despite not knowing a damn thing about photography, I found a lot of enjoyment out of taking the photos that I captured. When I got back to my house and used Snapseed to edit my photos (don’t shame me), I fell in love with the process of editing a photo. I loved a few of the photos so much that I shared them instantly to Instagram. I got such a positive feedback from the community that I wanted more. It was then that I purchased a camera, started engaging with other photographers on Instagram, and watching tutorials on YouTube. This all sounds good, right….? Not entirely. Let me explain.

I began shooting what is known as “hype” photos. Basically, these are photos that are popular and do well on Instagram, resulting in followers, likes, and getting features from large accounts. Now, don’t get me wrong these photos look cool, and sure, they get you a lot of love from the photography community, but at the end of the day is it what you truly enjoy shooting and sharing? I loved all the feedback I was getting from the community, features, follows, and all that when posting these “hype” photos, that I found myself constantly going out looking to get an Instagram feature or shooting for likes and follows. DO NOT FALL INTO THAT TRAP, FRIENDS! I absolutely hate that it took me almost 2 years to find what I most passionate about in photography. Now, I create images that make me happy and shoot FOR ME, not Instagram or Facebook. Just remember, it’s just social media, an application on your phone. Do not let it dictate what you shoot or what your perceive to be an interesting photo opportunity. The only way you will grow as a photographer is to constantly shoot different subjects, think outside the box, and share what you love with the community.

So I want some feedback from you all. Do you believe Social Media has ruined photography? Let me know in the comments.

What's In My Camera Bag?

I get asked a lot about what I carry with me when I go shoot. but to be honest, it differs on the type of photography I plan on going out to do. I will provide you all with a brief breakdown on what I carry with me at all times and what I carry with me for specific types of photography.

General Carry:

One a typical day of photography, I will carry my Incase Camera Pro Pack, which will include the following gear:

  • Sony A7iii

  • 2 Spare Camera Batteries (Wasabi)

  • Sony 16-35mm F/2.8 GM

  • Canon 70-200 F/2.8 IS II

  • Sigma MC-11 Sony Mount

  • Mavic Pro Platinum w/ 3 extra batteries

  • Hoya Polarizer

  • Cleaning Tools (Lens Pen, Micro Fiber Cloths, Alcohol Wipes, etc)

  • Anker External Battery (20,100 mAh)

  • Giottos Rocket Air Blaster

  • ND1000 Filter (Daytime Long Exposures)

  • Mefoto Road trip Tripod or Gorillapod.

Street Photography:

If I am planning on only shooting street, I will utilize my peak design sling backpack. This allows me to carry light, be versatile, and only carry the essentials. To be efficient, I will have with me the following:

  • Sony A7iii w/ 2 spare batteries

  • Canon 70-200 F/2.8 IS ii

  • Sigma MC-11 Sony Mount

  • Cleaning Tools w/ Giottos Rocket Air Blaster

It is very important when shooting street you are carrying light. It makes moving around a lot easier, not to mention, you are more discreet. I can’t tell you how many times I have shot street with all my gear and it has made getting particular shots harder due to the angle, very uncomfortable and cumbersome, and you stick out like a sore thumb to everyone.

Urban Photography:

When going on trips to shoot different cities, whether the trip involves abandoned buildings, roofs, cityscapes, etc. I try to carry the bare essentials that will allow me to be quick. There might be scenarios where, unfortunately, I need to run. If that is the case, it is important to be carry light to make maneuvering around beams, fences, walls, etc a bit easier. I will typically carry the following gear at all times:

  • Sony A7iii

  • Sony 16-35 F/2.8 GM

  • Mefoto Road trip Tripod or Gorillapod

  • Flashlight

  • Grippy Gloves

  • Cleaning Tools w/ Giottos Rocket Air Blaster

  • Hand Cleaner

  • Face Mask (Respirator)

These are basically everything that I carry with me in order to stay light, quick, efficient, and obviously safe. It is imperative that when going into abandoned buildings, especially with mold to always wear a respirator. No one wants to end up with mesothelioma. A lot of these essentials are pretty self explanatory. Just remember, urbex is not a game. It can be dangerous and most of the time illegal. Know what you are doing and don’t go to these locations vandalizing the property with graffiti, breaking windows, etc. Take your photos and leave.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions on gear that i would recommend. I will reply with the links. I hope you all enjoyed and got some ideas for new gear to add to your arsenal!

Thanks for all the support!

What is Photography to Me?

To me, photography is more than a still image representing a moment in time, it is a part of who I am. Each image I take, share, print, etc is an image that portrays a part of my personality, my vision, and my dreams. I shoot a lot of different styles of photography and in a way that makes my vision different. I can walk around the city and photograph people, architecture, cityscapes, etc, all day long, but what do those images represent? Yeah, they might look cool and sell prints, but out of 500 or so photos I might only actually connect with 1 - 2 images. Why? Simple. When I take most photos, I am looking to capture a story, especially when shooting street. This does not always happen, but it is my goal. Telling a story with photos helps the audience think, question, and quite possibly feel the emotions that are being represented in the photo. So in essence, photography is more than a hobby or a way to keep myself “busy.” It is my passion, my way of escape, and my way to share my views with the world through my lens.