FOSTER COFFEE // Photo Mixer Notes

Welcome to the Highlights and slide show images from my talk at the
Foster Coffee Photo Mixer June 13th, 2019

2007-2011 BFA Printmaking & Drawing
KENDALL COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN 

Photo as a process, not final product 

2011 - 2012 Figuring my shit out

2011 - 2012 Figuring my shit out

JR EYEWEAR COMPANY 2012 - 2014

Photo as a marketing tool

CONTINUED PHOTO EDUCATION:

Techniques & Equipment:

Ben Sasso - https://bensasso.com/education/

The Phoblographer https://www.thephoblographer.com

Lookslikefilm https://www.lookslikefilm.com

Fashion & Editorial:

The Fashion Camera https://thefashioncamera.com

Katie & Joe https://learn.katieandjoe.co

Kavyar https://kavyar.com/about

EXAMPLES OF FREELANCE WORK:

TIPS FOR WORKING WITH SMALL BUSINESSES:

COMMUNICATION
Always ask a million questions. Not all businesses know what they want visually, not all business owners know how to speak the language of design.  But you can ask leading questions to get to a point where you can think creatively about how to represent their needs.

UNDERPROMISE & OVERDELIVER 
This doesn't work for everyone, but if I'm asked to do something photographically I haven't done before, I am very up front about my inexperience. I only commit to what I absolutely know I can deliver. If I succeed then great! Expectations have been met and possible exceeded, but there’s less room for disappoint and clients get to feel like they are part of my business’ success and growth.

SHOT LIST
I never shoot without some sort of pre-determined shot list. Essentially outlining everything I have pre-determined to capture for the client during our time together.. These can be simple bulletpoint lists or really specific timelines, depending on the client’s needs. If there are a lot of moving parts this list could include how much time you'll spend on each item, plus time between shoots for set up, changing, etc. 

MOOD BOARD
Larger companies have marketing teams that will send you mood boards, but not all companies know what to do. You can help with this dialog... Have them show you what they like & don't like (seriously, Pinterest is great!) Ask them Q's about their board, specify why they like/pulled certain images and why they prioritized them (was it the lighting, post-production, composition, or just the feel). 

NETWORKING 
It's all about who you know. I've been able to have a thriving business solely on word-of-mouth and getting my work out there. Being personable and putting in the extra effort to take meetings in person has helped my lock in clients more than just with emails. 

Fun Travel Tip: Next time you go on vacation, reach out to local talent and do a shoot - being able to say you've shot abroad may increase your status at home. it seems silly, but we as consumers like spending our money on good stories, and when your client can say that they were able to shoot with you after you were "just featured in X or travelled to Y" increases your value, and puts you apart from other local talent. 

SUPPORT LOCAL
You're a local business, support other local businesses. This sort of networking is priceless and these public spaces are great arenas to get the word out that you're the person to go to if you need commercial work. Get to know what your local neighborhoods need promoting and offer your expertise. I often offer a small business discount to allow myself to work with smaller budgets.

PRACTICE
If you want more of a particular client in your queue, stage a shoot! Practice your skills and beef up your portfolio with the kind of aesthetics you want to get paid to shoot. This can be the perfect opportunity for you to explore new techniques without the pressure of perfection that comes with a client-based work.

GET TO KNOW YOUR FELLOW INDUSTRY UP-AND-COMERS 
Photographers aren't the only people you might need to look to in your commercial growth. When starting out it’s great practice to use friends as models, or shooting business owners and employees, but it's great to eventually get to know other industry people that you know you can call on when you get larger campaigns. These talents include: Models/modeling agencies, Hair and Makeup artists, set and clothing stylists, and possibly vintage stores, local boutiques, and other places that wouldn't mind you utilizing their products or spaces for other shoots. (this is also a great way to introduce yourself to prospective clients, borrow some product formally, and potentially nab them as your next client). 
The more often you shoot product, clients will ask you for recommendations on who else to bring on your team, and it's really great to have a few names you can pull from and know with much confidence what they are capable of.

CULTIVATE AN AESTHETIC AND STICK TO IT
This is super important when you're starting out. When your clients reach out to you for the first time, they should already have a decent sense of your your work looks like. It's always great to expand your skillset, but when you're emerging you want your work to have a strong consistency to it;

a cohesive style can translate into confidence in your abilities/delivery. 

and lastly,

FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT
Seriously, you’ll get there.

Leigh CobbComment