Free freelancer tip from upcoming book! Things I wish I knew before becoming a videographer!

Tip #17 Second shooting for weddings. One of the best schooling. [growth]

This is from my upcoming book on Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Videographer! If you would like more info, free samples and release date please contact me right away!

This tip applies to photographers and videographers alike. So many people who start in both photography and videography  fields want to start by offering weddings. Everyone knows that these events pay well and there are always people looking for these services. This is pretty insane if you ask me.

A wedding is a once in a lifetime event (most of the time) and there are no “re-dos”.  As a wedding service provider, you must be prepared and experienced for any situation that might creep up. From churches that are lit like the dungeon of a castle to having to shoot in the rain, wedding shooters need to have the experience and knowledge to handle whatever happens!

29 Pixel Studios Weddign Cinematography / Videography Kansas City KS MO

Instead of jumping in with both feet, I strongly recommend to new shooters to second shoot for established professionals. Communicate that you are looking to build experience and possibly a portfolio. Tell them up front that you would like to use the footage you shoot to start your business in a year or so. This is important. If the primary shooter is not aware of this and then see’s their client’s footage on your site, that can create a messy situation. However, some are cool with it.

Instead of jumping in with both feet, I strongly recommend to new shooters to look for opportunities to second shoot for established professionals. Build a relationship with an established photographer in your community and communicate that you are looking to gain experience and build a portfolio.  Offer to work for free or a discounted rate in exchange for their mentorship and sharing their knowledge. This will be invaluable for you and your career moving forward.

Explain upfront that you would like to use the footage you shoot to start your business, when you feel ready (in a year or so). This is important. If the primary shooter is not aware of this and then sees their client’s footage on your site, it can create a messy situation (as well as open you up to copyright infringement and issues with model releases). However, with pre-shooting awareness, you can most likely work out an arrangement that benefits both of you.

Every videographer is different, some might release the rights for you to use the footage for a lower contract shooting rate. Some may have contracts that state all footage can only be used by the primary shooter. Communicate with the lead and respect the agreement. After all you will soon be establishing these agreements with your crew and a good relationship with a mentor is an invaluable resource. Most likely, the primary shooter is further along their personal journey to mastery, the time spent on with him/her is invaluable. If you get yourself paired up with an established professional, just watching them work for a few months can rival multiple semesters of film school.

29 Pixel Studios Wedding Photography / Photographer Kansas City, KS, MO, LeavenworthSame for photographers – in addition to having your primary shooter’s permission to share your images, you will also need your client’s. Make sure this is discussed and included in the photographer’s contract. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have captured an amazing image to grow your portfolio and then find out that you can’t use it via a “Cease and Desist” order from the photographer’s client. A wedding day is crazy, and an experienced photographer will know what to expect as far as capturing the little moments that brides love. It’s so much more involved than taking bridal and groom’s portraits – and if your only wedding experience is as a bride/groom or a guest, you have no idea what you will be getting yourself into. A wedding photographer can easily be expected to double as a wedding planner, coordinator and therapist, all while capturing first class images in any given lighting situation. If you aren’t ready to play all of those roles, then you need more time as a second shooter.

I second shot as a photographer for three years. Honestly, I don’t recommend taking that long, but for me, it worked. I had a job that was very comfortable and wanted to get my skills really locked down before being in charge of capturing someone’s wedding day. I understood 100% that there were no options for a re-shoot.

In addition to learning from someone further along in the journey you will get to see how to handle challenging situations. “Act like you’ve been there before.” A popular thing for coaches to say to celebrating athletes. Being there before means, calm down to the excitement and get back to work.

Real World Examples:


  • You are shooting a wedding. You have a few minutes to get the beautiful ring shot. You opt to take the ring outside and place it on a pile of leaves. You line up the shot and then… a gust of wind blows the leaf along with the rings into a pile of unknown mystery.
  • You are a second shooter for a wedding and the main shooter frantically comes out of the church and says, “I just dropped my camera and broke my main lens. I only have one other.”
  • Your teammate is shooting the ladies so you handle the guys. You compose the shot with the man of the hour and the groom looks at you and says, “No.” This by the way happens at the very beginning of your time with him and the groomsmen.

These are just three of the many situations I’ve experienced first hand. These types of situations can be terrifying and, if you’re inexperienced, they WILL throw you off your game. Being exposed to similar situations as a second shooter will have taught you how to handle them with grace and experience. Because if you are thrown off your game and you can’t recover, you leave yourself open to not delivering what the client expects, poor reviews and word of mouth, and before your business is off the ground, you are dead in the water.

Take Away: Find a mentor…or at least someone experienced that will let you work for them as a second shooter so that you know what you’re doing before you promise your clients the world and can’t deliver!

Again, this is from my upcoming book on things I wish I knew before becoming a videographer! If you would like more info, free samples and release date please contact me right away!

Big thanks to professional photographer Lindsey Slattery! for helping edit and contributing some extra tid bits!

Six words you must ask the client

Nick Schale - 29 Pixel Studios -  Kansas City Videographer and PhotographerTrust me when I say, others value your work. They are calling to ‘kick the tires’ of your business. Maybe “How much do you charge for a wedding?” Obviously, they value you enough to ask the question… then you reply, $2,000. “OH MY!” Is their response. So, they did not value you that much.

Perhaps a client calls needing photography for a product shoot. Understanding that you are not trying to make a few people happy (Bride/groom/family) but the WHOLE WORLD love the photos and that these photos will add value to the company by increasing sales you value your time and talent accordingly.

If the use is not absolutely crystal clear, you as a photographer (or videographer) have to ask this simple question, “How will this work be used?”

In my contracts for family shoots, for example, it says the client cannot re-sale my work. Why? Well, think of how you would feel driving home on the interstate and seeing your artwork of two adorable children running through a field with, “Call Big Bank XYZ and invest in your children’s’ future!”

Wait a minute!? You were hired to do a family session! Not advertise so that a bank can increase profits!

You might be comfortable with your normal rate, I’m not here to judge, lord knows there are plenty of $500 wedding photographers. But I am here to tell you to remember the six words you must ask the client!

“How will this work be used?”

If you would like my company to ask you the question “How will this work be used?” Please feel free to visit my business 29 Pixel Studios and contact me today!

Read more as a new years resolution

Read more as a new years resolution should be more common than most. So much awesomeness in books. I seldom read for ‘entertainment’ because I get so much joy out of business books and self-help books.

Recently I recorded a podcast on Business Tips for Creatives about my top book picks from 2016. Mostly business related but I hope you enjoy! 

Small business owner list for the next day

I’m curious, how many people make a to-do list the night before. I did last night. So far, success. This is day one. Let’s see how many days this lasts!

Just like every small business owner out there, I have a thousand things happening all at once. Hiring an employee didn’t really make things less busy either. In fact, I’ve never worked harder. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, just more drive to succeed.

The messy part is, so many of these things are small. Post on 29 Pixel Studios. Record a new business tips podcast for Business Tips for Creatives. Don’t forget!

Mix those with the ‘big ideas’ that I want to accomplish and you have a mess. Well, last night, I went ahead and took a yellow notepad and not only made a list, but dedicated parts of the day to each section. Yup, made an old fashion schedule!

On my schedule:

  • 8:00-9:30 product photography for a client
  • 9:30-10:00 recap meeting and email to potential client that I met with yesterday
  • 29 Pixel Studios adds a Ronin-M to the mix!10:00-11:30 finally open up my Ronin-M… which, I then had to RMA back to BH… because.. well, bought it used (((TIP ON BUYING USED)))
  • 11:30-12:30 Lunch
  • 12:30-1:00 Podcast work (which got skipped because of planning for a trip to the NAB Show… I blame YOU Sean! Buuuut, ended up finding a cheaper flight by $200, so. THANKS SEAN!)
  • 1:00-2:00 Post to all three of my sites, doing that now, but honestly, probably going to miss one.
  • 2:00-4:00 Work on a MASSIVE spreadsheet for a big ol gig opportunity.

So, guess I better get back to it! … or… pick out a hotel room in Vegas! Sean!!!!!


Videography in Kansas City with 29 Pixel Studios

videography in Kansas City and photographyWhen you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. Not cliché, it’s real. Here is a picture of me at a gig where the client is known by three letters. N.F.L. Yeah, my company 29 Pixel Studios was hired to do some videography in Kansas City for the Fuel Up to Play 60 event for the second year in a row!

Check out the article tomorrow here: 29 Pixel Studios!


One of my big projects for 2017 is going to be redoing my office. Since, you know, well I spend a lot of time there. However, as a freelance photographer and videographer in Kansas City, you get some pretty cool offices. This day, here is the view from my office.videography in kansas city

img_20160513_094755Shout out to CAME-TV and their fantastic light panels. Here is one of the two I brought with me. If you are looking for an affordable and professional solution. These have been in my arsenal for about a year now and I highly recommend them!!


Level up your Life – Book Review

Over the weekend I told myself, “Self! Time to go through this book!” 5 XP earned!

Steve Kamb has crafted a master piece for anyone who has logged more than 50 hours playing video games as far back as the original NES. With constant references to Star Wars, Goonies, Jason Borne, Zelda, Lord of the Rings I started to think that I might have multiple personalities. One of which is a fantastic author!

“Never stop learning.” Comes out of my mouth a dozen times a week it seems, so I’m a big fan of self-help/growth books. Stroll through the hallways of under self-help and you will be bombarded with rows of great books. Written by gurus, some people just trying to make a buck, a lot of entrepreneurs, and ‘living the best you, you can’ type titles. “Level Up Your Life.” YELLS at me.

The content does not disappoint. Stop living your level 80 paladin’s life and start living YOUR OWN ADVENTURE. Why did we spend days, WEEKS, MONTHS grinding out crafting for our pixel characters instead of spending that time grinding in the gym for OURSELVES?

While this is the creator of it’s not just physical health through exercise. In fact, the work out section is maybe a few pages. This is about your life!
Seriously gamers… get this book!

Two good books on Wealth

Those who know me, know I’m fascinated by finances. Going into college as an accounting major I quickly realized that for a few more credit hours I could be a triple major and add economics and finances. *A couple years later I realized that for my happiness, my career had to be in the creative field. Freelancing for 7 years and now about to start year four of my own business, these classes were far from wasted.

Continuing education in your career is important, but continuing your education in personal finance is critical. Well, critical if you want to be financially independent, wealthy, retire early or just NOT live paycheck to paycheck.

Reading articles, listening to TED Talks, financial coaching, and books. These are my favorite ways to broaden my financial education.

The latest two books I went through are: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealth by Stanley Thomas and And 100 Way$ to Create Wealth by Steve Chandler

These two make a great one-two-punch for wealth. I highly recommend getting both of these and starting with Stanley Thomas’ book first. The Millionaire Next Door is fantastic for those who are living paycheck to paycheck and need enlightenment for a mental shift. Keeping up with the Joneses is a guaranteed path to failure. It is easy to see big houses, nice clothes, friends going out all the time, and nice houses. What you don’t see is their credit card debt. Live below your means, frugality, savings are the most common themes among people worth 1-10 million dollars.

Notice that salary or inheritance are not in the most common themes. 80% of these millionaires are first generation millionaires. Following The Millionaire Next Door with 100 Way$ to Create Wealth is a great combo.

My personal favorite is to ask for something ridiculous once a day. I’m going to implement this every day for the next ten days. Then I’m going to flip through the book, find another thing to add and do both of those the next 10 days. I’ll keep you posted!

Oh and in the spirit of being frugal… both of these books are available on Hoopla. A free audio-book app provided by most local libraries!

Memory card strategy on the wedding day

A wedding photographer friend asked me about my strategy with memory cards.

In a perfect world, you have a camera with two memory slots. I’m not sure all the models that do and don’t but my camera of choice does, the 5D Mark III. This might be something to consider when looking at your next camera upgrade.

What I do, is put in a 64GB SD card shooting either full or medium RAW. This has priority over the other slot for deleting/rating (more on that later). Then a backup JPEG going to the 32GB, normally full-JPEG. I prefer SanDisk or Sony. A 64GB Sandisk is only $35 and free shipping on Amazon Prime. Pretty hard to beat that deal.

I have shoot to the SD because they are more affordable. CF cards are still a bit pricier. A 32GB CF card is around $40-70.

If your camera only has one memory card slot, like most cameras. Two choices:

  1. A BIG card; the 64GB is my choice. RISK: If that card fails… you lose EVERYTHING.
  2. Another choice is a handful of 8GB cards. Then I’d say keep them in their original cases. Right pocket “all- RIGHT- to use” Left pocket = “LEFT alone.” If you have tossed the original cases in the trash, get a multi card case. Here is a case that is water resistant and holds both CF and SD cards –, for $20, which is pretty cheap. I prefer the hard cases vs the soft ones.

Another overall strategy I recommend; rating your photographs in camera instead of culling them down. At some point you will accidentally delete a photo while culling and rating them instead protects you from that mistake. I rate the delete photos as 1-star and the signature shots as 5-stars. When I get home I copy everything form the SD card to my computer, then again to an external hard drive. In Adobe Bridge (or Lightroom if you prefer) I then move all 1-star photos to a folder titled, you guessed it, 1-star. This is a very conservative approach but I do not see a down side. Rating photos is just as quick as deleting them, not to mention if you want to do a sneak peak, boom, just use your 5-star rated photos.

This post was created with wedding photography in mind, but honestly I use this method for everything, family photography, senior photos, event photography, etc.

Hope this was helpful!


Who needs a Photographer or Videographer

They don’t need you – They need to want you.

Here’s the deal, no one really ‘needs’ photography or videography. This might explain the huge variance of acceptable prices. Mix that with the massive skill range and you have a bit of a mess.

Marketing videos, commercials, internal video products are things customers want. Wanting these products, not needing them hurts the overall budget. You have your prices and maybe a little wiggle room, but honestly there is always someone out there willing to do a project for pennies (and perhaps they are worth that, but the client doesn’t know). How do we freelancers handle this problem?

Most likely, they already want you, now they must feel like they NEED you!

The best way to accomplish this? ALWAYS produce quality work, stuff you are proud of. The word might spread, might not, but no negative words will. It’s on you to help influence the word getting around.

Perhaps after the client goes a different (cheaper/less experienced) option you politely thank them and a month later, ask how it went and maybe include a link to a product you recently completed suggesting, “Maybe we could work together in the future on something like this…”

Remember the kid coming right out of college is hungry. With all the latest tech wiz and do-dads, and worse for you, they are willing to work for very little to get their real world experience up.

Learn something new today! Polish your products!

Remind customers that they NEED you specifically.

It’s the economy stupid

I can’t stand those who prey off the public using fear tactics! Also can’t stand the flip side of that same coin, “best economy EVER.”

My quest with this post: ECONOMY.

Things aren’t as great as the left say and not nearly as bad as the right say. Here are the best numbers I can find and broken down as easily as my intelligence allows!

The overly happy lovey dovey left wingers: “Unemployment rate: 4.9%” (this is the “U3” and some consider a flawed number because it does not include different employment situations). The economic theory “Phillips Curve” says that 5% unemployed is a perfect balance (if inflation stays at 2%) (if EVERYONE is employed there is no way to create new positions). So, yay U.S.A.  BUT! There are six different measurements of unemployment U-1 through U-6.

Another wakeup call: Ready for some really geeky numbers: Another calculation for consideration is the “U6”. Which is U5 (discouraged works and all other marginally attached workers) + Part-time workers who want to work full-time, but cannot due to economic reasons (i.e. underemployment). The U6 number is 9.6%. This number peaked (like most horrible numbers) after the 2008 disaster at 18% and has steadily decreased year-by-year since then. – Then if we take the U6-U3, we get a measurement to see ‘how easy it is to find a job if you want one’ (lower is better). U6-U3=4.8%… looks low, BUT this is too high in my humble opinion, by about 1%. Booo.

Too see all U-1 through U-6 numbers from 2006 to 2016: They are VERY closely correlated. My conclusion for unemployment is, yeah, go ahead and use the typical ‘U3’ number.

Also, a recent article explains the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits is near the 43-year low of 248k. Economist say 300k is a healthy threshold for a labor market. YAY!

62% = Labor force participation rate, which is people employed or unemployed looking for better jobs. This is the lowest it’s been in 38 years. (in those 38 years it ranged from 67% to a high of 62%, in other words a 5% swing). This means 37% of the people in the work force, or 94-million people NOT looking for a job annnnd, not looking anymore.

GDP for the U.S. is 17.9 Trillion (hey! Almost matches our national debt!… almost) This number has followed an EXTREMLY predictable pattern starting in 1960.

Bottom line here: no political party, no event (other than 2008 global collapse), no tax system, has shaken this number. Even the 2008 collapse, next year, boom, it was right back on track. This number is following a 55-year trend. (Also a fun number to look at=GDP per capita… follows the same upward trend, which is a good thing). Yay! Side note, the WORLD, yes WORLD GDP is about 73 trillion (2015) so Merica = whoopin butt! In fact, the U.S. is by far the #1 leader in GDP at 17.9! all of the EU comes close to us (yes ALL of the EU) but China is #2 at 10.9. And Japan is #3 with only 4! So, YAAAAY US! (back to the GDP per capita, we are listed around 10th… DOH! China #84th and Japan #27 for what it’s worth)

Welfare; if you dig into the statistics… it doesn’t take long to see this system is extremely broken. To me personally this number is even more deceiving than the different ways we record unemployment. Percent of the US Population on welfare is around 35%! (you can make $1,000 a month and still be on welfare, so they might be working, just at very low paying jobs or part-time). 100 million recipients on Welfare?! This is an easy doom and gloom thing to yell.

According to 39 states pay more than $8/hr in welfare. And the saddest stat… 8 states pay more than the average salary of a U.S. Teacher.

Of the 100million recipients, of different kinds… the estimate is this; $1 trillion a year in welfare (fed/state/local). Of that, nearly two-thirds goes to Medicare (which provides health coverage to around 55 million people who are over age 65 or have disabilities). That’s A LOT.

My opinion rant: Welfare needs to be reformed with the goal of lifting those (who are able) out of poverty. Medicare cost needs to be addressed. Religious or not, I believe we will be judged on how we take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.

The dollar is very strong (which could be good or bad.) Good for world travelers! And cuts the price of imports, but the flip side is true. Strong dollar means our exports take a hit. So, yay, and boo.

Any week now, our national debt will hit 20 trillion. Good news… we can print more money! We literally could print 20 trillion dollars and pay everything off. The 2% inflation would change… probably to 5,000% but hey, debt solved. Sure a loaf of bread will be $300. Anyone want to buy Iraqi Dinaris or Zimbabwean dollars? So, if the current value of the dollar is strong then we must be printing less money.

Historic spikes in the national debt are during war times. Civil War, WWI, WWII and our current war on terror. *Tie it into politics and it’s easy to say “Obama added 10trillion dollars!” (because, … it’s true) and “Bush added 5trillion” truth is they both doubled it while in office. Right-wingers love Reganomics and Left-wingers love the Clinton years. Regardless of which side of the isle, Regan stabilized the deficit (and got screwed due to the central bank jacking up interest rates to nearly 20%) and Clinton eliminated it (having a surplus in the budget (and to be fair, had a republican house/senate during this time)). I cannot stand the current political view of EITHER/OR for reducing spending or raising taxes. It needs to be a reformed by closing insanely large loop holes and include both tax and spending changes.

So, things aren’t as bad as fear-mongers want you to believe and we certainly have a lot of work to do before saying, ‘4.9% unemployment, problem solved!”