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!

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!


Jonny Hackett

I would like to take some time to acknowledge my favorite photographer of 2015. Jonny Hackett’s work is so much fun to admire. Jonny Hackett is the man behind No. 9 Photography and I strongly recommend visiting/liking his Facebook page: (his ‘official’ website can be found here

I met Jonny when doing my ‘giving back’ project ( at the 2014 Planet Comicon and at that time his stuff was good, really good. But following him throughout 2015, you see his work go from really good to flat out awe-inspiring. His work keeps my jaw on the ground and continues to inspire. If I could use two words which describe Jonny, they would be talented and humble.

Great work in 2015 Jonny, seeing where you came from and the path you have taken has me pumped for what you will accomplish in 2016. Thank you for inspiring me to be a better photographer!

Of all the photographs I have seen and studied, from ALL photographers… this is my Favorite Photograph of 2015:

I’ve been looking forward to doing a shoot with a fire performer for such a long time now and it was well worth the…

Posted by No. 9 Photography on Saturday, 30 May 2015

the fellas

the fellas is a photograph taken at Fidel's Cigar Shop in Kansas City, MO 64111. The groom heard about a photo I was part of in a previous wedding and wanted to take aspects from that and add to it by putting the setting in the cigar shop. Major thank you to Scott at Fidel's for being so extremely kind.

Occasionally a bride or groom has an idea of a shot that they want to try.

For this wedding I was hired by Shades of Gray to lead, Briana was already booked for the wedding day so she asked me to lead the shoot. We all met months before the wedding and had a great time talking about Nick + Lea, Shades of Gray and my work.

Part of the conversation was about setting up/posing for my signature shots. As an example I talked about a previous shot which had a Goodfellas style and Nick lovFidel's cigar shoped that idea. Nick suggested Fidel’s Cigar shop in Westport Kansas City, MO for the setting.  I called them to make sure everything would be cool. Talked with Scott and wanted to become a smoker myself. Such a great guy and fantastic shop.

When talking about the concept I did not realize there were going to be thirteen people in the shot! Logistics instantly became an issue. Thankfully a few customers were very cooperative in letting us take over the store for a minute. I decided illuminating the wall behind me would be the best option for the room. Had a second flash being held by an assistant firing as well.

Overall very happy with how this shot turned out and more importantly the groom was a big fan!


DSLR mini boot camp review

A couple weeks ago I taught my first DSLR mini-boot camp. It was geared towards new DSLR owners and getting new photographers off full auto. I am calling the class Getting Off Green! A farewell to Full Auto.

The class was a success and will become one of my services offered. I’ll be capping the size of the group at five people so I can keep it personable and tailor the class to fit the attendee’s skill level and needs.

We met for about 15-30 minutes and discussed terminology and the fundamental three components that create a photograph. Then we talked about taking control of those components by everyone taking photos, adjusting one element and seeing the difference. (A lot of “ah-HA”s during this!)

Once our photographers were ready to put the new knowledge into action, we did a mini photo walk. We discussed key elements to light and how to compensate for environmental conditions.

Some people can learn by reading books, blogs, magazines but I believe a majority of the people get the most from learning in small groups, hands on, with a teacher. It was a pleasure to teach this group and I look forward to the next class of Getting Off Green! A farewell to Full Auto.

Contact me for more information.


I much prefer listening to podcasts over music over the past handful of years. I’m always searching for input on good podcasts out there. Below are my current favs!


  • TWiT Photo
  • TWiP – This week in photo
  • Pro Photo Show


  • Film Riot
  • Creative Cow (Adobe After Effects Tutorials / Photoshop )


  • TEDTalks (GREAT podcasts. Video/Business/Education)
  • Frame Rate
  • Stuff to make you smarter
  • Diggnation (so sad, no longer)
  • Rooster Teeth
  • The Totally Rad Show


  • TWiT – This Week in Tech
  • Tekzilla