Show Your Work! – Book Review

On my lunch break I finished Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, by Austin Kleon. This is his follow up book to the amazing Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. If you are in the creative realm, do yourself a favor and buy Steal Like An Artist TODAY. It is a very quick and necessary read. If you enjoy Austin’s first book, do yourself a favor and continue the enlightenment with Show Your Work.

New capability added to the wheelhouse. Aerial videography. Super quick cut of a Sunday afternoon in Leavenworth. Shot to spice up the parks videos. Please enjoy!

Full disclosure this is me bringing on team members and takes more than the average coordination. Apparently I might have access to a Blackhawk if you want to go nuts with the budget *smile* *cough* Mark!

Contact me if you need any videography or photography done!

Katie’s Dance Studio Recital

Dance recital highlight reel for Katie’s Dance in Leavenworth, KS!
For nearly a decade I’ve been shooting dance recitals and my longest client Katie’s Acrobat and Dance Studio always puts on a great show! Check out some of the action –

If you have a studio and are shopping around for a new Dance Recital Videographer or Photographer please contact me and I’d be happy to meet with you and talk about how 29 Pixel Studios, LLC can help you out!

Random tip of the day for freelancers

GET INSURANCE! Like, today. Then make sure you know how much your deductible is and put that dollar amount into an envelope, a sub account, anywhere separate from day-to-day funds. Now your worst case scenario has extremely low impact!

I use to have coverage of $20-30,000 worth of gear $10,000 worth of computer related inventory along with the common liability stuff and it ran in the mid $400s for the year. That’s a pretty low cash amount for peace of mind!

Last month I found out my deductible went up to $1,000 (somehow that snuck past me) when a camera got knocked over. When I called to ask how much my principle would jump by lowering it to $500 the answer was THREE DOLLARS… for the YEAR! I was a bit upset.

Can you make a living, doing what you want to do?

The last day of September 2013 was the first day as a self-employed individual. My company 29 Pixel Studios, LLC went official in April of that year, but honestly, I’ve been building this business since I graduated in 2003. I knew moving from ‘part-time freelancer’ to ‘self-employed’ was inevitable.

So now I’m six-months deep into running my own business and wanted to share some thoughts. I’m writing these into a post because I’ve been asked a ton of times recently about making the switch. Ironically only a few of the people were in my ‘field’ (one of which was looking for an internship position!) but all were either breaking new ground or looking to take the world by storm.

Books upon books will describe running a successful business but to me, there is one all important question that MUST be answered.

Can you make a living, doing what you want to do?

My answers: no, yes, no.

No: I want to coach the Detroit Lions… but I can’t make a living doing it. I was blessed (and I mean BLESSED) to Coach the Patton Jr. High Tigers for about five years and to this day… it was the most exciting job I ever had. Can’t support a family on a Jr. High Football Coach salary, so… no.

Yes: I want to be a storyteller. It could be the artist captures your wedding day through photographs. A cinematographer who creates the short film that tells a birth mother about your family. Or even the guy that redesigned the approach the DoD and NATO design military symbols because… it just made sense to me. Yeah. I can do that on a level that will put food on the table.

No: Movie reviewer… I LOVE, LOOOOVE talking movie reviews with other film geeks. I mean I use the Huzzaah Scale for Pete’s sake (another post for another time I suppose).  It’s something I love. I think I’m good at it. But no one would ever PAY for it!!! Happy and Poor Movie Critic.

This post a few months ago by Lauren Panepinto is a good quick read but I wanted to highlight the first Venn diagram (all are fantastic) as it illustrates my question that must be answered. Personally I’d like to see the lower right circle read WHAT PEOPLE WILL PAY FOR vs WANT.

This is America baby, you can do what you love. We could all do what we love for free… and no customer would should complain. But when it comes time to pony up the dough, then the person paying the coin will look for WHO IS GOOD AT IT. Do you also fall into this circle as well? Perfect, Happy and Rich. (Well, lets not get crazy, I’d like to see this one as Happy and well off).

I also don’t mind doing a bit of the grind (unfulfilled + rich on the graphic). There are things I don’t particularly love but am happy to do because I’m good at it and people are willing to pay. With the end game in mind you might want to consider hiring or outsourcing if this stuff drives you crazy. For me, I don’t mind doing a bit of the work to help my business.

Bottom line here: Whatever you love… if someone, somewhere is wanting it enough to pay for it… you need to be GOOD AT IT! Never EVER stop learning.

Book Review: The Portrait Photography Course

The Portrait Photography Course: Principles, practice, and techniques: The essential guide for photographersBy Mark Jenkinson

I love reviewing books from advanced to beginner because they help keep me fresh and maybe lend insight to new teaching methods. That being said…

It seems rare to see a book appropriately titled. So many books want to apply to everyone that they end up all being the same. This book is appropriately titled. If you are interested in portrait photography and are a student, GET THIS BOOK. If you are fresh out of school and considering taking photography from hobby to part-time, GET THIS BOOK. If you have a year or two under your belt and are hitting a bit of a dry spell, GET THIS BOOK. If you call yourself a ‘self-taught photographer who just uses natural light because you don’t like how flash looks’ GET THIS BOOK.

Reading so many books I also really REALLY appreciate a well-designed book. The style of having a tutorial for 2-4 pages is great for my short attention span. But don’t be fooled the amount of information in these short pages should leave you doggy earing/bookmarking/tabbing sections. This book I plan on revisiting on some of the lessons (In your photography career you will go through un-inspirational, dry chunks of time and need a boost/assignment).

It is a fast read so each sliver of subject might be a bit shallow for some viewers. Example: There is a section on LightRoom and Photoshop… to be fair they are very decent tips, but to me, this warrants a couple books by themselves. The history is the same thing as many other books ‘did you know renaissance painters applied many of the same…’ It’s necessary to have in a book but if you’ve read anything about history you can skip this section.

I read about half of the interviews in the back and have to say Mark’s lead in to the Wedding Photographer Karen Cunningham’s interview is something EVERY wedding photog should read. You will read through the lines nodding your head in agreement, finishing with “HE UNDERSTANDS ME.”

This book didn’t blow me away at first but was good, so it was lining up to be a four-star review, but then realized I had taking pictures of segments with my phone to send to other photographers and realized, yeah, this gets five from me.


Walker Adoption Video

It truly is a treat to work on a project that reassures you… THIS is what I’m meant to do.

I was contacted by the Walkers with a unique project. They wanted a short video showing a common Saturday around the house. The purpose: This amazing family is looking to adopt a child.

The adoption website they are using now is allowing video links and what a great way for mothers to get to know the family! Spending the day with them I can truly say any child is going to be beyond blessed to enter this home. It was such an honor to be even a small part of this!!

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― Confucius

Please feel free to contact me if you are in search of video production or photography!

Unusal Feedback

I got some feedback from the father of a Bride whose wedding I recently captured. It was a complement on how I delivered the photos. “We love how it is organized. It really tells the story of the day.” Lately I’ve been fortunate to receive a LOT of very positive feedback from bride and grooms about their wedding photography or cinematography that I’ve produced, but it sure is nice to have that recognized as well! It’s not as quick to do as one would think! *SMILE*

It’s a blessing to do something you really enjoy.