Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Add your creative ideas (but take directions) !

We had an incredible experience with Tate Austin Hahn last week. I was really excited to work with them.
And what I noticed they liked the most was when we added the creative input to the shots, the client really accepted it.
Yes, sometimes you may be in front of an Art Director or an Art Buyer who have an idea that they talked about with the Creative Director and they don't need you to say a single thing. However, I learned that it won't happen anything if you put a little spice into it and before doing it, ask.
A photographer is not only a person who shoots what is told to, they are after all: artists. They see how a simple rose for you and me, can be a masterpiece if you are able to use the correct light, the aperture, the speed and the angle.
While doing all of my research I have realized that this is an advantage that Diego has as a photographer. Diego really steps it up and talks to the client, suggest an idea and if he/she takes it, good and if, you did not lose anything.

When a client asks you to see the photo, let him/her. Do so.
Sometimes you get more of a photo when they like it and they sometimes have to see how good/bad they are posing to give an even more nicer pose. In the case from Tate Austin Hahn, we even had two different shots of people just so they were comfortable with their final shots. It is important that they are 100% satisfied if you want to work again with them. And, remember if they are 100% satisfied they will recommend you. Satisfaction= more work.

And, last... in the advertising world, that who gives you directions will be the Art and/or Creative Directors. When you are dealing with the client directly, deal with him/her. So, if they want to do a little bit of direction, let them. After all and this is what I say, they are the ones who are paying.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Law of Attraction in our Business

How beautiful it is and it's simple: To think positive and receive positive feedback.

The law of attraction doesn't take a lot to explain however I do think that photographers, art producers and people who are in the art business should consider applying it to their lives.
In the past days I have been doing a lot of research, I have bought many books that I will later review and I have listened to photography consultants. What I can tell you in a summary from what I have heard is this:
Yes, there are many photographers doing art.
Not all of them are artists.
Not all of them are selling.
Not all of them are marketing themselves.
Not all of them use social media tools like Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, etc.
And not all of them work as hard to get it. So, go get it.
It is yours.

If you have a product to sell, sell it and believe in it. It is all matter of attitude. If your mind is concentrated and focused on having more clients, you will get them.

Stand out. Let your photography stand out. It's only a matter of time.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tate Austin Hahn's Photo Shoot

If you didn't get a chance to log on to my blog or to Diego's this past Thursday and Friday, don't worry. You are able to see what went on this past days at the Tate Austin Hahn's photo shoot. We had around 24 different people to photograph and around 30 different sets within the same location: the client's office. I am only considering 6 out of the 24 we photographed. Take a look.

Russ is the tallest guy at Tate Austin Hahn. He is known as "video guy" so, we had to use the camera as a prop. Imagine photographing Diego without his camera, impossible. So, we had to do the same with Russ. He is TALL. So, Diego got up the ladder and shot from an angle where you can see that Russ is looking up. You may think that he will look shorter, because of the angle...not. Not at all. Russ looks TALL but I gotta say, this is one of my favorite.

Shelly Gupta. She was nervous to be photographed by Diego. But I gotta say, I was amazed how relaxed she looks in the final shot. She looks confident and totally up for the photograph. When we talked about this shot, we talked about how tiny she is and Holly told us that she used the cabinets to get up and be able to reach the other cabinets. So, considering that we came up with this version. We did not want her to look funny or that she was having nearly too much fun since we want the clients to feel safe with her. So, instead, we used the cabinets as a prop or maybe as a location too.

Mike Clark-Madison's Photo Shoot. We had this one planned before we even got in. We just dropped a lot of books in his desk and Diego did the lightning set. Once Mike came back with a haircut, we were ready to go. The final photograph looks amazing. Mike is an avid reader so he must be photographed with what he loves: books. I love his eyeglasses.

Stand-In for Tate Austin Hahn

I've never had my own book of my Stand-In photos. But now, I have. I do think that the actual members of Tate Austin Hahn will look better. Plus, these are not yet edited. However, this is a glimpse of some of the work we did yesterday Friday 22, 2009.

This is for Mando's photo shoot.

This is for Sebastian's photo shoot.

This is for Liliana's photo shoot.

And last but not least...Shelly's. I do not look as small as she did.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To my Friends who are Photographers

This post is dedicated to photographers who are "beginning", for those who are "struggling" and for those who want a change...change fast and are looking positively in the future. To my photographer friends who read me and to those behind the photographs. I have been reading today.
I've been reading a lot. And with that, I have been learning.
I am posting what I recommend to read if you want to improve, get more clients, be more efficient and start getting the jobs you want:

A. Heather Morton Art Buyer- she is an Independent Art Buyer in Canada. She has great tips for photographers, talks about what they should and should not do when they are contacting the ad agency. She has this Wednesday that she calls "Ask an Art Buyer" and she promises to answer as most questions as she can. You can read her at:

B. A Photo Editor- he was the Director of Photography at Men's Journal but decided to move on to a better life. He is now focused in his own company called "A Photo Folio" which is a design web site for photographers, architects, designers...mainly art. He is really good about blogging and keeping information for photographers on the go. He is also very positive about the economy in photography. So whoever is getting a little bit down, get your hopes up! You can read him at:

C. Fresh Produce: I loved her! I think that she and I are a little bit stressed about producing but never too much to stop loving it. She talks about how much spam she has on her mail, the best way to get to Art Buyers, Art Directors and how not to contact them. She moved to Virginia and a little bit away from advertising but reading about her past in advertising can be very useful. Read about her here:

and D. Black Star Rising: Wayne Ford writes about photography. How photographers should talk to the Art Directors, about Branding and how a photographer must present himself before a new client. The article that caught my eye was the one that talks about Direct Mail and it does because Diego talked about it a few days ago. (See his post here). To follow this blog visit:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Productive Holiday

I hate it when this happens.
First, I have to coordinate Mexico's VS USA holidays, banks do not open and worst of all, there is a lot more noise around. I sound so Grinch! I know!
But, I found in Twitter that a lot of people were online and a lot of them were trying to get their hands on something, do work, have something to do...

So, in my business specifically this is what I did to productive:

1. I took a look at my oldest contacts and gave them an update. Updated with my latest e-mails and my recent business cards. When going to parties, meetings or meeting people, I usually keep their business cards in my bag. Somehow, I do not manage to keep them in order, so now, I gathered every single business card from every bag I have and captured all information into my Entourage Contact Book. As simple as that.
2. I also updated my activities and my agenda, I checked that every single item I had in my oldest notebooks are in my 2010 agenda. I erased things that didn't matter and wrote down the things that do matter. For example, birthdays, telephone numbers and even addresses! I also write a lot of stuff in my agenda, like directions to go somewhere, who to talk to, I wrote every single item I had where it belongs. Ta-da!
These very first things are so important for my work. I need this stuff to be in order. This is what makes my business keep going and my relations working.

3. I took some time to read interesting subjects I wasn't able to do because I always say "I'm so busy" and do not make time to do it. I read some of the books I had chapters marked by yellow post-its. Although I know I have a lot more to continue reading, I know I'm getting there.

4. Bought some books, I finally ordered them through (hopefully will be here by Thursday) and,

5. Went to Starbucks to meet an old friend of mine, reconnected and felt wonderful. It was very nice to see you Erika. Hope to do it again, very very soon!

You see? Not working can also make you feel productive! :D

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why Networking is sooo Important for our business.

I had sometimes underestimated the power of attending parties that had a reason of social networking. Why? Don't get me wrong but I thought (and yes, this is very egocentric of me) that I didn't need them. However, I have changed my mind in the past year and now, I take some time to blog about it.

Networking in social events is a very important thing to do. In our business, the creative business, it is a huge help and tool to keep you updated and to make you belong to that world. Personally, I like to keep updated with people who do what I do, in other levels; amateur or professional, in other industries: movies and shows and of course, in other types of markets; editorial, advertising, music, interactive.... it is pretty interesting.

You can find out that there are a lot of people that do what you do, name it differently or even so, include it in their service as a pro. I have found out however, that the most important thing you can learn from networking is that you will never get to know enough people. You won't. Contacts are everywhere and it is your decision to make them. You can meet people at a party, or at a bar, but when the networking event is's time to shine. This is where you should be ready to meet new people who you can get to work with, who you just have similar tastes or who just admire you or you admire them.

It is not always a time to meet clients but, to meet co-workers, artists, web-designers, photographers, movie directors, people who can actually get you into their business, or connect you to their clients. People who could actually become your friends and you'll have a beer a week after meeting them. So, I recommend you attend these type of events, not caring if they talk about photography, awards or video-games, you'll never know. You'll never know when you'll meet the perfect co-worker, the perfect assistant, the perfect client or...your future friend. I do not intend to get sentimental on the friendship stuff, this is why, I will give you a couple of tips for the networking, things that I have learned:

1. You are there to get to know people. Not to get drunk. I'm sorry but even if it is an Open Bar night... there is no way you should risk having the opportunity to meet people because you cannot hold your liquor.
2. If you eat a snack, use a napkin. To avoid getting food in your teeth, always have a napkin in your hand. Afterwards (and this applies to the ladies) if you are wearing lipstick...and want a retouch, do it in the ladies room. Not in front of everyone. That is personal.
3. Have your business cards ready but not give them away. They are not flyers! Business cards are to be given to the people that you actually met. No, you don't get into the room and start giving them away. You give them to the people who are interested in talking to you in the future and the people you are interested to talk to after the party.
4. Do not be shy. I actually met EKatrina (hope her name spells like this) when she asked "Can I join you?" to a whole bunch of friends. And EKatrina as well as the others who were there (including myself) were there to meet new people. So, suck it up!

I recommend you read Diego's blog regarding the postal service with clients. I think this is a very good post. And, related to what the business is.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

How to prepare an estimate - Production

Some people have asked me what should they consider when preparing an estimate. For this reason, I post an example of what you should normally do in my blog. Well, personally I use BlinkBid. Even though it is not a cheap software, it helps you out with some stuff that you should not forget. Nevertheless, when I began in the production business, I used simple software like Numbers, Excel or even Word.
And this is what you should always keep in mind when starting a bid for a photo shoot:

Some things may vary and the photographer will maybe take care of the equipment rental, but if he/she doesn’t, keep it in mind. As well as the post-production. Sometimes, the client will do it, so the photographer doesn't have to worry about it but, if the client is not taking care of it, ask the photographer if they are willing to do it and if its taken care of in their fees.

Along with the lightning equipment, there are also many studios that may offer the equipment rental and even catering, nevertheless, if they don’t you must take care of these. Consider that there is always someone extra, an assistant, a model or maybe a friend of the client that will show up. Do not be cheap.

In pre-production, scouting and casting must be included. When doing this, take pictures of everything (which I assume you know already) and charge for hour/day you are there. Include a studio rental or a catering fee for the people who are attending the casting.

The props and wardrobe can be leased or bought, whichever you prefer, keep in mind that you must establish that in the estimate so the client knows where the money is going. I recommend that you also include a little bit of money for gas when you are using your cars/vans for the equipment and to include a few bucks for the water bottles, coke and beer cans (it actually can happen!) for the crew and members of the production.

Finally, you may be asked for the model releases to be signed. I highly encourage to take care of that with the photographer and the client so, you don’t get involved in further legal actions.

FYI: I used MindJet Manager for this picture. I personally like to scheme my ideas and get them into conceptual maps.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Blog Header

New Year: 2010.
So, a new photograph has to be taken. I asked Diego to take a new picture of me. Something that represents me. So, he did. He took this wonderful picture you can see on top of my blog.
With what? Simple stuff really.
See the below photographs of the behind-the-scenes:

And the final photo: