Special Offer: Fall Foliage Photography Workshop

Fall color in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Shot during the 2008 AdamBarkerPhotography Fall Foliage Photography Workshop

Fall color in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Shot during the 2008 AdamBarkerPhotography Fall Foliage Photography Workshop

We still have several spots open for the 2009 Fall Foliage of the Wasatch Photography Workshop! I’m extending a special offer until Saturday, August 29 at midnight, MST. For each person paying in full, you can bring a spouse/friend/cousin/secret crush/fellow photo enthusiast/whomever you want for 1/2 price. That means two people attending the 3-day workshop for $1,420.00. Screaming deal!!

Last year’s fall photography workshop churned out some stellar imagery, and we hit the nail on the head for peak color. I’m looking forward to yet another fantastic year.

Send an email to adam(at)adambarkerphotography.com if you’d like to take advantage of this offer.

90 Percent…

Ninety percent of the time, ninety percent of your competition is only giving ninety percent.

What does that mean? That means that the other ten percent giving 110 percent are likely getting ninety percent of the clients. Which group would you rather be in???

I couldn’t get this out of my head this morning as I nearly slept through my alarm at 4:45 am to get up and shoot sunrise. The morning had promise, as broken clouds dotted the skies from storms the night before. I was hoping for a real banger as a reward for pulling my tired bones out of bed. As the sun neared the horizon, more clouds rolled in, and promise slipped to hope. I was hoping for something special…and it never quite showed up.

Regardless, this morning was productive if for no other reason than to get me out with the camera. Thinking. Creating. The image below of East Canyon is really all I came home with. It certainly won’t make me famous, and I may not even remember this image in a month or so. What I do know is that I’m doing my part to be included in the ten percent giving 110 percent. Sooner or later, it’s bound to pay off.

Summer storm clouds skirt East Canyon and the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT

Summer storm clouds skirt East Canyon and the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT

A Day in the Life…

I get lots of people asking me what the day to day routine is like for a full time freelance photographer. So, I thought I might share with you the less glamorous side of spending life behind the lens. Today, most of my time will be spent behind the desk. Booooooo!

A hiker watches sunset from the top of Alta Ski Area above Salt Lake City, UT

A hiker watches sunset from the top of Alta Ski Area above Salt Lake City, UT

As I’ve mentioned numerous times in past posts, shooting pictures is the easy part of making a living as a photographer. The hard part lies in promoting/marketing your work and getting all the other “little” things done on a daily/weekly basis that will ultimately put checks in your bank account. Here’s a look at my list of things to do today–and yes I might be a bit delusional thinking this will all be finished before an evening fly fishing shoot…

1. Book appointments for 2009 Fly Fishing Retailer Show

2. Finalize dates with resort partners for 2010 Ski Salt Lake Shootout

3. Create and send out AdamBarkerPhotography August E-letter

4. Burn CD of engagement images for my sister

5. Post this blog entry

6. Send proofs to printer for new fly fishing portfolio

7. Post online gallery/story ideas for Outdoor Photographer

8. Follow up with client “x” for fly fishing catalog shoot

9. Figure out travel logistics for Sept. ski trip to Chile

10. Write blog post for Singh Ray Filters

11. Re-organize web galleries on website

12. Upload new images to “latest images” gallery on website

13. Distribute Fall Foliage Workshop postcards around town

14. Invoice Utah Office of Tourism for 2010 Scenic Calendar image usage

15. Create outline of locations to shoot for instructional DVD shoot (October)

16. Create webinar outline for Gitzo webinar presentation (Sep. 18) on www.bogencafe.us

17. Upload hi-res images for publication in Mountain Sports & Living magazine

And there you have it. The (much) less glamorous side of being a photographer. Still interested???

An Inside Look at Shooting Outdoor Stock Imagery

In a perfect world, I would be so busy shooting hired gigs that I would have little time to concern myself with unpaid jaunts into the wilderness to beef up my stock portfolio. I don’t know about yours, but my world (especially in this economy) is far from perfect. In a way, it’s not a terrible thing to have more time on my hands these days. I have been able to pursue stock shoots in locations I’ve long wanted to visit with models/product in tow.

For starters–what is stock imagery? Any time you are shooting imagery with intent to license it to some entity in the future, you are shooting stock. You might even be on a paid assignment or commercial shoot–if you’re wise, you have discussed the issue of retaining rights to the images you shoot in order to market them as stock when/where you have agreed is appropriate (some publications will stipulate that you can’t release the images to the market for x months after date of publication, etc.)

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

I am by no means an expert on stock photography. There are countless photogs out there who having been doing it far longer than I. That said, I have learned numerous things in the past several years that would’ve been helpful to know when I’d started this roller coaster ride of a career. Below are several things to keep in mind when shooting outdoor stock imagery–much of this applies to general stock as well. I have purposely posted images from one overnight shoot up on Mt. Timpanogos to help illustrate the tips below.

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

1. Have model/property releases on hand and get them signed. Without a signed model release, your options are somewhat limited as to what you can do with the images. If the individual(s) in your image is recognizable, you must have a model release for any commercial usage of that image in the future. Editorial usage does not require model releases, but it’s a good idea to have your bases covered regardless.

A hiker on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

A hiker on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

2. Shoot both landscape and portrait orientations–all the time. Did you just find the best shot ever in the history of man as a horizontal? Great. Fantastic. Kudos to you. Now go ahead and shoot the same shot in a vertical orientation. You never know who might need the image in a horizontal or vertical format. Sure, one may have more impact than the other, but any image has more impact than no image at all. You might miss out on a sale if you’re unable to provide an alternative orientation for the image.

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

3. Make sure your models are pertinent and look current. This is a general statement, but unless you have a particular client or concept in mind, you want your images to be fairly generic and usable to any number of clients ranging from commercial to editorial to…who knows. If you’re shooting active imagery, make sure your models didn’t just walk out of their Jenny Craig consult. Sorry–there’s no easier way to put it. Models must look as though they belong in the environment they’re being shot in. What does it mean to look current? It means having the latest and greatest in gear and apparel. Yes, the 80s were awesome. WERE being the key word. If you have the portfolio and guns to back your request, get in touch with the pertinent contact at gear/apparel companies and request product for shoots. Don’t be deterred if you get denied–they receive countless requests for gear. Just keep trying–it helps if you have an assignment/client for which you’re shooting and can get exposure or guaranteed publication for the company whose gear you’re requesting. As an aside, shoot images with logos both apparent and hidden. The former you can submit to the actual manufacturer for advertising/catalog use. The latter will serve as a good generic stock image.

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

4. Leave negative space in your images for copy/text. As photographers, we are used to filling the frame with everything that matters, and getting rid of anything else. While substantial in photographic terms, these images rarely work for advertisements and/or editorial spreads as there is little or no space for messaging. Don’t forget to leave space for cover copy on vertical shots that are worthy.

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

5. When you find a meaningful composition/image, work it. And then work it again. And then keep working it. Until you’ve completely exhausted your options. An example: when shooting hikers, shoot them walking left, shoot them walking right, shoot them horizontal, shoot them vertical, shoot them low, shoot them high, shoot them sharp, shoot them blurred, shoot the man in front, shoot the woman in front, shoot them single, shoot them together…I’m thinking you get the point. You want to give art directors, creative directors and photo editors a number of options so they can find the one that works just right.

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

6. Don’t forget that light makes the image. There is such an absurd amount of imagery floating around these days that you must provide as close to perfect an image as you can to stand out. Shoot early and late. Nuff said.

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

Hikers on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

7. Previsualize. The light goes quick. Models get tired. Communication gets hampered. Have an idea of exactly what you want at that particular location. When the stars align, you’ll be ready.

A hiker leaps over a mountain stream near Emerald Lake on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

A hiker leaps over a mountain stream near Emerald Lake on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

Now go sell it! Shooting is the easy part–earning your money back for your valuable time and energy is the difficult part. That said, the one with the deepest and strongest portfolio most often takes the prize. Commit to giving your all on each shoot and you’ll no doubt be rewarded.

A hiker leaps over a mountain stream near Emerald Lake on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

A hiker leaps over a mountain stream near Emerald Lake on the Mt. Timpanogos trail in northern Utah

Recap: Park City Arts Festival 2009

Last weekend marked my second year exhibiting at the Park City Kimball Arts Festival. Great weather made for decent crowds and sales (despite a less than welcoming economy). As I did last year, I thought I would share a few thoughts on exhibiting at an arts festival. It can be a daunting undertaking for first timers, and always a learning process for seasoned veterans.

Booth of AdamBarkerPhotography at the 2009 Park City Kimball Arts Festival

Booth of AdamBarkerPhotography at the 2009 Park City Kimball Arts Festival

Many of these thoughts will likely be similar to last year, but it never hurts to refresh the memory!

1. Keep within your budget, but do whatever it takes to stand out from the rest of the booths. In my case, I chose to have lighting for my prints. When exhibiting your work, it is so crucial to display it professionally, and proper lighting makes all the difference in the world. Electricity isn’t provided at this arts fest, and therefore most artists simply don’t use lighting. Don’t take no for an answer! Find a way to make your booth stand out!

2. Print a million business cards. Literally. Arts festivals are not only a great sales opportunity, but a great marketing opportunity as well. Make a point of handing out business cards to anyone that seems even remotely interested in your work.

3. Be a people person. I see countless artists sitting in their chairs waiting for the “real buyers” to show up. Treat everyone as a “real buyer”, but more importantly, just be friendly! Competition at these shows is fierce. Your friendly disposition and connection with a customer may be the deciding factor in them purchasing something from you instead of the guy down the street.

4. Have your website everywhere. Find ways to promote your website all over your booth. In particular, I put my website on my business cards, workshop flyers, title/price cards for prints, small gift print labels,  portfolio book, etc.

5. Have a special event to promote. If you teach workshops, have a promotional piece available–this is a great opportunity to reach out to people actively engaged in the arts. They might be interested, or they might have a friend/spouse/relative interested in participating.

6. Be willing to bend. Especially in these tough economic times, people are pressed for cash. Fine art is a luxury that most people don’t spend money on when times are tight. While I don’t prefer to discount my rates, I like a good deal just as much as the next guy. Be willing to barter within reason.

7. Have a wide variety of items and price points available. Sure it’s fun to display your work in a 30 x 40 print, but how likely is it that that piece will sell? Sometimes a little discretion is required in choosing pieces more likely to sell over our personal favorites as photographers and artists. Have a variety of smaller items available for those not interested in dropping hundreds/thousands of dollars.

8. Have an attention grabber! For a moment, forget what I said above and find a piece that will stop people in their tracks. Print it large and in charge and place it in a spot that people will see–this piece should be a magnet and give people a reason to step inside your booth and view the rest of your work on display.

9. Have fun! The more enjoyable you are, the more likely you are to sell your work and influence people for good.

I hope this gives you some helpful ideas in preparing for your next exhibit. Good luck!