It's September...that was fast

Well, somehow August flew by and I am still not sure how it happened. We had some incredible shoots last month, but for this blog I wanted to feature our cover shoot with USA Triathlete Erin Storie. I also wanted to talk a little bit about producing a shoot and what goes into it, plus some things you need to think about before you go shoot!

Our cover shoot with Erin involved four different shoots in one day, in three different locations. On the actual day everything went extremely smooth, but that had a lot to do with what happened before we got there! If you're just getting started, or you've been shooting for a while, here's a couple things to keep in mind when producing a shoot.

  1. KEEP EVERYONE IN THE LOOP - There are always a lot of people involved on shoots like this, starting with the Client/Art Directors etc, but you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page to begin with. I love starting the process with a face to face meeting or a phone call if possible and then following up with and e-mail. Then a few days prior to the shoot I send out a call sheet with everyone's info and the schedules. Some people include weather and hospitals as well. Do what you need to do to make sure everyone understands what is happening, and be open to change if need be.
  2. CHECK ON PERMITS! There are a lot of great places you can shoot that don't need a permit to shoot there, but you should ALWAYS check before you show up somewhere and start shooting. In our case I also needed to make sure that we were also going to be able to splash around in the water, a lot of the lakes in Colorado Springs are non-contact. You can usually find a local film commission that will guide you if you can't find any info. Here is a link to on locally so you can see what it's like: http://www.visitcos.com/film/permits/
  3. MAKE A LIST - If you end up shooting early in the morning or you are going on location this is critical. Make a check list of everything you will need to have on hand for the shoot. That way when you are packing up your car at 3 am you don't leave your camera on the desk. Also, don't check anything off the list until it's physically placed in your car/trailer and ready to go!
  4. FOLLOW UP - If you've booked a location or you're working with talent I find it's a good idea to check in with them the day before, just to make sure everything is set and there are no loose ends. I am an over-communicator, but it's saved me a lot of headaches!
  5. STAY ON SCHEDULE - Especially when working with athletes and celebrities, you only get one shot and you need to stick to what you say. If you're given 5 minutes, then you set up for 3 hrs, and shoot for 4 min and 30 sec. One of the things I hated the most was when I assisted people who weren't even close to on schedule. If you tell people you'll be done at 4 pm, then you better be done at 4 pm, if you think you need more time then build it in before hand.
  6. FEED PEOPLE - Even before I made money as a photographer I liked getting paid in food. It is a simple fact of life though, people who are hungry are not happy. I tend to forget this, so I have my assistants remind me that we need to stop and eat :) Even if you're doing a personal project and people are volunteering their time, buy them lunch or dinner, it will make your shoot that much better.

Those are just a few things that I try to remember when planning a shoot, if you're interested in hearing more just leave a comment below and I will try to get a follow up blog that's more entailed in the near future! Now for the fun stuff...photos!

Before you take a look check out this radical video from our day by Storyteller Creative:

Now you can look at the final images ;)

That's gonna do it for today! I will try to get another blog rolling this month, and there is a lot of really exciting stuff in the works over the next couple of months...even in 2018! Get out there and be awesome people!

The Not So Lost Art of Printing

When was the last time you held your work in your hands? I don't mean picking up your phone, I mean holding a piece of paper with your work printed on it. There is something special about seeing your work in print, and you're not the only one who wants to see it that way. Today, I want to talk about why you should print and give you a few different resources that I use to print my work.

When was the last time you held your work in your hands?

I've been asked by a few different people where I print my promos, and I did a podcast about the importance of self promotion with The Creative Freelancer, you can check that out here: http://www.thecreativefreelancer.com/aaron-anderson/#.WVo4UekkpPY

For starters, why print your work? In this digital age there may be some argument that print is dying, and I have an iPad portfolio that I carry with me for meetings, but I will tell you from experience that the response is not the same when they open up my 11 x 17 print portfolio as when they swipe through photos on my iPad.  We look at photos and videos on phones and tablets so often that it's lost it's luster, but my luster paper still has it :) When my clients are able to fully immerse in the work, that's when they remember. If you can combine the senses to create a memory of you and your work, that's what we're going for.

When clients are able to fully immerse in the work, that's when they remember

When I first started I was like many of you, I thought print was a waste of time and money, I didn't realize that it isn't just for other people...it's for me too. I retouch literally thousands of photos a year, and it's easy for the images I create to sit on a hard drive somewhere. I finish and say "That's Cool" then I back it up twice and move on with my life. However, every once in a while I print an image, or better yet, I see an image in print for a client, and it's a visceral experience.  It's not a "That's Cool" kind of experience, you feel things like pride, enjoyment, achievement. I think this is much more rewarding than flying past your image on an Instagram account. Even printing your first promo, seeing your work displayed to be sent out into the world to people who create incredible campaigns, it's exciting!

This brings me to my next point: Clients want to see your work in print! There are a lot of different reasons why you should send printed work to clients and potential clients, the first, and one of the most important reasons is, they want to know your work looks GOOD in print!! If you're doing a campaign for a big client, the chances that your work will go to print is pretty high. Let your clients know that you know what you're doing and that your work translates well. Secondly, let them know you're alive and well, that you're active and moving in the industry. Sending out cool print promos says "Hey, I'm still doing cool stuff and I can do cool stuff for you too." Yes, you're promo is probably going to be used as a fire starter on a camping trip, or maybe thrown into a pile, but at least they had to carry it to the camp site and physically throw it across the room...that's more interaction then a check box on an e-mail that never got opened. Finally, you never know how you're printed work will impact a future client.  I bring a copy of a coffee table book that we made from our series with homeless people in our community, this has not only opened up incredible conversations, it's also gotten us jobs. So even if you feel like no one cares, they do, but you have to be consistent.

Seeing your work sent out into the world...it's exciting!

Printing can be kind of an overwhelming idea, between color spaces and monitor calibration to test printing and picking paper. Everything I just mentioned are things you should know, and if you don't know them you can learn them! I took classes on these things, but you can certainly learn from places like YouTube, Lynda and many more. Being able to speak with authority about color space and printing in general is something that comes along with photography. Even if you are hiring someone to print for you, it's enormously helpful to be able to communicate what you're looking for and deliver files that are easy to work with.

Alrighty, now I've talked about the importance of printing, let me tell you about a few places that I've used and how you can get into printing your work.

BOOK-1_WEB.jpg

GET STARTED!

I know this sounds odd, but a good place to start printing is Costco. I would use them as a starting point to look at color correction and doing test prints. They not only have color profiles you can download but they also use archival quality paper. You can download color profiles specific to your store here: https://www.drycreekphoto.com/icc/ 

Modern Postcard - is an awesome hi-end printer that is geared towards photographers. They offer color correction and matching (for an additional cost), they aren't the cheapest, but they do great work. https://www.modernpostcard.com/

MOO - has awesome business cards, I have never used them for postcards but based on the product they put out I would be comfortable recommending them. Again, they aren't the cheapest, but I dig the end product. https://www.moo.com/us/

My Publisher (now Shutterfly) - If you're thinking about printing a book, which you should do at some point, they were great to work with. I have not printed with them since they transitioned into Shutterfly, but I would think they have similar if not the same results. https://www.shutterfly.com/

Blurb - I did a magazine promo with them, and it was awesome. Biggest warning with them is it seems cheap at first, but you'll need to upgrade to the higher quality everything to make sure your photos look good. I also had some color issues with them, but the had great customer service and the final product was worth it!  http://www.blurb.com/magazine

Klo - I wanted to mention them because they made my super radical custom portfolio, just the cover not the prints. This is an investment, but so worth it. They do printing as well, but I would just use them for the portfolio cover itself and print somewhere else. If nothing else just look at their site, they have some awesome stuff on there! http://kloportfolios.com

Canon Pixma PRO 100 - This is the printer I use to print my portfolio...and it's awesome. Not only can this print 11 x 17 no problem it is extremely affordable and has a great plug in for Photoshop that allow you to do color variations and fine tuning before you print. I can't say enough about the customer service, and the quality of print is amazing! https://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/pixma-pro-100

Phew, I know that's alot of stuff to handle so I am gonna call it for this blog. If you have any printers or products that you dig I would love to hear from you! Throw a comment out there or shoot me an e-mail! Now go put some ink on paper and be awesome!!

BE AWESOME!

Get Out There.

I have been working like crazy over the past couple months, massive retouching projects andsome really epic shoots, but there is something on my mind that I want to discuss with you guys. It's the idea of doing, not thinking about how awesome something would be, but doing things that are awesome.

It's Possible!

Lately I get questions like "do you think this would work?" or "could I use this instead?", my response is usually, go try it! We live in a culture where there is so much information, people can learn anything, anywhere, anytime...but how often do they apply what they're learning?! I am getting ready to release some new tutorials and behind the scenes videos, but they don't mean anything if you don't go out and try it yourself! My challenge to you would be this, when you learn something new, immediately go out and try it. Don't waste anymore time learning the next thing when you haven't even started doing the first thing. If you have ideas, go do them now, don't wait until someone tells you if it's a good idea, or if it's possible for you to do it. It's possible!

You are a creative, and by very definition that means you need to create stuff. It's not always going to be good stuff, but it needs to be stuff. If you get blocked then think about what got you started in the first place, why do you want to create? Is it the light at sunset, the smile on peoples faces, the feel of being on set and creating with lighting? Whatever it is, go do it, and keep doing it until what pops up on your screen, or your paper, is exactly what you envisioned.

GO BE AWESOME!

Right now on Instagram we are doing something I am calling BTS week, where we feature cool behind the scenes images from some of my favorite shoots. One of the main reasons I am doing that is so you see what's possible. Most of the shoots are personal projects, some of them aren't, but a lot of them are. They are huge projects, some of them have crews of 7 or more people on location with tons of gear, and it's all because we decided to go do something awesome. That was it, no money, no one telling us to do it, just to create.

So, as I get ready to launch new videos for you to look at make sure you are getting out there and doing it yourself...don't just think about being awesome, GO BE AWESOME!

Matching Light and Shooting Backgrounds

Well, so far 2017 has been a whirlwind of awesome, and I hope that it's bee the same for you! I wanted to take sec to talk to you guys about the latest set of tutorials we released and give you a quick thought on how to use them. Last year we launched a video called "Intro to Lighting Modifiers for Composite Photography" and that was intended to give you a starting point to choose how to simulate different types of light, or just know what the heck different modifiers do! If you haven't seen that one yet give it a quick watch before you continue with this blog:

So now that you know what they do it's time to start working on a composite! We just recently released a video explaining how to shoot a background for a composite, it will help you get some of the basic practices down to make sure your composites go together seamlessly. Check that one out and then keep reading for our latest video:

Got it? Good! Now, for our most recent video we are heading into the studio to show you how we shot the model for the background! I'll be launching a more in depth Photoshop tutorial in the next couple of weeks showing you how I pieced together the final composite for this one. While you're waiting for that go out and shoot some composites, but first, check out our latest video below:

Would love to hear any feedback from you guys and I am working on better sound and color for you all in the next set of tutorials! Also, we'll be launching another video on how to light a subject, and place them into backgrounds that you don't have the measurements, for coming really soon! Go make stuff, and be awesome!

 

Collaboration - Creating Beauty Together

I have posted about topics similar to this before, but for this post I wanted to talk specifically about collaborating with other artists. I think at the heart of this topic is something very simple that I believe in with my whole heart, the idea is this: PEOPLE WANT TO CREATE AND BE A PART OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS.

I always arrive on set early. I mean, I am a punctual person, but that's not why I do it. I actually love being on set, there is something about it...something unlike anything most people will ever experience. Especially in the beginning of my career I loved being around and on set, it didn't matter how much, or even if I was getting paid, I just wanted to be there. Most of the creatives that I have met feel the same way, especially if they love what they do, we just want to be around it. I bring this up because I think a lot of creatives seem to act as if they are the only ones who feel this way, like they can't ask other people just to create for the pure joy of it if money isn't involved. Granted, I like money, and I think most of the people I work with would like to make money, but at the core of what we do is not money. It's passion and creativity.

With this post I want to encourage you to do something big and scary, and to ask other people to come alongside you to make it a reality. I think you'll be surprised how many people are not only willing, but WANT to help you with your vision. Think big, think dream locations, think beautiful Models, think incredible Make Up Artists, think talented Videographers, think amazing Assistants, you get the idea...THINK BIG! Below are two of the most recent collaborations we have worked on...working with crews of up to 7 people, just to make something beautiful.

Madison Flowers

Sierra De Grasse


I also want to take this blog to do one more thing...thank the people who have been so awesome in helping me create.


Models:
Riley Marlene (@Riley_Coyote)
Lisbeth Splawn (@LisbethSplawn)
Sierra De Grasse (@Sea_Air_Ah_)
Madison Flowers (@Loki_Goddess)

Make Up Artist/Hairstylist:
Marlene Jimenez (@hello__marz)

Videographers:
White Summit Films: http://www.whitesummitfilms.com/
Storyteller Creative: http://www.storytellercc.com/

They don't really have websites, but Brent has been my first assistant for a long time and I can't even say how invaluable he is on set, from the mundane to the complicated, he's been there through it all. Savannah has recently joined our crew and has already proven to be an incredible presence and help on set, look for great things from her in the near future!

Hopefully this inspires you to get out there and make something beautiful, the world is waiting for you...go be awesome!

 

Behind the Image - Lisbeth Splawn

We recently had the pleasure of working with Model and Actress Lisbeth Splawn. The goal was to create moody, vintage portraits with a Dan Winters meets Aaron Anderson look. If you aren't familiar with Dan Winters work I would highly recommend you take a look at his website: www.danwintersphoto.com
 

One of the great and unique parts of this shoot is the DIY aspect. Both the background and table were made specifically for this shoot, and I'll talk a little bit about how it's done in the video. Check out the videos below and see how it's made, then keep scrolling to see the final images from this shoot! 

Thank you guys for following and if you have any questions don't hesitate to shoot me a message...until next time, be awesome!