Going outside

Episode Four: Noel Kerns

Hey, everyone! This one took a bit to come out but here it is in all its glory. I sat down and chatted with Noel Kerns; author/photographer of Nightwatch: Painting With Light and picked his brain about his work and life. It’s a pretty laid back episode and I hope you all enjoy it!

NoelKernsPhotography.com

NoelKerns.com

@noelkerns

Above and Beyond

We have all heard the phrase “Going above and beyond,” but what does it really mean? What does it mean to us photographers?

Let’s break it down. When someone says; “That person really went above and beyond” in reference to an act that was performed that generally means that the person in question took it upon themselves to perform in a manner that exceeded expectations. That also means that they exceeded expectations without asking for more compensation without an added bad attitude. Basic translation “I don’t need to do this for you but I’m going to do it anyway.” Why? Common courtesy? Compassion? You really like the person? Respect? All of the above? Yes.

This applies a lot to the service industry. However, photographers are part of the service industry as well. We take the shots people want to pay for to have for whatever reason it may be. Whether it’s to document an event, capture a location, surprise a lover, for self promotion, for  business promotion, or to make someone feel better about themselves. We serve people with our skills. Now, when a client is amazing they will get the best part of our service. We will go that extra step to make sure that they are happy. If there is someone I like I tend to overshoot a tad and maybe offer them a few more retouched images as well as some more artistic shots other than the ones they specifically asked for. More often than not conversations come up about the photography business, small business, modeling opportunities, or what have you. I personally will take the time out of our session at no extra charge to walk a client through any question, fear, or anxiety they may have with whatever regard they are wondering about. You’d be surprised at how many photographers don’t do that. You’d also be surprised how many photographers don’t do that in NYC, which is a city filled with photographers!

I pride myself on a job well done. We all should. The reason we give these little nuggets of extras out is because we care and that we also know we will make the money back on referrals and get great testimonials out of the deal. However, going above and beyond can also lead to a client being married to you or attached at the hip and we try to avoid that as much as possible. This is the grey area that occasionally arises. In the past I have gone above and beyond for a few higher strung clients and it backfires in the respect that they nitpick because they feel like they can or they call you at inappropriate times for whatever reason. It doesn’t mean you should stop being nice. It just means that you have to be more firm. I recently got married and my wedding photographers went above and beyond. I can honestly say that being on the other side of the lens for once was surreal but they were so great that it didn’t matter and they became friends because we all got along, which is why we hired them in the first place. They catered to our needs and delivered amazing engagement photos (still waiting on the wedding snaps) with such a great attitude that it was inspiring. They gave themselves to their art and that can sometimes be hard to find. If you are reading this and want to know who they are then by all means send me a direct message through whatever outlet you see this blog post in.

Clients also go above and beyond for their photographers. Living in NYC my whole life we know that you pretty much tip for everything. I have overshot and stayed longer than I should have on some shoot and without asking a client would usually throw a compliment my way and give me a “Here you go, kid. This is for you.” Sometimes we live for those sentiments. I am in no way trying to show off because that happens in a one out of twenty situation. I just wanted to show that it goes both ways. The client/photographer relationship can be very symbiotic and you want to ideally avoid it being stand offish. We’ve all been there. Sometimes people just don’t like having their picture taken and it’s our job to go above and beyond to calm that person down and make them forget that you are there to steal their soul with your camera.

As people we should always go above and beyond. As business people we should strive to exceed expectations but not at the cost of our integrity or wallet. There is a balance out there and we can all do well to find it. Sometimes you wake up and just want to crawl back into bed, but you can’t. You won’t. It’s not in you because you know that you have to get out there and shoot. You don’t know what situation you are going to walk into once that camera is around your neck. All you should know is that you are going to do the best job you can and if the situation calls for it you will go above and beyond to put that smile on someone’s face!

As always help support this blog with your comments, likes, retweets, or whatever you crazy kids do. Also, go above and beyond for someone you love this Holiday Season with a gift card from Amazon!

 

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(This photo was a bit of a technical test I set up and did at home. Pretty cool, huh?)

A Fierce Defender

So, I love music. Further more; I love heavy metal music. I have been in NYC metal bands since I was 18 years old. Metal has always been a part of my life since I cranked up that first Black Sabbath album I got through those bogus Columbia House deals many moons ago. That being said; metal is an extremely positive genre of music and for me it’s the most rocking life affirming jammingest stuff you could listen to. People associate great things with music and I have a song for almost every memory or frame of mind. I love to rock, baby.

Every so often you run across a song that means more to you than the surface value of any written piece of music is supposed to mean. Sometimes music speaks to you in untold ways that really strike you to the core. I have recently felt like that about 3 Inches Of Blood’s song “Fierce Defender.” It’s not because I’m killing undead hordes or championing a battlefield with sword in tow. This song is the perfect allegory for a small business start up. You still with me? Good. Here are the lyrics and song and my breakdown as it relates to being a small business owner. If you could stick around to the end I’ll buy you a drink (Call me out on it. You will get a drink and a conversation!)  Anyway, here we go:

The outbreak has begun
End of days are coming
Very few will survive this plague
Gather all supplies, keep your wits about you
A war is coming, prepare for the attack

No more running, here we make our stand
Against the odds we will fight
Be the champion, be the one
A fierce defender til its done

Fortress walls, behind them to defend
From mindless creatures need for flesh
They are coming, they will not stop
Crash upon you like a tidal wave of doom

No more running, here we make our stand
Against the odds we will fight
Be the champion, be the one
A fierce defender til its done

Hold the line, defend it to the end
Destroy the brain and they will fall
Show no mercy for they will give you none
Relentlessly they seek to kill
Don’t wait for outside help
Reinforcements will not come
On ourselves we must rely
Find the courage to last another day
So all of us will stay alive

Outlast the horde
Their ranks are shrinking
The instinct to live on our greatest strength
The will come when all the killing stops
Time to rebuild all that’s lost

No more running, here we make our stand
Against the odds we will fight
Be the champion, be the one
A fierce defender til its done

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP4ge-lAx5A

The outbreak has begun
End of days are coming
Very few will survive this plague
Gather all supplies, keep your wits about you
A war is coming, prepare for the attack

Meaning: You have recently started your small business and the pressure is very real. Statistically, there are only a small number of businesses that succeed. You have to use all of the tricks you have learned and carefully use your funds because you’re on your own now with no outside help. Keep your wits about you.

No more running, here we make our stand
Against the odds we will fight
Be the champion, be the one
A fierce defender til its done

Meaning: You’ve been thinking about this for a while. This is your chance to succeed and employ the tools you have amassed while preparing for your launch. The odds of success are against you but you have to believe in your self. You have to be your own champion because you know you can. Never slip in your own self confidence. Be that Fierce Defender!

Fortress walls, behind them to defend
From mindless creatures need for flesh
They are coming, they will not stop
Crash upon you like a tidal wave of doom

Meaning: Whatever you build there are people that want to tear it down. These are the haters. They could be family, friends, or business associates. They could try and tear you down and tell you that you are not good enough or special enough. It may hurt at first but you have to persevere and defend that wall.

No more running, here we make our stand
Against the odds we will fight
Be the champion, be the one
A fierce defender til its done

Hold the line, defend it to the end
Destroy the brain and they will fall
Show no mercy for they will give you none
Relentlessly they seek to kill
Don’t wait for outside help
Reinforcements will not come
On ourselves we must rely
Find the courage to last another day
So all of us will stay alive

Meaning: Small Business owners must face facts. There is no one to help with their journey. At the end of the day if  you decide to do everything on your own then you must hold the fort and provide victory for your brand. Against all odds you will see the success of your small business and end up being the bigger fish in the pond. Small Business owners must be steadfast in their product and their belief in their product. No one will help  you, no one will back you up, and you have to find the gumption to stand alone, say your piece, survive, and live to fight another day. As small businesses, we climb a treacherous hill with many obstacles and we should never give up. We must find the courage to last another day. We owe it to ourselves, our family, and other like minded individuals. We stay alive through the communal effort of other business owners that hold the line.

Outlast the horde
Their ranks are shrinking
The instinct to live on our greatest strength
The will come when all the killing stops
Time to rebuild all that’s lost

Meaning: The more you chip at it – the more you get out of it. The haters will fade and the detractors will think better. Why? Because you have pioneered and championed your brand through your own belief. The INSTINCT to live on IS our greatest strength. Small business owners know that they have a huge undertaking before them and that is to establish a reputable brand. When success comes then you can expand, take time off, and make up for lost time.

No more running, here we make our stand
Against the odds we will fight
Be the champion, be the one
A fierce defender til its done

Meaning: Get out there and do it. BE the successful person you know you can be. BE the business owner you have always wanted to be.

Whew, well I hope you all got through that in one piece!

The album this is from; “Here Waits Thy Doom.” is also one of the greatest driving albums ever.

I would love to hear what songs motivate you and have meaning for you.

Barcelona

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