Inspiration

Keeping Your Confidence As A Freelancer

Don’t lose your cool, kid. Keep it together.

Being a full time freelancer is tough to begin with. If you’re a full time freelancer in NYC it can be downright mortifying sometimes. Besides avoiding shady clients, net30 paychecks, and pricing yourself correctly, you are dealing with an over saturation of freelancers who could be competing for the same gigs you’re going for. As a photographer – we’re at times a dime a dozen in this city and that can be broken up into several categories depending on exactly what you’re shooting.

There will always be ups and downs and that’s a part of life. But coming back from those downs can be a bit harder to deal with. It can be a blow to your confidence when the work you do is met with either criticism or if even worse a gig ends that’s beyond your control. You would have to pick up the pieces and move on. If you’re freelancing full time and working hard then there is no reason that another door shouldn’t open. It may not happen over night but it will and you’ll get your groove back. But until then how do you stay upbeat? I’ll tell you:

Hone your craft

If you’re met with extra downtime because gigs fell through then use that time to perfect what got you those gigs in the first place. If I have downtime I look back on my past work and see how I can improve upon my style going into the future. Work hard at perfecting your skill.

Take Care of Yourself

It’s easy to fall into a funk and self medicate with food or candy or drugs or booze. Tying one on is all well and good but don’t let it spill over into a week long bender because you’re depressed. Instead think about ways you can improve yourself. Take up something physical and monitor what you eat. It goes a long way with preserving your mental health.

Know Your Worth

If one or two gigs fall through or your phone doesn’t ring for a week – it’s not the end of the world. There are peaks and valleys to freelancing and yes the feast or famine saying can apply. If you have experienced success and can look back and see what you’ve accomplished and who you have connected with that see the good work you do then you should tell yourself it’s going to be ok – I’m worth it – and better things will come my way. Losing one gig doesn’t mean that they’ll all fall through.

Don’t Get Trapped In Your Own Brain.

Often our minds are our own worst enemy. Those thoughts that keep you up at night can spiral out of control and they could make you lose control over your anxiety or emotions – which can be bad for business. Take a second and meditate. Take a step back and realize that there are worse problems out there than whatever is going on in your brain. It’s tough not to jump to conclusions about your path but taking each day as it comes helps big time. It also makes you a better freelancers because you can adapt to more situations.

Decompress

When faced with a dilemma one of the best things you can do for yourself is decompress and look at it from another point of view.  As freelancers we put the biggest pressure on ourselves and are our own worst critic but we also have to know when to take a break and just be a person and not a work a holic. If you’ve suddenly gotten a gap in your calendar take the time to do the personal things you wanted to catch up on. Read a book, watch your favorite shows, buy some new shoes, or hit a new restaurant. You’ll feel better when your brain and body aren’t under the pressure you put on yourself – even if it ends up being just one day.

Be proud of who you are and what you can accomplish. Don’t ever give up the pursuit of your dreams.

 

Thanks guys.

 

-Rich

 

 

Create Yourself. Create Health.

fitness, weight loss, fitspiration, body positive,

I was always a big guy. I was a big kid and I became a big adult. I was always very proud of being big. I never had any confidence issues or wished I looked a certain way. That being said in the back of my mind I thought a better lifestyle, routine fitness, and a slimmer body were not within my reach, which meant I didn’t care and I was happy to indulge in the things that packed weight on my body.

It wasn’t until June of this year when I realized how completely unaware I was about anything health related or fitness related. At 33 years old, 6’3″ and weighing a tad over 290 pounds I decided to get a check up. I haven’t been to the doctor in ages (ages means about eight years) and I figured what’s the harm? I’m healthy! I know my body! (and a slew of things that later on I would come to know as excuses) I got a call about a week later to come in and get my blood test results. How bad could it be? I was a rockin’ dude with a rockin’ attitude! Clearly I was delusional as my doctor rattled off cold facts about my body. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, was obese (what an ugly word) , and the nail in the coffin was when he sat me down and told me I had Type 2 Diabetes. That last part took me for a loop and rocked me out of my brain a bit. Type 2 Diabetes? I’m not THAT fat I thought. I took a minute to process the news and collected myself as opposed to yelling, getting mad, or killing the messenger so to speak. He did his job and told me that I had a disease. He gave me the option to either take a pill that would help with the condition (more of a band aid) or try and reverse it by losing at least 30 pounds. At that moment I sucked it up and opted for the latter. I asked him what could have caused it. Was it drinking? I didn’t really have a sweet tooth for cakes and pies. I was confused. I told my doctor I drink juice and eat fruit like they are going out of style and he pretty much said “No wonder you have diabetes.” He t old me to come back in three months for a followup and to try and lose as much weight as possible.

You can do this, Rich. I told myself. You can fuckin’ get off your ass and do this. Put in the work and get the results. After having a cry to my wife in the parking lot of Rite Aid over the phone while telling her the news (I felt awful in part about the state my body was in but the fact that I felt like I betrayed my wife by not being healthy made me pretty upset) She was my rock in that moment and assured me that together we can fix the diagnosis even though at that moment I wanted nothing more than to hit Burger King and get a double whopper (to be comforted and to go along with the attitude that got me there in the first place – fuck it – who cares – just eat it) I didn’t end up getting Burger King. Instead I went home, did my research, and came up with a game plan. For the next two weeks I started a diet and exercise program adhering to what were foods that diabetics can eat and should avoid. I cut out sugar and carbs completely along with fruit, juice, candy, chocolate bars, fast food, or anything processed. I became a calorie counter and label reader. I cut out coffee, vitamin waters, gatorade, or anything unnatural. My goal after three months was not only to lose 30 pounds but to walk into my doctor’s office with a 40 pound weight loss. I took up running pretty hardcore and would run by his office every single day (still do) and mentally say “I’ll show you!” (I cleaned up the language there) even though I knew it wasn’t his fault. I just needed something else to direct my emotions to. I would run every day and currently do between 3 and 4 miles a day. 5 Miles on a good day. I’m addicted to running and run around my neighborhood like a maniac every morning. My playlist is epic. It’s a combination of rockin’ metal tunes and more rockin’ metal tunes that are extremely positive and motivating (ask me about it)

Three months later I walked into my Doctor’s office 40 pounds lighter (fuck yea) and a whole lot peppier. He congratulated me on the weight loss and said the blood test will hopefully reflect the physical change. I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet and had another week to go before the results were in. My blood pressure was perfect, which was a good sign. A week later I got the call that my levels looked good and that I was no longer in the diabetic realm. I had overcome my diagnosis from three months prior, lost a ton of weight, and had a better outlook on life. Suck it diabetes.

Now just imagine if I didn’t go to the doctor.

Through this process of getting healthy and staying healthy (the hardest part) I became an extremely positive guy. I was always positive and energetic but this experience took it to the next level. I have become irritating in my positivity and want everyone I know to become that version of themselves that they never knew existed. If I could do it so could anyone. All it took was will power and determination. Those are two things that are free and inside us all. We can do anything we set our minds to. We can beat diseases. We can become better. Even if you feel fine I encourage you to go to your doctor, get a check up, get a blood test. You could be living obliviously drinking lemonade by the gallon and not realize what you’re doing to yourself. Health matters. It matters to you and to the people around you. Be big. Be little. As long as you’re healthy and positive that’s really all that matters. I discovered things about myself, my psychology, and my physiology that I never knew about and that’s huge. This whole process gave me peace of mind and I will continue down a healthy path and help and support anyone who needs it. I’m not a certified personal trainer but I’m a good listener and motivator.

Unfortunately Type 2 Diabetes is the most common disease facing this country. The good news is that it’s reversible. Take the news of a diagnosis and turn it into a positive by creating a new life for yourself. Take the opportunity to unlock that healthy being inside you. You can do it! Realize your self worth and get out there for the better.

I’m still losing weight and wanted to write this post after losing 50 pounds (I’m about a pound shy but who cares?) Here is a before and after. The before is taken earlier this year (shot by Michael Benabib) where I was about 295 and a photo I took in my home studio at 241 (11/18). Help me spread love and positivity and encourage anyone you know to turn their life around and get healthy. Be body positive and health positive.

Much love,

Rich

fitness, weight loss, fitspiration, body positive,

Episode Seven: Zak Smith

On this episode of The Podcast From Heck I talk to one of my favorite artists; Zak Smith. Zak was gracious enough to come on the show and shoot the breeze about his life, career, art, living around the country, and more. This is one of my favorite ones so far and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did chatting with Zak. We talk comics and that is pretty damn cool.

 

You can find Zak here at:

@ZakSmithSabbath

www.zaxart.com

Zak Smith Facebook

Thanks for tuning in!

Original Collection 380 X 220 Logo For Web

 

 

Episode Six: Tom Corley

Hey, guys! The Podcast From Heck train is a rollin’ on! This episode has your host – Richard Storm – talking to Tom Corley; author of Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals
. If you are looking for a great way to get yourself on track when it comes to your passion, your future, and establishing good habits then I suggest checking this episode out and read the book. You will definitely benefit from what Tom has to say!

You can find Tom on Facebook and Twitter and at RichHabits.net

You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter!

Brought to you in part by:

Original Collection 380 X 220

 

Episode Three: Robert Herman

On this episode of the now entitled Podcast From Heck I interview Robert Herman about his photographic work, being a New Yorker, and his new book. I hope you guys enjoy!

RobertHerman.com

Robert Herman’s Facebook

Check out his work and as always find me on twitter and check out some of the stuff we may have talked about on Amazon.

Feedback is always appreciated!

Thanks, guys!

Episode Two: Cam Pipes!

Hey, guys! This is episode two of my as yet untitled podcast. It WILL have a title soon. I promise. On this episode I talk to Cam Pipes – the lead singer from 3 Inches of Blood. He is a super laid back-slash-cool guy and sheds some insight into his music career and all things Canadian or at least some things Canadian. We talk many things and I hope you enjoy!

You can follow 3 Inches of Blood here on twitter @3iob

Like them on Facebook

Pick up their film here.

Follow me on twitter @nyphotony

If you want to pick up anything we talked about during the broadcast Amazon always has a great deal going on!

Episode One: Ed Fox

Hey, guys! This is the first episode of my first as of yet untitled podcast!

In this episode I have a nice little chat with photographer Ed Fox, who was gracious enough to be my first guest.

This podcast is mainly dedicated to photography, the arts, creativity, and some good old fashioned cool stuff.

Stay tuned because there will be many great guests in the year 2014.

Enjoy!

Check out edfox.com

Check out Ed’s New App Here!

Follow me on twitter @nyphotony

Like me or friend me on Facebook

and as always….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studio For Rent

studio 4Studio 3Studio 2Studio 1

I am the current co-manager of this gorgeous 800 sq ft studio space available in Brooklyn, NY.

The studio is located near the J,M,L, G train as well as right off the BQE by a few minutes via car.

The hourly rate depends on studio use.

Please use the contact form for questions and booking.

This Studio Space For Rent Brooklyn NYC would be a great fit for photographers, filmmakers, artists, teachers, or anyone who wanted to hold an event. That’s right. We can safely hold events up to 100 people including lounging area, WiFi, and restroom. There is equipment available for use depending on project as well such as lights and backdrop.

There is plenty of parking and is close to many forms of mass transit as well as near many excellent bars/restaurants. Not only is the studio space excellent but the surrounding neighborhood is conducive to shooting anything.

I am also available to shoot at this location for an extra fee. Email me with your project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product Photography And You!

Ad For Site 2

Product Photography In NYC

Product photography in NYC can be a tricky situation at best for photographers as well as whoever wants to sell their products. Sometimes clients just think the process is point and shoot and offer extremely low rates for product photography in NYC. On the other side of the coin there are lots of photographers out there that charge an exorbitant amount of money for product photography in NYC. There needs to be a solid medium between client and photographer before product photography in NYC implodes.

I do a lot of product photography in NYC that is actually outsourced to me from different parts of the country and even the world. Usually, a client will send me their products and I will cast the model. After that I would shoot whatever they needed and upload their product package. I have been very fortunate to have met some cool folks along the way. But, like with anything there are some people out there that just want to rake you for your time because they think that because they are PAYING you for THEIR product photos means they can treat you like a slave. It happens. You have to be able to screen the potential hits from the potential misses. There is a lot that goes into product photography that may bite someone who is getting into it in the butt, which may also lead those less than trustworthy clients to take advantage. I remember my first product shoot and the rate I quoted. After the attitude, rudeness, and haggling that happened before and during the shoot; it dawned on me that I was doing a job that should have reasonably been charged three times more. BUT, I bit my tongue and did my job. Sometimes we have to pay our dues in order to get to where we want to go. Product photography can be a very lucrative side job for freelance photographers. There will always be new product to shoot and clients to help out. Plus, more often than not you will get some take home swag!

BUT, there are some great people out there that have a vision for their product and want to show it off as best they can. I was recently contacted by Taft Foodmasters, which is a certified Non GMO organic/natural food manufacturer based right in NYC. Along with the shoot, I have tried their products first hand and can attest that they are the best vegetarian foods I have ever had. They wanted some product photography in NYC and wanted to use local talent as well as a local photographer. I found the model Tony Cantanzaro, who is also a fitness guru, to match with the look my client wanted. Taft Foodmasters wanted to replicate the gyro ads that populate Greek food stores across the country. Growing up in Queens and having a Greek wife, I was all too familiar with those classic ads. What you see is the final product of using a concept, finding the right face, and then nailing the image in production. It was a great experience across the board.

Product photography in NYC can be a very cool thing because it puts a photographer right in the lap of creativity. It’s also kind of cool to see an ad, billboard, or website that has your photos and maybe graphics on it so you can proudly say ; “Hey, I did that.”

I would love to hear some stories that relate to doing some product photography!

Sample 2a

As always pick up some stuff for the holidays from Amazon!

 

 

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?)