Writing

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!

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Episode Five: Nuno Moreira

On this Episode of the Podcast From Heck I interview photographer/artist Nuno Moreira. He is a very captivating and interesting guy that has a very unique and refreshing world view and artistic view. I hope you like this episode. Thanks for tuning in and hopefully not tuning out!

More:

nmdesign.org

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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

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 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?)

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

As always, please support this site and blog with some items from Amazon!

 

 

 

Competition And Compassion

Everyone wants to be the best at what they do. With photography it’s no different. As a photographer you always want to be able to outshoot the other guy (or girl.) Photography is a very interesting field APART from the visuals, which is hard to believe for an outsider. As a photographer we are witness to some really amazing intricacies or beautiful simplicities that we may happen to capture or behold or are just in the right place at the right time for. It could be the detail of a model’s eye caught in your lens or the scope of a misty mountainside at dawn (or dusk for you evening shooters.) One thing we all have in common is the fact that we have to deal with a lot of people. We interact with clients, artists, neighbors, friends, family, and other photographers – whether we know it or not. These interactions should play into how we deal with approaching subjects or getting jobs.

Every one wants to be the best. BUT if you want to stand apart and not only be better but be different you have to treat people with as much compassion as you have ambition/passion for your art. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard horror stories from past clients who have shot with photographers that were so self absorbed, spoiled, and rude that it ruined the idea of a good picture. At the end of the day that’s what we do, right? We press a button and hope that at least one gem gets unearthed. Apart from that real fact we photographers are blessed with vision and creativity that should not come at the expense of others.

If you want to be the best you have to treat people better than the rest.

Just because you may be an artist does not mean you have to act like an artiste. There comes a time to be firm but being aloof and rude should not even come into the equation. Our job is to make people as comfortable as possible in order to bring out the best in them so we can capture those simplicities/intricacies that make photos great. We have to check our attitudes at the door. Plus, the same people we meet on the way up could be the same we meet on the way down.

As a photographer we have to remove ourselves somewhat from our subjects and become subjects ourselves and do lots of self study. All that means is that we have to realize that everyone is different and that we should not judge or cast aspersions on those that we meet based on how we have lived our lives thus far. We should also try not to complain because at the end of the day we have the best job in the world. We get paid to make art. We get paid to do what we love. And if you’re a people person like me you get to hear about different lives on a regular basis, which can be worth more than a paycheck in a spiritual sense.

We are not only photographers but we are therapists as well and need to be as accommodating as possible but without sacrificing our own sense of self. Those of us that don’t realize that are lost in the dark no matter how much they make per gig. These are more than likely are the same people who tout how much money they spent on their equipment and knock other professionals in this wonderful field of ours. You can buy Stevie Wonder a Lamborghini but he probably won’t get very far. The same goes for photography.

It’s great to be competitive but don’t lose sight of what puts a smile on the person’s face that hired you. Give them an unforgettable experience full of art and magic. Oh yea. We’re magicians,  too.

Thanks, guys!

Yoga 4

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