Category Archives: Creativity

Using a Fuji Instax to Capture Family Memories - Camera Work 57

Daughter Angelique joins John Ricard to talk about using a Fuji Instax to capture family memories.  Also discussed: Using colored gels to light a subject and Using Instagram Stories to increase Instagram followers.


Photographing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - Camera Work 54

Hywell Teague of FloGrappling joins John Ricard to discuss photographing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  


Camera Work 46

Camera Work 46: Photographer Kawanna Curry joins John Ricard.

I love attending photography workshops and I love watching photography instructional online, but at times, the slow pace drives me crazy.  Sometimes you will see an instructor give a great presentation one day, but then you see them on another day, maybe when they are doing a sponsored presentation, and instead of being  good presentation, its just a big commercial for a camera related product.

Is it ever frustrating to watch what other photographers are doing?  Kawanna says sometimes it is indeed "very frustrating" if she is not out shooting when someone else is.  It can make her depressed.  Today, the term "hating" has become popular in urban slang.  The term is used almost anytime someone criticizes an album, tv show, book or statement that a person has made.  "Why are hating on her?" becomes the question anytime you level a criticism of someone.  For me, if I don't enjoy looking at the Instagram feed of someone who is doing the work I'd like to be doing, that doesn't mean I am "hating" on them.  It just means that my desire for those to achieve is so strong, that I don't necessarily enjoy watching someone else live my dream.  Kawanna says, sometimes you are asking yourself, "What is stopping ME? Why am I not out there?"

On the day we recorded this episode, I had just presented a "Solutions" workshop at my studio.  One of the activities we did was to look through someone's Instagram feed and try to determine, "Who is this person?"  Then, you read the person's description and see if that matches the images they are posting. Sometimes you see an IG feed that only communicates, "I know how to take a selfie", but you read the description and it says they are a scholar.  

Kawanna asks if it is best to have a separate personal and professional page for your IG account.  She acknowledges wanting to show the person side of her life, but she also wants people to see her work.  When she posts a selfie people will like it and comment and like it, but then when she posts a professional image that took her 90 minutes to retouch, it doesn't get the same reaction.  For me, if I want to get "likes", I post an image of my daughter.

There is a good side to this however, imagine the account of a guy who posts photographs of sexy women.  Let's imagine he has a large following.  If he posts a photo of himself taking his son to school, it is probably not going to get a larger reaction than his other work.  Nobody really cares about him. They just want to see the naked women.  So, when people are responding to your personal images, it shows  that they care about YOU.  And bottom line, people hire people.  The don’t hire work.  They must have a connection with you.  Kawanna says if people are going to spend an hour or two with you in the studio, they have to connect with you in some way.

In my view you should have only one IG page.  It’s so time consuming, who wants to manage 2 separate accounts.  The personal images, don’t have to be just selfies. It could be you at Yoga or you  eating lunch. The personal images could show you at a museum, or they can show that you travel or that you hang out with cool people. The personal images can still serve to build you professionally.

Kawanna mentions that Jeremy Coward is a master of balancing his personal and professional work.  The interesting thing about his account is that his personal imagery of his kids and such, is a strong as his professional images of his clients.  For me, while I might love the image of my daughter that I post on IG, I understand that it isn’t a great photograph.  In the case of Cowart it is indeed a good photograph.

Kawanna wonders if the personal images generate actual work.  I mention that it is just one small part of  your marketing.  When I send out an email newsletter, I don’t expect it to directly generate work.  But I understand that in conjunction with other ways I am marketing, the email newsletter can pay off.  If you are marketing successfully doing videos on You Tube, email newsletters, direct mailings, phone calls, etc, you might not even know exactly which aspect of your marketing is resulting in work.

Kawanna points out that all of your marketing efforts serve to get your vision out there.

Personally, I refuse to add Snapchat to  my social media.  Between Facebook and Instagram, I’m busy enough with my social media.  Kawanna isn’t interested in Snap Chat either.  

My wife’s blog is a more authentic blog than my own,  Because she is free from outcome and she isn’t trying to gain followers and she isn’t trying to get clients.  She does the blog because she enjoys doing it.  She is authentic.  If I were to go on Snapchat, II would not be authentic there and the content would reflect that. Periscope, which allows me to broadcast live from my photoshoots, is a platform that I love.  Kawanna says she will give it a try.

A photographer needs a niche but at the same time she needs to be diverse.  The key is to have a clear vision throughout your diversity.  You can see examples in this when you examine how a rapper establishes an aesthetic in their music videos and then they go on to endorse a product like alcohol or perfume, and the aesthetic is similar to the one in their music.  The vision is consistent.

Kawanna asks if you should take every job when you first start out.  I feel you can shoot pretty much anything to make a quick buck, but you don’t have to post it.   You can pick what you show on social media so that your audience understands exactly what it is that you do.  And if you are at the point where you still suck at photography, be glad.  You can learn to take better pictures.  It’s actually worse when your photographs are good and you still aren’t getting hired.

Kawanna says when you start off and you’re working for yourself it is stress free.  But when you are shooting for money you are thinking, “I have to figure this out.  I have to come up with a great picture.”

For any photographer though, it is crucial to live an interesting life and document that life.  Who are your friends? What are you doing in your downtime?  Do you travel?  I have had periods in my life where I was living an interesting life, but it never occurred to me to photograph the world around me. I didn’t realize it was interesting life that I was living.  Sometimes I worry that my life is sort of boring now.  I come home and watch tv with my wife many days…

Kawanna points out we should put Social Media on the back burner sometimes.  We should just enjoy life.  Just experience life and then come back and write about it.  Writers would often take a break from writing.  Monitoring the “likes” on Instagram can a big waste of time and it can become a compulsion.

We are quick to give credit to people who have mastered social media and get a lot of likes, but sometimes I think we should give props to people who don’t have a larger following on social media but still get out there all the time and post strong content and write strong captions.  Kawanna  enjoys following people who have good content, even if they don’t have a lot of followers.

I don’t “like” anything on Instagram.  I feel people should “like” my content however.  My images are never my lunch, it’s never a quick phone picture.  Even if the images are “bad”, they always take a lot of work to create.  It’s hours of shooting and or post processing.  I’m providing quality content and I do feel people should take the time to “like” my images.  But if I’m following someone who shoots a lot of selfies, I don’t feel the need to “like” their images.

Kawanna asks the new technology is every a concern in terms of it hurting photographers professionally.  I look at is as the world keeps changing for the better, even if it hurts some people individually.  When we changed from VHS tape rentals to downloading movies, things were better for everyone…except the few people who owned VHS rental stores.  So the changes that make it easier for regular people to create strong images may hurt me occasionally when I’m trying to sell my services, but overall the change is a beautiful thing.  And as a professional, if you have a truly unique vision, you can indeed survive today.

Recently I was bidding on a job that required 6 models.   I told the client we should cast one of the models on social media to bring attention to the project.  Since the model fee is high, we will get a lot of attention for the model search and that will be beneficial in building awareness for the brand we are shooting for.  This is an example of me embracing the new technology rather than fearing it.


Camera Work 43

Websites we love.  Ray Tamarra and Stephen Gomez join John Ricard.


Camera Work 41

Things that inspire us: "The Secret" and The Joe Rogan Podcast.  Ray Tamarra joins John Ricard.


Camera Work 39

"Branding Like a Boss" podcast host, Aaron Pierson and filmmaker Aiden Fishbein join John Ricard to discuss Branding and Marketing.