Friday, October 26, 2012

Working Creatively

I had a chance this week to speak to a room full of students at College Of DuPage. It was a panel discussion on "Making It In The Arts". I want to thank Terry Vitacco from COD, and Amy Rodgers from North Central College for putting the whole thing together.
We covered a wide range of topics, and I hope some of the information that was shared was helpful. I know we talked about the benefits of networking, assisting, and finding out where your passion is. And I'm sorry if I shocked anyone when I said that I didn't use contracts (I really hate paperwork.) But I do have a system in place, and somehow it works for me. You'll figure out what works for you too.

There were SO many other things that I was hoping we'd be able to cover. There simply wasn't enough time. And I suppose there will never be enough time to get to it all. There were other topics planned and I do have a few thoughts about them that I'd like to share with you here-

*  Most Successful Marketing & Promotion Activity- Honestly, nothing brings in work like having a big project that is seen by lots of potential clients. But I know that's impossible to do when you're starting out. I have also had success with a self-published magazine that I send out to my existing clients and potential prospects. It serves as a portfolio of recent work and looks pretty slick- The Works
*  Biggest Struggle & How Did I Overcome It- I still get the shakes thinking about the time I tried to do my own taxes. Surround yourself with helpful people that are smarter than you. I have a great accountant now that makes my life better.
*  Social Media Used- I use Facebook, twitter, and this blog. Again, it's what works for me. I keep hoping Pinterest goes away before I have to learn about it. Go away Pinterest!
*  Did I Start With A Business Plan- Yes! It's always a good idea to write down your strengths and weaknesses, problems and potentials. Write down what you want to do, investigate your target market, and make a plan. Without a plan you don't really know where you're heading. This is something I revisit and tweak every year or so (usually around tax time.)
* How Do I Keep My Business Moving Forward- You have to learn how to market yourself even when you're busy. Otherwise you get in a viscous cycle of super-busy and horribly-slow periods. Don't take your existing clients for granted, and always network and reach out to new people.

It was great meeting the other panelists. And thanks to all the students that came out, especially the ones that stuck around afterwards and had great questions. I encourage you all to contact any of the panelists if you have anything else you want to ask. We all remember what it was like in the beginning. There were many people that helped me along the way, and I try to help out wherever I can as well.

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 22, 2012


I thought it was time for something decidedly non-shuttle related in the Blog. So I'm pleased to present to you a few photos I took of dancer Kat Wiersum. We did two sessions recently- the first was in a forested area
And the other was down along Lake Michigan.
We had a great time, and knowing my past history with jumping shots, we just had to try a few to see how they looked.
And after some continued experimentation, I happily got one of the more bizarre and extreme jumping images I've ever taken.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shuttle in Los Angeles

I flew out to Los Angeles to document the Space Shuttle Endeavour as it moved through the city streets to it's new home at the California Science Center.
It was a crazy schedule! Lots of late nights and endless hours waiting for things to happen. I spent most of the time paired up with photographer Rhonda Barczak, and we did our best to scout out good locations and talk our way in to interesting spots where we probably weren't supposed to be.
But we weren't always successful. On Friday we found a great location on a bridge over the 405 that had a perfect view of where the Shuttle was going to go over the expressway. I had envisioned that the nighttime blur of the car headlights going under the shuttle as it made it's way across the bridge was going to be one of my best images of the trip. Unfortunately, right before the shuttle made it's move, they shut down all traffic on the 405. Instead of these beautiful streams of color, the shuttle was now moving over dark nothingness. I sat on that cold, windy bridge breathing car exhaust for 7 hours and had nothing to show for it.

On Saturday morning things turned around. We found a good spot on Crenshaw Ave as the shuttle headed north. Within five minutes Rhonda had talked the fire dept into letting her get up on the end of their truck ladder over the road.
As the shuttle came down the hill on Crenshaw you could really see the amount of people that it took to pull off this amazing move. The shuttle was often within inches of trees, poles, and buildings. This photograph was taken with my 400mm lens, and the shuttle is still over a half-mile away.
A group of locals that was having a rooftop party was nice enough to let us join them as they watched the shuttle roll by.
But Endeavour was starting to get behind on its schedule. We left this location and quickly hurried up the road to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall where a large ceremony was planned. The shuttle was supposed to arrive at 2:30pm. Around 6:30 it started turning dark and the shuttle still wasn't there yet. We were tired, hungry, and exhausted by that point and decided to take off.

But what I was the most surprised about was to see how excited the city and the people were to have the shuttle pass through their neighborhood. It might have been crazy hours, but it was a heck of a great party. I'm a little sunburnt and worn out, but it was worth it to catch this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Labels: , , ,