Tuesday, December 21, 2010


So I've been thinking a lot about this life I'm trying to lead. I kept thinking about what my goals were, and what I wanted to be. I wanted to wake up every morning for the rest of my life and say to myself,"Self: You're a photographer" instead of what I've been saying for months,"Self: You're a hack."

Then it hit me.

What I want means very little if I don't know why.

Do I dream of having a photo shoot with famous stars? Sure. Do I dream that I can be so in demand that I actually need to hire an assistant and get a studio space? Hells Ya. But what I really want is something far more simple, but very elusive...

Simply put: I want to be able to spend time with my family whenever the hell I want. I never want to hear the words,"Daddy, why are you home?" EVER again. That's the best part about wanting a dream to come true: It's my dream, and that means it's malleable. If that means that I become a great photographer that gets just enough work to keep the family afloat so that I can be home when I need to be: so be it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Working 9-5

Hey Everyone,

Some of you might know I dig hip-hop. Not the crap you hear on the radio, but REAL hip-hop. I'm by-no-means an expert on hip-hop, but I know what I like when I hear it.

This song hit me while listening to last.fm so I thought I'd share it. I'm sorry if they cuss more thank I do.... (publicly anyway...)




I'm having a hard time writing blogs. Let me rephrase that.... I'm having a hard time posting blogs. I've written a few in the past weeks, and I can't seem to post them. Not a technical inability, but more of a "man, I shouldn't say that" type of inability.

I keep writing my feelings and opinions on how I view the photography industry, particularly the box-photo-studios found where you buy your noodles and toilet paper. I keep telling myself that they're not my competition, but for some odd reason, they're getting business. Why? It's not like they really advertise... I think it might be that everyone knows that they're there. They're not very good, but they're there. How do I get the word out that I'm here and I can do better?

I made up my first ad to put up at local grocery stores where I live, work, and play. It didn't take long to design (kung fu college taught me that already), but I need to just print them out and drive places with ads and thumbtacks. I'm thinking about post cards to leave at high schools too.

Why am I telling you this? I dunno. Transparency maybe. I'm a photographer, not a business major. I'll have to just see what works in my area and trial and error it to death.

I hope I post this entry... I really want to get my work/word/existence out there.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"I know kung fu"

Some of you might know that I am a practitioner of Pai Lum Kung Fu. For those of you that didn't know that already.... Yes. Really.

The number one thing I hear after I tell someone that I practice kung fu is,"Oh, that's just like Karate/TaeKwanDo/RexKwanDo/WhateverDo isn't it?" or "Like Bruce Lee! HWHA!" .... Right after hearing that, I want to punch them in the face. Why? Cause the only thing that those statements have to do with kung fu is that they're martial arts. I cringe at the thought. But what's important to me is educating people that those things aren't at all related to what I do. There's a difference that can be seen easily be someone that's on the inside...

The photography industry is the same way.

Part of the reason that people still go to places that sell toilet paper three isles from their "photography studio" is because they don't know any better. They believe that all photographers are the same. Part of changing that attitude is educating people; educating the client. I feel strongly about trying to educate people that need photography in their lives, but I'm trying to reach one person at a time. I need to broaden my scope, so I'm posting some basic things that I feel everyone should know about photography. These points are by-no-means exhaustive or ...objective. In fact, it's terribly opinionated. (meh, whatev)

  • Anyone with a SLR can take a photo. My youngest daughter is 5. She takes lovely photos on my Pentax K2. The photo of my son below was taken by her. She didn't know how to focus at the time, but it's something she's practicing now. I love this photo for one reason: It's of my kid, by my kid. They're flippin cute. It's by all standardized practices, a poorly composed shot, but I love it because it's my kids. Is the only reason you like the photos of your kids because your kids are in it? Or because it's a really good photo?
  • The "photographer" in the big-box photo store is an understudy. Yup. They didn't have any experience taking photos, so they got a job under another photographer at the big-box place. That photographer that couldn't open their own studio because they weren't good enough themselves. "But they have the gear! They look so impressive!" Um... Ansel Adams would be sad to know that he isn't a good photographer since he didn't have a Nikon D3s. Indeed...gear is everything (puke). The "photographer" you just shelled out $100 for 15 minutes of their time learned how to use their camera last week, and someone probably taught them about how to set up the strobes that morning. #youbeenrobbed
  • The path of Groupie -> Janitor -> Assistant -> Producer -> Photographer is gone. It doesn't exist anymore. The internet blew up the bridge to "Famous Photographer Land" so dreamers started to make new ways to get there. The best part is that no one is wrong in the path they're taking. Some people might take 4 years to get where they wanted to go (Jasmine Star). And others take 15 years to get where they wanted to go (Zack Arias). And others still are just starting out and are scared of what might happen next week if a client cancels because their car broke down and they can't pay for photos this month (Jeremy Corbin).
I care about the photos that you need me to make for you. I say need because that's exactly how I feel about it. As people, we need art in our lives. When you move into a new home, does it feel complete without art up on the walls? Don't you have style and art in your bathroom? Your BATHROOM of all places has art in it. Someone designed your toothbrush holder... right? We need to surround ourselves in art, so much so that we don't even realize it.

I totally lost my train of thought. I probably won't post this. (sigh) I had somewhere I was trying to go and I failed to get there...my life's journey isn't ending today, which is good cause this would be an awful last post.

On to the next.

*There are some awesome styles of martial arts out there, and total respect goes to those that decide to make a life of it, but your little brother doing it for 6 months doesn't make you an expert on the topic.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Torn apart

There are times when everything is rolling with you, and other times where everything is rolling against you. Right now, it feels like things are rolling against me. Nothing bad has happened or anything: My family is healthy, I'm developing my craft and getting better every day, but the hardest part right now seems to be getting my voice out there.

I have a lot to say, both verbally and photographically. I have so much to tell people that sometimes I lay awake at night trying to think of the best way to say what I want to say. Sometimes I'm not sad or depressed, but sad or depressing images float to the top of my mind. Actually, I'm going to roll with that adage: My imagination is like a huge body of water. You can find the occasional iceberg or island, but most of my interesting sights lay beneath the surface... just begging to be discovered.

Discovery is what this is all about. I'm trying to discover my path while trying to show everyone what I can do for them. I don't consider art to be something that rich people put on their walls, or untouchable items in a museum. Art is something that everyone needs; Rich and poor alike. I want someone to see my pictures and want in on what I'm doing. I want them to have a vested interest in it, but selling myself seems to be incredibly difficult. I'm the guy that couldn't do a door-to-door job, so putting myself out there are and saying nothing about it is what I've been doing... But I'm not reaching you.

That's right..... YOU.

This isn't a one-way monologue. This is a dialogue; a conversation. If you come here and read what I have to say, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. But if I can't hear back from you it's reaches into my soul and pulls on me. How on earth can I give you service that only I can provide if I can't hear you? All anyone wants is to be heard, but that means acknowledgment!

So I want to hear from you. Tell me you're hearing me, and share something back. If you love what I'm saying and what I'm showing you: Tell me. If you hate it and you've seen better things from the back of an elephant at the zoo: Tell me.... But please... Tell me you hear me, that you understand me. What do you need from me? I'm willing to bear my soul to give you the best I can, but that's only if I know you and know what your needs are.

Your turn.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm lame!

Okay, so probably not really lame, but let me explain:

I really feel conflicted sometimes about the blog. On one hand, its the perfect platform to share with people what I'm doing and what I can do for people. On the other hand I have a lot to say that has nothing to do with photography, or if it does have to do with it its personal work. So do I share the personal work or what? I feel that I should, but who would actually be interested in it? I am interested in it, but I'm only one vote!

I think maybe what I'll do is just share a photo once in a while that I like. I could even tell a story about the photo; fact or fiction. Dunno.

Any thoughts?

Friday, November 5, 2010

New Website!!!

I've been looking forward to today for a long time.

Today, I'm officially announcing my new website! It has some of the work that I've been doing, but most of all, it's a complete platform for my photography to stand on. I can display my work that I've made for you. I can display work I've made for me. I can can fulfill orders directly from the site. Having that peace of mind means that I can sleep better at night, spend more time with my family, and more time making photos. Isn't that what this is all about? :-) I'm so freakin happy right now.

Check out my site and leave me a comment, even if it's just to say "hi."


Thursday, November 4, 2010


Hi, so I kinda thought about making a list of Frequently Asked Questions that I've been getting. I'll try to address them here, and edit and add to the list as time goes on. So, in no particular order:

1)Are you single?

Married, 3 kids, 1 dog, 2 cats, and whatever bugs my son smashes with his foot that didn't quite expire on the way in the door.

2)Are you interested in shooting my (insert cute kid, cute couple, head shot, family, etc here)?

Of course I am! Just email me and we'll meet up for coffee or something so we can chat about what your needs are.

3)Will you shoot my wedding?

No, probably not. I'm not a wedding photographer. I could probably recommend one to you, but I don't intend to shoot weddings. Why? There are lots of photographers that do that, and some of them are great at it... some of them, not so much. I want to do the best I possibly can for you, not half-ass my way through the most important day in your life. I like to take things slowly, and a wedding is a full frontal assault on time.

4)I've heard that the best photographers and artists use (insert gear spec here). Do you use that?

Uh, maybe. But Dali, Rembrandt, Adams, and Penn would be sad to hear that they weren't any good at making art.

x)Some question not listed here.

Just email me. I'm sure I can answer your question.

It's all about the gear!

I've heard this phrase over and over: You must have great gear to make great photos. I think that's BS. You need something that can actually record a photo. That's it. I've had some awesome photos from my phone that I've wanted to print and hang on my wall. Granted: Better gear can make it easier to make photos, but that's about as far as I'll go. You're free to disagree.

You know what I haven't heard over and over? "There are too many photos of kids in the world." I'm fairly certain we won't be hearing that any time soon.

That's it really. Nothing else to report. Things have been awesome. Maybe in my next post I'll have something incredible to say.... In fact: I guarantee I have something incredible to say.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I love my new job

I love my new job. On second thought, I should rephrase that: I love my new life. Yes, that's much better.

I got the awesome chance to reconnect with an old friend of mine by shooting photos of her little family for her. Mandy, Tom, and their new addition, Trace, asked me to do some photos for them. I had so much fun hanging out and just doing what I do. October in Colorado can be hit and miss sometimes, but I'm glad this evening was really a smashing success! Seriously... we had a ton of fun... Yeah yeah, I know I can't get over it. :-)

I know Mandy from back in high school. We did marching band together and that always creates lasting bonds. It's always fun running into an old friend from marching band and it's really like you haven't seen them in weeks.... not years. It was fun talking with Mandy and Tom about Trace and their birthing experience. It's not usually a "dude's" place to talk about giving birth, but I'm pretty passionate about the subject, so it's a blast to find someone else that sees things even remotely to the way I do. Trace is huge for a six-month-old and he's got quite the personality. The four of us clicked really well, and we'll probably be hanging out more often than once every 12 years. :-)

I really love Arvada. It had to grow on me, but when it took hold.... it grew on me quick. There are all sorts of little patches of this, places of that, and pieces of beauty spread around the city. When I talked to Mandy about locations, I knew the Kipling green belt would be perfect. Thousands of people drive right by it every day. It's a gem. It's a secret. Don't tell anyone it's there. :-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Old New Old.

So if it's not evident by now, I love film. I really do. There's nothing quite like it. The whole Film vs Digital thing is really a No Contest with me. They both do different things better than the other. They both suck in their own ways too.

I've decided that digital cameras must be an American invention. "We want out photos. We want them now. We want them with a bag of chips." Why else would the Nikon D3S have 11 fps? Seriously? You can't really say sports shooting. Saying that is like saying that sports photography didn't exist before digital cameras. Tell that to all the Sports Illustrated photographers before 1995 and they'll cry.

I've also decided that film cameras were made my the Italians... or maybe the French. "We'll get our photos finished after lunch...maybe. It's Tuesday. We have a wide open schedule, but we're not sure when they'll get done. They'll be beautiful we can assure you. Can you please pass the baguette?"

They're just different beasts. One thing
is for sure: Digital cameras have changed a lot about photography, but the basics are still the same. It still takes a moment to think about the photo you're going to make.

Okay, you're right: More than one thing is for sure.

I'm seriously considering using film for personal work. Why? Well.... it's personal. Speaking of personal, these photos here are of some poor girl that against all good judgment decided to let me use her for personal work. No, just kidding. Lauren is a good friend of mine. It's so awesome to have someone that will just let you be "at work" creatively. I could probably tar and feather her in the name of art and she'd be excited about it. There's nothing better than someone
else being excited about your work. More photos of her are on my flickr.

In any case, I'll be looking at
picking up a 100ft roll of Ilford XP2 Super fairly soon. Yes, I'll need to roll it, and YES It's still C41, but I figure I'll add to my workload a step at a time...

The Holidays

The holidays have always been fun for me. A few years ago I asked my grandmother if we could rake the leaves in their front yard. What? You ask why I volunteered to do work? Simple. I wanted a Charlie Brown moment. You know the one. In It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown there is a scene where Charlie is raking leaves and Linus jumps into the huge pile of leaves with his wet sucker and sends the leaves flying everywhere. I wanted to be Linus. I wanted to run and jump into a huge pile of leaves and make a mess of everything in my attempt to feel like an 8-year-old. It was so much fun! If you haven't done that lately (or ever) you're missing out.

Seriously. Go act like an 5-year-old.

If you've forgotten how to be 5,
you can ask my daughter, Brooklynn, if she has some time to give you private instruction. I'd book now, though. She's pretty busy being 5.

You haven't the time? Well, it's time to make
some time. If you've read some previous posts of mine, or you've had a 30 minute conversation about photography with me, you'll know how I feel about holiday photos. I'm all about them. I think you should be all about them too. So in order to get you and I in the same place at the same time and have our own Charlie Brown moments, I'm going to make sure that you get the chance to have a wet sucker just like Linus did. So here's the deal: Mention this post and book your holiday photos with me by October 30th, 2010 and I'll take $100 off your shoot. Seriously. $100 off. I want to make sure you have great photos for the holidays. Whether you want to jump in a huge pile of leaves with your kids, or run up "the hill" and get some beautiful trees behind you, or even a plain ol' shot in studio, I've got you covered. I'm passionate about making sure that my friends and family (and future friends and family) have awesome photos made of them.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In motion

I don't know about you, but I love motion in photos. Static subjects can be quite beautiful but shots where you know something or someone was moving always take the cake for me. I got this shot of my little one the other day. All I did was ask her to shake her head really fast. After I showed her exactly what I meant I got several frames of awesomeness. This one takes the cake.

I'd like to do more of these, but we gave her a haircut tonight. We'll have to see how different her hair moves.

Anyway, that's all for today. I was really excited about this image and wanted to share.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Keeping the ball rolling

I've had a great week! I've had people interested in the work that I can do, and that's exciting to me. What I really would like to do is keep this ball rolling. I know that if I really want to make this my life I need to keep moving forward! A big part of that plan is to make real relationships with my clients and subjects. I want a relationship that could go beyond just a photo and check. Something substantial and real is what's going to make me different.

For a number of years now, my Aunt Karen has paid for Holiday photos of the kids. They're usually taken at places where you can buy underwear and groceries. They charged $XXX for a photo session that lasted all of 15 minutes and then we were rotated out like old stock. Last year, the photo was taken and it was horrible. The photo was way too blue: My kids looked like they were holding their breath! In addition to that, the photo was inadequate for printing a 4x6, let alone anything larger. I was extremely disappointed. Worst of it all, my poor Aunt Karen paid for the photos even though they were just... disappointing.... I loved the photos because they were of my kids, but not cause it was a great photo by any means. That experience inspired me to be better than "those places." Just because they can "have everything you need in one place" doesn't mean they should.... So that's just a peek at what I'm striving to NOT be.

If you've had a bad experience at one of "those places" leave me a note. Don't mention the company name, just the experience and what you liked and didn't like.

In other news, my friend Lauren (both photos on the right) is up for helping me for personal work, and that's totally awesome! We shot a little bit last Saturday evening, but we soon discovered that light fades really fast when you need it to hang around longer. We plan to shoot again soon, and I really excited about trying new things with light (or lack thereof).

I've been trying to think of different themes and ideas to shoot. There's a possibility that I have too many ideas! I really should learn to draw or something so I can get these ideas down on paper. Stick figures are awful models for remembering themes and ideas. :-)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jackie and Michael

I have a few photos from my shoot with Jackie and Michael this past Saturday. Everyone was really excited about the event because these photos were to document Jackie's pregnancy with her first child. Jackie was glowing, gorgeous, and was the perfect model. Michael was pretty quiet, but took direction well and through that you can see that he genuinely loves Jackie. They're both very excited about the little one that should be arriving in their lives sometime in the next month.

There's a small and grassy alley by my house. I had scouted this location earlier in the week and knew that the morning light would be perfect for just such an occasion as this. The back light was perfect and very romantic and warm.

Thousands of people drive by this place every day. It's practically untouched by humans. I know that there are many other places just like this all around my house. It'll be fun to try to find them all.

Jackie and Michael also wanted some classic black and white photos in my studio. Even in this digital age I still love the look of black and white. When film makes its big comeback, I'll welcome it with open camera backs. Both Jackie and Michael were naturals here, and their closeness is obvious here.

Sometimes as we grow older we forget that we were once young. Perhaps we have something to learn from those couples that have the relationship that these two have.

I really hope that I have the chance to make photos of these two again.

I'd really like to thank Jackie and Michael for giving me the opportunity to work with them. Without someone to appreciate my art and the way I look through the lens I'd just be a lonely man with a camera.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What a week!

So this whole week I didn't post anything. Why? Because I was so nervous about shooting today that I didn't want "OMG OMG OMG" to be my posts for the week. The truth is I was so excited today that I thought I was going to pee myself. I'll be posting some pictures here soon, but I really just wanted to relay that today... I really did live the life of a photographer:
a)I got up early. (holy crap)
b)I ran the kids to my parent's house so I could focus. (dog went too)
c)I got home in enough time to clear the living room (another reason for a studio)
d)My first clients showed up early. Lovely couple. (Known her for years, him only a few months)
e)Shot my first pregnancy photos. It was nice. (I know more about giving birth than the average dude.)
f)Booked it back to my rents to hang out. (well... proverbially.)
g)Went to my parent's town's Harvest Festival. Kids had a blast. (very crabby when leaving)
h)Brought kids home and Caitlyn (lovely wife) took them to McDonalds for dinner.
i)Second client was a little late (traffic sucks)
j)2nd Client and I are dudes though, So I forgave her. (yes, I said she's a dude. proverbially.) (Lebowski)
k)Ended up talking to her more than actually shooting. (excuse to schedule more shooting time)

I hadn't planned to go to Z just so you know.

Oh, to my wife, Cait. I know you'll never read this, but your support has been amazing. I plan on buying you flowers on a regular basis when we have the money.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Goals

It came to me that I should make goals and see if I can get them accomplished. So in no particular order, here's what I'm thinking:

1)Get my name out there.
2)Get a less-frustrating lens.
3)Get an Alien Bee.
4)Get a better camera body.
5)Get better at client relationships.
6)Perfect my work flow.
7)Find my niche.
8)Find cool locations.
9)Not get arrested (see #8)
10)Provide for my family well enough to become Full Time.

I figure all of those are going to be hard, so this isn't a goal for the next 3 months. I'll be happy if I can accomplish most of that list in 3 years. I think I should start posting a photo with each post, but I'll have to get my internet at home turned back on... That's where my pictures are.

My ex-whatever-she-is and I had a court appearance yesterday. Custody and Visitation is a really ugly thing. I don't agree with what she's doing any more than she agrees with what I'm doing. At least we got child support fixed last month. It'll be nice to not feel crushed financially. Now I'm just going to feel uncomfortably squeezed between two sumo wrestlers.

What's my third thing for today....? Oh, I saw some interest from a few marketing lures I put out there. By marketing lures.... uh... I mean that I announced my business page on Facebook to my friends. I know... I'm quite the marketing genius.... Or so incredibly scared that I made the page 3 months ago and just now showed my friends... Seriously. What am I afraid of?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Here we go.

If there is anything that I've learned it's that everything in this world revolves around relationships. The relationships with your parents, your friends, your loved ones, your kids, your teachers, your boss, your clients.... all of these are important.

For a while, I really thought that in order to get my photography business off the ground, I'd have to present myself in the most professional manner possible. This problem with that is that I have no idea how to be professional. I just know how to be me. I filter myself on occasion, but for the most part, I'm just me. The good and the bad. I've decided that in order to get my business off the ground I need to just be myself to get clients.

In advance, I apologize if what I say has no bearing in photography, or my life, or my business, or... anything at all. I'll just write what comes to mind.... even though it sounds dangerous! Danger isn't even my middle name.

(wow... that was really formal. sorry....and or my bad.)