Commercial Photography

Belief; believe in yourself, and do what you where hired to do.

These were the words that I kept repeating to myself on last week’s commercial shoot.

48 hours to document 100 years of history with a different perspective. No pressure…?

Davis & Elkins College in WV is celebrating their 100th graduation class this year and the college administrator decided that this would be a good time to re-vamp their image.

The first thing the college did was to hire the design firm Direct-Axis located in Pittsburgh. Ok, they’re off to a pretty good start. Direct-Axis is a top notch firm with a stellar staff of creative people. Next, Direct Axis asks me to photograph the campus landscape, architecture and student life.

I enjoy commercial photography and I am lucky enough that I can hand pick the jobs that I wish to take. When deciding which job to take I always go with “is this going to push me creatively & do I like who I will be collaborating with?” This experience gave me both.

With a deadline in place and a window of 48hours to document 100 years of history, two tripods, an arsenal of lenses, off to WV I go.

Wet shoes, soggy backpack and conversations with Dan O’Donnell, owner of Direct-Axis, by my side we did it. Dan and I dialogued about indie music, art talk, biz discussions, gardening, and politics all the while trekking through the campus. Fist day it rained non stop, second day the campus was fogged in. I had about a total of 3 hours of sunlight to work with.

“Pull the best out of what you have”, that is my philosophy of photography. The light is never in the same place twice and this moment will never repeat itself again.

During the shoot I was thinking about the importance of personal side projects and my Flickr account. I use my Flickr account as a dumping ground for my side projects. When I shoot ambient, city night or general stuff I upload the best (or the bulk) of the photos to my Flickr page with minimal to no editing. I license most everything I do on Flickr with Creative Commons. If you like a photograph, take it. No cost.

My Flickr portfolio has developed into a marketing tool and a stock page. In this past year alone people have asked to use my work in a book (coming out this Fall), several business websites and if I’m lucky you’ll see my work within D & E’s portfolio as well. This all keeps fueling commercial work. Not a bad return for giving away side project work.

Standing in the rain and fog thinking about how I got this job. They like my work, not the polished stuff that is on my art gallery page but the side project work-in-progress photography that is uploaded to my dumping ground Flickr page.

What did I learn?
- People love to follow works in progress.
- White balance set on cloudy, color saturation set on more vibrant, ISO 100, and a tripod is a good combination for bad weather photography.
- Belief in what you do.

Yesterday I heard from the design firm and college that everybody loved the work and one photo in particular will be a centerfold photo in a book about D & E.