What happened with my big project?

Happy Sunday everyone. Today I wanted to give you all an update on what has been going on with me. A lot of people have been asking me on how my documentary film project on abandoned spaces has been going and for me it is on hold. With all of the medical issues I have been going through the past couple of months like my constant migraines and my hiatal hernia, plus how much work I have been getting for my business I decided to place this on hold. 

So speaking of medical issues after a few visits to the Dr and some new medication I am happy to say that I have not had a migraine for almost two weeks now. The hiatal hernia is under control so I am happy about that but on the flip side mr Dr is sending me to see some specialists to see if they can get to the root of the problem. 

So I think that I am going to wait until the holiday's before I restart the project. Hopefully by then I will be feeling completely better and can tackle this project head on. 

Now I need to end this blog post for today as I need to get another video editied and sent out to the client. See you all next week.

Know what your worth and charge for it!

In this weeks blog post I want  to talk about an experience I had last weekend and the mistakes I made and I encourage everyone of you to not make the same mistake.

I was contacted a few weeks ago by my friend Jess and she was hired to shoot a sweet 16 party and they also wanted video so she contacted me to ask if I can do the video for the client. When she told me it was a sweet 16 party I thought to myself a bunch of teenagers running around eating cake and dancing to some music and I can get some cool footage and put together a nice little highlight video for them and that would be it. I quoted a price for that and was hired to do the job. 

Fast forward to last Saturday. Jess and I meet up at a Starbucks before the event to go over a game plan and I was feeling good. I only brought my Sony A7ii with me as I didn't think that I needed to break out the FS5 cinema camera. We walk into the venue which was the clubhouse for the community. As we were setting up we met with the client and he told us that he was expecting 100 people and that there would be quite a few performances on the itinerary. Now this is where I realized that I had undercharged. To me that was almost like a wedding where I would be charging around three thousand dollars. (now I am not going to say what I did charge but just know it was low) The event lasted just over 4 and a half hours and I shout about 70 gigs worth of footage. The client paid me and I went home. 

That night all I could think about was why I did that job for so little money. Was it that as I am trying to build up my business that I wanted to get as many jobs as possible? Did I really need the money? Did I feel that I was not worth more? All these questions kept me up that night. And the only answer that I could come up with to these questions was that I did not ask enough questions or the correct questions to accurately quote the job. I just assumed what a sweet 16 party would be like. Now don't get me wrong the ceremony was very nice and the entertainment was good but now instead of editing a 10 minute video it is going to be more like an hour long video that I need to edit.

So at this point now as I am copying all of the footage over to my computer I decided that I will not make this mistake again. Yes I would like more work but I need to get paid what I am worth to do that work and not just give a low bid to get any job I can. I sat and thought long and hard about what my rates are going to be and stick to it and if the client does not want to pay that amount then they can find someone else. 

So now I have decided what my rates are going to be and I am going to be sure to ask as many questions as possible to be fully informed of what the client is expecting and then give my rate according to the answers to those questions. 

Fast forward to this past Friday and I was asked to give a quote for shooting an engagement party. They wanted 6 hours of coverage all shot in 4K and will possibly need to hire a 2nd shooter for the event. I gave two quotes one for just me and one for 2 people and I stuck to my guns on the price and I am waiting to hear back to see if they are willing to pay that price. If not then I move on to the next client.

Basically the whole point of this post is to share my experience with you so hopefully you will not do the same with your work. You need to decide what you are worth and then charge that and stick to it. There are too many willing to do work for next to nothing and I think that it the wrong thing to do. Yes as you are starting out you cant charge an outrageous amount but as you gain more experience you need to be raising your prices.

I really do hope that this blog post was helpful to you out there. This experience taught me a valuable lesson and I will never make that mistake again. Now back to editing the video for the client. See you next week.   

 

The blog is back and the triumphant return of #Shapesandshit

Hi everyone I know that it's been a while since I wrote a blog post. Let me explain my absence. For those that don't know Jeannie and I broke up and that hit me very hard and I went into a depressive state. I am no longer ashamed to admit that I suffer from depression and anxiety and I went to the Dr. to get back on some meds to help with that. The medication seems to be working well and I go back to see the Dr. in two weeks to re-evaluate and see if changes need to be made.

I am also very thankful for a group of friends to reached out to me and lent an ear to listen and give advice and I am so thankful for that. I have some amazing friends and I am so happy to have them in my life and I love them for it.

Since I was starting to feel better the urge to get creative again has come back and I reached out to my friend Emma to see if she would like to do a fine art shoot with me and she happily agreed.

Now for those of you who don't know about #shapesandshit this started a couple of years ago when I was shooting my friend Emily and we were in a park and I was posing her to blend in with the shapes of the rocks and I said we are making shapes and shit and she said that I should start using it for all my fine art work. So began the #shapesandshit hashtag. I even own the domain name for it. 

So on to the shoot. Last week on our day off we went out to Occoneechee Speedway in Hillsboro NC which is an old Nascar track that has long been abandoned but turned into a park with walking trails. The old concrete grandstands are still there along with some of the buildings. I knew that if we went early in the morning when most people were at work the park would be fairly empty and we could pull off the shoot with no issues.

We arrived at the park and there was a couple doing stair climbs when I wanted to shoot so we decided to walk around to the back of the speedway to see what we could find to shoot in the meantime. We saw a bench and with nobody around we started our shoot. 

Emma is very flexible and does a lot of pole fitness so I knew that her poses were going to be epic. We shot off a few frames on the bench and was able to get this amazing shot.

 

Bendy

Bendy

After this we walked around back to the grandstands and the couple was gone so we started figuring out the poses that we wanted to do. Emma was very good in figuring out the poses and we just started shooting and we got this images which blew me away when I saw it.

 

Zen

Zen

I have this in both black and white and in color and I cant decide which one I like better. Emma likes the color version hence why I am posing it here. We did get interrupted a couple of time by walkers but since it was dirt we could hear them coming and Emma was able to cover up quickly. We continued shoot a few more poses. 

 

Backbend

Backbend

Vulnerable 

Vulnerable 

Contemplating

Contemplating

Since it was very humid we decided to start to wrap up but I had an idea for one more shot using the frame of a window in on of the concession stands at the top of the grandstand.

 

Framed

Framed

That wrapped up our shoot and for me this shoot was very therapeutic for me. I know that I am happiest when I have a camera in my hand and I am creating art. I need to get out there a lot more and continue creating on a regular basis for myself. While I am glad that my business is getting busier and I am shooting for work a lot more often noting compares to doing personal work. 

So that is going to wrap up this weeks blog post. I hope you enjoyed it

New name, Same business

Hi everyone happy Sunday and I wanted to share with you some exciting news. Since my business is expanding into video I decided that I wanted that change to be reflected in my business name. I gave this a lot of thought on what to change it to and I finally decided on David Spector Media.

I was thinking about David Spector Productions or multi-Media but after talking to a few friends of mine and they all said the same thing "Keep it Simple" I decided to go with David Spector Media.

 

I kept the same logo design and just made the changes to the text. This will keep some consistency as returning visitors to my website will see basically the same logo. I want to play around with some of the themes that Squarespace has and see if there is anything I like better.

Now the next steps are to change the name on all my social media sites and order new business cards. I will continue to keep www.DavidSpectorPhotography.com linked to the site for a while to let everyone get used to the change and update their bookmarks. 

So that's going to wrap it up for this weeks blog post. I want to get back to work on the site and other changes I need to make. I will see you all next week.

My biggest investment in my business

Hi everyone I apologize for missing a blog post last week but I was away in Atlanta visiting my sister and her family. If you read my blog post from a few weeks ago you may remember how I was investing in a video camera as the video side of my business was expanding and I needed to have a proper video camera in order to be able to do more jobs with a camera that has a lot more capability then my Sony A7II.

I did a lot of research on cinema cameras before I decided what to buy. I looked at Canon, Black Magic, Sony, Red and I decided on the Sony PXW-FS5. The main reason I went with Sony is that since I already own a Sony camera with Sony lenses I would be able to use those lenses on the new camera. Another main selling feature was the price point. At $6450.00 for the kit that I bought is the best value for the buck in terms of performance and features. Yes $6450 is a lot of money to spend but compared to the bigger brother to the FS5 the FS7 mark ii we are around $12K for that camera and even more for some of the other camera's

 

Another selling feature to this camera was the size. It is a very small compact camera which is perfect for run and gun style filming and is a great documentary camera which will become the main camera for my film I am doing on abandoned buildings. The body weighs in at just over two pounds so even with the lens and the handles on it I can easily handhold this for long periods of time. 

The Sony FS5 is also filled with some unique features as well. The biggest feature in the built in variable ND filters. Now most cinema cameras have built in ND filters but this camera has a variable ND built in so you can gradually increase or decrease the amount of ND in very small increments. Other cameras have hard stops of ND.

Another great feature is clear image zoom. This allows up to an extra two times of zoom on any lens including primes. Sony has figured out the math to do a digital zoom without any degradation of the picture quality. This means that even prime lenses are now zoom lenses. 

Super slow motion on this camera is really good to. I can do up to 240FPS super slo-mo in 1080 HD at 8 second bursts. It can go up to 960FPS but it is in SD and the picture is not usable. 

I have been spending a lot of time playing with this camera and I have a lot to learn still with it. I have shot one video with it for the Peace Camera YouTube channel and I then shot a video about it that I will link below. I will see you all next week.

  

EPK videos

Hello and happy Sunday everyone. It's a cloudy Sunday and the weather cant decide what it wants to do so today is a good day to stay inside and get caught up on things. 

I am happy to say that I am finally all caught up on my client work. I am waiting to hear back from one client on some changes they want made but that should not take me long to fix once they send me that information. 

So recently I have been filming EPK videos otherwise known as Electronic Press Kit's. These are short videos that a person or business can use to promote themselves or their business. I really enjoy making these videos for people and in today's social media world I think it is one of the best ways to promote yourself.

These video will range from 3 to 10 minutes depending on what you want to get out on the video but 3 to 5 minutes is the sweet spot. So my friend and fellow photographer Lauren reached out to me to do one for her business and I drove out to her studio in Smithfield and spent a few hours with her doing an interview and then capturing video of her working shooting a client of hers. 

Then it was time to figure out a way to tell her story in the best way possible. This is what takes the most time. I have to go through all of the footage to pick out the best clips and then put them together in a way that best tells the story. For Lauren I tried three different edits before I decided that I was happy with the flow of the video and then I had to had all of the B-Roll and effects and then send it to her for approval.

She sent me some changes that she wanted done and after I made those changes she was happy with the video. 

So if you think you would like to have one of these videos made for yourself to promote your brand or anything else please feel free to reach out to me through the contact me page on my website or email me at David@davidspectorphotography.com. Prices start at $500 for this service. I will link the video below for you to watch. 

 

Investing in my video business

Hello everyone in this weeks post I want to talk about a very exciting purchase I made on Friday evening that I hope will take the video side of my business to the next level. Since I have been doing video more and more I decided that I want to invest in a proper video camera. My Sony A7ii is a wonder camera for video and I love it but it has it's limitations. For me having a 30 minute recording limit is the biggest limitation. When I am shooting an event or wedding and I know that after 30 minutes I will have to stop and restart the recording and potentially lose an important moment or have to wait for a pause in the action to stop and restart the recording can be very stressing. The 2nd biggest factor in purchasing a true dedicated video camera is audio. While my A7ii has a mic input and i have a shotgun mic on the top of the camera I also have to use an external recorder to try to capture cleaner audio as I cant always be right on top of the action and depend on the mic to capture good audio. 

4K video is another option that I wanted to have. My A7ii can only shoot in 1080HD and since 4K is getting more mainstream these days I wanted to have that ability so shoot 4K video.

So what did I decide on you may ask? Well after doing lots of research  I decided on the Sony PXW-FS5 camera. For my run and gun shooting style this seemed to be the perfect fit for me. It's a lightweight, modular 4K cinema camera. It shoots full 4K video in 8 bit format but I have an option to upgrade to full 4K raw output to an external recorder at 12bit. 1080 HD video up to 240FPS in 10 bit 4:2:2 which is what I will be doing most of my recording at gives me a lot of flexibility.  As far as audio it has 2 XLR inputs with separate audio control for each input and will allow me a lot more flexibility. 

The camera also has a ton more features that I wont go into detail about now but I know this camera will allow me to do so much more and can open up a lot more jobs for me. 

I hope to get the camera in my hands this week and start playing around with it. Once I get is in my hands I will do some videos on it and upload it to my YouTube channel as well. 

This was an expensive purchase for me as the camera comes in at $6500 with the options that I choose but I hope to make it all back within the year or less. I will do another post on this once I have it in my hands and I can do a full review on it. until then have a great week and I will see you next Sunday.

Wedding weekend

Happy Sunday all. This weekend has been a busy one for me. Yesterday Jeannie and I drove up to Bracy Virginia to see my friend Stephanie get married. I had offered to be the photographer at her wedding but she said that she just wanted me to come and just have fun as a guest and not work. So I did not bring my camera's with me.

It was a beautiful day and we arrived at the church for the ceremony and ran into some friends that used to live in the same neighborhood as I did but had moved up north to Boston. Seeing Toby and CJ was really nice as we had so many fun times together. The wedding ceremony was very nice and then we drive back to the community where they lived where the reception was going to be held at the clubhouse.

Now Jeannie and I are both photographers and while watching the hired photographer work we both said that we should take some of our own pictures for Chad and Stephanie. Since we did not bring our camera's our only choice was my iPhone 7+

We used my phone to take a bunch of shots although we missed the cake cutting since we were outside trying to catch firefly's for a nice picture but we failed on that end. 

We then drove back home as I had to get up early to go on a video shoot this morning. So below are some of the pictures that we got. Not the best quality as they are from a phone but I love how they turned out anyway.

That's going to wrap it up for this week. See you next Sunday. Thanks to Jeannie for taking about half of these shots. 

 

Sorry that I missed a week. Dealing with some things

Hey everyone I apologize for missing a blog post last week. I have been so focused on getting the client edits done and I realized on Monday that I forgot to blog and I just said to wait until this week to blog again.

So I have had a hard time thinking about what I was going to blog about this week. I have been going through some things that I am not going to talk about at this time and I needed the time to absorb them and move forward. On a good not my new medication that I am on for my Hiatal hernia has been working like a charm and I have not felt sick for a month now. I have even gone back to eating food that my other Dr told me not to eat anymore. 

So with everything going on I have had a lot of things on my plate and I have decided that I need to take some time off for me and hit the reset switch. So sometime this week I will figure out when I can take a week off from work and have some time for myself. I will hopefully go down to Atlanta for a coupe of days and visit my sister and her family in their new house as they just move there from Ohio. I might also take a day trip to the beach and most definitely break my camera out and do some shooting for myself. This year I have really not shot for myself except one time and that needs to change. While I am happy that I have a lot of client work along with my regular full time job something needs to change so I can do some personal work and get the creative juices flowing again. 

That's going to wrap it up for this week again I am sorry for missing last week and having such a short post for this week but please bear with me and I should be back to normal soon. I will see you next Sunday. 

Another throwback with Emily

Happy Sunday everyone. If you read my blog post last week I talked about how much editing I had to get done. Well as of Saturday evening I have the main wedding video all complete and exported and I am now working on the highlight video and I hope to have that all done today and then I can start working on the EPK video. If I can get that done by midweek I will be all caught up on my client projects. 

So yes that is why I am doing another throwback post. Everything I have shot has been client work and I have not done any personal shooting for myself recently and hopefully that will change soon. 

For this weeks throwback I wanted to share another shoot I did with my friend Emily. She is one of my favorite people to work with. She really knows how to pose and she is also such a sweet person and a good friend.

I found out about Rougemount Castle through a friend of mine. The owner of the castle was building this for his wife and then the project was put on an indefinite hold. So the theme for this shoot was fairytale princess.

We drove up there along with my friend Mike. The property is located on top of a mountain up a very rough road.

The most interesting part of the castle is the outside as that was mostly finished so we decided to start shooting with the castle in the background.

 

We then decided to move inside to see what kind of cool shots we could get on the inside. The inside is mostly unfinished so we were limited on what we could get. 

 

As we were shooting I noticed all the patterns in the shards of glass that was left in the window frame and decided to see if I could get a good shot of her looking out the window from the outside. This was my favorite image of the shoot. 

 

We wrapped up the shoot and went on to another location but I will save that for another time. I need to get back to editing client videos. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there and I will see you next week.