A new chapter starts now!

Hi everyone. I am excited to type out this blog post as a goal that I have been working towards for the past few years has finally been achieved. I am finally 100% my own boss. Yes you heard right, yesterday was my last day working at the camera store.

For the past 2+ years I have been working at Peace camera and when i was not working at the store I was spending every waking minute working on building my business. Over the past few months I have been fortunate enough to land some pretty big jobs that will pay me enough that I can dedicate all my time into the business.

To say I am excited would be an understatement. I am beyond excited to now do what I love to do as a full time business. With this change is a reboot of my YouTube channel. I plan on putting out a new video every single week starting with the one that I will link at the end of this blog post.

I want to personally thank everyone who has been supporting me throughout this journey especially my family. I also have some amazing friends who have had my back this whole time and I love you for it.

Please make sure to stay tuned as I will be putting up a new blog post every week to go along with the corresponding video. I am going to end this now and I look forward to the journey ahead.

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.

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. 

 

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. 

 

Editing, Editing and more Editing

Hi everyone happy Sunday. I am releasing this blog post very late as I wasn't very functional for most of the day today. Jeannie and I got up at 4:30 am Saturday morning to drive to Charlotte for a shoot that she had that started at 8am. While we had an amazing shoot by the time we got home we were both wiped out and I crashed on my couch for a few hours and then went over to her place to crash some more. When I woke up this morning I was still feeling very tired so I got home and sat on the couch napping on and off for most of the day. It's 3pm now and I am feeling awake enough to get some work done.

So the topic for today's blog as said by the title is all about editing. If you read my blog post from two weeks ago I talked about how video work is taking over my business and the amount of video editing that needs to get done almost seems unending. I am getting close to completing the wedding video that I shot a few weeks ago. On Wednesday of this week I shot a corporate video that was an awards ceremony and i have to deliver that in a few days. That video is 98% complete as I am just awaiting a few clips from the client that I hope to have tomorrow and I can then finish up the video. On Friday I shot an EPK video (electronic press kit) for a photographer friend of mine to promote her business and I am now copying all of the data over for that as I type this.

Needles to say I have a lot of work ahead of me sitting at my computer in Adobe Premiere pouring through the footage from all of these events and putting them together to tell a good story. After I finish the wedding video I still need to make a 2nd video that will be a highlight reel about 10 to 15 minutes in length. The main video is almost two hours long.

So with that said I am going to end this blog post and get back to work even though there is a Star Wars marathon on TV and I would love to watch that instead but I need to get this workload decreased. Have a great week and I will see you next Sunday.

 

Painting with Light

For this weeks blog I wanted to share another one of my favorite photography pastimes, light painting. When I first heard of light painting photography it was using a flashlight to light up an object while taking a long exposure and I thought that it was very cool but then I met my friend Johnny and he showed me a whole new world of light painting photography.

I met Johnny at a gallery during First Friday here in Raleigh. I saw his images hanging on the wall and was just blown away. He had such detail in all of his images and i asked him to show me how to create the images that he was doing and he agreed.

The meeting space was a bike tunnel that had no lights inside so at night it was pitch black. I set up my tripod and turned it on bulb mode and watched him work. The first images he showed me was spinning steel wool orbs. Of course anything that involves fire I like.

 

At this point you could say I was hooked. He then pulled out his homemade light wand that you can program an image into and then fire it and it will paint line by line an image as you walk in front of the camera. This takes a lot of practice to get your pace right and a steady hand to get a nice smooth image.

 

Now it was time to start getting more intricate. Using another pattern and some more of his toys that emit light I stood in as a model while he made another image. Now I have to stay standing still for up to 10 minutes at a time to get these images is not easy but it was worth it.

 

I heard of a tool called the pixelstick that was like Johnny's but with more LED's and can be programable with any image that you can think of. Of course now that I was hooked on it I just had to buy one for myself. When it arrived I was like a little kid at Christmas. I called Johnny and said let's go play. Johnny sent me some images to load onto it and I was blown away by the detail that produces. 

 

Well now you can see why I am so addicted to this type of photography. When most people put the camera away at night we are just getting started. I want to give a big huge shoutout to Johnny for showing me how to create these images. Please go check out his site for more amazing images http://www.jedii.com/ Until next week. 

Is video taking over my photography?

HI everyone in this weeks blog I wanted to talk about how doing video is starting to take over the photography side of my business. Last year I got the opportunity to do the behind the scenes photography on two short films and I completely fell in love with the filmmaking process. I had been doing video for my YouTube channel up to that point but working on the set of those films really ignited a fire in me for filmmaking.

Fast forward to the last few months and I was put in charge of creating a YouTube channel for the camera store I work at Peace Camera and I put out a video every single week. So each week I need to come up with a topic to talk about then plan, shoot, edit and then publish that video which takes a lot of work but for me it's quite a lot of fun and I decided to add videography as part of my business plan.

My friend Steve recommended me to do the videography at a wedding that he was doing the photography for and the client hired me over the phone and I am currently in process of editing that video. I also will be shooting a EPK (electronic press kit) for another photographer friend of mine in a couple of weeks. A EPK is a commercial to promote yourself for those who were wondering and in today's age of social media I think this is a fantastic way of doing this.

While I still love still photography and it will always be my first love expanding into video is the right move for me. So if you think you would be interested in hiring me for any photography or videography work please feel free to contact me though the contact me page on my site or send me an e-mail at David@DavidSpectorPhotography.com

This is going to do it for this weeks blog. I am sorry it came out so late and that it is so short but I need to get back to work editing this wedding video. I will share the highlight video once it is done.

Portrait Palooza 2017

Every year for the past couple of years I participated in an event put on by the Wedding and Portrait Society called Portrait Palooza. This event is a contest in where you have 10 minutes to shoot a bride in as many locations around the facility as you can and then you have 48 hours to edit and submit two photos.

The first year I participated I went all out and brought two monolights with softboxes with me and when it was my turn we ran to the location I wanted to shoot and and spent half the time troubleshooting my lights as something decided not to work with the triggers that I had and I was only able to get one shot.

 

While I was happy with the one image I got I knew that I didn't have a winning image. I was determined that I was going to do better next year.

For last years event I showed up early so I could scout the location and pick out where I wanted to shoot. For lights I decided to bring only one light an Alienbee 800 and a beauty dish. I tested my lights to make sure they worked about 10 times before it was my turn to go. I met my model that I was going to be working with and we started shooting. Since i only got one look last year this year I wanted to get three looks. Since I went through this before I was much calmer this time around and was able to get 4 looks within the 10 minute time limit. This time I was quite happy with the two photos I got and I thought I had a fighting chance at winning or getting an honorable mention.

 

While I did not win I felt a lot better about the contest and had high hopes going into this years event. 

For lighting I decided to go with just a speedlight with a PLM to make it really simple so I could do the most with the ten minute time limit. I was in the 2nd group to go out and I had my three locations all scouted out. I met my bride and we went out to shoot. We got through the three looks that I wanted but I was not happy with the results. I was missing a lot of things that I should have seen when I normally shoot but since I only had ten minutes I missed most of the posing mistakes that I would normally catch if I had all the time in the world to shoot. The next day I submitted the edited images and waited to hear the results. I found out that my friend Maria had the winning image and I am extremely happy for her as she is an amazing photographer and the image was spectacular. As far as my images I will post them below. I will see you next week.