Ok, so I’ve been slammed the last couple weeks shooting for Nike in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, and we’re headed to Rio in a couple days. It’s been super fun. We’re gonna cut a more finished behind the scenes video, but this is a little preview.
Backing up on location is essential, especially on multi-day jobs. I recently had a friend who was out here on an assignment for a big client. His main drive’s images got deleted, and his backup drive failed. Luckily after a couple grand, a few weeks in the drive hospital, and some serious sweating, he was lucky to recover his data. He was mortified as any of us would be.
Today my crew will embark on a 3 week job in Latin America for Nike. We will be going to Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Sao Paulo. We will have 4 shoot days in each city. I thought I’d share a little bit about my on-location backup system.
We have 3 LaCie 160gb Ruggeds, and 4 SmartDisk 120gb drives. The Ruggeds will be our primary drives. We will double up the images and keep two copies traveling with us. At the end of shooting in each city we will fedex a drive with all the images from that city back to the office here in LA.
Total, we will have 3 copies of all the images by the time we return to the states.
I flew up to Seattle for a last minute job this last weekend, and I decided to give the new Virgin America a whirl, and I must say, they are fantastic. All the subtle coolness factors from booking my ticket online with their well designed site and brand, to checking in, and the on plane experience. They are definitely targeting a hip target market. I’m think they are the Apple of the air carrier world.
Here are a few things I liked that give them strong differentiation than the other carriers.
1. Young hip branding. Their brand is simple and strong.
2. Fares are relatively cheaper, especially within the 2 week advance. I flew economy up and first class back down for the same price as United’s economy tickets.
3. Check in counters are modern design, and all flat screen computers
4. The gate staff girls are young and highly attractive
5. They were playing pop music at the gate
6. Once on the plane, they have a laid back fun vibe.
7. Attractive female flight attendants
8. Great purple lighting
9. Great leather chair design. From the back they look like Star Wars storm troopers
10. The normal safety video was a funny, witty, and somewhat sarcastic cartoon.
11. The RED entertainment system is a screen on everyone’s seat and is touch screen.
12. They use Google Maps to identify where the plane is.
13. They play cool downtempo chill music when the airplane is taxiing.
14. They have electrical plugs in every seat so you can use your computer the whole flight.
15. They will have wifi and ethernet internet access around the end of the summer.
16. The cool looking water bar in the back.
17. They use Method hand soap in the bathrooms.
Those are just some of the subtle differences of the airline. Enough to stand out. I fly quite a bit, and have grown to appreciate these small nuances.
Here are a few photos from the SD750:
I thought I’d take a moment to talk about assisting. I’ve encountered a few recent conversations that have inspired me to post on this. If you’re just starting and getting into photography, assisting is, in my opinion the best way to learn. You can see how other photographers work, learn lighting techniques, how to run a set, etc.
The number of assistants on a job depends on the size and technicality of the job. On bigger sets, the hierarchy starts with the first assistant who runs the set technically for the photographer. He/She must know have a vast knowledge of how to light, set up equipment, and have a good amount of on set experience. They will manage the rest of the assistants. That’s where starting out as a 3rd or 4th assistant is a good place to learn.
Here are a few things I expect from my assistants:
1. Know your role! This is probably the most important. The assistant’s primary job is to take care of the photography related technical aspects of a job so the photographer can focus on the creative and client relations aspect.
2. Do NOT push your own agenda. This is a good way to get yourself kicked straight off of a set. You are there FOR the photographer. Never talk to clients, especially about your own work. It’s very poor etiquette.
3. A good attitude. I can’t begin to tell you how far a good attitude goes. A good attitude to learn, and serve the photographer is extremely valuable. A photographer should not be questioned when they ask something of an assistant.
4. A positive attitude- Goes hand in hand in hand with a Good attitude, but a bit different. Sets can be stressful. A lot of times, the photographer is put under stress from the client. For me, an assistant with a positive attitude that can help me relax is a definite bonus. I want my sets to be positive and fun, and to be surrounded with a crew that add to that vibe.
5. Punctuality. BE ON TIME! Better yet, be early. Make the proper decisions to be able to make it to set on time.
6. Just ask! If you can’t figure it out, ASK. I’d rather you ask what you think is a dumb question(but usually isn’t), then make a mistake that costs money. I am more than happy to teach.
7. Attentiveness. be attentive to the photographer. Anticipate their move, have things ready before they need it.
Depending on the job, most of the times for me assisting isn’t too difficult a task. It’s a very laid back environment, and lighting is minimal. These are some of the things I like from assistants. Everyone photographer is different.
Above all, be willing to sweep the floors to learn and get in. Help a photographer out on a portfolio shoot, and if he likes you he/she may be more willing to hire you for the paid jobs.
Having a credit card is essential for a business owner. The benefits are fantastic and help us in many situations, especially as photographers. First an foremost if you put every business purchase on the card, it helps you in your accounting and keeping track of your biz expenditures. Art Producer’s Perspective mentions this in her latest post on invoicing.
Credit cards also come in handy if you need to put a deposit on rental photo gear, float expenses, etc.
Those are just general benefits of having a credit card. Different cards offer many amenities if you will. Among the credit cards available, I’ve gone through a few, as my airline carrier loyalties have changed. I finally found the best card out there from what I’ve seen. It’s the CitiBusiness Premier Pass.
Here are some of the awesome benefits of it:
•You earn airline miles for the airline carrier you are flying plus the same amount of mile points(ThankYou points) for the card. So you can still earn airline status and rewards with their program while earning rewards through the ThankYou network.
•I have a Personal Business Assistant that is a personal concierge. They’ll research many different things for you as well as help with travel arrangements.
•Travel & Emergency assistance: This is awesome and I just learned about it . If you are traveling abroad and get into a bind, you can get medical, legal, translation services, lost luggage assistance, and many other services. All included with the card. You also get Accidental Travel Insurance if you’re hospitalized or something.
•Auto Rental insurance: A lot of cards have this one, but regardless it’s very useful. You can deny all the extra insurances that rental car places try to upsell you on when renting a car.
•Warranty extension: They will double the warranty of anything you purchase on the card up to a year.
•I can get free companion tickets within the US if I spend a certain a amount.
There are more benes, but these are the basics.
Unfortunately they stopped accepting new applicants at this time, but hopefully they’ll reopen it in the near future. The next best card they have is the CitiBusiness Card with ThankYou Network. The only difference between the two are double airline miles.
Credit Cards have great power and benefits, but can be dangerous for some people. Regardless, I believe they are essential to any business.
Do you have one?
Someone recently asked me what my favorite lens is, and obviously it depends for what type of subject. Since I’ve already posted my favorite lenses for Travel Photography, I thought I would do a post for my lifestyle work. The answers are simple: The Canon 35mm f1.4L, the 85mm f1.2L, and the 20mm f2.8. All of these lenses create a certain look depending on what I’m going for.
*I just noticed that this post looks weird in RSS reader, so you have to view it in the actual blog for the captions to line up with the images.
The 35mm f1.4L
Most of my lifestyle work is a realistic feel, which I use my 35mm probably 85% of the time. Most of the work I’ve shown in the last year has been with that lens. Here are some examples:
The 85mm f1.2L
I love using the 85mm for a more cinematic feel when I still have interaction with the subject. You’re farther away from them, but not too far away. You can also get a nice compressed look if you’d like to put your subject in their environment.
The 20mm f2.8
This lens is fantastic for close dynamic lifestyle shots, or action.