love love love your work, amazing stuff! i was wondering though if you have any advice on getting "your foot in the door" and going pro in the photography business
Thee;s not much help I can do without knowing what you shoot, how well you shoot, where you are trying to go with your business/art, etc… The simplest advice I can say is either:
copy products other people are already doing and become average and trendy
Spend some time to create totally new content with your own ideas and logic, package it in a portfolio, and start pitching it to clients.
Most people will just do what is already done. That’s why so much photography all looks the same. And the fact is, the market needs most people to do that. But if you want to stand out and make change then I suggest you not worry about money right away and start focusing on being true to yourself. Things will click and money will come when you find your own voice! Just be patient!!!
absolutely thrilled about the work you did for pacific standard mag.
Thank you!!! That was literally one of my most favorite shoots ever and I feel more connected to it for so many reasons (the concept, the production and mostly the people involved). I felt so terrible that I couldn’t come to the opening in Seattle this weekend due to another project here but it was GREAT to see they had such an awesome turnout. I’d encourage everyone to fork over the $40 and buy their copy ASAP while they still can!!!!
Hello I am a huge fan of your work and visit your website often. How important is your relationship to graphic design in your resulting images? — thetdnproject
It’s very important!
I was going to be a graphic designer and was studying it in college before I got distracted with other things. I believe every great image maker should study design to improve their work. Something as simple as understanding good vs bad Logo’s will drastically improve a photographer’s ability to create a great image with a lasting impression. There’s a certain language you’re taught in design that isn’t necessarily natural to the photographic world and I think that language helps you see certain things in certain ways that’s very beneficial to the final product.
I do not live in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles - however, I know the hurdle I need to jump includes breaking through. I have helped some of the models I work with move on, out, and up to solid agencies - but like a master carpenter that's house is falling apart - it is HARD to focus on self. I admire your work, and think we may have even met or at least spoken before when you were a comedian and I was a publicist. My question is, how did you find the clients and representation you have. TY
I went by a stage name when I was doing comedy that was unrelated to the name I use now, and most of my comedy was done in Portland and Chicago so I’m not quite sure if we had met at that time. There is a comedian who used the name “Mike Donovan” but he is unrelated to me (I went by “Cool Mike” and had an entire performance where I was basically the worlds biggest asshole.)
But as for your questions about clients and representation: The clients are all word of mouth. I do VERY little marketing. Usually it’s a referral from someone I’ve worked with, or someone sees my work online and contacts me. I shoot quite a bit and share the results so word gets out.
For representation: I’ve been called up by several photo reps who found my work through word of mouth or online. I have been offered representation by a couple agencies but they didn’t feel right for what I’m doing so I turned them down. I was meeting with one photo rep recently when they suggested I get a syndicator… they introduced me to Josef at The Licensing Project and we clicked. Having an image licensor made much more sense for the time since it meant I could continue to focus on my art so I took his offer.
As for my art rep - one of the models/friends I shot (Abby Brothers) is opening a gallery with 3 partners in LA. They asked if I would be represented and I jumped on the chance.
I’m still looking for the right photo rep in NY to help me with commissions and I’m looking for the right gallery in NY to rep me for that portion of my work.
It’s an ongoing process but basically you just have to do what is right for you and your art, your business, and your situation.
Michael, would you give any photoshop tips, or maybe a tutorial? I am very interested in the texture that your photographs, and many other great fashion photographs have. They look so different than standard dslr pictures, so much better.
Great suggestion but, sorry, I just don’t have the time or interest in doing this. I think my time is better spent making art than teaching techniques.