One of the most recognizable buildings I had the chance to photograph for my book New Architecture Los Angeles was the Broad Museum, a beautiful project in downtown LA designed by Diller Scofidio+Renfro. As it’s literally one of the most photographed subjects in the entire city, I wanted to make sure I created images that were actually different than everybody else’s.
It’s an email I get weekly. “My name is John and I work for this massive publisher, and we love your image of that thing. We’re creating a book for our client, and want to use your beautiful image as a spread in the book – can we get permission?”
I’m always happy when publishers, corporations, or individuals want to use my images in their books.
It’s a struggle that every creative professional deals with all too often, especially early in your career: chasing invoices, non-responsive clients, unauthorized usage of assets, the list goes on. Here I’ve compiled some of my favorite links and videos that will help you light a fire to get paid for your work – and if nothing else, will inspire you to re-write those contracts so you never get yanked around again!
Instagram can be an incredibly powerful tool, but also a very annoying, almost disheartening thorn in your side. While it has great promotional value, the flipside is that it is rife with image theft, copyright infringement, enough vagaries to make your head spin, and the unavoidable irritation that comes with constantly comparing yourself to others.
When it comes to negotiations, as a photographer (or any freelance artist, for that matter) you’ve got to master the art of not being emotionally invested in the outcome – something that is nearly impossible to do. But without it, you’ll never be able to break free of difficult clients and underpaid gigs.
Getting paid to travel is simultaneously the single most amazing thing and single most overrated thing about being a working photographer. On one hand – exposure to new cultures, places, food, languages, and photo subjects is incredible. On the other hand, when it goes wrong, it can go very, very, wrong and make you question why you even bothered saying yes to the job in the first place.
Starting a career in photography can be very challenging. I know that when I first started as an architectural photographer, I made a fair few mistakes that could have been avoided. Fortunately, those mistakes can serve as lessons for future architectural photographers.1. Shooting With the Widest Available Lens
If you’re a real-estate photographer then shooting with the widest lens ever made might work.
A notorious sticking point for any photographer, the rush turnaround can be a great tool in your bag or it can turn into a living nightmare that threatens to create a rift between you and your client. Over the years I’ve been able to transition from the rush turnaround being a dreaded ‘ugh’ moment into something that is relatively effortless.
For some reason photographers are obsessed with being published, I am a photographer, ergo, am obsessed with being published. It feels good, it looks pretty, and it makes your photographs real, as in a tangible thing that other people hold and look at and say “wow” like Owen Wilson. Wowwww.
I already know that this is going to be a controversial article, but it’s something I have to get off my chest because I look back and almost feel guilty about how much money I have spent on these things. The photography industry is full of products that you may or may not need and separating the wheat from the chaff is going to be important when you’re watching where your money goes.
This article is essentially impossible to write, but it’s the single question I am asked more than any other. In fact, I apologize to anyone who has emailed me or asked me this question in person because I simply do not answer. That’s because there is no easy way to answer; it’s the equivalent of walking up to someone and asking them “how long is a piece of string?”