"A little bit of everything..."
I'm often asked what sort of photographer I am? What do I shoot? I suppose one day I will ask why they ask but I tend to just answer that I shoot what I need to, to pay the bills. Maybe not that direct, but I usually get to that point. My stock answer is I'm more of a lifestyle, portrait and commercial photographer. And I never cease to wonder if I just lost a job.
I do direct people to my web page and the galleries there and inevitably I get a response about how good the work is. And many times, I get a job from the inquiry. I try and show as wide a range as possible on my intro gallery titled, "Samples of my Work". I read where thats a no-no, you should only show a few photos per gallery (20-22 max) and you should specialize. Be special in one category or genre of picture taking. I can understand that line of thinking, but honestly, anyone doing what I'm doing will first and foremost shoot anything within the wheelhouse. I'm lucky, in that not much can stump me right now. I'm even more lucky because when I do get stumped and click a pic, my customers still like it. So I do shoot a little bit of everything. I just stay away from photo editor duty.
I shoot a lot of photographs that people will never see posted on my sites. There are all sorts of reasons, but a major one is my customers won't let me. They will not sign a release. This happens mostly with families and children pictures. Given that its a time of internet stalking, I surely can't blame a parent for that. I try and emphasize that in lieu of that, please consider giving me a testimonial or referral somewhere down the road. That produces a mixed result. I do get both but not a lot of them. People mean well and promise to do so, but its a fast paced world and they forget and I'm just not that desperate to bug them endlessly about it.
I also shoot a lot of photos no one should ever see. These are for me, often experimental, often sort of ugly since they didn't convey my meaning well. I also have a few that are too risqué for my site. I need to keep my site "clean" so that Moms and Dads, kids, and clients of any walk can access it without worry. Photos that are more risqué are fun to shoot. Its not about lack of clothes that makes this so. Risqué isn't about nudity all the time. Its the message the photos send sometimes, or the suggestion given. I actually love taking these types of photos but they don't pay the bills - or at least the market they cater too hasn't found me or want me. I find that my age and looks have a lot to do with acceptance as a
photographer for certain jobs like weddings, or Senior photos, fashion, glamour, and other gigs. Younger people want someone hip. Young. Your past work (your book) isn't even looked at. Experience and style doesn't matter. I would love to do more work with the LBGT community, tasteful work just like I do with the straight community. I do know many LBGT folks but they are private and don't advertise it, similar to pretty much anyone with a private life. I have an ache to shoot a series about tattoos but this is one area where I don't have any good connections. Truth is I'm open to many ideas and concepts but I don't think some of the market is as open to me. Thats cool. I do understand. No worries, my studio is a first floor deal, no windows to leap from. I'm safe. The other problem is if I do ever get to fulfill these projects and create beautiful photographs I probably still won't have them on my site. Maybe a few...but I'm seriously thinking I'd need another site for just those "progressive" pictures. But the problem of access is still an issue. I just don't want to hang something like that out there across the net so freely accessible. But then how do people find you? Ah, the circle.....
I do shoot a little bit of everything and probably a bit of everything you aren't even thinking about with me as your photographer. Some of us like to open our minds to other ideas and would welcome the push. Flipside of that is also true, some have no desire to walk on the wild side. Customers and photographer alike, plain and simple, some people just want a traditional photograph - nothing fancy, just the standard poses you get at JC Penny or in the mall using cheesy props. It never hurts to ask though. Never. You may be surprised at what you get for answers as a resulting photograph. Experience isn't garnered from a book anymore than creativity is. The two together though equals awesome.