Why I would suck as a commercial photographer

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
124
Troy, NY
The thread -- I don't want to teach grandma to suck eggs but ..... -- got me going on this.

I responded to it as follows:

"I like HCB's thought: "You don't take a photograph, the photograph takes you."

Exact quote: “A photograph is neither taken or seized by force. It offers itself up. It is the photo that takes you. One must not take photos.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

I shoot what moves me.

Cheers, Jock "


Folks who hire commercial photographers don't want a photographer who only shoots what moves them; they want a photographer who will use skill and inspiration to move forward whatever the client had in mind. The probably want a photographer who can "do" lighting; which I haven't a clue about.

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was involved in promoting a product that contained (are you ready for this?) a tapered element oscillating microbalance. It was a tiny glass device, about the size of a golf tee, that was capable of weighing very, very small things (like particles in the air) in real time. Further, it didn't need gravity to make its measurements. As a consequence, one of these TEOMs would be flying in a NASA mission to a comet.

Held in your hand, the TEOM didn't look very interesting. We hired Bill Murphy, a commercial photographer. He lit the TEOM, moved in close, looked, looked some more, lit some more, and produced this:

198337
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Cheers, Jock
PS sorry for the poor quality of the quick snap of the magazine cover.
 
Feb 6, 2015
124
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
I Had a conversation at a workshop years ago with Joe McNally. He has since published this information out in his books and blogs.

When he does a commercial shoot, he provides exactly what the clients asked for, but he makes sure he has built in enough time to shoot "other" thoughts, concepts and ideas.

He said that throughout his years of doing this, the clients often pick his "other" shots over the asked for.

So that is how I go about shooting those types of jobs.
I've had similar results. Some people want what they want and no more, but others are open to interpretation or other ideas that are sometimes outside the box.
 

Tilman Paulin

Top Veteran
Nov 15, 2011
69
Vancouver B.C.
Tilman
I Had a conversation at a workshop years ago with Joe McNally. He has since published this information out in his books and blogs.

When he does a commercial shoot, he provides exactly what the clients asked for, but he makes sure he has built in enough time to shoot "other" thoughts, concepts and ideas.

He said that throughout his years of doing this, the clients often pick his "other" shots over the asked for.

So that is how I go about shooting those types of jobs.
I've had similar results. Some people want what they want and no more, but others are open to interpretation or other ideas that are sometimes outside the box.
When dealing with clients that's really the only way. You have to give them what they ask/pay for - and then alternatives on top (or work out alternatives with them ahead of time - if they're the kind of clients open to that)

It's crucial to stay open to alternatives to your plan - even if you're "your own client"
I once set out to shoot waterfalls in a way that I had imagined beforehand (pre-visualized if you want to use a big word :-D ) and it didn't work out at all. The water levels were way too high and there was additional spray in the air everywhere.

After a frustrating day I was ready to go home, didn't even want to stop the car at this last waterfall on the way back. Did it anyway - and was presented with one of my all time favourite photos. Something I could have never imagined in a million years :)
Don't let yourself limit by your own imagination. Be open to suggestions by others (be it people or mother nature) and go with it. :)

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under North Falls by tilman paulin, on Flickr
 
Dec 31, 2013
124
Louisville, Ky
I Had a conversation at a workshop years ago with Joe McNally. He has since published this information out in his books and blogs.

When he does a commercial shoot, he provides exactly what the clients asked for, but he makes sure he has built in enough time to shoot "other" thoughts, concepts and ideas.

He said that throughout his years of doing this, the clients often pick his "other" shots over the asked for.

So that is how I go about shooting those types of jobs.
I've had similar results. Some people want what they want and no more, but others are open to interpretation or other ideas that are sometimes outside the box.
This is how I’ve done client work for years.
 

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