As part of his “LifeFinder” tour, he made a stop in my hometown Toronto on Tuesday. Hands down it was one of the most inspiring days of my life.
I saw Jeremy speak at the WPPI conference this past February in Las Vegas to a packed room at 8 in the morning. After he was done there was not a dry eye to be found. His photographic volunteer work in Haiti, combined with the memorable stories he told will last with me a lifetime.
His talk in Toronto was no exception…
If you weren’t fortunate enough to see him speak on this tour, I wanted to share a couple sticking points that really stood out for me.
1) The Art of Hustling.
If you were to look at his portfolio, you’d think that he must have an amazing photography agent who drops sweet photo gigs in his lap 24/7. His work is chalk full of celebrities like Sting, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, etc. etc.
Unfortunately, getting a photo agent doesn’t automatically land you gigs (in fact an agent is mostly there to NEGOTIATE contracts). Jeremy broke down his entire portfolio, and told stories about virtually every photography shoot and the hustling he had to do to get there.
Whether it’s to ignore an art director who said “don’t shoot STING.” To trading photography services for personal training (and then bugging Tim Tebow to post for pictures). To calling the Country Music Awards and asking to shoot celebrities backstage. All of his success has come from HUSTLING.
Too often we like to “sit on our laurels” and not challenge ourselves. I know for me personally, I’ve been actively giving myself photography projects, just so I can keep shooting.
How often do you go over old photo shoots, and bring them into the digital dark room? Reprocessing old images is fun, but if that’s the “only” real photography work you’re doing…your body of work isn’t growing.
2) The Social Media Game.
Sure a guy like Jeremy has over a million followers on Google Plus. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. He told a great story about watching some television show with his wife, looking at the actress on screen, and immediately thought “I’d like to photograph her.” He found her on twitter, said “I’d like to work with you, here’s my website…” The next thing you know, he was shooting her on a beach in Malibu.
This type of thing would NEVER have happened through the traditional route. You’d have to contact her agent, who would then contact her management, who would then contact the studio, and then it would get smashed! With social media, even the most “untouchable” celebrities are within a few clicks away.
Obviously you need to have a portfolio to back you up, but next time your favourite band is coming to town, why not reach out? Why NOT reach out to the local politician who’s making a difference? Why NOT send a tweet to someone who interests you?
Unfortunately, the more recognizable people in your portfolio, the more legitimate and in demand you appear. That’s just a fact. Even if you have BEAUTIFUL shots of your cousin, a picture of a D-list celebrity will trump that anyway (just my two cents).
3) You don’t need a ton of gear.
Jeremy is very well known for his travel/overseas photography including his “Voices of Haiti” series. When traveling to these remote locations, he tries to pack as light and as economical as possible.
Poking around his gear bag was definitely a highlight for me as I got so see a little bit inside his genius. What blew me away most was how little gear he actually had. One Profoto 600 Watt light. One Profoto Power Pack. One small square softbox. A Canon camera body, and a couple of lenses.
Click here to see the rolling bag he fits all that gear into…so cool – I think I may need to get me one of those too
He only carried one light to these remote locations, but came back with brilliance.
…All in all, it was a brilliant day, and Jeremy is a fantastic teacher.
If you weren’t able to go to his seminar, I totally suggest you pick up his LifeFinder DVD. I’m not being paid to promote it or do I get any kick back, I just honestly think It’s worth the money!
I hope you enjoyed some of the insights I learned from this fantastic day, and can take some of them with you.
Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep shooting.
PS. The fine folks at ThinkTank photo have thrown in a extra gift for the subscribers of this blog, if you do like the looks of “Jeremy’s bag.” You can check out the really cool freebies you’ll get by going here…