by David Beckstead Published 01/06/2007
Take a path less travelled: a dusty desert model shoot
When I was invited to photograph a wedding model couple in front of 500 DWF convention attendees, it sounded right up my alley! I have learned to enjoy speaking, but I love shooting even more! Mix them both together and I am 'in my element'. The models were in wedding outfits, and a sexy, red, 1966 Thunderbird was brought in to give the shoot some colour. A dry lake-bed in the desert outside of Las Vegas was the backdrop to this fun shoot. Spinning funnels of dust and gusts of cool wind added a little drama to the scene.
Now coming up with a concept to shoot models in front of 500 wedding photographers is no easy task. Being in my place, most photographers would shoot the models to the best of their ability, hoping they would pull off enough great shots to at least make everyone happy. I was hoping for that also! Yet I spend a lot of time writing - on forums, in articles and telling photographers in person, by email and phone that to be different is to set yourself apart from the growing list of photographers at every level of pricing and skill
To be different! What does that mean?
have spent my life trying to chase down what it means to be different. I will stand with a group of people and literally pull back and analyse what this group stands for. Often a group will pick a path and charge down en mass. This is not always a bad thing. But, a compass navigational error steers me 180 degrees the other way. Every time! Do I fix the compass? Not on your life! It points in a different direction...a different road: one less travelled and pointing directly to me.
This is what I have found: when you are different, the vast majority will not understand it and will not follow down your path. But...there are a few who will. Those who follow or walk alongside you, will 'get' what you are about. A great relationship can happen when you both have something in common. Take this to a business level - some brides will pay more for photographers willing to be different. They will place a higher value on photographers who take their photography and customer service to higher levels. Or if not higher...further away from the norm in a horizontal direction.
What is a 'higher level'?
It is about 'drive' and 'passion' for me. I don't relax when I am working. I am always thinking of new ways to push myself. Challenge myself. I don't let a second go by at a wedding shoot without considering my next shot. I am proactive by seeking imagery if it does not appear in front of me. I actively chase new directions in my business and imagery. I see this business and my own ideas in levels. I shoot for new levels that are above me, daily. Going to a higher level is as much a mindset as it is a set of physical actions
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