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Paul C. Buff Has Passed Away | brian rodgers jr. |Digital Art that rocks Blog |south bend commercial photography

In case you haven't heard the sad news, Paul C Buff has passed away. Paul was a true pioneer in the photographic community. His company makes (in my professional opinion) some of the best professional photographic lighting equipment available in the industry today.

I have a lot of respect for Paul. He's a man that has stayed true to his vision and craft. He has always done business as a factory direct company; meaning you could only by Paul C. Buff products directly through his company. No middleman. No other companies selling the his products at a higher price or muddying the water. He also kept his company relatively small; under 50 employees. This allows for better internal communication, and of course top notch customer service. 

Though I've never met him, in a way, I felt like I knew him. We had a lot in common. My condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues at Paul C. Buff Inc. Paul will be missed. In the words of the film The Sandlot, "Heroes get remembered, but legends never die."

Helpful Links:

Here is a link to a beautiful obituary written by his wife: http://obits.al.com/obituaries/mobile/obituary.aspx?pid=174445500

If you would like to know more about the life of Paul C Buff you can go directly to his website http://paulcbuff.com/about.php

We Are Living In A Post Industrial Revolution | Videos That Will Inspire Your Creative Business in 2015 | Digital Art That Rocks Blog

It never fails. Every time you’re on social media, you’re bombarded with “The Top 10” list of this or that. It’s getting to the point where it’s almost as cliche as saying “the best for less,” an all too common phrase in my local markets television advertising. The “Top 10” list has lost it’s appeal. 

As I’m sure you know, youtube is a great resource for online education on just about any subject imaginable. You can learn how to play an instrument, learn the latest tips and tricks for todays hottest smartphones, or get the latest in world news. But today, we’re not here to talk about the latest smartphone tips and tricks. We’re here to talk about business.

There are a ton of business videos online. Some great, some not so great. I wanted to share some business related videos that I truly believe will help inspire your business endeavors, both personally and professionally in 2015. I’ve also included some key points from each of the videos that I have written out in the form of quotations. These videos provide practical advice from some of the great minds of our time, and will help you open your mind and expand your horizons. Enjoy

Seth Godin—How to Win at Business

http://BehindtheBrand.tv In this episode of Behind the Brand, host Bryan Elliott talks with bestselling author Seth Godin about his new book, "The Icarus Deception."

“If you have a job where someone is telling you exactly what to do, they can find someone cheaper than you to do it.” "Gatekeepers have lost their power. You don’t have to wait to be picked. If you want to make a record, make a record. Put it on iTunes. If you want to write, start a blog. If you want to start a software company, you don’t need a permit, you don’t need anything, just start it.” 

"The connection economy rewards little things, little connections, little followings. So that if a programmer has 2,000 people who read her blog and she’s good, she doesn’t need her company anymore. If she gets laid off, she’ll get 10 job offers by tomorrow. Because she is connected to people that trust her. So one by one as individuals build these webs, of connections and trust, the guys on top have way less power than they used to, and that’s going to force them to innovate."

"There’s a race to the bottom to make things cheaper…You can’t grab a huge amount of market share by being 10 cents cheaper, it’s just not worth it. So how am I going to grow? I’m going to be 10 cents more trusted, not 10 cents cheaper."

"The app mailbox got acquired by a company called dropbox, before they earned a dollar in revenue. What did they have? Anyone could have copied their design. What they had was the ability to bring something to the market that people would trust with their most precious digital information; their email. And wait in line for weeks to get their hands on it."

"You’re not looking for new customers for your products, you’re looking for new products for your customers, which is a big mind shift. If you end up having 80 angry litigators as clients, please expect that you’re life is going to be miserable. You’re business isn’t going to grow. On the other hand if you look at the Walt Disney Corporation, who are there customers? They picked them. If they are are frustrated that 4 year olds have short attention spans and throw tantrums, well that’s their fault, they picked 4 year olds. So you get to pick. You don’t say, I have this great product, who can I push it on. You say which group of people are open to being connected, open to being led, open to being being worked with to create art. Those people will be my customers. Now, let’s work together to make a business out of that."

Seth Godin—The Best Business Advice You’ll Ever Hear

In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.

“A Freelancer is someone who gets paid for working. That means the more you work, the more you get paid. An entrepreneur gets paid while they sleep. They build a business bigger than themselves. And they get paid even when they are not there. When freelancers act like entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs act like freelancers, it’s chaos, it’s not a good idea. And if you have a job with a “boss” you need to think about whether or not your boss is asking you to do a set of tasks. If you boss is, then they are going to find someone cheaper than you to do them, which is not good. Or is your boss asking you to solve interesting problems? And if that’s the case, now you have your work cut out for you."

“Once we got over that hump in the 1940’s, business’ worked, electricity worked, cars worked, the system worked. And then school got to work just brainwashing us to accept it all. Don’t ask questions, no usable service parts inside, you shouldn’t own a screwdriver anymore, don’t open this. So that thing compounded by big banks and big corporations and big government agencies saying, “Don’t ask, just listen.” So now we enter this revolutionary age where so many things are being rebuilt. And every once in a while a 20 year old comes along and builds a website that makes them a billion dollars. And the rest of us just say “Oh we never thought of that.” We’re just waiting for someone to tell us what to do."  

“Right now it’s easier to start a business than any other time in history. The only person that’s stopping you from starting a business is you. Access to technology, access to capitol, access to information, access to markets. Never ever, been like this before. When I started early companies of mine, where I needed 70 people to start a company and raise millions of dollars. Now you can start with zero. It’s not hard anymore, accept the voice in your head, the resistance."

"No one gives you initiative, you have to take it"

"If you truly work in an organization, that won’t let you take even a little initiative, you outta try to get fired. Why are you wasting today, and tomorrow and the next month and the next sixth months doing that?"

“We all have so many more degrees of freedom than we give ourselves credit for. Even if you’re a waitress at Denny’s. You can figured out a way to be the waitress they will miss, when you are gone. Every once in a while you hear the case about someone who got a $10,000 tip, because some guy had come in so often and said Thank You. Now, she’s not doing it for the $10,000 tip, she’s doing it because discovering how to smile differently, or talk differently to make the patron have an engagement with you, that’s your real job. Your real job is not to bring the eggs from one place in the restaraunt to the other, they can do that themselves at a buffet. They are coming because you are a human being, and what human beings do is art, is new stuff, is connection and this humanity is what has been boiled out of us, and what we are seeing is it’s coming back in."

30 Min Q&A over Coffee with Chase Jarvis

“Making something is my natural state, where I feel most like myself. So it brings me great joy and that’s one of the reasons that I chose to be an artist, and a creative for a living. There’s a certain bias that I have towards doing things that you love. And imagine if we were full of a world full of people where most of the people got to do what they wanted to do. I realize that can’t be true for everyone. But what if we could get close to that? What if you right now, left the crappy cube that you were in that you didn’t like, that you didn’t want to be in and went and pursued your passion. I think you would be a happier person, the world would likely be a better place because of it. Especially if that happened at scale."

"If you love it so much that you’d rather be doing that than anything else, that’s where the competition is going to fall away"

“You have to be good at your craft. To be able to get up and do something for work as opposed to pleasure, it’s like a professional golfer. You’re paid to hit it down the middle everyday. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 people watching or 10 million people watching, if it’s windy, rainy, all that doesn’t matter. If you’re a pro, you’ve gotta be able to hit it down the middle. And that’s what being professional photographer does. You’ve gotta be able to deliver over, and over and over. And it’s a subject matter that you don’t like, or the persons being a jerk, none of that matters and you know who cares? No one. The person who hires you cares, that they put the best work on their bosses desk. And that’s what gets you hired over and over.”

“A: You have to be great at your craft. B: You have to stand out in the market place."

Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe on the High Cost of College (Full Interview)

Mike Rowe about college: “It’s not working. You’ve got a trillion dollars in debt on the student loan side. You’ve got a skills gap. Right now you have about 3 million jobs, transportation, commerce, trades that can’t be filled. Jobs that typically don’t sit down with their kids a say looks if all goes well, this is what you’re going to do."

“Opportunities. A good welder, right now, can pretty much write his or her own ticket. Companies like Catapillar, you can go down the list. They have had open shortages for years.

“The scholarship program, and the scholarship business, as I understand it, right now awards four basic things. Intelligence, so you have academic scholarships. Athleticism, if you can hit a three pointer, we’ve got money for you for days. Talent, we reward talent and of course need. Need based scholarships. Those are the categories that most scholarships address to some degree or another. Who’s addressing work ethic? Who’s affirmatively trying to reward the behavior we’re trying to encourage?"

Mike Rowe on his foundation: “the behavior that Mike Row Works wants to at least talk about, is two things. The willingness to learn a useful skill. And the willingness to work your ass off. Combined, we think that is something that outta be affirmatively rewarded."

"The question is, what is better? Is it better, right now today, to have $140,000 in debt, but have a degree from Georgetown in law? Or is it better to be that kid I described up in Butler? (Earlier he talks about a kid in Butler North Dakota, that works on heavy equipment making over $100/hour, working when he wants, paid for his house in cash, raising a family, no debt. People don’t tell his story. "

“If we’re lending money that extensively, we don’t have to kids who really have no hope of paying it back in order to train them for jobs that clearly don’t exist, I might suggest that we’ve gone around the bend a little bit."

“The cost of a degree has increased over 500 times the rate of inflation since the mid 80s. 500 times the rate of inflation. Nothing else comes close, not even healthcare. Healthcare is like, 250-260. The cost of this thing has increased so exponentially, I can’t believe it’s not daily headline news. Image any other commodity increasing at that rate. I get it, education is hugely important. If there’s only more thing that’s more important than education, maybe health and fitness. Right, cause what’s the point, if you’re not functioning."

“Fear. It’s gotta be very scary to not have a really specific answer to questions like: “What’s the best path dad?” And to have somebody tell you in a fairly convincing way that there is an answer to that question. That must be very comforting. And that must be very comforting to pass that certainly onto your kid too. "Here’s what you need to do, you need to work hard in school. You need to study"…..It’s not bad advice. It’s just that, like I’ve said before, it always goes too far. Because, rather than put a period after work hard and study hard. We put an ellipsis, and that’s followed by “or else, you’re gonna end up working down at the construction thing…er…eh"

“Whether you’re a tv interviewer, or an opera singer, or a writer, you’re gonna approach your craft like a tradesman. And by that I mean, like a freelancer. Instead of, “ok I need my job and my job will be 30 years, and it will come with benefits and it will be provided bla bla la . That’s not working anymore.” 

“Les Swansin from Wisconsin cleans septic tanks. I asked him one day, we were literally standing literally up to our nipples in the most undescribable bouillon base on the planet, and I said Les, “what did you do before this?” It’s 110, the sweats running off his face and he looks at me and he says “I swear I was a guidance counselor.” He was a psychiatrist, a psyhologist. And I said, “Why’d you leave that? And without missing a beat he says, “I got tired of dealing with other peoples shit.” It was very funny, but it was also very instructive, because he always thought what he wanted to do was the thing that he was told he should do. He became passionate about something he really didn’t care for. When it came time for him to make the change, he just looked around to see where everybody was going, and he went the other way. Took him into a septic tank. Owned a business, couple of workers, very happy. So if you’re asking how do you know if you’re going in the right direction, how do you really foster a good work ethic, I think you have to identify the thing that most people don’t want to do, figure out a way to do it, and then figure out a way to love it"

Ramit Sethi | Chase Jarvis LIVE | ChaseJarvis

Chase welcomes business guru Ramit Sethi to The Garage to share his advice for what it takes to be successful as an artist. SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/16MHmg0 About Chase Jarvis: This is the hub for award-winning photographer Chase Jarvis' behind-the-scenes videos.

Chase Jarvis - “It is a global economy right now. 10% of my work comes from Seattle. And I have called this place home for the duration of my professional career. So I think there is something to think about that goes beyond geography.” 

Ramit Sethi - “It’s funny that sometime’s people believe they don’t have the time to learn the marketing part of it. So I knew this restaurant owner, and I wrote most of my book at his coffee shop, and one day I mentioned to him, “Hey what about marketing this and that” because I became friends with him. And he said, “yeah, yeah, I really should do that. I don’t have time to do that. And his restaurant shut down, not long after. So I agree that, if you’re the creative person, you need to take the time to articulate your vision. Otherwise it just looks like you’re delegating it off to someone else and you’re just a technician. That’s not a role you want to be in. A technician is a commodity, like salt. Do I care if I have one brand of salt or another brand? No. They’re the same to me. One dollar, I don’t care, they’re a commodity. Someone who has a vision, a narrative, a story, who can walk it and show me why it’s right for me, price out the door. And I want to work with you. You don’t want to be a commodity, you want to be a visionary.” 

Settings Goals & Reaching Milestones | Brian Rodgers Jr. South Bend Commercial Photography | Digital Art That Rocks LLC

This past year has been a crazy one. A lot of great things have happened. And rightfully so. I have found that when you set goals for yourself, and you actually put them down on paper (or in Evernote), you are more likely to accomplish them. I know, it’s hard to believe (sarcasm), but there are only a small amount of people who actually do this. It’s great to have goals. It’s even better to write those goals down and stick to them. I promise you, it will make a difference! 

It’s easy to forget what you've accomplished over the course of a year. That’s why I have a notebook in Evernote that is specifically dedicated to keeping track of milestones throughout the year. It’s a pretty simple idea really, but it allows you to reflect on your accomplishments at year’s end. I simply make a quick bullet pointed list for each month of the year. Anytime something note worthy happens, or a milestone is reached a new bullet point is added to that list for the month. 

Here are a few things that I was proud to accomplish this year:

  • Really pushed myself to create a better body of work this year
  • Won several contests 
  • Won 4 Addy Awards for Commercial Photography: American Advertising Federation (AAF) - ADDY Awards
  • My photography was selected as Image of the week twice by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals
  • I was asked to be a guest blogger for scottkelby.com. (Scott Kelby is the best selling photography and photoshop author for the past 10 years & is President & CEO of KelbyOne.) See my post here: http://scottkelby.com/2014/its-guest-blog-wednesday-featuring-brian-rodgers-jr/
  • My work was featured on popular web show The Grid-The Path to Inspiration Episode 142 for My ford focus time lapse (I'm referenced at about 34:20 & 1:03:15) http://goo.gl/05PHg6
  • Became a member of the American Society of Media Photographers
  • Started Digital Art That Rocks LLC - Commercial Photography Studio
  • Created a Digital Art That Rocks Youtube Channel & posted my first youtube videos http://goo.gl/dF3sSN
  • Taught myself how to shoot and edit video
  • Taught myself how to fluidly use Adobe Premiere
  • Taught myself how to create animated display ads using Photoshop & After Effects
  • Created TV commercials that ran on air and corporate videos
  • My work was featured on the Photoshop Daily News
  • My work was featured on the KelbyOne Blog: http://kelbyone.com/blog/member-spotlight-brian-rodgers-jr/

 

Not all of the items listed were goals that I had written down. Some were just pleasant surprises. However, I can say that mostly everything I set out to do this year, I've accomplished. What are you goals for this upcoming year? Do you want to learn new skills? Further your career? Start a business? Donate to Charity? Run a marathon? Be a better person?

Even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. We are all living in "post industrial revolution," where anything is possible. Now more than ever, we have all have the resources the enrich the lives of others, whether that’s creating an amazing product and using Kickstarter to bring it to the market, through writing and distributing your own music, self publishing your own books, creating your own website, starting your own business and the list goes on. I encourage you to make 2015 your year!

Commercial Beer & Beverage Photography South Bend | Brian Rodgers Jr. | Digital Art That Rocks

“Don’t shoot what it looks like, shoot what it feels like” - David Allen Harvey

Any time I create photography, whether commercially or self assignments, I want the viewer to feel something. For me, that is the ultimate goal. I try to light my subjects in a way that creates a some sort of mood to invoke a feeling. In this example, I've created a shot of a beer bottle with strategically placed light. This image is simple and clean, yet it has atmosphere. It feels as if you're sitting outside on a rooftop on a summer night gazing at the city below. After a long hard day at work, just take in the fresh scent of rain, with an ice cold brew in hand. Enjoy the time-lapse!

Time Saving Tips For Commercial Photographers | Brian Rodgers Jr. Commercial Photographer South Bend | Digital Art That Rocks

Let’s face, we as photographers LOVE gear...until we have to carry it around of course. If you’re a working photographer like me, you know the necessary burden of carrying gear around to complete a job. Cameras, tripods, lenses, strobes, softboxes, light stands, booms, and usually some sort of seamless coupled with the stands to hold it up. And these are just the basic items you may need for any given job.

For many jobs, I work on location. I’m often on location to shoot corporate head shots for a local dental practice. I typically shoot these doctor portraits on a white seamless in a very very tight space at the dental office. Shooting on location makes things much easier for the client; the art of client services. Because I shoot these portraits on location, the job requires me to carry gear up and down a flight of stairs, as well as move a ton of office furniture out of the way in order to make these shots happen. As you can imagine, this can take a lot of time.

My goal with this blog post is to help working photographers think of ways they can save time, by observing the locations they are shooting in, and carefully considering what gear they actually need for the job. 

Pay Attention To Your Surroundings

Always pay attention to your surroundings on any given photo shoot. If this is your first time in a location, pay careful attention to the details, as you may find yourself shooting in the same location again, providing you have a lasting relationship with that particular client. Since I almost always shoot these portraits in the same room for this particular client, I've found ways to simplify my process and work more effeciently. By simplifying my process, I've cut down on the amount of time it takes to set up as well as eliminated non essential gear from my bag. 

When shooting on location for a repeat client, here area few details you may want to pay attention to:

1. AC Outlets. It’s good to know where the outlets are. When you know your location, you’ll know if you need extension cords or power strips for your studio strobes. This is particularly important if you are shooting commercial vehicles in a large warehouse, where AC outlets are spaced farther apart than your typical office setting.

2. If you are using natural light to light your subject, it’s important to pay attention to the direction of light in relation to the time of day you are shooting. (If you are using strobes, this may or may not be as important.)

3. Be mindful of furniture you are moving. It's always good practice to try to put things back as they were before you arrived. Again, this goes back to customer service. Tip: take a snapshot of the room before you move anything. This gives you a reference as to how the room looked when you first arrived, making it much easier to put things back. Most clients will appreciate this.

4. Also, look for things that can potentially save you time, or work to your advantage in some way. For example, Though I always shoot these portraits on a white seamless, it occurred to me that there was a nice white dry erase board in the back of the room that i could use to my advantage…..Hmmm….

Be Resourceful
1. To save time on setting up, I decided to use the dry erase board as my background instead of setting up the seamless. I get the same look of a white seamless in less time, problem solved….Until there is writing on that dry erase board. Then it’s a good idea to unpack that seamless you left in your car just in case. You did bring the backup seamless just in case… right?!

2. I use the same lens on all these particular portraits, so there is no need to pack every lens that I own.

3. Instead of using two background lights to light the seamless (dry erase board in this case), i only use one for these particular shots. Since I'm shooting tight and only need to light a smaller portion of the background one background light does the job. This also saves time on setting up.

So these are just a few ideas to hopefully get the gears spinning in your head, to help simplify your process. Remember to think about these things. You just may find yourself in that location again ;)

Lastly, I have included a quick pre-production shot of the dry erase board that I turned into a “seamless” and a quick self portrait. Time saved is time well spent.