Boston’s Newest Photographer

It’s been a long, eventful summer. After the Celtics laid an egg in Game 7, I hopped in my ’94 Nissan pickup and headed north. 1800 miles later and after a brief pit stop on Martha’s Vineyard, I pulled into the dirt driveway of our family’s house on Cross Point Rd. The next 5 weeks would be spent living on my pop’s 27 foot sailboat, working on our property for some cash, and a whole lotta nothin much…


During six months of Federal Unemployment, I realized one thing. Being broke sucks. So I did what any red-blooded 25-year-old would do, got drunk… No seriously, I started thinking of greener grass, the other side, and all that nonsense. I began to think about moving back East, and soon had decided that Boston was the answer. So I popped open the Mactop and got to looking for work in BOS. In a stroke of luck I hit on a listing that seemed perfect, inquired, and had an interview within 24 hours.


After the interview (and another pit stop to the Vineyard) my girl and I packed up the truck and headed back to NOLA. A few days later, all I could do was think about moving. Mentally I was already living in Boston.

Winter Harbor, ME

A week later the phone rang. I got the job! I could hardly believe the words as I told pop and my boys. In two weeks I would be living in Boston working a steady job. I didn’t waste any time. Three days later the truck was packed (for the 3rd time this summer), the tank was full, and I was gone…

Roadtrip TriptychOnce in New England I stopped to see the folks, but within the week I moved into a sublet in Jamaica Plain. I took a few days to learn my route on the Orange line and find the nearest liquor store (“packy” up here). After getting settled (and another trip to the island), I started work at Simply Interactive Inc on Newbury St.

I’ve been here a month now, and I’m loving every minute of it. I miss my southern city and all my friends, but its only bye for now… The girlie is movin up in 2 months!


Whatch out yall, Boston’s got a new photographer!

Photography for Free: No Pay Only Shots for Portfolio

“Do you want to work this awesome gig?”

“Hell yes.”

“Great, you’ll be on the list with a press pass.”

“Cool, whats the pay?”

“No pay, just shots for your portfolio…”

Too often this dialogue transpires for the emerging photographer. The responses vary but all photographers feel the same way: USED. Clients in this situation are taking advantage of something new in the freelance photographer’s market: everyone has a camera and to some degree know how to use it.

What clients do not understand is the difference between the amateur and professional. A professional photographer will shoot an event and take, lets say 100 photos, of those 100 maybe 75 will be “keepers”. Had an amateur covered the same event and taken the same 100 photos maybe only 25 will be “keepers”. For my purpose the actual ratio does not matter, it is simply the difference between the two.

A pro photographer is like a lion waiting to pounce on moments and situations using a carefully crafted balance of creativity and skill to capture and create. Unlike the pro, an amateur will approach the same situation optimistically yet without the confidence, knowledge, or experience necessary to get equal results. What ends up happening is moments/photographs are missed (to a variety of reasons) or overall quality suffers. Simply put, a pro MAKES photographs, an amateur TAKES photos.

Because of the advancements of modern cameras, anyone is easily capable of getting good to excellent photos (in ideal situations) without any working knowledge/experience, but in order to do this on-cue repeatedly requires a professional. Sure there are times when there is no budget and a student must be found on craigslist who will work for exposure/experience/something-to-put-in-their-portfolio, but this is an inherent risk to the client. Before looking for a “free photog” you must be absolutely willing to receive sub par results. If you require quality, you must hire (pay) a professional. And please, do not give me the line, “to better your portfolio”, I do that everyday.

*Side Note*

To ALL photographers: You have a skill and should be paid well for it. Wether or not you consider yourself qualified you must understand that the service you are providing is not cheap and anyone cannot do it. Find out what other photographers are charging. If you want to be cheap, be cheap, but don’t sell yourself, and the industry, short by working for nothing. Many potential clients like my work, but can’t afford to hire me. I always try and work with a client and their specific budget, but there must be a point of no return. No one likes to turn down work, but this is how we make our living. Working for free is not better than not working.

Tipping Etiquette

My friend is always chewing me out about my tipping etiquette. Today we grabbed an iced coffee at a local place and I paid with my credit card. As we leave he asks, “How much did you tip?” Well, I didn’t tip, and didn’t think twice about it. He said he would have tipped $2. I think it is ridiculous to tip for a $3.75 coffee. If I pay cash I usually leave the change, but businesses are getting out of hand with the tip line on credit card purchases. To my relief someone else is not crazy.

When I have a sit-down meal I tip anywhere from 15-20% based on the service (not the food). I tip a bartender a buck or two every time I order a round, not $5 for 5 drinks… As a rule I don’t tip for take-out, as I don’t tip at a drive-thru!. The same friend thinks I am being “cheap”. I think he has his head in the clouds, coincidentally so do the folks at MSNBC.

I do not feel the need to prance around town proving that I’m not cheap. A freelance photographer’s budget does not allow me to tip for my morning joe!

French Quarter Fest

Just a quick triptych from this weekend’s French Quarter Fest. Live music, food, and great weather make for a perfect beginning to 2010 festival season in New Orleans.

Freelance Photographer on the Road to Homelessness

Unemployment benefits are a good thing. You work a job for 4 years throughout college and graduate, but contrary to popular opinion, a degree is not immediately followed by gainful employment. This situation leaves one option: stick with the mindless 9-5 or 5-close until you can land a job that has thing-one in common with the $50k debt you now carry. That is, until you are canned because of a down economy.

It only takes a few hours before you ask yourself, “Where’s my slice”? Young professionals need to be aware of the programs available to them such as Unemployment Benefits, Federal Student Loan Consolidation,  and recent Health Care reforms. Taxpaying citizens all have the right to take back when necessary. The pennies you get from unemployment hardly compare to the amount of income tax you’ve paid the past four years…

When I was laid off from my day job I had no choice but to file unemployment. Now I have six months to get this photography ship off the ground. Freelance photography is far from “all fun and games”, but it probably is the coolest job around. Come July, if I can’t pay my rent I’ll be headed out to get a dead end job. Until then its GOVT cheese for me. Otherwise I’m sure my degree can get me a hat, horn, and spot on the corner to scream for change. Maybe then some cliché photography student will take pictures of me!

Best Friend’s Wedding

It isn’t everyday a best friend gets hitched. When that day comes it is a blessing. Lauren, Doug, and Luca make a great family. This is my “pick” from the ceremony, which lasted all of 8 minutes. After the wedding we all walked to Endymion and caught the parade. From there, a limo charter bus picked up all 45 of us and dropped us off at Musée Conti Wax Museum for the reception. Spectacular!

Congratulations Y’all,

keep it up

Saints Superbowl: We Did Dat!

Everywhere in the country the work week started as usual, “With a case of the Mondays.” NOT IN NEW ORLEANS… With our voices all but gone and our Who Dat!? feelin pretty good, we started our week today.

Sunday, for the first time in franchise history,  the New Orleans Saints won Superbowl XLIV.

I must say WON because it isn’t like Indy really had a chance after the “gutsiest call in NFL history.” Oh yeah, I mean that onside kick to begin the second half denying Peyton Manning a chance to touch the football. Porter’s interception was the icing, the proof Manning really CAN’T win the big one. I have given Sean Payton A LOT of guff this season and in past seasons, but Sunday was a coming out party and Sean Payton proved who he is. Like Belichick, Payton has shown he will live and die on one call: a gut feeling… Kiss that trophy!

Monday began like a bad dream, with everyone running to ESPN to make sure it really happened. The Saints actually DID win Superbowl XLIV. Then we basked in our DVRs, skipped the sub-par commercials, and re-watched the glorious game.

Tuesday was the parade. Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Katrina evacuation, nothing has ever had this city “on the same page” as it was that night. The Bless You Boys were back, Ray Nagin was host at Gallier Hall, and everyone got a chance to share in the victory.

Yesterday was a day of rest and today its back to basics. My vocal chords and my alarm clock are both against me today. It doesn’t matter.

Who Dat…Who Dat…Who Dat Say Dey Gonna Beat Dem Saints? Thought so…

Suck it, Bengals Fans, we OWN it now, the NFL gave it to us!

Rainy day in New Orleans… Canon 5D back from Service

It doesn’t get much better than a rainy day. Most people consider a day like this drab at best. I can’t get enough of the rain. Rain is one of my favorite times to shoot. Some people wait for a sunny day, F that, the only thing better for photos than rain is SNOW…

In other news, I got my Canon 5D back from the Canon Authorized Service Center in New Jersey today. I had sent it in because the mirror fell off last week (not a great experience during a Mardi Gras shoot). All I can say is WOW! They replaced the mirror and added mirror reinforcements. But wait, thats not all. Canon also relaced the focus screen, mode dial, CF door, and cleaned the sensor and viewfinder. My camera is at least a year and a half out of warranty but it was all FREE… My 5D got a serious makeover, which might calm the 5D Mark II twitch I have had recently.