Category Archives: Commercial Photography

Commercial photography services by Jim Crotty Dayton Ohio including event, editorial, product, facility, location and studio photo services

Tips on the Business of Photography

The following was a response to a Facebook friend and fellow photographer who was asking for advice on pricing and taking his work to the next level, from hobby to part-time endeavor and possibly profession. Some of my comments are unique to the local market here in Dayton, Ohio:

Right off the bat Josh, you’ve got the eye and the talent. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. And don’t allow anyone to tell you what you should be shooting according to what they like. Shoot what you love, and stick to it.

I took a quick glance at the article. Nothing new or surprising there, but it is a good read for those just starting out. As far as assignment and stock licensing rates according to the ASMP guide – forget in a market like Dayton. I say “non-exclusive, limited usage rights” to potential buyers here locally and they don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about. I’m not being mean. It’s just a fact.

Market your work and yourself outside the traditional boundaries. Look for buyers where no one else is looking. The local arts groups are okay for some initial advice, but they can also become a real hindrance and quite limiting. More often than not these groups are very subjective when it comes to who they will support and who they won’t support. Don’t give the so-called “art experts” power of you. Your work is too good to be limited that way.

Outsource your printmaking. Develop a solid, trusting relationship with a commercial lab and stick with them. Don’t get yourself and your money bogged-down with large format inkjet printers, paper, profiles, ink, time, etc. Trust me. It’s not worth it.

Set limits with customers who are only going to buy a print or two. Look at the return on how much time you might put into a sale for say one or two 11″x14″s. That’s what online storefronts are for. There are a lot of people who will devour your time and attention and end-up buying just one print.

Time + talent + skill + expenses + profit = price

I will be going over these and other lessons on the Sunday afternoon of my September workshop at the Inn at Cedar Falls. I’m also going to be doing a half-day program on the business of nature photography on a Saturday in November. Just haven’t confirmed it yet.

Once again Josh, you’ve got the talent and the eye. Don’t sell yourself short. Think outside the boundaries and rules everyone else is playing within. And always stay true to your creative vision.

Photography Services for Owners of Private Aircraft

One of the few upsides to a down economy is the number of individuals and businesses looking to sell property and various assets. I say “upside” from a professional photographer’s point of view, that being the opportunity to provide photography and digital imaging services that will present property listed for sale – both online and in print – in the best light possible and for the most visual impact. First impressions count, but with marketing products and services on the web, first impressions are EVERYTHING.

Private and corporate aircraft provides the perfect example. I recently I had the opportunity to provide exterior and interior photography of a Cessna Citation located at the Dayton South Airport. The owner was very supportive and helpful, graciously allowing me to use some of the images from the photo shoot for a promotional piece marketing my services for this niche in commercial assignment photography.

One of the key benefits of hiring my photography services is clearly listed in the flyer – ‘respectful of client property and privacy.’ Over the last seven years of being a full-time, professional photography I’ve completed photo shoots for a wide variety of both corporate and editorial clients. Also, I come from a corporate background, so I like to think a bring a bit more to the table than just the ability to deliver great images.

High School Senior Portrait Photography by Jim Crotty

I’m pleased to announce the addition of senior portrait photography to my offering of professional imaging services. Graduating high school seniors can choose between in-studio portrait sessions at my Centerville, Ohio location or portrait sessions shot outdoors. Senior portrait packages start at $300 and include up to two hour session, proof prints, select custom 5″x7″ and 8″x10″ prints and select images from the session delivered as high resolution JPEG files on DVD. Other options include a private, online proof preview gallery, custom slide presentations, enlargements on canvas up to 30″x40,” and post-production digital editing such as custom black and white conversions, montage composites and spot color.

Also included is a pre-session consultation with the graduating senior and his or her parents. From the consultation meeting I help families in deciding what type of portrait session will best serve the type of senior portraits they have in mind, or perhaps explore some new creative approaches in visually capturing the essence of this very important milestone in a young person’s life. The pre-shoot meeting also helps in building rapport between client and photographer.

One thing that’s important in capturing the client’s true personality is to have fun with the portrait session. I encourage seniors to photograph in a several outfits and bring along items that best symbolize their high school experience, such as medals, letter jackets, art projects, sports items, etc. A favorite playlist on an iPod through studio speakers is encouraged as well.

There’s also an option for a post-session get together to review the images from the photo shoot and select the photographs for both prints and disk. Client consult meetings are held in the comfort and convenience of my home studio where client images are viewed on calibrated, LED Mac cinema display screens.

As with my commercial portrait photography services, I utilize professional-grade Canon EOS DSLR camera bodies and lenses, a variety of studio strobe lights and light boxes and muslin cloth backdrops. All client images are captured in digital raw file format for highest quality standards. All original, raw digital files are carefully archived and retained by Picture Ohio, LLC, which can be accessed in the event the client loses his or her DVD with JPEG image files.

To schedule a free, no-obligation consult meeting, call 937-432-6711 or email jim@calmphotos.com. I serve high school senior clients throughout the Dayton area. Professionally insured, recommended and certified.

Capturing the Feel of a Place

One of the advantages of working with a foundation in fine art nature photography, and subsequently transitioning into architectural and interior imaging services, is the ability to pick-up on the small details of a location, whether it be a home or bed and breakfast inn. Also, awareness of the subtle effects of natural light upon those details. Together the “feel,” or spirit, of the place shines through in each photograph.

Below is a quick snapshot of the cover and interior spread of the most recent issue of Housetrends Magazine. This is from a home and garden that I had the pleasure of photographing for Housetrends, located in New Carlisle, Ohio.

And here are some of my favorite images from an assignment shoot I did this past February, for The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills, Ohio:

The Best Light for Portrait Photography

Last January when I sat for the written exam portion of my professional certification there were many, many questions pertaining to lighting ratios for portrait photography, all of which referenced strobe light systems. These lights are an important tool used in the craft of capturing portraits within the studio. I use a variety of light boxes, directional grids and umbrellas within my studio set-up, combined with three Alien Bees strobes. The system is trusted and true, delivering quality results.

But the portrait lighting technique that sometimes produces the best results is the simplest – natural, subdued light through windows. I’m fortunate enough to work in a home studio where I have access to a bank of large windows – all facing southward – within a room with a very high ceiling. Not only that but there’s also a skylight directly above that allows for even more use of natural light for indoor portrait photography.

The week following Christmas I had a session scheduled to photograph Stephen Emerick and his daughter, Shawna. Both were in need of portraits and studio shots to use for a book project they are working on to promote the retreats and workshops they present in Hocking Hills, Ohio, titled “The Nature of Life: Inner Voice Inner Light.” This portrait session provided me with the perfect opportunity to finally take advantage of the pleasing light within the central living area of my Centerville home. In the past I have completed portraits and head shots in a downstairs area near my office. What was catching my creative imagination this time was the indirect, soft light of mid-winter. The furniture was moved out of the way and my backgrounds brought upstairs. I also included a strobe or two, but only as a secondary light source. In the video tutorial below I discuss how to implement various tools for “fill light” on the sides of the subject that are facing away from the window light.

The photo shoot was a great success. The only problem is that the window light tends to fade fairly quickly during this time of year, especially if it is a longer photo shoot scheduled in the afternoon. Nonetheless it wasn’t long following that session that I had another portrait client scheduled for head shots, so for now – and probably for the next two months of winter – my backdrops, posing chairs and reflectors will remain upstairs.

Does losing weight make for a better photographer ?

Yup, it sure does. I do quite a few photo shoots where I need to get down for smaller subjects and different angles. I’m also hauling a bit of gear over my shoulders or on my back. Just yesterday I did an editorial assignment of holiday decorations at a home in Washington Township. Lots of little details that required flexibility. I don’t like for anything to get in the way of me “getting the shot,” especially when it’s something that I can easily control. There’s no excuse.

I’ve been an overweight photographer and I can safely conclude that it is MUCH easier capturing details, carrying gear and working with creative angles when I’m not carrying 50+ lbs of extra weight. I’ve also found that it also helps with doing portrait work. The subject reacts to the person taking his or her picture. Think about it.

Weight Watchers is the way to do it. It’s not a diet, and that’s why it works so well for so many people. It’s a fundamental shift in how one lives his or her life.

This has been one of my proudest achievements during 2009.

Photographer Jim Crotty Before and After