2017 was a crazy year for my work. I dedicated the entire year to just honing my beauty work and editing. The amount of time I put into retouching easily hit 500 hours over the entire year. I tried to make sure I didn't go 1 day without having edited a photo. Just to make sure I got the practice.
In the last 365 days, I've definitely learned some things. Some good. Some... Not as good. But that's how life goes. No year is going to be 100% fantastic, but it's all just learning all the time. So in honor of 2017, here's 7 things I learned the past year.
1. No one cares about you
Okay. So your friends and family care about you. Duh. But this is speaking as a photographer and a business, no one cares about you. Models don't. Makeup artists don't. Designers don't. So don't expect people to go out of their way for you. If you're a nice person, that's great. Seriously, that's fantastic. But people will try and take advantage of you. You need to learn to put your foot down on things. It doesn't make you an asshole, you're just not giving up your time for people who wouldn't do the same for you.
2. Retouching with Luminosity Masks, Blend Modes, and Local Dodge & Burn
This was huge. After constantly looking for what would enhance my retouching, these were the three biggest additions to my retouching that enhanced the quality and vastly extended the time it took to edit. So.. Win-Lose on this one. Anyways, here's some videos for you to learn the same techniques.
3. Being selective with who you work with doesn’t make you a jerk
I felt like if I offered a shoot with 1 model for TFP and not another, I thought I was a jerk. But I can't shoot with everyone who asks for free. Towards the end of the year I only started to work with agency represented models because it was less of a gamble. Especially for beauty where skin and look matter even more than a fashion or portrait shoot. Also, if I said yes to everyone, I wouldn't have a life. Which leads to...
4. You don’t need to finish work right away
Retouching has taken over my life. Working 4-6 hours a night on retouching for an entire week will lead to 1 project being done. It sucks, but that's the truth. And I constantly have to fight the fact that I'm not doing anything else whether it be go to the gym or connect with friends to edit.
5. It’s better to be honest
If you don't think you should do a shoot, or you think a shoot is going in a bad direction, you should say something. If you don't speak up, you're going to regret it later. I always try to add input, whether it's just questions or to say I don't like the direction the shoot is going in.
Just a note. This doesn't mean be a dick about it. But don't hold something back that could save you time or save an entire shoot.
6. Don’t write articles saying TFP work is okay
This one is mostly a joke, but I wrote this article and posted about it on Instagram. Now, every week or two someone will follow me, like that specific post, and then message me asking to work with me for free. I should have realized advertising the fact that I thought TFP work is okay would have brought more people asking me to shoot with them for free.
I still believe it is okay, but that doesn't mean I'm going to work with everyone for free.
7. There are people who are much better than you and chances are there always will be.
This is just a fact. No matter how good you get, it's always important to remember there's someone out there you haven't met yet or learned about that's better than you. I try to always remember that my best isn't the best and that I can and should always be learning more.
I just want to say thank you to everyone I've worked with. If you're reading this, you're the real MVP. Especially those of you who were a part of a project that involved sprinkles on the neck or broken mirrors on your eyebrows, or anything like that. Here's to doing more crazy shoots in 2018 and on.