The Average Black Friday

Finally I am catching up on everything, of course it is just to start up all over again!  Just get caught up and have more portrait sessions this weekend, at least the Thanksgiving holiday will give me a break, well maybe….

I am somewhat against all of this “Black Friday” stuff.  I don’t mind the sales and stores opening up the day after Thanksgiving, but I really don’t like the idea of stores being open on a holiday.  I won’t be shopping at all, I’m the type that if I want something I will just go out and get it, so there is very little I am looking for at the moment.  But where I am torn is I am thinking of having a “Black Friday” special on my Etsy store.  I will be discounting Polaroid prints and possibly adding some art prints to the store just for the Holiday season.

This is all a part of my new way of doing business as an artist.  I have some prints that are worth more than others, but at the same time, I did make these prints to be sold.  I’ll have more on this next week, but if you’ve had your eye on something in my store, next week is the time to get it!  Prices will be much more affordable!  The whole idea is to get a tangible piece of art into people’s hands.  The internet allows us to view images all we want, but when the images are hanging on our walls it gives them life.  I’m sure not everyone will get what I am talking about, but for those of you who do, this sale is for you!

This will also allow me to set up a few more artistic shoots and create even more images for this site and for my store!  The goal is to keep prices reasonable, even if they are one of a kind!

So wish me luck or feel free to purchase a print!  Visit The Average Store more images coming soon!  Here is a film shot of Roarie, one of many coming to the store soon!

Roarie Yum by The Average Jim

Positive Groove

Okay, for those of you who have never read my blog here I go again.  It is all about style!  I am a photographer but that doesn’t mean I will shoot just anything in any way.  Even if I know how to, I just don’t do that.

I hate talking about what I won’t do or what I don’t do.  It seems so negative, and I really do not like negativity, I like to be positive and talk about what I like to do.  This is what most of my clients understand.  I talk about what I can do for them.  I know my boudoir photography is not like what other photographers do, but that is my selling point!  I just do what I do.

There is this fine line I tend to walk between fashion, lifestyle and boudoir photography.  For some reason I really feel like it all goes together.  It is the same when I shoot fine art portraits.  It all has to do with mood and style.  People have asked me how I shoot to get the end result and honestly I just get in the groove.

There are things I do to get into this groove, but most of it has nothing to do with the technical side of photography.  Most of it is just instinct and years of being behind the camera and a true love of working with people.  I never thought I was a people person when I was younger, and I still usually avoid large groups or people who are super negative and especially avoid the shit talkers!  But one on one, I like people.  I like getting to know my clients, I like talking to them and listening to them and their stories.  When you take the time to get to know your clients and they get comfortable with you, especially with boudoir sessions, then the magic can just happen.

I also use a lot of visualization techniques, I know what I want to shoot before I even pick up a camera, and anything extra I get is just icing on the cake!  Sometimes I will even change my mind in the middle of a shoot, you must be able to improvise in this business, it is something that has gotten me some of my best images ever!

If you’re a photographer reading this, have vision for your shoot, don’t just try to create technically perfect images, because they are often anything but perfect.  If you are a client or potential client reading this, hire the person who has work in their portfolio that you like and how you want to be photographed.  It just makes everything so much better when this all comes together.

Just my opinion, but it is my blog after all. ;)

Anoush by The Average Jim

The Average Gift

It has been an amazing couple of months.  I have relocated to Palm Springs and life is good!  I can finally focus a little more on the type of work I want to do.  My playground is coming together nicely and I have a very cool shoot set up for tomorrow!  I really like that I can shoot fashion, boudoir, fine art, nudes or whatever here.  It really feels like home!

Yesterday we had a shoot with friends here at The Average Jim Manor, and I probably have the best friends ever.  They brought me a camera!  A Mamiya RB-67, this is one of my favorite film cameras of all time!  I have had one before but sold it and almost instantly regretted selling it.  Now I have another one and I cannot wait to use it!  Not a bad deal, shoot some family photos, eat, drink and hang out and get a killer camera in the process!

I am seriously looking forward to tomorrow’s shoot and can’t wait to see how my new toy works!

Here is one from the archives, not too far back, but this is one I found that I can’t believe I’ve never shown before.  I do quite like it.

Amanda by The Average Jim

The Palm Springs Advantage

I am loving my move to Palm Springs!  I knew I liked it here, at least enough to move here, but wow, I love this place!  It is amazing how a little bit of happiness mixed in with taking the time to clear the cobwebs from your mind can really inspire you!

All of a sudden I am having a rush of new ideas and I will definitely have to shoot more fashion editorials very soon!  Possibly another lookbook too.  I love feeling inspired!  I also now have this need to shoot asap!  Luckily I think I may have a great shoot scheduled for this week, just have to finalize the details, but it will most definitely be a fun editorial shoot!

One reason I shoot so many editorials is to expand on my creative side.  I like to keep pushing myself on a creative level as well as these types of sessions really keep you thinking on your feet.  Sometimes things will change that you didn’t plan on and you have to figure out what to do next, it just keeps you on your toes.

Hopefully I will be doing a lot of shoots in the months to come, the creativity is flowing once again, and if there is anything I have learned over the years it is to take advantage of this feeling every time it comes along!

Desirey by The Average Jim

The Average Mind

I think I’m going off the deep end again.  At least this time it is slightly different.  I am very prone to getting annoyed with the entire photography industry, it has been this way for years with me.  This is what happens when you are not part of the majority and you tend to see things in a much different way than everyone else.  But this is how I do what I do.

There is a total blow-hard in this industry who spouts off about how you need to be a specialist and anyone with a camera can do what you do so this is how you need to sell yourself.  He is an idiot and a bully, but people listen to him, hence my frustration with the entire industry.  Honestly it doesn’t really matter to me that people listen to this guy, the people who follow him are not my clients so there really is nothing to worry about there.

Part of the changes I wanted to make to this blog was to get back to just being me, uncensored and lots of word vomit at times.  The other part was to just show my vision of how I see the world.  I have a pretty damn good understanding of photographic technique but to me there is way more to photography than just that.  Just like painters have technique, or sculptors, or any artist for that matter, what matters is your final product.  This is your vision.

Apparently my vision is filled with hazy light, lots of film grain and lots of mystery in the details.  I also put a lot of myself into the images, it is when I step back and just watch my world go by.  My work is about my subject and it is also about me.  Finding the balance is difficult at times, and finding people who understand this is even harder!

The whole idea of following your vision is what makes you an artist type.  The content doesn’t really matter, some people photograph nudes, some men, some women, some weddings, some boudoir, some portraits, some kids, some pets.  But if you have a vision of what you wish to create rather than just executing a properly lit photo, this is what makes it art.  This is what makes it your creation.  This is what nobody else can do.  Just think about that for a minute.  Your mind and your creativity are your own, what you do with it is totally up to you.

Jessica by The Average Jim

 

Just Me

To say the least, my brain is all over the place these days!  It is about time for a change of pace.  I’ve always been a “less is more” kind of guy and now I think I’m getting to be more of an extremist about this philosophy.  I have not shot a personal project in over two months and it doesn’t bother me.

This year I shot a lot of editorial content and posted a lot of photos to my tumblr which did gain me some followers.  This was fun and it is always nice to have more people enjoying your work, but it also created a problem.  I was shooting some great content and then some not so great content.  I was shooting way too much.  The funny thing is that the stuff that I felt wasn’t so great was still getting published.  So maybe it was still good, but just not what I wanted to be doing?

The other issue was that I got a lot of followers who just wanted to see the photos of the models I photographed but didn’t want to read the words I would write.  But this is my blog and you don’t get to come here and tell me how to run it.  If you don’t like it, leave.

These are all minor problems in the grand scheme of things but when it comes to my work I don’t like to be bothered with little problems or distractions.  I’m sure nobody likes problems or distractions, but they really throw me off of my game.

I have decided to slow down even more.  I have one possible shoot coming up that is exactly what I want to shoot, I’m just trying to schedule it.  If I cannot get this one scheduled I might not shoot it at all, at least not for a while.  I have some client shoots coming up this week and I am definitely going to get creative with those!  Right now my brain is more focused on creative portraits rather than fashion.  I’m sure I’ll have more fashion editorials to shoot soon enough, but for now I want a real connection with my work.

Believe it or not I am really enjoying the weddings and portraits I have been doing lately!  It is a really nice change from the fashion industry.  It has inspired me to make some changes to this blog.  I’m not going to be posting only my industry work here, while I will still be posting it, I will also be posting more images from my client work (including weddings and portraits) and some of my personal work which has nobody in it.

My main site has changed, now there are several sites linked to one where you can see all of my work, including what I do with my wife as well as her work.  This is my personal blog which happens to show my professional work.  I write how I am in person, so if you don’t like what you see or read here, you won’t like me in person, the door is always open, so come or go as you please, just don’t tell me what I can or cannot do.  I do not believe in limiting myself or others.  No limitations, and the rules are the ones we set for ourselves.  No judgement, no discrimination, just me, The Average Jim.

Here is one of Jessica Today from a clothing shoot I did a couple of years ago.

Jessica by The Average Jim

 

The Average Purpose

Okay, I try not to rant too much anymore, mostly because if something bothers me I usually choose to just go the other direction and focus on the positive.  But today I have realized that I can do both, I can look at the positive while still calling it how I see it.

It seems the biggest thing in LA fashion these days is nudity.  Everyone wants to see a model’s boobs.  Now I could be considered to be partially hypocritical here because I do shoot a lot of nudes, but just wait for me to make my point.

I see photographers and models complaining about not being able to show nipple on Instagram.  To me I don’t care one way or the other, but when I see people complaining who know that their followers would triple if they could show nudity on Instagram, well then I start to wonder.  This isn’t a cause you are supporting, you just want more people looking at the pretty naked woman on your site.

Whatever happened to intellectual content or to having a reason for nudity?  Honestly some of my work has nudity because I simply could not keep clothes on the model!  Yes, there has always been nudity in fashion and I am perfectly fine with that.  I am just sick of these new magazines popping up left and right and they claim their work is the best but it is just pretty girls getting naked.  I feel like I lose IQ points every time someone suggests I submit to these magazines.

I’m bored with it already, I want to see some amazing work and I feel like my own work suffers because people want what is popular.  I have never been one to follow the herd, but it is more than that.  I’m just ready for more.  I’m ready to challenge myself to just do better work.  If I want to see a change I want to see it in my own work.  I can’t control what others do and I really don’t want to control that.  I just don’t care about popularity on social media, at least not as much as I should.  Honestly I blog for totally selfish reasons.  This is part of my creative outlet, this is part of my thought process and how I come up with new ideas.  It is not as much blogging as it is brain storming!

This may result in my shooting fewer sessions, but I am hoping that the quality really goes up.  I love everything I have done, I just don’t want to get stagnant and keep doing the same things over and over.  Maybe it will involve nudity maybe it won’t, I don’t care either way.  What I do care about is why I create the images, I want them to have more purpose than just getting likes on Instagram.

Here is one from my very first session with Roarie …. in the Mercedes of course. ;)

Roarie by The Average Jim

Day-to-Day Business and The Average Jim Foundation

I really need to update the galleries on this site, I have so much more work to show!  This year alone I have had a lot of published editorials and I just realized that, although I have blogged some images from these shoots, I do not have any in the galleries which are currently on this site!  This is what happens when you go “normal” and get a regular website and then come back home to your blog.

I’ll get the newer images up there soon, right now I’m just trying to keep up with everything going on around here.  There is a lesson I learned a long time ago, that is to have a backup plan for everything!  Basically our online service had a major ftp server mishap, and now everything is on backlog.  So uploading images is taking way longer than usual.  But this is why we have a backup system.  I see so many other photographers freaking out and looking for new companies to work with or screaming at this company like they need to come to their business and explain to their clients what is going on.

The first thing I did was send an email to my clients letting them know there was going to be a delay, if they needed the images right away I could send them through another site.  All of my clients were taken care of at this point and no worries.  Now there are still some issues so we have made arrangements to not delay the images to our clients.

Temporary hick-ups happen all the time in business, especially in a technology based business!  Photographers quite often forget they are running a business.  As a business owner the responsibility always falls on your shoulders!  I don’t waste time complaining about what I cannot control.  Instead I take charge of what I can control.  It is actually the one thing keeping me completely sane in this situation and not really stressing.

Once everything gets back to normal I will be able to add a new tab on the menu above that will take you to the site where I will have images for sale! I figure since I have thousands of images, why not share them with the world!  The images will all be a fair price as I truly believe in tangible artwork.  I do have some limited edition items on my Etsy store, but if you’re into my work and want to help fund The Average Jim Foundation, “Helping keep The Average Jim off of the streets for over 40 years” then this is the best way to do it! ;)

For now here is one of Kensy from the archives!

Kensy by The Average Jim

 

Taking Over The World

I have had many “ah-hah” moments in my career.  Most of these moments come when I think of something that is totally outside of the box.  I think I had another one of these moments today when I thought outside of the box using items that were inside the box.  I’m not sure if this makes sense or not, but it does, really, trust me, it does!

Photographers have been losing work to other photographers and to people who choose to have friends take photos of what they need or they go to a big box store and buy a DSLR and just take their own photos of their own products.  This is just the nature of the industry.  Plus the learning curve is much smaller now that you can see the images on the back of the camera and make adjustments without having to wait a week for your film to come in.

There are other tools out there as well which, if used properly, can turn your photography business into something amazing.  But, you have to be creative and know how to use them.  Now I consider myself to be creative and it took me a long time to really figure this out.

I have been a musician most of my life, I’ve had to tour, sell CD’s at gigs and really market the hell out of myself just to get by.  I have also been a photographer for the majority of my life and I have been marketing myself, selling my work and my talent and getting by.  But what if I could sell my work, my talent and my brand?

A couple of years ago a model made a comment about my logo on the photo, she said it was bad product placement.  I told her she just thinks that because she is looking at the photo from the wrong point of view.  The image was not about her, it was about me.

I’ve started my Etsy store now, http://www.theaveragestore.com and it has 10 images in it for now which are for sale.  I will be adding new items nearly every day, so check it out. I will also be adding a link to this site very soon where you can purchase prints from all of my editorial sessions at a very affordable price, but the one of a kind prints will only be sold on my Etsy site.  I wish to sell my art, my ideas and all of my creations.  It is my first subtle step in taking over the world. ;)

Kara by The Average Jim

Offensive Assumptions

The biggest problem with not caring what others think of you is that others care what others think of you and you cannot control that.  In business there are some people who really try to please everyone.  Then there are some who have no clue what customer service is.  Then there are clients who really do not understand what it is you offer and just think that all people in your profession are the same.  So how do you get around all of this?

I personally think it all comes down to you being as up front as possible about who you are and what you do.  I don’t hide the fact that I shoot nudes, art, fashion, editorials, weddings, portraits, and everything else I can think of.  I am a photographer, I take pictures.  I am an artist as well so I need to express what is in my head through my chosen medium.  And just because I say I am an artist does not mean that everything I do is art, but it is all run through this brain filter in my head.

There are people who are turned off by the fact I photograph a lot of women in very little to no clothing.  Granted, my boudoir clients feel very comfortable with me knowing how many people I have worked with this way.  Most of my wedding clients don’t mind either, or they don’t care.  Mostly because I don’t hide it so if they see it they either won’t book me if they’re offended or pretend they didn’t see it.

But when it comes to the others who care what others think, this is when it gets tough.  I have a project that I really want to shoot.  It is a fashion project with kids.  It is very cool, very artsy and totally innocent.  But I know that someone will be offended that I am the one who took the photos of children.  After all, I photograph nude women so in their mind I must be a pervert, and I photograph kids too so therefore they will automatically judge me for this.  I have lived by the philosophy “What other people think of me is none of my business” for a very long time.  The problem is that these other people will often judge you without any knowledge of what you are doing and assume you are doing something wrong.  This is how rumors begin and this is when the other people get on my nerves.

I have had people accuse me of all sorts of things out of lack of knowledge and assumption.  I’ve never had a client accuse me of anything, it is always an outsider who views what I do from a distance.  I was photographing a fully clothed model for a fashion magazine and someone called the cops saying I was photographing under-age nude girls.  This was a false report but the cops still harassed both the model and myself.  Other photographers have assumed I do what I do for all of the wrong reasons and have asked my wife how she can deal with me.

The bottom line is that you cannot control what others will think nor what others will say.  And lets face it, there are a lot of misguided idiots out there!  People believe what they want to believe.  Some people are quick to judge and you can’t change their mind ever. “I’ve made up my mind, don’t confuse me with facts.”

I know some people like what I do, I get a lot of emails regarding it and have had over 100 boudoir clients this year, 20 publications, shot several weddings and portraits and many more sessions still scheduled for this year!  So what I have learned over the years is to not worry about what others will say.  If I am doing right by my clients and staying true to myself then I am happy.  If people who don’t know me really want to take all that time to judge me, I can’t stop them.  I can only keep on doing what I am doing and not let it phase me.  If you choose to be an artist then you must accept the fact that others will want to criticize you and assume your intentions are bad.  It has been this way throughout history and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon.  My only hope is that one day I piss off enough people to where I can really raise my rates! ;)

Codi by The Average Jim

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