Quavondo’s New Website

Finally, it’s here. The release of my new website! I’m SO freaking excited about it. It’s been 5 months in the making. It only took this long because my attention was always needed else where, so my personal website got pushed to the back burners. Built from the ground up by one truly talented designer and programmer, Marcel Ganz of Flambe Agency. I had all these ideas in my head on what I wanted my site to do and I was blown away that Marcel was able to make every wish come true. Finally I’m able to rid myself of the Flash based website that can’t be seen on mobile devices and iPads! Amen. There are still minor kinks to work out for the mobile site, we’re working on that. Please let me know if you encounter any problems or if you have any suggestions to make my website better. Thanks so much!

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Now that I’m pretty much done with this project, I want to let you guys know that I have two other pet projects in the works for you photographers out there. Both should be done by the end of the year if not sooner. One is with Marcel and the other one is with Pratik of Solstice Retouch. Stay tuned!

 

Quavondo’s Lighting Book is Best Seller on PhotoWhoa

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I am truly flattered, PhotoWhoa recently did a review on my lighting book and had good things to say about it. They liked it so much that they are now carrying it. Good news for you if you’ve wanted to get a hold of my lighting book but haven’t gone around to it. It’s currently available in PDF format at PhotoWhoa for $5! I’m also proud to say that it’s one of their best sellers! It’s available until Oct. 25th. Don’t miss out!

Signed paperbacks are also available for purchase through me.

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How to Be a Happy Successful Photographer

Being successful in photography is, well, objective. We all have different definitions of success and we all have different goals. Am I a successful photographer? Some people think so, but if you put me next to Annie Leibovitz or 1/2 of the photographers out there, I pale in comparison. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of seeing my own work. I look at other photographer’s work and I’m just amazed. Sometimes it inspires me, sometimes it just puts me in a funk, not the type you wanna boogie down to. Over the course of time, I’ve learned a few things that has helped me with my success and happiness. I’m not saying this will work for you, but it has worked for me.

1) Everyone shoots shitty images. Everyone. Your job as the photographer is to be the gate keeper. If you’re going through and making selects of your shoot, don’t even show the client the images you don’t like, because they WILL pick them as the hero shots. Trust your eyes, they came to you for your expertise, if they were capable, they would have shot it themselves.

2) Do not throw pictures up on the internet and include a disclaimer (images are unretouched, straight out of camera). What is the f’in point? It’s not your best foot forward, so take the freaking time to edit the photo. Let’s say the model grabs the image, throws it on her site and gives you credit, next the makeup artist does the same, what happens in the end is that your image is going to be floating around the internet with credit to you and some potential client is going to see it and think, “Wow this guy doesn’t pay attention to the details, like that big zit on the model’s nose.” You think they will want to give you the $10k gig? Probably not.

3) Association. You hang out with crappy photographers, you will remain crappy. Just like anything else in life, you hang out with thieves, you’re most likely a thief. If you want to grow and improve as a photographer, surround yourself with photographers who inspire you, produce great work, people you can learn from. If you’re the top dog in your group, you won’t grow.

4) If you’re just starting out, don’t watermark your photos. No one wants to steal them. You think your images are great but just know that your taste will grow and your images will improve. What will happen is 3 years from now, you will do a google search on yourself and all these shitty images will pop up with your name on them. Once you start producing great work, people will know that it came from you.

5) You need a GREAT team. You can’t do it by yourself. If I gave you Annie’s team, including set design, do you think you can create stunning photos? I bet you could. Find these people, feed them, keep them happy.

6) Let go of your ego. No one likes working with know-it-alls or divas. Be humble, be hungry. Help other photographers, mentor them, assist them, it’s rewarding.

7) Make the money, but don’t forsaken everything else in chase of the paper. The best way to be happy is to live in the present. Don’t put things off til the future, the future may never come.

8) Shoot often.

 

 

When Are You Big Enough That You Can Start Ignoring People?

I went and saw Henry Rollins last week. That guy is intense. Talked for 2 hours straight, nonstop without a sip of water. What I really enjoyed about him is that he’s in high demand and tours all over the world, yet he tells us that he takes the time to reply to anyone who writes him. I’m going to have to test this out and actually write him something. It may take him a while to respond to me, but I’m sure that he will eventually.

Which brings me to today’s topic. Nothing bugs me more than when people start to get such a big ego that they think they’re too good to respond. What’s that about? Did you forget where you came from? Did you forget that you were once an ordinary person trying to climb the ladder in your industry? Remember the doors you tried to knock on? What’s worse is when they reach out to you when they needed something and then when you reach back to them, it’s crickets. I would understand if you were an A list celebrity, if so hire a staff to answer those letters/emails. I’m a normal guy, I have a little niche of about 10 people, but any time I get an inquiry/email, I make sure that I respond at least once. If a person comments on my photo or page, I make sure I take the time to thank them. If I can’t thank them individually, I at least acknowledge the whole string of comments in one reply.

Maybe you’ll feel differently one day when you’re washed up and no one really cares about you or your work, then you will start treasuring the love and attention that’s being showered onto you. I try to live my life and treat people exactly the way I want to be treated. In a world of “ME ME ME!” it’s refreshing to see someone of Henry’s status give back, even if it’s just a simple “Thank you.” note.

So the answer to the question of this post:

Never.

Artist Spotlight: Thomas Egan

When I saw this photo by Thomas Egan of Arke One, it kinda creeped me out but it also drew my attention. It’s like one of those nasty insects that you get goosebumps over but you can’t help but get a little closer so you can see how gross the thing is.

This image is probably his best one in his portfolio, you can see the rest here.

Shooting Stars

Not celebrities. These are brighter, from millions of light years away. I came across a local photographer’s work that I thought was cool, his name is Ben Canales. He focuses on shooting the night sky. I’d love to do this, but I prefer being inside by the fire with a cup of hot toddy. Check out some of his photos below.

His a video tutorial from Ben on how to capture photos at night:

His website is Star Trails.

Scary Good Mailer

“Growing up, most of us had that scary house down the street that we all knew was haunted. And when Halloween would roll around, you’d dare your friends to knock on their door, peek inside…or at least touch foot in the yard. So for October, we thought we’d try to evoke some of that spooky fun nostalgia with our photographer Quavondo’s haunted house image on our promo. Printed by Modern Postcard, our card should take you back to that old house in your childhood neighborhood…”

Check out the rest of the article and my interview with Peter Clark on Wonderful Machine’s blog to see how the image came to life. This printed mailer was sent to 2000 clients and agencies.