Tag Archives: Salem Photographer

Why you shouldn’t count chickens…

It has been a crazy past few weeks since my last post, and I am glad to finally be sharing a bit of it with you.

So, firstly, it does appear that I was perhaps counting my chickens a bit early in my last post as the job that I thought that I was mostly guaranteed, did end up falling through. I am sad that I will not be joining a company that I respect, but I am also trying to see it as a positive opportunity to reassess what I’m doing.  Though I am still looking for a full-time position to help pay my bills, I feel that I need to reassess my art business and how I can make more of a living through my creative endeavors.  I am so grateful for all of the people that support me and my art and my heart sings with joy every time a comment is left on an image on social media or I get a message from someone that I’ve never met saying how much they love my work and look forward to seeing it online.

I have thought many times about starting a Kickstarter campaign or doing something similar on one of those crowdfunding type sites and I’ve always hesitated because it focuses too much on just accomplishing a single goal. However my work is continual and the projects that I’m working on intertwine in so many ways but can also be quite separate that I think it would be very hard to set a useful or understandable goal.

It was brought to my attention that there is a new platform which has recently started and which has some pretty amazing artists already using great effect, including musician and writer Amanda Palmer who had also successfully used Kickstarter to produce an album when she left her record label.  I was intrigued because it has a very different, but perhaps more traditional mindset in supporting the arts.

The platform is called Patreon and the principle is that artists generally tend to produce continually and often are hindered by finances from producing as much as they would like. Traditional patrons of artists and musicians would offer them a monthly stipend in order to have access to the artist in ways that others would not. They would benefit from the artists work either directly or by association and the artist would produce work for them and also be able to create the works that they themselves were passionate about.  Patreon takes this concept and modernizes it. Patrons can donate per creation or monthly amounts as low as one dollar and will have access to the artist in different ways, from the viewing of exclusive content, gifts of prints or postcards, video content, behind the scenes, tutorials, and so much more, with each artist creating their own set of rewards and offering different types of access based on the amount of financial support.

So, after doing my own research, I’ve decided to give this idea a shot. My social media content and all the images I create will still be available to see for free. However, because I know a lot of people that enjoy seeing my work can’t necessarily afford to buy it and can’t necessarily afford to hire me to create work for them, I want to offer a different way for people who enjoy my work and feel that it adds something to their own lives, their own way to be a part of how I create and offer them a way to help me create more.

I’ve been in the middle of this Archetype Project for the last year, and I thought when I began it last January that I would be much further along by now. My end goal is to create a book with at least 25 images and hopefully to be able to coordinate a gallery show of all of the images. The main problem that I have run into, however, was that I wasn’t getting enough paying clients or prints sales to buy supplies for all the wardrobe, sets and props I make. I couldn’t afford the insurance that would give me access to locations that require it, and I couldn’t afford to rent lighting and lenses that would take the work to the next level.  It has slowed down the process which has been incredibly frustrating;  I have concepts swirling in my mind and no way to bring them to life to the degree that they deserve.

Beyond the Archetype Project I am obsessed with creating images in the old methods, such as by using Wet Plate techniques to create tintypes and ambrotypes; I love my Polaroid and Holga and the images that film produces which require so little post-production; and I am starting to explore the realm of video to add another element to my creative madness.  All of these areas of my work would be able to expand as well.

So, what it comes down to, is that while I don’t need the best equipment, wardrobe, sets, locations, etc, even the wardrobe I rent, or thrift or create takes money, sets and props can be made inexpensively and items reused for different purposes again and again, but the base elements still cost.  I estimated that each Archetype image I create has cost me between $200 and $500, between all of these elements, and its not sustainable, which makes me fear for the future of the project and my work.  This is where Patreon and my patrons will come in.  By donating monthly, even just a dollar, it will help me to bring all of the parts of these images together so I can bring the idea to fruition.  The money will help me to pay for business costs, and studio rental, supplies and wardrobe, and, if there is enough, I will be able to pay the wonderful people that donate their time to help me bring these images to life, which would be the most wonderful thing I can imagine.

So, if you dig my work, if it brings any hint of enjoyment to your life, if you look forward to seeing new images pop up in your social media feed, then please consider a small donation through Patreon.  If all the people that love my work donated a dollar each month, I would be able to produce and share so much more!

That being said, of course, I will have some more time for commissions, so if that is something you are interested in, please email artanddiscordstudios (at) gmail.com

And to conclude, here is a fun spring-inspired beauty image I shot last month with the always amazing Lyndsay Simon from Makeup by Lyndsay, Nathan Prescott who can be found at Trephin Salon in Boston, and beautiful Salina Jade, who is represented by Maggie, Inc.

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Posted in Beauty, Events, Female Archetype Project, Fine Art, Headshots, Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

Hard Decisions…

 

The last few weeks have been about making hard decisions.  Jae and I moved to Salem in the fall and it has been amazing living here… there is such a fantastic, supportive, creative community and we feel quite blessed to now be a part of it.  The flip side of this move is that our financial situation has changed a bit, and my business has suffered from the move.  After much thought and considering all my options, I’ve decided to go back into retail management.  April will most likely be my first month of working full time (not to count my chickens of course…)

Going back to work full time will definitely change how much time I can devote to my photography.  While I will still be taking select commissions for painterly portraits, model development sessions and head shots, I will probably have time for only a few sessions a month.  I will be focusing most of my creative energy on my conceptual Archetype Project and will be devoting the majority of my time to continue to develop this work.

I have a few amazing projects in the works, with some fantastic models, designers, hair stylists and makeup artists and I can’t wait to share in the coming months.  Thanks to everyone for your continuing support!!

I’m going to finish off this post with one of my favorite shots from a portrait session I did recently with Christopher Allen, from Manners Supply Co.

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Posted in Female Archetype Project, Fine Art, Portrait Also tagged , , , , , , |

Spring is in the Air

So, 2015 is going to be the year that I actually stay on top of posting here… I am terrible at writing regularly, probably because I spent 8 years in high school and college writing and was pretty over it by the time I was done.  But, seeing as that was 15 years ago (holy hell… I can’t believe its been so long!) I figure its time for me to get back into it.

Last year was a pretty rough year and when it ended I was pretty excited to see it go.  When it started, I was very excited to pursue my new fine art concepts for The Female Archetype Project and to do a bit of traveling.  I was disappointed with the outcome on both of those fronts.  Other than the trip I made with my husband to Portland, OR last February, we pretty much didn’t leave MA, and my lofty goal to shoot 20 or more concepts for the Female Archetype Project fell quite short as I only produced about a half dozen images.  We moved to Salem, MA in October, and it was probably the best move we could have made from a creative and general-life-happiness perspective.  This winter has been rough though, as it has been for most New Englanders… but it hit me unexpectedly hard because it was more difficult to see friends and family since they live much farther away now and also because I wasn’t running my husband’s business anymore, I was also not leaving the house, and wasn’t really interacting with many other human beings.  That was pretty much a recipe for disaster with my creative process.

So, here we are, close to the end of the winter and I’ve started to meet some local folks and my brain is starting to right itself.  I have decided to expand the Archetype Project to explore more than just female mythology, so it will now include male characters as well.  I have been renewing my obsession with comparative religions/mythologies and I am fascinated by how many stories repeat from culture to culture, even amongst groups that have no obvious connections geographically or historically.  I am excited to start the expansion as soon as the snow melts and I’m in the midst of the insane amount of planning it will take to pull a very epic shoot together to explore a ubiquitous character and the many tales that he is featured in.

To wrap this up, I am hoping to blog a few times a week, so keep your eye peeled for more posts.  I am planning to release some behind-the-scenes videos, photoshop tutorials, and the many tales that will come with the photoshoots that are on the books already in the coming months.  And to tide you over until the next post, I’ll leave you all with a few shots from a recent day of fun I had with a local model, Charlie Vagabond, and a photographer/model/adventurer Grace, from Fading Grace Photography.  We had a great day of playing dress up and created some fun images that I am quite in love with.  Enjoy!

 

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Credits:

MUA: Crissy Zarbano

Charlie’s corset: Jane’s Corsets

Charlie’s Vest: Redfield Design

Feather Mohawk and Distressed Armband: Discord Industries

Posted in Fashion, Photography, Portrait, Wardrobe Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

How is your LinkedIn profile photo affecting your career or business? or, Why professional headshots matter!

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When was the last time you updated your headshot? Does your LinkedIn profile have a blurry, awkwardly cropped iPhone photo of you instead of a clean, professional headshot? Did you know this could be hurting your business or career and limiting your network?

In an age in which we often are introduced to new people via the Internet, their profile photo is the generally the only visual cue we have to figure out what kind of a person they are.  On business related profiles, such as LinkedIn, where our personalities often don’t come out in the text we write, how do we communicate something about ourselves that encourages people to connect and get to know us better? It is our profile image that will make the quickest and most direct impact, and will encourage a new viewer want to learn more about you.  In fact, TheLadders did a study tracking the eye movements of recruiters on LinkedIn while they looked at profiles and resumes.  What they discovered was that the recruiters spent 19 percent of their time looking at the profile photo, compared to an only cursory glance at the candidate’s actual resume.  That is a pretty astonishing piece of data!

So, with that in mind, look at your current profile photo.  Does it say at a glance who you are and what kind of a person the viewer should expect to encounter? Is it a weirdly cropped photo that contains the shoulder of your best friend from a fun night out? What does that kind of a photo say about you? Is it a vacation photo? A crooked, poorly lit selfie? Do those images speak to how amazing you are at your job and how dedicated you are to your work? These are some serious considerations to make if they are influencing your professional life.  Would a potential client or employer give you a second glance with the photo you currently have?

If the answer to those questions is no, it’s time to think about having a professional headshot taken!  Now, I know that getting in front of a camera can be a stressful situation for a lot of people (heck, that’s why I’m behind the camera, not in front of it!), but some of the stress can be alleviated by walking into the situation prepared.  Think about what you want to convey about yourself: Do you want to appear approachable and confident? Funny? Serious? What is your message? Depending on the business you are in or the job you’re looking for, it might be a much different picture.

Generally speaking, you want to wear clothes that are appropriate to your industry.  If you work in an office that requires you to wear a suit every day, then you’ll want to put on your best suit for the photo.  If you work in an environment that is more business casual, you should try to wear the same kind of clothes you would normally wear to work (although, if you’re trying to move up the ladder, so to speak, you might want to consider dressing the part, whatever that might be).  I always recommend wearing wardrobe that makes you feel good, fits really well, and shows off a bit of your personality.  This should help alleviate some of your stress, because you’ll already know that you look amazing and it will give you some confidence walking into your headshot session.

For women, make sure your hair and makeup is both work appropriate and flattering.  You want to keep it natural so people can see who you truly are, and you want the photo to remain relevant regardless of current trends.  Consider hiring a makeup artist to make it perfect and to give your self a bit of pampering before your session for some additional relaxation.  For men, grooming is important as well.  Is your hair styled appropriately? Is your facial hair groomed or if you’re clean-shaven, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have that 5 o’clock shadow going on.

My final piece of advice is RELAX!! Stop over thinking it… Once you take a deep breath and shake out all the tension, you will naturally be able to share a bit of your personality!   Leave the rest of the image-making to the professionals, and just try to be yourself in front of the camera!

Start the year off right by having your professional portrait made and watch the impact it can have on your career or business!

Posted in Headshots, Portrait Also tagged , , , , , , , |