How To Shoot Rock Star Photos



So my description, I spend about half of my time doing social media, and it was driving me nuts earlier when people were talking it was all distorted. So if it gets distorted someone wave at me so I'll back off. I spend about half my time doing social media, SEO, things like that. And then I spend my other half of my time doing media stuff like photography and video, but I never really kinda promote myself as a photographer so much. I just kinda get the jobs through word of mouth. So the bold stuff is what we're looking at. Giovanni is an online brain strategist. And I teach boot camps and workshops. And I do natural light mainly photography. So we're gonna talk today... And one thing I do wanna pimp out is the latest project I'm working on is a show called Troubadour Texas, which is not just 'cause I'm working on it, but it's super awesome. It's a one hour weekly docu-reality show about musicians in the state of Texas, singer songwriters. We've already had two episodes. It's on CBS here in Houston on Sunday nights. It's pretty neat because you'll see a lot of folks that you recognize, the Kris Kristoffersons, the Willy Nelsons, the Hank... Though he's dead, the Lyle Lovetts.


And then you'll see a lot of folks from Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas that you haven't heard of that you might enjoy and become a fan of. So that's neat. With Troubadour Texas I'm the still photographer on the show, so when you look at the website, when you look at the TV show and there's still photography, that's all me. And then when they have somebody hanging off the bridge by their ankles with a video camera I'm usually the one having their ankles held, because nobody else would hang off the bridges. So just like with social... Usually when I talk about SEO and social media, I start with the fact that I have no business teaching anything about social media marketing, because I'm actually a programmer. And I stumbled into marketing and SEO. I think most people stumbled into SEO by accident, but certainly into marketing and PR. And I certainly stumbled into photography. I have no training in photography. And I do photography the same way I do marketing, which is by the gut. Now, doesn't mean that I'm a complete moron and I'm out there just going, "Oh, I hope this works," but it means that it's street smarts. I didn't go to school anywhere. I don't have a degree in any kind of art or media. So I'm not gonna really try to teach you anything, but I'm gonna show how I do what I do and what works for me and what doesn't.


We're gonna cover four major areas, the equipment that I use, then we'll talk about what happens before a shoot. What do we do during a shoot to get great pictures. And then what do you do after the shoot. And after the shoot we will go directly into marketing about what do you use... What do you do with your photographs, because the point here is to teach folks how to take good pictures for marketing purposes, right? So part of this talk is about getting the right equipment, setting yourself up for success, good composition. The other part is once I have my picture, then what do I do with that to enhance my marketing online. So, it's two classes in one, the double mint twins. Okay, so with the equipment we're going to talk cameras right off the bat. I need these back. And if y'all want to or... I brought two of the main cameras that I use and I'm gonna explain what the good and the bad and how much they cost and what you can use also. Canon 5D, which is their second to most expensive camera is here, and I gotta be honest with you, I've got major buyer's remorse with this camera. It's a little bit over-technology. You can hold on to it and pass it around and see how heavy it is. Takes amazingly gorgeous photos. It's about $2500.


Beautiful photos, but it's a little bit over-technology and I've had to relegate myself using this camera to using it on the tripod, using it at a studio, using it in a very controlled environment. And if you look at these images, this was actually a shot I did yesterday. It's for a CD that this gentleman, Ron Bailey, is about to put out. This is gonna be the CD cover. And these are folks that played on the album with him. And these are him just sitting in a coffee shop. The photography is absolutely beautiful as long as you're in a controlled environment. Now this, for the most part, is natural light, and we're gonna talk about composition here a little bit later on. The only thing that I'm using... I hardly ever, with the exceptions I'm gonna to show you, use flash. I hate flash because I don't know how to use it well enough and it's pretty uncontrollable for me. So what I do is I use these really small lights that I just point at people, these micro lights, and the website is called Litepanel or micro light. You can do a search and you can find them. You can get a really small one for about $69.


And in this situation you see how well... There were no lights here in the café. You see how well lit Ron's face is. I've got a light sitting right on the piano just pointing right at him. And it's meant for video, but I use it for photography because it allows me to point the camera at the subject. The camera meters on what his face is and then takes a picture and then expose it properly. It's a total hack. And I'll tell you that a lot of stuff that I'm going to show you today are things that professional photographers would absolutely die that I do and that's why I started off with I'm a hack. The Canon 7D, which costs less than about half of what that 5D does, this is my work horse. And it looks and feels almost exactly like the 5D does. It's about $1,500. Main differences here is that this takes a smaller picture than that one does, but the sensor's in and the technology inside of it is newer technology.


The camera is a lot more forgiving. And it also shoots about eight frames a second, which is really important if you're doing sports or you're doing like concert photography. The 5D that's being passed around only shoots about three or four per second. And so again, it's a situation where if you're doing stuff that's live action, there's a lot of stuff going on, you definitely wanna have something like a 7D. The highest end camera they have the 1D or something that I'll probably never, I can never stomach going in and putting it about $8,000, $9,000 up for that. These shots are taken with the 7D. This is just at a night club, this is obviously behind the band, I'm standing behind the drummer and shooting that. And again, the thing that really surprised me about the ability of that camera to take shots like this, is this is pretty obvious. This is Robin Creasman standing on stage, speaking to an audience, and he's really well lit. There was next to no lights over here, because we're looking behind the band looking into the audience. So the lights are typically coming this way. And if you sit there, and you use the 7D to focus on the subject, man, it lights them up beautifully using the ambient light in the room. And use the technology well enough, you start to learn where it will cut you a break and do favours for you. The Canon T21 is an old version, they have a Canon T3 now. The T21, the simplified, this is unbelievable simplified.


The T21 is basically a 7D in a different body. It's got a little bit different sensor in it, but when you're shooting video off of one of these guys, these guys are about $1,600. This guy can be gotten for about 800 bucks. When you're shooting video with the T2i, it's the exact same file, it's the exact same video coming out of the camera. There are other, obviously, other differences. The 7D will take a lot more punishment in the field, it's water resistant, there's a lot of other stuff, and the sensor in there is different, but to the lay person, not enough. If you're an amateur, if you're beginning it's not enough for you to be terribly worried about. And then the Canon G12 is my point and shoot. I always have that with... I'm gonna say I always have that with me, I don't have it with me now. Canon G12 is a camera that you use when you're not allowed to do photography in an event. So you're getting in somewhere, you wanna take photography, but they're not allowing it. You didn't get a photo pass, there's next to no event around today that you can't pull out a point and shoot camera and use that at the event without a security stop you. Canon G12 has a lot of the same functionality as these larger DSLR cameras.


It's got a lens that's built into it. So that is limiting, but you have control over timed releases, you have control over aperture, stuff like that. So if you learn the controls on the camera, you can get very specific with the kind of photography. This is shot with a G12. Now, obviously I'm standing off stage, I'm looking directly down the guitarist. I'm looking down her guitar. I'm probably standing about eight feet away from her, so I'm zoomed in all the way, but it's amazing to me, and when you look at a lot of photography out there these days, it can be pretty mind blowing the quality of pictures that can come out of some of these cameras. That G12 was like $300. You set yourself up, you get the right light, you learn the controls on the camera, the stuff that comes out of here can be really, really beautiful. So those are the basic cameras I use. I use iPhone for Instagram, and then for video stuff I use GoPros a lot. I use the Canon VIXIA video cameras.


I really love shooting video with the DSLRs, but be cautioned, if you're at a company and you wanna go out, you've heard a lot of great information about how you can shoot video with a 7D, with a 5D. The video looks amazing. They overheat really, really quickly, especially if you're shooting outside. When we were running through these 105, 106 degree days, these cameras would literally overheat and shut off in seven to eight minutes. So in those situations, when you're using these cameras, I've got these other regular Canon video cameras at the ready. I've also got a couple... I usually carry two 7D with me, a couple of T2is, you always have something to back you up as well.


When I got here today, this is interesting, Kurt was in here talking about Camp For All. Now I'm sitting here listening to this guy who runs a camp here for people with special needs, whether they're learning disabled, whether they're blind, whether they're burn victims, there's all kind of folks they cater to. And when you talk about somebody that's got a job like that, he was explaining about how part of his job, there's some people that suffer from incontinence, and so he's gotta go and help adults go to the restroom sometimes. And when he explains to the people what his job is at this camp, most people's response is, "Oh my gosh, you're more man than I am. You've got an amazing heart, it's unbelievable." And his response is, "I have never, ever had a job that I wasn't absolutely passionate about, that I didn't love," because he gets so much out of that job.


Well, one thing that I've learned really quickly about the technology we have with photography today, is the filters that you have on cameras, you go look at instagram, and you have these people taking pictures with iPhones, and the photography looks amazing because you got 12 fantastic filters to choose from. You take a picture of your friend standing on the dyke, and then you go and put a filter on there and there's a beautiful sunset, you've got a lake behind them, They're standing on the dock. You're like oh my gosh, that's amazing. You have to make sure that you don't confuse the, and I don't wanna say gimmicky nature of that stuff, but whenever you're thinking about using rich media for your marketing, and for a tool to create a message for your brand, that the people doing this have an absolute passion for what they do. You can get somebody that knows some of basics of photography, but you've gotta get somebody that absolutely bleeds and loves photography, and wants to be able to tell a story through photography. And it doesn't matter if they've got a Canon 5D, or if they've got an iPhone.


The point is, is that they will do what they have to do to convey a story behind your brand, behind your marketing messages. Whenever I go and run programming teams as a project manager, I always focused on getting a hold of programmers that had a good work ethic that were B team players. I hated hiring A team players that were full of themselves, that were not humble, because they would come in and they would strut around the place because they're the best person on the team and they knew it, and it would create a cancer on the team force because then all of a sudden you create all this resentment. Same thing with photography, when you're picking someone else on your team, I would suggest you pick someone who is dying to be a photographer who may not have the skills yet, 'cause they will do what has to be done to learn how to do it correctly, and they'll go the extra mile for you.


Building relationships, and this is actually another shot of a band from Tyler called Eisley. I discovered them... I saw them for the first time last year at South by Southwest and absolutely fell in love with them. They're a family from Tyler, three sisters, their brother plays drums, and their cousin plays bass for them. First time I saw them at South by Southwest, I did some search on the internet, found out their dad is the manager for the band, saw his picture. First thing I did, I didn't even bother with the band. I went and found their dad and introduced myself to him and said, "Hey, photographer up in Dallas, the next time you're there, please I'd love it if I could shoot the band when they're up there."


They come up to Dallas, I go and I shoot the band. I do the best job I possibly can, 'cause at this point, I've become a fan of these guys and I wanna get access to them. I shoot the band, I do the best job I can. I do the best job I can at editing, I send them over to their dad, and I say, "You guys use this for whatever you want to, whatever you wanna use it for." He's like, "Can we use it the next CD?" "Absolutely, whatever you wanna do." So that allows me to first and foremost have the servant of a heart, I've gone and I've seen something that I want, but I have to go and prove myself first by providing value to them, if I'm gonna turn around and get something back in return. So you have the heart of a servant, you go and you deliver value to get access, to build a relationship.


This picture was taken about two weeks ago. They did a tour of the southeast, they came back and they played a show at the blah blah blah... The blah blah blah theatre in Tyler I can't think of... Liberty Theatre in Tyler. And one thing that I love and that I... I love shooting music because it's fun, I hate shooting music because you're usually stuck in front of the stage looking up people's nostrils trying to find a good angle. And when you're there and there's eight other photographers there, you're shooting the exact same stuff they are. I really, really work hard and strive to find different angles and get different shots of stuff. And so for me, and I'll talk about this in a little bit, I don't wanna give away the... I don't want to give everything away right now. But for me, I got there at the Liberty and I took all the shots I was gonna take, and then I started thinking, "How do I get the shot that no one else is gonna get?"


Go back over to the dad, "Hey, how you doing? Remember I'm Gio, I gave you the pictures from Dallas." "Hey yeah, how are you doing?" "Can I ask you a favor? If I'm like really careful, can I go back in the side, to the side wings of the stage and shoot from backstage" "Yeah, that's fine." He walks me... He lets me back in there and as I'm walking I turn around and said, "Can you do me another favor?" he says, "What?" "Can you not let anybody else back here?" Because I want the shot, and I didn't tell him that but he knew what I meant, and he said, "Absolutely, no problem." So I get back there and this is them playing on stage in the middle of a song and I'm literally... From here, curtain's here for the stage, and Chauntelle's sitting here, and I'm sitting here shooting her directly from the stage, and I get this amazing shot of her with the prime lens so I didn't have a zoom. I'm literally sitting this far and this is the kind of shot that I know that when I get I'm like, "That is the money shot, that's what I'm looking for."


You guys have to find ways, and don't get me wrong, you can take good pictures, but the point here is to find ways for you guys to take amazing pictures that will help get more views on them, create a fan base, create engagement. Because the fans of Eisley, they can find 10,000 pictures of this band from the front row shot up like this. I've gotten so many amazing comments about the photography from behind the stage, because it's photography that those fans can't get anywhere else, which builds my credibility as a photographer. Also it's helping my SEO, because I'll talk to you later about how I optimize the pictures. But this is a direct result of... In a very quick turnaround, I met the dad in South by, shot them a few months later at Dallas, gave them the pictures, few months later they go to Tyler, Boom! He gives me access backstage. That was a really... Sometimes it takes years to build up relationships like that. Before you go out, and this is kind of a chicken before the egg deal, If you wanna go out and you wanna do this stuff on a professional or semi-professional basis, you have to build a portfolio. 'Cause it's like, "Hey, I wanna go shoot shots of great music, I wanna go shoot shots at fashion shows, I wanna get invited to events and stuff."


Well, how do you do that? You show people all the pictures of the shows you shot, and the events you shot, and the fashion shows. "Well, I don't have those, how do I get those?" You go and do it for free. Now, there's two ways to do it, and it's really critical and I've got that second line there, but number one is, I'm gonna give away something here really quick. Number one is you just simply ask, and you ask it as a journalist. If you can, get yourself hooked up with a website that needs content that's got decent amounts of traffic. I shoot a lot of stuff for a site up in Dallas called JAM Magazine Online, obviously directly related to music, to, Arts and Entertainment and stuff.


And so I can point people to my work on those sites which I've done for free. They're basically blogs, but these sites have hundreds of thousands of hits on them per month. Not millions but hundreds of thousands. And I can point to these sites and say, "Hey, here's examples of my work. Can I get access to your event?" And the sites can look good enough, and I'll show you screen shots of them here in a second, that right off the bat the band, or the event, or the fashion show, or whatever it is says, "That's a nice looking brand. I'm fine with being associated with that." When you go and ask for access to something, one of the most important things people are looking for is, "What is it gonna do for me?" So don't go and ask them if you can shoot for your blog. They don't care about your blog. They wanna know what website, what publication, what you're shooting for, and they wanna know the size of the audience.


Now, one trick that you can use when you're coming up with an audience number, look at the traffic on the website, and whatever brand you're shooting for, if they have a Facebook fanpage, add the Facebook fans into that. Add the Twitter followers to it. If you have YouTube, add that. Get an accumulation of all of the engagement you have with that brand, and don't call them and say, "Look, we get 9,000 hits a week." Say, "We've got an audience of 9,000 plus everything else." You do everything you can to let the people know that you're asking for access to this place for what the totality of the audience is, and if you really wanna get crazy you can say, "Look, I've got 8,000 Twitter followers on my brand. On average each Twitter follower has about 400 followers themselves. About 10% of those people will see this, which means we're gonna extrapolate that out and we actually have an audience of about 42,000." Whatever. But you want that number to be as big as possible. That's the only thing... That is the only thing that people are interested in whenever they're making a decision to give you access to something or not.


The other thing is, I think I wrote this fairly big, you're gonna go and do stuff with people and establish relationships with them, like with Eisley. I've gone and I've done some stuff for them because I wanted to get access to. The first time that Bud, their dad, the first time he calls me and asks me to be somewhere, I'm establishing a value for my product. I will never, ever, ever let anybody ask me to shoot something for free. I'm the one who asks for free. And just like in the previous session over here in the other room, dead on with Four Kitchens' Ted Nienkerk mentioned, the second that you establish the value of your product as zero, you can never go above that. You're pushing the bounds here, but what you're trying to do with photography, if you're trying to get yourself out there, is to show people what your work looks like. The second they show you that they're interested in buying it you have to charge them something 'cause if you don't you will never be able to charge them anything.


Okay, going... Some planning stuff, and this is some, and these are like school of hard knocks, the things I've learned as doing this stuff. And it's interesting with the planning stuff is that I would never dream of starting a programming project, a website design or development project, without planning ahead. You would never dream of starting a social media campaign without planning. But there's so many people that do photography that are just like, "Hey, I got access to so and so. I'll see you there." And they've never been to the venue. They just show up when everybody else gets there. And they walk in and they're just like, "Its dark." And they just sit and to wait for the band to come on. You've gotta plan ahead to know where the entrances are, where the exits are, where's the green room, where are the bathrooms. All kinds of stuff.


Make sure that before you get there, if you're shooting with multiple people, if you're going in there, you're the photographer and you've got a writer with you who might be writing something, you need to make sure that you've got contact with them. This is totally nerdy and you look like a complete dweeb when you're doing it. But phones and texts typically don't work in places like that because you're busy shooting whatever. We've gone out and bought these really cheap Radio Shack radio, kinda hand radio things that have the ear pieces in them so that you can just sit there and talk to each other while you're working. Because if you rely on phone, it never fails that I'm sitting there working and I'm like, "I gotta check," and I look down here, "Oh, so and so tried to contact me 45 minutes ago." Too late. Missed an opportunity.


Make sure that you plan the kind of shots that you wanna get when you're shooting anything, really. Music, and I'm using music as an example mainly because of the title and because it's really good to kind of split stuff up between a singer and the rest of the band. Whenever you're shooting anything, let's say you're at an event and as part of a marketing campaign your company's been hired to go produce an event. It's a wedding or it's a reception or something like that. It's painfully obvious that you wanna get shots of the host. It's painfully obvious that you wanna get shots of three or four people that you know through the process of being hired for the event. You've gotta make sure that you have a list of the other things you've gotta make sure you capture. Are there catering elements at the event? Do you have two or three people... And this is one of the things that I'm terrible about, is knowing when there are famous people in the room. 'Cause I am... For being somebody who works in media, and PR, and online, I don't have a TV at my house. And I swear to God I could be standing next to David Bowie and I have no idea that it was David Bowie.


And as an example, literally, last week we're shooting one of the episodes for Troubadour Texas and my wife and my two girls are there. And I'm gonna bring religion on you. So I'm sitting there with my wife and my two daughters there and I'm running around shooting and they're kind of shooting the episode and stuff. Then my wife, as I'm walking by one time, she kind of leans over and she says, "Number one, you're sweating. Go wipe your forehead off. Number two, is that Kari Jobe sitting right there?" And if you know Christian music, Kari Jobe is like a mega Christian music star. And my daughters go to a Christian school and it just so happens that one of the parents at my daughters' school wrote a song called Revelation Song, which won a Dove Award, which is the Christian music version of an Emmy or a Grammy.

I recognized the name totally, right, and I look over and I'm like, "I have no idea. I don't know if that's her or not." So I turned around and asked her producer. The producer says, "Yes." And so I'm sitting there walking around this woman, and she probably was fine with it because she probably gets inundated any time she goes anywhere, but she's this major star in Christian music and I have no clue. In that situation, thank goodness my wife was there to go, "Oh. You might wanna shoot some shots of her sitting here watching your TV show." Even if you do recognize people that are important, local socialites, things like that. If you're there with a group, you've got to make sure that people communicate to you when somebody of importance, whether they are related to your client, whether they're a celebrity, whatever, has come into the room so you can make sure you get that shot. Absolutely critical.


We'll talk about alternate entrances later. Asking for access, but being prepared to beg for forgiveness. And this leads into a couple of other things. As you start doing this stuff and as you start posting your pictures online and developing relationships, some of the relationships you're gonna have with PR companies, marketing companies, venues. And you'll start just getting notices ahead of time when they're having events, which is really, really nice 'cause then you... It took me about eight months to a year to start just being notified when things were happening, which is totally... You never get everything, but it's super nice to not have to be hound-dogging everything all the time, right? But there are situations where you have to beg forgiveness, which means you ask for access. Access is denied for some reason. And if it's a concert, you go in and buy your ticket and you find a way to get your DSLR. Obviously, I can't bring in my whole backpack then, but I will at least go to the door and see if I can get in with a DSLR so I can get good shots. If they're frisking you and checking you to make sure you're not bringing anything that they don't want you in there, you may not make it in. If they're not, then you take your G12, absolutely understanding that you didn't get permission to shoot the stuff. So there's a very good possibility that you might be grabbed by the back of the shirt and led out.


I'll talk about another situation that, once I did get access, I pushed the bounds a little bit. But if you wanna get the good shots, if you want to really push the bounds of becoming a really, really good photographer, that's a measure for me of the passion. If someone is focused on shooting something, an event, a show, concert, whatever, you find a way to get in and you find a way to get the shots.

Small footprint. Any chance you get, no matter if you've got access or not. I tend to be a pack rat and I carry this huge thing around with me. And this is as small as I've been able to get. I'll usually carry two cameras in there. Usually it's not the 5D, it's a 7D and then a backup 7D and a few different lenses. Especially if you're working places that have a really huge area to work in, let's say you're at the Houston Rodeo or you're working a football game over at, is it Reliant Stadium here? I was about to say the Astrodome. So you're working something like that at Reliant Stadium or you're working at some kind of a huge conference, like you go to Vegas and they have these gargantuan conferences and stuff. This doesn't mean that you have to be there as a photographer. If your company hires you to go and write about an event, they want you to live blog it, then you want great photography, but you can't be walking around with a huge backpack like that. I actually popped, I popped one of the... What am I thinking about? Spiny things. Any doctors in the house? I blew a disk in my back, and so I'm taking meloxicam every day to kind of manage the pain, but I haven't learned my lesson. I'm still carrying that thing around.

Oh. Something else for show and tell. So these are the keys to the kingdom. And this is really what I want you to look at. This little thing that you hang around your neck that just says media in big letters on it, this will allow 99% of the people that you walk by just to kind of move out of the way and let you walk. We made these at Kinko's. And I swear to god, it's the key to the city. The other media badges, I mean, I've got a ton of them because I put my other... A lot of times, people don't give you badges and they give you stickers, so we just kind of put stickers on there and cover them up. There's one there for Troubadour Texas, and this generic one is for YouPlus Media. It's unreal. The combination of that and these things are unbelievably heavy. But walking in, the bigger the camera you have, the more access you get. And it's in one of my tips. We'll talk about that later. The media badge is probably the cheapest, most valuable thing you can do if you wanna get access to places and do photography or videography.


These are a couple websites I mentioned earlier. Also, it's really important that whenever you're calling and asking someone for access to something, don't describe yourself as a blogger. I think the bloggers are cool. We think bloggers are cool. Most of the world thinks that we're a bunch of nuts that sit at home in our underwear and complain about Obama or W, whichever one you don't like. If you're doing photography, and I learned this a long time ago and it was an accident, I'm a photojournalist. I don't take pictures for my blog. I'm a photojournalist. If you're writing for a blog, you don't ask for access to ACL or South by Southwest by saying, "I wanna write for my blog." You're a writer, you're a journalist and you want access.


And it's amazing how little things like that will be enough to turn the tides and get you access to somewhere as opposed to we don't... And you will get responses back that say, "We don't give access to bloggers." Then you're like, it's kind of like when you leave money on your table and you're like, "Doh!" I should have used the other word. That's covered up. This is fairly important too, when you're out, and this happened to us yesterday when we were shooting this CD cause we're doing a combination of shooting the CD case and it was going to be an episode for Troubadour Texas. So we shoot the CD in the coffee house, we go outside and the host is interviewing me about the whole process of photography for the show. And we're on a public street, guy walk... Anytime someone walks up to you with a clipboard, be concerned.


So we're... And it's a public street, it's Downtown Dallas, guy walks up with a clipboard and starts asking us, "What are you shooting? What is it for?" And these guys, you know they're security for the building right, but they're plain clothes and they're taking notes. Really super important that when you're out shooting stuff, that anyone... No one but a police officer can make you stop shooting anything. Whether you're a blogger or a citizen or a professional journalist, no one has the right to tell you not to shoot. The first thing they will say when they don't want you to shoot, you can be walking in the middle of the street in Houston, turn around and start shooting the building of... The offices of a building or something, security will come out and say, "Well, for protective services," or they'll say, "Since 911," and your response is to look down and say, "Am I on a public Street?"


They'll say yes or no. If they say no then you ask, "Where does your property end? Where's the property line?" Three steps back, lift up your camera and start shooting again. There's nothing they can do about it. It's public space. The next thing they will do is threaten to call the police. You tell them, "Please do." The police will come and the police will go, "You in a public space?" "Yes." "Nothing you can do." "Well, we don't like them shooting." "I don't care. Nothing you can do." But it's one of the biggest things that you will get hassled with as a photographer if you're out kind of shooting lifestyle stuff, you're shooting urban landscapes, things like that. Now, there are plenty of situations where you will be shooting something, not plenty, there's some situation where you may be shooting and you're shooting something sensitive. Maybe I'm shooting a National Guard Armory because I like the tanks in there. Well, certainly they could come out and say, "Stop it because there is an issue with... Since 911 that those are sensitive areas and we don't want you shooting that stuff."


Use your brain. Don't be unnecessarily confrontational when that stuff pops up. But if you do get into a situation, A, whenever you have private security coming at you and you start to feel a little bit threatened or when you have the police there, the second that something starts to happen, as you're talking to somebody you open up your camera. I don't care if they see you do it or not, you open up your camera, you pop out the card, you slip it in your pocket. You've always got a crappy blank card in your pocket with you. And I'll tell you what, 9 times out of 10 the person you're talking to won't realize what you're doing. You pop in the other card, it's blank. And so as you're talking if you feel like you're being threatened and you got to give them something to get away, you never hand them your equipment. The police, if they ask for it, give it to them. They shouldn't have any reason to. They certainly may say, "I want those disks." "Okay, cool, I'll give you the disk out of my camera."


You hand it to them and you've got your pictures in your pocket. Then you walk away. If the police, and you've got to be clever about this, if they say, "Give me the disc in your camera." That's what you do. If they say, "Give me the pictures you took," you don't want to screw the police over. And so typically what you're doing is you've got a backup with you. So your shoot... Maybe you're outside and you're shooting for half an hour, an hour or so. This guy will recognize that I'll pop a disk in there. And it'll copy them onto the hard drive in here. So even if I do have to give it up, and I'll pop that in there and throw that back in my bag and I'll take a clean disc and put it in here. So I've always got maybe an hour's worth of pictures on a drive but that's it. I don't lose everything I've been doing that day.

So this obviously gets into an area where you're like, "Holy hell, what kind of situation am I gonna be in?" As you start doing this more and more often, you definitely will find yourselves... And if you're not prepared and don't think about this stuff... This is the hard drive backup. It's actually a hyper drive, it's for iPads, but it works awesome for CF cards and SD cards. It's like $199. If you're doing it and people are paying you to do this stuff, you've gotta make sure that you're thinking about, "Well, I backup my data at home. I've got to make sure that when I'm out here shooting that I'm keeping copies or that I'm only shooting for 30 minutes on a card and I'm putting it in my bag and I'm pulling a new card out. So if something like this pops up then I don't lose everything that I've been doing that day." Be patient, be nice, be respectful, and make sure that you try to be invisible whenever you're shooting.


Part of your planning process, and you should've done this ahead of time, but you've got to make sure that your disciplined when you get somewhere, is that you should have a shot list of the things that you need to get. And if you're shooting just because you wanna shoot, get yourself disciplined so that you're thinking about this stuff so you could be more purposeful about what you do when you go out. And you don't show up and you're just like, "Click. Click. Click. Click." Whatever. Have a purpose when you get there. You will find that you're much more... You become much more appreciative of the work you did because you had a plan ahead of time.


If you're doing it for somebody and they're paying you, good God please have a shot list. Never show up somewhere and just go, "I'll just take shots." When you get somewhere, get the shots you're supposed to get ahead of time. Get that just out of the way. And they don't have to be amazing shots, but make sure you cover the basics. It sounds a lot like my gray hat, black hat talk. Once you get those, then you start becoming creative and looking for different angles that nobody else would get. Again, we go back to the point that because the technology... 7D, this camera and the T2i, these things are so unbelievably forgiving, anybody can take amazing pictures with these things. You've really now gotta push yourself to find ways to get shots that other people aren't gonna show up with afterwards. Look for different angles, things like that. Couple of things on this one, [chuckle] Robin obviously speaking in San Antonio. A, the fisheye. The fisheye is such cheesy thing to use in photography. Professional photographers are like, "Oh my God."


But two things, number one, time and time again, it's the crowd favorite. People love pictures taken with the fisheye lens. Any time I wanna go and I really wanna exaggerate something, I do it with the fisheye lens. The reason why I purposefully was laying myself out right in front of the stage when Robin was speaking is that believe it or not, Robin is shorter than I am. When I'm out here shooting, I'm doing everything I can to make him look tall 'cause the photography here is... He's a member of the International Speakers Association and the photography we're taking is to become part of his new portfolio. So he's gotta look in command and big, and any time I'm shooting in the audience, if I get him at the wrong angle, even though he's on stage, you can tell that stature wise, he's a short guy. So make sure that you... Obviously, I'm in front of the stage, I'm not invisible, but you're gonna break some rules. Make sure that you're doing things... And if you're sitting here shooting and you look around, you're feeling awkward, you just have to get over that. You just really have no option.


Be present, be alert. This is one of my very, very favorite pictures I've ever taken. This is at Kerrville Folk Festival and I know now that this woman's name is Heather Reese. I didn't know who she was when I took her shot, when I took her picture. What? Is that amazing? That's one of those pictures that after you take it, you're like, "Who did I give my camera to? That's awesome." This is like when the stars really align. I'm actually... When I saw her, I'm standing over here on the other side of the crowd and she's over here absolutely by herself just kicking up dust and just dancing to the music all by herself in this big area here. So I make my way around and I'm already at the mindset that I'm gonna beg forgiveness. I'm just gonna start shooting pictures and if she stops and gets freaked out, I'm gonna have to apologize, but I cannot stop her from being in the zone. I got about 20 pictures off and what happened here is obviously sun's going down, dust is all up in the air and look at the rays coming through that.

If I had not been standing... 'Cause I was in the situation where I'm actually working. We're covering Kerrville Music Festival, Troubadour Texas. So I was having to do other stuff for the TV show, but any time I get a break I stop and I'm scanning and looking for something 'cause I'm, "Okay, I've got 15 minutes, what can I do?" The only thing that caught my eye here was that she was out there by herself. I had no idea that this was happening until I got on the side of her, and obviously I'm really close to her. She saw me, kept on dancing. I found out later that she was unbelievably drunk. That's why she didn't care. [laughter] But even in a situation like that, after I take her shot I saw her a couple of times after that during the night, and I finally handed her my card and said, "You know, I'm the guy that was taking your picture over there. I'm not a weirdo, if you want the pictures, shoot me an email." Turns out I have four friends in Dallas that went to school with her at Texas A&M and all of them were like, "Oh yeah, she parties."


Shoot everything and shoot until you get kicked out or until there's nothing else to shoot. Let me see if I've got this pulled up over here. Let me pull my phone out so I actually do see the time. 'Cause I don't wanna keep you all here past eight. Eight minutes, we're screwed. [laughter] That's not a... I'm just gonna tell the story. I'm not gonna pull it up. One of the very first things I shot was KISS up in [40:43] ____ park up in Frisco. It's a suburb of Dallas. It was one of the first things I got hired to do and I was going nuts. I'm like, "Oh my God, it's KISS." We get up there and when we go to get the photo passes we find out that our photo passes allow us access to everything but KISS. It was an all day music fest so I'm like, "Pat Green, really? I want shots of Pat Green? Not really." So we're doing the shots and I get everything that I can and then we're doing some interviews and stuff like that. And then when it comes time for KISS to come on, their PR company people come down to the photographer's pit and they just basically push, everybody's out. Now, if you've been given access, come back over here. Only people that got access with the Dallas observer and the Dallas Morning News. Nobody else gets access.


So I'm like, "What do I do now? I've got to get pictures of KISS." Before then, when I was walking around, I was busy building relationships. We're doing our shots and stuff and I'm making friends with the roadies and stuff and I go and I establish myself as being somebody that's supposed to be back there behind the stage, talking to the roadies and what not. About 30 minutes before KISS came on, I go back to one of the guys and I go, "Man, I lost my lanyard. And I'm not quite sure am I gonna be able to stay back here? Because I don't wanna get myself in trouble."


The guy knew me from talking to me all day long. He's like, "Man, don't worry about it, I'll take care of you." He goes back to the back, he comes back with a lanyard that has KISS on it, working crew, which gave me access to everything. So then, and I don't have the shots up there on my Flickr account, but I'm literally again standing on the side of... The photographers are down here in the pit, getting the crotch shots, shooting up their nose, all that kind of stuff. I'm standing on the side of the stage and Paul Stanley's about 15 feet in front of me, and I'm just shooting him straight on. That lasted about three songs before security goes, only two people have access to the [42:34] ____. So a guy comes up, pulls me off, says, "You need to go back into the audience now. I know you don't have access 'cause you're not with these guys."


I go down into the audience, and I'm, "Okay, I'll shoot what I can here. I'll start shooting what I can in there." The guys were watching me, and I also am in the crowd like a complete freaking moron. I'm in the crowd shooting this thing up in the air, "Hi, can't see me here." So they catch me again, and they're like, "No, you've gotta put your camera away." Put the cameras away, I go to the other side of the stage, and I'm like, "But I've still got the working badge, maybe I can get back over there." So I go back over to the security guy behind stage, I show him my badge. And in these situations they just glance at it, wave you on. So he waves me on, I go backstage, I get on the other side of the stage, and they get through about half a song, then a guy comes up that was probably eight times larger than me, and looks at me and he goes, "You know we got radios." I'm like, "Oh." And he escorted me out to the parking lot.


But I still have my KISS badge, which is pretty awesome. But the thing with that situation, I've never had anybody take my card. I've heard of people have their cards taken from them, but in those situations, they're like, "You're breaking the rules. Get out." That's the worst thing they can do for you. I'm like, "Cool. I got 150 pictures of KISS, I don't care." And that kind of stuff scares the bejesus out of my wife, but I'm like, "Honey, it's not like we're in Syria. It's a KISS concert, they're gonna kick me out and I won't be able to go back in, it's not a big deal."


Same thing I just said earlier. Couple of things I wanna cover here. And these slides are gonna be available to you guys. And I'm gonna go to something that is a big hit on my social sites. So we've taken our stuff, we've taken our pictures. And I talk a little bit about using filters and composition rule of thirds. You can go to Google and type in "Top 10 photography tips," and you're gonna find this stuff up. Absolutely critical though, whenever you're using a marketing campaign, once you get your pictures back home, what do you do with them now? What do you do with them to... Besides the fact of... Besides the visual aspect of I've got something that tells a story, what do I do now to help with social and with SEO and stuff like that? 


Most critical thing you can do, and it amazes me that people that do SEO still don't do this stuff, is to optimize the files. Now we know, if we're SEO people, that Google doesn't know what's inside your picture. But there's an unbelievable amount of data that you can shove into this file that all the search engines read, and that helps you categorize this content. And it includes hyperlinks. And so whether you're using iPhoto on a Mac, and even with iPhoto, you see that up here I've got "Photography by Giovanni," "Kylie Ray Harris" with a hyperlink here and a description down here. IPhoto, which is free and comes with every Mac, allows you to edit metadata. And if you really wanna go nuts, Aperture unleashes all kinds of stuff that you can edit. This is all text content that is stored inside of a photo file.

You have the same thing with video. We could talk for three hours on optimizing video content that has nothing to do with tiles and tags. It's all the information that's stored inside of a file. And look at the amount of data there. That's more data than you would put on a webpage. Hyperlinks, whenever this goes up to Flickr, and some of y'all if you have seen me speak have seen me show this stuff on Flickr. I haven't shown that detail though. But these things get converted into live links. When I uploaded this to Flickr, I edited nothing. I took that file, uploaded it, Flickr read that metadata, and it just populated it for me automatically.


Google photos, that's what you see down here. You don't see all the crap whenever it shows up on the web, this is just a picture off of Google. But all that data is stored inside that image there. Now, the rules apply doing that stuff the same way they would for a web page. You don't spam, you don't stuff key words, you make sure that what you describe inside the picture is actually what's in the picture. And you be respectful of the fact that you're trying to do something to help you get ranked, but you don't go too far. Once you get that metadata in there, you share it everywhere you can. SlideShare drives tons of traffic. If you've got a really nice portfolio, you've got 15, 20 pictures of a conference you went to, here's a trick, you go and create a PowerPoint deck of your images. You make sure that all the people that you have pictures of, their names are in that. 'Cause what do we do as bunch... We're a bunch of navel-gazing nerds. We go home and search for ourselves.

So this stuff pops up. SlideShare is one of the most popular websites out there. And all the links inside this content, inside your SlideShare presentation are feeding the Google algorithm. Instagram, I haven't done a whole lot of tests with that, but you can still put the metadata in there.


Sorry, are you saying...


Don't you dare interrupt me again. What is this, your conference? You think this is your event? 


So what you're saying is if you do a PowerPoint and you put in your [47:56] ____ it's populated with metadata, that will be read by Google? 


Yeah, absolutely. 'Cause Google can read the text inside of the PowerPoint, right? You take that image and you drop it in there and PowerPoint can read the Exif data inside there. All that text is still shoved in that file. It looks hideous but it's still readable by the search engines.


Got it.


Get on it girl. Are you making a slideshow right now? 


So lastly... Did I embarrass you? Be in touch with the softer side yourself, you're fine.


Sweet. All right. So last thing and you guys get out of here and go drink. So then how do you measure results? So it's... Todd, y'all were the ones that mentioned... No you weren't. The Google stats presentation [48:46] ____, the woman that was talking, and she was from your agency, I don't remember her name, but mentioned how we don't know what the ramifications of Google Plus are yet with SEO. Certainly, I don't know what plusing a website or a link does if it does anything at all. But I have done tests of... Just for the last five years, I've been riding on the coattails of stuffing metadata inside of pictures and putting it in Flickr and ranking well in Google for that. I started to do some tests with just taking images with targeted key words in them, uploading them into Google Plus only, and seeing where the results are on those.


So whenever you are doing these images, one of the things you are looking for are people finding you based upon that content. This is the Google Plus account that I use for all my imagery. And this was about two weeks into Google Plus and there were already 3,000 people following me. There's no way in hell that those people are people that I actually know. They found me through doing searches on stuff and finding my content, liking what they saw. Because I went through that list and I know these two people, and there's like eight people I know that were following me there. And it's not because I'm young and sexy and hot, so there's that.


Other way, look at the engagement on the imagery, this is again on Google Plus. These are all people that I go up there and I upload this content and then people comment... I never have people, when I don't optimize content, engage with photos like that and leave with those kind of comments and favorite them that much. And probably this is because it's [50:15] ____ and she's got her own fan base with GeekPeek. But here, 88 pluses on this different portfolio. What does it look like in the search engines? Now, this is my shtick whenever I talk, I go and I tell people what I do, then I go, "Here is the results." And I do a search and I pop up number one, two or three for social media expert. Feels so slimy.


What about photography? So I didn't start promoting myself as a photography until about two months ago. When I took these screenshots, I was about a month into it. Look at this, for Dallas concert photographer, I didn't rank anywhere. I didn't ever optimize for it. Nobody knew I was a photographer at that point on the web. About a month into this for Dallas concert photographer, one, two, three, four, five, six, those are all me. And those are all places where I post my images. Six out of the top ten on the first page of out of 108 million results. And that's only Google Plus, and it's only metadata inside of pictures. For Dallas fashion photographer, number 10. And God knows I'm all about fashion.


Page two for Dallas and photography, number 11 there for that. So it works. And again from Kurt from earlier today, one of his last quotes in his slide was, "Find your passion, use your talent." For me, my passion is photography, my talent's kind of SEO. I think SEO is boring, but I certainly love photography, and any way that I can take that one thing that I love and use my skills and help feed my babies, it's a good thing. Make sure though that you're honing your talent in order to feed your passion, which means you're going out there and you're taking risks. You're doing things that are uncomfortable. You're sticking cameras where they shouldn't be. You're putting yourself in places where they shouldn't be because that's how you get those pictures.


There's so much content out there, you've gotta do stuff that's gonna stand out. And there's the spam. I can give you this, plus I have... And there's a few people that have seen me speak, but I do have a thing called a social media manifest, which is basically the way that I run campaigns in social media. So if you go to, I'll ask you, "Did I suck or was I awesome?" I recommend you selecting awesome. It's anonymous, but then you go to the next page after you answer that questionnaire, and then you can give me your e-mail address and you'll be e-mailed the social media manifest. I don't care what you do with the manifest, just don't repost it to the web, but you can take it and tell people you wrote it yourself, I could care less. And with that, if you need to go drink beer now, leave, and if you have questions, I'll take questions from you. And someone stole my camera. Don't take my camera. Thank y'all.