Photographing 1,000 of anything is a monumental task. Learn my process in this blog post.Read More
I wrote this book review almost a decade ago for another blog that I wrote. Getting Things Done is one of the books that changed the way that I work. A decade later I still use the GTD system. I use Evernote as a supplement to my system. You can read the original review below.
I Was Ineffiecient
My workflow has always been inefficient. From my earliest days in school till just recently I have been an unorganized mess. While my quality of work has always been high, the amount of time and effort involved in obtaining that quality was on the long and difficult side. From elementary school though my junior year in college I was grossly inefficient at getting things done. I would always finish my projects on time, but things were never well organized. Things were never well organized because I had never been taught how to be organized. My senior year in college I read a blog post about being more efficient with my time. I started blocking out 4 hour chunks of time to work on projects and doing them one at a time and taking no breaks. This method worked well for me, but I still had other things on my mind that made me ineffective with my time.
Something Had To Give
Since graduating college, getting married and starting my own business my organizational skills really started showing up as being quite poor. I was terrible at managing my time. I had a very hard time making time for my business, my family, my friends and also wanting to get more involved with other organizations. I figured it was time to try to get things prioritized. There had to be a better way to do things then they way I had been doing them.
I was on twitter about a year ago and a friend of mine tweeted about David Allen's bookGetting Things Done. They said that they were going to start a getting things done system, and sent me two links about what that was. The first link was to an article about using Gmail as your central “Get it Done” inbox(to http://lifehacker.com/5321180/turn-gmail-into-your-ultimate-gtd-inbox) The second link was to an application called Evernote that one man used to change hislife(http://www.40tech.com/2009/08/25/getting-things-done-gtd-in-evernote-with-only-one-notebook/).
These two links got me started with GTD. Later I decided to buy the book.
A Simple Concept
David Allen has a simple concept. Get things out of your head and on paper. David Allen says that if you can get all of the ideas swirling around in your head on paper that you can be more productive. David advocates writing all the ideas down and putting them in a filing system. David has a great system that I have implemented in my life. I have become more productive with his system. Writing everything down and organizing it into distinct areas and projects has helped me to get more done and to remember more stuff that I need to do. I recommend GTD for those that are looking to help out their workflow in any industry. The concepts that David presents can be implemented in any knowledge or creative job. This is a great read for photographers. You can apply the workflow discussed in the book to your creative process. You can apply the concepts to client meetings, post processing, and your daily life.
Where To Buy
I purchased my copy from Amazon's Kindle Store. You can purchase your though this link Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
As freelance photographers we spend a lot of our time working on projects for clients. We also spend a lot of time watching and reading photography tutorials. Both of these things are great. We also need to sharpen the saw on personal and business development. Reading books is a fantastic way to expand our view of the world and learn new things.
Nick Bumgardner is a commercial photographer based in Nashville, TN. He has 12 years of experience in food, beverage, and product photography.
A few years ago Mary Sobon of Management Solutions Group recommended for me to read Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod. Mary told me that it is a book that all freelancers should read. I read this book in 2010 and wrote the book review then. I am brining this post back from my old blog. I think my take and the recommendations that I make in this blog post are still valuable. The post has been edited from its original form for clarity.
Where To Purchase
I decided to pick up the book on Mary's recommendation. I purchased my copy from Amazon's Kindle store. You can purchase the book at your local book store or on Amazon.
Hugh MacLeod is an amazing cartoonist and author. Hugh started out his professional career as a freelance copy writer in NYC with a 10 day gig at a major Manhattan firm which later turned into a full time gig. In his first couple of weeks in NYC he started doodling on the backs of business cards. Hugh found it to be a great medium for his art because it was pocketable and could be taken anywhere at a size of 2.5x3in.
MacLeod eventually took his cartoons and and started a blog with them. With each cartoon was a pithy saying, insights, and a healthy dose of humor. The blog is still active although MacLeod no longer post new cartoons on the blog. His blog is www.gapingvoid.com. You can still get new cartoons from MacLeod if you sign up for his e-mail list.
I call MacLeod an author because I view him as an amazingly talented writer. He takes writing to an art form. With an incredibly few number of words he paints amazing clear and vivid pictures of reality that are augmented with his cartoons.
About The Book’s Format
Ignore Everybody is a collection of 40 cartoons and written sections to go with them. The book started out as a series on his blog called "How to be Creative" the book is a tamed down version of his original blog series. The book still might be a bit racy for corporate stiffs or small children. Nevertheless, it is one of my favorite books on marketing/creativity/leadership.
The Big Take Aways
I had a few big take-aways from the book. The first big take away is ignore everybody, the second sex and money, and third the world is tougher than most young people think. When MacLeod says ignore everybody he is not saying to just write everyone off. He is saying that when you have that bright “ah-ha” moment that you are going to get some terrible advice from those around you. You have to treat the idea as your baby. You can't sell out the idea you have and keep true to you idea. He also points out that great ideas change the dynamics of relationships. The second take-away is sex and money. MacLeod says that everyone does what they do for two reasons: either sex or money. You have to put bread on the table and that is the stuff you do for money, but you also have to have your creative side that you do not for money but because it is your passion or sex to you. Take-away three is that the creative world is a lot harder than we think when we are young and ideallic. MacLeod is not saying to you to not go out and do it, he is providing inspiration.
Big Insight The Creative Process
This is a photography focused blog. I think that every photographer should read this book. It gives amazing insights to the creative professional. In the world of commercial art we sometimes forget the fact that we are indeed artist. We are artist with our own vision. The art director is not the end all and be all of the creative endeavor on set. As creatives we have to have our own vision and ultimately that is why we get hired. This is a book that can make you think about your marketing, photography, creativity, and leadership in new and different ways. If you have read this book let me know what you think about it in the comments!
I will fully recommend this book to anyone that wants to read it. So go check it out!
Nick Bumgardner is a commercial photographer based in Nashville, Tn. For the last 12 years he has helped brands create compelling imagery. To get in touch use the contact page.
Bring A Water Bottle!
When I got started in commercial photography I would typically have a headache by 3pm everyday that I was on set. For years I thought it was the flashing lights that was causing the issue. What I eventually discovered was that I was dehydrated. Working on set is a pretty physical activity. We are moving lights, talking to clients, talking to subjects, moving furniture, rushing around, changing camera settings. We are balancing a lot of different task while we are on set. What happens is that most of us forget to drink something, so by the end of the day we are dehydrated and feel like crap. I have found that brining my own water bottle to set remind me to drink more water. Brining my own water bottle also encourages me to get water from the tap instead of wasting bottled water. The more you stay hydrated on set the better you will feel at the end of the day. I know this is a super simple tip, but It has huge rewards. I can’t think of anything better than feeling good at the end of at 12 or 16 hour day on set. Drink up folks!
Nick Bumgardner is a food, beverage and product photographer based out of Nashville, TN.
Impending Economic Doom
Cue the music. CNN is playing it up. It is all over the news that our economy is could hit a recession in 2020. I know there are a ton of photographers and other freelancers out there that are getting worried because economic growth might stagnate.
What Is A Recession?
Put simply a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP. It just means that the economy is not growing.
What Would A Recession Mean For My Business?
So the obvious question for commercial photographers is what would a recession mean for my business? In general, the answer is simple people and businesses are spending less money during a recession.
That means that things might tighten up. It does not necessarily meant that people will spend less money in your niche. I’m going to tell you about my experience in the last recession and give a few tips to help you survive the possible recession.
I Began My Business In A Recession!
I started my business in 2007, during the beginning of the last recession the last recession lasted form 2007 though 2009. I was able to start and maintain a viable freelance photography business that entire time. I was just getting started in commercial photography at the time. In general the budgets were down a bit and there were less shoots taking place because some clients had less money to spend. Commercial photography is not necessarily a recession proof business. It all depends on where consumers decide to spend their money. In the last recession I found that overall clients were still spending money on marketing. You have to market and advertise products to get sales.
Some Tips For Thriving In A Recessionary Market
Sit down and create a budget for your business and for your personal life. See were you can cut expenses.
Dig the well before you need it. Start networking now. Build up your network so that you have many different potential clients to pull work from.
Keep your head up! In a down economy it is easy to get down on yourself for not making enough money. You have to stay positive and provide excellent imagery for your clients.
Create compelling content and tell compelling stories. We are creatives after all! The more we put ourselves out there the more people see our work and hire us!
Wrapping It Up
I don’t know if we will go into a recession or not, I’m no economist. Having said that I’m not worried. After spending 12 years in this industry I know we go though cycles with advertising and marketing. There will be up years and there will be down years. Either way my company is going to stick around and create compelling imagery for my clients. I am going to choose not to believe this recession is going to happen. I hope our economic growth continues. Let’s opt out of this recession togeather.
I Finally Get To Try Mead!!!
Eight years ago I heard a story on NPR about mead. After that story mead which I had previously never had in interest in became a sudden obsession. I had to learn everything I could about mead. I also had to learn of the meads available locally at the liquor store which was supposed to be the “best”. After my research I ran out the the liquor store and picked up a bottle. I got it home, sat it on my kitchen table and my cat Thomas Paine immediately knocked the full unopened bottle of mead off the table and onto my tile floor. My sudden obsession with mead came to a crashing halt. The honey nectar of the gods never passed my lips. As with most sudden obsessions it then passed into obscurity. Then along comes Honey Tree Meadery.
Cue Honey Tree Meadery
Honey Tree Meadery is a meadery based in Nashville, TN. They opened just a few months back. The opening of Honey Tree rekindled my dormant fascination with mead. A meadery had opened up in my own backyard!
A couple weeks after Honey Tree opened I called up my buddy Jordan to see if he would be game to go try some mead with me. Jordan is also a mead novice. So we head over to Honey Tree on a Wednesday evening and give it a go. I arrive first and walk into the tap room. I am greeted by friendly faces doing yoga in the front room. They also have two bartenders working the taps. They asked me the most important question first. “Have you ever had mead”. I let them know that I am a mead novice. So they explain to me how mead is made and allow me to try samples of the three meads that they currently had on tap. They bartenders that were working had an amazing attitude and were more than willing to talk a novice mead drinker though the paces.
After trying the three meads that were on tap I decided to go with the Basic Batch. I felt that the Basic Batch most embodied the basics of what a mead should be. It was 14% abv, served room temperature, and did not have any other flavors infused into it. Hence it is the Basic Batch. I don’t have a ton of experience with mead so I can not give a very thorough review. The majority of my experience with reviewing beverages is with Scotch and bourbon which have a substantially higher abv.
Color: The basic batch is a golden yellow color. It has thin legs that run quickly.
Nose: The nose is pretty much straight honey, with some sweetness, there was no detectable ethanol scent.
Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is thin, and a bit drying.
Taste: There is an explosion of honey sweetness, and a bit of a wine taste for lack of a better word.
Finish: The finish is short and sweet. The flavor does not linger.
Overall I would say that I enjoyed my first experience with mead. I will have to go back and try their other variants in more detail. It was a really great experience trying mead.
The location of Honey Tree Meadery is top notch. It is right on Woodland with plenty of other things to do near by. The taproom itself is really nice and gives a nice view of where they make the mead. The back patio though was awesome. They have plenty of seating, they have a good number of plants and some nice shaded areas.
We Will Be Back
My initial thought right after leaving Honey Tree Meadery was “We will be back!”. It was a great experience. They have a great tap room and a great porch. The bartenders were knowledgeable and really welcoming. The mead was fantastic as well. I plan to make many trips back over the coming year to get to know mead better.
Nick Bumgardner is a beverage photographer based outside of Nashville, TN.
I have been a commercial photographer for 11 years. When I started my career I did not have a lot of stuff to haul around. I had 1 camera, a few lenses, and a flash. As I have grown in my career I have accumulated a lot of gear. With all of that gear I was having to take more and more trips back to the car. I was tired before I even started my shoot. So I started looking for a grip cart. I looked at tons of carts before I finally settled on one. Below are my top 5 reasons that you need to get a grip cart. Check it out!Read More
rowing up as an only child could be pretty boring. I got really good at making friends at a young age. But for those time where I did not have friends around I spent a lot of time playing board games with my parents. I played a lot of Monopoly, Risk, and Battleship. When I was growing up I always tried to play board games in the car, but it really just never worked out. Recently I was introduced to the best car game ever Carl Spies. It is like a modern twist on Eye Spy and the cards in the deck are really well designed and just flat out awesome. I did some product photography on white for the Carl Spies e-commerce website. Check it out!Read More
I always get behind in writing these things up. Back in September I photographed some of the best pizza in Nashville for Nashville Lifestyles Magazine. I photographed pizza at Pastaria and Moto Nashville. Both restaurants do amazing wood fired pizza. The assignment here was straight forward and to the point capture one signature pizza at each restaurant with vertical and horizontal photos. Check it out the resulting photos below!Read More
I have been teaching photography courses for the last two years and before that, I helped to train new digital tech, and Jr. photographers at my previous job. I have found that one of the biggest problems that new photographers have is getting sharp photos. Whether you are a food photographer, a product photographer or a lifestyle photographer these tips are for you.Read More
In August of 2010, I ordered a Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head (you can order yours at www.reallyrightstuff.com). I have had the Really Right Stuff BH55 for 8 years now. I think it is now safe for me to do a little review of this ball head. The BH55 is the biggest, beefiest, and most expensive ball head that Really Right Stuff offers. In the configuration that I have this ball head runs $489. So the big question, is a ball head worth $489 for a food and product photographer?Read More
I got asked to do the cover photography for the Murfreesboro Magazine Burger Issue again this year. This is one of my favorite editorials that I get to shoot. The magazine sends me to some incredible burger places in the Murfreesboro, TN area. This year I went to Goodness Gracious at the Mill, Burger Republic, and BurgerIm. I had a fantastic time doing burger photography at all three restaurants. Keep Reading to check out the tear sheets and see behind the scenes.Read More
My Top 5 Food Photography Purchases of 2018
As much as I like to say that photography is not about the gear, having the right tools certainly makes the job easier and faster. So here are my top 5 food photography purchases of 2018.
DJI Osmo Mobile. I use the Osmo Mobile every day. I do all of my instagram stories, and IGTV post with the DJI Osmo Mobile. It is a fantastic gimbal for phones. The price point is right as well. Also this gimbal has amazing battery life.
Wall Plates. These things are cheap and invaluable on set. I use them as surfaces, and also to mount reflectors to. I honestly don’t know how I used A clamps to hold reflectors up before this. Below is a detail shot of a wall plate and another image of me showing how to tape a wall plate to a reflector doing a workshop.
20in C Stand. While I only have one 20in C-Stand it is one of the most valuable players in my kit. You don’t always need a full size 40in C-Stand. These little guys are the right weight and size for so many jobs. I often will use them to hold on to a wall plate that I will use as a surface. I purchased mine used from a retired photographer it only ran me like $20. You can see one on set holding up a bottle of Rock Town Bourbon below. This bottle of bourbon is actually sitting on a wall plate.
The Zoom F1-LP. This is an affordable wired lavaliere microphone and recorder. I purchased this for a video tutorial series on Adobe Lightroom that I did for The Luxe Academy. I used this microphone in all videos that I produced for them, and I have also used it in a ton of quick IG stories that I have created and on some talking heads interviews. This mic really helped to open the world for video up to me.
Flag Frames. When I worked at Saks 5th Avenue I discovered the beauty of Flag Frames. These little guys are fantastic. They mount to the knuckle of a c-stand and allow you to move around your diffusion panel with ease. I tend to put Savage Translum on them because it is a great diffusion material. Like wall plates these will change the way you work. It makes moving and adjusting flags super easy. You can see a flag fame with Translum diffusion on set here it is on the left side of the image. We were working on a video shoot here and it was the perfect tool to diffuse the led panel.
To sum it up real quick none of these items will make you a better photographer. They are nice things to have to speed up your workflow and to open up some doors. The links in the descriptions are just there for information. I don’t get a kick back of any sort from linking to these products and I am not affiliated with any of the brands.
Nick Bumgardner is a food and beverage photographer based out of Nashville, TN.