Surround Yourself with Greatness…

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The advent of digital imaging has opened up the world of professional-grade imaging to an audience far greater than most photographers could have ever imagined. Yes–it’s true–it has never been easier to shoot a “pretty good” image, and people are catching on. It is super cool to see so many people fired up about photography, but with that new, sexy appeal comes its own challenges for those that make their living as full-time professional photographers. I’ll stop there…this is not another rant about my cousin’s uncle’s pony’s dog that just stole a great job from under my nose because he charges way less than me or (insert commonplace pro photog rant here). In fact, this post is quite the opposite.

It has always been apparent to me that we will never truly reach our greatest potential if not pushed by some outward influence. Whether that be encouragement from friends/family, discouragement from naysayers, or something somewhere in between, we will never really know what we’re capable of until pushed beyond that which we thought was our previous best.

My answer to this moderately crowded profession??? Embrace the competition. Surround yourself with greatness. Be confident in your own ability to produce something that has your own unique style/brand/stamp/calling card. Most importantly, BE BETTER. Don’t waste your time wondering why you weren’t published here or hired there–figure out who just got whatever you wanted, and what you can do to get it next time.

I was browsing the latest issue of Powder magazine and was blown away at both the number and quality of images put out by photographers that make their home right here in Salt Lake City. I’m proud to call many of them friends, and I’m even more proud to have my work included amidst theirs. If you want to be better than the best, you must surround yourself with the best. Then watch, listen and learn–don’t gripe, covet or make excuses.

These days, with the interwebz in every nook, cranny and nether region of planet Earth, we have the entire world at our finger tips. See your competition for the motivating force that it can be–and then be better.

 

Manfrotto BeFree Ad Campaign

Great to see the ads rolling out from our work earlier this year for Manfrotto and the BeFree tripod. This was such a stellar shoot, with an incredible crew of people involved. Check out the full BeFree site for more imagery and videos from this shoot.

ADV-Befree-A3-1 ADV-Befree-A3-3 ADV-Befree-A3-2

ABP MVP: Howler Bros. Harkers Flannel

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We all have our MVP’s (most valuable products). Some are big, some small. Most bring simple pleasures at home, or bring the comforts of home to the road. All of them simply make life better. This is the first installment of my own MVP’s. Saddle up for many, many more…

What: Howler Bros. Harkers Flannel

Why: Psshhh…really??? Have you never worn a flannel shirt? It’s like wearing a bubble bath–it’s that comfy when done right. Only it’s not fru-fru, and you don’t have to wear it late at night when nobody will ever know. Think of it this way: fall without flannels would be like breakfast without bacon. Need I say more??? Howler Bros. nailed it with this one, and they are a smaller, grass roots brand founded by real people that care about their customers. We all need more bacon, and yes, every man could use more flannels. These are two truths that are extremely tough to argue…

Where: http://howlerbros.com/products/harkers-flannel-f2013

BTS Video: Mountain Khakis Winter Catalog Shoot


I do love my job! This video gives a great behind-the-scenes look at how much fun we have when out on the Mountain Khakis Catalog shoots. Enjoy!

 

Interview with Shoot to Earn

From tearful frustration to triumphant success, I get up close and personal in the video interview above…it offers unique insight into my career journey thus far…

Background: I had the great fortune of working with talented wedding and lifestyle photographer Aaron Dieppa during a week-long ad shoot for Manfrotto earlier this year. In addition to his great taste in hair-style ;), he has a very enterprising mind and has recently launched an awesome website that will serve as an inspirational resource to budding photographers and experienced pros for years to come.He discusses about his career and offers tips plus he is part of family photographers adelaide

Check out www.shoottoearn.com for interviews with established photographers from portrait to landscape to advertising to…you name it.

I’m honored to be one of Aaron’s first interviews. It’s definitely lengthy, but I’d like to think it’s worth a lunch break or long car ride. Enjoy!

 

BTS Video: Album Cover Shoot with Bass-Baritone Bryn Terfel

BTS w AdamBarkerPhotography and Deutsche Grammophon from AdamBarkerPhoto on Vimeo.

I was approached several weeks ago by German music label Deutsche Grammophon about possibly shooting some work for an album cover for one of their classical artists, Welsh opera singer Bryn Terfel. It all came together very quickly, as the shoot was just two weeks away or so upon initial contact. The work would be primarily environmental portrait work shot on location. I quickly pieced together some scouting images from a number of different locations and, upon a scouting trip with the VP of DG, we settled on Antelope Island State Park. In my opinion, it offers some of the greatest sunset light anywhere on earth! Despite hoards of biting gnats, the shoot went off without a hitch, thanks in large part to great planning and preparation with producer Samantha Mitchell.

The pressure was on! Especially given the fact that Bryn would be available for only a VERY limited amount of time. Between album recording sessions with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and many other commitments, I only had about 90 minutes total with Bryn on this shoot. However, when everyone is firing on all pistons, and Mother Nature cooperates, 90 minutes is more than enough to produce the goods. Check out the video above for an exclusive ticket behind the scenes at this particular shoot!

Environmental portrait shoot with photographer Adam Barker and opera singer Bryn Terfel. p: Shane Thomas

Environmental portrait shoot with photographer Adam Barker and opera singer Bryn Terfel. p: Shane Thomas

Environmental portrait shoot with photographer Adam Barker and opera singer Bryn Terfel. p: Shane Thomas

Environmental portrait shoot with photographer Adam Barker and opera singer Bryn Terfel. p: Shane Thomas

We’re Back!

Skier Parker Cook rallies some classic Alta powder.

Skier Parker Cook rallies some classic Alta powder.

Or maybe, I should say…I’M back. Funny how so many of us photographer/entrepreneurial types throw that plural form around like it’s half-cooked noodle–just waiting to see if it sticks. “We” like to make you think that there’s a huge entourage of bustling interns working themselves to the bone each and every day while this well-oiled machine of a photography brand is in cruise control, taking the world by storm while I field calls from clients that want to overpay me for work that is far easier than it looks.

The truth is, the “we” that I throw around so often is basically me, my wife and my three boys. There. I said it. SURPRISE!!! The other truths?

1. I could never work this hard for anyone else but myself.

2. I’m not rich.

3. But I make a fine and decent living.

4. I have a quality of life that far exceeds anything I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams.

5. I have a creative appetite that must be fed whether it’s being paid for or not.

6. This means I love what I do, and I do what I love.

7. I drink way too much Coke.

8. I abhor mediocrity.

Every day I wake up and think that I must be one of the most fortunate people on this planet. I wonder, for a moment, what my life would be like were I not to have taken that enormous leap of faith and chosen to follow my heart and pursue a career that would make me happy for the rest of my life.

I have been pushed to the brink of sanity and then welcomed back with a nugget of success. I have progressed at alarming rates, only to then face the same simple challenges I did as a rookie. I have achieved and I have failed. I have been buoyed up and I have been incredibly let down. And through it all, I continue to believe that the path of photography as a career is viable, noble, engaging, feasible, crazy and super cool.

So why the introspective diary entry of a blog post??? Why the hell not? As in so many other cases, I do it because I can. And on this Tuesday morning, it felt right. I have many, many of you to thank. You really do know who you are. I have many that have inspired me, and in turn, I hope to have been a source of inspiration and aspiration to many of you at some point in time.

Whatever pursuit it is in which you are engaged at this moment. If it is worthy, don’t ever stop. Go till you can’t manage another labored breath, and then pick yourself up, and go some more. It is all worth it.