Friday, May 27, 2011


So I am sending out resumes like a mad man.

A week ago it was announced that my company will be relocating the corporate headquarters to California.  They offered to take me along, but I'm a Midwestern boy at heart.  I'm just not done in Chicago.

So I'm sending out resumes.

I have always enjoyed looking for a new job.  I love getting that first phone call.  It's validation.  I love hearing about how someone sees my skills benefiting their organizations.  Because I have never been about building a career and more about collecting experiences, I have a very interesting resume.  There aren't many like it.  In essence, I've done everything.

But with a job search there is also an element of anticipation that can be exhausting.  With the ability to do a lot of different things comes the blessing/curse that my resume almost fits a lot of jobs, but doesn't exactly fit many.  It takes a smart, creative hiring manager to look at my resume and see the benefits.  Sadly, there aren't a lot of smart hiring managers out there.  That's OK.  I've worked for not-smart managers before.  It's not fun.

Still, the anticipation can be brutal.  But now, at least there is something of a gauge that gives me an indication of how my resumes might be received.  Something more than the ringing of the phone.

Several weeks ago I launched my new website, with a brand new URL.  The only way someone is going to find it is if I've told them about it, or if they do a search for my entire name.  When I launched it, I also attached some analytics tags to it.  Now I can see how much activity my site is receiving and where it's coming from.  Watching the increase in activity is telling me that my resume is being actively reviewed.  And the amount of time spent on the site gives me an indication as to how much interest a single visitor might have.

But I already knew that my resume was being positively received.  In a week, I received five calls.  That feels really good.  It means that I have the luxury to be selective.  I like that.  But I also like knowing that even if someone isn't calling, they were interested enough to take a look at the website.  Even more excited if they've stopped by the blog!

If you're a potential employer reading this:  Pick up the phone!  I'd love to talk to you.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I find that the more I know how to do, the more I want to do.

This shot is the first of the series.  The idea was to mock up a Calvin Klein campaign, making $200 look like $30,000.  Or how ever much is spent on a Calvin Klein campaign.  In the imagining of this project, I was thinking that Calvin Klein was desperately tired of the black and white, model in a pair of briefs against a gray background and begged me (in my fantasy there are tears) to come up with something fresh.

It was cold at the lake.  And the t-shirts would not cooperate and kept falling over the waistbands.  This is an image that would definitely have to rely on text.  Still, the color of the waistbands pop and draw the focus in the image.

The trick was getting a decent shot of the two models in the same frame.  Ultimately this shot is pieced together from four different frames:  the base, an addition on the left side of the frame, a change in the blond model's head position, and a recreation of the blue waistband.

Then there are a few other editing tricks that I'll leave to you to find.  I can't give everything away.

A couple of years ago, when I did a shoot at the same location, I wouldn't have been able to do any of the things that I did in this shot.  I had no clue and could barely press the button on the camera.  Now, I know what I need, what I can afford, and where I can compensate with computer skills.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


How many models does it take to have a successful photo shoot?  Three.  That's why you book five and thank God when two show up.

For the last few months all of my professional development has been focused on the digital side -- especially editing.  That means things like the actual taking of pictures -- not to mention writing -- have all fallen by the wayside.  As a result, a few weeks ago I felt like my portfolio was woefully outdated and in need of fresh material.  Plus, in January I'd purchased a new strobe and hadn't even used it.

So, I trotted over to Model Mayhem and posted a notice.  Developing a photo portfolio on a budget is a challenge.  Trying to make two hundred dollars look like a thirty thousand dollar campaign isn't easy, and I won't pretend that I come even close.  That said, for this project I felt like I needed to devote the budget to the talent and not the equipment.

I received about a dozen responses, but nothing that I was looking for.  Great guys, I'm sure, but not underwear model material.  Why male underwear models?  Inexpensive wardrobe, no hair or make-up.  So I sent out personal invitations.  I was surprised at the number of models who actually responded and were interested.  That was a good sign.

But, male models tend to be less reliable.  I wanted three models.  In my experience when booking multiple models, about half show up.  It doesn't seem to matter whether there is pay involved or not.  Last year I did a shoot and I wanted six models.  I booked fifteen.  Five showed up on time and the sixth arrived an hour late.  Since I was paying these guys with copies of the photos, I incorporated the sixth into the mix.  I was happy with the shoot.

This time around I was paying.  Not a lot, but I was organized and knew that I could knock the photos out quickly.  I figured my budget could handle five models if all showed up, but planned on three.

I got two on time.  And fortunately they were the two with the strongest portfolios.  We knocked the shots out and I'm very pleased with their work.

Now to be fair, the third did show up.  An hour late.  Since all of the group shots were done, I sent him away. Number four sent me an e-mail at midnight the night before the shoot saying he didn't realize how far he'd have to travel and wouldn't make it.

Number five?  Nothing.

So, in the grand scheme of things, it actually worked out pretty well.  Although I got fewer than half, at least four responded in some way.  Usually half just disappear.  Progress.

Fortunately it seems that professionalism and talent go hand in hand.