All posts by Mark Wallace

Mark is a traveler, photographer, and writer.

Deserted Freeway

In this episode, Mark shows you how to shoot photos of busy places like freeways, but make it look completely deserted! This technique involves a 9-stop neutral density filter, and can be used to shoot “deserted” museums, streets, tourist attractions and more!

Gear used in this video

Daily Cost of Doing Business

Your Financial Lifestyle Matters

Recently I made a video about determining rates for clients. The “How Much Should I Charge” video has spawned a few questions from viewers. So to clear up some confusion I’m posting this response. Specifically I’m referring to a conversation I had on twitter with @noahkrueger@SmudgedPhoto, and @PicSeshu. Let’s dive in to the questions:

Why should your personal bills affect what a client pays? A large morgage doesn’t justify large fees?

I find it hard to believe anyone would pay more for a photographer simply because s/he has a family.

These question stem directly from the discussion of determining your DCODB (Daily Cost Of Doing Business). In that portion of the video I was specifically talking about how much it costs a photographer to be in business. Part of the process is to add up all of your costs; insurance, mortgage, travel, photo gear, etc. I made the point of saying that the DCODB is not the same for every photographer. I think that’s where the confusion began.

If you are a single person who has to pay for your health insurance, dental insurance and other costs than you have to earn more than a person who has those costs paid for by a spouse. Therefore your DCODB is different and you’ll need to earn more (or less) money to earn a profit. These are strictly costs. Rates are a different beast.

Rates are determined with this simple formula: DCODB + shoot costs + markup = rate.

If a person has a high DCODB and this causes their rate to be sky high, and is therefore not competitive, that doesn’t mean they will be able to charge that rate successfully. It means that their costs are too high and they need to work on ways of lowering their DCODB.

Let’s say a highly successful Wall Street trader who enjoys an annual salary of $2,000,000 decides she wants to give up the rat race and become a wedding photographer. Let’s also pretend that this Wall Street guru has a monthly mortgage of $30,000 and a car payment of $800, etc. Unless that person makes some drastic lifestyle changes her DCODB is going to be incredibly high due to her salary requirements. It also means that the rate she’d have to charge to meet that requirement will be overpriced for the market. She won’t get any jobs and her business will fail.

Let’s try a different scenario. Perhaps there is a local photographer who is a recent college graduate. This guy is very talented, has no car payment, a low rent and his insurance bills are tiny. His DCODB is very low and he’ll be able to charge rates that are lower than his competitors because his salary requirement is much lower.

Why do bills affect what a client pays? Because your bills determine your salary requirement. They are connected. The moral of the story; stay out of debt, live within your means, save your pennies.

Will someone pay more for a person who has a family? No, the client doesn’t usually care. But being part of a family can increase what you need to earn or save you some money depending on specific scenarios. If your spouse is covering your health insurance and retirement needs then your DCODB is less. If you are the sole bread winner in your family you’re DCODB is probably higher.

Your financial lifestyle does effect your rates, for better or worse.

Follow me on twitter: @jmarkwallace


creativeLIVE: Anatomy of a Photoshoot

Join us for a LIVE ONLINE workshop with Mark Wallace as he dissects a commercial photoshoot to reveal each step at its most basic level. From technical aspects of lighting and color, to real-world experiences working with art directors, make-up artists, models, and other professionals, you’ll have a firsthand look as he puts each piece together to complete several complete concepts from start to finish.

This unique course explores the fundamentals of commercial photography, from the smallest jobs to the biggest productions.

$150 for all there days. Includes PDF downloads of workflow templates, a working Celtx project and Mark’s Creative Process mind map.

Click here to purchase from creativeLIVE (this will take you to the creativeLIVE website).

Course Overview

Session 1 (recorded live August 26, 2011)

Welcome Opening Banter for Day 1
9:00 am Introduction
9:15 am Direction of Light: Setting the mood
9:30 am Metering
10:15 am Understanding Dynamic Range
10:30 am Understanding Histograms
11:00 am Effective Size: Hard vs Soft light
11:15 am Understanding the Inverse Square Law
11:30 am Light Modifiers and the shape of light
BONUS Lunchtime Q&A with Mark
1:00 pm Controlling Light with Grids
1:30 pm Watt Seconds and other important things
1:45 pm Color Theory part 1
2:00 pm Color Theory part 2
PDF Handout Color Theory
2:30 pm Calibrating your monitor and printer
3:00 pm Mark’s Lightroom Workflow
PDF Handout Lightroom Workflow
3:30 pm Wrap Up and Q&A

Session 2 (recorded live August 27, 2011)

Welcome Opening Banter for Day 2
9:00 am Introduction
9:15 am Exercise: Purpose Worksheet
PDF Handout Purpose Worksheet
9:30 am Failing with Purpose
10:00 am Example: Prep Shoot for Testing
11:00 am How Much Should I Charge?
PDF Handout creativeLIVE Workflow Example
1:00 pm Creativity: from Idea to Product
1:45 pm Sharing your Ideas: Creating the Plan
Celtx Project creativeLIVE Plan (download)
2:00 pm Working with a Team (Snapfactory Q&A)
2:30 pm Working with Models
PDF Handout Model Release Form
BONUS From the Model’s point of view
3:00 pm Commercial Shoot Workflow
PDF Handout Commercial Shoot Workflow
3:15 pm Q&A
3:30 pm The Studio Environment Setup
3:45 pm Wrap Up and Q&A

Session 3 (recorded live August 28, 2011)

Welcome Opening Banter for Day 3
9:00 am Planning the LIVE shoot
9:30 am Dialing in the Lighting
10:00 am Q&A
10:15 am Quick Test Shot
10:45 am Photoshoot: Foil Dress with Carly
11:30 am Lightroom Workflow
12:00 pm Q&A
12:45 pm Preparing for the Second Shoot
1:00 pm Photoshoot: Deep V Dress with Michelle
1:45 pm Photoshoot: Closeup with Michelle
2:00 pm Photoshoot: Tether Tools Table
creativeLIVE Credits and Thanks
Snapfactory Thank you
Bonus Tether Tools Proof of Concept
2:45 pm Mark’s Closing Thoughts

Click here to purchase from creativeLIVE (this will take you to the creativeLIVE website).

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