I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks when I’m driving, but this day I decided I didn’t want to listen, I wanted to create. So I jumped over my barriers and just hit the record button and started talking. I made an episode before this a while back but it requires editing because there are a bunch of cuts - that’s why this one is made it up first. Fewer barriers to entry. I uploaded it straight from my phone to youtube. I almost added music, but it was a distraction. So here it is, pure and simple. If you want to start a vlog, here are the steps:
- Hit Record
- Hit Publish
Driving Vlog, Episode, I dunno, Two! I made one a while back but I never posted it. Maybe I’ll post it before this one. We’ll see.
I’m out shooting apartments for Nooklyn today. You know, i could tell myself:
“I’m too good to be shooting apartments because I shoot luxury architecture”
But really it’s still fun. I still get to run around town and be outside. It’s just a few minutes in each place, some really quick easy pictures. I’m shooting handheld with my tilt-shift, which is pretty fun and challenging. It keeps me on my toes because it’s not easy. Doing that helps me to develop my skills as a photographer. It helps with composition and learning the ins and outs of the lens, like how distortion is introduced when using the tilt and shift features, as well as developing an intuition for leading lines in the composition. With this, what’s nice is that I get a bunch of rapid fire experience with shooting rooms. This is still what I do even when i’m shooting high end properties and the camera is on a tripod and I’m using lighting equipment. The ideas of composition are still the same. We learn by doing. So going out and shooting tons and tons of places helps to improve my skills.
So my tip is to always keeps shooting and always be open to trying new things. You never know it all and you’ll never be perfect at it. Always approach it with the excitement of a beginner. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.
I’m sorry about my shirt being so bright in the video. I’m not going to color correct it, because I’m shooting on my iPhone while driving and I’m intentionally keeping it incredibly simple. I make videos all the time that require editing and color correction, and then they NEVER get done. So I have to lower the barrier.
That’s what’s fun about the apartments, actually. I don’t spend 4 hours editing a single image like I often do with architecture. It’s usually just minutes, and sometimes even seconds. And then on to the next one. It’s fun to make really quick stuff. I enjoy it. I may not do it forever, but I’m doing it for now.
My heroes in the business sector like Seanwes and GaryVee (notice anything similar about their handles?) constantly say “Document over create” and this is the same thing. Recording this video and being okay with it just as it is, that’s documentation. I don’t get caught up in all the requirements of high quality created content. It’s just:
“Hey, here’s what I’m doing today and I’m talking to you about it!”
I’m in Prospect Lefferts Garden now, going to shoot a place on Clarkson. I’ve shot 6 or 7 buildings today, each with 1-6 units in them. Most of them are just vacant apartments, there’s nothing special about them. But they’re fairly good in build quality. They’re probably in the $2000-$4000+ price range.
I enjoy shooting the showrooms the most, because the furniture and that makes them more engaging both to shoot in and to look at. But even in an empty room, there are still lines to use to enhance the composition and lead the viewer’s eye. So there’s still much to learn even when shooting an empty room.
I had coffee today, as you might have noticed by my talking fast, by the way. It was a great cup of cold brew at Little Roy. I mention this place in a later video, but here are some pics of it anyway. No coffee pic, sorry.
Another thing that I really enjoy about doing this is being outside and free to enjoy and explore the town. I’m bouncing around, an hour at this place, 30 minutes there, 30 minutes at another spot - this gives me a lot of time to travel around between each of these mini-projects to explore the city. I can pop into a new coffee shop to see what it’s like, or a smoothie joint for something healthy and refreshing. I really love this, I love exploring the city and experiencing all it has to offer. Going to these apartments often takes me to sections of neighborhoods I might not visit otherwise. If I’m just sitting at home editing photos on my computer, I’m not doing any of that. And if I went to be a laptop warrior at a coffee shop, I would end up staying at that one spot all day long, rather than bouncing around this much.
You see, I love variety. It’s good for me to go out and explore tons of different places. This style of work allows me to do that by having a little work here and a little work there. What’s really nice is that we’ve gotten a system down with Nooklyn where I don’t have to worry about pricing out every shoot before I do it. Most of these places are pretty standard and we worked on a per-shoot price list. So long as the place isn’t extra special and deserves more attention to detail and more in depth photography, we can just stick to that system and I can breeze through these places, and I know I’m going to get paid. The same day. It’s a really nice feeling for it not to be ambiguous. It’s so satisfying to know it’s certain. I shoot an apartment, I get paid. I buy a coffee. Rinse and repeat.
Compare this to my being a real estate agent some years back. Advertise like crazy. Talk to too many people. Take half out on showings. Maybe rent one place. Maybe. I know this isn’t everyone’s experience with real estate and some folks are totally killing it. But I never found the love for it, and I certainly don’t love that style of “do tons of work and hope that it all works out in the end.” It’s different with the ambient work I do for my photography business - I always have something to show for the work I’ve done. If I spend time producing photos for my portfolio, I have a new and better portfolio. If I shoot videos or post a lot on Instagram or Facebook, I have that many more things that I made and am proud of out there on the internet. So it feels good at the end of the day no matter what. But I’m sure some folks find the same love in doing their real estate advertising. It just wasn’t for me the way this is. And I’m happy I am here now and not there.
Another contrast is with really large photography projects. Lately it seems to be that when things get above around $2000/day threshold, they start to get pretty complex. For those I collect 50% up front, and the remaining balance when we wrap up at the end of the shoot or shortly after. Once the funds are paid in full, the finished photos are delivered and the usage license conveyed. It’s not like this on every single shoot of course, at least not yet. I shot a food project last week that was organized by a producer and not by me. He did Net 30. So, it happens sometimes. But, that's on me because I didn't say anything. Always take responsibility.
It’s because of this that the simple system of shooting apartments can sometimes be satisfying - it’s just so simple I don’t have to think about it. Wanna make $1000 today and have fun tooling around town and recording Vlogs the whole time? No problem, just hop to it.
Fun facts on that food shoot. It was for an event and meeting space company with a catering arm called Convene. Good name, right? Their tagline is "All inclusive premiere meeting & conference rooms." It was organized by my friend Hal, a photographer I met when we were both shooting the same event for different clients - the North 2014 Nordic Food Festival. I wonder if I have those photos up somewhere.
Here, I found two blog posts on Honest Cooking that feature my photos. Honest Cooking put on the North Nordic Food Festival, probably simply because Kalle is Swedish and missed home. J/k. But really.
Haha, the links on these article go to my tumblr, which predate nsdoyle.com. I wonder if I should have them change it, or just let people go to tumblr and then on down the rabbit hole. I’ll see if I can link tumblr to my website. I probably will have them change it, because I believe our dear and glorious leader google likes for there to be external links to my website If you’re well versed in SEO, back me up on this. I hear they like written content to, so that’s why I’m not uploading this video all by its lonesome. By the way, big props if you’ve ready this far. I’m so proud. Shoot me a high five in the comments if you make it all the way to the end.
( I would insert a photo of folks giving a high five, but I don't think I have one. Not quite my style.)
Let’s get back on track. I met Hal Horowitz at North '14. I then saw him again at the Dinner en Blanc, this time I was shooting for Great Performances, by way of my friend Kat, whom I met at a Backyard BBQ (Thanks for the hook up Johnny Stoops. I owe you dinner). I’m pretty sure we ran into each other while shooting the same events more than that, but those are the two that really stick out.
When Hal’s friend German, the executive chef at Convene told Hal they needed photos of the Fall and Winter menu items, Hal know just the guy to call.
RUDELY INTERRUPTED BY A TELEMARKETER AND I’M STILL SOUR ABOUT IT.
Hal, I was so pumped to see you at Dinner en Blanc, by the way. I was getting really bored with it and I had already made up my mind that this was the last event I would ever shoot. It was so exciting to see a familiar face there. Still lights me up. Lemme see if I can round up that photo of you I took there. Here we go.
You know, I believe I can honestly trace my wearing all white back to this very event. I don’t remember how much they paid me for this, but I’m pretty sure I spent the entire amount on my outfit. I’d been wanting to get some silk clothing for a long time, so I bought some white silk pants and a white silk shirt from Tommy Bahama. I then googled Rockport to see if they had any nice white loafers, which is how I discovered:
My favoritest shoe since my Rockport ‘Business Runner’ ground pounders.
Rockport TruWalk Zero Wingtip in dark brown and bonkers-ass orange.
Pretty bummed that both of these are out of production. Although I am currently rocking my second pair of Venetians, I wore my first ones into a pretty sorry state, and the TruWalks I wore right through to the ground. Literally. Speaking of wearing out clothes, those Tommy Bahama pants I bought in July 2015 had their final day today, August 25th, 2017. So they made it just over two years until I strained them too hard doing photo crunches in the second to last apartment I shot today. I should have worn a belt so they weren’t sagging, but oh well. I’m not so good about keeping clothing in peak shape for a long period of time. I’m more in the “have 5 pieces and wear them until they’re totally decimated” school of thought. Can’t say it’s the best approach, but it’s just what I do.
But I have been needing some more walking shoes. I’ll ruin these Venetians if I keep this up, so I tend to wear my trail runners when I’m out shooting these apartments. They do they job, but I want something new. Maybe Rockport’s latest truwalks? We’ll see.
I saw a guy in Father Knows Best wearing these badboys Cole Hann’s ZEROGRAND and oh man do I want some. But that’s not really going to solve my “shoes I can walk 20k steps a day in and not obliterate both them and my feet” issue here. I remember hunting for those shoes a few hours before the Dinner en Blanc. Do you know how hard it is to buy solid white loafers in a physical store at the end of July? Ain’t easy. I probably hit 4-5 places before landing in the mega Macy’s on 34th, where I bought the only pair they had, the display pair, which though some stroke of magic were the right size.
Wait, shoes, what?
It’s 4am and I’m still writing, so if you were wondering where all these bizarre tangents are coming from, there’s your answer. I really thought I was just going to publish this video with the content I’d already written and a text saying “and I stopped here so I could produce more videos’, but there’s a time when you can’t or shouldn’t produce more videos, and that’s when you and everyone in your house is supposed to be asleep. But I can write all I want, so maybe I’ll start writing late at night when I’ve still got tons of fuel for creation but can’t make noise. The gentle clickity clack of my laptop keyboard isn’t going to hurt anybody, right?
But all of this could be its own post, so let’s get back on track, shall we?
North 2014 was my very first paid food shoot, as far as I can recall. If I’m wrong and you happen you know of a previous one, please chime in. I don’t have the most solid memory. That’s why I’m trying to write, blog, and vlog so much more. Need to make up for the shoddy memory and get the stuff down on paper.
Thanks for reading! 6:48am. Hope you got a kick out of all of this. Let me know in the comments.