“Weddings and consultations provide the majority of my business’ income. Regarding branding, it takes time to develop. Your brand is the sum of the feelings, values and emotions that consumers’ conjure up in their minds when they think about your company.”
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: In your early years of high school, were you involved in the yearbook? What sparked your interest in photography? Do you recommend all the weekend photographers out there to initially stick with the subjects they know and build from there? Do you have any suggestions on how to build that progression? How did you progress to where you are today in photography?
FRED EGAN: I wasn’t involved in yearbook. In fact, I was too occupied trying to be cool. I thought the yearbook staff was for dorks. Maybe they weren’t after all.
What initially sparked my interest in photography was fashion. As a teen, I not only subscribed to the Abercrombie & Fitch lifestyle but avidly read their A&F Quarterlies that featured Bruce Weber’s black & white lifestyle imagery.
To the weekend photographers I’d recommend to photograph what you like. Ask yourself, “What types of photographs do I gravitate towards?” For me, it was the fun/energetic/carefree images that lifestyle photographers like Bruce Weber were creating. As you shoot more, your voice will find its range. I initially started photographing my two sons (7 & 6) with a point & shoot digital camera. I got to where I am today because I’ve stayed true to myself and made a point to shoot personal projects in order to push my vision for my work. I look at other photographers’ work but I’m not trying to be them.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: Do you still have photos taken from the early years when it all started? What were your subjects? Are the pictures online to share with everyone to compare with your work today?
FRED EGAN: I do still have some photos from the early years; however, the early years weren’t that long ago. Although it’s only been 3 years since I picked up my first real DSLR, my eye has matured. My first subjects were my boys. There’s a bunch of stuff still online dating back to May 2006 on my first blog ( HYPERLINK “http://behindthecamera.squarespace.com/behind-the-camera/month/may-2006” http://behindthecamera.squarespace.com/behind-the-camera/month/may-2006). Feel free to take a look around.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: What books did you read at the beginning of your photography career that helped you prepare for today? Title of book, author and price of book please…just messing around, the title of the books should be fine thanks to google search. Do you recall any other resources that you referred to heavily to help you prepare for the photography business? We want to know what the must have resources are to fully equip ourselves when and if we ever plan to take that leap of faith.
FRED EGAN: I read one book by Nikon (more like a pamphlet). It was free. It came with my camera. I learned how to create a proper exposure after 5 pages. I attended several workshops by other wedding photographers. Everything else came from what I picked up in business school during college.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: What was your very first professional photography job? Was this purely out of luck that you were at the right place at the right time? Was there a hidden plan to penetrate the market from within? Would you recommend it to new photographers trying to break into the market and that are having difficulty breaking in? Once you had your first job under your belt was it difficult to get another gig? What did you do to acquire more work besides providing awesome images? Have you ever considered being agency represented? If you are agency represented how did you attract a photography agent?
FRED EGAN: My very first paid job was photographing a Quinceañera. According to my clients, I failed miserably. When I remembered the type of imagery I wanted to create, I realized why I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. It made sense. They were not my type of client. Soon thereafter I booked a couple of weddings via word of mouth and a couple of wedding photographers threw a couple of small budget weddings my way.
Currently I am building my lifestyle portfolio in order to start shopping for representation.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: After your first job, What was the next photography gig you obtained and how did you go about your execution? Did you apply all that you’ve learned in all the books you’ve read? Did you buy more books or accessed any more resources to help you jump to your next big step in the game of photography? What tools do you recommend that are a must have that helped you get to where you are present day?
FRED EGAN: After the Quinceañera, I booked another portrait session. I shot it outdoors, which was quite a bit more suitable for me. I never bought any more books, but rather scoured the Internet for other photographers’ work who I admired. The single tool I’d say is a must have in getting to where you want to be is a pre-visualization. You have to be able to see yourself where you want to be.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: What keeps the money rolling? Your brand is possibly a huge factor to your longevity? Am i right? Do you have any recommendations on brand building for weekend photographers and/or Photographers in general.
FRED EGAN: Weddings and consultations provide the majority of my business’ income. Regarding branding, it takes time to develop. Your brand is the sum of the feelings, values and emotions that consumers’ conjure up in their minds when they think about your company. That takes time. I do recommend photographers be very selective about what they show. Each photograph you show is added to the visual collective of your brand. Does each photograph you show reinforce or contradict the feelings/emotions/values you want to project?
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: What is currently in your photography bag? Please be as detailed as possible for those starting out photographers that want to be just like you. From your photography equipment arsenal, what do you bring most of the time for your commercial shoots?
FRED EGAN: I tend to keep things simple. I carry two Canon 5D bodies, Canon 20mm lens, Canon 35mm L lens, Canon 50mm L lens, Canon 70-200mm L lens, Sigma 50mm macro lens, 2 Canon 580 flashes…that’s for a wedding. For most of my lifestyle shoots I just carry my primes with me.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: What is your favorite image in your current portfolio and why? How did you approach the execution? Give us a glimpse on how you construct an image from scratch.
FRED EGAN: My favorite wedding image in my current wedding portfolio is this photograph of a flower girl in a tutu. Although you don’t have much control over the events at a wedding, pre-visualization is still an essential key to creating shots. I have variations of shots like this on my Inspiration Wall. I look at them all the time. So when the situation unfolded at this wedding, I reacted. I made sure to get eye level when shooting her while also paying attention to the background of the door. I shot several of her but chose this one because of the innocence portrayed in her face.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: Is having your own studio space essential for any commercial photographer. Do you have a photography studio of your own? If so, what do you look for in a photography studio?
FRED EGAN: Having your own studio space is not essential for every commercial photographer. I currently work out of my residence. The game in the very beginning stages for a location photographer like myself is to keep expenses low. I have no need for a studio…I’m not sure I would know what to do with one.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: What types of commercial gigs are you currently involved in now and how did they surface? What are your recommendations on how we photographers diversify their product offering from Commercial and stock in today’s marketplace?
FRED EGAN: I am currently building and preparing to be commissioned for my first commercial gig.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: What are your immediate goals as a photographer and artist? Are you planning on releasing any how-to books? What are your recommendations to people thinking about starting a photography book?
FRED EGAN: Right now, I’m focusing on honing in on my ideal wedding client. I still love weddings…they just need to be the right clients. I also want to be consistently publishing 8 weddings a year and be recognized as one of the Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the U.S. within the next five years.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: A lot of professional photographers are starting to run workshops. Will you start offering workshops in the future? I know TIME is not your friend, but there are ways to get around that maybe offering internship opportunities to intern with you for a small fee during one of your paid shoots. Or maybe provide an opportunity to be a spectator for one of your weekend shoots?
FRED EGAN: I offer limited consultations at the moment in select cities I travel to for my work. Announcements for these consultations are on my blog (fredegan.com/blog) and twitter (twitter.com/fredegan).
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: I am sure you’ve read many articles discussing how in the future videography and photography will be one? What are your thoughts on that and how will you evolve to the new morphed medium?
FRED EGAN: I think the fusion of the two is inevitable. Just recently, Esquire extracted their cover image from their RED ONE footage they shot their short feature with. At the moment RED ONE cameras are so expensive that it doesn’t work on all economies of scale. But for the larger productions that are looking to do moving picture and stills, it works. For example, movie still(s) photographers will lose their jobs once studios start using RED ONE cameras.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: Ok so thinking about the future and how it is very important in any endeavor especially the photography business. What do you suggest photographers do in the future to solidify their presence in the industry? What will you do to ensure that you remain on top, not taking into account your photography niche?
FRED EGAN: Educate yourself on what you want. And then make decisions. Once you decide on what you want, you can move forward with a clear and concise plan. Write down your goals and look at them everyday. By simply writing down your goals, the likelihood of them being realized increase exponentially. Focus on accomplishing your goals, be the best at doing what you do and being at the top will be a natural by product of those behaviours.
LAWRENCEATIENZA.COM: Thank you again for your time and giving back. What would you like to leave for us photographers to think about when moving forward with photography for the future? If you have any words of wisdom will be appreciated.
FRED EGAN: Pre-visualize your shots. The idea of walking around & scouting the elements of a shot is key. You have to make a picture in this biz. Rarely do you just stumble upon it.