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02
Dec

Survival Guide Trailer

Posted by / Filed under Workshops

Here is our first Survival Guide video sneak peek!  This is a glimpse into the workshop weekend, delving into the topics of marketing, branding, what to charge, style, running a business and much more.  We have a year of Survival Guide weekend workshops under our belts now, and I have to admit, I never could have imagined how amazing this adventure would end up being.  Not only is this the content and subject matter I am most passionate about teaching, but the relationships, stories, encouragement, fun, good food, memories, and incredible art we have been able to be a part of has made this so worth it.  I was reflecting on this past year, and how far Survival Guide has come, and I realized that coincidence or not, this has been by far my best year creatively.  No question.  Survival Guide has taught me to push the boundaries and create the work I have been setting aside for far too long.  That was our intention for those who attend, but I never thought about the fact that I needed to hear and experience this as much as anyone else.  Teaching Survival Guide has forced me to grow and learn, and I’m realizing I may have learned more than any of the attendees even!

Survival Guide is heading to Austin, Texas February 19-21, 2016.  Sign up for Survival Guide here, and find out how you, too, can push the boundaries of your art and business.

01
Apr

2013 GPP Shootout

Posted by / Filed under Workshops, BTS

Last month I had the great pleasure of traveling to Dubai to speak and teach at GPP 2013.  It was an incredible experience and I was able to meet some awesome people and photographers.  GPP was an incredibly well planned and exciting week of workshops and seminars by some of the top teachers in the industry.  I tried to pop in on a few different workshops when I had 10 minutes or so to spare, and I learned so much, even in such a short amount of time.

I had many great experiences and interactions on this trip, but perhaps the best part of the whole trip was dinner each night.  Not because the food was incredible (Well, Ravi’s was), but it was the people I sat next to at dinner: David Alan Harvey, Greg Heisler, David Burnett, David Hobby, Zach Arias, Peter Hurley, Joe McNally, and on and on.  Wow.  How fun!  Talk about great conversations and stories.

In addition to being one of the teachers, I was also asked to participate in the shootout on the last night of the week.  The GPP shootout is a fairly new tradition that has caught on like wild fire.  3 photographers competing against each other under less than ideal circumstances.  The rules are explained in the video, but basically you are given an assignment in front of 350 people, and from that moment, you have 20 minutes to think, light, shoot and edit a picture from start to finish.  After all 3 photographers have finished, the crowd votes on who they think won.  My competitors were Zack Arias, and Lindsay Adler.  It was intense, but I have to say, after feeling nervous for about 30 seconds, I really enjoyed it.  Not to mention, I love how my picture turned out!  Now I have Leibovitz and Heisler in my collection.

So what was the assignment?  Create a portrait of one of the greatest portrait photographers of all time, Gregory Heisler.  Fortunately, I had gotten to know Greg over the course of the week, so I knew he was an awesome guy, and that helped a bit.  Before I packed my bags for Dubai, I had anticipated, or at least hoped the assignment  would involve shooting a portrait, or at least photographing a human one way or another.  To be at least somewhat prepared, I brought a few props just in case (turtleneck and wig).  I only needed 2 of them as it turned out, so I’m going to keep the other options a secret for now.

The video above is condensed quite a bit, so there is a lot you aren’t seeing and hearing, but this is a great recap of how it all went down.  Congrats to Zack Arias on winning!  He was talking trash all week, and he backed it up by going for the jugular.  And by that, I mean he put a teabag on my head.  Which I should have been more humiliated by, but I was too shocked at the time to fully know what was going on.

David Hobby (strobist.com) wrote a very flattering blog post about the GPP Shootout from his perspective which is worth a read if you are interested.  He has done the shootout before, so he has a good perspective from all sides of the event.  Thanks David for the kind words, and thank you Mohamed, Hala, and everyone else at GPP for being such wonderful hosts!  I hope you all enjoy watching this, and maybe I’ll see you in Dubai next year.

30
Jun

The Value of a Photographer

Posted by / Filed under News, VIDEOS

Somebody who can light, and show up, and make a portrait is of no value anymore.  It sounds like just another wild statement to grab your attention, but it’s actually true.  I interviewed my incredible rep Maren Levinson of Redeye for our Survival Guide workshop and what she has to say is so powerful, I wanted to share it with everyone.  This is such great advice for artists today.  The industry is changing rapidly, and it is really important to understand what your value is as an artist, and how you fit into the big picture.  I hope you find this exciting and inspirational.  If it strikes a chord with you, and you want to learn more about marketing, strategy and business for artists.  You can check out one of our Survival Guide workshops on our workshop page.  To receive updates on future workshops and opportunities, email nichelle@keatleyphoto.com.

15
May

Reflecting on Why We Do the Survival Guide

Posted by / Filed under News

Hello, blogosphere!  I want to introduce myself to you all.  My name is Nichelle, and I am the newest member of the Keatley team.  I’ve been working at Keatley for the last 8 years in a very limited capacity managing the finances, but about 9 months ago I stepped up my role at Keatley to now include post-production, office management, and workshops.  I have been having a blast getting the chance to be a part of the day to day workings of Keatley, getting to participate in the crazy antics and photoshoots that John and Taylor experience daily.  Oh, and one other pertinent piece of information: I’m John’s wife. 🙂

Being that workshops is a big part of my job, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the first two Survival Guide weekends that have come and gone, and how we have come to where we are.  John, as some of you may know, is a man with many ideas.  Small ideas, big ideas, crazy ideas, fabulous ideas.  But there are a lot of them!  When we first were married, I would ride the roller coaster of emotions, as his mind produced idea after idea.  Until I realized, these are ideas, not necessarily every one of them is going to come to fruition.  I now try to be a supportive listener, and really only heed attention to those ideas that keep resurfacing.  It’s made for a much saner life for me, yet allows him to keep dreaming.  But I am also realizing through the Survival Guide, that sometimes what can start out as a small idea, can grow and flourish when seen through the eyes of other people.  Ideas don’t have to be dreamed by just one person.

Several years back, John et al came up with the idea of a 2-day workshop that focused on marketing the first day, and lighting the second.  It was in response to numerous people wanting to know “How do you do what you do?”  But even from the beginning of that workshop, John realized that doing what he does was more than just taking pictures.  It was and is about creating and understanding business.  That workshop (fondly referred to as the “Un-Workshop”) was successful, and John taught it around the world, in Seattle, Dubai, and the Bahamas.  Despite the great response from that workshop, though, John struggled with generating an excitement for teaching it.  Throughout many conversations, it just became obvious that teaching about lighting and technique was not where his heart was.  He creates images from a place of emotion and feeling, and that is not easily transferred into shutter speed and lighting technique.  The lighting class to him felt dry and boring, something he would be uninterested in attending.  And so the Un-Workshop just settled on the back shelf as his commercial photography business started booming.

About a year and a half after the first Un-Workshop, John received an email from an attendee, describing how the information he learned during the Day One / Marketing class had transformed his career.  He had managed to enter into full-time photography, was working with some large clients, and was feeling confident in how to market his current successes into getting his next job.   One month later, he got a second email with a similar tale.

John and I were driving around one day shortly after receiving those emails, and the idea began to occur to both of us.  No one was writing to say how their careers were dramatically changed by the information they had learned in his lighting class.  But careers were being changed by the information he was most passionate about, something he liked teaching and talking about: business and marketing.  That seemed significant, and something not to just dismiss without a second thought.  We needed to rethink this workshop, and teach to John’s passion for business.  And that’s really how the Survival Guide began.

We’ve now completed our first two weekends here in Seattle, and the support and response from those who have attended has been heart-warming and completely eye-opening.  I’ve heard attendees say there is no other workshop teaching what we are teaching in such a realistic and honest way.  Yet John’s take on this is that a person will never be truly successful if their business is built on secrets, because someone else will figure them out or create something better.  The information discussed at the Survival Guide is raw, pertinent, real, applicable, and very honest.  We have taken the information that we use on a daily basis to bid on jobs, the questions to ask when speaking with a client, our understanding of what it takes to find a space for yourself in the art world, how to build authentic relationships when marketing, and wrapped it up into an intensive 2.5 day course.  Our intent is to build the artistic community a solid foundation, so that we are all being pursued for jobs based on artistic ability and not undercutting one another based solely on the bids.

And so what started as a small idea a few years ago, is now building steam and support.  We are excited.  So very excited for the way this workshop is starting to impact lives and careers.  30 to count so far.  And in July, we are heading to St. Louis.  July 10-12 to be exact, being hosted by the gracious RGG EDU.  We are stoked to meet the city of St. Louis, to see the Gateway Arch, taste the local cuisine, and experience the hospitality of the MidWest.  We hope you will join us, or let us know if you would like to be kept abreast of future locations and dates.

“The workshop met my expectations because I needed help with every step that we covered. John explained everything in depth and took time to answer our questions. I loved all the personal assignments as well as the group assignment, where we had to put in a bid and explain our numbers. The workbook and handouts are awesome! I have confidence that when I am presented with a potential job, I won’t be undercutting the market, or myself, and I won’t look like an amateur. I already know that I will be referencing these materials for years to come.” – Joshua Huston

“John’s workshop answered a lot of my questions -and questions I didn’t know I had, about the business side of commercial photography. He runs you through a job from start to finish. He starts with how to market yourself to the work you want, bidding for the job, running all the way to how to thank your client at the end of a great shoot. He shows you how to be the best photographer and business manager you can be. This isn’t to mention all of the real world insights he slips in.   The information is worth it all by itself, but the relationships you’ll build and the fun you have will simply put the whole experience over the top!” – Cori Keady

“Exceeded (my expectations)!  The most overwhelming side of being a creative is how to be realistic, professional, and run a business.  Hearing and seeing the tools required to be successful is a huge weight off my shoulders.  Can’t wait to put these tools into session.  I would say that it took away the unknown aspects of running a creative business that often paralyzed my growth.  It has made me excited again to be an artist, and one that could make money and be happy.” – Lonnie Webb

A huge thank you to BlackRapid for hosting us in March and April.  Looking forward to future Survival Guide collabs in Seattle!

Photo by Jackie Donnelly

Photo By Jackie Donnelly

Photo by Jackie Donnelly

Photo by Becky Mohrlang

Photo by Anna Rajdl

Photo by Jackie Donnelly

03
Mar

New DEDPXL Digital Download

Posted by / Filed under News, BTS

Wow, this is so exciting!  Introducing our new digital download from DEDPXL and Zack Arias.  Ta Da!  I spent 3 days with the DEDPXL crew last Fall filming this video.  We put together some great shoots ranging from simple portraits to some conceptual work with a set build.  This video series takes you through my personal life, career, failures and triumphs and also takes you on-set, behind-the-scenes to see some of my methods, gear and techniques as well as a full day of shooting.  It could not have turned out any better in my opinion.

This short trailer gives you a good idea of what to expect.  Thanks for taking a look. We have been overwhelmed by the positive response.  Head on over to DEDPXL to download the full video now and enjoy!

Huge thank you to Zack Arias and Bernard Brand for all of their hard work on this.  I am really proud, and happy to be a part of it.

07
Feb

Workshop In The Bahamas

Posted by / Filed under News, Events

What!?  That’s right.  We are taking this show on the road to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas this May 28th through Sunday June 1st.
Can you say lazy river y’all!  I think we are definitely going to be ending each day on the lazy river.  Heck, we may even do a shoot on the lazy river just because we can. It’s going to be amazing. We will be in paradise, taking pictures, relaxing, hanging out with some awesome people and of course learning a ton.

What really makes this so exciting is the unique location. I can’t wait to shoot on location and do some things I have not been able to do at previous workshops. We are definitely going to take advantage of our surroundings.  Take a look…

Above is a video from my workshop in Seattle last February.

Lighting The Keatley Way is going to be a blast.  I am going to do a couple of shoots so you can see how it all comes together.  We will be covering natural and studio lighting.  You will also get a chance to create your own pictures and experience the different lighting modifiers.  I will be sharing everything I have learned throughout the years to help you walk away empowered, excited and confident about moving forward to create work that will match up with your vision. Lighting and production is not as scary as it seems.  Sometimes we just need a little help and nudge in the right direction.

Marketing With The Big Boys is a really important class.  I can’t stress that enough. You can be the best photographer in the world, but without a solid understanding of building your brand and marketing it in the right way, you will never make it.  Marketing is king in business, and admit it or not, if you are a professional photographer, you are a business.  Artists hate to hear that, but it’s true. I majored in Business and have been at this for 13 years.  I am going to share with you everything I know and have learned over my career.  There are no secrets.  Just solid advice and a passion to see others succeed.  I will be covering so many things in this course.  Even things like real world estimates and invoices.  What to charge, self promotion, leverage, building a brand, social media and so much more.  My goal is for you to walk away from this workshop feeling excited about business!  I know, I know, but dream big right.

Find Your Style is a half day class for photographers who are starting out, or asking questions like, ‘How did you get to where you are?’  ‘How did you develop your style?’  ‘How do I find my style?’  Finding your style is more about understanding yourself than anything else.  It all starts with you and what makes you uniquely you.  I will be talking about my journey, and how you can begin or continue in your own successful journey as a photographer, shooting what you love and getting paid in the process.  We may even throw in a fun little shoot too, just to keep things interesting.

Signing up and reserving your spot only requires a 20% deposit, so no need to pay it all at once.  Come alone, bring a friend, bring your partner, bring your whole family!  That’s what I’m doing.  F-Stoppers is putting on quite a show.  There will be an awesome meet and greet, as well as talks on Friday by all 10 photographers who are teaching at the event.  Friday is going to be free, so you can get some great input from many different points of view.  The folks at F-Stoppers have also hooked us up with great rates on rooms starting at $160 a night.  Not to mention flights are pretty dang low right now, depending on where you are traveling from.  Sign up soon.  Spots are limited for each workshop.  Also worth noting, the room discounts will be disappearing 1 month before the event.  Let me know if you have any questions.  I hope to see you in the Bahamas!!!  Let’s do this.  Here is a link to sign up.

12
Nov

The Keatley Un-Workshop

Posted by / Filed under News, Events, Workshops

WHAT!!!?  That’s right.  This is happening.  It is with great pride and excitement we invite you to the first ever Keatley Un-Workshop, taking place in beautiful Seattle, WA.   We know there are a million different workshops out there that you can go to, but true to the Keatley style we have pushed ourselves to create a photographic learning experience un-like anything you’ve ever imagined.  We decided to go all out in every aspect of the Un-Workshop, including set building, tons of gear, gourmet food, an exciting venue, and this amazing limited edition artwork we commissioned Invisible Creature to create for this event.  And that’s just the beginning.  You can find out much more about this on our new Workshop page, but sign up soon because space is limited.  We can’t wait to see you in February!

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