Archive for May, 2010

May 2010

Posted: 05/31/2010 in Webpost

FYI – Repost: Since starting this weblog, I have received hundreds of emails and phone calls from photography students (and other commercial photographers) requesting advice on furthering their careers in commercial photography. The first and probably the best advice I received while attending photo school was to break-up or get divorced (you’ll have no time for a relationship), spend every penny you have on promoting your business (you’ll have no time for recreation) and prepare to work 60+ hours a week for the rest of your life (not many commercial photographers work 9-5 or retire at 65). I am divorced; I would own a home if it wasn’t for my fluctuating income and expenses; I dedicate about 65+ hours a week to my business. My advice? Find a very understanding spouse and take at least three vacations a year! Posted below are quotes from experienced commercial photographers.
P.S. Move out of Denver before you establish roots and a client base.
-It’s a Business. Photographers will always be needed. When advertising b udgets are low or we hit a recession and everybody gets panicky, rates will begin to drop down below where they should. It ruins it for everybody else. It’s our responsibility to keep an established rate. I think the music industry is a perfect example of that. It is definitely hurting, but the amount of money it has come down to it really insulting, especially for buy-outs. It’s ultimately about you as a person. The work needs to be there but, like one of my professors told me, it’s 80-20, it’s 20 percent your work and 80 percent you—your business skills, your personal skills, how you sell yourself, and how you market yourself.

-F. Scott Schafer

-The Realities of Business. Insurance: general liability & equipment. Equipment and Supplies (see Brad Trents post). Taxes: (38% of your income on average in the US). County&City taxes and fees. Studio and/or office rent (if you have one). That’s just to keep the doors open, let alone pay yourself and save for food, kids college, and fun. So with that said, the concept is to put value to your business and what it means to you. If you want to give it away you have that right (you must be a trust-fund kid). (Unless you conduct) your business with professionalism, known industry business practices, and with a sense of value, you will not succeed in this profession.

-Jake Burkholder

-Digital Vs. Film. We must realize that our digital equipment is expensive and has a short lifespan in terms of being current and competitive. A basic digital set of two professional DSLRs, several lenses, dedicated flashes, laptop, card reader, memory cards, desktop computer, software, monitor, printer, and CD/DVD burner, will cost approximately $20,000 to $60,000. That equipment, in order to remain technically current and keep you competitive, will need to be replaced every 3-5 years, some much sooner. Comparatively, a basic film system for editorial work would likely cost under $20,000 and would likely remain current and functional for 10 years or longer.

-Brad Trent

-Gimmicks & Actions. “This is what happens when you take your bride and groom into an alley and make them wear sunglasses and jump in the air. Barf….Same thing with Photoshop actions…..For your silly look-like-everybody fake punchy Photoshop filter, the simple-minded client will find the cheapest person who looks like you do.”

-Gary Fong

-Real World Advice. First, “surround yourself with the best in the business.” Most renowned photographers readily admit that they could not create images without their highly skilled production crew. Second, “never present an image that you can not recreate tomorrow under the worst circumstances.” Most photographers are hired based on one image or a series of images presented on their website or in their portfolio. You’ll be asked to recreate something similar to those image for other clients many times under the worst circumstance, financial or circumstantial. It occurs all the time! “Can you create an image like that for us tomorrow at 1pm?” “But that image was taken at sunrise.” “Our subject is not available at sunrise.” “And could you do it for $1,000?””But the image you admire cost $2,000 just to produce.” “Can you still do it?” Honestly, this happens all the time. And Third, educate..educate..educate your clients.

-Don Cudney

Photo Submissions – I decided not to enter the Art Directors Club of Denver’s 2010 Annual Show and I am already having second thoughts. There are a couple good reasons why I didn’t submit images this year, mostly apathy and lack of marketing funds, but the lack of a structured Photography category had been a concern since 2009’s fiasco (all images were lumped into one Photography category, after submission). A special thank you to James Pelz, ADCD Chairman and Creative Director at Integer, after a 30 minute cell phone conversation it sounds like “things” could change next year ….. or this year ….. only  time will tell. Credits: Tom Visocchi (AD), Josh Barker (AD), Nick Heckman (AD), Stacey Pittman (PE), Dana Friedman (CD)

A thousand dollars worth of ADCD submissions?

My Two Cents – There is nothing I dislike more as a professional photographer than capturing a profitable image with a piece-of-shit camera.“The best camera is NOT the one that’s with you.” The best camera is the most appropriate camera and in profitable photography that usually implies the highest resolution camera. (at least a 30 MB file.) Photo Rep to Disappointed Photographer – “you know you can do this in Photoshop?”

Hipstamatic iPhone App. –  2 inches by 2 inches at 300 dpi.

Behind the Scenes – Created pre-publicity images for SHOOT! A Colorado Photographer’s Reality,  a new reality show scheduled to be taped entirely within the state of Colorado. Andrew Clark of Andrew Clark Photography, Kristy Wingfield of Graphik Creative and Don Cudney of DON CUDNEY PHOTO, Judges. Photograph by Michael Martin.

The Bad? …  the Good? … the Ugly?

Assignment – In the early 1980s, Colorado State University’s PI KAPPA ALPHA began producing an annual calendar featuring the Pike Dreamgirls. Many of the larger Pi Kappa Alpha chapters across the Country loved the idea and began producing their own. Many chapters, including Epsilon Theta now donate proceeds of the calendar to local charities. Photographed Alley M., Sasha B., Melissa C., Erin A., Amber S., Adisson A., Sharayah J., Kiki K., Jenna M., Ashley T., Jade P., Sasha R., and two other beautiful young ladies for the CSU-PI KAPPA ALPHA DreamGirls 2010 annual calendar. Greg Harmon & Mario Latona, Chapter Chairs. *Final images will be posted after publication.

The Crew – Pike Cir – Laugh Now

Assignment – “Lakewood, CO.  7th Congressional District Assembly delegates honored Lang Sias with a strong 43% of the vote, placing his name on the August 10 Republican primary election ballot. Sias was gratified and energized by the outcome.” – langsias.com. Created high definition, broadcast quality video of Lang Sias during the 7th Congressional District Assembly for future campaign commercials and promotional materials. Commercial will be posted after completion.

Video Stills

Assisting – Helped my friend and colleague Susan Goddard create images of the First Data FD 200Ti3 a single source payment solution. Ariel _, Hand Model, Maximum Talent.

iPhone Captures

Location Scout – Performed a location scout for an upcoming University of Colorado Hospital assignment involving Pete Coors, Chairman of the Molson Coors Brewing Company. BTS images and video will be posted after assignment.

12401 East Seventeenth Avenue, Aurora, CO 80046

Just For Fun – For years, whenever I felt creative, whenever I needed fresh work for my portfolio or whenever business was slow, I would drive down to the local thrift store, purchase a $1.00 item, race back to the studio, photograph, develop and print the resulting image. I bought the martini glass, then realized I had nothing interesting to “style” the image so I decided to capture the glass as a time-lapse video instead.
High Definition-version on YouTube.


Assignment – Created images at Ruby Hill Park in Denver for my friend Cindy’s annual family portrait. *Final images will not be posted after post production.

Behind the Scenes – I keep finding these Behind the Scenes images taken while on assignment for various clients. Venus, Oak Express, Cruel Girl and Conspiracy.

Swimwear in Florida – Christmas at Furniture Row studios

Cruel Girl for Factory Labs – Denver Skatepark for Conspiracy Skateboards

News – I have been invited to participate as one of three judges on SHOOT! A Colorado Photographer’s Reality,  a new reality show scheduled to be taped entirely within the state of Colorado.  Taping will begin during the summer of 2010, and broadcast of the first program will premier on Colorado Public Television (channel 12 KBDI) this fall. Simon Cowell eat your heart out! Bradley Wicks, Executive Producer.Chad Bardon, Producer. Adiamond Baker, CoProducer & Host.

Update – I am pleased to announce a wonderful new update to DONCUDNEYPHOTO.COM that brings the clean design of my liveBooks site to Apple’s range of mobile devices (the iPhone & iPad). This update supports finger swipe, rotation and bookmarks, as well as allowing me the choice of theme, background/homepage color and home screen icon. Now my mobile site will look and behave like what we have come to understand as “the iPhone experience”.

Note To Self – Update your website already. It’s been over a year and a half now!

DONCUDNEYPHOTO.COM circa. 2000 – created by SerffCreativeGroup

Assisting – Helped my studio partner, Susan Goddard photograph eighteen executive portraits on location at ISEC, Inc. located in the Denver Tech Center.

BTS iPhone image

Assignment – Created images of Omar Cummings, Matt Pickens and Drew Moor of the Colorado Rapids for upcoming issues of Mile High Sports Magazine. Doug Ottewill, Editor/Producer. Nick Heckman, Art Director. Kieran Cain, Colorado Rapids. Jung Park, Metroboom (Clothing). Lori Greene, American Crew (Hair Product).
*Final layouts will be posted after publication.


Friend & colleague, Jim Yost, “stands-in.”

Assignment – Photographed seven beautiful young ladies for a Van Gilder Insurance Corporation print and web advertisement. Kellen Hills, Director Of Creative Marketing.

Assignment – Created images of Michael Doyle the President and CEO of Brand Iron. A special thank you to Patches for her patience. Kaitlyn Anderson, Marketing Trailblazer. *Final images will be posted after post production.

Assignment/Tearsheet – Photographed Julien Baudet of the Colorado Rapids for the May 2010 issue of Mile High Sports Magazine. Doug Ottewill, Editor/Producer. Nick Heckman, Art Director. Kieran Cain, Colorado Rapids. Jung Park, Metroboom (Clothing). Lori Greene, American Crew (Hair Product).*Behind the Scenes video posted on YouTube.

DCP History – I was searching through some old scrap books and found images from my first full-time photography gig, Sharpshooter Resort Photography. Yup, I was a Sharpshooter at Vail Mountain, Colorado for 60+ hours a week during the 1994/95 and 1995/96 season. My studio was the top of Lift #4 and I enjoyed a view of the Mount of the Holy Cross & the Gore Range (when it wasn’t snowing). I suggest every high school or college graduate take one or two winter seasons and work at a ski resort; two of the best years of my life! Highlights: Meeting and photographing Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn and their children, telling Sigourney Weaver “you’re a bitch,” chasing Princess Diana around the Back Bowls trying to earn $100,000+, assisting on two Warren Miller films, an advertising assignment for Cox Cable (Skiing with ?), $2,500 print orders (really, people bought prints back then), the list goes on. Way too much fun!

My Studio – Rich Women in $3,000 Ski Outfits – Those Were The Days

DCP History – More images from the early days; images that were created long before I decided to become a Professional Photographer and persue the life of a starving artist. 1985. My first Photo Contest submission. Received 1st place/Pets.1986. My first newspaper submission. 1987. My first darkroom print. Yes, that is a solarized print. 1988. My first color film study. 1989. My first image created using professional strobes. Hasn’t every photographer photographed a Absolut bottle?

Assignment – Photographed American Vice President Joseph Biden for UQM Technologies. VP Biden along with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Colorado Representative Betsy Markey spoke to a group of over 800 attendees at UQM’s new Longmont, Colorado facility. I hadn’t dealt with the Secret Service before; I heard rumors that they like to make photographers “jump through hoops.” The event went well, but I was forced to reschedule an afternoon photo shoot with Brand Iron because the Secret Service would not let the PRESS leave for more than 90 minutes while Biden shook hands. “No one leaves until the VP has left.” A special thank you to Alescia M. Teel, White House Press. Image Gallery posted here.


Assignment – Photographed Heather Doty of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation for the May 2010 issue of ColoradoBIZ Magazine. Chelsea Palmer, Art Director/COBIZ. Roz Brown, Media Relations Manager/Ball Aerospace. *Visit 04/2010 post for BTS image.

Assisting – Assisted my friend and colleague Jim Yost while he created images of Mark VII Technologies new TurboJet XT carwash. *A special thank you to Pat at LSI.

grayscale plate + pre-clipping path image

Assisting – Helped Jim Yost cover the National Reusable Energy Laboratories 2010 Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer Awards Luncheon at the Denver Marriott West. I’ve assisted Jim on this job for the past 8 years and never tire of listening to a room full of extremely intelligent people discussing and awarding each other accolades for Intellectual Property. No, seriously. These folks Get It ! Intellectual Property is VALUABLE and worthy of awards and financial reimbursement. Our government accountants, of all people, understand Intellectual Property; why don’t the majority of today’s photographers? “Receiving the award for Thermal Tolerant Avicelase from Acidothermus Cellulolyticus … “

Marriott Salad by iPhone

Archive – Photographed the band Blues Traveler for Iguana Records at Madison Square Gardens in New York City on New Years Eve 1996. At the time I was  traveling and working on the HORDE Tour creating images of Dave Matthews Band, Lenny Kravitz, Sonic Youth and many more great bands and musicians. *Live performance images and formal portraits will be posted … after I scan them.

All Access & Photo Passes – John Popper performing at Madison Square Garden