One of the things I love most about being a photographer is having the opportunity to showcase someone at their best. There is a distinct satisfaction I gain from revealing to someone a photo of themselves and hearing them say, “Oh! That’s awesome!” It’s not always with language that strong, but it’s the notion that hits home for me.
As a photographer living in a heavily populated city like Phoenix, I’m surrounded by so many creative individuals who are in the same market. We are all attempting to gobble up some of that market share in order to put food on the table. I make my living doing this, so I have to be very smart and very careful with how I operate and what sort of losses I take on in a project.
On the flip side, I’m a big advocate in not commodifying every damn thing in existence, and simply allowing “things” to exist as they are, often with no monetary benefit resulting from them. Being a part of society comes with an unspoken contract that includes the idea of giving back. I’m not rich, and what little money I do have I’m very reluctant to part with. However, I can give back with more than just money.
That’s why I’m starting a new project: Free Portrait Friday.
Every Friday¹ I’ll be setting up shop somewhere in downtown Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, et al., and offering one free portrait for anyone who is in the area. Some days the setup might be elaborate, while other days it might be bare bones. We might try a formal pose or go with a street style like the image above. I make no promises and that should be A-ok with you because you’re giving me zero dollars. My goal is merely to provide you with an image of yourself that makes you go, “Hot damn, I look good!” I would even settle for, “Sure."
I’m not always going to announce where I’ll be until right before arriving. This means you won’t be able to plan much for your portrait, and that’s what I like about it. I’m aiming for natural and spontaneous, because that seems to be what I capture best.² I anticipate mostly taking portraits of people who happen to be walking by, but my hope is friends come out if they are able. Time at each location will differ depending on various factors³, and I could be there for an hour or five. Who knows! TIME IS MERELY A CONSTRUCT!
What do you get out of this? You get (at least) one portrait of yourself (or the group you’re with) in a natural setting that you can use however you’d like, as long as it’s not for commercial purposes. In return, I will be able to use that photo in my portfolio or share it to my various social media empires.⁴
The best way to keep up with announcements of what time and where I'll be shooting is to follow me on Instagram. I’ll try to update to my Facebook page as often as possible, but to be frank, I pay such little attention to that platform it likely won’t be consistent. Don’t text or call me. You will be chastised.
¹ Or most Fridays
² Anyone who has done a shoot with me knows I’m terrible at giving posing directions, though I am getting better.
³ Mostly my mood that day
⁴ Currently reaching a diverse group of less than a 1,000 people, so get at me Big Brands.