CAPTURE THE IMAGINATION
I tend to focus on lifestyle photos. Most of the clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with, want their images to capture the imagination of potential customers. We want those customers to see the image and think, “That’s me, I can picture myself using that product.”
INCREDIBLE FREEDOM AND EXCITEMENT
I grew up always wanting to tell stories and share them with the world. And now, at 23 years old, I’ve built up a business that allows me to support myself and pursue my life’s passion.
I’ve only ever held one nine-to-five job, and that was at a company called Bullseye Camera Systems. My step-father invented and started the company and hired me on as the video production manager. This job was highly influential to my understanding of video and photography, as I was able to utilize a budget to practice, learn, and create photography and video content that helped grow a business.
Once Bullseye was sold, I knew I could never hold a regular job again. I’d seen the incredible freedom and excitement being a business owner generated, so in December of 2017, I started Big Crowd Productions.
For the first year, I struggled to land gigs. I had no real plan of action and University took up a considerable amount of my time. I finally landed a big contracting job with a company that needed talented videographers and photographers. We traveled the United States working with big-name brands in the outdoor industry at a record-breaking pace. After a year of this, I had to take a step back and focus on my own clients. However, the experience and wisdom I gained from that opportunity will never be forsaken, it helped to build my confidence as a business owner and a videographer/photographer.
Now in the year 2020, I’ve been focusing on my craft more than ever before. Lighting and story-telling are my two weakest areas, so those are the two that I will make my strengths no matter what. As for business, it’s booming. I’ve gathered a strong line-up of clients and I’m booked for the foreseeable future.
As for the future, I’ll be married in June of 2020 to a beautiful girl who has supported me through all the trials and tribulations of this journey. I’ll be forever grateful for her. After the big day, I’ll get back to growing my company and securing even deeper relationships with my current clients and ones yet to be known.
A DUMB KID WITH A CAMERA
I had no one to help me in my early years as a dumb kid with a camera, so I always like to share tips to help those kids who are in the same boat I was.
Thankfully I grew up with YouTube, so I was able to get by without a physical mentor. My mentors were Ryan Connolly from Film Riot, Sam and Niko from Corridor Digital, and countless other YouTube channels. I would say to anyone starting out, immerse yourself in free online content. I consumed countless hours of free content from bright minds who were gracious enough to share their knowledge for free.
One other thing too, don’t feel intimidated because you’re not using an Arri Alexa Mini or a $5,000 Canon. I shot countless videos and photos on a Canon Rebel T5i and a 50mm lens. Just get out there and practice, the gear will come later.
THE COMMERCIAL VIDEO SHOOT WITHOUT AUDIO
I was working at Bullseye Camera Systems when I was just a Junior in high school. We went out to the rifle range to show off the Bullseye Camera System in action; the BCS is a wireless target camera system that helps long-range shooters see where they shot on the target using their iPad, iPhone, Computer, etc.
Usually, on a commercial shoot, we would have multiple takes in order for our talent to deliver their lines properly. However, on this particular day, our talent delivered all his lines flawlessly. It was almost angelic. After an hour of filming, the owner and inventor of the company, Nick Skrepetos, asked to review the footage. I gleefully opened up the footage on my Rebel T5i and started to preview a clip. Unfortunately, there was no audio.
I shrugged it off as the camera’s fault, but upon further investigation realized my Rode shotgun mic hadn’t been turned on the whole time. After getting my ass chewed out, we ran out of daylight. A wasted commercial shoot and a long hour drive back home were all we had to show for the day. So this is my warning to everyone who shoots video, always make sure your audio is running properly before filming.
WHAT’S IN MY BAG
You’ll find a Canon 5D MKIV with a BlackRapid Curve Breathe strap attached to it. I mainly rely on my 24-70mm Sigma Art lens for my lifestyle photography but I also still use my Canon “nifty fifty” 50mm prime.
As for video production, you’ll find a ZCAM E2 cinema camera complimented by a Rokinon prime lens kit. On occasion, I’ll break out the DJI Ronin-S with the 5D MKIV if I need a smooth tracking shot. Between both of my bags, I’m ready for any and all of my client’s needs!
Will Barker of Big Crowd Productions is a Lifestyle Photographer based in Eugene, Oregon.