Jeff's first, and perhaps most formative photo experiences came on a trip he took in 1995 traveling to India, Nepal, Maui and Alaska over the course of ten months. "I was traveling solo with my first SLR and was able to really focus on my photography full time," he says. Photography progressively grew as a bigger part of his personal, and work life. He eventually moved to Jackson Hole to pursue his love of adventure sports and began assisting local photographers after-hours, "I had a day job like everyone else," he says, but he paid his dues and learned the trade from the ground up. "Assisting for other commercial photographers early in my career was huge, it allowed me to see what worked and what didn't from a client's perspective," Jeff says. He gained valuable in-the-field experience quickly and was soon taking on smaller commercial jobs on his own. Four years later Jeff was shooting full-time and making steady stock sales.
Initially Jeff focused on ski and snow sports, "[Growing up] I'd plaster my high school walls with ski magazine photos I loved, obviously a major factor in my start as a ski photographer." As he honed his technique and expanded his photographic view to include landscapes and active lifestyle, he gradually built his list of contacts and was soon attracting bigger commercial clients who came to shoot against the breathtaking backdrop Jackson Hole provides.
"My ability to create a diverse palette of "looks" from a single location has been a great asset to my work." Jeff shoots with a few different Nikon D300s bodies and a collection of Nikkor lenses – 10.5mm fisheye, 12-24mm, 28-70mm & 70-200 VR. He also has SB-900 speedlights for portable lighting and rents larger battery powered portable strobe kits when needed for sports & lifestyle shoots. "I do [a lot of] pre-shoot planning, working out lots of details," he says "so when we're on location, the models are comfortable, the activities can move more freely and I can be in the right place at the right time." When asked what he carries in his bag, he admits, "Everything! I really don't like to limit my options when I'm out in the field so my pack can get a little hefty."
Today roughly 80% of Jeff's income comes from commercial assignments and stock licensing. The assignment work is mostly for clothing and gear companies used in catalogs, online, as well as some advertising. Jeff uses Agency Access to target ad agencies, specific companies and magazines with email marketing. Current and past clients include Gore-Tex, Patagonia, Yakima, Red Bull, and magazines like National Geographic Adventure, Men's Journal, Forbes Media, Backpacker, and many more. He uses PhotoShelter to deliver his files and notes "I love the fact that I can easily deliver high-res images to clients when I'm out in the field without my hard drives." His stock licensing covers a wide range of commercial and editorial clients as well. "[PhotoShelter's] SEO grader make it easy for me to continually improve search rankings to get found by new clients, and the automated comp download system has already been making stock sales for me."
Jeff is currently focusing some extra time and effort on driving more print sales, "I'm working hard to raise my revenue from print sales by taking full advantage of the PhotoShelter tools and establishing consistent web & email marketing for the website," he says. Jeff also uses Facebook and other social networks to reach a larger fine art print market. Aside from online print sales, Jeff also teams with local retailers to display his work locally for the tourist economy of Jackson Hole.
Jeff has used a manual customization for his website design to achieved a unique look, with customized backgrounds, buttons, a modified Photo Wall and a custom logo. Jeff admits "I pulled most of that design out of thin air and threw together some mock-ups in Photoshop." He hired a professional web designer to implement the look, and was very happy with the results. "I loved the fact that manual customizations were easy to integrate for my designer and the PhotoShelter support crew was always there to help with questions."
PhotoShelter has had a big impact on how Jeff runs his photo business online.
"In the past, I'd only used a website as a digital portfolio for my active lifestyle and adventure sports work," he says. "I was searching for a powerful system that could get a big cross-section of my stock archive in front of potential buyers and also needed a powerful e-commerce platform to push my fine art print sales to a larger audience. For at least two years I searched for software that could do it all and then found the PhotoShelter system had pulled together everything I needed."
Outdoor & Adventure Photographer
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