Mud Productions: Blog https://mudproductions.com/blog en-us (C) Mud Productions info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:37:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:37:00 GMT https://mudproductions.com/img/s/v-12/u879063895-o669577810-50.jpg Mud Productions: Blog https://mudproductions.com/blog 120 67 Spring for Impact https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/5/spring-for-impact Once a month I do a free shoot for an artist or organization who is doing cool stuff. This month I had the opportunity to work with Impact Network for their spring fundraiser. The story goes something like this:

ImpactNetwork-6487ImpactNetwork-6487Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com ImpactNetwork-6950ImpactNetwork-6950Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com ImpactNetwork-6756ImpactNetwork-6756Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com

I overheard Julia and Reshma talking about photographers one day at the Wix Lounge. Turns out they were hosting a fundraiser in May for their organization, and they were looking for someone to capture it. Before they left I made a point to give them a high five and tell them about this photographer I know...

 

A few weeks and several emails later I found myself on a rooftop with great food, excellent drinks, and lots of good looking people. Honestly the event was way better than most of the fundraisers I've been to in the past. I was expecting a small crowd of people awkwardly milling about, so when I saw a flood of enthusiastic people arrive (on time, no less) I knew I would have no problem keeping busy. I had a blast snapping pictures and giving out high fives all evening.

ImpactNetwork-6608ImpactNetwork-6608Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com ImpactNetwork-7080ImpactNetwork-7080Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com ImpactNetwork-6839ImpactNetwork-6839Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com

You can see the highlights on Facebook and the full gallery here.

 

While you're at it be sure to check out Impact Network. They are on the forefront of eLearning in Africa by equipping teachers with a curriculum-loaded tablet and a projector. Pretty rad idea if you ask me.

 

Thanks for letting me be a part of your story!

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/5/spring-for-impact Thu, 08 May 2014 20:45:44 GMT
A Decade of Memories: featuring United Way https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/3/decade-of-memories-07 This is the seventh of ten posts highlighting my favorite assignments from the past ten years. As a way of celebrating the first decade of Mud Productions I'm offering 10 special offers this month. Check em out, and play a part in the next ten years. Thanks for tuning in!

Smoke05Smoke05Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com

Like most of my jobs this one is a story of one thing leading to another. If you've been paying attention lately you will recognize a few names mentioned on this crazy rabbit trail. It goes something like this.

I shot engagement photos for my friend Rose, which led to a wedding in Egypt, which led to another wedding in Grand Cayman, which led to yet another wedding in Las Vegas, which then led to the "Live United" campaign at United Way Worldwide. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I shot those engagement photos for free, which makes it the biggest payoff I've ever received from a free shoot. It's awesome when you get some favor and momentum working for you.

Anyway, I got an email from United Way, and I was instantly excited when I heard the details. The shoot featured NFL players and the photos would be used on billboards across the country. Like most of my other memorable assignments this one left me feeling excited and nervous.

My introduction to this campaign was something of a baptism by fire. There were about 10 NFL athletes in town, and I was given less than 30 minutes to shoot each of them. No chance for a re-shoot if something wasn’t working. Fortunately I found my stride early on and we rocked it out without a hitch. They even liked me enough to call me back a couple times.

 

Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com


On one occasion I got a semi-frantic call around 2:00 o’clock saying that the final athlete to be photographed was available at 4:00 and they needed to send him to my studio. I promptly called my wife (who is conveniently a makeup artist) and the two of us got to work together from our home studio on a national campaign. Even though it was rushed we got some great photos and it was my favorite shoot that year, hands down.
 

 

Lessons Learned:

The Live United campaign has been ongoing for a few years, so there were very specific guidelines to steer me in the right direction. I also had their marketing team, a photo assistant, makeup artist, and logistics coordinator to make sure everything came together as planned. It's amazing how much different (read: better) a shoot goes when I don't have to do everything myself. Good photos are rarely the result of one dude with a camera.

 

Technically speaking the best photos I got were the ones I shot in my home studio. Previously I had rented $400 worth of additional equipment to shoot the players, but when they sent Navarro to my studio there simply wasn't time to pickup any additional gear. Fortunately my studio was designed to give me precise control over my lights (thanks largely to flat gray paint on the walls), so I was able to get a lot of mileage from just three small speedlights.

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/3/decade-of-memories-07 Fri, 21 Feb 2014 20:30:00 GMT
A Decade of Memories: featuring a Virginia Tech Wedding Video https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-06 This is the sixth of ten posts highlighting my favorite assignments from the past ten years. As a way of celebrating the first decade of Mud Productions I'm offering 10 special offers this month. Check em out, and play a part in the next ten years. Thanks for tuning in!

Smoke03Smoke03Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com

I met Barrett and Katie at a bridal show. They were eagerly going to every videographer's booth and giving an elevator speech about an idea they had. A few days later I got an email saying "We think you're the guy for this..." I didn't really understand what I was getting myself into, but I liked their enthusiasm and the fact that it was different from usual.

 

Now, Barrett and Katie are what you might call die hard fans of their alma mater. At the start of every Virginia Tech football game, just before the Hokies rush onto the field, a video plays on the jumbo-tron introducing the players. The video changes from one season to the next, but the music is always the same. When the fans hear the famous riff of Enter Sandman they know things are about to get rowdy.

 

As Barrett and Katie were planning their wedding they decided to make a similar entrance to their reception. They played the following video and then rushed into the ballroom amid thunderous applause from their guests and fellow Hokies:

 

 

Lessons Learned:

I had a blast making this video. To this day this is one of the only projects where I utilized the breadth of my skill set. I got to do all the filming, photography, editing, motion graphics, sound effects, logo design, and even 3D animation. Nearly 10 years later it's one of very few projects that I'm still proud of. Sure there are things I would change about it now, but for a kid fresh out of high school with almost no experience I was pleased and my client was too. They later told me it was the best part of their wedding.

 

The only reason this project ever happened was because there were willing to take a chance on me. I didn't have anything like this in my portfolio, but they trusted my creative instinct based on their impression of me and my personal projects. They earned some mad respect in my book, and I hope it will inspire others to take a chance when they see potential in someone. In the end they were thrilled, their guests went nuts, and I'm still talking about it 10 years later.

 

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-06 Wed, 19 Feb 2014 05:15:00 GMT
A Decade of Memories: featuring Cayman Islands https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-05 This is the fifth of ten posts highlighting my favorite assignments from the past ten years. Each post includes lessons learned and a special offer to celebrate Mud Productions' 10th anniversary. Thanks for dropping in!

Smoke07Smoke07Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com

During my trip to Egypt I met Bogi and Mike. Bogi was a friend of the bride, and Mike, her boyfriend, was the only other guy in our group. He had recently gotten a new camera, so naturally we became friends as we spent the week together. As the trip was coming to an end we parted ways with the usual intention of keeping in touch, but Mike's follow through is a step above average...

Several months later I got an email from him saying he and Bogi were getting married in December, and they wanted me to shoot their wedding. Oh! and it was going to be in the Cayman Islands (which is a place I've wanted to go scuba diving since I was about 8 years old). Let’s just say it wasn’t a hard decision for me.

Like any good destination wedding we all arrived a few days before the wedding to enjoy a little vacation before the big day. I got to know their friends and family, and we had a blast long before the wedding ever began. They made it clear that they wanted everybody to enjoy themselves, including me. By the time the wedding came I was just as excited to celebrate with them as any of their guests. I was no longer the photographer but simply a friend with a fancy camera.

The day after the wedding Bogi wore her dress one more time as we did a sunset bridal shoot on the beach. It’s hard to go wrong with a setting like that, not to mention the pressures of the wedding were already behind us. Some of my favorite shots have come from times like this when I have time to get creative.

 

BridalBeach-0089BridalBeach-0089

Lessons Learned:

Initially I imagined myself taking candid pictures of everyone at the airport and every step of the way, but it just didn’t feel right for some reason. What I realized is that there’s an important “get to know you” process that must be nurtured on a trip like this. They all knew each other, but I was the new guy. The more I got to know them the more they would let me inside their lives and the better my pictures would be as a result. Knowing when to take a picture and when to refrain comes with knowing who you’re shooting.

The clients that treat me like family are the ones that end up with the best pictures. Granted not every shoot lasts a week or includes the possibility of world class scuba diving; but when I’m given time and space to enjoy myself I work that much harder to make sure my client is happy.

 

CaymanSunset-6933CaymanSunset-6933 BeachCookout-6563BeachCookout-6563 BogiMikeWedding-7125BogiMikeWedding-7125 BridalBeach-0073BridalBeach-0073 StingraySnorkeling-6826StingraySnorkeling-6826 BridalBeach-8623BridalBeach-8623

 

Special Offer:

For the rest of the month I'm offering to film and edit a behind-the-scenes video for $300. It could be behind the scenes of a photo shoot, indie film, artist studio, or just about anything really. I'm antsy to play around with video again, and if I can help tell your story in the process then we both win.

 

*Video shoot is limited to one day. It can take place any time this year, but must be booked before midnight on February 28th. Travel expenses may be applied if filming is required outside the NYC metro area. Can be transferred or used as a gift.

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-05 Tue, 18 Feb 2014 20:15:00 GMT
A Decade of Memories: Movie Posters https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-04 This is the fourth of ten posts highlighting my favorite assignments from the past ten years. Each post includes lessons learned and a special offer to celebrate Mud Productions' 10th anniversary. Thanks for dropping in!

Smoke04Smoke04Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com

When I first launched Mud Productions in 2004 I was primarily filming weddings. It seemed like a reasonable place to start considering that I ultimately want to make films. After a couple years of "I do's" and first dances I felt like I was hitting a glass ceiling. It's difficult to do event videography well as a one-man band, and the end result didn't reflect the cinematic look I wanted. I had no desire to make a career of it, so I made a change. That's when I started taking pictures.

 

My friend Tim called me up one day and said he was looking to tie the knot. I'm not sure if he knew I had never really photographed a wedding before, but he trusted me just the same.

 

As I was preparing to deliver the photos I realized I had a unique opportunity. As a videographer I had always delivered my work on DVD, and I was always frustrated that the DVD cover itself looked cheap. First impressions are a big deal, so I always felt a twinge of shame when I delivered my work. Tim's wedding was different. For the first time I had a lot of great photos to work with. I didn't even have to deliver them on DVD, but I knew it was a chance to over deliver and make a killer first impression for once. That's when I realized I was doing something no one else was doing.

 

Elzea_DVDCoverElzea_DVDCover Fraser_DVDCoverFraser_DVDCover Angela_DVDCoverAngela_DVDCover Keck_DVDCoverKeck_DVDCover

 

Lessons Learned:

I went on to make several more movie covers after that, most of them for weddings. It was never required of me, but I did it because I wanted to use the work I was getting to propel me in the direction I wanted to go. Even though I'm not shooting weddings any more I'm still using these images to find new avenues for work. To this day these posters are on a very short list of work I'm still proud of. 

 

Ellen_DVDCover-2Ellen_DVDCover-2 Missy_DVDCoverMissy_DVDCover Ellen_DVDCoverEllen_DVDCover

 

Special Offer:

Today's offer is merely a continuation of the work described above. I still love designing a good poster, and I want to do more of it. For the rest of the month I'm offering to shoot and design a movie poster for $250.* That's less than I would charge to shoot a promo still, much less edit and design a poster. Do me a favor and tell your filmmaker friends about this offer while it lasts. If there is one goal I have with photography it would be to shoot and design a poster for a major motion picture. Please help me check that off my bucket list.

 

*Shoot and design can take place any time in 2014, but the voucher must be purchased here before midnight on February 28th. Voucher's are fully transferable.

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-04 Mon, 17 Feb 2014 05:17:08 GMT
A Decade of Memories: Egypt https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-03 This is the third of ten posts highlighting my favorite assignments from the past ten years. Each post includes lessons learned and a special offer to celebrate Mud Productions' 10th anniversary. Thanks for dropping in!

 

Rose was a friend of mine from church. We lived fairly close to each other, so we would often carpool whenever we were headed to the same place. Those car rides gave us a chance to get to know each other and become good friends. She always had crazy stories to share, and she blogged about them diligently. Adventure, it seemed, followed her everywhere.

 

One day she calls me up and says, "I've got an idea..." Turns out her boyfriend was coming to town, and she was fairly certain (as women often are) that he was going to propose. She asked if I would shoot their engagement photos that weekend if he did in fact take a knee. Sure enough, he popped the question, I shot some photos, and the next time I saw them was at the wedding. During the reception one of her friends came up to me and said, "Are you the one who shot their engagement photos? ... I'm actually getting married in Egypt, and I would love for you to be our photographer."

 

Turns out she wasn't kidding. Two months later I was on a plane for my first international trip ever. I spent five days meeting new people, visiting the tourist sites, trying to cross the street, drinking amazing coffee, and snapping photos all the while. The trip ended with an amazing wedding celebration that I still remember vividly today.

 

EgyptTourism-7037EgyptTourism-7037 KhalilyMarket-8167KhalilyMarket-8167 OldCairo-8803OldCairo-8803 KhalilyMarket-8202KhalilyMarket-8202 OldCairo-9050OldCairo-9050 BonitaDancing-9158BonitaDancing-9158

 

Lessons Learned:

Everything was new to me, so I wrote feverishly in my Moleskine on the entire trip. I wanted to document everything, and so I carried virtually all of my gear everywhere. I often felt torn between capturing the experience and enjoying the moment. Honestly all the extra gear got in the way more often than it helped. Sometimes simplicity is the best.

 

I've never been much of a planner, so I'm kicking myself for not booking some additional time off while I was there. It would have been rad to visit Luxor or Alexandria, but instead I went immediately from the wedding reception to the airport (barely time to change my clothes and pack up). If I could do it again I'd take some time for myself.

 

NileCruise-8494NileCruise-8494 Pyramids-7654Pyramids-7654 OldCairo-8923OldCairo-8923 Pyramids-7372Pyramids-7372 EgyptWedding-9311EgyptWedding-9311 EgyptWedding-6398EgyptWedding-6398

 

Special offer:

I'm not shooting weddings any more, so today's offer has nothing to do with this post. Instead I'm offering actor headshots for $100 a pop.* Get 'em while they're hot!

 

*The shoot can take place any time in 2014, but it must be purchased before midnight on February 28th. Includes two looks and retouching of select image. Makeup not included, but I know a great makeup artist...

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-03 Sat, 15 Feb 2014 17:48:24 GMT
A Decade of Memories: You Had Me at Helicopter https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-02 This is the second of ten posts highlighting my favorite assignments from the past ten years. Each post includes lessons learned and a special offer to celebrate Mud Productions' 10th anniversary. Thanks for dropping in!

aerial-5903-Editaerial-5903-EditPhoto by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com

Every so often I get an email that says something like, "Would you be willing to take photos from a helicopter?" and I'll usually respond in a very professional manner: "Are you kidding me?! I'd LOVE to!! I think I just wet my pants a little...." And when I say this happens every so often I mean it's happened to me once. ...so far. ;)

 

I had worked with Gaylord National a few times already, but I was still an amateur photographer at best. When they offered me the opportunity to shoot aerial photos of their property I was honored and ecstatic to say the least, not to mention very nervous.

 

aerial-5903aerial-5903Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com aerial-6118aerial-6118Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com AerialDC-6145AerialDC-6145Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com  

After we circled the property three or four times the pilot said to me, "Did you get what you need?" I smiled and said, "I'm good," while flashing a thumbs up in his direction. I thought we would head straight back to the helipad, but what happened next was much more awesome. "Roger that," said the pilot, "We're gonna take the scenic route back." Apparently they were doing a sightseeing favor for the other passenger on board, and I had the best seat in the house.

 

We flew up the Potamac River, straight over the Lincoln Memorial, swung around the National Cathedral, and then hovered over RFK Stadium on our way back to the helipad in Anacostia. It was an incredible, once in a lifetime experience! To this day it's one of the most fun shoots I have ever done.

 

aerial-6135aerial-6135Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com aerial-6102aerial-6102Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com aerial-9662aerial-9662Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com

 

Lessons Learned:

 

I wrote a whole blog post back then about the things I learned from this shoot. Most of it is fairly technical, so if you're into that you can find it here.

 

Honestly, the pictures I got were not amazing, but the experience was unforgettable. That's my favorite thing about being a photographer: experiencing life with other people and occasionally getting paid for it. It's a pretty sweet gig.

 

AerialDC-6060AerialDC-6060Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com AerialDC-6087AerialDC-6087Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com AerialDC-6101AerialDC-6101Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com AerialDC-9728AerialDC-9728Photo by Stephen Elliot in association with MudProductions.com

 

Special Offer:

 

On a different note, today's deal is aimed at aspiring photographers. By that I mean anyone who:

  • gets frustrated when their pictures turn out dark and blurry.
  • got a DSLR recently.
  • is thinking about photography as a side job.
  • wants to hang out with me for a few hours.
  • has been asked to shoot pictures for someone but has no idea what to charge.
  • just had a baby.
  • is afraid to use their camera on Manual mode.
  • doesn't have room on their hard drive because they have too many pictures.
  • has a friend, spouse, or co-worker that fits one of the descriptions above.

 

For the rest of the month I'm offering private photography lessons for $50 a pop.* You can sign up for yourself or give it to someone else as a gift. Voucher can be purchased from the Square Market. Use the promo code: HIGHFIVE during checkout.

 

*Lessons can take place any time in 2014, but they must be purchased by midnight on Feb 28th. Travel expenses apply for lessons outside the NYC metro area.

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-02 Fri, 14 Feb 2014 19:11:30 GMT
A Decade of Memories: featuring Crystal Couture https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-01 This is the first of ten posts highlighting my favorite images and clients from the past ten years. Each post includes lessons learned and a special offer to celebrate Mud Productions' 10th anniversary. Thanks for dropping in!

I was driving home late one night when I noticed a dude installing some crazy bamboo art sculptures at the Crystal City Waterpark. For reasons still unknown to me I decided to walk over and introduce myself. I told him I'm a photographer, and I asked if he had anybody lined up to shoot the installation when he was finished. Fortunately for me he didn't have a photographer in mind, but he also didn't have a budget. Nevertheless I agreed to shoot some photos for free, only asking that he help pass my name around in return.
 

A few weeks later I got an email from a guy named Charles, "I saw that you shot some photos of the bamboo installation. I work for the Crystal City BID, and we are looking for a photographer..."
 

The Crystal City BID eventually became one of my top five biggest clients, and probably the most easygoing one at that. I worked with them on over 40 assignments during the next 4 years, but none of it would have happened if I didn't take a chance and offer to shoot some pictures for free. Specifically, this photo wouldn’t exist:

CrystalCouture-9516CrystalCouture-9516
Unlike the rest of the photos in my portfolio I was actually paid to shoot this one. I shot it as an experiment during Crystal Couture last year, and it instantly became one of my favorite images.

About the Shoot:

Crystal Couture was not only a fun event to shoot for the BID, but it was quite possibly my favorite recurring shoot of all my clients. It’s a dream job for many photographers —great lighting, beautiful models, upbeat music… I mean come on! Asking for anything more is just plain greedy. For me, however, the reasons run much deeper:

 

1.) For starters it's an extremely well done production. The producer, Maggy Francois, deserves a shout out here. She knows how to put on a good show and keep things moving, but the thing I respect the most is the lack of pretense. Everything about the show is welcoming and approachable.

 

2.) It's a week long event which means I had time to build relationships with the people there. If you spend that much time around me you’ll see how hard I work and how much fun I have. If we can laugh together then I guarantee you’ll like the photos. A good experience during the shoot produces far more loyalty than the photos themselves. Photography is all about building relationships.

 

3.) Let’s be honest, there were dozens of beautiful girls smiling at me all week, including one extremely hot makeup artist I was flirting with. It’s good for a dude’s ego, but it’s even better for pictures. Call me shallow, but I’d rather shoot an average picture of a beautiful model than a great picture of an average joe. The reason is that a “great photograph” is completely subjective, but all of us are drawn to beauty. The ugly truth about photography is that beautiful people make you look like a better photographer.

 

4.) I’ll be the first to admit that I never got enough sleep during the week of Couture. The turnaround was brutal. Any given night I would come home with about 1,400 images. All of them needed to be sorted, edited, and uploaded before the next night begins. Not to mention there were about a dozen other photographers competing for attention and Likes and the best angle. It was a challenge, and that’s what spurred me on.

 

The interesting thing is that my client never deliberately told me to do all this. They simply gave me the opportunity to care about my work.

 

CrystalCouture-1615CrystalCouture-1615 CrystalCouture-2337CrystalCouture-2337 CrystalCouture-2025CrystalCouture-2025 CrystalCouture-8878CrystalCouture-8878

 

Lessons Learned from the Client:

I’d like to brag on the Crystal City BID for a minute because most clients would do well to learn from them. Specifically:

 

1.) They trust my creative judgment completely. They never micro-managed me. I was never given a shot list, or followed by a staff member, or even caught them looking over my shoulder. Their trust enabled me to try things I normally wouldn’t (like the photos featured here), and the payoff was immensely satisfying.

2.) They pay me faster than any other corporate client I've ever worked with. This is HUGE for freelancers. I can’t emphasize this enough; if you’re asking a photographer to deliver photos immediately then have the decency to pay him immediately.

3.) They let me experiment with ideas. One night during Couture I had the idea to upload my photos to their Facebook page in real time. They literally made me an admin for their page and let me have at it. As a result they enjoyed much more activity and engagement online that week.

4.) They actually used the photos I shot for them. Nearly every time I walked through Crystal City or got on the metro I would see my photos on display in their ads. For most of my clients I never see the final product of my work, and I’m often left assuming they are collecting digital dust on hard drive somewhere, which then leads me to assume that they didn’t like my work, or that it wasn’t good enough, or any of the other negative voices inside every artist’s head. Clients, please, take 20 seconds out of your day to send a text to the individuals who worked for you and show off the final product. It will inspire them more than you know.

 

By the way, clients, if you do all of the above you might even get an unsolicited, glowing review like this from your creative vendors. You never know.

It’s hard to narrow down my favorite images from Couture, so I created a custom gallery just for them.

 

CrystalCouture-2092CrystalCouture-2092 CrystalCouture-0192CrystalCouture-0192 CrystalCouture-8489CrystalCouture-8489

 

Today’s Special Offer:

The only reason I got connected with the Crystal City BID is because someone passed my name along. That’s what this first offer is all about. For the rest of this month I will be giving 10% off every shoot booked in February, and I will be giving a 10% referral bonus to everyone who tells someone else about this offer.** In other words, you make money for spreading the word, and your friends save money because they listened to you. I dare you to find a better win-win opportunity this month.

**Shoot/assignment must be booked by 23:59 EST on February 28th. The shoot can take place any time in 2014, but it needs to be booked this month. Discount not applicable to expenses. The referral bonus will be paid (via Square Cash) upon receipt of payment from client. Bonus applies only to referrals that lead to a booking. This offer can be combined with other offers, but it will be applied after them.

 

P.S. Use the Tweet button below to share the love.

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/decade-of-memories-01 Wed, 12 Feb 2014 19:39:17 GMT
10 Highlights from 10 Years in 10 Days https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/10-years I’ve been sitting on this draft for days unsure of whether or not I should click that little orange Publish button. It's was supposed to be another happy blog post to the tune of “Look what we’ve accomplished!” but every time I started on that note I felt like liar. It feels like something is wrong with me for not having an overwhelmingly positive attitude this time. Maybe I’m in a funk, or maybe I’m just being honest with myself. Either way I’ll let you decide.

 

In a few days Mud Productions will hit its 10th anniversary. While I'm grateful to have reached this milestone, I have to admit it's a bittersweet feeling...

SkylineMP_10YearsSkylineMP_10YearsPhoto by Stephen Elliot in associaiton with MudProductions.com

     You see I never meant to become a photographer. It just sort of happened. I've always wanted to be a filmmaker; photography was simply a logical starting point for me. Somehow, though, I got stuck. My work stopped flowing from me, and started flowing toward me. My job was to stay afloat. I got busy —successful even in spite of the economy— but my work eventually felt like a record of where I had been, rather than an indication of where I wanted to go.

     Still I'm thankful I have been able to make a living with my camera, but I can't deny the voice in my head reminding me, "You were made for more than this." I know I'm not alone in that feeling, but I never imagined it would still be a vivid struggle ten years later.

     I once heard someone say, "You will overestimate what you can accomplish in a year, but underestimate what you can accomplish in ten.” Doing the same thing I was doing ten years ago is hardly the accomplishment I had in mind. Yet here I am still working by myself, still struggling to make rent, still wishing I was making films instead.

     But rather than complaining I'm going to do something about it, and I'm going to need your help. After all, that's the only way the status quo is ever changed.

     Over the next week and a half I'm going to be highlighting ten of my favorite images and clients from the past decade. I'll share what I learned and how I got each assignment in the first place. Plus, each post will include a special offer designed to be shared with others while simultaneously helping me make a new start here in New York.

     For the first time in a long time I'm getting excited about my work. Looking back at my experience has given me a new perspective for what I like and what I want to do going forward. Even though I've been at it for ten years I feel like I'm just now getting started. I could sure use some help, and I'm sure there are a few other dreamers out there who could use a photographilmmaker like me.

Thanks for listening. Let's get to work!

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) 10 years anniversary entrepreneur filmmaker photographer https://mudproductions.com/blog/2014/2/10-years Tue, 11 Feb 2014 15:52:16 GMT
Adventure Photography https://mudproductions.com/blog/2013/4/adventure-photography      After eleven miles of hiking through an enchanted rain forest my thoughts began to form words and take flight on their own. Before I had a chance to give it a second thought the idea was born, "I'd love to shoot adventures like this more often..." I spent much of that night fleshing out the idea in my Moleskine, and before I knew it I had several pages of my next business idea. 

     Today I'm excited to finally share that with you as I announce my new Adventure Photography portfolio and services.

     The concept is simple: I want to be the one taking photos on your next adventure. You don't have to settle for arms-length iPhone pictures, and you don't even have to decide between taking photos or enjoying the moment. You enjoy the moment, I'll shoot the photos, and we'll both have fun in the process.

    You can find more info about it as well as a little more background on me and even some ideas to get your gears turning. Let's go on an adventure together!

------- Feedback results -------

     For those of you who participated in the soft launch feedback contest I want to express a heartfelt THANK YOU! Your feedback was exciting, surprising, entertaining, eye-opening, and definitely appreciated. I was particularly interested trying to understand why you chose what you did. Here are some initial observations:

  • Emily Chastain, who is a ridiculously talented wedding photographer, chose mostly photos that appear from a first person perspective --i.e. things she would see on a trip.

  • A few people (mostly named Jenny and Kerry) chose photos that they thought matched the word "adventure."

  • Nobody picked two of my personal favorite photos. I've used this one in my portfolio for a couple years and I guess nobody likes it. Shouldda asked sooner =) Perhaps the other one looks too engagement-ish. I don't know.

  • Candace Evans chose photos that "made her feel like she was there."

  • "Excited activity" appears to be the common denominator among the highest rated images. The top five photos were comprised of feeding a baby moose, riding a camel, jumping, and catching a fish.

  • Lots of you chose only photos with people in them.

  • The Marsdens seem to like silhouettes as much as I do.

  • Most people who participated did so because they wanted to help, not because they cared about the giveaway. That means so much to me, and it makes me even more excited to reward a few people who participated.

Without further ado, here are the winners:

  • Random drawing goes to: Ami (with an "i") Ballenger

  • Most shared goes to: Emily Chastain

  • Most creative goes to: Dominique Coulture

I will be emailing the winners shortly. You can see the photos that made the cut here. Thanks everyone for participating, but more importantly thanks for your support and feedback! Please continue to spread the word next time you hear about an upcoming adventure.

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) https://mudproductions.com/blog/2013/4/adventure-photography Fri, 05 Apr 2013 18:10:15 GMT
Mud Productions is Moving to the Big Apple https://mudproductions.com/blog/2013/2/mud-productions-is-moving-to-the-big-apple I never imagined that I would spend over a decade of my life in the nation's capital. I moved to DC with my family while I was still I high school, and for the most part feel like I just ended up here. While I'm extremely grateful for the amazing friends and opportunities I've had here, the truth is I've never been particularly crazy about this town. There comes a point when you need to make a change, and for me that time is fast approaching.

With much excitement and a bit of uncertainty I'm happy to announce that Lacey and I will be moving to New York City this summer. She will attend a makeup school and I will pursue my dream of filmmaking and commercial photography.

As a freelancer I've been able to make a comfortable living from clients who keep calling me back and passing my name around to others. I want to maintain those relationships, but obviously some things will have to shift. Given that my family is here and NYC is only four hours away I'm sure I'll be back from time to time. Additionally I've been building a small team of photographers for the last few months so that you can expect the same quality from them as you do from me (although probably not as many high fives). More about that later...

I don't know exactly what the next several months will look like, but I'm excited for the change. Let me know if you have any questions or even connections up in New York. Together we can make this transition as smoothly as possible.

 

-Stephen

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) https://mudproductions.com/blog/2013/2/mud-productions-is-moving-to-the-big-apple Tue, 26 Feb 2013 17:26:59 GMT
Nine Years of Gratitude https://mudproductions.com/blog/2013/2/nine-years-of-gratitude To my clients, friends, and family,

     Nine Years ago today Mud Productions came into existence. I was barely out of high school, and I didn't know anything about running a business. I just wanted to create things and to do it well. I explored videography, animation, graphic design, drawing, photography, and the list went on. Eventually I found some success with a camera and the work kept coming. Thanks to clients like you I've had the privilege of traveling to exotic places like Egypt and the Cayman Islands. I've shot photos in 23 states and 4 countries. I've taken pictures underwater, on mountaintops, and from a helicopter. I've photographed congressmen and homeless men. I've given countless high fives and taken even more photos than that. Thanks to friends like you I've been able to realize my dreams and chase even bigger ones. Thanks to fans like you for liking my work and telling others about it. Thanks to the photographers, designers, and artists who have collaborated with me and helped me out. Thanks to my family for believing in me and supporting me the whole time. Thanks especially to my wife Lacey for loving me, challenging me, and keeping things in perspective. Most of all thanks to God for giving me vision, health, and endless inspiration. It's a remarkable life I've been given, and I owe you all a big "THANK YOU!" I can't wait to see what's ahead...

-Stephen

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info@mudproductions.com (Mud Productions) https://mudproductions.com/blog/2013/2/nine-years-of-gratitude Tue, 19 Feb 2013 00:04:53 GMT