Monday, June 11, 2007
Nick Vedros - Funny Business
Photographer Nick Vedros has an eye for style and a head for business
“I went into photojournalism,” he says. “I got a degree from the University of Missouri and then went to work for a paper for a month. I was told there that if I stayed in editorial, I'd never have a successful marriage, that the hours and the pay would literally consume me. So at 24, I struck out on my own and went freelance. I decided to design a career around a lifestyle that I wanted to live, not the other way around.”
That career has certainly been a success so far—largely thanks to the niche Vedros has been carving since day one. He uses humor to create a style for which clients clamor. That “Vedros look” not only entertains his customers, but it has kept them coming back for more.
“I've tried to come up with something that's different, something that doesn't fit into the norm,” says Vedros. “And I've got this kind of quirky, humorous style. You can't believe what a good time clients have when they go through my portfolio. It's not like they're looking at glassware or dishes, and the thing becomes very stale after the third shot. There's such a variety to it that they're entertained. They always make it to the end of the portfolio.”
Although he considers himself a generalist, Vedros has found one subject that makes his images consistently eye-catching. Animals, he says, are inherently funny, “especially when you put them in human situations. It's a great way to tell a story. It creates a double-take, and then you look at the ad.”
From dogs to cats, turtles to fish, Vedros enjoys working with animals. “They're completely themselves,” he says. You have to have patience, though, as well as a trick or two up your sleeve. Vedros' favorite “tricks” usually come from Kentucky Fried Chicken.
It's important that the animals are happy on a Vedros shoot because there's often an elaborate setup involved. From model-making to set design, pre-lighting to talent casting, there are many elements that go into the creation of the Vedros look. And like a Hollywood director, he has a big production to oversee.
“Photography is like paint work,” he says. “There's a lot of prep that goes along with it. And the actual shooting of the pictures breaks into fractions of sections. But it might take us an entire day to prep for it. I always liked the challenge, and I love to problem-solve.”
Even when the problem to be solved is as simple as a photographer communicating effectively with a portrait subject, Vedros still prepares intently so that he can deliver a memorable image for the client's concept.
“Anybody can shoot a sharp picture, but you have to pull together a little bit more than that,” says Vedros. “Never just grab a camera and show up. You need to research what you're going to be doing and bring along some ideas. That's some of the best advice I could give young photographers: There's always a way; you just need to think of it.”
Fuji 6x7 III
Comet Strobe Packs
Chimera Soft Boxes
Kodak DCS Pro Back Plus (creates a 47 MB file from each capture)
Lexar 2 GB CompactFlash cards
Macintosh G4 Titanium notebook computer
ColorByte color management software
Epson 9600 Printer
Epson 2200 Printer
To see more of Nick Vedros' photography, visit the Vedros & Associates website at www.vedros.com.
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