Selling the Dream

“Sometimes the things we can’t change, end up changing us.”

The times we’re living in are certainly character building. Things are changing faster than ever before. It’s almost a palatable hum. The kind of hum you’d find in a Stephen King novel. Most of it being generated by technology. From social media to medicine, the impact of quickly evolving technology is unprecedented.

Our world is all at once fascinating and incomprehensible. It’s clear that in order to survive, we must change. The world has seen this before. It was called the Renaissance. A time of great crisis and great change. Between plague, the Catholic Church and war, nearly every aspect of life was challenged. And during that time artists struggled with many of the same challenges we’re facing today. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael all had to find benefactors amidst an explosion of new artists.

I put a lot of thought and effort into my writing. It doesn’t come easy for me and it’s not paying the bills, so it often takes a back seat to the daily struggles of self-employment. Yet writing is salve for the soul and it’s time to step up. Nearly a year has passed since I departed for London and much has changed. Ends up that stock photography is a wonderful opportunity, but it’s a numbers game and it takes time to build up a portfolio of images that are generating enough income to make it a viable business. No looking back, I’m jumping in.

The reality of life on the other hand dictates that I pay my bills and the business of photography has seemingly, overnight become all about the cult of personality. Our industry is a complete mess and in great upheaval. Everywhere you look, there is someone taking advantage of the throngs of photographers, picking up a camera for the first time and entering into the business of photography. I’ve said this before, I get it. If you’re good at what you do, it looks easy. It’s the dream of the hopeless romantic. Traveling the world, meeting famous people, getting behind-the-scenes access to a world few get to see. It’s terribly intoxicating.

At the end of the day, it’s all a dream. If you don’t run your business like a business, you will fail. The only thing about the business of photography that hasn’t changed is the business. And business is good for those selling the dream.

For now, I’ve opened up a studio to pursue professional portraits, headshots and small business clients. A creative space. I’m hand-picking weddings and focusing on building my business the old-fashioned way. Dynamic images that tell the story of my clients, taking care of business and finding balance in my life.

As artist Chuck Close commented, “Inspiration is for amateurs! The rest of us just show up and get to work!”

As I was going through images for my website update, I found these two going back quite a few years. I don’t eat fast food, it’s disgusting and yet, I was tempted into thinking Wendy’s was onto something with this Frescata artisan bread sandwich. Kristen, my associate at the time, joined me in tasting this new sandwich. Well, as you can see, the reality was nothing like the ad. Not even close. Let this be a lesson to you kiddies. It’s all about selling the sizzle, as they say in advertising.

Photo by Randy Kepple Photographs

I’ve been working hard on my business and while I’ve gone missing from the blog, I do have piles of notes for new content. From post production workflow techniques using Photoshop and other great tools to arm chair philosophical musings on the state of art and technology. So stay tuned.

Inspire a riot and leave a comment. Don’t be shy. Speak your mind. Operators are standing by.

Find me on Facebook and LIKE— it’s greatly appreciated. You can also follow me on Twitter @randykepple.

TweetSubscribe by EmailContact

Work:Life – Randy Kepple featured on Faded and Blurred

Faded and Blurred is a fantastic online magazine devoted to photography. Editor Jeffery Saddoris recently interviewed me for an ongoing series called Work:Life. The series focuses on creative professionals trying to balance creative, personal and business lives while pursuing their passion.

As fate would have it, Jeffery and I have a mutual friend in common. He went to high school with Ryan Beck, the commercial advertising photographer I worked for when I lived in Los Angeles. Another mutual friend, Patrick Shipstad was a former groom of mine. Six degrees of separation, right?

Photo by Randy Kepple PhotographsContinue Reading →

TweetSubscribe by EmailContact
  • Congrats Randy – An excellent article! It’s nice to fill in some of the blanks about your journey.

    I must say that this is one of the best and most concise articles I have read about being a seasoned photographer in today’s world. I could not agree with you more on so many points you shared here.

    There certainly is no substitute for practice and perseverance, and that surely shows in the depth of your work. Every aspiring photographer (artist) needs to read this.ReplyCancel

  • Thanks Gary! I always appreciate your candor and point of view. And your continued support. It’s a lot to read through, I know, but thank you for taking the time. Jeffery Saddoris really pushed me to do this and I’m glad he did. It was good to mentally sort through this in my head and push it out into the world.ReplyCancel

  • Hey there,

    I just found you on the DWF so I thought I’d swing by and take a look at your work. I really enjoyed your photos and I love your editing style and feel. I’m a wedding photographer as well (My company is called Mykkah Photography around Washington D.C. / central Virginia) and I can totally appreciate the efforts behind the photos… Keep up the great work!

    Best regards,

    -MicahReplyCancel

  • Congratulations on getting published and thank you for sharing the great marketing tips.ReplyCancel

  • Thanks Micah! I appreciate you taking the time to visit my site. Your photos are beautiful. I checked it out!

    Harry… always nice to see you around. Thanks for your support. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.ReplyCancel

London iStockalypse – The End of the Beginning

“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” — Winston Churchill

In every man’s life, there are moments that live forever. Although much time has passed since my journey to London, it feels like it was yesterday. London became a part of my story, forever in my heart and soul. The experience and people I met changed my life forever. I’ve been trying to hang onto that memory all summer as life came at me hard and fast.

It’s time to roll up my sleeves and continue the hard work of transition. The summer was busy with the priorities of family and finding time to enjoy being present in those moments. What little work there was all seemed to happen at once. Clients and friends came forward to voice their support and share encouragement of my journey.

Many people privately shared with me that they enjoyed my daily stories from London. They were disappointed my trip was over as they looked forward to reading my daily updates in the afternoon. A part of me wishes I could travel, photograph and write stories. Is that the hopeless romantic in me or is the Universe trying to tell me something?

Continue Reading →

TweetSubscribe by EmailContact
  • Gorgeous photos Randy. Really great stuff. Posted any to istock yet?ReplyCancel

  • Great images Randy. I’m continually inspired by your persistence and commitment to the craft!ReplyCancel

  • Thanks Bryn and Joel! I hope to get back into the habit of posting more often. I have a ton of ideas written down on paper. And yes Bryn, I have started uploading to iStockphoto. I’m hoping to get the pipeline in full swing by the end of the upcoming month. From there, who knows!ReplyCancel

London Day 10 – London Loves, It’s Time to Say Goodbye

A man who is bored of London is a man who is bored of life. For sure, in London you are either in or you’re out. There is no way to engage halfway. I could spend the rest of my life here and not see it all. Such an incredible city and the end of an amazing adventure.

As I sit here in my hotel room, my home away from home for the past two weeks, I am filled with mixed emotions. My room is on the eighth floor facing Strand, which is a main artery through West London. I’m going to miss the sound of the people walking and the buses and taxis putting me to sleep. But most of all, I am going to miss my new friends.

My plane leaves at 6 AM and the Tube doesn’t start operating until 6:30, so I hired a car to drive me to Heathrow, leaving the hotel at 3 AM. Apparently, there is no time to sleep today. The final farewell party, with all the hugs and reminiscing begins in less than an hour. I will be packing on my way to the airport.

Continue Reading →

TweetSubscribe by EmailContact
  • Fred Von During

    Damn! Randy I really wanted to follow every day and make a comment, but have failed. I have continuing problems and also momentary although long hours of forgetfulness a product of 3 strokes. I am just now getting back and your hopefully home safe and sound! I am going to look at all of your stuff again and I have to say “your the man” and Kim did you good. Your pictures tell all and your wonderful after hours work of describing events your language and communication abilities have made the trip for this old man! It’s just as if I went for the ride! Take care my friend and excuse me if I repeated myself anywhere as I have been known to do that! Please feel free to FB or e-me anytime, e-address should be somewhere or FB a msg and I can msg you back with the e-address! My regards to your family and the great show you have provided!!ReplyCancel

  • Nice to meet you, and if you come to Berlin stop in!ReplyCancel

  • Bob Hackler

    Great job of joining us all together on your adventure. I’ve really enjoyed each of the posts and look forward to hearing how the adventure continues for you.ReplyCancel

  • Randy…what a pleasure to meet you and drive you crazy. You are a true talent and iStock is most fortunate to have you as a contributor. Look forward to seeing you again as well as your work. A true inspiration and a tremendous talent!!! You rock!!!ReplyCancel

  • Randy,
    Your photos of our wedding on the beach are the finest wedding shots I have ever seen. They are proudly displayed in our home and receive numerous compliments by all our guests. The shots you took are precious memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks.

    Good luck in your new endeavors. If your iStockphoto photos are as good as your wedding photos you will do great and they will be lucky to have you.

    Best regards,
    ChristopherReplyCancel

  • Chris… I am so happy to hear from you! And thank you for the wonderful compliments.The fact that you guys are enjoying your images and they are a touchstone of memory is exactly what I strive to provide. Your words are music to my ears! I hope my venture in stock photography is profitable, challenging and rewarding. I am so thankful for the support of friends and clients like you. :) ReplyCancel

  • OK, I’m officially intrigued. I just tuned in and will read to find out more.

    I do seem to recall a conversation or two about micro-stock and it’s potential with you :) I’m curious about the appeal to I-Stock for you. I’ll give you my .02 on them in private some day if you are interested.

    Safe Travels my friend!ReplyCancel

  • Mat! How nice to hear from you! It’s been a long time my friend. You and I should definitely connect and talk about all things stock. A friend of mine sent me a very interesting infographic about stock photography. Check it out: http://www.piclet.com/

    Always interested in talking with you Mat. Call me any time!ReplyCancel

London Day 9 – Hurry Up and Wait

If you’ve worked around the movie industry, then you’re familiar with the phrase “hurry up and wait”. Today’s trip to the seaside resort town of Brighton, England was exactly that… hurry up and wait. Rushing around and working very hard in high pressure bursts and then standing around waiting for long periods of time.

Not to belittle the hard work that goes into giving 32 extremely talented photographers an opportunity to work with professional models, hair and makeup, wardrobe and art directors. It’s a pressure cooker of stress for everyone involved. No tempers were blown, no egos flew out of control. After all, we’re pros. And this is what everyone signed up, knowing in advance how it would be.

Continue Reading →

TweetSubscribe by EmailContact
  • Owen Price

    Randy,

    Thanks for doing this blog. I was fortunate enough to do the Tokyo Lypse as a contributor and have helped out a bit on the London Lypse. I have previously experienced the the “istock love” that you have so clearly expressed here. I just wish the world could cooperate in a similar way.

    It is always good to meet an American with a big brain and good heart.

    OwenReplyCancel

  • Fish and Chips! – Finally you have discovered real food!ReplyCancel

  • Great set of images! Family portrait is my favorite.ReplyCancel