Your work is NOT for everyone by George Kroustallis

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You’re a photographer, or a freelancer or starting a business. How much art and goods must you sell to make a living? Will you ever be able to serve everybody?

When you’re looking to engage with everyone it’s hard to really delight anyone.
And if you’re not the essential, one-of-a-kind specialist changemaker you barely get the chance to engage with the market.

What if you were specific about who you were seeking to serve and precisely what change you were trying to make?

Organize your project, your life, and your organization around the minimum.
What’s the smallest market you can survive on?

Kevin Kelly in his famous article, 1000 True Fans, said that by finding 1000 people who’ll buy everything you make, you can create an above average living with your art.
That’s not a million or ten thousand or even 5000. It’s 1000 raving fans and people connecting with you and your work.

Thought leader Seth Godin also recently wrote:
“Identify the scale and find the corner of the market that can’t wait for your attention. Go to their extremes. Find the position where you alone are the perfect answer and make change happen. Change that matters enough so other people cant help but talk about it.”

Lean entrepreneurship is built around the idea of the minimal viable product. Figure out the simplest useful version of your product, engage with the market, and then improve and repeat.

Find a fit between what you make and what they want.

That, and only that, separates successful projects from unsuccessful ones.
Are there people in the world who want you to succeed so badly that they’re willing to pay you to produce the change you seek to make?

Be specific. Your work is not for everyone. It’s only for those who signed up for the journey.


George Kroustallis // Minorstep

Gummy Bears by George Kroustallis

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Why the hell would George want to trade his red gummy bear for Priscilla’s yellow one?

Does the yellow gummy bear cost more to make, and therefore it is intrinsically worth more?

Well, it doesn’t.
It’s because George likes yellow better than red.

Lucky for George, Priscilla likes red better than yellow and agrees to the trade.

Three things happened:

  • Both George and Priscilla are happier after the trade.

  • Both Priscilla and George are better off than they were before.

  • Both George and Priscilla have made a profit.

The red gummy bear is worth more to Priscilla than the yellow one, and the yellow gummy bear is worth more to George than the red one. This is value creation: When both parties in a transaction profit, wealth has been created.

Now, the same principle applies if instead of gummy bears, George had €45,000 to trade for Priscilla’s photography and ad campaign creating service.

This scenario is a bit more protracted because a service is delivered over a (agreed) period of time and therefore requires trust on George’s part. But if we assume that Priscilla understands what George wants and delivers as promised, both parties profit from the engagement. Priscilla now has €45,000 and George now has the photography campaign that he wanted.

Does this mean that Priscilla’s photography service is worth €45,000 to everyone? Hell no. But if it’s worth  €45,000 to George, that’s all that matters.


George Kroustallis





No client cares for your photos by George Kroustallis

Recent work I did for MONOQI, creating a dream Scandinavian kitchen setup. What kind of value does it have?

Recent work I did for MONOQI, creating a dream Scandinavian kitchen setup.
What kind of value does it have?


A lot of young photographers share a common frustration:

“It’s difficult to find a proper thing to do as a new photographer that involves taking pictures and getting paid decent money for it.”

As I often say, photography is one of the least valuable things an experienced photographer can offer to a client.

This usually heats photographers up.

Now if you’re a photographer it feels wrong and unfair. Taking photos is something you’ve invested a lot of time in and you probably pour your heart and soul into. It’s an activity from which you derive a genuine sense of mastery.

The hard reality is, the world doesn’t owe you a high paying salary for engaging in your favorite activity.

Let’s step back and change the activity from “taking photos” to something you probably don’t care about:

“It’s difficult to find a thing to do as a consulting offering that involves crocheting and also getting paid for it.”

Would I pay $400 per hour for damn crocheting? Of course not. Why? Because crocheting has literally close to zero value for me. Sorry granny, I do love you.

The fact that I don’t value crocheting probably seems insanely unfair to a crocheter who has devoted their life to the practice and has achieved a level of mastery.

Now let’s turn it back around to photographers:

Would a client pay $400 per hour for planning, producing, shooting and retouching photos? Of course not. Why? Because photos have close to zero value for clients. Clients have no use for them and they don’t care about your art or what excites you the most.

You’re probably thinking, “Wait... WAT? Clients pay me and others for photography all time! Big name photographers’ income starts from 500k yearly.”
Clients aren’t paying for your photography or the hours you put in. They aren’t even paying for the final, perfectly retouched deliverable image that your skills and knowledge produced.

They are paying for the business outcome that they believe the photos will achieve.

The distinction I’m trying to make here is that there is no intrinsic value in a commercial photo, a crocheted row of stitches, or a line of code.

The value is in what the client believes the photos will do to improve their business.

What effective photography does to their brand. How efficiently the campaign you shot converts and most importantly how well you tell or shape the client’s story.
What’s the value of what the right photographer will really bring to the table?

Do your best to bring them maximum value. This is what you charge for.

Show them the OUTCOME of your photography, not the OUTPUT of your photography.

More life,

George Kroustallis - Minorstep
www.minorstep.com
minorstep@gmail.com
instagram.com/minorstep

P.S. Thanks to Jonathan Stark for the inspiration for this article


What's so special about architectural photography? by George Kroustallis

The digital photographic medium is currently on an unprecedented roll.
Thanks to the digital revolution, architectural photography, with its endless variety of exciting subjects, has won many new fans among beginners and experienced photographers. Architectural photographers today are blessed with endless creative ways to capture and display their subjects.

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There is no better medium than a balanced, well-taken photograph for capturing and displaying the look and feel of a building.





What Is Architectural Photography?


The term “architectural photography” describes both the subject (architecture) and the means of capturing it (photography).

The word “architecture” comes from the Greek “arkhitekton,” which consists of roots meaning “chief” and “builder.” Architecture is ubiquitous in our lives, and its primary function as shelter encompasses a great many functional uses. Architecture is practically a human’s second skin. Le Corbusier once said, “Architecture is one of the most urgent needs of man, for the house has always been the indispensable and first tool that he has forged for himself.”

Architecture takes on an extremely broad range of forms, from simple, primeval huts, to the ornate temples of antiquity, the purely functional factories of the industrial revolution, and the urban concrete and glass landmarks of today. Without architecture, mankind would have remained anchored in the stone age with few options of places to live, sleep, eat, work, trade, produce, withdraw, rest, administer, and educate. In many regions, climatic conditions would make life without architecture impossible.

The word “photography” comes from the Greek “photos” and “graphé,” “which means “drawing with light,” and describes a technical means of optically capturing the likeness of objects and making them palpable in places where they cannot normally be seen. Photography thus propagates images of buildings into the wider world, enabling people to view them in a wide variety of circumstances—whether in newspapers, books, posters, the Internet, or in galleries or museums.”

Authenticity in Architectural Photos

Just like the field of architecture itself, there are various approaches available to shoot architectural photographs, ranging from purely functional to complete artistic abstraction.

Documentary architectural photography walks a narrow path between presenting a neutral visual experience and an authentic representation of the inherent values of a building. Here, the composition has to limit itself to communicating information—otherwise, the building will lose its central importance and the photo itself will become the center of attention.

This raises the question of whether it is possible to shoot truly authentic architectural photos. Even the most perfect, realistic architectural photo has a certain degree of intrinsic abstraction, if only due to the artificial scale of the reproduction or the lack of a third dimension. Ergo, it is impossible to portray a building absolutely authentically using external media. Additionally, a photo can only reproduce the emotions felt by the viewer in a given situation. In other words, the way a building is perceived where it stands is often completely different from the way it is perceived in a photograph. In his essay “Medien zwischen Sein und Schein” (”Media Between Myth and Reality”), published in 2000, the architect Meinhard von Gerkan said, “An architectural photo is almost bound to be a visual lie because the medium seems to represent the greatest possible potential objective authenticity, . . . true to the fact that a lens is an incorruptible technical device. We know it is an illusion.”

At what point does architectural photography become art, and how can we differentiate between artistic architectural photography and its documentary sibling? The transition between the two is difficult to pinpoint, but it is safe to say that art begins where the intervention of the photographer begins to influence the purely documentary nature of a photo. This is where the choice of subject is no longer intrinsically connected with the impression made by the building. A building can be the central element of an image without actually divulging its function. This process makes us increasingly independent from architecture itself, and objective representation loses significance.

Further extrapolation of this line of thought unavoidably leads to the notion that a photo of a building can have a visual impact that is completely independent from the nature of the building’s architecture. The quality of the resulting image will then, logically, be judged on the basis of its own artistic merits, and not on the quality of the building it portrays. Compositional techniques such as deliberate exaggeration, emphasis and omission, or simplification and distortion can be used to influence specific effects to the point where the building itself becomes the photographer’s plaything, a clear indication that we are, after all, dealing with art.

Forms of Architectural Photography

Architectural photography in various forms is part of our everyday lives.

Documentary architectural photography: Many documentary architectural photographs can be found in books, magazines, brochures, and construction documents. In these cases, architectural photography takes the form of multiple images with accompanying explanations, plans, or drawings that are designed to precisely describe a building and its attributes.

Postcard photography: Architecture is often the subject of postcards, even if the photographer’s intentions and degree of precision are not the same as those found in documentary situations. Postcards often serve simply as proof that the sender was actually in a particular place. Such photos serve only as a means of recognition and are often reproduced with oversaturated colors, over-the-top effects, and scant regard for technical prowess.

Vacation photography: Tourists often have similar intentions when they photograph churches, castles, and other landmarks: Such photos form personal memories. While architecture is part of the subject, the location is usually more important than the type of building. Interestingly, these types of photos are taken almost exclusively while on vacation. If located where one lives, buildings like these are considered neither newsworthy nor photogenic.

Advertising photography: Architecture often plays a role in poster, magazine, and TV advertising, and is often used to enhance the apparent significance of a product. Modern architecture stands for progress, technology, high quality of life, and glamour. For example, the automobile industry uses many manipulated architectural images in its advertising, employing stylistic devices such as color adjustments, deliberate distortion, stylization, image blending, and artificial reflections.

Artistic architectural photography: Artistic architectural photographs can often be found in galleries and exhibitions, usually in the context of a particular theme or artist. Here, architecture serves only as a means to an end, with no particular connection between the message of the image and the message conveyed by the architecture itself. In this case, it is the photographer and not the architect who is the focus of the activity.