How To Hack Your SEO

SEO is always the a hot topic. In any industry, my number one questions with business owners is “How can I get to the top of the google page?” I love answering it. Keep in mind that SEO can be easily outsourced to competent people that do a great job. Unfortunately, running a small business means that you have to choose your own battles of which tasks you can do and which tasks are easier to pay someone to manage.

When I started iHeart Marketing, Inc. my bank account hated me. My dream and my vision definitely did not compare to the balance I had to invest in me. I had a huge task to manage AND I had no budget to pay anyone. Sound familiar? So like most entrepreneurs, I schooled myself, studied YouTube and found whatever instruction and insight on the web I can. I was very fortunate and came up with a solution for my problem. I vastly moved up the search engines and was able to wash away affiliations and prior associations I had to second and third pages.

The first step to this is knowing what your target market is going to type into the search engines. You can do a search on google, bing and yahoo to find the top searched ones. For instance and example, let’s use our own names for an exercise:

You will see the amount of time it takes the search engine to pull up the specific number of your key words used:

Underneath you can see your results unfold. As a side note, anyone who questions why they are on LinkedIn and Facebook can stop asking now…. Try to beat them to the top of any search engine. You are better off getting your profiles updated and inline with your branding and riding their party bus! They are the experts after all.  They come up first. But below [and hopefully] you should see anything else you are affiliated with. This is your target position for your company website.

So now that you found out where you rank this task can get real! Let’s jump in and show you how to work those web crawlers and bots to do their thing for you. The key word here is “Blog!”

Although the world is turning over to live videos and webinars Blogs serve a huge solution for all businesses no matter what their size. So until you are all sipping out of a pineapple from an island that you got to from your own company jet,  this is an easy FREE hack that takes a short amount of your time and life out of your day.

Start by creating a series of posts. Find your expertise, passion or even product line and start typing! More content will pull better however short and sweet will work too. Grab your keywords you searched earlier. These will fall into place in your hashtags and yes, I will convert you into a #hashtagbeliever if you are not one yet. Hopefully you have a nice list about ten to fifteen you can use throughout. Make sure you use them in your featured tags. If they are your top tags, like your name or type of business you want to create a category for them as well. You can select multiple choices in both areas but don’t go over board. A lot of people overuse hashtags because they don’t know how they work. Follow the K.I.S.S. rule here and keep it simple stupid.

After you start posting your blogs you will want to monitor your stats. The search time and results to the days. It shouldn’t take too long to work your way up. It does depend on many factors that vary though so be patient!

 

For additional SEO guidance or to get on track and run your business seamlessly,
schedule a FREE one-on-one consult with me TODAY!

For assistance staying in the right mindset2motivate yourself like our page on Facebook.

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How to Target the Right Clients for Your Work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all know finding your focus and finding the clients that focus on the same thing can be the hardest part of marketing.

 

Marketing in Full Swing

 

Now that October is here everyone is back to work. Which also means your competition has tripled! So, are you wondering how to stand out and in a good way that works?  Utilizing Yodelist and following the steps below will allow you to develop a consistent habit that works all year round.

 

First, take time to think about the who, what, why, when, where and how’s of your target market:

 

  • Who do you want to get your work in front of?
  • What kind of clients are they working with?
  • What kind of work are you showing? Does it match?
  • Why will my promotion stand out?
  • When is their hiring pattern?
  • Where are these potential clients located?
  • How do you break through the marketing static to create a memorable connection?

 

Finding potential clients in Yodelist is easy utilizing the directory. You can search by company name, contact name (great for reconnecting), company type and more! We even allow advanced parameters for flexibility in your search.

 

 

When you find what you are searching for the research begins. Search along the company website and see what kind of work they do. Are you a good fit? Get creative. Match your work to their collaborations and go for it.

 

Contacts can be saved to specific MY CONTACT GROUPS that make it easier for you to utilize as a list for email promotions, export for direct mailings or even call sheets and excel sheets.

 

Jump in and get started and don’t forget, your Yodelist membership comes with customer support throughout your membership. Don’t hesitate to reach out for any assistance here.

 

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The State of Photography, iHeart Marketing, Heather Lefort

The State of Photography Series

The State of Photography Series

Do you ever wonder what inspires someone? Where they came from. What invoked their creative footprint from within? In this series you will find out. iHeart Marketing is getting personal with Photographer’s all over the world. From Fashion to food and travel to lifestyle. Locations to studios and everything between that empowers their craft. What makes Photographers tic? Where does their creativity flow from? This series will take you on a journey around the world while walking you through the people that come together to form this niche industry: commercial photography. You will not only know the person behind the images but their geographical struggles or fortunes. How their location plays a part in their day to day business.

Are you a Photographer? Do you want to be featured? Apply here.

 

About Heather Lefort.

Batch & Blast Emails = Old School

Stand Out

 

Buyers are overwhelmed with marketing messages today. Everyone is wondering “How to make themselves stand out?” or “What do I need to do to get their attention?” Truth is, there is no magic answer, subject line, or potion. Hard work pays off. As if marketing wasn’t already hard enough to keep inline for the small business owner, it is getting harder every day. Batch and blast emails are no longer good enough. Marketing needs to be brand based, personal and relevant to your markets or it will not be good enough.

KEY COMPONENTS TO MARKETING MESSAGE:

  • Trustworthy
  • Relevance
  • Conversations NOT Campaigns
  • Coordinated
  • Strategic

Email services that offer large campaigning types of promotions are not that helpful in this market and can be a bit constraining. They lack integration on a personal level and do not allow you to orchestrate an intelligent one-on-one conversation.Most of the time they also relay your message as spam because of their nature. Knowing who you are sending an email to is the first deciding factor that winds you up in the trash or archived for future reference.

MAKING MARKETING EFFICIENT = MORE ENGAGEMENT

  • Distinguish between prospects, clients, and different segments of your messages
  • Formulate a solid marketing database reflective of your specific specialty
  • Create different messages for each of your segments: Prospects and Clients

HOW DO YOU CREATE DIFFERENT MARKETING MESSAGES?

Prospects
Show them why they should be interested in your work. What do you offer them? How is what you do different than any other person selling the same services?

Clients
Tell them what you’ve been doing to keep busy since you last worked together. Your work, creativity, and growth will visually speak to them in any marketing message. Don’t forget to ask about them and what they have been up to in their work ventures.

WHEN AUTOMATION HAPPENS

Tying your marketing messages into your social channels as well as your traditional marketing channels is key. Flow of any marketing plan is well thought out and executed properly. Remember, a steady pace wins the race! Follow through is everything.

MEASURE ANALYTICS

Paying attention to who’s paying attention pays! Knowing who was engaged by your marketing messages is important to your overall marketing effort. If you are not checking in statistically with your efforts you are losing crucial data that can land you in the arms of a new client. Integrate your stats into your follow-up. Making this step ensures your follow-ups are targeted, coordinated, relationship building, and strategically correct.

 

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How To Ace Your Cold Calls

Want To Know A Secret?

AceYourCalls

No one likes making cold calls. It’s sort of like working out. Both are a necessity to keep us healthy. In comparison making calls to prospects is necessary for your business to prosper and be healthy. When done both offer the same qualities: completion makes you feel great, both create positive opportunities, and with good results motivation is inspired!

First things first when considering your cold calls. Stop calling them COLD. Cold is a negative word. No one likes to be cold (even New Yorkers after this heat wave). But honestly are your calls cold? Is a call to someone cold? No at all. A call for business is made with good intent to practice great business skills. Connecting with the right people for your business and networking with clients in the same industry is a far leap from cold. Does any of that sound cold to you? I’d say it all sounds pretty hot! But for this purpose we can call your calls warm…. 

Steps to Making Your Warm Calls:

  1. Remember They Are Warm Calls
    You are reaching out to potential clients and business. Take pride in operating like a business. Think of each call as one step closer to a new client! 
  2. Make A Script
    Don’t intend to be a robot but have somewhat of a scripted word layout to follow. I find when the target says “Hello” there tends to be a brief period of shock… be prepared! 
  3. Make Ten Calls And Re-Evaluate
    Scripts, Smitts…. Re-evaluate your script after contacting (and yes, speaking to) ten people. After the horror of making calls simmers down you may want to use your experiences to freshen up your initial script. You don’t have to always follow that script. Remember it’s a crutch for that moment you forget. 
  4. Practice Your Revised Script
    Call ten more people and again talk to ten. Practice not only makes perfect but allows you to gain confidence. Confidence sells, and lets face it you are selling something… 
  5. Stop Reading And Smile
    On top of being confident smile. People can hear smile through the phone. It creates an easy forum for them to talk and open up. Be real and be you. This is all part of branding your voice to your business/name. 
  6. Remember Your Goals
    If you want face time with potential clients break up your calls by area. The appointments should have a completely different script than any other call. If you are calling to introduce yourself to the client or see how you can ease their workload be prepared to let them know specifics.

Making A Call Sheet

It can be as simple as an index card. I personally am a phone jotter. I jot down things when making calls and like to have a sheet of paper. Your goals can be a part of this sheet.

Be specific with your goals. For example:

I want to set two meetings and gain four new connections. 

Your goal sheet should look like this:

 Call-Sheet-Example

 

 

 

 

Remember as you become a pro at making your own calls you gain invaluable information. When clients will meet you, who is the one setting up meetings for the creative staff, and so on. On top of industry related inside info you will also have stats on your performance. You will soon know how many calls YOU take to get to your goals! 

 

 

 

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Doing Something Different With Your Marketing

 

MARKETING HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY

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Doing what used to work with your marketing isn’t necessarily getting the same results it used to. Why is that? Social media has not only brought awareness across multiple platforms but it has increased resistance to our marketing efforts. Everyone is marketing something, pitching something, or kick starting their cause. So what’s a business to do? How does your voice filter through a clogged up news feed? How do you increase your durability in your marketing while creating a need? In other words, how do you stand out amongst the crowd. By offering something no one else offers you can stand out. But figuring out how to stand out in a room of numerous competitors isn’t that easy to figure out. The key is in a niche. Not your work directly but you… as a brand. Consider asking yourself these questions:

  • What do you stand for?
  • What does your work stand for?
  • What do clients get repeatedly when you deliver your work to them?
  • Is your consistency a strength? If you answered no to this consider visiting this post

Sometimes doing something different can cause a wave of new business or interest to your brand. The main concept of doing this however is knowing how to fit something new into your brand? For starters:

  • If you are always Reliable Ron than keep on being Ron!
  • If you have new techniques talk about them, get social
  • If you have new work that will increase your client base  show it
  • Have a personal project? Share it socially

Sometimes doing something different with your marketing can be as little as reaching out to a new client base. Targeting them specifically with the niche of work you have that fits what they do. Trimming down a large number of contacts to a small group makes this type of marketing easier. Emails, direct mail, and social media isn’t enough anymore. Put a voice to your brand. Time and time again I cannot tell you the most important and appreciated question I ask buyers when making connections for my clients: “How do you prefer to receive [insert your name here] new work updates?” Sometimes appreciating time and preferences will go a million miles to your recognition. Try it, you may find out it fits you too!

 

iHeart Marketing offers comprehensive marketing plans for small businesses with a focus on commercial artists, musicians, and hospitality. To learn what we can do for your business contact us today! 

How’d You Get That Shot with Jena Cumbo

 

How’d You Get That Shot With Jena Cumbo… 

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A Spotlight Series About The Technique Of Photographic Imagery by Photographers For Photography!

 

NAME:

Jena Cumbo
Like Jena on Facebook
Tweet, Tumble, or Link In with Jena

WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALTY:

Lifestyle and Fashion

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS:

Well, I switched my major from ‘bio/chem’ to photography back when I was a sophomore in college

FAVORITE TOOLS FOR YOUR TRADE:

Lately, my LED light

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “ON THE GO” CAMERA TO SHOOT WITH AND WHY:

I’m sort of know for having my giant SLR with me even when I don’t necessarily need that. I also kick around with an Olympus  XZ-1

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE PHOTOGRAPHIC REVALATION GOING ON OUT THERE WHERE EVERYONE HAS A CAMERA?

I’m still not convinced that a phone is a camera, it depends who’s hand it’s in I suppose 😉

WHAT EXPECTATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHY INDUSTRY IN 2013:

Greater ISO sensitivity with less grain/noise

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR CLIENTS THAT GET TO BENEFIT FROM YOUR CREATIVE EXPERTISE AND PASSION:

Collaborating with Gina Tron to do interviews with me on this ‘We Met On the Internet’ portrait project has been really fun. I like getting another persons thoughts into the mix. And working with a wordsmith is new to me and adds another layer to the project I definitely couldn’t get on my own.

I love working with other stylists and hair and makeup people on fashion shoots when our ideas mesh well together. I’ve most recently worked with stylist, Ramono Martelli and hair stylist Pia Vivas.

TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THE IMAGE YOU ARE CHOOSING:

I chose a picture of Mariela and Tiago. A couple that I shot for my ‘We Met On the Internet’ Project.

I’ve been doing a series of portraits of couples that met on the Internet in various ways.

I actually met them ‘on the internet’ too. Mariela responded to a craigslist posting I had up for the project. I was at their apt for a bout an hour total. I think this is a good example of my ability to photograph someones personality, even in a situation where I have only met them for a little while. We definitely got a long well, I think it’s fair to say they felt comfortable with me and vice versa. The ‘making a mustache’ out of Mariela’s dreads was just something they did goofing around together. I had them just hang out together and do what they do. For me that’s how I make a ‘set up shot’ a little more genuine.

Here is Gina Tron’s synopsis of Mariela and Tiago from her interview with them:

Mariela & Tiago

Mariela, a 21 year old self-taught photographer, moved to New York in December of 2011 from the Dominican Republic. Tiago is a 30 year old who has worked as a finishing carpenter since he was a kid. They found each other in cyberspace thanks to their shared love of tattoos. Their initial contact began on tattoodatingsite.com. “[The name] is that blunt,” stated Mariela while laughing. “When you go there, you think it’s a spam website.”

The site was appealing to Tiago because he was frustrated with the lack of tattoo-clad folk in his neighborhood of Queens. “I wanted to meet people and where I lived there [weren’t] many people with tattoos.”

From his online photograph, Mariela thought that “Tiago was cute.” They started talking to each other on Skype, which lead to meeting in person. On their second date they shared some ink time together. Tiago got a previous piece polished off, while Mariela received a permanent eye onto her forearm. After two weeks of dating, they moved in together. After four months, they got engaged. Now the two share matching tattoos. “We both have [the word] ‘love’ tattooed in our hands.”

Besides getting inked, they also bond over their love of animals. “We have a zoo in our house,” admits Mariela. “We have three dogs, two cats, two ferrets, two fish tanks, and two bird cages, and I think…[she pauses for a minute]  I think that’s it.” Tiago and Mariela, and their collection of animals, live in Jamaica, Queens. They plan to wed in June of this year.

 

Jena Cumbo
To check out ALL of Jena’s work 
please go to her website! If you are
a professional photographer or know
of one that should be in this series
please email us today.

 

Keeping The Creative Child Alive In Your Business

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Most of you went into Photography to be creative. The job comes with great perks: traveling, working for yourself, being involved in visual marketing, to name just a few. But when your Photography business faces the harsh reality that it is a business what happens? Your love of being a wanderlust creative crashes into reality. Balancing acts of marketing and sales, customer service, and all the other daunting tasks of a business. How do you cope as a creative?

Some things you can do to make sure the creative child in you (that survived growing up) stays nurtured are:

  • Start your day with a walk
  • Write in a journal
  • Keep a you book that tracks happenings that affect you
  • Stop to smell the flowers
  • Sing in the shower (even if you’re tone deaf)
  • Volunteer at a pet shelter to walk dogs or pet the cats
  • Schedule a date night with your significant other
  • Plan a throw back family game night (I recommend charades)
  • Take a drive with no destination
  • Let your voicemail do its job… take messages for you
  • Plan a Sunday brunch with your closest BFF’s
  • Conquer a fear
  • Call an old friend just because you can
  • Pay someone a compliment
  • Smile at a stranger
  • Pack a blanket and go stargazing
  • Wear a hat to work
  • Listen to a new cd of an artist that you have no idea about
  • Go to a matinee alone
  • Sit by the ocean

 

Sometimes the best thing you can do to get back to you is remembering why you went into business for yourself to begin with. Business gets clouded with rules and management, schedules and conformity. Think outside the box and focus on your own time management. Never forget to schedule time for the creative child in you!

How’d You Get That Shot with Michelle Kawka

 

A Spotlight Series About The Technique Of Photographic Imagery by Photographers For Photography!

 

 MichelleK_Shot

 

NAME:

Michelle Kawka, photographer
Find Michelle on Facebook
Tweet with Michelle
Get Professional on LinkedIn with her
Add her on Google+
See her videos on YouTube

WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALTY ?

Portraits, Corporate, Events and Weddings. I shoot landscapes for my soul.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS:

I studied in Italy while in college & started taking pictures.  After college, I worked for awhile in a bunch of office jobs, but I still took pictures.   My friends all got married around the same time and kept telling me that they liked my pictures better than their own photographers’.  Finally, I decided to pursue my passion and I went to photography school.  I never looked back.

FAVORITE TOOLS FOR YOUR TRADE:

My Gary Fong Lightsphere.  Lightroom 4, and my Canon camera.  

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “ON THE GO” CAMERA TO SHOOT WITH AND WHY:
My Droid Bionic because I love Instagram.  I don’t really like to carry around a separate camera, I carry enough stuff around with me in my pocketbook !

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE PHOTOGRAPHIC REVALATION GOING ON OUT THERE WHERE EVERYONE HAS A CAMERA?

I don’t think that it really impacts my business much.  I feel it’s the same way Turbo Tax impacted the accounting field.  Some people are going to do it themselves, and some people are going to understand what a professional brings to the table.  We do so much more that click a button.  We have to plan the shoot, organize it and direct a crew while under time constraints.  Those aren’t skills that an amateur with an iPhone can necessarily do and get great results.

WHAT EXPECTATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHY INDUSTRY AS WE APPROACH IN 2013 ?

I would love to see the industry come up with creative solutions to the issues that photographers face today instead of complaining how much the industry has changed and how they wish how things used to be.

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR CLIENTS THAT GET TO BENEFIT FROM YOUR CREATIVE EXPERTISE AND PASSION: 
I have photographed jobs for Wella Hair Color, the United States Marine Corps and Microsoft as well as for many private individuals.

TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THE IMAGE YOU ARE CHOOSING:

The techniques I used to get this shot were fairly simple.  I went to the beach as the sun began to set.  The beach itself faces North so it gets a lovely cool north light at sunset.  I shot all available light, ISO 800 at 125 at f/8 with the 17-40 mm Canon L lens set at 17mm.  I did a color balance and auto tone in Lightroom 4, then used presets to bring in the contrast and color as well as used vignetting to give a spotlight type lighting.  I shot 5 angles of the building , all hand held and decided I liked the one the best.  I also cropped in it Lightroom to make it more of a panoramic shoot.   I stood on the beach for approximately 15 minutes before I decided it was too cold and I was done shooting.
The image I have chosen is called Beauty in Devastation, which is a series of photos that I created in the 2 weeks after Hurricane Sandy.

Growing up in New York City, the beach has always been a place of relaxation and spiritual renewal for me. When Hurricane Sandy came through and wreaked her havoc along the coast on Long Island, it was a heart breaking experience to see so much devastation. However, in the cold November autumn air, in spite of the destruction, there was something eminently beautiful about how our human made structures were bent and reshaped by the force of Nature. This body of work, taken in the Rockaways, Long Beach and Hampton Bays, are a meditation on how very fragile we are.

The photo is of the Beach Hut, which is a lively restaurant on Meschutt Beach on Peconic Bay.  It is a beach I frequent often because of it’s shallow, warm water perfect for swimming or sitting in an inflatable tube with a cheap novel.

FREE SHOUT OUT:
I love taking photos and directing video.  I have a really great team and shoots are pretty chill and a lot of fun.  

MichelleK_Profile
To check out ALL of Michelle’s work 
please go to her website! If you are
a professional photographer or know
of one that should be in this series
please email us today.

 

How’d You Get That Shot with Kevin Steele

A Spotlight Series About
The Technique Of Photographic Imagery by Photographers For Photography!

 

Mt Rushmore and men. © Kevin Steele / kevsteele.com

 

NAME:

Kevin Steele
Facebook with Kevin
Tweet with Kevin!
Connect on LinkedIn

WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALTY:

I shoot People in Motion: active lifestyle, travel and portraiture for advertising and editorial.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS:

Life began in the darkroom every day after high school. Although I went to a university to study astronomy I never became an astronomer.  But I’ve been an engineer, author, climbing guide, and tech specialist before focusing full time on photography the past 7 years.  Photography had been on the side until word of mouth led to my first big location ad shoot.  Which fittingly enough is this photograph on Mt Rushmore.

FAVORITE TOOLS FOR YOUR TRADE:

White gaffer tape. Black coffee. The Nikon D4 and D800 with 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8, 85 f/1.4 lenses most of the time.   When shooting motion I love using Pentax 6×7 lenses adapted for the Nikon, nice long manual focus throw, beautiful optics and the full frame 35 sensor uses only the sweet center spot of those medium format lenses.   And really my absolute favorite and sentimental tool is the Rollei SL66 with Zeiss lenses, alas it seldom gets out. It’s original owner, my Dad, handed it down over 20 years ago  – it’s a 46 year old beautiful piece of kit.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “ON THE GO” CAMERA TO SHOOT WITH AND WHY:

iPhone. I just always have it with me, great for scouting and snapshots.  I’m so bummed about Instagram – I’m about to bid them farewell as they’ve screwed up their terms of service.  I love the simplicity of it (I stick with one filter) and the creativity born of constraints.

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE PHOTOGRAPHIC REVALATION GOING ON OUT THERE WHERE EVERYONE HAS A CAMERA?

A fellow photographer turned me onto Seth Godin’s post of the recent Christmas Eve: “True Professionals don’t fear amateurs”. In a nutshell professionals love it when passionate amateurs show up – it pushes us to higher levels. I think it’s great that everyone can create and share and film and edit and experiment.  Maybe it’s just capturing a retro snap of their friends or maybe it sparks entry into a creative field that we don’t even have a name for yet – everything moves forward.  I do feel that those pros in the middle that had satisfying careers for years can’t rest on their laurels, especially if they’re in client direct portrait, wedding or corporate work.

WHAT EXPECTATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHY INDUSTRY AS WE APPROACH IN 2013:

I expect the tech will always move forward – better tools. I do like where we are right now and feel that we’ve come to where it really is almost good enough. Maybe the industry should take a break for a while and let us flesh out the craft of what’s in our lap.  But people never rest J.  On a recent shoot for Adobe I saw some amazingly talented digital artists stretching CS6 in ways I would not have imagined.  I think the business side will continue to evolve: agency Art Buyers and Art Directors are being hired by their clients: in-house work will expand as the ad side becomes less about a single campaign and more about a broad brush of digital, social media, print and viral campaigns.   Editorial is changing rapidly and favors the niche mag that has great content.  Publications that deliver only good-enough images, design, and story will find themselves behind. It doesn’t matter if it’s on paper or pixels – one doesn’t kill the other, the source material is what counts.

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR CLIENTS THAT GET TO BENEFIT FROM YOUR CREATIVE EXPERTISE AND PASSION:

My favorite kind of shoot day is when we are all feeling the love.  The client, maybe an agency, definitely the crew, are all making it happen. I’ve had great shoots recently with FedEx, Adobe, Oakley and Polartec. On the editorial side – Runner’s World, Trail Runner, Men’s Journal, WebMD, Parade Mag. There are a few local clients that really get to benefit although my rates are a stretch up from the local norm.  I love shooting athletes of all ages. I love photographing people with passion.  Much of the local work doesn’t go in my portfolio but it keeps my chops up and is always fun.  The locals include Opera Santa Barbara, The SB Triathlon and California’s regional visitor’s bureaus.

TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THE IMAGE YOU ARE CHOOSING:

The concept here was an iconic image that shows the monument with a unique viewpoint.  The client, CMC, manufactures and distributes equipment for the rescue industry: firefighters, police, SWAT, search and rescue teams.  Their customers get into some dramatic locations and each year CMC publishes a catalog with an epic cover shot of their gear in action.

Mt Rushmore and men. © Kevin Steele / kevsteele.com

The immediate issue was access: the client and ad agency worked well in advance, almost a year, to get permission from the Park Service and Homeland Security. We flew into Rapid City, South Dakota and spent three days on location shooting in early morning and late afternoon.

With a climbing background I’m very comfortable working at heights and on ropes. The models were actual Park Service rangers and although some may mistake the rangers for climbing the faces they are actually rappelling down  – part of their job is to inspect the cracks on the faces.  There’s a big one crossing Lincoln’s nose and in 1998 an instrument was installed to monitor the expansion and contraction of the crack with the seasons.

Mt Rushmore and men. © Kevin Steele / kevsteele.com

For this shot I’m standing on the tip of Jefferson’s nose, secured by a rope to my climbing harness, leaning over to frame Lincoln, the rangers and the landscape.   If you watch Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” you’ll see Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint drop down between Jefferson and Washington at the end of the film (they were actually on a replica built back at MGM’s studio).

Mt Rushmore and men. © Kevin Steele / kevsteele.comThe strenuous approach to the top of the heads was almost as exciting as being out on the granite faces. Step off the trail and over the “No Access” fence, up past security cameras and sensors, scramble behind the heads, past the large Secret Chamber which was envisioned as a “Hall of Records” and onto the top.  Ropes secured and harnesses checked, the rangers went up and down, moving across the faces as I shot from different vantages.  Changing lenses had to be done with care.

Mt Rushmore and men. © Kevin Steele / kevsteele.comThis was not the client’s first select. But as I looked through the edit again and again this was clearly the photograph that best represented the sublime feeling of being out on the tip of Jefferson’s nose with a view very seldom seen.

FREE SHOUT OUT:

Shout outs?  All the support from my wife Linda and boys Nico and Aidan. Mom and Dad. My rep Doug Truppe. And of course my interns and assistants Meg, Meagan, and Megan (thank god they’re spelled differently!), Karla, Jerry and Anna.  Those embarrassing light-test photos we’ll save till the next spotlight series…

 

 

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To check out ALL of Kevin’s work 
please go to his website! If you are
a professional photographer or know
of one that should be in this series
please email us today.