When I contacted Pepper, I thought it was some kind of marketing name that he was using but as it turns out his name is Pepper. Anyway this young photographer is doing some amazing work. Have a read.
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Pepper Yandell, I’m 20 years old, and just recently moved to Dallas, TX from Oklahoma. I’m an adrenaline junkie, like meeting cool people, and like creating things. I’m a graphic/web designer, photographer, videographer, and marketing consultant. I’m out to have fun, and loving what I do makes me forget that it’s a job!
If you’d like to see more of my work or see what I’m up to:
What made you get into photography?
About 3 years ago my brother bought a Canon 30D, and I thought it was awesome — so I went and bought a Canon Rebel XTi. I played around with it mostly, just taking pictures every now and then. I posted some of them on Facebook, and apparently people thought they were good, and several people asked me to take their pictures. I started off doing photos for some bands, some photos for motocross race events, and just portraits for whoever wanted them. The fact taht I made a little money doing this was really cool to me at the time. That’s what me decide I wanted to take it a little more seriously, that and I wanted to take better photos than my brother.
How did you get started?
Well after I did those first few shoots and decided to pursue photography, typical high school stuff happened and I didn’t pick up a camera for about a year and a half. After I got out of high school I was sick of waiting tables, and decided to restart my photography business. So what was previously “Photography by Pepper” became “Pepper Perfect”. I made a new website, new cards, and came up with a basic plan of how I was going to get clients. I did several shoots for free, just to try and improve my skill, and network at the same time.
Many of these shoots were for close friends, but I made them out to be senior photo sessions as this was the market I was going after considering I had several hundred connections in the senior class. I started to get a couple senior photo shoots here and there, then some couples, and then some advertising work for shows and events, etc. I continued to do random shoots to broaden my range of skills and not be limited to doing just portraits. That means I shot a few cars, some landscape, some insects, product photos, anything.
Work was few and far between, and I was getting really tired of shooting senior pictures, so I decided to start calling myself a commercial/advertising photographer. I began focusing on shooting things I knew could be considered material for a commercial or advertising purpose. 75% of the work at that time was networking, but once you get the job, it’s 100% about the quality of your work. I got some cool jobs for some decent sized companies such as Rossion Supercars based out of Florida, Steak N’ Shake, various websites, and now where I began working full time about 10 days ago, Jotech Motorsports.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
With my new job at Jotech Motorsports I’m mainly shooting cars, but also with models. So it’s a unique blend of portraiture and automotive photography. These particular shoots provide some interesting challenges in terms of lighting, as both subjects are so much different in size which makes framing and composition becomes complicated. I’m also continuing to pursue other commercial/advertising jobs for various types of companies. I’m glad I practiced all sorts of different types of photography along the way, because you can really wind up doing any kind of photography for these clients — portraiture, product photos, cars, landscape, real estate, etc.
What gear are you using?
Canon 7D, Canon T1i, Canon 24-105mm F/4 L, Canon 10-22mm EF-S, AlienBees Lights, Vagabond Power Pack, Paul C Buff Modifiers and Accessories, RadioPopper Transmitters and Receivers, iMac 27″, MacBook Pro 13″ (for on-location tethered shooting), Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 3, GoPro’s
Whats your favourite lens and why?
The Canon 24-105mm F/4 L is my favorite lens for general purpose. The reason I prefer it over the 24-70mm F/2.8 is because it has Image Stabilizing, and also I rarely use an F-Stop setting as low as 2.8 considering my max sync speed is 1-200/1-250 to be able to use my lights. I love the 10-22mm for video though.
How are you marketing yourself?
I’ve been marketing myself through Facebook, Flickr, various forums and communities, and of course working your contacts. It only takes one good contact to bring you potentially dozens of clients.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken? (Attach it)
I don’t believe I can narrow that down to just one photo, so I’ll post one for each type of photography I’ve done.
Auto + Model
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Don’t get lost in the business side of this profession. It’s easy to place too much importance on marketing and networking, and then lose the focus on the quality of the work you’re marketing in the first place. Practice and practice, do a little bit of everything and figure out what you enjoy most doing, then learn everything you can about that industry — study the pros and figure out why they do what they do.