Interview with Chad Holder, Creator of Padport

Padport is in the iTunes App Store

I’ve been hearing for some time now about Padport. A few friends of mine knew who was developing the app (they wouldn’t elaborate) but, kept it very hush-hush, only to say that it was a portfolio app for the iPad, and that it was going to be all the rage. So, when I heard about the release of PadPort in the iTunes App Store last Wednesday afternoon, I decided I would get to the bottom of it. I made a couple calls and found out that a photography colleague of mine, here in Minneapolis, was the brain-child of Padport. I gave him a call and he agreed to this interview.

APhotoAssistant: Today, I’m speaking today with Chad Holder, a successful commercial advertising photographer from Minneapolis, and the creator of Padport. First thing, Chad, please tell us just exactly what Padport is and why did you decide to create it?

Chad Holder: PADPORT is a self contained, customizable portfolio for the iPad. It shows your images, your videos, and your contact information. It has an ABOUT  section where you can tell the viewer a little about yourself. We also tried to think beyond the photographer and planned for Models, Art directors, Stylists, Reps, Illustrators, Architects, Cabinet makers, Jewelry makers, really anyone who wants to show their works through a digital portfolio. [Read more…]

Chase Jarvis and Zack Arias Talk Shop

I just finished watching and participating in a livestream webcast over at Chase Jarvis’ blog. Not sure yet if there will be a link for a replay, so check at his site. You can search #cjlive in Twitter to see the live banter during the show.

Zack Arias is in Seattle to do his creativeLive workshop. Definitely, check it out. The price won’t be an issue, guaranteed!

Chase and Zack gave a great share, after a few audio problems were squared away, and their candid, genuine banter was just two friends talking shop. They answered many questions, one of which I posed to them, asking if they felt that photo assistants needed to do anything differently to succeed as an assistant in today’s economy and changing digital landscape. They both chimed in wholeheartedly, stating that it all boils down to attitude and persistence to get the good gigs that everyone is seeking. They both gave personal examples of how members of their current staff made themselves available in an honest and personable way that could not be ignored. Zack’s studio manager was even turned down twice by Zack before his persistence landed him the job. Great stuff!

Many other questions dealt with photographers finding work, building relationships, creative inspiration, photography school vs. no school… everything from both Chase and Zack’s personal and professional experience. It was a great talk, just like I was right there chatting it up with them. Good times!

I dug up the video that Zack produced the winter before last, as a guest blogger for Scott Kelby’s blog. I thought it was appropriate for any shooters who are having any doubts about their abilities as a photographer.

APhotoAssistant Talks With Twin Cities Photo Assistant TJ Turner

Too shy for light-test?

TJ Turner is a photo assistant and photographer based in St. Paul, MN. I sat down with him recently to talk about some of the stuff going on in his world of photography.

APhotoAssistant: Hi, TJ, thanks for spending some time with us today. Tell me when you first started assisting and, if you went to school?

TJ: Hey thanks for having me.  Well let’s start from the top… I went to a few different colleges in Minnesota trying to find a photo program that I liked.  In 2006, I toured a school in Massachusetts called Hallmark Institute of Photography. I was not ready to move 2,000 miles from home at that point in time, but after trying out some different schools in Minnesota, I was ready to give it a shot and moved out east in August of 2008.  It was an intense ten month program, and glorious, it was a complete commercial program.  From there I learned about assisting and the basis for what is done on a set.  So I guess my first technical assisting job was over spring break of 2009 with Matt Karas on a set for Pointe Magazine.  That week I also lined up an internship with Studio D for the Hearst Corporation for that summer.  That’ss where I really got my start assisting.

APA: So what was your overall experience with school? Was school necessary for you to get started in your photography career?

TJ: I had a great experience with school, I made some great friendships and great business connections as well. For myself school was a definite yes, as far as getting a start in photography. My parents work in elementary education and biological sciences, so not much of an arts background. I was starting basically from the ground up. My opinion on the school vs. no school debate is that in most cases school is going to help, but my preference is in the direction of trade schools. Hallmark was a perfect spring board into the commercial photography world, but it really depends on the person and their background. A person who has a very heavy photographic background is going to be less likely to need what someone like me needed to get that basis built for their knowledge in photography.

TJ hanging out in NYC.

APA: When did you return to Minnesota and tell us why you decided to come back? I mean, did you think about staying out east? New York, or somewhere else, maybe?

TJ: Well I came back to Minnesota this past August, for several reasons, but one of the primary reasons was that New York, where my internship was, was expensive and I was running very low on funds. Initially, I had thought I could stretch a dollar a little farther, but it’s a pricey place to live, and also I had been away from family and friends for a long stretch of time. Plus the Twin Cities are a great place to live and work, and there is a pretty good market here in the creative sector. So I thought that I would make a run of it here. So far so good. I’ve been meeting some great people and have been working on some interesting sets.

APA: What sort of interesting sets have you been working on? Tell us a little about a recent shoot.

TJ: Lately I’ve been working on some fairly simple sets, I’ve been working a lot with Chris Bohnhoff. Chris’ specialty is with food, so we did some promo work recently fro Brother’s Deli in Minneapolis, photographing sandwiches and etc. We also did some editorial shooting for an in-house magazine for Best Buy, and one of their designers. More recently, I’m working some with Sara Rubinstein, and we just finished Fashion Fight Night 4 for Twin Cities Metro Mag. So its been a busy past couple weeks, with shoots and prep work. Otherwise I’ve been on a few interesting sets in New York, where there have been guards on sets with expensive jewelry, and I’ve also met Dr. Oz on a set for O Magazine. Nothing too extreme yet, but I’m enjoying everything that comes my way.

APA: Wow, TJ! Sounds like you’ve been keeping pretty busy. Has the economy impacted how much work you’re getting? What’s it like out there, on your own? Tell us a little bit about running your own business, starting out in your first year.

Horsin' around, errrr.... light-test on location.

Horsin' around, errrr... light-test on location.

TJ: I’m definitely enjoying everything. The way the economy is effecting assisting is fairly unfamiliar to me, I entered at what was a very rough time for assistants and photographers (as far as I’ve been told). But I’ve been keeping busy with assisting and shooting my own work for fun and portfolio. As far as running my own business its interesting, but I’ve been lucky to have a large number of people that I can use for resources and are willing to help me and explain the ins-and-outs of the business side of assisting, which needless to say can be relatively confusing.  But its very exciting and is part of the game.

APA: What sort of things do you like to shoot? Do you know you’re style, or do you think you’re still developing that?

TJ: I like to shoot most anything. But primarily I prefer to photograph people. Lately I’ve been really into lifestyle and environmental portraits.  I’m definitely open to other types and styles of photography, so I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have a couple preferences but I’m really open to just about anything, with a few exceptions. As long as I’m dealing with photography I’m happy really, mostly.

APA: Have you had any paid shooting gigs yet in your career?

TJ: I’ve done a few, primarily band work and a few headshots, and some other things, as well. But, I’d really like to get into some lifestyle shooting, along with environmental portrait work.

APA: What’s the best piece of advice, best technique, best use of gear, or just something you learned, that you would like to pass on to other assistants and emerging photographers?

TJ: I think that the best advice is that its a huge game of connections, when it comes down to it the creative sector is a lot of who you know. So always be friendly and always put your best foot forward on every set you work on, whether its a huge production or assisting on head shots. If you can treat every set like its the most important set you’ve worked on and bring a positive attitude. Otherwise don’t be afraid to say you don’t know how something works.

APA: Sounds like sound advice, TJ! Thanks for spending a little time with me here and letting me get your perspective on things today in the photo assisting world. Before I let you go, can you give us a sense of what else you are into these day?

What’s spinning in the iPod?

TJ: Magnetic Fields, Velvet Underground, Old Crow Medicine Show, and the occasional random Disney song.

APA: Your new favorite website?

TJ: I’m a complete Hulu addict, otherwise I don’t surf too much… I just stick with a handful of sites.

APA: Your favorite photographer today?

TJ: For the last few years, Sam Jones. His image quality is amazing.

APA: And how about a new favorite book?

TJ: Let the Great World Spin is what I’m reading now.

APhotoAssistant Interviews Flashlight PhotoRental

Flashlight PhotoRental is a lighting rental company for photographers, located in Northeast Minneapolis. The head cheese over there is this dude they call Raoul Duke.

APhotoAssistant: When did Flashlight open the doors for business and why did you start the company?

Flashlight: The idea for Flashlight was born in early 2007. I started buying gear and renting it to friends. It took a very long time, like the Johnny Cash song, “One piece at a time”, to acquire everything. In May 2008, we moved to Northeast Minneapolis and officially opened.

The reason that I started Flashlight is two fold. First, there wasn’t any place in Minneapolis that offered good professional photo rental and service. Secondly, and more importantly, I’m interested in creating a vehicle that can connect a lot of different creatives. As a photographer, you can only promote and create your photographic aesthetic. Flashlight, as a company, is able to do so much more. We have commissioned Miss Amy Jo and Hatch Show Print to design and screenprint promo pieces. For our first anniversary, we sponsored Rock the Garden, an alt rock concert that turns out 10,000 people and benefits the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. We have donated and advertised with different organizations that we believe in such as MPR, ASMP, The Walker Art Center, Heifer International, Second Harvest, Too Much Chocolate, Resource Magazine, and What’s the Jackanory?

Flashlight is a sponsor of Rock The Garden, to benefit the upkeep of the Sculpture Gardens at The Walker in Minneapolis

APA: Its great to see someone such as yourself advocate the arts so much, all across the dial. What has the response been, from colleagues, and others in the community?

Flashlight: The response has been great. People really respond to authenticity. We are not a corporate machine. We love photography and Flashlight is how we connect to photographers. People see the love and want to be a part of that.

APA: What is your background Raoul?

Flashlight: I was cursed early in my life with the knowledge that I wanted to be a photographer. I grew up in Chicago and got my BFA from Columbia. I assisted little studios for no money. I moved to Minneapolis to pursue my photographic life in 1994. Met my art photographer wife Kristine Heykants. I really worked as an assistant and an editorial photographer right until I opened Flashlight.

APA: So you have a real good understanding what photographers need when they rent equipment. What lines of gear does Flashlight supply photographers who rent from you?

Flashlight: What we rent is pretty simple. We carry Profoto 7a, 7b, and Acute2 systems and we are starting to get into Litepanels (Micro Pro and 1x1s). We have a wide selection of grip gear as well (Matthews mombos, rollers, nets, silks, solids, fans, foggers and production equipment). The complete catalog is online at the Flashlight website.

Andrew Hetheringon sporting some warm Flashlight swag on the subway.

APA: Your promo materials and swag are quite the hit almost everywhere I look–here in the Twin Cities, on the heads and chests of assistants everywhere, on blogs like, and I’ve seen some interestingly placed stickers in photos that keeping popping up. Is this the start of an underground movement, or have you had a hand in this?

Flashlight: Its totally a movement. One of our clients actually tattooed his chest with the Flashlight logo.

APA: Your involvement within the photo community is more and more visible these days, and also with the arts in general. But, as you mentioned before, a rock concert? Why is this across-the-board advocacy important to you? Why are people tattooing your logo on their chest?

Flashlight: Our interests don’t run in a straight line. The name of our company came from a Parliament-Funkadelic song. Music is in the DNA of our company. Any day that we can incorporate any hip-hop or punk rock sensibilities into our work is a good day. I feel that we all are responsible to create the culture that we want to live in. Our philanthropic goals are to make photography more accessible to everyone, not just the people in this business. People are tattooing themselves because they believe in what we are trying to do.

APA: So what’s next for Flashlight? Any new fun stuff in the works?

Flashlight: We have a lot of stuff in the works. We are collaborating with Sara Rubinstein on Metro Magazine Fashion Fight Night this weekend. In May we will be celebrating our second anniversary and will be sponsoring the Rock the Garden concert again. We have a series of lighting workshops and photography shows that will happen later in the year. 2010 is going to be an exciting year at Flashlight Photorental.

APA: Sounds like a lot of great things going on at Flashlight, Raoul. Thanks for spending a little time with us. Just a couple more things to pick your brain a little further…

APA: What’s spinning in the iPod?

Flashlight: Doomtree, Chuck E. Weiss, Dessa, Gil Scott-Heron, and Mink Stole.

APA: Your new favorite site?

Flashlight: Wooster Collective.

APA: Your favorite photographer today?

Flashlight: Luis Gonzalez Palma

APA: And how about a new favorite book?

Flashlight: Edward Burtynsky’s, Oil

Flashlight’s website and gear catalog can be found here. Also check out the FlashlightPhotoRentalNewsFeed for other fun photo and art stuff.