Studio & Tattoo Photography
Tattoo Photography & Environmental Portraits by Sean F Boggs
Why Self-Assignments Are Essential for Professional Photographers
From what I’ve experienced, self-assignments have the tendency to act as self-fulfilling prophecies for what I do next for my clients. If I get out and shoot something that is interesting to me (the original reason that I became a photographer) that will be the driving force behind how my company grows. This is a philosophy I strongly believe.
Environmental Portrait Photography at Speakeasy Tattoo in LA, California
Back in 2019, I was in Los Angeles for a couple of industrial architecture jobs, I produced three stock shoots. Below is an account of one that I found inspiring. I went there first for my soul as an artist but also to inspire my current and future clients to send me to another location just like it.
Embracing the Unique
We went to Scott Glazier's Speakeasy Tattoo studio. Scott is an oil painting artist turned tattoo artist who owns an invitation-only studio in Los Angeles. Somehow through the grace of networking, my associate Mark Leffingwell got us an invitation to visit. We found the location, a small, rundown warehouse building. We rang the bell and were greeted by Nicole, Scott's assistant. She showed us into a hallway that felt like a mix between a junkyard, an art house, and a sick motorcycle museum.
As we arrived at the back studio of his tattoo lair, we met Scott as he was tattooing a cool, space rune scene on a client’s forearm. There was no guarantee I would be able to photograph in his studio, but it was already super interesting.
Seizing an Opportunity
We used our portfolios, the Bulleit Rye, and some philosophy to win Scott's trust. He let us do the photoshoot! Four hours later we wrapped up with the above image of his hands. This shoot fills me with satisfaction and gratitude because I love to capture environmental portraits, (a portrait that shows someone's occupation or culture). This is what my clients want to hire me for most, which I’m pretty sure is because it’s what I truly love.
I shot Speakeasy Tattoo as a self-assignment because I'm inspired by Scott Glazier and his drive for lifelong artistry. He chose to be what he is, win or lose, success or failure.
New Unique Portrait Opportunities Followed
It’s interesting (and also not surprising) how success can come directly after you put in the hard work that everyone tells you will pay off. It’s safe to say, though, that hard work is much easier if you love what you do. Whatever you photograph, have a manifest destiny. Make it your own. I shoot self-assignments regularly because I want my clients and potential clients to be inspired by my adventures.
You should do the same! Self-assignments drive the culture of your company. and I know this because following this shoot, I photographed four environmental portraits in October of 2019 for four different magazines.
In a note that shows the transient nature of life, Scott said that he had to make his tattoos now because his hands would not last forever. I asked him why. His answer? Arthritis.
Thanks for looking at my photographs and reading my blog. Love you, dudes, stay strong and go be rad.
Interested in Environmental Photography Services? Reach out Today!
Contact me to ask about environmental portrait services, or with additional questions about this photoshoot. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for great examples of environmental photography and more.