Website business card and photography =DIY Branding by Leroy Mikell


Well I won't say that it is easy but it is helpful. For the past 4 months I have been confronting the problems of starting and maintaining a successful photography business based on my love of music and the artists who make it. When I first started the journey of making something so personal to me available for the public the very questions asked of every startup business were hard for me to answer. I signed up for a class called Craft your image in my final semester of Grad School at Syracuse University to help with all these foundation problems. I found out that I was into calling my own ideas stupid and not liking original things I was doing because it was nothing like everyone else's or I had never seen things done the way I wanted to do them. I realized by signing up for this class I had a chance to fix this undeserved loathing I had for my own business. I focused on everything my business did not have negatively which was stopping me from making improvements.
The thing about starting a journey is it allows you to track progress and focus on the little victories on your road towards looking like your minds eye.


I started branding the day I decided to build what I wanted to see. I bought a domain name and a host to realize it was a blank canvas...
My fear had brand new life! But it was broken up into manageable sizes this time. I needed more photos answer... Go shoot. I didn't know how to design a site, answer... You are looking at it build a site and make small adjustments until you feel you can invite people to see. I don't have business cards or a logo answer meet a graphic designer and collaborate. So on and so forth one project at a time.

My confidence is way up just by having my own things and knowing that my brand is waiting on me to continue building.

My next task is a business card printed on vinyl lps. I figure music photographer music materials. The problems of course are cost do I use stickers what will look clean and can you reproduce it in your free time. Meant II Shine is built painstakingly by me and I wouldn't have it any other way


I have nice things... by Leroy Mikell

This more of a short personal post about starting over or even starting for the first time. Last year I lost all my equipment because I carelessly left it in my car/trunk overnight. My light meter (prize possession) my three strobes stands and background stand not to mention my subwoofer and amp were all stolen. I didn't really sweat it I just kept going to school said a prayer over it and working towards replacing everything.
This last week I am happy to announce I have new equipment that is nicer than what I had previously. I am still missing light stands but people are donating bags and the right pieces are seeming to just pop up on craigslist and everything even the free stuff is just happening to match black and red.

I do believe in God and small things like the way things workout through no plan of your own solidify that faith.

I want you to dream about what you want and start it and tell me if I am crazy or not. There is no specific timeline so be patient and do the work and watch how you look up one day with the things you wanted and on your way to more.

Here are some shots of the new and improved stuff.


Will we ever be able to be great at Photography??? by Leroy Mikell

3 light set and grey backdrop.  You can see a background light creating a gradient a Key light creating a paramount light fall and a fill light simply filling in the shadows.

You may not know I am a masters candidate at a little school in Syracuse New York.  My issue one that I took the time to open discussion about last lecture was the will of the photographer to get things right on set way before opening editing software.  I use editing software because I don't want any problems from big corporations.  But I think we all know what programs I am referring to.

To set up the situation I was asking a question about getting a deeper black background while in the studio.  The instructor proceeded to show me how to achieve it in a few short steps in Pho... I mean the editing software...  and remarked your exposure was dead on!  I was officially confused because dead on accuracy requires no kind of Kentucky Windage.  

The answer I received is indicative of the photo industry right now.  While I did have all the information on my histogram in the right place and I metered the scene the way I was taught it still could have been better and I wanted to know how.  I inquired if I should drop the power on the lights illuminating my backdrop or if I should change a setting on my camera as a way to fix the issue.  Again you did everything correctly... Again I am confused because I just watched you "fix it" in the software.  This went on for a few more minutes until I got the answer I wanted to hear.  "I think you should always shoot tethered to a computer when in the studio" he says.  

This answer pleased me because I realized I could do everything in my power to get it perfect on my histogram and then a simple spot check on a monitor would allow me to fine tune further.  I think this is something the professionals know and put into practice religiously.  

The moral of my story is there is no amount of tuition that will make me a great photographer.  I need to do the work it takes to become the best.  No amount of retouching will make your technique better.  I am not against software and magic but I am against the lifeline it is providing to those unwilling to work on their work.