When I first heard about Mike Larson’s now famous “Camera Toss” I thought he was crazy. I couldn’t get past the fact of throwing my camera in the air and it wasn’t until hearing him speak about it did I really get it. It’s so much more than just a way to get peoples attention, it is something so unique that really makes people remember you and allows his studio to stand apart from the crowd. And if you ever get to listen to Mike speak sometime you will find out his Camera toss is really more than just something to catch people’s attention, its about a unique way to show his passion. It’s not a cheesy gimmick to get peoples attention but something he has fun with. I think we can all apply this concept to our business (and for those of us too scared to throw our cameras or if your like me too clumsy to catch it, just think of other ways you can be yourself with your clients and let your gaurd down) We all have unique ways of approaching our shoots and should embrace our true self. Focus on letting the real you that be what shines in your work. This “you” factor is what will draw clients to you.
Here is some info from Mike about his “Camera Toss” and some awesome photos.
“The first time I attempted a camera toss was during a portrait session in 2006. My initial goal was so that I could get a high angle shot in a tall vineyard that maximized the beautiful background and still got the couple. I was nervous at first, but thrilled with the results! As I experimented, I found that by spinning the camera, the lens stated facing down and would orbit like a satellite up in the air. The first time I did the camera toss at a wedding for a group of groomsmen, everyone became very animated and excited. I learned that this was much more than just a really unique way of capturing people with a cool angle, it was a conversation starter and a great way to break the ice and get people excited! More than a cool photo, it is an experience that they remember and share later and since it was completely revolutionary at weddings, it created a lot of buzz and has never stopped being talked about or requested. Thus by viral marketing, my name has spread and people have heard about “the guy who does a camera toss” among photographers. Since then I have done the photo toss around the world at weddings and on speaking tours and workshops and now I’ve had photographers from all over the world tell me about their clients raving about it, in Singapore, Indonesia, Germany, and many others. My record for the biggest group of people in the camera toss is 283 while I was doing a workshop in Manila in the Philippines. Here in the States, the largest group was Pictage’s company photo this last fall with 110 people. I was the first to do a camera toss in my sphere of the industry, but now photographers around the world are doing it and being first in their circles. I think thats awesome because now people are talking about them and what they do which is what we want as visual artists.
I continue to shoot with a studio of 5 photographers who work with me and some of them do it, not everyone, but the Camera Toss is not our brand per say, its just one way we generated excitement and buzz and got others talking about our business. Whatever it is that makes you stand out, using that to grow your business virally is the best way to go!
For those of you who want to do the camera toss on your own, you set your camera body with a fisheye lens, a quick shutter speed of 4000 or more, and set your aperture upwards of F4.5, and have your ISO match the light outside, of course it is ideal with more light so you can use a lower ISO. Then set your camera at a 2 second delay, with the bracketing on for 5 shots, 1 exposed right,, 1/3 over, 1/3 under, etc. Spin the camera as you toss it and make sure you are ready to catch it!
Just get out there and do things that the average photographer is not doing and you’ll stand out and rise to the top. Anybody can do it. The most important thing as a photographer is to have fun which has a contagious effect on your subjects. The more you have fun, the more your clients will have fun!”