Photography Advice

Erich Saide: Being Successful as a Photographer With ADHD

The TOGCHAT Photography Podcast

Erich Saide - TOGCHAT Guest
Erich Saide

This week, I had an amazing discussion with Vancouver based Erich Saide.

Erich Saide is a Commercial, Fitness & Lifestyle, Celebrity and Portrait photographer specializing in producing exceptional, creative and technical images born out of his love of connecting with people.

Forming a relationship with his subjects as soon as possible is paramount to his success, being able to draw out the best in people sets his photography apart from the rest.

Photography started as a love for experimenting with light and once he learned a thing or two through his studies, he became a master at manipulating light to compliment the wide variety of projects he has collaborated on over his 20 year career.

Some of his favourite clients include Advertising Agencies, Celebrities, PR Agencies and TV & Movie Productions. Winner of the Communication Arts 58th Photography Annual Competition.

If he isn’t out shooting in Gastown, the area around his beautiful work/live studio loft in Vancouver, you might find him walking his dog Bella or taking advantage of the diverse city / mountainscapes that Vancouver has to offer.

Release Date: May 12th, 2021
Transcript | TOGCHAT Resources

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Founder: Humans Of Support initiative

This is the YouTube video that Erich mentioned about ADHD


Erich Saide: What it takes to be successful as a photographer dealing with ADHD

Joe: [00:00:00]
My guest this week is a Vancouver based commercial advertising photographer, who is a master at manipulating light, both in the studio and on location. And he is a photographer who is dedicated to making a difference in the world. Stay tuned for an awesome conversation with Mr. Erich Saide.

DJ: [00:00:22]
You are listening to the TOGCHAT Photography Podcast, the only podcast dedicated to the HOWS and WHYS, behind creating consistently great photographs. Here’s your host, Joe Edelman.

Joe: [00:00:40]
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a new episode of the TOGCHAT Photography Podcast. I am your host, Joe Edelman. And my mission is to help photographers like you to develop a better understanding of the house and WHYS behind great photography.

Before I go any further, let me wish you all a very happy National Photography Month.

That’s right. In the United States, May is a month of celebration of the art of photography officially recognized by Congress in 1987. National Photography Month is when we celebrate the history of photography and how it continues to shape the modern world. You know, I think that may have been the last time our Congress agreed on anything.

If you don’t live in the US, no worries. You can celebrate along with us. Just pick up your camera and create. Have fun and embrace the opportunity to share your art with the world. And while you’re sharing gang, please let your friends on social media know about TOGCHAT. You are a part of a growing community of photographers in over 100 countries who are tuning in each week. Please help me spread the word.

My thought for the week: these last few weeks, I keep imagining myself taking on a fine art self-portrait project. I don’t know why, but I just can’t picture myself doing it.

DJ: [00:02:13]
Next up is a TOGCHAT exclusive interview.

Joe: [00:02:16]
My guest this week is Mr. Erich Saide. Erich is based in Vancouver, Canada, and he is a very successful commercial, fitness and lifestyle, celebrity and portrait photographer, who photographs primarily people.

Being able to draw out the best in the people. He photographs sets his photography apart from the rest. Photography started as a love for experimenting with light. And once he learned a thing or two through his studies, he became a master at manipulating light to compliment the wide variety of projects that he has collaborated on over his 20-year career. Some of his favorite clients include advertising agencies, celebrities, PR agencies, and TV and movie productions. And he is a past winner of the Communication Arts, 58th Photography Annual Competition.

Let’s dig in. Erich Saide, thank you so much for joining me on TOGCHAT. How are you?

Erich Saide: [00:03:17]
I’m doing pretty good. It’s nice to be here.

Believe me, the honor is mine. I really, really appreciate your time. And Erich, look, I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff that I want to ask you about, so I’m going to dive right in.

You described yourself on your website and in your marketing as a commercial fitness and lifestyle, celebrity and portrait photographer. What kinds of imagery does that involve?

Everything from like going outdoors into nature here in Vancouver. To shooting for my fitness lifestyle. Too, depending on what the celebrity stuff requires, that could be in my studio in Gastown, where I live, which is basically a work /live studio with amazing scenery and a rooftop, to going into the streets of Vancouver, depending on obviously the level of comfort for them. And then on the commercial end, I do shoot that diverse range in that, whether it be advertising campaigns to some beauty and skincare companies, but my main focus I’d say in all these areas is people. That’s where I aim towards.

And especially being in Vancouver, which for folks that don’t know, Vancouver’s kind of got a huge TV and film industry going on. You do a lot of work with entertainment folks and celebrities. Yes.

Erich Saide: [00:04:28]
Yes. Yes.

Very cool. So are you allowed to drop any names?

Erich Saide: [00:04:32]
Yeah, a couple. Steve Nash I’ve worked with, that was pretty awesome. Amazing meeting him. Lori Laughlin, who we all know her for the good and the bad.

Joe: [00:04:41]
Now was that before or after she wound up in the news that you worked with her?

Erich Saide: [00:04:44]
This was before. Yes she’s a really sweet human, like really, really nice.

Joe: [00:04:48]
I want to talk to you about a word that I struggle with. I think a lot of new and young photographers put too much emphasis on this word and its style.

When I look at your work, obviously it’s got a kind of very commercial vibe to it because that’s what you do, but. I don’t see a photographer who’s got this philosophy of, “this is me, this is how I do it and that’s what I do all the time”. It seems like you approach every project a little bit differently. Tell me about your style.

Erich Saide: [00:05:19]
Yeah. So for me to describe my style has always been a difficult, but I know my lighting is I’d say my thing, like I’m very good at my lighting. And I do approach that differently for every style of client or shoot based on their needs. I’ve been doing this 20 years full-time and, I think a lot of that, honestly, from being in Vancouver and having a large network and people coming to me for work, I have been able to develop that maybe a bit of a chameleon style where I can fit in where I need to fit in.

And as long as it’s something I want to shoot. I used to shoot weddings and a lot of the weddings, even when I was in school, my other fellow students would be like, Oh, why are you shooting these? Weddings where a way of learning lighting and learning how to work in different scenarios is very fast and not being able to screw up. And so that was sort of the beginning of me being able to just figure things out on the fly really quick and make it work and, and turn it into whatever it’s meant to be with obviously direction from clients initially, especially with advertising stuff.

So that’ll be very much what their needs are, but being able to work with that and work with what’s needed. Good collaboration.

DJ: [00:06:22]
Enjoying the show. Please take a moment and share it with your friends on social media.

Joe: [00:06:27]
So that’s very cool. You talk about evolving from kind of weddings and so did you go right from weddings into. Commercial advertising work or were there some other iterations in between?

Erich Saide: [00:06:39]
I started shooting weddings back in school, like 22 years ago. And I probably wasn’t till about four or five years ago, I stopped shooting those. And that was just a word of mouth thing, not a focus. It was just sort of a side business.

I just went into shooting a lot of different stuff, to be honest. My career, I want to say it was, I haven’t directed it. And maybe a lot of you know, I touched on this in earlier conversations. I learned, you know, having an ADHD brain and not really not learning how to focus, sort of just going with the flow is a lot of what I was doing.

And that kind of took me wherever it took me, which I love everything I’ve done.

Joe: [00:07:13]
Since you’re willing to talk about that and by the way, I want to thank you in advance for your transparency. Yeah. I think a lot of folks today struggle with, you know, ADHD, anxiety, things like that. So I’m, I’m curious, how does that impact your work?

So you, you mentioned to me earlier that you just actually were diagnosed a couple of years ago. Was there anything about your work that maybe led you to believe, Hey, this is an issue, but regardless of that, once you found out. How do you deal with that? And how does it impact your work?

I found out in 2019 and it wasn’t till later on that I didn’t really think much of it except for obviously distracted or what have you.

And then later in 2019, I came across a YouTube channel explaining ADHD and the characteristics. And that was my empowerment or understanding of okay. My whole life, everything I’ve ever beat myself up for internally was just the characteristics that the ADHD now it doesn’t make it any easier for sure.

I’m not ADHD. I’m just, it’s part of who I am, or my brain. But when I look back, I see how it’s really impacted my life on the areas of not so much the photo-shoots cause that’s the thing is once you’re in your element, I’m on fire. When it came to the other stuff where the business side of things, keeping things on track.

A lot of this is why my career, when I look back went everywhere, because. You don’t see goals, goals are just different to this kind of brain type for whatever reason. And you just, it’s hard to stay on track. And so you see shiny hubcaps and you go in that direction for that shoot or whatever it may be.

So, you know looking back all these different areas from finances to things you want to do in the business, but you just don’t take action, even though you work hard. And I have worked super hard and it’s super frustrating seeing certain areas not be where I hoped they would be. But again, that just ties back to now me understanding, okay, that’s just because of ADHD. Now what I’m working on is building a team around me that I’ll take those tasks off that I was doing and let their brains work for that. Let’s get them to do that. And then I can go and do what I do best as a photographer. You know, its neurodiversity, they call it. This is why I’m good at what I am. This is why I excel for sure.

Joe: [00:09:15]
That’s awesome. And I really sincerely, I appreciate your sharing that. So I want to latch on to one word that you used. I’ve heard you use this word in some other interviews that you did and you use it in several contexts and that word is team.

Erich Saide: [00:09:30]

Joe: [00:09:31]
Talk to me about what that means to you and even how that impacts your workflow when you’re shooting.

Having an amazing team is everything. I’ve had them, and then last year things dissolved because of the pandemic. But just having people there you could trust, and they’re taking the pressure off of you to be able to do what you can do.

And they’re like an extension of you really in the end. If you need something done, like I had a guy I worked for three years, full-time with me. And coming home after the shoots, he’d be able to take care of stuff after. I could go work on what I needed to do, and he could be going through the images, doing stuff to the client on that end, or when you’re on a set, having an amazing hair and makeup, or stylists, they’re jumping in to do what they need to do.

You’re not seeing them looking on their phone or something like that, where you’re having to grab their attention. Now they’re aware. That’s what I look for. If you’re trying to grab their attention to do their job, that’s someone that probably not going to work with too often.

Finding that team that’s driven like you are. That wants to get somewhere. Like that’s what I’m working on, rebuilding that now. It’s not necessarily someone that’s going to be your full-time assistant for every, I want to find that person. That’s like you driven, then you’re going to both help each other as a team, help them rise and rise and then, you know, bring someone else up and really help them lift them up.

You know, that those are, those are the qualities and teams that I look for.

Joe: [00:10:41]
From a sales standpoint, when you’re dealing with a new client, not, not your existing clients, they know you, they appreciate you. They understand the value in what you do, but with a new client, do you run into any obstacles in terms of clients understanding the value of this team that you’ve assembled and obviously our, our billing them for, or, and it’s okay to say if you are, are you at a point in your career where people see the value just by looking at your work?

Erich Saide: [00:11:08]
It could go both ways. And I think that could be better the Vancouver market as well, too, that you get some people that are shocked at the price or whatever. And then, and then you get some people that are like, Oh, you should be charging more. I’m like, Oh, okay. Thank you. You know, I think a lot of that is educating your client and a lot of the clients, don’t the ones that don’t understand the cost and don’t see the value once they work with you.

And then they see it, then they get it. And, uh, and then the people that don’t, they’re probably not your client anyways, right?

Joe: [00:11:34]
So I’m curious, given that you’ve been at it for 20 years now started with weddings. You just, you just let this roll off your tongue very easily, that not everybody is your client. How far into your career did it take you to be comfortable saying that and meeting it and feeling it.

Erich Saide: [00:11:54]
20 years. I’m just kidding. It’s funny. Cause there were those times when you’re, you know, things might be a little slower and you got to take those jobs that you don’t love. And that’s just, you got to pay the bills.

Joe: [00:12:10]
Let’s rewind a little bit. Going back 20 years, you went to school. Tell me a little bit about that experience. I’m guessing that 20 years ago. There was still some film education involved. And at that point, what was the experience with school? Like, but more importantly, what did in school prepare you for?

Erich Saide: [00:12:56]
School was great for getting the basics? I wasn’t, cause it was a night. School is not a full-time program. You know, I was able to get the basics in there, learn the stuff and then go out and do it. And that’s where, you know, honestly the true learning is in doing. You can get the basic city and read the books, but it isn’t until you, you know, you’re out and you’re assisting other people and you’re doing these things and learning that’s where you’re at and to get good at what you do for sure.

Without a doubt, like even and all in all. Honestly, I did three years of night school and I don’t think I completed one course. And when I look back now understanding ADHD, I kind of get it, but my instructors were always like, your good stick with it. And that was what pushed me to. Continue. And then when I went full time, you know, starving artists, of course, but that was, you know, going in there and assisting these other photographers and all honesty at this level I’m at now.

I want to get down to LA and assist some of the way bigger photographers too, for me to still continue my growth and learning, you know, and, and that not to segue to it now, but that’s sort of, my mindset is you’re always learning and there’s no ego. It’s like, lets continue this.

Joe: [00:13:59]
Just a little side note, if you could pick one photographer right now in LA that you would love to assist with or who would you call?

Erich Saide: [00:14:05]
Probably Art Strieber. Yeah. That’s that’s where I would love to be at that level.

Joe: [00:14:10]
Hopefully he’ll hear this. So change gears a little bit here on your Instagram profile, you have a fun little short video. Where you list five important tools that you use for you, your photography, right.

And you know, of course you list your Nikon camera, and we’ll talk a little bit about gear later. And you mentioned your tether tools gear, which of course really important. And you mentioned your pro photo lighting, and we’re going to talk a lot more about lighting because I know that’s important to you and you mentioned your capture one software, but right after your camera, which was number one in your list, number two, on your list, you listed as a smile.

As your second, most important piece of gear. So how did a smile make it onto that list?

Erich Saide: [00:14:58]
That was my social media girl helping me. Cause I was smiling, but what it is a personality, your smile, these things. This is what I feel. That’s what’s important with whomever you’re working. Doesn’t matter who you’re working with.

That’s how you’re going to bring out the real person or the human you’re like that is out of them. And then you gotta be, I find if you’re more jovial and happy and just, you know, communicating a smile is a file’s easiest way to communicate because that’s what they see behind the camera, whatever it is.

Joe: [00:15:27]
I get that. So I’m also curious then given now, especially that, you know, you’re dealing with ADHD and also just the reality of being a commercial photographer. There are going to be times on a set where things are not working the way you want them to work. It could be tech, it could be location, any number of things.

How do you mix those two things? Is there, you know, is there a point where you’re kind of acting your way through it to keep the mood on the set light and keep things happy? How do you deal with that?

Erich Saide: [00:16:02]
This comes out to more of a problem solving aspect. So if I could say my super power, what it is that with the ADHD, that is what it is.

I can stay calm and just analyze a situation like that and still be with the client and just say, Hey, just give me a second, take a breath because it’s out and then I’ll figure it out. And that’s it. It’s weird. That’s my strength. That is something that just comes, you know, at the same time, obviously it can be.

It can be a little stressful because there’s no time involved that you’re slowing down a set, but it usually can be fixed fairly quick and you figure it out. Okay. Let’s move on to this now, while we’re working on this and, you know, problem solving is definitely my strong point for sure.

Joe: [00:16:42]
Wow, that’s cool. So do you find essentially that it would be fair to say that all good photography is problem solving in one form or another?

Erich Saide: [00:16:50]
Oh for sure it is.

Joe: [00:16:52]
I know that you do a lot of headshots. So what portion of your business would you say is headshots?

Erich Saide: [00:17:01]
Probably about 20, 30% from head shots being accurate to business, you know, what have you, it’s not a huge portion or maybe, maybe 40%.

Joe: [00:17:09]
I know that in today’s world, not just on the acting and the modeling side, but with the business, there’s a higher demand for that. What in your mind makes a great headshot?

Erich Saide: [00:17:22]
It’s capturing the person who they are. You know, and, and for what that purpose is, of course, sorry, I’m laughing too. What? I did a business portrait that, uh, can I, can I tell a story?

Joe: [00:17:32]
Sure, absolutely. Go for it.

Erich Saide: [00:17:34]
Business guy that had come to me at the beginning of last year. And we finally got to do his photos in August, and we were shooting here and his wife came along, and he’d explained that it was a couple of shots he wants to recreate.

There were just this, it was the look on his face. And, so I was shooting other stuff and I just couldn’t get it. And. You know, we finally got one and I asked him like, what this shot here, like, when did this happen? What, what were you doing? Who were you with? And he’s over there. My wife took this, like, okay, that makes sense.

So, so we went up to my rooftop, and we got it set up, and we’re shooting it and I’m still not quite getting it. And I just looked around the camera and I said, I looked at him. I said, I love you. And smiled. And he got this grin and this look on his face and I go, I got the shot. Like I nailed what he wanted.

But anyways, that was sort of coming down to capturing that feeling and kind of doing what you got to do to get it

Joe: [00:18:20]
Working with celebrities, which I realize you probably not necessarily doing headshots with them. How do you find that to be different from working with. A commercial client, or even for that matter, somebody that’s just coming to hire you to get a headshot done for business purposes.

Erich Saide: [00:18:37]
I don’t find it like a lot different. It depends on if you’re dealing with their people and there’s lots of restrictions or not like the ones I’ve done, even like Lori Laughlin, she just came to my studio with her by herself, and we shot that. You know, Steve Nash was the same way.

There’s been a few where you’re working, you know, with their reps or whoever, then they’re, they’re a little more. Hands off, I guess, if you want to say it and that, whereas, and you’re not communicating strictly with them, but, um, yeah, no, I think that all depends on a few different scenarios of where they’re at, but I think that also comes down to them trusting you and seeing what the work you’ve done already and them knowing that they’re in good hands.

Joe: [00:19:12]
Switch gears again, lighting. You’ve mentioned that a couple of times, and certainly just looking at your body of work, obviously lighting is something that you use a lot of and do incredibly well, but I am curious because another thing that I see in your work is emotion and not just, not just from the subjects, but the images in general.

So if you had to choose, I’m going to give you an impossible question. Cause I have a feeling, I know how you want to answer this. If you had to choose, which is more important to your work lighting or emotion.

Erich Saide: [00:19:53]
Oh, geez. Well, lighting creates feeling. Uh, so I would say lighting. Yeah, because that’s yeah. Wow, man, that is a hard one to answer for sure.

Yeah. Lighting’s probably the most important thing for me, I think initially anyways, because I’m always sending that up first and then the rest of it comes after.

Joe: [00:20:14]
So you do, I mean, even your outdoor shots, it seems like you, most of the time, we’re going to be adding some kind of lighting you’re using strobes and you’re, you’re a pro photo user, right?

You use ProFoto. Now I get the sense, so, correct me if I’m wrong. That even though you do a lot of outdoor flash, you’re not actually using a lot of high speed sync or are you?

Erich Saide: [00:20:34]
not too, too much? I mean, like, again, it would depend on what the scenario is. I’m only using bat. I’m also using bounce as well for some stuff,

Joe: [00:20:41]
When you are working outdoors and you’ve got a scene you want to photograph, walk me through your, your process in terms of how are you establishing your exposure? Are you starting with the background and then adding your lights in, or are you starting with your key? What’s what’s kind of your, your thought process with that workflow.

Erich Saide: [00:21:01]
This is great because this is exactly how I work. It is I’ll set the exposure for the natural light, the daylight first or for the background. And then I’ll build my lighting. Into what I want it until it’s there. Okay. Adding that key light. And then if there’s a kicker or a background light and that, and then adjusting them all from there and tweaking.

Joe: [00:21:18]
I have to say one of the things that I love about all of your lighting, your lighting is never lazy. I’ll own it, you know, from time to time, I’ll take, I’ll take a shortcut if, um, you know, and, and I’ll let it simple. And I think a lot of photographers do that. And I’m not saying that with any pride, that’s why compared to your portfolio, I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that, but it’s the truth.

As I looked through your website, which has a lot of images on it. I don’t see any images that are lazy in any way, shape or form. I mean, you, you’re almost a little bit of a geek with light, and I say that with the biggest compliment. Okay. You’re clearly your images show that you are in to light, you know, there’s no real, there was no reluctance in your use of light.

And your attention to detail with that light is outstanding. I mean, the subtleties are what makes it work as a photography nerd, analyzing nerd. I look at it and I see, you know, the lighting, but for the average person, they’re just seeing an image that is incredibly interesting and oftentimes taking very average backgrounds and making them really interesting because of the way you’re lighting the foreground. Yeah. And the subject. I congratulate you on that. It definitely shows, you know, especially with outdoor stuff.

Erich Saide: [00:22:37]
I’m going to go back to weddings. Like I learned to do so much stuff, pre having like ProFoto lights, you know, you know, or for a battery powered lights to shoot outdoors.

It was like, like this and scrims and, you know, stuff like that. And, uh, and with those, you can, I would light stuff. That makes it look like a studio lit set up outside, but I just, by putting them up high, just changing where you put them and using them in the sunshine and the light, like disc, like it’s a light like a stroke, you know, it’s, it’s really fun to manipulate light.

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Joe: [00:23:21]
During the pandemic. You know, obviously you mentioned your team, of course, everybody’s got to make a living. So people kind of go their separate ways and, and you’re stuck as well.

What kinds of things did you do as a guy who clearly works hard and is a hustler? What kinds of things did you do to continue to grow your business? And, and even for that matter to, you know, work on yourself because you’re sitting there going into a pandemic with this new awareness of, gosh, I’m dealing with this ADHD one hand not explained so much, but on the other hand, I’ve got to get better at dealing with.

So what kinds of things did you do in the last year, just to, you know, to really even stay in touch with clients and, and all that kind of stuff. How do you maintain a business like yours? In a pandemic, you know,

Erich Saide: [00:24:08]
that, that definitely is a struggle. I guess what last year did for me was really showed me my strengths and my weaknesses and in the best way, uh, like most people and one of the weaknesses or things I realized how important was, was when I had this other assistant that was working with me every day.

I could just say, Hey, can you do this? Or can you do this? And, and things got done. And with the ADHD brain, it’s sometimes. Actually taking action is a lot harder, well, way harder. And you’d think it would be in your, the best intention and you have good days and bad days. And so that was one of the biggest struggles of, I gotta get all this stuff done, but I’m not getting all this stuff done.

And, so I was still good at keeping in touch with my clients. I’ve always been pretty good that way, where it’s following up, but, um, but definitely stuff fell through the cracks, a lot of stuff. And that was what a lot of. Seeing that need to get this team going properly and get the right people around me, um, again is, is what I’m currently working on.

But, uh, but those were like definitely the struggles that came up with that. But I was luckily because of having that also that big network of clients in Vancouver, I was able to still keep work coming. And without me actually doing my marketing and stuff like that.

Joe: [00:25:19]
So you mentioned marketing for somebody that’s doing work at the level that you’re doing it.

And doing the kind of work you’re doing, which is ranging from corporations to, you know, and entertainment entities. How do you market yourself? What are, what are the most effective methods of marketing that you’re putting to use? Right? Yeah. Yeah.

Erich Saide: [00:25:39]
My social media, my newsletter that goes out, which is more of an awareness to my current clients.

Yeah. And less at my social media. And that, that’s what I got. I got into this team around me again, to start targeting people. I want to go after and going down to. Portfolio reviews and what have you, but yeah, so I’m not doing a lot is what.

Joe: [00:25:58]
You mentioned, portfolio reviews. And that’s something that we don’t hear a lot of people talk about these days. I heard you mentioned in another interview about going down to LA for some portfolio reviews. Why a lot of people would look at your work and say, my God, why does he need a portfolio review? What’s that going to do for you?

Erich Saide: [00:26:14]
So in all clarity, my I never, well, years back ago, I had a printed portfolio I’ve only done in my career, probably three portfolio reviews, but that’s also been my downside to be quite honest, like where, uh, there’s a trip I mentioned to New York last year.

Well, what does that thing did is opened me up to seeing. That the client base I want to be targeting is a lot more US-based or what have you, yeah. Not to shoot necessarily in the U S but, but a lot of that comes to Vancouver to work and the TV and movie industry. So it’s all about relations and building and getting to know people and that.

Uh, segue a little bit. That’s how my career has been built is by this interacting with humans or people. And so that was what I’m, but get loud. Beginning of last year, I was starting to work on my printed portfolio and, and the goals and targets were to be heading to LA and New York and all these portfolio reviews to get face-to-face with the clients I want to work with.

So that opportunity to be there for the future. And that hasn’t happened because of the obvious situation happen in the world. But that’s where that sits right now. And that will be getting worked on again for the future. But what is important to get to the next level of clients that don’t know who you are?

Cause that’s where I’m at right now and say the struggles or what have you, is I want to get through my network, get to these people that I really want to work, but they don’t, they don’t know who I am yet. And then there are thousands of photographers out there that are equally amazing or better, same idea the other do or no know who they are, but the way I feel I am is.

I can win someone over by this. Once you meet them, it’s our personalities that get in there. The good works amazing. But you get your personality in there. That’s where they’re going to hire you because they’re going to say, Hey, this guy’s fun to work with. They’re great. They’re on it. Right. So I’m sure, I’m sure that’s where you’re you gotta be a lot similar that way.

Joe: [00:27:51]
So, absolutely. So one of the thing that you did during the pandemic was humans have support and you got quite a bit of media attention from that. Explain what is it? How’s it work?

Erich Saide: [00:28:05]
Humans of Support is, and I’ve said this for so long. Um, it is a person or a passion project I created at the beginning of the pandemic.

Initially it was to create positive content for social media, by highlighting front line workers. Good. Samaritans are just amazing people doing stuff for others that pandemics shine a spotlight on. these people were always there before, and they’re always going to be here. So what it basically is, is.

Going out and capturing images of people will usually nominate someone, and we’ll go capture the images and have a Q and a part that they answer all positive content. And then we share it on social media and share these amazing people and, and, uh, you know, feedback and just the stuff that it does for others.

And for the people around them it’s really rewarding. You know, definitely within my purpose of helping others and, and shining a light.

Joe: [00:28:53]
Very cool. So let’s take care of some of the obligatory gear questions. I have a few folks that get upset if I, if I don’t ask about the gear stuff. So, so you’re a Nikon shooter. What body are you currently using?

Erich Saide: [00:29:05]
The Nikon D850 for my main work. And then I just got the Z6 too.

Joe: [00:29:10]
So you haven’t fully made the switch over to mirrorless yet?

Erich Saide: [00:29:14]
No, I got the Z6 and absolutely love it. I’m not quite sure if I’m going to drop the DSLR. I’m not there yet because I’m not trusting that it can capture what I need yet. But I just gotta test it and play around with it.

Joe: [00:29:30]
So, yeah. Yeah. So how, how long have you had the mirrorless?

Erich Saide: [00:29:35]
Uh, December.

I’m a curious because I remember when I first switched over to mirrorless, that there were some differences.

What are you finding to be the biggest, changes that you’re having to make in your workflow when you use that mirrorless camera? Anything in particular?

Erich Saide: [00:29:52]
I think it’s trust. It’s trusting myself, I think Bendin and, and learning the gear, um, you know, with the DSLR, it’s just, I see it click at, you got that moment and there’s still that little bit of lag or me understanding how to work with that lag in the muralists.

Um, it’s probably there. I just need to learn it and practice a little more myself. Right.

Joe: [00:30:11]
Cool. And how about lenses? What are your go-to lenses?

Erich Saide: [00:30:15]
I would say 90% of what I shoot. I love using my 70 to 200 zoom because it’s for portraits to what have you. It’s just got a look I love and that having that compressed and that, and then I’ve got my 24 to 70, which I’ll use for other stuff.

Joe: [00:30:27]
You’re a Tether Tools
pro, which is how you and I met. So I would assume that you tether pretty much whenever possible. Yes.

Erich Saide: [00:30:36]
So yeah, probably 90% of my shoots are tethered

Joe: [00:30:38]
now, in your case, more so than mine. I’m also assuming that you frequently have clients there that are actually taking advantage of the fact that you’re tethering as well or an art director. Is that frequently the case?

Erich Saide: [00:30:50]
Oh yeah, for sure. It’s the work, the new clients have never worked at without workflow, like come onto a shoot where it’s tethered to the look on their face and that the enjoyment of. Seeing their products or whatever it is, you’re shooting for them being there and knowing they’ve got you’ve captured, what they needed is that’s priceless in itself. Like I’ve been tethering probably 13 years on that. And, uh, yeah, it’s,

Joe: [00:31:15]
it’s a great way. Now, when you’re doing a commercial project, are you working with a Digitech or do you handle your own tech at the same time?

Erich Saide: [00:31:22]
It depends on what it is. If it’s a headshot or what have you portraits lot of time, it’s the smallest group.

And that’s why I’ll be doing that myself. If it’s a bigger job then. Yeah. Digital tech for sure. Um, we didn’t, we just had a job that was my first streamed one where our client was in Ontario. And so I used the Z6 as my webcam. So that shot the room, and they could flat seats resume. And then I had my Digitech shooting and capture the products, and then he was sharing the screen and working with the clients that way, uh, all while they’re at home and sit and have their tables or wherever they were.

Joe: [00:31:55]
Isn’t technology incredible when you can do stuff like that?

Erich Saide: [00:31:58]
Oh, it was really, it was a scary experience, uh, before we’d set it up or nervous, but once we got it going, it was awesome. I agree.

Joe: [00:32:05]
And then post-processing what do you use Capture One?

Erich Saide: [00:32:09]
Capture One is what I’ve always done and Photoshop.

Joe: [00:32:11]
Some of your work, I know has some really high end retouching on it.

That’s just some of your commercial, your advertising work. Do you do your own retouching or do you work with retoucher?

Erich Saide: [00:32:22]
If it’s a high-end project like advertising and there are budgets for bigger dental work, and then we touch her for sure. I love that. I love letting that go. I want to deal with that. Um, but otherwise, most of my work you see on my website, a lot of that’s done by myself,

Joe: [00:32:35]
the way you come and, you know, I love letting that go.

What do you say to maybe newer or younger photographers? Who have been led to believe that like the idea of not doing your own, you know, retouching that is like cheating?

Erich Saide: [00:32:47]
I think you need to do what you love to do and focus the area like focus and those areas. I don’t think it’s cheating if you’re freeing up your time and you can, and you can do that, then you’re just going to be able to put that focus and on what’s what you love to do.

Joe: [00:33:01]
Speaking of what you love to do. What do you shoot for fun?

Erich Saide: [00:33:04]
What, what does that even mean? Everything’s fine. I love everything. I shoot. I haven’t picked up my camera to go say for fun, unless I’m playing around, like got to get back into some creatives for fun. If you want it for me lately is beginning of the video.

I’ve been like, that’s what I got the and I’ve been exploring that. Cause I want to start using that for a YouTube or clients. And what have you. So that’s sort of as if I’m just challenging, very challenging chap transformation. Yeah. I don’t know what else would be a young because I enjoy what I do. I really love.

Pretty much, most of what I shoot, unless it’s sitting there and adamant project or product, that’s not talking back to me, then it’s not.

Joe: [00:33:43]
So what are you finding, making, not the switch, but making the kind of steps into doing video work. What are you finding to be your biggest challenges and then in terms of like a learning curve?

Erich Saide: [00:33:52]
Yeah. So not so much like lighting’s lighting, but on the learning curve, I think it’s trusting the focusing of the products, like, you know, I’ve got a gimbal and stuff like that. And then, you know, learning all that just that’s because we practice, but it’s, it’s uh, The focusing aspect and understanding that and, and so many, so many cool things involved around that, where now I’m understanding focus speaking, and what have you, now that I’ve been practicing with it.

But I think that that was my biggest fear or challenge is like, and trust me, I did a few shoots with a friend at the beginning where I was. It was going in at a focus and I had to redo the shoes. Luckily it was a friend, but a video. So, um, you know, learning that, but also then going to other videographer friends for advice on how would you have done this?
How would you set the camera up like that?

Joe: [00:34:36]
Yeah, trust in the camera. It’s like those rookie photography mistakes that we all live to the continuous auto-focus mistake. That’s a video one that I think everybody does at some point. Right. I think everybody makes that mistake at least once. Right. For sure.

You know, you’ve gotten to photograph half, I mean really an incredible range of stuff. And we add weddings into that mix, which I didn’t realize you had done. What’s the one subject or topic that you haven’t photographed. But you want to, if you could, if you could kind of self assign your own thing, what is it?

Erich Saide: [00:35:11]
Well, if it was a person, like I’m where I wanted to head, like. The rock, Dwayne Johnson. That’s the one of my targets. That’s what I want to work with. Or people like that, you know, or like Aqua man, uh, I can’t think of his name right now, but Jason Mamoa. Yeah. I just love them. And those are the people like that level of actor or person.

That’s what I’m about to where my goals are right now. Aiming for, yeah.

Joe: [00:35:32]
The Rock actually went to high school about 15 minutes from where I am. Oh no, Eric, this is awesome. So I got one last one last question for you. What’s next for Eric CD. And actually let’s start here. Let’s do it this way. Let’s turn it into that classic interview question.

Where do you see your career in five years? Where do you want it to be?

Erich Saide: [00:35:53]
Did I mention ADHD? I can’t see that far ahead. Um, definitely. I want to be. More work it either in the U.S. more with like working with top license sports and lifestyle companies. Like Nike believes things like that on that level of what I do, because I love working outside.

I love being out in nature, you know, that’s, that’s why that fuels me and makes me excited. So to be working with those brands shooting and tropical warm places on that end, and then working more top alias clients, like, like I just mentioned, like, those are the things yeah. That I that’s where I’ve always wanted.

And that’s where I’m more focused to getting to now and seeing that I can get there. Right. And. You know, getting down to the U S will be a big part of that, uh, which obviously when the war was opened, that’ll, that’ll be available again. Right. Yeah, that was, that was your, I don’t, I don’t sort of know, but I do know.

Joe: [00:36:41]
Listen, you know, it takes about 30 seconds on your website to realize you’re doing most of it. Right. So keep doing what you’re doing and obviously how, how are things in North of the border as far as like lock down and rules and regulations because in this country good, bad, or otherwise we’re starting to pretend like. Everything’s fine. What are the guidelines in Canada these days?

Erich Saide: [00:37:04]
Right now we’re on a bit of a lockdown, like you’re not supposed to leave your health region because the numbers were going up quite good. And definitely, I think Canada is not, not in the best position right now, but it’s not as bad as other countries. It’s not, Vancouver is not super bad.

Joe: [00:37:19]
Hopefully indeed we will be able to get back to some sense of normalcy soon. I know I’ve got, uh, I’ve actually got my first in-person speaking engagement in over a year and a half coming up in August. So, and, and, uh, you know, it’s weird. I like on one hand, I’m really excited on the other hand, I’m a little intimidated and it’s like, that’s just so sucks. Why am I intimidated?

Erich Saide: [00:37:43]
You’re intimidated? I’ll interview you now, are you intimidated because of the health reasons or,

Joe: [00:37:49]
I think just because it’s different and because in our country, Which, you know, we talk about your country, our country we’re attached, but it’s like two different worlds.

This whole thing has been so ridiculously politicized here. I’ve got both vaccinations. I’m feeling, you know, very good about it here in Pennsylvania. We’ve actually gotten rid of most of the limitations at this point mean outside. You don’t need to wear a mask. You can be in groups of people, all that kind of stuff.

I don’t feel invincible, meaning I know I can still get COVID-19. I know the good part is I’m not going to die from it, which is great. And I don’t want to get it, period. Yeah. So I think we still have a lot to get through, you know, with all of this. And plus, I mean, one of the things that I think it’s actually for our industry, And when we talk about trade shows and all those events, I think one of the things that is actually going to come out of it positive the virtual elements, not going to completely go away.

The virtual element allows organizations to bring speakers in that they otherwise would not be able to afford to bring in and do things. I mean, one of the things that I did since I had stepped back from most of my clients about five years ago and have been educating full time. Last March. I was looking at a great year.

I, my calendar was packed and within two weeks, that calendar got cleared. And so, you know, after a couple of days of having a complete meltdown, like, how am I going to, you know, survive this, this whole thing I pivoted and said, well, do it online. And, so I put together this, you know, studio for teaching and I took a lot of my presentations and turned them into virtual presentations and.

Then I got a hold of a database of camera clubs in the U S Canada and Australia, UK, Scotland, Ireland, pretty much all English-speaking countries. And I started emailing like crazy to say, Hey, here’s a list of presentations that, you know, I can do. And smaller camera clubs that had really little budgets, as long as they were picking a presentation that I had.

And they wanted at a time and it was convenient for me, if they can only pay 40 bucks. Cause that’s their budget. I did it for 40 bucks. Like at first I was like, I’m just, I want to keep busy. Yeah. And here’s an opportunity for me even to learn the new tech and get better, you know, at the whole thing. So it’s going to be a new normal when we get through it.

Erich Saide: [00:40:16]
For sure. Yeah. And, and the key thing you said there was opportunity and seeing that, not just like say you made 40 bucks, but you also got to share with other people, inspire other people, you know, and that’s one of the key things with, I think that anything that people like us do is even like to segue back to human and support, like.

Or even 2020, I thought this is here for a reason to force us to grow and to look inside and see where, how we can do better and also revealed good people and reveal that narcissists are bad. People forced that out, but that’s part of like, uh, going back to humanist support, like that things started out for me as just this little local thing. And then it got picked up by the national Kenny and news, and then New York, they were talking about it. And I have photographers contacted me from around the globe to how to do this and to do this and their communities. And it, and it started out from this little, we’re doing it here to this vision that went to, okay, this is about connecting with other heart-centered individuals who just want to do this because they can, and there’s no money involved, but in the long run, what it’ll do is it’ll.

Prop them up in their communities for doing this. And then because of them being good people, and then it’ll get them exposure that when the other side of the pandemic, hopefully it lines up work for them. And that was my vision sort of built into this tunnel vision out of something like seed that got planted by one person.

Joe: [00:41:33]
Well, Eric, I got to tell you, I am so thrilled that we got to talk because we didn’t really get to speak that much at PhotoPlus. When we met, when, when I ran into you, I was on my way to go do something with Olympus. And I gotta tell you, man. In addition to your photography, which your photography is outstanding.

You don’t need me to tell you that, you know that, but the one thing I’ve learned from you today and about you today, it’s actually really easy to see why you’re so successful. You are hands down one of the most upbeat people that I think I’ve ever spoken with. And I think, you know, I can completely understand why your clients would think that you are fun to work with why your clients would enjoy working with you.

And I think it’s a lesson for. Any photographer that wants to work with clients and wants to build a business. It’s not always about the photos. I mean, yes, you’ve got to deliver a good product in the end, but especially when you’re dealing with commercial clients and corporations and, and representatives of people, it’s about how easy are you going to make their job?

And also how much fun are you going to make their job? And man, I think you are like the poster child of how to do that. Right. And I mean that sincerely, like, I, I, I am energized listening to you because. If you would’ve talked to me an hour ago, I would have said, yeah, you know, I enjoy doing commercial work and a half, but I’m glad I’m not.

And you almost got me missing it right now. So, you know, I gotta, I gotta give you props for that. And I really, really, we do, but, but seriously, thank you so much for your time, really, really some great information today. And I really appreciate, you know, your transparency. I think it’s, I think that’s going to be very helpful for a lot of people to see how successful you are and to understand what you’re dealing with.

That’s really awesome. So thank you. And I do hope we get to run, run across each other in person soon, sooner than later, hopefully 2021, but we’ll see.

Erich Saide: [00:43:24]
Awesome. Thank you,

Joe: [00:43:28]
Erich, thank you so much, man.

Erich Saide: [00:43:29]
Thank you much appreciated having me on.

Joe: [00:43:32]
you have to love his energy and I hope that you all recognize how amazing it is that Eric is so open about the subject of ADHD and what it takes to run a successful business while dealing with the condition.

They can impact your focus organization. And self-control Erich shared the YouTube video. That was a game changer for him in helping him recognize his condition. I have shared the link to that video with you in the show notes. And of course, all of Erich’s website and social links along with a link to his humans, a support website are also in the show notes.

Make sure you check them out. Be sure to visit my website, You’ll find my portfolio over 300 articles and tutorials to help you improve your photography, as well as the directory of modeling agencies and makeup artists from all of the 50 United States. You’ll also find some great advice for models, as well as the photographers who photograph them.

And of course, the website serves as home base for all of my TOGCHAT podcast episodes, as well as The LAST FRAME LIVE. And be sure to sign up for my email newsletter to receive updates. Don’t worry. I never sell the list. And I only email when I have something exciting to share. No spam from Joe.

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In other words, how I do it. No rules, no bullet points, no top five ways. I share my ways of doing it so that you can get an inside understanding of how another photographer works. This is not your usual YouTube tutorial stuff. I hope to check it out. If you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel yet, please do.

You can find the link to The LAST FRAME LIVE, my website, my YouTube channel, and all of my social profiles in the show notes. And last but not least, if you’re listening to the show on iTunes or any other platform that allows reviews, please leave a few positive notes to help other photographers find out about the show. Remember photography. It’s not a competition. It is a passion to be shared.

DJ: [00:46:16]
Did you know that you can have Joe as your personal photography mentor. I’m talking about direct access to ask him questions and get advice. You can also attend weekly video meetups for members to share and help each other with Joe’s guidance. Be sure to check out the link in the show notes.

Joe: [00:46:32]
Okay. Folks, that’ll do it for this episode of the TOGCHAT Photography Podcast. Stay safe, have a great week. And until next time. Please remember these words. Thanks for listening to the TOGCHAT Photography Podcast. Now go pick up that camera and shoot something because your best shot. It’s your next shot. So keep learning, keep thinking and keep shooting. Adios.

FTC Disclosure: No sponsors have paid for inclusion in this show. Product links included in this page are generally Amazon or other Affiliate Program links from which I do earn a commission that helps to support the production of this show.

Joe Edelman

Joe Edelman is an award winning Photographer, Author, and "No Bull" Photo Educator.  Follow this link to learn more about Joe or view his portfolio. Please be sure to connect on the social media platforms below.
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