Thursday, September 22, 2011

Photographer Interview with Jodi Friedman of MCP Actions

Jodi of MCP is a legend in the photography world.
She came into the photography sphere in 2006
and she started making waves.

She empowered many to learn photoshop and stop fearing it.
Jodi wants the absolute best for herself and for others.
She strives to make that attainable.

Multiple Choices Photography is an incredible company
because the customer is her first priority.

Jodi wants each person that uses her actions
or attends her workshop to walk away
with greater knowledge of photoshop.
You do so many things Jodi,
is it hard for you to keep up with blogging?

I try to post Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
I have guest posts often so that my blog stays constantly up to date.
I used to try to post Monday-Friday but it got to be too much.
Keeping up with a blog is a lot of work.
I organize my calendar so I know what I am posting each day.

What keeps you motivated to keep on shooting?
Do you ever get burnt out?

I started a Project 52 this year so I would stay motivated to shoot.
Currently there are 3,794 participants.
Sadly, most of them are doing better than me at participating weekly...

I am missing a few weeks.
My intentions are good though.
People can still join if they want to.
It is so fun to look through the entries each week.

What do you shoot with?

I have a Canon 5D which I love.
The noise is almost non existent.
I also have a Canon G11.
For a point and shoot, this is the best.
I love L series prime lenses.
Here is a list of all of the things in my camera bag currently.

One thing I have noticed in the mommy blogger world
is that so many people are anti flash.
I know you use flash and reflectors at times.
Can you tell us your stance on flash photography?

I really enjoy natural light photography,
but there is definitely a place for flash!
I use the 580ex and 580ex II as well as a few flash modifiers.
For a studio setting I have 3 Alien Bees lights,
a Lastolite hi-lite backdrop,
a Westcott softbox,
and a few umbrellas.

I own 2 Sunbounce Reflectors that are amazing.
I use these in studio and on the go.

Tell us your photography story.
How did you become MCP?
What brought you to this place?

Well, I started out selling my twin daughters baby clothing on ebay.
Right away I noticed that people with better photography
got more attention and usually better prices.

I started using Microsoft Digital Pro. Have you heard of that?
I bought an SLR and I bought some studio lights.
I had a very tiny space to work in. 11x13.
I bought a white backdrop.
I had the girls model the clothes I was selling.

It was fun.
I was contacted to shoot the girls
in tutus and other adorable clothing.

Some people told me I couldn't be a product photographer with the small space I had to work with.
A lot of people didn't think I could make it.
I believed in myself though.
I knew I was good at taking pictures and making them pop.

My business picked up.
A large $ store chain hired me to do their product shooting.
Let me tell you, all the relatives loved coming to our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas because I had boxes and boxes of treasures to give away. That was one of the benefits of shooting for the $ store- I got to keep what I shot.

In the beginning it was exciting...but after a while,
I got sick of the knick knacks and junk.

Your story is fascinating.
I love that people doubted you but you believed in yourself!

I did. I still do. I have big dreams.
My Dad was an entrepreneur and it has always been in my blood I guess.

What do you love best about being the Chief Owner and Operator of MCP?

I love helping people.
It makes me happy when I can help someone understand actions and photoshop better.
I love the work because it is intense and rewarding.
I spend over 70 hours a week doing something I love.
I am very happy.

What is your favorite thing about blogging?

I love that MCP is a resource for many.
I love that we can constantly be learning from one another.
Just the other day I had an idea of something we could learn
from the Paparazzi.
There is always something to be learned
and new ways for us to grow.

Where do you go to unwind?

To be honest, it can be hard to disconnect.
I thrive on doing business.
This year we went on a cruise for vacation. It was fun.
Our all time favorite vacations usually find is in Northern Michigan which is about 4.5 hours from our home.
We live in a very beautiful state.
I love that we get to vividly see all 4 seasons here in Michigan.

How did you jump from ebay and product photography 
to making actions?

In 2006 when I started making actions,
there were not a whole lot of them out there.
I realized these shortcuts were fantastic at making pictures pop.
I saw a market and I jumped in.
I love making actions.
It is so fun to see how a click can change an image.

I was burnt out from taking product pictures and I knew I wanted to go somewhere different with photography.
It has been 5 whirlwind years with MCP.
I love it.

Where do you go when you need photoshop help?
I am a member of NAPP
(National Association of Photoshop Professionals)
I love the forums there.
I have stumped Scott Kelby a time or two.
I am able to ask questions and learn a lot.
I also learn a lot by asking questions on my facebook page.
Or even on twitter.
I am always happy to learn new things.

(this is a point and shoot picture)

Do your girls like being models for you?

It depends. Some days they want nothing to do with the camera, and then other times, they ask me at the oddest times to come and shoot them. The other night at about 8:30 Jenna asked for a shoot.
I told her it was almost bedtime but we could do it the next day.

You are so great at marketing, Jodi.
Was that your college major?

No, I actually majored in Child Psychology.
Too bad I can't use that psychology to get the girls to enjoy shoots more often, right?

I never took a marketing class,
but I think being around my Dad I picked up a lot.
I grew up in the Atlanta area.
He worked very hard for a steel company. 
My Dad taught me the importance of providing a good product.
He also taught me the value of providing good support.

To this day, that is one of my favorite components of MCP.
I want people to buy my actions and I want them to learn how to use them so they can get the most out of them.
I love helping people do that.

If I had to give my marketing a name, I would call it
'Fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants Marketing'

These five years have been a whirlwind of activity.
I have learned to find a good balance between creating and marketing.
I actually find I love the business side a little more than the creative side.

I see many photographers fail because the do not ever grow on the business side of their business.
I think that is vital.

If you could give photographers 3 pieces of advice,
what would you tell them?

1. Read Understanding Exposure by Bryan Patterson.
This book is excellent.
It is absolutely necessary to understand exposure before you begin a business.

2.  Understand light. Learn how to shoot in bright sun. Learn how to shoot at sunset. Learn how to shoot light. If you can shoot light in any situation, you can be an excellent photographer.

3. Learn how to nail your focus. If you are shooting a portrait, focus on the eyes. If you are shooting candidly, find a good focus point. Nail that and you will go far.

How do you feel about all of the actions 
that are on the market now?

Well, obviously I think MCP are the best!
I have many happy customers.
We are always working on ways to make our actions better.
We are working on great classes that help photographers.
Staying educated and learning will help you go farther with photography.

MCP Actions Blog has new posts almost daily.
It is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about photography.
It is very easy to navigate.

If you would like to try before you buy,
 Jodi has a slew of FREE Photoshop Actions
you can download and test!
Thank you so much Jodi for taking the time to answer these questions. You have been extremely helpful.
Jodi is active on facebook and twitter.
If you don't already read the MCP Blog every day,
you are going to want to start ASAP.
Tons of relevant content.
Here are some interviews Jodi has posted at MCP:
(point and shoot again! Wow, right?)


lifebythecreek said...

Jodi rocks! MCP is awesome; I love the actions and tutorials and sharing... it's a wonderful place to "hang out". What a great interview, Becky; I didn't know the product photography background and all of those other "early" details. I just see the success now and don't think about all that went into it. Wonderful! (and I might be a wee bit jealous of what's in the camera bag..!!!)

Susan said...

Another incredible interview. Thanks Becky.

Jodi, I'm so grateful for MCP. I go there often and love getting all the updates daily.

Thanks for helping us be better at what we love.

And your girls...gorgeous!!

Kay L. Davies said...

I have this idea I'm too old to learn Photoshop, but I sure enjoyed reading this interview and all Jodi's beautiful photos.
Aren't the girls delightful, too?
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Melinda said...

Jodi, I am constantly in awe of you. As a wife, mother of two and the owner of my own photography business, I'm curious as to how you balance your life so well. I find it so difficult to shoot, edit, sell, blog, Twitter, Facebook, clean my house, do the dishes and the laundry AND spend time with my family. Any tips for those of us out here that are wanting to rock the industry as well as you AND keep our sanity? : )

Great interview as always, Becky! I'm so glad you are reintroducing this series!!

Melinda said...

Jodi, I am constantly in awe of you. As a wife, mother of two and the owner of my own photography business, I'm curious as to how you balance your life so well. I find it so difficult to shoot, edit, sell, blog, Twitter, Facebook, clean my house, do the dishes and the laundry AND spend time with my family. Any tips for those of us out here that are wanting to rock the industry as well as you AND keep our sanity? : )

Great interview as always, Becky! I'm so glad you are reintroducing this series!!

Rachel @ A Cupcake for Moose said...

Becky, you always have the BEST interviews! I love MCP Actions and really enjoyed Jodi's interview. She truly does have the best actions around. What a cool person and business! Have a great day!

Buckeroomama said...

Jodi's actions are the best! I always tell my friends to check out her site whenever they ask about actions and about photography in general.

I'm so glad you featured her, Becky. It's always great to know extra bits about somebody you admire. :)

Allison Hoffman said...

love MCP actions - the actions are great and the site is soo helpful - thanks for another great interview!

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is a wonderful interview!!! Her photos are amazing...I am green with envy!

My Photographic Eye by Irela said...

Another great interview Becky. Very informative...well done. I love Jodi and MCP Actions and it's a treat to learn about her early years. I follow MCP on FB and her Site(s) and I also am doing the Project 52 (which is lots of fun and stimulates your creativitiy every week). AWESOME job to both and thank you for sharing.

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

wow - those are absolutely amazing. Still thinking about that gigantic soft serve cone. :)

Thanks for sharing these!

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

As always... fantastic interview. I always learn so much reading about these talented photographers. These images are amazing. The sun shots are so beautiful. :)

Charlotte @ Cowgirl Clippings said...

That was a great interview. Thanks. I am just considering looking into photoshop so the timing was perfect.

Caroline (Frogmum) said...

Great interview Becky :-)

Jodi's story is so different to most ~ very interesting :) I like popping over to MCP every now and then if I need to find something out, or learn to do something. It really is a very valuable and helpful website. Thanks for all you do Jodi ~ you are an example to many :-)

Chasing Dreams Photography said...

What a fabulous interview!!! Jodi is so talented I loved reading through all of her answers...awesome interview as always!!!!

Katie said...

She is so inspiring and knowledgeable!! ...and this reminds me that I have sooooo much to learn! :)

Formerly known as Frau said...

Another great interview...her pictures are beautiful and so are her sweet daughters! Off to check out her blog and hopefully learn a trick or two!

Sharon said...

Excellent interview! I'm glad to see the interviews are back ; )

Sheila Marie said...

Thanks Jodi for a wonderful interview and beautiful photos that came along with it and of course I have to thank the very talented interviewer Becky for arranging and penning this interview.

I have two great daughters of my own who inspired me to take my photography to another level but yes, they too are also weary of mom constantly using them as models!

By viewing your photos I am already in love with your actions and I am about to visit your site now! Keep up the good work and thanks for encouraging all photographers, especially new, about striving until you succeed!

Jill Samter said...

Love your new make-over (maybe just new to me)!!

Love Jodi and this interview!

Love the shot of Kaishon in the sideview mirror at the bottom of your blog!!!!

Hugs and love,

Sharon said...


I LOVE your work and your actions! I can honestly say that MCP has touched every single one of my client portraits over the past 3 years. You are as much a part of Life Studios as I am! Haha!! Thanks so much for all you do!! :-D

Dot O said...

Becky, I love the interview and I've always loved her actions. Jodi sounds like such a sweetheart! I wish I had time to delve further into photo editing. I love it but my darn job gets in the way of me learning more.

Thanks for sharing and I wish her and MCP all the best!

Photography by Lisa M said...

Thank you this was great, I love her actions:)

Rachel said...

She is AH-MAZING! I wish I had her savvy!

Sarah said...

I love these. Gorgeous shots. Her photography is awesome.

Teri said...

Lovely photos - her girls are great models. I am going to check out the book she recommends. I need to take another photoshop course (or 5 zillion) too!

I'm just the MOM said...

I've loved jodi's stuff since I found her last year! She has a great eye.

marc said...

Becky, I always love reading your interviews. It's so fun to hear the stories of other photographers. One of these days I'll have to make myself do more interviews on my blog.

Marvett Smith said...

You've done it again Becky! Awesome interview! I love Jodi and I love MCP Actions! Thank you for sharing this!

P.S.- Love the new blog design!

Caroline said...

Love the interview! What gorgeous shots. And I love your new blog look. I have been away too long! It's so fresh!

Dita said...

WELL.........when I first saw the BEST photographer interviews were BACK it just made my day...I KNEW something was missing this summer and I could smell the excitement in the air when I landed on your blog...then, was Jodi from of my favorite photography mavens EVER! I love all Jodi's actions, tips, tutorials and her classes are just fantastic. Whenever MCP appears on my screen I know I'm in for a treat. Your interview taught me something new about Jodi...that she believed in herself and never stopped dreaming...and still does. What a great business she has created and shared with all of us. Thank you, Jodi! And thank YOU, Becky, for your always unique persepective and beautiful writing....such a pleasure and so perfectly YOU! Looking forward to each and every installment! xoxoxo Dita

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I have been following MCP for a while and just love her work!:)

TechnoBabe said...

Nice hearing all about a sharing and caring photographer. Oh wait, that is how you are so no wonder you attract like photographers.

Leilani Rogers, Photographer said...

Such a fab interview! Love Jodi and her actions!!!

(by the way, thanks for the super nice comment on my blog today!!!)

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

I <3 Jodi and MCP Actions! Such an excellent product, easy to use, and her photography is inspiring!

the Lola Letters said...

I really enjoyed this interview! Not only is she a great photographer, but she is such a savvy businesswoman as well!

Sarah King said...

Jodi, you are an inspiration!!

blue elephant photography said...

i love jodi! and mcp! her shots are awesome and her actions are the greatest! i've visited her site before and saw that ceiling photo and the beach photo with her daughters :) and the little one with her burberry scarf is so cute!