The Next Steps: A Post College Odyssey

As a young emerging talent your drive and work ethic is so important. I always say that passion and perseverance equals success. In todays marketplace, the quality of your work is almost a given. What distinguishes one talent from another is your ability to build relationships and your ability to market yourself.

Bobby shines in the fact that he has the work and continues to build new work to market along with his present engaging personality. Most importantly, however, is his infectious passion for what he creates. I am thrilled to see what a consistent marketing campaign with multiple channels of marketing will do for him. I can guarantee a few things: he will continue to put new work out there, build brand awareness, and have a new list of leads to establish relationships with.

Jennifer Kilberg: As a young photographer how did you stay disciplined to shoot such a large body of work?

Bobby Bruderle: You flatter me! I really don’t consider my body of work to be large by any stretch. Every time I look at my work as a whole I think ‘Man, I’ve got a long way to go.’ Always challenging yourself and never getting comfortable is part of the discipline. No great photographer I’m aware of ever sat back and said ‘That’s enough, I don’t need to shoot anymore.’

JK: What is your background? Education?

BB: I graduated from the University of Vermont last year with a degree in marketing. I did okay in school, but was spending the majority of my time focusing on photography.During my freshman year I decided to commit myself to photography as a career. I figured I was better off finishing school quickly rather than switching my major. Ultimately It was the right decision because it never gave me the luxury of professors motivating me, or access to a massive equipment closet. Being self-taught has its perks in the long run.

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Bruce © Bobby Bruderle

JK: How did you get into video?

BB: Right around when the RED camera started to emerge, the still photography world started to get nervous that motion might take over. I was never worried that still photography would disappear, but it seemed like cinematography might be an important skill at some point.

I got in touch with Erich Roland, an amazing Director of Photography based in D.C. He took me under his wing ddtaughtme just about everything I know about lighting and filmmaking.He put me to work in his camera rental shop and I learned to use all kinds of awesome equipment. Working summers at the shop, I met lots of influential people in the filmmaking community. I was also able to shoot some personal still/motion work with the RED Epic.

JK: What’s your involvement with video now? Is there a piece are you most proud of?

BB: I now work as a Director of Photography on commercials and music videos. I have been very fortunate with the directors I have worked with and have done some fairly large shoots for Acura, 50 Cent, andMarriott among others. It’s hard to say which video I am most proud of. I have been very involved conceptually with a number of music videos I have shot and they are the ones I am most proud of. At the moment I keep my cinematography and still work separate, but at some point I’m sure they will collide.

JK: What was your first commercial paying job? How did you get it?

BB: My sophomore year of college I was approached to shoot a semi-nude charity calendar. It was one of those ‘they are naked but you can’t see anything’ deals. The client was offering what was a lot of money to me at the time, but I was very nervous about doing it because it was so far out of my comfort zone photographically speaking.

Being a college student I couldn’t turn down the money and decided to shoot it. I learned how important it is for a professional photographer to be able to create strong imagery even if the subject is far from what you are used to. In my case, learning to control large groups ultimately proved to be a very important skill. The calendar was a big success and we shot it an additional three years.

It’s hard to say exactly how I got the gig, but I think the publisher wanted someone young and I was known around campus and in Burlington as a “serious” photographer. I did little to no traditional marketing back then, but I did make sure to network and tell everyone that I was a serious photographer.

JK: What inspires you?

BB: I am one of those people who has a hard time not staring on the subway. I see someone’s face for more than a few seconds and I uncontrollably start to form a narrative about their life.I really believe that portraiture is the best way to capture someone for who they are and where they have been. Every day I see people with stories that need telling.Chaos also inspires me.

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Zaire © Bobby Bruderle

JK: On average how many shoots do you do a month?

BB: Tricky question. Sometimes I will shoot every day for a month (or more) straight, other months are more focused on video or editing my photos. I get very antsy if I go more than a few days without shooting.

JK: Quite the busy schedule! You must do more with your marketing than you did in the past. Do you take care of it or are you outsourcing help like many busy photographers?

BB: I realized that I didn’t have the time or know-how to market myself as effectively as I would like. I wanted my marketing mix to be on the same level as my photography. People respect photographers as “experts,” and I have the same respect for the Campaign Manager Pro marketing team that I work with. I never miss an opportunity to collaborate with people who are as passionate about their field as I am about mine.

JK: If you had some advice to give to one of your peers, what would it be?

BB: No matter how amazing your photos are, they are nothing if no one sees them, and sees them in the right context. When I was younger I used to think ‘If I make photos that are good enough, something amazing will happen, someone will discover me.’ If you are looking for a ‘big break,’ you are in the wrong industry. You have to be prepared to constantly grind and market yourself. The work is there, but it can take a while to get it. Focus on making images you are proud of and get them in front of people. The work will come. Never, ever stop progressing.

Check out more of Bobby’s work on his official website.

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Jeffree © Bobby Bruderle

Jennifer Kilberg

Jennifer Kilberg’s unique insight into the photo industry is a result of her extensive experience and understanding of all aspects of photography since joining the industry in 1996. In 2004, Jennifer started FluidVision Inc. and has worked with a diverse international client base of photographers and illustrators of all styles and specialties. As a strong communicator, Jennifer enjoys working with all types of personalities, and her loyal client base is a testament to her ability to build long-term relationships. Jennifer has worked with Agency Access clients since 2009 in both Campaign Manager programs and other types of consultations.

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