As COVID-19 has interrupted daily life, people from every profession have had to figure out ways to be productive — and photographers are no exception. Each week, we’ll share stories from our members about how they’re staying mentally and technically sharp during the pandemic.
Houston-based photographer Todd Spoth had been planning on launching an in-person day-long workshop to help photographers break into editorial photography, but, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, he’s had to shift gears. Recently, Todd launched two tiers of classes on his Patreon account, a membership platform for creators.
I was initially turned onto Patreon after seeing a lot of my favorite musicians turning to it to provide value to folks during the pandemic. I have been a musician for longer than I have been a photographer and I am constantly writing, recording and DJ’ing (mostly for myself!) solo here at the studio to break up the monotony of the non-shooting side of running a photography business (which can be a lot). I have been inspired and enthused by seeing all my fellow musicians and creators adapt. The community is still there, and I believe Patreon is helping facilitate those communities in new ways that link the creators to their supporters, vice versa, in meaningful ways.
Todd’s expertise comes from over 15 years of freelance photography. Starting as an assistant to photographers like Dan Winters, Joe McNally, and Walter Iooss Jr., Todd has worked his way up to create editorial commissions and command full teams on commercial jobs. Besides his freelance photography work, Todd has also taught educational programs about photography before.
I have been involved in a leadership role for years with our local chapter of American Society of Media Photographers and have been involved in much of the educational programming as both an organizer and speaker. It has been several years since we have done any classes or workshops run solely by me and my studio; however, I do have experience in that capacity as well as experience leading classes for the NFL and Canon and regularly speak to local middle school and high school journalism and photography classes.
The launch of his Patreon courses comes at a perfect time since shoots have slowed down with stay-at-home orders still in place in many states. Todd, like many others, is taking it day by day until he’s able to get back out and shoot again.
In February of 2020 I launched my brand-new portfolio website and was finishing up a new print portfolio that sadly has yet to be taken to any in-person meetings, but I was very thrilled to have finished those up. Many projects have been postponed for the future. Certainly, hoping things get back to normal soon. During this time, outside of launching and building content for the Patreon, I have been urban gardening, writing and recording my own music, playing (and selling!) vinyl records from my collection and just trying to hang in there just like everyone else.
His vinyl record collection is what inspired him to create a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) in hopes of answering a lot of random questions Redditors may have about his experience as a freelance photographer. Though he’s not a huge Redditor, nor has he done an AMA before, Todd uses Reddit to keep up with the vinyl collector community.
I have never done an AMA, but I am very excited! I am expecting folks to ask me questions about working with rappers as I have had a personal project focused on hip hop culture for many years and worked with pretty much every rapper imaginable. It’s a great resource of info if used properly.
See more of Todd’s work at toddspoth.com.
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Learn how WM is helping photographers during the pandemic on our COVID-19 Resources page.