Fun Fact:



I moved to Los Angeles, California on June 6th, 2013


stop hating!

Just because I tell you the truth does not make me a hater!

We are always looking for someone to gas us up. Someone to tell us we are the best. Its almost like we show people what progress we have made just to hear them say it looks good. When in all actuality it probably sucks! I am tired of people telling me exactly what they think I want to hear. In the long run telling me what I want to hear is not going to help me grow at all.

We are not always the best at taking constructive criticism. As soon as someone voices their opinion and it doesn’t come out as nice as we would like it to we instantly call them a hater. Our response typically goes something like… “Everyone else loves it, you’re just hating!”

I’ve come to the conclusion that most people don’t know what they like. I take that back, most people do not know quality. Most people are afraid to tell the truth because they will look like the hater and who wants to be classified as the hating ass friend? So instead, they just lie and say something along the lines of… “Aw man, this is really good! You did this?”

Let me be the first to say that I know I am not perfect, I know I have a lot of work to do when it comes to many things. I am a grown ass man! Do not spoon feed me the truth like I am a baby. Hit me with the real!

I am not saying that every time you do something it will suck. All I am saying is you have to know how to take constructive criticism because that is the only way you will get better. What I do is compare what I am working on to those I would consider the absolute best in my field. With my photography for example, if it looks like it can hold its own next to some of my favorite photographers then maybe I am on the right track. If not, I probably need to go back and brush up on a few things. We need to stop waiting for people to tell us what we want to hear.

I don’t want you in my circle if you are going to act like a bitch when I tell you the truth because I am not going to act like a bitch when you tell me the truth!


Do less things better

I get side tracked from time to time. So much I want to do, so much I try to take on. I have to tell myself to sit back and focus on the few things you want to be great at. It is a lot easier to be great at 1-2 things. If you take on 20 projects how can you really be the best you can be at all 20. You will eventually start to wear yourself thin and That’s when things start to get out of control. Focus on what is most important to you. No reason to try to be model, photographer, actor, director, rapper, singer, painter, set designer, website developer, lawyer, teacher, producer and anything else that seems cool. Focus on one thing at a time. You will start to see better results.


Lift: Detroit

This Saturday, May 12, 2012, join us for Lift: Detroit, a Black Tie Gala that will highlight professional companionship, social responsibility and community outreach as important strategies for the revitalization of Detroit. Young professionals and representatives from every industry in the Metro- Detroit area including: fashion, health care, beauty, hospitality, entertainment, sports, finance, technology, urban development, sustainable living and more will gather to discuss solutions and opportunities to building a stronger Detroit.

briefly speaking

This week we finally caught up on most of the work we did not finish up at the end of last year. A lot is happening right now. We are in a great place going into this year. The team is family and I feel we get closer each day. We agreed to make sure we work on more exciting projects at the beginning of this year. Towards the end of 2011 The Art Direction started to take on larger projects that were not as fun but paid well. We are trying our best not to get caught up in the same cycle this year.

I also had a few things that I told myself I was going to personally try to improve on. One of those things being that I need to shoot much more this year. People that met me in 2011 probably have no clue that I am a photographer only because I have not been posting much work. Speaking of work, I did a shoot for StyleLine Magazine yesterday that was lots of fun.

The photo was shot by the newest member to The Art Direction family Jasmine. We actually played around and took a few photos together this earlier this week. The photo below being one of them.

Another thing I plan to work on is our timelines. 2011 we had a few projects that went on much longer than they should have. A lot of that had to do with us moving at speeds we were not at all use to. I had no clue we would be moving as fast as we have been and it took us a little while to adapt to it all. Slow and steady growth. If my friends Coco && Breezy are reading this I am sorry for taking so long on the video ladies. I promise I am sending it over tomorrow. 🙂

The next thing is to show my face more… Let people know what the hell is going on! I plan to start accepting more of the interviews people ask me to do and speak on more panels and cool stuff like that. Who knows, I may be able to inspire a few people this year. I have been asked to be one of the panelist to speak at the Revitalization and Business Conference at The Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan on  January 20th, 2012. I am always flattered by these sorts of  opportunities. To receive invitations to these sorts of things are awesome but to be personally asked to be apart of a panel is super exciting. I did not go to school for this so to be able to tell my story and know that it is not necessary the most conventional way of doing things is exciting.

I have a laundry list of other shit that I could write about but here it is almost 5:00am and I am already going against one of the things on that list which would be try to create normal hours for myself… Meaning take my ass to sleep at a reasonable time. Oh and I started taking vitamins a few months ago. I don’t really feel a difference but maybe thats how I know they are working? Who knows…

Off to bed for me. Another long day of work tomorrow. Cool Auto Show stuff.

follow us. @theartdirection follow me. @dantemarshall

Picture Taker

A question that people ask me quite often is how long have I been a photographer. My response is typically what makes me a photographer at all? I know many people that have cameras and shoot often but they are shooting on automatic, they have no knowledge on shutter speeds, aperture, iso, equipment, etc.

If you take photos and get paid for doing so does that make you a professional photographer? I ask not to demean anyone but to get a clear understanding as to what everyone considers a professional. Often times I will share my rates with a model looking to test and they tell me they have a cousin or a close friend that is a photographer as well. They then go on to tell me they would prefer to go with the friend because of the price difference.

That works for me, I am not saying I am a professional photographer. Although I do work out of a studio with professional equipment and I am sent on assignments with expenses paid. Does it depend on who your clients are?

photo credit: G’Oni Jones [snapshot of the studio]

This is a question I am not sure how to answer but I can say this… Remember people you pay for quality. When paying for a shoot you paying for everything. The quality of the studio you are walking into, the equipment being used for the full project including pre/post production. Most importantly the usage of the photos, the time, the creativity and originality of the photographer/person taking your photos. You are paying for piece of mind.

I am big on connecting with the subject. You should always have a clear understanding as to what they are trying to do with the image. Many attributes go into making our clients happy that its somewhat disrespectful when people try to compare our services to a local neighborhood camera owner that is interested in shooting with for free.

If you have a luxury car, lets say you own a Ferrari. Would you have your neighborhood mechanic work on your Ferrari? Would you have the same person that worked on the roof of your home paint your car?

I do not think the question should be are you a photographer or how long have you been. I think a better question is are you a professional photographer and how long has that been your occupation. You do not have to be a professional photographer to achieve rock solid results from time to time. Nor does it mean people should not want to work with you. Personally I think everyone should have a camera and take photos. My grandparents have accumulated tons of photos throughout the years. This does not mean They are professional photographers. If you ask them I am sure they would agree to not being photographers at all. They simply used the tool the were provided with to capture memories…

If taking photos makes you happy, who needs a title anyways? Just take photos and be happy!

follow me. @dantemarshall follow us. @theartdirection

success full of change

cash rules everything around me…

If you let money control how much fun you have you will be miserable for quite sometime. Never measure your success with the same ruler you measure your money with. More money never means more success.

Honestly, the most exciting part seems to always be what you encounter on your journey to the money. The people you meet, the places and things you see, you learn so much… The ups, the downs and everything in between. Make sure you take time out to enjoy the long narrow road to success. Once you’ve reached what most would classify as success you realize that you’ve had to compromise, and sacrifice many times. on that journey. Stormy weather is not always a bad thing.

Some of you may not yet understand and may look at this entry like what kinda craziness is this fool Dante talking. You came here to see new photos/videos and he is giving a rev run speech. (He must be broke!) Lol, thats not the case. I’ve been pretty busy lately and I’ve neglected those that come to my blog looking for substance. Its always good to hear/read the thoughts of another artist just to make sure you are not going crazy and that you are still on the right track. Its a reminder that you are not the only one that is starting to notice the things that we have to give up or work on as artists. I do not get a chance to talk to my friends as much as I did when we first got started but when we do catch up it seems this is something that always comes up.

Once what was once a dream starts to develop and really shape into reality you begin to see the problems that come with being successful and even more problems arise when you realize what has changed because of the money. You’d think that once you get money you would have no more problems right? lol, things are moving fast, try your best not to lose control.

For those that are still seeking direction and are getting a bit frustrated when trying to figure out what the next step may be… Just remember to make the most of your situation and enjoy every last bit of your journey. Keep record of the obstacles you face on your way to the top… These are the things that shape you into the person you will turn into. People say they do not change when they get a little fame or success. I find this hard to believe. If you do not change how have you grown at all? Either way just roll with the punches and enjoy every last bit of it.

These things come and go. You do not want to be the only one in your camp that did not get a chance to enjoy it. Make sure you are moving in the right direction.

Oh and one other thing, I know that you think you have to work harder than everyone else to get to the next level. This is somewhat true but that doesn’t mean you cannot have fun. Make sure you take sometime out for yourself, spend time with those that you care about.

When you wake up in the morning you dont have to hop in the shower and get straight to work. Relax a little bit. wake up, fix breakfast do nothing for 20-30 mins… Clear your head and then get started. If you are always in a rush and you feel like you are running out of time then you probably are. Remember you are what you pretend to be. Just remember to take things at your pace.

follow me @dantemarshall. follow us @theartdirection.