How to Get Featured on the History Channel

As a Composite Photographer, have you ever wondered how to get your work seen by more people? After all, you know the more people who see your work the better your chances are of getting work or being cool.

Here’s how I got my Composite of Rick Fairless featured on the History Channel.

Ok, maybe “featured” isn’t necessarily the right word, but my Composite of Rick did make a spot on the History Channel and I’m going to tell you how I got so lucky.

Now, pull up your chaps cuz I’m taking off.

Started by doing Free Work

I’m sure you’re quite familiar with the ongoing debate of whether you should do free photography work or not. Many think it’s a great way to start your business, while others think it lowers the earning ability of us hard work photographers trying to make a living.

I’m in the camp that doing free work can be a good thing.

About a year into doing this Compositing thing, I found myself in January with very little work and no foreseeable clients. So, I got on Google and started searching for cool people I could practice my Compositing skills on.

By “cool”, I mean musicians, barbers, tattoo artists, and motorcycle guys.

I sent out several emails to people I had found and one actually replied that he would love to work with me. That person was motorcycle legend Rick Fairless of Strokers Dallas.

rick fairless of strokers dallas with allstate bike

To be honest, I had no idea who he was before meeting him, but that one email has had HUGE effects on my business. Even to this day!

Over the course of two months, having full access to Rick when I needed, and several trips to his motorcycle shop in Dallas, I created a really cool Portrait Composite they absolutely love.

composited portrait of rick fairless of strokers dallas

QUESTION: What do you think of the cropping in this Composite? The crop into the tire? The crop into the Statue of Liberty? The crop into Betty Boop?

Do More Free Work

Ok, you’re thinking, “You created a badass portrait for a motorcycle legend. No wonder you made it on TV.”

No, No, No… There’s way more to it than that.

Once I completed Rick’s awesome portrait, I asked him if I could come in and photograph a couple of his more famous custom Choppers, and of course, I would do it for free.

rick fairless' suzie chopper photographed by composite photographer jason ulsrud

rick fairless' pamela anderson chopper by jason ulsrud

You might be thinking, “Free? Are you nuts? Why would you do all that work and not make any money?”

First off, I just knew that if I could be around Rick, opportunities would come. So, I made myself available whenever he needed me.

Because of this, I’ve had the opportunity to meet Richard Rawlings and go on set for an episode of his Fast-n-Loud show, I got a family portrait that took me to South Dakota, and now I’ve been fortunate enough to see my work on the History Channel.

filming an episode of fast n loud with richard rowlings and aaron kaufman

signature family portrait of family in south dakota by dallas portrait photographer, jason ulsrud

composite photographer jason ulsrud featured on the history channel with one of his portraits

All of this from practicing something I love when I really didn’t have much going on, and I’m supposed to say NO to doing free work?

Still Doing Free Work

As I write this, I’ve been inspired to reach back out to Rick and once again offer up my services with no anticipation of getting paid.

Not because I need the practice anymore, although we can never get enough practice, but because I know Rick has opportunities flying his way all the time and I just want to be on the front of his mind when one comes along that I can be involved with.

I’m also considering doing a couple of tutorials on how to photograph and Composite awesome Choppers.

Free Isn’t Really Free

I know there’s a hot debate on doing free work and I know I led this article off by saying do free work, but if you’ve noticed through this post, free isn’t really free.

I’m being fairly compensated for the Composite I made.

I made an awesome Composite for Rick Fairless who now gets to show it off to all his friends and peeps, and in trade, I’ve gotten access to Rick’s people, I’ve gotten visibility I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten, I’ve gotten commissioned work, I’ve gotten small jobs, I’ve gotten to meet celebrities, and now I’ve gotten on the History Channel.

I’d say I’ve gotten way more out of this deal than Rick has, but promise you won’t tell him.

Are you doing Free photography for people? How can you see yourself benefiting, beyond money, from doing Free work?

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