You’ve got to know what it cost to run your photo business.

You’ve got to know what it cost to run your photo business if you want to be around more than a year or two. The economic reality of running any small business must be faced. You have to have a pricing structure based on what all of your business costs are– or sooner or later, you will be the one who puts yourself out of business. Not your “cheap clients.”

Photographers often are told their bids for a shoot are too high and they lose a bid to someone “cheaper.” You didn’t lose the bid because of your estimate. Your real failure was a failure of eduction. It’s likely that you failed to educate both yourself–and subsequently your clients– about what it really costs a pro photographer to keep the doors open. Yes, it hurts to be underbid. But that doesn’t have to happen as often. When you have built a relationship with your client and they have some sense of why you’re charging what you’re charging they’re not as likely to automatically go with the lowest bid.  In this case, ignorance is never bliss.

I read a great article today on PetaPixel. It’s one that I recommend to all emerging photographers (and some old pros as well!).  It was penned by photographer, Tom Meyer, who lives in Decatur, GA. It was originally published on his own blog. It’s worth reading.

Here’s an excerpt.

 There are hundreds of students graduating every day as “photographers” who can under bid me for a year… maybe two. But eventually these realities also become unavoidable to them, at which time they become real estate agents or go back to being baristas… or they start billing at that “job killer” rate of $100 per hour.

Tomorrow is the inaugural portfolio review day at Chicago Creative Review

I will be one of the portfolio reviewers participating at the inaugural day of the Chicago Creative Review event.

I will be joining 9 Chicago ad agency art buyers, 12 art directors/creative directors, 2 photo editors, and 9 photo reps at the studio of the late Steve Grubman at 456 N Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60642

All sessions with all reviewers are completely sold out as of today, but there will be another event in the Spring of 2015.

A portion of the proceeds of the event will benefit the Off the Street Club.

I’m looking forward to seeing some great local talent.

The next batch of portfolio reviews I’m doing will be at PhotoPlusExpo in NYC at the end of October for the Palm Springs Photo Fest’s Portfolio Reviews.

Sign up deadline for those sessions with dozens of photography influencers is fast approaching.

Next up: NYC Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2014 for PhotoPlus Expo and to do Portfolio reviews at PSPF

Once again I’m heading to NYC at the end of October to attend PhotoPlus Expo , the huge photography trade show and conference being held, as usual, at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. PPE is a great place to connect with friends and colleagues you may only know “virtually.” In an ever-increasing digital world, face-to-face meetings are precious and wonderful. I am looking forward to meeting up with many photographers––both old friends and new–some of whom I know online and on the phone, but who I’ve not yet met in person.

For the fourth year in a row I will be doing portfolio reviews for The Palm Springs Photo Festival , alongside dozens of art buyers, photo editors, gallery directors, book publishers and other photo industry professionals. This is an ideal opportunity for photographers to get a valuable and potentially career-changing advice from industry insiders.

The reviewers’ schedules will be listed here. Slots sell out quickly .

I won’t be doing free reviews at the ASMP booth at PPE this year as I’ve done for the past 8 years. But I will be available for a limited number of free, private review sessions for ASMP members who are on my mailing list and/or who I may have reviewed previously in the ASMP booth. Details will be sent to my mailing list in late Sept./early October.

If you want to know my availability at PPE for a free session and you’re not already on my mailing list, you can join here.

I’m heading to California next week to see two great photo exhibitions in LA and then do portfolio reviews at The Palm Springs Photo Fest

Next week I’m headed to Los Angeles to attend the 2nd annual Paris Photo LA fine art photo exhibition which is being held April 25-27th.  I was amazed last year at its inaugural exhibition at the depth and breadth of the work shown. Can’t wait to go again. Once again, it’s being held at the same great venue:  Paramount Studios on Melrose.

Concurrent with Paris Photo LA there’s another and brand new fine art photo exhibition: Photo Independent. This show will feature photographers not currently represented by galleries; the current exhibitor list is filled primarily with California-based artists. The exhibition is being held nearby at Raleigh Studios.

I’ll be curious to see how the quality of the work compares at the two shows. The number of people inhabiting the professional photography universe has exploded exponentially in every direction– both those seeking commercial and editorial assignments and those seeking to be exhibited. I’m very curious to see what percentage of work will be truly inspirational and move the fine art photography world forward.

After my full weekend of seeing great fine art photography, I head directly to Palm Springs to once again be one of the PSPF faculty doing portfolio reviews at the 9th annual Palm Springs Photo Fest. Both fine art and commercial photographers attend the PSPF as the reviewers are from both worlds of photography.

PSPF always has a great list of seminars, workshops and portfolio reviewers. This year is no exception. It’s not too late to register for the portfolio review program.

How to “impress the judges” at a face-to-face photography portfolio review.

[This article originally appeared as one of my regular contributions to the ASMP’s Strictly Business blog. ]

Carolyn Potts doing a portfolio review

And now…. you are live!”

Ever feel like your in-person portfolio presentation is a bit like being a contestant on American Idol?

Whether you’re “performing” at a one-on-one portfolio presentation or at a portfolio review event (where you’ve signed up for a series of 20-min. with multiple reviewers), to cement that contact and land that dream assignment, here are some ways to improve your odds of getting serious attention and even score that gig.

Prepare. Google is your best friend. Doing your research provides clues about what content the reviewer might need from you. If you’re seeing multiple people in a day, have more than one presentation (or an easy-to-edit one) so you can tailor each presentation with the most relevant work up front.

The portfolio should open with your strongest and most relevant image. Close with the second strongest. Remember, some people start from the back when they flip through a printed portfolio. The middle should flow well and reinforce your main vision.

Connect .Try to see someone beyond their role as the keeper-of-the- assignment-purchase-order. Be interested in them. Make eye contact. Give a good hand shake. Relax. Breathe. If you’re a bit nervous, be honest. It’s ok to be real. Most relate more to honesty than bravado.

Let them drive. How fast they flip through the book is NOT an indicator of interest or disinterest in the work. Remember, the reviewer has probably seen thousands of portfolios. Thousands.

Absorb deeply. If a reviewer makes a suggestion, consider it seriously. If more than one reviewer says the same thing, DO IT!!!

If you’re getting the vibe they like your work, then ask them about their follow-up  preferences as to frequency and format. Some like printed pieces. Some like to save trees and prefer only emails. Some have no preference. Before you leave the event, record their preference in your contacts database and then do what they say.

Reviewers like talented photographers who do their homework, are relevant, connect, and have a sense of the buyer’s needs. If it’s really going well, ask if they’ve a colleague who might also be interested. If they say yes, ask if you can use their name as a reference. Reviewers usually like referring photographers who have all those qualities. They won’t, if you don’t.

Bottom line: The time you spend together, once it’s over, is gone forever and neither of you can ever get those minutes back. Spend your minutes wisely and remember to thank them for their time investment. 

 

Photo marketing workshop: Turning your Photo Passion into a Profitable Photo Business Feb. 22-23 in Santa Fe

Time is running out to register for my Feb. 22-22 two-day photo marketing intensive at the Santa Fe Photo Workshops.

I’m thrilled to be doing this workshop at Santa Fe Photo Workshops, which is one of the most respected photo workshop organizations in the United States. The 2-day workshop format will provide attendees with both a lot of personalized attention as well as the benefits of learning in a synergistic group environment.

There’s plenty of course information on the Santa Fe Workshops web site and a link to registration.

While the course description in the SFPW catalog indicates the course is geared to advanced amateurs, this workshop actually provides value for any serious photographer who wants to learn the most effective photography sales and marketing skills–skills which are essential in order to make more income from shooting photography.

You’ll come away from this course with  real marketing knowledge, confidence, focus, and business direction.

Portfolio review sessions in NYC during PhotoPlus Expo Oct 24-26th, 2013

You can find me next week as I do every year, attending PhotoPlus Expo at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC.

While there, I’ll be one of the eight reviewers offering free portfolio reviews/consultations to ASMP members. If all the slots get filled (as they often are), feel free to stop by the ASMP booth #1173 to get on the waiting list or just to say “Hi!”

ASMP officially opens their review registration tomorrow Oct 15th when their monthly newsletter goes out. But if you’re a member, you can sign up here today. All the reviewer’s slots get filled FAST!

I’m also one of the dozens of reviewers participating in the Palm Springs Photo Festival’s portfolio review program. The PSPF reviews are not free as demand is very high to get a one-on-one session with the reviewers–many of whom are art buyers and photo editors as well as reps and consultants–but there are discounts available. The PSPF reviews are now full, but their wait list opens Oct. 15th and 16th.

 

“What next?!? Creating a viable Plan B” is my next photo marketing seminar

On November 15th, 2013 I’ll be one of the faculty presenters at the  Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar which is being held Nov. 14-16th at the Westin Atlanta North hotel.

Their registration sign-up page is here.

My photography marketing workshop will be entitled “What next?!? Charting a viable Plan B for photojournalists.”

As we all know, photographers working in photo journalism have  experienced some of the sharpest declines in income due to staff layoffs (I live in the city where notorious Chicago Sun Times laid off their entire photo staff). While the rise of iPhone photographers has eroded many traditional career paths for those photographers who know how to tell a story in a just few compelling images, there are still viable paths for those skilled and passionate photographers.

More info on my workshop is found on this APJ seminar page.

More inspiration from TED talks. This time not words, but an image

I love the TED talks. I listen and am inspired. But today it was a visual from the TED that  inspired me.

When I discovered this info graphic on a friend’s Facebook wall today, I thought that photographers might also find some inspiration by seeing this TED  info graphic.

Imagine where and how your work is connected both in the ‘real’ world and the ‘virtual’ worlds.

Does it help you to see how things can connect and create synergy when it comes to creating your own photo marketing road map?

http://tedconfblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/ted-universe-bigger.jpg

Photographers! Use your multi-media skills. Win a prize. Save democracy.

Faux “photo contests” pitched to aspirational photographers abound. There seems to be a new one every month. Winning one of “those” contest rarely, if ever gets you hired. They serve primarily to stroke your ego and make money for the contest sponsor.

However, here’s one contest you should consider entering– as a photographer and as a citizen.

A few weeks ago I received a call-for-entries email from a friend who works at The McArthur Foundation (they’re the ones who give out the Genius grants). They, along with the Illinois Humanities Council and 36 other organizations, have created a contest called Looking@Democracy which is inviting creatives –working in any digital media– to compete for $100,000 in prize money.

They’re seeking creative media pieces (3 min. or less) about strengthening American democracy. They want to “bring attention to ideas, perspectives and stories that are not currently featured in our mainstream political conversation.”

The want people who are skilled in media (that’s you!) to

Create and send us short digital media content that either:

(a) Tells a story about why government is important to our lives, or
(b) Tells how we might together strengthen American democracy.

They even have a list of example ideas to start you thinking.

Both Democrats and Republicans support the idea of offering prizes for innovation and are increasing funding for contests as major cool things often come from it. E.g.,  The 2004 X Prize launched commercial space travel.

As photographers we often think that cultural change are most often influenced by Pulitzer Prize-winning photo journalists or incisive documentaries. But recall how fast and how far Psy and his Sexy Ladies went to make people aware of Korean pop music.  (today’s YouTube view count is 1.4 BILLION)

There is a path between serious and silly that can be embraced by someone with professional media skills, a good idea, and passion enough to get off the couch of discouragement. Is it you?

[Caveat there are two clauses that may give ASMP members pause that govern submissions:

Intellectual Property Rights: All files and applications submitted to the competition remain the intellectual property of the individuals or organizations that developed them, though the IHC will retain the right, through an appropriate license agreement, to use and distribute all submissions to the public free of charge for one year after the announcement of the winners.
and
 Liability: The contestant shall be liable for, and shall indemnify and hold harmless IHC and MacArthur Foundation against all actions or claims for loss of or damage for intellectual property infringement, any type of defamation, right of privacy, or personal injury claim, or to property of IHC and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation computer systems or to those of the users of the applications resulting from the fault, negligence, or wrongful act or omission of the contestant.

Thanks to ASMP’s Judy Hermann and Victor Perlman for giving me the heads up about those clauses.]

Deadline is April 30th, 2013