Lots of Portfolio Reviews!!

Next week, I will be part of the portfolio review teams of both The Palm Springs Photo Festival and the ASMP MSP Portfolio Reviews event. The PSPF reviews are Sept. 27-29 and the ASMP review day is Oct. 1st, 2021. Both events are being held virtually via Zoom.

You can register for any of the remaining review slots via accessing the above event links.

Note: for the PSPF reviews you need to sign up for 6 reviews. There are still reviewers available in all categories– but they’re going fast.

The ASMP’s event has a limit of three reviews/person and their registration is open until Sept. 27, 2021.

I always look forward to seeing some great work. I also love providing photographers with feedback that moves them forward in their careers, and, hopefully, sparking connections for them to my network of colleagues in either the commercial or fine art photography worlds.

See you next week?

Portfolio Reviews get a pandemic pivot

There are two major portfolio review events happening this September.

ASMP Reviews and the PSPF Portfolio Reviews.

Both review events are great opportunities for photographers to connect face-to-face with those in the photo business that can help move your photography career forward.

Register for one or both events ASAP as slots are limited.

Both events are now going to happen virtually via ZOOM. (What isn’t happening via ZOOM these days?!?!?)

ASMP’s Portfolio Review event happens first on Sept. 3rd, 2020. Their registration deadline is Aug. 31. Registration link is HERE

The schedule of who is doing reviews at what time is on that link. Happy to report that I’m on the review team of both events.

The second event is the Palm Springs Photo Festival Portfolio Review (PSPF). Normally, the PSPF review events are held twice per year (in early May in Palm Springs, CA and again in mid-October in conjunction with PhotoPlusExpo).

This year PSPF’s reviews will also be happening virtually via ZOOM. Info on the PSPF Sept. 21-24 reviews is HERE

If you want to see when I’m reviewing at PSPF and the rest of the reviewers’ schedules go HERE.

You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Want some tips on how to make the most of your 20-minutes with a reviewer? I’ve got some tips HERE

Looking forward to meeting lots of new photographers and seeing some great work. And I’m really looking forward to the day–hopefully in the Spring in 2021–when we can all meet again in person and not just virtually!


Join me online on July 1. I’ll be the featured guest on ASMP’s Wednesday webinar.

I’ll be interviewed by ASMP’s Executive Director, Tom Kennedy. We’ll be discussing two of my favorite subjects: Marketing and Mindfulness. These two business tools have never been more important for photographers to understand and implement if they want to survive and thrive in today’s radically-changed economy.

Click on this image for more info and to register on the event page.

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.

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?


Are you faking it? You’re in good company.

If you want to read an honest account of what torments many creative people, read this great post I saw on PixelatedImage yesterday. The author talks about the common fear shared by many creative people, that “one day everyone will all wake up to the collective revelation that I’m just faking it.”

In my long career as a photo rep, I had the privilege of seeing the whole creative kit and kaboodle of many of advertising photography’s “star photographers.”  I can tell you for a stone cold, hard fact, the “big name photographers” were also secretly worried they were “faking it” as they knew they were as capable as anyone else of producing a boatload of crappy and off-target shots.

But the other thing they had–-which not every photographer has–- is a persistence and a willingness to take creative risks, over and over and over again, until their muse blessed them again. And when the muse did return, they produced wonderful images. Those were the images went into their portfolios. I got to trumpet them as creative geniuses because I knew it was true;  they had what it takes to keep going through the valley of their doubts.

Because I repped so many photographers, I was fortunate to have a broader perspective on the creative process than a single photographer usually has. I saw all of my artists go through it. I knew that the photographic dross was just part of the process to get to “the good stuff.” When you’re all on your own, it’s harder; you sometimes think it’s just you that’s faking. It’s not!

Talking a ‘star’ photographer “off the ledge” when they hit a long creative dry spell, came with the territory. 🙂

So keep going. And going. Humbly. And with gratitude and hope. IMHO:It’s the only way.

The value of taking a break: you’ll get the creative bolts that fuel your best photography

With Independence Day falling on a Wednesday this year, it creates a dilemma for those of us who don’t have someone else telling us what days we get to take off from work. Should I only take off  Wednesday the 4th of July? Tuesday and Wednesday? Wednesday and Thursday? Or just take the whole week as few clients will likely be making project decisions this week due to the confusion.

That leaves many creative people debating on how much time they should “goof off” surrounding such a holiday–especially when their photo marketing consultant has been urging them to create some new work for their portfolio or do some meta-tagging of their images. 😉

They start to feel ambivalent and guilty because, as freelancers, they feel that if they’d just managed their time better, they could have already completed those important but non-urgent business tasks on other days and be free to play. But, alas, they didn’t get those non-urgent tasks done. Yet again. (I totally empathize!!)

So they now face a holiday with twinges of guilt. “Should I just bagged it all and go on that long bike ride, to that baseball game, picnic, concert, parade, etc. or should I stay in and work on that stuff?”

I don’t know about you but I loved reading this article in the NY Times about the value of down time.

“The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “


Happy Independence Day holidays! I’m going to go for some bolts of inspiration. I’m outta here!


Summer reading suggestions- books for photographers that aren’t about photography

As the first day of Summer and the longest day of the year approaches, it’s a good time to think about relaxing with a great book. This summer, instead settling into your beach chair with a best-selling mystery or romance novel, pack one of these paperbacks into your beach bag and you’ll have more than a tan when you’re done.

You’ll end up with some perspectives that can put things into a different focus for you regarding where photography is headed– and how you fit in. I think it’s essential for any small business owner to get a macro-economic business perspective. Reading outside your industry niche gives you the business equivalent of a liberal arts education vs. trade school education. Both kinds of education are very valuable. But added together, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
In the same way, maintaining a well-rounded and broad business perspective can generate new insights about marketing your photography. In between reading the CS6 manuals, take a look at these.

The first few books will give you a wonderful dose of confidence about being in a creative industry

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by marketing guru, Seth Godin

These best-sellers by Malcolm Gladwell really make you think.The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference  and  Outliers: The Story of Success

Here are two of my favorite big-picture guides–one for a perspective on the global economy: The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas Friedman

 and one to help you manage day-to-day priorities: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey

And finally, for a different perspective on what might be really holding you back,have some fun examining your foundational beliefs with this help of this book: Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie & Stephen Mitchell

Have fun in the summer sun!


Momentum: Maintaining, Motion, and Marketing

Here’s another perspective on the “moving into video” trend that I first blogged about back in July.

Both videographers and photographers are now actively
pitching their clients on their new DSLR-HD
capabilities. They’re sending out marketing messages
inviting their clients to see them as a “one-stop
shopping” solution when it comes to digital content.

But how do you take on a video project when you’re not
an experienced video producer?
If you deliver a product that is any less professional
than your mainstay service offering you’re cutting your
own throat.

If you create a digital video that takes hours of post
production to clean up, you weaken your client
relationship, e.g. just like the videographer who “does
not know what they don’t know” could screw up when it
comes the file prep of a still image.

Most photographers fully understand the issues involved
in image prep for usage on a billboard vs. in print.
But that same photographer might “not know what they
don’t know” when it comes to post-production issues
related to creating motion content destined for broadcast
vs. smart-phone video.

The ground under the foundation of your business
relationship, starts to shift. Your relationship was
built on the implicit assumption that as a professional
photographer you can always meet your client’s needs.

Delivery doubt creeps in. If a client asks you to shoot
video “while you’re at it…”  it may be wiser to turn
the offer down. Better to refer them to a trusted video
producer and manage that relationship on behalf of your
client, if you can. From the client’s perspective you’d
still be a great problem-solver.

Maintaining your client relationships while building
your motion skill set requires a big commitment. To get
far enough beyond the learning curve to start safely
marketing video production services to your existing
client base, you’re going to need a strategy for moving
into new media.

As it’s been said before in many of the forums,
producing a behind-the-scenes (BTS) video is one of the
best ways to start and stay close to your client.

First, create a BTS telling your business story. Build
tech proficiency by taking apart videos that inspire
you. Do a shot-by-shot analysis. Look at the mix of
camera angles, lighting, lensing, audio and music cues
that move the story along, the pacing of the edits, and
finally, how does the story start, build, and end? Do
you have the necessary story-boarding skills?

Once confident in that arena, move to creating a BTS of
one of your client’s projects. It’s the next logical
step. And it keeps you close to your client.

For video BTS inspiration: check out
http://fstoppers.com or search Google or vimeo.com for
“BTS video photoshoot”. If you’re at the beginning and
confused about what gear to get, here’s a good
buyer’s guide.

Photography video convergence: the long and winding road to proficiency

The number of professional photographers who are experimenting with offering video production to their existing client base seems to grow exponentially with each release of a new DSLR-HD camera. It’s SO tempting when a client you’ve had for years asks you on a print shoot “While you’re at it, can you cover this scene in video as well?”

So there you are… faced with a (billable) request from an existing client. You want to make them happy by granting their request. You certainly don’t want to have them go elsewhere (i.e. a competitor) to get that footage you can “easily” provide. I mean, why wouldn‘t you say “Sure… I can do that. My camera has video capabilities.”

Because after your very first shoot that has sound in it, you’ll likely have an “uh-oh” moment. While most of your production values are as rock solid as usual: the lighting is great, the composition perfectly balanced, and the decisive moment is captured, there’s something not quite working in that footage…

There’s that new X-factor: The sound track. It doesn’t seem quite of up to the level of your imagery. What’s missing?

I guess because I come from a photography background, I had a bit of the same preconceptions that some photographers had when digital cameras first arrived with video capabilities: “oh, this is such a cool tool. I’ll just turn on that feature and get some video imagery as well.” I really didn’t even THINK about sound’s ability to make or break moving imagery.

For the past year or so a number of my photography marketing consulting clients seem to have traveled along the same path. Many are confused as to best practices and many photo industry professionals have blogged extensively about the obstacles along the path from still photography to motion.

One of the things that always gets mentioned as a challenging learning curve is SOUND. Most of my consulting clients already have a camera that shoots video–or know which one they want to buy–but the SOUND issues and what gear to get are perplexing them.

If you’ve been reading any of the professional photography online forums (e.g.  ASMPproAdvice@yahoogroups.com or APAnet@yahoogroups.com or ASMP’s Strictly Business Blog)  you’ll have already read tons of good advice from some still photographers who were very early adopters of shooting video. Attending seminars by early adopters such as Gail Mooney or Lee White at a local trade org event will certainly be helpful in navigating the path to motion; I readily recommended those workshops.

But other than advising  clients to get into a good hands-on video workshop ASAP or scroll through hundreds of messages in the forums, I wasn’t sure what to tell them. I wanted a resource I felt would be really helpful, one that I could trust to be accurate, and one that was simple enough that even I could understand it!

That’s why was really glad that my friend Adriel shared a copy of his just-released Video Buyers Guide with me. With decades of experience in video production and great teaching skills (even the most non-techie people can understand him), he is a great guide to answer the questions from my moving-into-video clients.

His brand new Video Buyer’s Guide is a great resource and it even makes sense to me –someone who’s very comfortable in marketing photography but who is way uncomfortable in the more technical aspects of digital video. (I only  carry a way-down-the-video-line Canon S90 but I can certainly sense the allure of the video capture function). And I’m certainly a “Dummy” when it comes to sound.

So I invite you to check out this cool resource if you’re at all confused about some of the issues you’re encountering as you move into video. The Guide was just released over the weekend and is available for US$19.00–which  is WAY affordable and I think under-priced for the tips you get.

Caveat: The price will go up after the first 100 copies of the guide are sold.