The American Society of Media Photographers provides this forum to encourage the development of critical skills and to foster new ideas. Our goal is an informed and savvy professional photography community.

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Life is complicated enough.  Add being a photographer – let alone a self-employed photographer – and the complication factor goes through the roof!  This week, our contributors share tools, tips & tricks they use to make things a little easier. ~Judy Herrmann, Editor


By Editor | Posted: August 4th, 2015 | No comments

Why You Should Immediately Create Your 5P: Powerfully POSITIVE Password Protection Plan

[by Carolyn Potts]

We all know that it’s important to change your passwords regularly–now more than ever.

Want to make your hair stand on end? Just log onto this site regularly to see who’s the latest corporate hacking victim. There were almost 20 security breaches in July 2015 alone!

[UPDATE: United Airlines' database of customer info was the most recent that was reported 7/29/15. Ever fly on United??]

Want to know a very effective way to both powerfully protect your online life as well as make positive changes in the rest of your life?

Change your passwords to inspiring sentences (also called passphrases).

Yes… we’re supposed to change our passwords regularly and not use the same ones over and over. Yet how many of us follow that good “internet security hygiene?”

I didn’t. I knew I should but–as most of my clients who’ve sheepishly confessed the same to me– I just wanted to keep it super-simple by making it a meaningful word to me (which was in the dictionary). I also foolishly used it on more than one site. That’s a very, very bad idea since there’s software that allow hackers to basically throw the dictionary at your login until it breaks open.

Luckily, none of my passwords were on the worst password list. Check to see if yours is there and if it is..change it NOW!! Security experts agree that sentences (or passphrase) are much, much harder to crack.

Shortly after reading about the huge U.S. State Department hack, I came across this article that was posted online in USA Today about a guy who literally changed his life by creatively changing his passwords.

He wanted to get over his ex-wife so he changed his Outlook password to forgive@h3r. After a few weeks, it worked. He was able to emotionally let go of her and move on. After that success, he kept changing it to help him with other things he wanted to change. And those worked, too!

I was delighted and inspired by that. Why not tell yourself something positive every time you have to login?

Your new passphrase can become the basis of not only a better security strategy but also a powerful affirmation. Imagine what would your photo business be like if on a very, very, regular basis you were seeing these passwords: IL0v3toMarketMyPH0TOs!! or IEasilyGo0ut2sh00tNEWw0rk.

Carolyn Potts, creative consultant, speaker, and writer, gives talks and leads marketing workshops for pro photographers. A former successful photo rep, she shows seasoned & proactive photographers how to get more work; she creates customized marketing plans that are not only highly effective, but are also very doable–and often fun. Find her at and Facebook and Google+

By Carolyn Potts | Posted: August 5th, 2015 | No comments
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Five Lessons I Learned from my Dad About Photography

[by Richard Kelly]

My dad knows nothing about photography, but he is a mechanic who loves his tools. I learned a lot working with my dad on automobiles and home remodeling projects. I now pass these lessons on to my assistants, and I hope they pass them on to their assistants.

1) Always use the appropriate tool for the job.
Unless you are “Macgyvering,” never use a kitchen knife in place of a screwdriver, a leather shoe for a hammer or a camera body for a doorstop. I have witnessed all of these things on photo shoots, and it has never turned out well.

2) Always buy the best tools you can afford.
A cheap tripod will fail when you need it the most. Same for light stands, hard drives, flash heads, etc.

3) Store and pack your tools (cameras, lights grip gear, et al. ) with these in mind:

  • Ease of use – have the primary components together or at least accessible.
  • Weight – especially when traveling by air but also to reduce strain on your team members and yourself.
  • Safety – keep your gear protected, you want it to last.
  • Security – always pack your gear the same way, in the same location. This way you can quickly identify if something is missing, has a technical issue or is still in use.

4) Batteries not included.
The weakest link will bring a production down. A five thousand dollar camera is a brick if the batteries are not charged. Always have backups, and backup to the backups. Ditto for memory cards, hard drives, cables and any other affordable piece of gear.

5) The package matters, too.
Good, well padded equipment cases and bags are worth their weight in gold. I like cases that don’t look expensive and are not so big that I can fill them up without making them too heavy (see #3). For any gear that I put through baggage check, I use waterproof cases as well; my gear got soaked on the tarmac one time, and that was once too many.

Richard Kelly like well made and useful tools and the bags to carry them in. Although never a Boyscout he carries a swiss army knife and can make fire with a match. Follow Richard on Twitter @richardkellypho or Instagram @richardkellyphoto.

By Richard Kelly | Posted: August 4th, 2015 | 1 comment

Save Now, Save Later

These last few weeks of summer are the perfect opportunity to save on some great learning opportunities available right now.  Save even more by registering early for Photo Plus Expo and the Palm Springs Portfolio Reviews coming up this fall!

VST2-Logo4eblastsAugust 4: Portland | August 6: Sacramento | August 7: San Jose | August 9: San Francisco | August 12: San Diego | August 14: Irvine | August 15: Burbank | August 17: Phoenix | August 20: Austin | August 21: Dallas | August 23: Houston | August 25: New Orleans | August 27: Orlando | August 28: Ft. Lauderdale | August 30: Atlanta | September 1: Charlotte | September 3: Nashville | September 4: Cincinnati | September 8: Chicago | September 10: Toronto | September 12: Philadelphia | September 13: Washington | September 15: Boston | September 17: Fairfield | September 18 & 20: New York City

Alex Buono’s Visual Storytelling Tour 2  immerses you in an all-day learning experience about the principles of Visual Style and Subtext. In this workshop, Alex shares his approach to shooting distinct visual styles with hands-on demonstrations that utilize attendees as the crew. By understanding the visual patterns for different film genres and how to manifest each style through both lighting and camerawork, you will harness the power of visual cues for your own projects. Most importantly, you will learn how to modify light quality and direction, color temperature, lens choices, camera movement and more through a modest set of portable and affordable tools and techniques that you can immediately apply to your own work.

ASMP Members click here to save $20 on any of the 3 registration options.

 . . .

SoundAdviceDownloadIt’s Not Too Late to Get Sound Advice!

Did you miss the MZed SoundAvice Tour? Don’t fret – ASMP members can still get a solid foundation in working with audio for video, film and multimedia projects and save $20 when you order the recorded download.

The Sound Advice HD download provides a solid foundation in working with audio for video, film and multimedia projects from recording and editing sound to special effects, music tracks, and mixing.

ASMP members, get your $20 discount on the HD Download here.

Plus, instructor Mark Edward Lewis has offered ASMP members $5.00 off his excellent book on troubleshooting audio. Read our book review and click here to get your discount.

 . . .

600x150 Eblast HeaderPhotoPlus Expo 2015
October 21 – 24 • Javits Center, NYC

Focused on education and the cultivation of community, PhotoPlus Expo gives you the opportunity to learn from world-leading photographers, experiment with the latest innovations in technology, network with industry creatives, and attend keynote presentations by pioneers in their fields.

This year, PhotoPlus features over 100 interactive, educational Photo Walks, Master Classes, seminars and special events as well as the prominent three-day Expo featuring over 200 exhibitors. This year’s Conference is offering twice the number of Master Classes and Photo Walks, over 125 Golden Ticket prizes for VIP pass holders, 300 chances to trade in any working DSLR for a brand new Samsung camera, and the Next Gen special event plus discounted pricing for young and emerging photographers.

Don’t miss these ASMP seminars:

Your Roadmap to Success with Judy Herrmann
Thursday, October 22 from 10:15 – 12:15

Are you creatively satisfied with the work you’re getting?  Do your clients value what you bring to the table? Is your career taking you where you want to go?  Most of us become professional photographers because we want to earn a living doing work we love.  Achieving that dream, though, takes more than basic business skills.  In this energizing and informative seminar, Judy Herrmann, provides real world strategies for building a working business plan that will help you build the business of your dreams.  Unlike formal business plans that are designed to satisfy lenders, your working plan will help you set and achieve your creative and financial goals, identify and assess business opportunities, compete more successfully and attract the right clients for your business. Whether you’re just starting out or have years of experience, the tools and techniques shared in this program will help you earn more money doing work you love.

21st Century Copyright & You with Tom Kennedy
Show Floor Theater – Date & Time TBD

There is no legislative act that has a greater impact on your ability to earn a living as a creator than copyright.  For the first time since 1976, Congress and the Copyright Office have made a public commitment to significantly modernize the Copyright Act.  Global corporations with deep pockets have already aligned against the interests of independent creators.  Only our numbers and a strong unified voice can counter their lobbyists and their messaging. In this free seminar, ASMP Executive Director Tom Kennedy will give you a solid understanding of what’s at play and how you can contribute to the process to ensure that you’ll be able to earn a living in this new era of copyright.

ASMP members click here to get $150 off  a 3-day full conference pass or 20% off one-day conference passes and à la carte sessions.

 . . .

PSPFreviewsPPEPalm Springs Portfolio Reviews
at PhotoPlus Expo
October 21-24
Javits Center, NYC

The Official Portfolio Review at PhotoPlus Expo is America’s premier review event for emerging and professional photographers. Organized by the Palm Springs Photo Festival in conjunction with Photo District News and The Photo Group, this event offers a fabulous opportunity to meet and present your work for critique, feedback and advice. At no other time can a photographer see such a cross-section of potential clients/representatives from both the commercial and fine art arenas in a four-day period.

Emerging and established professional photographers: present your work to key, hard-to-meet influencers who can give you jobs, exhibit or publish your work and advance your career by participating in the vetted Emerging & Professional Portfolio Review.

New pros and professionals testing new work: get valuable input from successful working pros who have navigated the same waters and others in a position to show the way and answer your questions in the October 21 Open Portfolio Review, which is not vetted.

ASMP Members, click here to save 7.5% off registration and fees for either review.

By webmaster | Posted: August 3rd, 2015 | No comments

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