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.

What’s New?

We all know that the same-old, same-old doesn’t work so well in these rapidly changing times.  We’ve all got to stretch ourselves – take some risks and try new things. This week, our contributors share some new things they’re trying in their businesses and how that’s working out for them.  I hope they’ll inspire you to explore new services, adopt some new habits or add a new twist to what you’re already doing.  ~Judy Herrmann, Editor


By webmaster | Posted: September 22nd, 2014 | No comments

Rejuvenation In Stealth Mode

[by Colleen Wainwright]

After a few years of doing the same-old, same-old, I had reached an impasse. My work, giving talks on and consulting with small creative businesses about marketing, had grown stale. Worse, my ability to write had all but dried up, and I’d lost my mojo for the few collaborative projects I’d begun. (When it rains, it pours down from the heavens like Kansas skies on Dorothy Gale.)

Part of me wanted to trash my entire website and start over: I loved the accountability of a public presence, but felt self-conscious about changing things up on the old blog so abruptly. Another part of me thought that going public was the problem: that I needed to write privately. I was mulling things when it hit me: what if I could reboot my creative life in a way that would hold me accountable, but not too publicly?

Thus was born a fresh, new, semi-personal project: a semi-secret 100-day experiment in writing and creating, shared with only a minute sliver of my audience. Not on Facebook. Definitely not on my blog. Instead, I chose a new venue I’ve been itching to audition for a while now, but couldn’t find a reason to.

What’s fascinating is what’s already shifted in the few weeks that I committed to doing this side project. I’ve landed a couple of “expertise-adjacent” side gigs that will expose me to new ways of doing business and teach me new skills. I’ve had a few remarkable people show up in my life who are both challenging me to grow and showing me how much I already knew, but didn’t realize.

Best of all, I’m writing again. Not for the ages, maybe, but for me, and with satisfying (so far) engagement. I’m excited about what comes next, even though I have no idea what it will be.

Because, of course, it’s a secret.

Colleen Wainwright is happily writing in semi-secrecy, for now, although she will continue to share ridiculous, topical items on the site we all love to hate.

By Colleen Wainwright | Posted: September 23rd, 2014 | No comments
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Expanding Horizons

[by Jenna Close]

This is the year that I started offering video services as part of my photography business. It began with curiosity; a lot of my clients were asking for video and I wanted to see if it was something I would enjoy. I started by shooting a couple of 2-3 minute, corporate style pieces for some friends who own companies.

At first, I didn’t shoot enough footage, which I didn’t realize until I tried my hand at editing. Editing was the single most important educational process for me. Camera operation and lighting were similar to still photography, and even color grading (I use Davinci Resolve Lite, which is a free program with a massive amount of features) was pretty familiar after spending so many years in Photoshop. But editing…that was tricky.

Sure, I could have hired an editor, but I think it’s important for everyone interested in video to edit a few pieces themselves. It made blatantly obvious every single thing I had forgotten to consider: shooting enough b-roll, getting wide, medium and detail shots of each scene, making sure I had enough variety to make the piece interesting, etc. After a few failures and a few successes, I found that I really enjoyed shooting video. So I put two of the videos up on my website and figured “heck, if I get a few video jobs here and there, that would be a great additional source of revenue.”

What happened? So far this year the motion projects have far surpassed still photography. A decent number of clients have also hired me to shoot both. I really didn’t expect it to take off like that.

While video isn’t really a new thing anymore, it was new to my business and new to me. Now that I have a handle on it, I want to spend this next year building a network of people I can bring in for larger projects and higher production value. As someone who generally works with my business partner and a few assistants, assembling and managing a large crew is a new prospect. In addition, assigning major responsibility to someone like a camera operator is something I need to get comfortable with. But, stepping outside of my comfort zone and collaborating with other people are important parts of growing my business.

When Jenna was a kid she rearranged her room every month without fail. After college she lived in 6 different states in the span of 9 years. She finally settled in San Diego, where she still likes to try new things. 

By Jenna Close | Posted: September 22nd, 2014 | 1 comment

Digital Asset Management as a Client Service

[by David Diamond]

Now that Digital Asset Management has (almost) become a topic companies understand, an opportunity has arisen for professional photographers. Today’s “please send me” request can be tomorrow’s new revenue stream.

Digital Asset Management Services

In addition to photo services, there’s no reason you can’t offer to store and manage digital assets for your clients. Whether you limit collections to photos you’ve taken, or you enable clients to add files of their own, a DAM is something that must be managed in order to provide any value. Some clients might already have DAMs under control; but others might like the idea of you—the photographer they know and trust—managing a DAM for them.

To get you started, here are a few things to consider:

  1. You’ll need a DAM system that can serve multiple clients. Typically called “multi-tenant,” these systems provide a virtual wall between each client’s collections, helping to ensure secure separation. DAMs built for multi-tenant use can also make things easier for you to manage. If you’re not up for installing and managing the system yourself, look for a Cloud-based solution. Just remember— true multi-tenancy is key. Google “multi-tenant cloud DAM system” to find some options.
  2. Make sure your DAM provides usage statistics that honor the separation between your clients. This way, you can run reports at the end of the month or quarter, and quickly see who’s been using the system. You can charge by connection time, number of downloads—you name it. A system that’s not truly multi-tenant won’t be able to separate the usage of Client A from that of Client B.
  3. Don’t underestimate the value of your time! Freelancers can sometimes shy away from asking clients for money. The closer we become to our clients, the softer the boundary becomes between service and favor. But your time is valuable, and your expertise managing image collections is invaluable. Most clients wouldn’t have any idea how to set up a DAM system, so you’re doing them a favor.

Marketing Befitting a Creative Professional

If you’re at a loss for how to “sell” your new service to clients, think like a marketer. What’s in it for them?

  • Now you can access your entire collection on-demand, 24/7. No more waiting for me to return from vacation!
  • Share images across the company or social media, right from the DAM. No need to manage duplicate files on your own.
  • No need for you to learn about metadata or anything else—I’ll take care of it all. You’ll have a single portal from which you can see and approve new work, or quickly find archived work.

There’s good in this for you too:

  • You strengthen your client relationships because you now have an ongoing business relationship rather than an occasional project.
  • Usage patterns show you which images are most popular with your clients, so you’ll have a better idea of what they like.
  • You’ll be making money, even while your favorite camera back is in the shop. A service like this would be a bargain at $100/month. That’s a fraction of what client would pay for a professionally managed DAM of their own. Multiply that times 50 clients and you might not even bother to pick up that camera back.

Here’s more that I’ve written on the topic, including a case study example:

David Diamond has been working in Digital Asset Management for more than 16 years and authored DAM Survival Guide. Diamond manages global marketing for Swiss DAM vendor, Picturepark. He was awarded the 2013 DAMMY of the Year for his educational contributions to the industry.

David is the founder of DAM Guru Program, a free service that connects digital asset management professionals with others who need their help.

By Editor | Posted: September 19th, 2014 | No comments

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