Author Archive

You Said Timex But They Heard Rolex

Posted: March 16th, 2016

[by Francis Zera] Being successful at managing client expectations often boils down to managing just one thing: communication. If you invest the time and effort to be a clear communicator and work with the client from the start to set objectives together, you’ll rarely have any problems in this regard. When expectations are vague, problems [...]

I’ve Been Everywhere, Man: Seven Tips For Traveling Photographers

Posted: December 15th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] Traveling is good fun, but traveling for a photo gig and dragging along all the necessary photo gear can quickly put a damper on that fun. To help ease the pain, here are seven travel tips based on my frequent out-of-town photo projects. Pelican-style hard cases are your friend. They’re bulky, heavy, [...]

Inspiration Information

Posted: December 1st, 2015

[by Francis Zera] Photographer’s block, aka “I don’t know what the hell to make photographs of anymore,” is a perennial problem for we creatives. We buy books of other photographers’ works, we attend inspirational seminars, maybe even start to think we’ve complely lost our creative spark. Happens to everyone, right? Perhaps. But here are seven [...]

In Business, Every Week is Shark Week

Posted: November 5th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] As business owners, we’re just like sharks – we keep swimming, or we die. Just as you think the required skills for your genre have been acquired, honed, and then mastered, along comes some new kid with some new technology that your client base seems to adore. While it’s a fool’s errand [...]

Risk-Taking Tips For The Risk Averse

Posted: October 29th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] A goal without a plan is just a wish. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Business risk takes many forms, and each risk comes complete with an accompanying set of concerns. Do you finance the expensive new equipment you’ve been wanting, or wait and save up until you can pay cash? Do you try to [...]

Contracts — Five Tips For What To Do When The Fine Print Doesn’t Look So Fine

Posted: October 1st, 2015

[by Francis Zera] Contract law is powerful — you ‘re able to sign away legal rights that you otherwise automatically have (along with the opposite situation, depending on which side of the contract you’re on), so it’s no wonder that contract negotiations often feel precarious and sometimes downright frightening. Here are a some tips to [...]

Building Trust is Key When Working With Architects

Posted: June 9th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] When negotiating contracts with architecture firms, construction companies, developers, engineers, and design firms you have to think about a lot more than just the time it will take to create the images. While some projects are logistically straightforward, many productions require lots of organization and planning. You may need to hire several [...]

Add It Up — Intangibles Can Help You Seal the Deal

Posted: June 3rd, 2015

[by Francis Zera] When all other things are close to equal between you and a competitor bidding on a job, intangibles, including added value, are often what gives the edge to the successful bidder. Many clients already understand the core value that comes with professional photography; they just need to find the right combination of [...]

Now Get Out There and Fight!

Posted: May 18th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] For those just venturing out into the big, crazy world after however long a stint in photography school (or for those intrepid souls diving in to the business without formal training), here are some thoughts from someone who’s been around the block enough times to know what the gutters look like as [...]

Be Thou My Vision — Finding Ways to Break Out of the Creative Doldrums

Posted: April 17th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] Once you’ve been in this business for a while, it sometimes happens that you find yourself in a creative rut. Fulfilling client requests and preferences keeps those clients happy and coming back for more, but can feel like you’re simply checking items off of a to-do list rather than genuinely creating something. [...]

Negotiations and Love Songs — the Art of Bidding Photo Projects

Posted: April 2nd, 2015

[by Francis Zera] Pricing and negotiating seem to be two of the most danced-around topics in all of professional photography. Anecdotally, when negotiating bids with clients, fear-based lack of communication with the client is one of the many drivers of failed proposals. The fear of asking questions, the fear of looking less than competent, or [...]

Yes, Virginia, There is Such a Thing as Work/Life Balance

Posted: February 9th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] According to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a 32-country consortium designed to promote economic development and world trade, the topic of work/life balance is an issue of such significance to the global economy that an enormous amount of resources are devoted to studying the topic. This OECD report explains [...]

Our policy on disseminating these sorts of policies can be found in the corresponding policy documents: How not to write terms, conditions, and policy documents

Posted: January 16th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] Like many photographers, when I started out I did photo shoots on a gentleman’s agreement basis — no contracts, no terms and conditions, no policies, just verbal agreements. Turns out that I was a combination of lucky and cautious, as I never got badly burned by a client, although I did lose [...]

Constructive Reflection and the Year Ahead

Posted: January 9th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] The end of a year is a great time for reflection, and at times, for kicking oneself in the pants for past indiscretions. It’s also a great time for optimism for the coming clean slate of a year – a blank calendar for the year ahead feels, to me, anyway, like an [...]

Getting Personal

Posted: November 20th, 2014

[by Francis Zera] Personal work is sometimes treated as a dirty little secret — these projects make a photographer’s heart happy but are often seen as everything from a detriment to the bottom line to a dalliance that uses time that could be better spent pursuing paying jobs. To the contrary, personal projects should be [...]

Whaddya Mean, You Don’t Know How To Drive My Car?

Posted: November 5th, 2014

[by Francis Zera] Several years ago, I was doing an architecture shoot at a new development that was a bit off the beaten path. I’d worked with the client several times before, but I’d not worked with the new marketing person they’d assigned to the project. Being somewhat new to the job, she’d forgotten to [...]

With a Little Help From My Peers

Posted: October 14th, 2014

[by Francis Zera] This may sound obvious for an ASMP blog, but the photographers I’ve met through ASMP have definitely made all the difference for my career and for my sanity. Last year, I was invited to bid on what would turn out to be the most valuable gig of my career to date. Problem [...]

The Perfect Production Companion

Posted: October 9th, 2014

 I first met Francis through ASMP where he has served in leadership roles for the Seattle chapter for many years.  Every time I speak with him, I’m impressed by his clarity of thought and range of experience.  I am delighted to welcome him as our newest regular contributor. ~ Judy Herrmann, Editor [by Francis Zera] [...]