Author Archive

Paperwork Share

Posted: April 25th, 2016

[by Jenna Close] Paperwork shares are a great resource, but sometimes I wish I could see real-world examples of how and why photographers made mistakes. So, below you will find an actual job from early in my career illustrating some of the ways I screwed up my estimate. Brief: Creative action & lifestyle images of [...]

The Struggle With Modern Day Usage

Posted: April 18th, 2016

[by Jenna Close] The single largest conflict with my client-direct jobs is limited licensing. Prior to the internet, promotional materials required a lengthy process of design and printing. Changes to existing materials happened neither quickly nor often, thus it was easy for clients and photographers both to keep track of image usage. These days change happens [...]

A New Reality with New Opportunities

Posted: January 4th, 2016

[by Jenna Close] Video is commonplace now, everyone and their grandmother has a drone, and cinemagraphs have gone post-hip…so… what’s next? One of the most promising future trends I don’t hear talked about much in photography circles is Virtual Reality (VR). Many of us associate this technology with 360 degree panoramas and real estate listings, [...]


Posted: December 21st, 2015

[by Jenna Close] 2015 was pretty normal except that, more than any other year, there were months completely devoid of jobs followed by months so packed with work it was hard to keep up. When I look back, it is clear that my confidence levels as a person and photographer corresponded with the spikes and [...]

Thinking Farther Ahead

Posted: September 4th, 2015

[by Jenna Close] Typically in years past I have scheduled January as the month to start working on my marketing campaign for that year. There was always something hopeful about beginning the new year by rolling out a fresh set of promos. However, after awhile a pattern began to emerge. I would start out strong [...]

A Few Useful DIY Hacks

Posted: August 7th, 2015

[by Jenna Close] Gear is great, but sometimes you just have to improvise. Whether it’s a cash flow issue, piece of equipment forgotten at home, or you just like to make things to your exact specifications, here are a few simple DIY solutions that have made my job easier and/or saved me at least once. [...]

Eggs in a Basket

Posted: June 26th, 2015

[by Jenna Close] When I first started my business, I had the specific goal of being the go-to expert for alternative energy photography. I wanted to make beautiful images of solar panels, wind farms, electric trucks, algae biofuel and the like. This idea arose from researching markets that I thought would survive the economic downturn [...]

Preparing for an Industrial Photography Shoot

Posted: June 10th, 2015

[by Jenna Close] Industrial photography has its own set of challenges. Obviously, one of the biggest issues is safety. Many industrial clients will make the assumption that you, as the photographer, have the necessary gear to comply with regulations on the job site. Make sure to run through a gear checklist with them in case [...]

It’s the Same, but Different

Posted: May 15th, 2015

[by Jenna Close] School is awesome in so many ways. You have a safe environment to experiment and learn. You work hard and you play hard, all while surrounded by a community of supportive teachers and friends. It was a little jarring for me to leave the educational environment, even though I felt prepared to [...]

Preparing for a Face-to-Face

Posted: April 30th, 2015

Social Media is a great tool but nothing beats real-world face time.  This excellent advice on getting ready for those one-on-ones was first published here on April 30, 2012. ~JH [by Jenna Close] I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again for the record: I’m an absolute, bona-fide chicken when it comes [...]

The Value of Instinct

Posted: March 17th, 2015

[by Jenna Close] In my experience, finding your vision is a journey without end. It’s a lifelong part of being a photographer. Previously, my forays into finding my vision could probably be better described as “finding a style”. I would spend a lot of time looking at other people’s work, work that I was drawn [...]

Find Your Natural Patter

Posted: March 10th, 2015

[by Jenna Close] It took me a long time to be comfortable working with people. My big breakthrough came on a job for NBC that required photographing upwards of 60 people in a very particular and stylized way. By the end of the first day I was completely exhausted from inventing things to say to [...]

Two Small Items That Make a Big Difference

Posted: February 2nd, 2015

[by Jenna Close] As mentioned in previous posts on this topic, my terms and conditions are short and concise. I periodically revisit them to make sure they cover my needs and do my best to present them in clear and understandable language. Over the course of my business life there have been two aspects of [...]

Inspiration for Any Season

Posted: December 18th, 2014

[by Jenna Close] I’m a big collector of photography books and films that focus on the topics of industry & environment, travel, and climate change. They are a great source of inspiration for me, especially at the end of every year as I begin my habitual project planning and day-dreaming. Here are a few top [...]

Casual, Fast and Frequent

Posted: December 12th, 2014

[by Jenna Close] Up until this year, much of the video I produced was intended to tell the story of whatever company had hired me. My clients consistently wanted 2-4 minute highly polished pieces that could withstand some passage of time and spoke broadly of the values and services that made the company unique. Then, [...]

Expanding Horizons

Posted: September 22nd, 2014

[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 [...]

A Quick Shot of Inspiration

Posted: August 22nd, 2014

[by Jenna Close] Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. ~Winston Churchill There are good days, bad months, great years and unforeseen setbacks. Occasionally, you may ask yourself why you got into this profession in the first place. Now and then this is a good question [...]

Strictly Business On My Mind

Posted: July 29th, 2014

[by Jenna Close] Below are some of the Strictly Business posts that I think of most often. Enjoy. Gail Mooney: Continued Convergence Where are we going? What’s next for our industry? These are questions we can no longer afford to stop asking, ever. To that end, the convergence that Gail speaks of continues to become [...]

When Things Go Wrong

Posted: July 9th, 2014

[by Jenna Close] One of the first photographic overseas trips I made was to Fiji. After my first day of shooting, I plugged my battery and charger into the wall and heard a pop. Despite having the correct voltage rating for the country (240v), the charger malfunctioned. And despite all my planning and research, I [...]

Thinking Towards The Future

Posted: April 22nd, 2014

[by Jenna Close] Until fairly recently, the bulk of my business came by way of clients from the solar industry. Then, two things happened that forced me to change my way of thinking. First, the solar market bubble completely burst. Many of my clients went bankrupt or were swallowed up by larger corporations, and the [...]

Sometimes Less is Actually More

Posted: April 11th, 2014

[by Jenna Close] My name is Jenna, and I am a workaholic. If left to my own devices, I will consistently slave away until the end of time, and I will do it happily…almost. For years, having an extreme work ethic was very beneficial to my business. Then 2013 came around, and I literally woke [...]

The December Panic

Posted: February 11th, 2014

[by Jenna Close] For the first few years I was in business, December was a really slow month. This fueled an unwanted seasonal panic and a depressing Christmas. In the third year, now able to recognize the slow part of my income cycle, I began conserving money through the summer. Ironically, in that third year [...]

Helpful Persistence

Posted: January 29th, 2014

[by Jenna Close] I usually take a few different steps when following up on an estimate. First, I place a phone call to my contact within a few minutes of sending them the estimate. If they answer the phone, I offer to walk through the estimate with them and answer any questions they may have. [...]

Many Roads Lead to a Good End

Posted: January 21st, 2014

[by Jenna Close] I’ve had personal projects on my mind lately. Besides fueling creativity and preventing burn out, this type of work is an effective promotional tool and I see that trend growing. Lately, I’ve been investigating new ways (new to me, at least) of building momentum. A few of the ideas I’m most excited [...]


Posted: January 2nd, 2014

[by Jenna Close] I recently stumbled upon the most amazing project. Journalist Paul Salopek is walking 21,000 miles over 7 years in order to retrace the global migration of our ancestors. Along the way he is documenting what human life on earth is like 2,500 generations after we first walked out of Africa to populate [...]

Be the Bigger Person

Posted: December 12th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] Client conflicts are awful, no doubt about it. It’s not a good feeling when someone isn’t happy with your work, and it can be very painful if they’re angry about it. The first step in this situation is difficult but very important. Make your best effort to remain respectful and open to [...]

Pushing the Edge

Posted: October 28th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] This year the ASMP Members Meeting at Photo Plus featured photographer Ben Lowy as the keynote speaker.   As a photojournalist specializing in global conflict and crisis, Ben’s work is fascinating, raw and edgy.  Simply the act of documenting these situations is quite impressive, not everyone is willing to repeatedly put themselves in [...]

Make It Personal

Posted: August 26th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] “We are living the communication age”. (I got that quote from the internet). Whether through photography or by the written word each of us has a voice that is heard by more people than ever before. (That’s me just winging it). So what are the rules for attractive and effective communication? To [...]

The Most Important Skill

Posted: August 12th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] When I first started out in photography, I was often told that the business would be difficult, that I would have to work hard.  Looking at it from the relative safety of the classroom, I thought this advice meant I needed to learn more of what I was already doing: better lighting, [...]

Everybody has a Camera (and a lot of them are nicer than yours)

Posted: August 7th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] For the first time ever, just the other day, someone asked me, “What are you going to do, now that everyone has a camera?”  At first I was insulted.  I thought, ‘What, my work doesn’t stand out as that of a professional?  Is it not obvious that I’m a craftsman?  An artist?  [...]

Communicate Visually

Posted: July 8th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] Communication is one of the most important aspects of client interaction, but it can also be one of the hardest.  I am constantly surprised by how difficult it is to explain a visual concept with words.  We are visual communicators being hired to produce something…well…visual.  My solution (arrived at late in the [...]

Widening the View

Posted: May 15th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] Inspiration comes in many forms: books, movies, a hike in the woods, a good conversation.  Underneath all that variety is a fundamental similarity: the ability to take us out of our little boxes and show us something new. With this in mind, I want to share a website that has inspired me [...]


Posted: April 23rd, 2013

[By Jenna Close] Many of my clients are corporations who build things like solar installations and substations.  For any given job, I might be shooting a completed project, documenting construction, photographing portraits of CEO’s or all 3 things combined.  One thing I always ask these clients before I submit my estimate is this: “Is there [...]


Posted: March 11th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] I’ll never forget The Year From Hell.  In the span of 3 months my partner had to make a few expensive trips to the hospital, our steadiest client went bankrupt and the $7600 they owed us sunk with the ship, there was a blow-up over RC Heli use that caused us to [...]

Selling More Than Time

Posted: March 1st, 2013

[by Jenna Close] Most of my jobs are client direct.  In many of these cases, my clients request a pricing model based on an hourly rate.  I have found the most successful response to this question explains the use of a Creative Fee in a way that highlights creativity (as the name suggests), professionalism and [...]

Rules = Freedom

Posted: February 22nd, 2013

[by Jenna Close] Every winter I brainstorm about the creative work I want to shoot over the upcoming year.  I always start on these projects with great enthusiasm but then find myself stressing about all the other things that need to get done.  That stress causes my creativity to take a dive, which causes me [...]

Ferreting Out Relevant Contacts

Posted: February 4th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] There’s a lot of information at our fingertips these days, which is a plus when it comes to researching prospects.  Here are a few of the tools I use: LinkedIn: I don’t connect to photographers on LinkedIn, instead limiting my network to people I’ve worked for or had contact with through my [...]

Using What You’ve Got

Posted: January 30th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] I have always been fascinated by the work of people like Eric Almas, John Fulton and Koen Demuynck.  The idea of compositing many images together to make a photograph interests me.  However, sometimes my goals for producing personal shots using that technique fall by the wayside as other duties pile up.  Ironically, [...]

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Posted: January 17th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] When I first started my business, I made a costly bookkeeping mistake. I just didn’t realize it until 3 years later. I decided to save money by doing all my accounting and tax forms myself.  When it came time to pay taxes, I researched the appropriate forms for a General Partnership, (my [...]

Going Low-Tech

Posted: December 11th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] There are many low-tech ways to create a new look.  For example, Nick Cool’s Sink Filter Soft Focus Lens Filter or Nick Fancher’s Pegboard Portrait Backdrop which he expanded into a pegboard portrait room.  Accessories don’t have to be high tech to be useful…my favorite small snoot is a Smart Water bottle.  [...]

Fear Factor

Posted: November 26th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] A quote from one of my favorite Seth Godin blog posts: “Risk is all around us.  When we encounter potential points of failure, we’re face to face with risk.”  Risk has an element of the unknown, and that is frightening.  What it really boils down to is the fear of failure.  The [...]

Big Ideas: Avoiding the Void

Posted: November 5th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] I used to be an actor, and one of the things I loved best about that profession was the collaboration.  It was always exciting to see what the set designers, make-up artists and prop masters did with the material.  Without them, the value of what I could offer the audience was significantly [...]

A Tale of Two Reviews

Posted: November 1st, 2012

[by Jenna Close] This is not a story about me.  It’s about one of my fellow photographers in San Diego who does PhotoPlus right.  I’m not saying I do it wrong, I’m just saying his way has impressed me more than my own. Darren Edwards first arrived at PhotoPlus last year with the express purpose [...]


Posted: October 23rd, 2012

[by Jenna Close] Goals are an important part of running your own business.  While setting them isn’t difficult, meeting them can be.  Put some gentle pressure on yourself by sharing specific goals and their deadlines with a few people you respect (just not your Mom, she’ll love you no matter what).  Ask them to hold [...]

Just Another Joe with a Camera

Posted: October 1st, 2012

[by Jenna Close] Urban Dictionary defines Photographer as a: “Term often misused to describe a ‘Camera Owner’.”  I would say that at this point, it’s not a ‘misuse’.  The word has been wholly, completely, irrevocably redefined.  What does that mean for those of us who make a living (or aspire to) in this industry?  In [...]

Make it Snappy

Posted: August 6th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] There’s a great post processing app out there for iphoneography buffs called Snapseed.  I have no idea why it’s called that.  It’s made by the reputable NIK Software (hmmm, not sure what THEIR name means either…) and provides a great little set of tools and filters.  The filters are pre-determined in the [...]

Websites & Books

Posted: July 17th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] Being seen is half the battle.  Being remembered is the other half.  Both of these aspects of marketing can be expensive.  Here are two low(er) cost options I’ve used with good results. WordPress: You might be thinking, “But I don’t blog.”  Even if you don’t, WordPress is a great tool.  What used [...]

Summer Reading

Posted: June 25th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] Influence by Robert B. Cialdini, Phd. A very well written book dealing specifically with the psychology of persuasion.  It’s not as heavy as the subject implies and offers a lot of insight into behavior, influence and the science of skillful marketing.   Echolalia by Timothy Archibald This is one of my favorite [...]

Value and Vision

Posted: June 11th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] Most business people understand that added value = added expense.  However, this can be difficult to comprehend with photography since some of the value we provide is intangible.  When negotiating with a client, I make every effort to explain my creative vision, particularly if they have mentioned that they really like my [...]

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Posted: June 1st, 2012

[by Jenna Close] In order to keep all my balls in the air I have to remind myself to drop everything.  While this isn’t always easy, it’s definitely worth it.  Sometimes I simply take a walk around the block, other days I’ll go surfing, read a book, or snoop around on Facebook for half an [...]

Tactfully Approaching the Budget

Posted: May 21st, 2012

[by Jenna Close] Dealing with budgets can be a tricky situation.  I always find it odd when a client says they “don’t have a budget”, so I tend to look at this response as more of a tactic than the actual truth.  In most cases, when someone is looking for a product or service, they [...]

Make It Personal

Posted: May 14th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] I get a lot of email requests for internships and assisting gigs.  The only ones I respond to are those who have obviously taken the time to really look at my work.  Conversely, in my own marketing I try to include a personal note about a campaign I liked or a design [...]

Preparing for a Face-to-Face

Posted: April 30th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again for the record: I’m an absolute, bona-fide chicken when it comes to asking for a meeting.  The biggest problem with this situation is that in-person meetings are an extremely important aspect of marketing; far more potent than faceless mailers and multiple [...]

Bob Should Not Be the Only Sponge

Posted: April 17th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] One of my career regrets is that I didn’t take the Fashion Photography class when I was in school.  My excuse at the time was that I had no desire to be a fashion photographer.  Now I know that what I might have gained from trying to shoot fashion would have benefited [...]

Taking It All In

Posted: April 9th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] There’s nothing I love more than when inspiration strikes me.  It feels great to have an idea just ‘pop into my head’.  However, I think that feeling can be a little misleading.  The way I imagine it, those very ideas are not actually spontaneous.  They are a result of filling my mind [...]

Bloody Murder

Posted: March 19th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] There are two pieces of business advice that always stick with me.  Over the past 5 years, I have had to remind myself of both numerous times. You Can Bleed to Death From a Million Small Wounds. We all know what it feels like to take an unexpected hit: a regular client [...]

Making the Best of a Deal that Doesn’t Close

Posted: March 5th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] Closing the deal feels great.  It’s one of the best parts of being a photographer.  What’s harder to think about are the times when the deal falls through.  Even when I don’t take the job, I do my best to leave a positive impression. Saying No.  It’s difficult, but sometimes the job [...]

Sundial in your Pocket

Posted: February 22nd, 2012

[by Jenna Close] I recently found an app called Sun Seeker (available for iPhone and iPad at this point) that has been a great help in shoot planning and execution.  While the Flat View compass is too wacky for me, the 3D view is particularly noteworthy, as you can aim your phone anywhere and it [...]

Trading Shoes

Posted: February 13th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] There’s nothing like the other side of the coin to put things into perspective.  Earlier this year I found myself searching for a website designer.  In the process, I learned a few things about being a client. It’s stressful… The client’s colleagues and boss will be judging THEM based on how YOU [...]

Ask, Record, Adjust, Repeat

Posted: February 6th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] Tracking your marketing efforts closely is a great way to understand what is working for you and what isn’t. For each mailing campaign, I record the recipients, the type of campaign (4×6  postcard, mini-portfolio, etc), size of the mailing, date and the cost.  For broader endeavors, such as a yearly subscription to [...]

Manageable Marketing

Posted: January 20th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] It’s hard to part with the money needed to launch a marketing campaign, especially when you are just starting out or business is slow.  When I’m sweating the expense I look at the total cost of the campaign and compare that with how many average sized jobs I need in order to [...]

Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

Posted: January 2nd, 2012

[by Jenna Close] I am going to market the heck out of 2012. I am going to adhere to a schedule that I set at the beginning of the year. I am going to target clients of value, focusing on quality and not quantity. I will make more follow-up phone calls. I will not be [...]

Risk & Reward

Posted: December 22nd, 2011

[by Jenna Close] In early 2011 my partner and I started offering aerial services with our remotely controlled helicopter.  It was the culmination of a year of research, development, training and considerable financial investment.  We believed that the RC Heli would be a new and useful tool for our clientele.  The endeavor was a big [...]

Positive Space

Posted: November 21st, 2011

[by Jenna Close] My friend Kat has a large collection of images, paintings and postcards tacked above her office computer.  I like the fact that her workspace is a constantly changing collage of things that inspire her.  I also like that the collage is not on a computer.  I know that the very process of [...]

Other Gear Besides Your Camera

Posted: November 15th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] Recently my partner and I headed out to a job very similar to many we are hired to shoot.  Mere hours into the trip the new marketing director called in a panic because he had just found out we needed safety gear to be onsite.  ‘No problem’, we said, ‘our goggles, safety [...]

The (Difficult) Art of Live Communication

Posted: October 25th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] I have a ridiculously potent aversion to talking on the phone.  I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of neurosis, but here’s the thing… Communication is the most important business aspect of what we do.  Furthermore, live conversation (versus texting or email) is a powerful tool that can be used to great advantage.  [...]

The Glamorous World of Doing What You Love

Posted: October 21st, 2011

[by Jenna Close] Corporate photography….often when non-photographers find out this is what I do, they ask why I did not pick a more ‘glamorous’ genre in which to ply my trade. I imagine they are thinking of Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz.  I do not make my living shooting celebrities or landscapes.  It’s not me.  [...]

Pay it Forward

Posted: October 11th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] “I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece.  I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk.”   – Tony Robbins Over the years I have been given many gifts of inspiration, support and friendship.  Without fail, these lessons have come from [...]

Ask How They Found You

Posted: October 3rd, 2011

[by Jenna Close] When a new client calls, make sure and ask how they found you.  If they answer with ‘online’, ask what search engine they used and what their search terms were.  This information is valuable for a few reasons: one, if they found you online you will begin to see a trend in [...]

Proof Positive

Posted: September 19th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] My partner, Jon, and I carry giant Lithium Ion batteries (6x the size of an SLR battery) on planes on a regular basis. (These are for our remote control helicopter, by the way.)  We also check a whole lot of other gear.  Here are a few ways to ensure passage of all [...]

Paperwork Everyplace

Posted: September 7th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] Stash model and property releases in a variety of places, even if you have the iPhone app.  I keep extras in my glove compartment, my camping gear and every other bag, purse and lighting kit.  That way I will always triumph over dead batteries, a phone left in the car or plain [...]

Naysayers, Failures and Other Terrors

Posted: August 24th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] As a young actor I used to think of creativity as something innate.  You were either born with it or you weren’t.  People would say to me, “Oh, you’re so creative!”  as if it were something wonderful I was given but didn’t earn, like long legs or a charming smile.  Because it [...]

Get the Most from Post

Posted: July 25th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] Early in my career a solar industry client accidentally taught me a valuable lesson about post-production.  The conversation went like this: CLIENT: “I see this line item on your estimate about post-production.  We won’t be needing any of that.  We want the photos to look real.” ME (inexpertly ending the conversation): “OK.  [...]

Resources for Getting Inspired

Posted: July 18th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] Every so often I find myself in a creative slump.  I hate my photography, my haircut, my camera gear…everything.  It’s the worst feeling and can be difficult to shake once it takes hold.  The best remedy (aside from a few nights wallowing in beer at the bar), is to check out the [...]

Be Proactive

Posted: July 14th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] Some companies require more than just an invoice and a W-9 in order to pay you.  They often have their own internal paperwork, such as ‘new vendor’ contact forms.  A friendly call to the billing staff when submitting an invoice to a new client can result in speedier payments.  You make their [...]

Spring Planting Makes for Summer Shoots

Posted: June 5th, 2011

Summer is a busy time for me, but that’s because of Spring.  I routinely send out a spring mailer, but this March I decided to try something new.** Instead of blanketing the several hundred potential clients on my list with a postcard, I targeted the 36 companies I most want to work for.  All the [...]

Photographic Evolution

Posted: May 23rd, 2011

[by Jenna Close] “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”  -Charles Darwin I recently sat on a panel about New Business Models in Photography, as some of you that attended SB3 in Chicago may know.  [...]

If It’s Good, It’s Good

Posted: May 18th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] There’s nothing I enjoy more than wandering around photographing the environments of other countries.  While none of the resulting images feature what I shoot for money (solar panels), a few do end up on my website, Facebook, and in some of my portfolios.  Here’s why: 1) It’s about you and only you.  [...]

Keeping Up With Upgrades

Posted: May 3rd, 2011

[by Jenna Close] Recently I bought a new camera.  Once that happened, I had to upgrade Lightroom in order to read the files.  In order to upgrade Lightroom I had to upgrade my operating system.  Buying a new camera turned into a much larger investment (in dollars and time) than I had first intended.  It [...]

Hanging with Winners

Posted: April 13th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] On the last day of SB3 in Chicago, I was standing in the back of the ballroom watching 200+ photographers practice their sales and negotiation skills.  I was enjoying the energy and camaraderie that filled the room when I heard Blake Discher mention ‘hanging with winners’.  The concept should be a familiar [...]

The Benefits of a Red Sharpie

Posted: April 7th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] When reviewing your business plan try not to over estimate one important factor: the number of days a year you are paid to shoot.  On my office calendar I circle each paid shooting day with a red Sharpie.  At the end of the year I can easily flip through the calendar and count [...]

Cover Yourself From All Angles

Posted: April 5th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] If you have a multiple page contract, make sure you place a spot for the client’s initials at the bottom of each page.  This way you have a response to the excuse, “I didn’t see that part”.  I have found that this practice is particularly useful on the terms and conditions page. [...]

Make Your List and Check it Often

Posted: March 29th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] For me, time management boils down to organization, and organization means a lot of lists.  I keep a large notepad in the center of my office desk.  On this notepad is a TO DO LONG TERM list.  This includes things like “Update Web Portfolios”, “Prepare Summer Mailers”…things that are less urgent than [...]

Let Them Know Your Status

Posted: March 17th, 2011

by Jenna Close I honestly can’t remember why I joined Facebook.  I suspect it was because everyone else was doing it.  For someone who still doesn’t have a TV, iPhone or a GPS,  it was a big step. That was a while back and since then I have found the social media site to be [...]

The Fridge Account: A Personal Budget Perspective

Posted: February 16th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] Take your yearly discretionary budget (for this exercise, what you would spend on non-reimbursable food, gas, entertainment etc. Personal stuff). Divide by 365 to give you a daily allowance. Post that number on your fridge.  It’s your Fridge Account. At the end of the day, if you have anything left from your allowance, [...]

New Clients: Get Creative and Go For Quality

Posted: February 10th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] My client base can be loosely put into two categories: those that help pay the bills and those that push my boundaries, bolster my brand AND help pay the bills.  I think this is an important distinction when considering how to find new clients.  What do you REALLY want to shoot?  Once [...]

Blog Baby Blog

Posted: January 31st, 2011

[by Jenna Close] I have had a blog for the past 3 years.  Ok, so it’s a photoblog, but its purpose is similar.  Every week I post a new photo with a few short sentences below it.  If I don’t have anything to share from a job, I shoot a personal piece and post that. [...]

Get Out and About

Posted: January 27th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] Socializing with photographers, videographers, graphic designers and other artistic types is a great way to feed your creative side.  If you’re in a slump (or even if you’re not), go out and find a Meetup group or other gathering of media types and hang out.  If you can’t find what you’re looking [...]

Freshen Up

Posted: January 10th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] The first few months of the new year are a great time to take a hard look at how you are representing yourself.  Go through the images on your website and in your book and make some tough choices about what should be there.  Ask a few people you respect to make [...]

Revive, Revisit and Rock On

Posted: December 20th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] The end of the year always comes around more quickly than expected.  I hear holiday music and think to myself, “WAIT!  There are so many things I had planned.  So many things I didn’t get to”.  Whether or not you share this feeling, November and December are great months to sit down, [...]

Just Do It

Posted: December 8th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] Copyright your images BEFORE they get stolen.  Don’t think it will happen?  Think again.  It happened to me last week.  While roaming the aisles of a trade show I came across my image displayed beautifully on a 6 foot wide backdrop….only problem was the image hadn’t been licensed to the business using [...]

We All Get Lost Without a Map (and every once in awhile that is a good thing)

Posted: November 30th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] Setting out towards the career you want is like planning a long trip.  It requires a balance of forethought and flexibility.  Just as with any adventure, stumbling blindly into unfamiliar territory without a map or a clue is not likely to result in wild success.  Consider your photographic path and ask yourself [...]

Making the Best of Event Photography

Posted: November 24th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] I will fully admit that events are far from my favorite type of thing to shoot.  It seems that the lighting is always difficult, the days are always long and the settings less than majestic.  That said, there are benefits to event photography that can be used to your advantage.  Often it [...]

Staying True to Your Creative Fee

Posted: October 25th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] As a general rule, I don’t lower my creative fee when negotiating pricing with a client.  Since (as the name implies) this is the price I put on my own creativity, I want to retain the initial value I have placed on it.  My feeling here is that negotiating pricing is a [...]

The Joy of Job Jackets

Posted: October 15th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] Start a ‘job jacket’ for each new client you book.  Keep a folder with a copy of your estimates and all revisions, contracts and contact information for people involved in the shoot.  Don’t forget to include email correspondences.  This way, if a dispute arises you will have documentation.  It’s also a good [...]

Taking Stock of Stock Photography

Posted: September 29th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] I wasn’t involved in this industry during the glory days of stock photography, but from what I hear it was a time of plenty.  Plenty of money, plenty of freedom, plenty of fun.  It seems to me that royalty free images, market saturation and perhaps even the digital age have closed that [...]

Your Down Time Can Help You Up

Posted: September 13th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] Got time on your hands?  A few days off between shoots?  Research photographers whose work you admire.  Go see an exhibition of art, photography, sculpture, etc, then ask yourself what it is about the art that moves you.  Go out and shoot some personal work with this in mind.  It doesn’t matter [...]

Look Like a Million Bucks

Posted: August 31st, 2010

[by Jenna Close] The first step in creating an effective marketing plan is to make sure that you are putting your best face forward.  Some monetary investment should go into this, but it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.  Before contacting anyone, take the time to prepare a few things: a) [...]

Taking Care of Business

Posted: August 23rd, 2010

[by Jenna Close] If you are just starting out in the business of photography, do yourself a big favor right from the get go.  Find software like Quickbooks or Quicken and keep track of all your expenses and income from Day 1.  Set up a company bank account that is separate from your personal account. [...]

Selling What Makes You Different

Posted: August 10th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] My partner Jon and I shoot photos mainly for the alternative energy market.  This is our niche, and we spend a lot of time following the industry and thinking about how we can better serve the people we want to work for.  Often we are asked to price aerial photography, and often [...]

Keep Current with Blogs

Posted: July 6th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] This summer, take the time to delve deeper into the world of blogs.  Subscribe to or bookmark your favorites.  Each morning you can sit down with your cup of coffee and enjoy all the new updates and information you have effortlessly received in your inbox.  Here are a few blogs that I [...]


Posted: June 17th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] How many ways can you make your images work for you?  Boutique stock agencies, print sales for corporate offices, greeting cards, book jackets…look for opportunities to shoot once and sell often.  Additional payments from a variety of sources can help fill in the financial gaps. Jenna Close, along with partner Jon Held, [...]

My Road Map to Success

Posted: May 27th, 2010

[by Jenna Close] 6 months after graduating from photography school, I was lucky enough to attend Strictly Business 2 in Los Angeles.  The timing could not have been better, as I was new to the San Diego area and had just begun to think about setting up my business.  At that point I was an [...]

Keep Playing

Posted: May 21st, 2010

[by Jenna Close] Trying out new tools can lead to new discoveries.  Experiment with flashlights, LEDs, toy cameras and different reflective surfaces and objects.  Heck, don’t just experiment…PLAY.  You might find something to add to your bag of tricks.  Take, for example, this behind the scenes video of the Hennessy light painting campaign shot by [...]