Author Archive

Heartfelt Thanks and a Fond Farewell…

Posted: January 25th, 2016

Dear Friends – When I joined ASMP back in 1995 during the first Strictly Business conference, I had no idea that I would become the President of my chapter, be elected to the National Board, serve as the National President or work as ASMP’s Director of Content Strategy.  It has been a wild and wonderful [...]

Just 5 Minutes a Day…

Posted: January 20th, 2016

[by Judy Herrmann] This past Fall, my 9-year-old daughter started learning Viola as part of her elementary school’s strings program. Like most music teachers, Ms Vaughn wants the kids to practice every day. But what’s novel about her approach is that she asks them to practice for just 5 minutes per day. Years of experience [...]

Building Your Roadmap to Success

Posted: September 3rd, 2015

[by Judy Herrmann] Summer is ending and we’re already two-thirds of the way through 2015.  It’s the perfect time to dig in and start thinking about the roadmap you’re following – where you’ve been, where you want to go and whether you’re on track or need to tweak things a little. Those of you who’ve [...]

Audio Alchemy

Posted: July 22nd, 2015

[by Judy Herrmann] As a still photographer, I spent most of my career pretty much ignoring audio. Sure, my partner and I invested in decent speakers for clients and talent to enjoy but beyond that, sound really didn’t enter the picture (no pun intended.) Today, though, most of us need to understand enough about audio [...]

The Wonderful World of Advertising Photography

Posted: June 12th, 2015

[by Judy Herrmann] One of the key distinguishing characteristics of working with ad agencies is that your clients are, by and large, professional buyers of photography. Often, they know as much or more about pricing and production as you do, so it’s hugely important to demonstrate that you really do know what you’re doing from [...]

Learning to Pivot

Posted: April 9th, 2015

[by Judy Herrmann] As professional visual story tellers, part of our job is to communicate, interpret and sometimes even define the culture we live in.  I’ve found in my own career that having a strong understanding of the political, economic, social and technological trends affecting the world around us, has helped me anticipate change and [...]

Managing Your Team

Posted: April 14th, 2014

For many of us, professional photography has become a team sport.  Whether you’re collaborating with other independent business owners or have taken the step of hiring employees, your skills as a manager can make or break your photography business.  This week, our contributors share their insights on how to successfully manage your creative team.

Social Media Resources

Posted: March 3rd, 2014

With so many books, blogs, YouTube videos and tutorials out there, figuring out how to utilize the increasingly crowded social media landscape can be tough. This week, our contributors share their favorite resources and approaches to mastering social media.

Working with CGI

Posted: December 5th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] Learning CGI software is not for the faint of heart –every object has attributes, every attribute has its own attributes, and many of those have their own attributes as well.  The palettes. The windows. The tools. The choices!  The complexity and power of this software make Photoshop, Final Cut, Premiere and After [...]

Who Turned the Lights On?

Posted: October 30th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] One week ago today, ASMP held our annual member meeting in New York where we launched our refreshed logo and color palette. For several years, we’ve been fielding member complaints that our old logo looked dated. Crowded online and social spaces have fostered a bolder, snappier graphic design aesthetic across the board. [...]

Earning a Living as a Photographer

Posted: October 17th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] Last spring, I began my seminar at the Society for Photographic Education’s annual conference by asking the audience to share with me why they had chosen to attend a program entitled New Markets in Photography.  “What are your burning questions?” I asked, “Why are you in this room?” Their responses covered a [...]

Is it Ever OK to Work for Free?

Posted: July 24th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] There are those out there, who’ll tell you that working for free is morally bankrupt.  That the low-ballers who do it are destroying the industry and have souls blacker than pitch (whatever that is). Others feel (just as strongly) that they couldn’t possibly charge while they’re gaining experience or if it’s a [...]

Shaping the Future

Posted: June 18th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] We live in an increasingly visual global culture where more images are being used than ever before.  Huge amounts of money are still being generated by content but less and less of it is finding its way back to the people whose blood, sweat and hard earned cash went into producing that [...]

Your New Job

Posted: June 14th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] “You can no longer market to the anonymous masses. They’re not anonymous and they’re not masses.  You can only market to people who are willing participants.” ~Seth Godin Technology has given today’s audiences the ability to effortlessly bypass any communications that fail to engage them. As more platforms move towards delivering increasingly [...]

How to Build an Audience in 5 Simple Steps

Posted: April 18th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] Every year, content creators of all stripes descend on Las Vegas for the intense week of information overload known as NAB.  Given the diverse audience – writers, directors, producers, photographers, editors, and a boatload of job titles I’d never even heard of before – I was surprised to discover the same advice [...]

$100,000 worth of advice in just 3 words

Posted: April 12th, 2013

A few years ago, I had the good fortune of attending “Starting Today, You’re a Brand” at the Photo Plus Expo.  Moderated by Lynn Martin, the panel featured Todd Wasserman, Shama Kabani, Corey Rich and Ken Carbone. I was head down, frantically scribbling notes on each of the panelist’s invaluable insights into branding, social media [...]

Is Copyright the Real Issue?

Posted: March 8th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] Shortly after I joined the ASMP in the mid-1990s, I had a conversation with a savvy and bright intellectual property attorney who just happens to be my sister. As a still life and product photographer in a mid-sized market, I had been struggling to implement restricted use licenses on photographs that had [...]

My 5 Top Tips for Negotiating Rights with other Artists

Posted: January 25th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] As the projects clients hire a professional to handle become increasingly complex, many of us are acting as licensees almost as often as licensors.  Negotiating rights with other artists – whether they’re acting as a second shooter, capturing behind the scenes footage for your own (or your client’s) self-promotion, or providing writing, [...]

My 5 Top Accounting Tips

Posted: January 14th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] Shopping around for the right accountant shouldn’t cost you money. Finding new clients is a cost of doing business.  That holds as true for accountants as it does for you.   Interview at least 3 accountants and confirm that the initial interview is free before you show up for the appointment. The best [...]

Do Two Things Really Well

Posted: October 31st, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] It seems like every day a new marketing or social media platform pops up, demanding seemingly endless hours of attention.   I know I can’t keep up with all those outlets and still make time for all my other work, not to mention family, friends and the occasional 5 minutes of “me” time [...]

The Most Important Question of All

Posted: October 18th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] When the late Susan Carr first asked me to contribute three chapters to The ASMP Guide to New Markets in Photography, I thought the topics she assigned me were pretty wide-ranging.  After all, Your First Step helps you clarify the vision that drives your career, Your Road Map outlines how to create [...]

Continuing the Conversation

Posted: September 28th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] Throughout the ASMP Symposium yesterday, we were invited to share our “a-ha moments” – those flashes of inspiration or insight that happen when you suddenly see something in a different light. I had many a-ha moments throughout the day.  Literally each and every panelist gave me a new way to look at [...]

If I’d Only Known Then What I Know Now…

Posted: August 31st, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] I’ve shared a lot of what I wished I’d known as a student and emerging photographer in my Breaking into the Biz program.  You can find a one-hour version presented during SB3, along with a ton of other super informative recorded seminars in ASMP’s Video Library. Here are a few additional tidbits [...]

What’s the Point of Photo Sharing?

Posted: July 27th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] For most professional photographers, photo-sharing sites are all about building an audience around your work.  This usually involves a significant investment of time and energy so it’s important to make sure that you get a valuable return for your efforts.  Understanding whom you want to attract, where they hang out and what [...]

Do You Really Need a Release?

Posted: July 12th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] Having given a number of seminars that cover Model & Property Releases, I’ve seen firsthand how much confusion and misinformation surrounds these important documents.  Here are 3 key points to remember about releases: You don’t need a signed release to take a photograph.  It’s how the photograph is used, not how it’s [...]

Make It Your Own

Posted: June 22nd, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] One of the biggest challenges I faced as an emerging still photographer was finding my own voice as a visual communicator.   I would look at the work of established professionals and become so lost in my admiration for their vision that I couldn’t find my own. Eventually, I gained enough confidence to [...]

Consultants & Reps & Assistants (Oh My!)

Posted: June 6th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] If you’re having trouble marketing your business, it may be time to look beyond traditional DIY strategies.   Depending on your circumstances, a consulant, rep or in-house Marketing Assistant can be just the help you need. Consultants are perfect for those who are looking for guidance in a specific area such as getting [...]

Bringing Up Budgets

Posted: May 24th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] When it comes to talking money with clients, there are two different strategies I follow depending on circumstances. If the person calling is someone I’ve never heard of and it’s clear they don’t have much experience with hiring photographers, I will usually bring up the budget right away.  I don’t want to [...]

Stop Guessing

Posted: May 10th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] When it comes to how or why clients choose photographers, there are probably as many answers as there are clients.  What really matters is how your prospective clients view photography and photographers. Instead of imposing your own values and assumptions, why not go straight to the source?  Depending on your relationship with [...]

Getting Appointments

Posted: May 3rd, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] In today’s fast-paced work environment, convincing prospective clients to carve out face-time is harder than ever.  With fewer hours to spare and more photographers clamoring for attention, these tips can help you stand out from the crowd: Do your homework. Make sure the people you’re calling really need what you sell.  I [...]

Building an Effective Mailing List

Posted: April 27th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] Not so long ago, photographers could achieve success by inundating the market with simple promotions like postcard mailers or email blasts.  Today, however, the buyers of commercial photography are buried under a sea of promos that’s getting deeper every day.   If the old spray and pray approach isn’t working so well anymore, [...]

Your Easy Button

Posted: April 19th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] Instead of reading mountains of books and blogs, try curling up with a great teleseminar.  Tomorrow from 12:00 – 7:15 eastern, Selina Maitreya presents Clarion Call 2012 where seven presenters will cover a wide range of critical topics for today’s working professional. I am excited to be joining my fellow Strictly Business [...]

Never Pay Too Much For Money

Posted: March 23rd, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] When I was in my early 20s, I used to run around asking almost everyone I met “What’s the best piece of business advice you ever got.”  I collected some real gems along the way but this one, from a photographer named Tom Guidera who was then a director on ASMP’s national [...]

Sales ≠ Bragging

Posted: March 9th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] In my seminars and consultations, I meet a lot of photographers who feel uncomfortable about sales.  Most of them, like me, were raised to believe that it’s wrong to toot your own horn.  We feel embarrassed talking about being “the best” at something.  It feels like bragging and we were taught that [...]

Licensing, Copyright and Compensation

Posted: March 1st, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] Copyright exists to serve the public good by granting a limited monopoly to creators that provides them with the financial incentive and support necessary to keep creating.  It seems to me, though, that the main people benefitting from current copyright laws are corporate rights holders, not independent creators.  What the big guys [...]

Fast, Easy, Convenient

Posted: February 17th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] Over the past few years, advances in technology have changed how we buy things.  We expect transactions to be fast, easy and immediate.  We expect to be able to find out 99% of the information we need to know in order to make a purchase decision without ever having to pick up [...]

What’s Stopping You?

Posted: January 6th, 2012

[by Judy Herrmann] A new year.  A fresh start.  Time to rock that marketing!   But before we dig in, well, there are millions of things that need to get done first. When it comes to marketing, most of us have a pretty good idea of what needs to happen.  The challenge lies in getting it [...]

Finding Your Vision

Posted: December 2nd, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] Almost every time I talk about portfolio development, someone in the audience raises their hand and wails “But what if I don’t know what my vision is???”  Then, everyone else in the room leans forward, ears pricked to hear the answer. In years of teaching of this stuff, I’ve come to realize [...]

People Watching

Posted: November 8th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] One of the most important functions I perform as a business owner is paying attention to the societal trends that affect my business.  Every decision I make – from the visual approach I take to producing new imagery to the prospective clients I target and the income streams I pursue – is [...]

Get Your Business on Track!

Posted: November 1st, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] I just found out that The Agile Photographer, Jay Kinghorn’s acclaimed program from SB3, is traveling to Nashville tomorrow (11/2) and St. Louis on Wednesday (11/3). A photographer, technologist, futurist and one of the most well-read people I’ve ever met, Jay shares strategies for how you can take advantage of existing and [...]

How to Avoid Getting Sued

Posted: October 27th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] We hear a lot about how photographers should use good paperwork and that’s true.  ASMP offers great resources on model & property releases, business forms (e.g. estimates, invoices, change orders, etc.) and terms & conditions.  But let’s face it. At the point where you’re relying on paperwork, you’re either suing someone or [...]

Be Like Steve

Posted: October 7th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] Follow your dreams.  Imagine.  Be true to your vision.  Do what you believe is great work.  Love what you do. Follow your passion.  Demand more of yourself.  Work hard.  Set high standards.  Meet them. Follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path.  Keep looking.  Don’t settle.  Trust that it [...]

Searching Trends

Posted: September 30th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] We live in a world where a search for “How to Copyright Photo” brings up 1.1 billion results, “Audio for Video” yields just over a billion and “Marketing Photography” clocks in at a mere 233 million.  No wonder finding great stuff on the internet takes so much time. Seems I’m not the [...]

How to Collect on Every Invoice

Posted: September 16th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] I feel like I’m about to jinx us but in 22 years of business, my studio has collected on virtually every invoice we’ve written without ever once going to court. We do a lot of the same stuff already mentioned this week and a few things that weren’t: We ask new clients [...]

Clarity & Audacity

Posted: August 31st, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] In Googled:the end of the world as we know it, New Yorker Magazine columnist, Ken Auletta, describes Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s first pitch for substantial funding.  They were asking for $25,000,000.00 (yup that’s 25 million dollars). Auletta writes: …[they] made a brief PowerPoint presentation to establish the most telling [...]

Gearing Up for Fall

Posted: August 26th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] As those lazy days of Summer draw to a close, I’m starting to prepare myself for the crazy days of Fall.  Shorter days usually mean longer hours for this working Mom, but do they have to?  As the demands of my business and my daughter’s preschool grow in tandem, I’m using what’s [...]

Your Favorite Bookmarks…

Posted: August 18th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] This week, we are focusing on our contributors’ favorite bookmarks.  The places we go when we’re looking for information, inspiration, insights, training, time-saving tools and more; the bookmarks we find more valuable than the millions of other potential bookmarks that populate cyberspace.  And there are millions. Now that the vast majority of [...]

Everyone Hates Marketing

Posted: August 4th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] Well, maybe not EVERYone, but most of the people I know would rather do just about anything else.  Some of us hate it so much, find it so agonizing, that we just can’t bring ourselves to do it at all. Years ago, the owner of our local lab would sit behind the [...]

Take a Big Bite!

Posted: July 21st, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] For the past 9 months, I’ve been hard at work bringing an idea to life.   For years, I’ve relied on a handful of trusted friends and colleagues to help me stay on top of books, blogs, articles, and other great resources that would keep me ahead of the curve.  Then, it hit [...]

Books to Get You Going

Posted: July 1st, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] Those lazy hazy days of summer yearn to lure you into complacency.  C’mon, they whisper, soft and low, lie out by the pool, read a trashy novel or two, relaaaaaax.  And before you were self-employed…Aaah, those were the days and that was the life. Now, though, we are on,  24/7, 365.  So [...]

How to Never Get Hired as an Assistant Again

Posted: June 17th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] While building my “Breaking into the Biz” seminar, I asked about 100 photographers what makes a bad assistant.  I spoke with architectural photographers, fashion photographers, editorial photographers, advertising photographers, wedding photographers and more.  From coast to coast, big city to small town, their answers were remarkably consistent.  Here are seven simple things [...]

Tools for Success:Today and Tomorrow

Posted: May 26th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] As we all know all too well, the way photography is created, used, distributed and consumed has changed dramatically in recent years.  More photography is being used than ever before but much of that expansion comes from dramatically reduced costs; distribution of images over the internet is practically free and inexpensive imagery [...]

Learning How to Price Video

Posted: May 11th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] Late last year, after creating some personal video projects, my partner, Mike Starke, and I started exploring the realities of producing video for clients. Over the years, we’ve learned the hard way to perform in-depth research before committing funds to any diversification scheme so  we started the process by doing a series [...]


Posted: April 15th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] There’s an amazing thing that happens when you gather together a group of really smart, really creative people, expose them to thought-provoking content and provide them with plenty of time to talk amongst themselves: Everyone in the room gets smarter. In conversation after conversation at SB3, I found myself connecting dots with [...]

It’s Not About Time

Posted: April 1st, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] I’ve struggled with managing time my whole life.  I used to wish for 27 hour days but then I realized that I’d still schedule more than I could possibly complete no matter how much time I had.  My problem isn’t really about time.  It’s about being a perfectionist with unrealistic expectations. Nearly [...]

Learning From The Competition

Posted: March 22nd, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] Traditional business planning experts stress the importance of conducting a  “competitive analysis” and it certainly offers some value.  Understanding the strengths, weaknesses and market position of the people you’re competing against can help you differentiate your business, anticipate client concerns or objections and position yourself more effectively.  But, it won’t necessarily help [...]

The Power of Paperwork

Posted: March 10th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] Anyone will tell you that you’ve got to have your paperwork buttoned down tight.  ASMP even provides handy templates for estimates, assignment confirmations, delivery memos, change orders and invoices at and you’ll find a comprehensive set of ASMP recommended terms & conditions you can modify to fit your needs at  [...]

Backing Up WordPress

Posted: March 4th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] If you’re running a WordPress blog or website, be sure to back it up properly. Sure, your host should be running their own back ups but that can’t protect you from corruption or human error plus if something happens, you’ll want to get your site up and running without relying on your [...]

Precedents & Policies

Posted: February 24th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] One of the best pieces of business advice I ever got came from our dog trainer, Ruth Chase of the Coventry School for Dogs and Their People.  Dogs, she explained, spend all their time trying to figure you out.  They pay attention to the most subtle signals – signals you may not [...]

Searching for Synergies

Posted: February 9th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] As I was finishing breakfast at a diner in Miami yesterday morning, a stunning visual caught my eye.  The flat screen TV across the room was showing a commercial I’d never seen before and it looked like my studio’s still work come to life in motion. “Oh my God” I said to [...]

Quality Over Quantity

Posted: February 1st, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] This past fall, I started a blog.  I was full of good intentions and ideas for all kinds of posts on strategic planning, reinvention, managing change, job satisfaction, risk taking, business practices, collaborations – you know, the stuff I’ve been giving seminars on for umpteen years. It all went swimmingly for the [...]


Posted: January 20th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] The word Genericide has been used by the legal community to refer to a brand that’s become synonymous with its product or function. Think Kleenex™, Bandaid™ or Xerox™. Today, I’m proposing a new definition: companies that kill themselves by using or producing generic visual communications. I’ve been speaking about this concept for [...]

Stepping Up

Posted: January 3rd, 2011

In my last post, I challenged us all to figure out what our assumptions are.  As one of my first acts of 2011, I’m going to share some of the assumptions on my list. Some assumptions I’m questioning: I am a photographer – Why? – What does that really mean? – What else am I? [...]

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Posted: December 23rd, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] I suddenly realized this morning that it’s not just the year that’s winding to a close but the first decade of the 21st century. When I look back at where we’ve been, my God, so much has changed. In 2000, I started working with Olympus when they introduced the first 35mm style [...]

Getting Personal

Posted: December 16th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] This past January, the Wall Street Journal Online published an article titled “Firms Hold Onto Snail Mail Marketing” about companies whose sales went down when they switched to purely electronic communications. When I read the article, I was struck immediately by the following observation: The idea is to send something that’s more [...]

“If you don’t know where you’re going…you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra

Posted: November 29th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] In 1989, at age 24, I started a photography studio with my partner, Mike Starke. We began by building a portfolio filled with images that looked “commercial.” These generic, safe images demonstrated our technical skills in lighting and using a view camera but left nothing to differentiate our studio but location and [...]

Sweat the Small Stuff

Posted: November 16th, 2010

[by Judy Hermann] A couple of years ago, I surveyed a bunch of photographers to find out what Assistants do that drives them crazy.  If you’re building a business as an Assistant, following these tips will help you win ongoing client loyalty and great referrals. Be on time.  If you’re not going to be on [...]

Just Pick Up the Phone!

Posted: November 2nd, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] I love e-mail – it’s efficient, it’s fast, it’s effective.  It’s great for just about everything, except when it’s not. Dealing with a conflict?  Pick up the phone. Chances are that e-mail’s going to make a bad situation worse.  People can’t hear tone and most people (myself included) are scanning through a [...]

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!

Posted: October 28th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Let me make one thing clear – I am a big advocate of pricing by the shot or project.  With one or two exceptions (event photography comes to mind), charging by the hour just punishes you for gaining skills and investing in better equipment. It also encourages the client to try to [...]

Stock ROI

Posted: September 28th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Yeah, I know.  These days, it seems like the photo stock market and the other stock market have far more in common than their names.  The return on investment [ROI] in both markets has plummeted and just when you think it hit rock bottom, it manages to fall again. Like any other [...]

Emotionally Intelligent Marketing

Posted: September 20th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] A last minute gate change at LAX and I’m caught in a crowd stampeding down a long narrow corridor from Gate 1 to Gate 2 (which appear to be about half a mile apart, go figure) when I spy a lone figure in a pinstriped suit swimming against the current.  “If you’re [...]

Model Releases – Questions and Answers

Posted: September 7th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] In the five years I’ve been moderating ASMPproAdvice, there have been countless posts on model releases.  Here are some of the most commonly asked questions with summaries of the answers.  You’ll find more great info at 1) What’s “valuable consideration” and do I really need to provide it? Vic Perlman, ASMP’s [...]

Going Up?

Posted: September 3rd, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] In a bad economy, helping people understand exactly what you do, why they should trust you and how you can help them matters more than ever.  So take a few minutes to hone one of the most important (and cheapest) marketing tools there is: Your Elevator Speech. Laura Allen, co-founder of, [...]

Hellooooo, Is Anyone Out There?

Posted: July 28th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] One of my goals this summer has been to really wrap my head around Social Media – partly for my own business needs and partly to increase my studio’s value to our clients by offering another area of expertise. One point that crops up over and over (and over) again in nearly [...]

Find Your Enthusiasm

Posted: July 14th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] I recently stumbled upon a fascinating essay by venture capitalist, Paul Graham, called What Business Can Learn from Open Source . Written almost exactly five years ago (!), the essay offers remarkable insights about business, many of which have played out with startling accuracy. One key point Graham raises is that amateurs [...]

Stars and Bars

Posted: July 8th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Ratings and rankings – the star and colored label system supported by many image browser and catalog applications – give photographers a powerful way to organize images without a lot of effort. Most of us already apply stars and/or labels as we’re culling through our captures to segregate the selects from the [...]

Our Data, Our Selves

Posted: June 29th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Earlier this year, ASMP President, Richard Kelly, suggested I read Ken Auletta’s book, Googled: The End of the World as We Know It.   Thought-provoking and packed with facts, quotes and well-researched information – I actually pulled out a highlighter pen for the first time in years – it is so well-written and [...]

Writing Effective Licenses

Posted: June 25th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Like it or not, if you’re earning money with your photographs, you’re in the licensing business.  No matter what kinds of clients you’re working with – commercial, editorial, or retail (personal portrait, weddings, fine art print sales) – your paperwork needs to include a written license. A lot of the licenses I’ve [...]

Help a Student, Help Yourself

Posted: June 2nd, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Looking to ramp up your marketing this summer?  Consider bringing on an intern.  Many programs require students to complete internships and right now, with the economy and job market so tight, students are having a tough time finding positions. Having worked with countless mentorship students and interns over the years, I’ve learned [...]

Photographers Helping Photographers

Posted: May 28th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Photographers helping Photographers A few weeks ago, ASMP Minneapolis-St. Paul hosted my I Need to Jumpstart My Career seminar.  After the program, I went out for a bite with a small group of attendees including Steve Umland, who had served on the ASMP National Board in the 1980s, Bruce Kluckhohn, whose tenure [...]

Preserving Your Options in Photoshop

Posted: May 19th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Want to keep the most flexibility with your data but still work in Photoshop?  Try using Smart Objects. Smart Objects allow you to import a stand-in layer that references your RAW data.  The stand-in functions similarly to a normal layer – you can apply several different types of filters, add layer masks, [...]

Monetization Matters

Posted: May 11th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] My Mother’s day gift this year included a leisurely morning that allowed me to make a small dent on my rapidly growing stockpile of New Yorker magazines (I love the New Yorker but I mean, seriously, does ANYone have time to read an entire magazine every single week!?!). The issue I grabbed [...]

It’s All About Value

Posted: April 30th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Almost every time I give a business seminar, someone asks me about working for free. Sometimes, they’re trying to build a portfolio. Sometimes, a worthy cause, a prestigious client who’s promising more work later or a popular publication that’s offering a credit line has reached out to them. If you want to [...]

Copyright or Compensation?

Posted: April 22nd, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] ASMP’s Copyright Symposium yesterday focused on the role of Copyright in the New Economy.  I walked away from the Symposium inspired and excited by the business ideas and opportunities discussed.  But, more importantly, the Symposium renewed and reinvigorated my commitment to continue searching for ways to protect the interests of independent creators.  [...]

5 Recession-Proof Sales Strategies

Posted: April 9th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] 1) Ask for Referrals – Let your clients know you’re looking to grow your business or take it to the next level.  Even if they don’t have names for you immediately, planting the seed will pay off in the long run.  If they do give you names, there’s no better way to [...]

The Salesperson Called You

Posted: April 5th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] I hate sales.  I hate cold calling.  I hate closing.  I hate the artificiality of it and I hate how it makes me feel.  For years, I’ve arranged my life so I didn’t have to engage in sales.  In 1992, we hired our first in-house salesperson.  Since then, we’ve had two other [...]

It’s Not You – It’s the Economy

Posted: March 22nd, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] This past January, my studio celebrated our 21st business anniversary.  In that time our business has survived 4 recessions and soot damage that destroyed literally everything we owned.  With all that history, all those experiences, I can honestly say that in 21 years of working as a full-time self-employed photographer, this last [...]

Beyond the Routine Back Up

Posted: March 17th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Everyone reading this blog should already be backing up their data regularly.  If not, or if you’re not sure how to set that up, check out dpBestflow’s section on back ups. An equally valuable CYA habit is to create a bootable back up drive.  Bootable back ups include a pristine copy of [...]

Recession-proof Pricing

Posted: March 9th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] This recession has hit photographers harder than any that I’ve lived through previously and many are working for lower fees than they’d ever consider accepting before. Past experience has taught me that quoting lower fees during a recession makes it very difficult to bring those fees back to normal when the crisis [...]

What’s the Difference?

Posted: March 2nd, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Focusing on differentiation is a great way to improve your marketing efforts.   Make a list of 10 really good reasons why someone should hire you instead of someone else.  Your images don’t count – producing good images is a given these days – this is all about added value. While you’re [...]

Protect Your Assets

Posted: February 25th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] In a recent thread on ASMPproAdvice, a photographer asked about the necessity of obtaining releases when photographing his client’s employees. Several members of the listserv pointed out that releases don’t just protect the photographer, they also protect the client – especially if an employee who’s been photographed leaves under bad terms. The [...]

Take Back Your Power

Posted: February 12th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] At the SB2 conferences a couple of years ago, I noticed that many photographers were exhibiting the classic signs of mourning.  Back then, most were still in denial but many were grappling with a sense of helplessness, paralysis and loss as they faced what they perceived as the death of a profession [...]

Digital Video: Lessons Learned

Posted: February 3rd, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] A couple of weeks ago, my partner, Mike Starke, and I finished our very first digital video project.  We made our deadline with about 15 minutes to spare and only pulled one all-nighter; two facts I take inordinate pride in.  In the process we discovered a lot that we’ll do differently the [...]

Professionalism Counts

Posted: January 29th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] Living in a house that’s undergoing major renovations has taught me a lot about professionalism.  Our contractors, José Batista and José Salamanca, take responsibility for every detail.  They’re careful about the sub-contractors they hire, they stand behind the work that’s done, they listen carefully when we explain what we want and take [...]

Stretching Your Wings

Posted: January 15th, 2010

[by Judy Herrmann] A lot of photographers I’ve met recently are avidly searching for ways to expand their businesses and diversify their income streams.  Some are exploring new technologies like digital video, Computer Generated Imaging (CGI) or immersive environments.  Some are looking at education  – joining academic institutions, developing seminars and workshops or creating information [...]

Three tips for Holiday Promos & Gifts

Posted: December 3rd, 2009

[by Judy Herrmann] 1) Don’t get lost in the “Holiday” shuffle – this time of year, everyone’s getting way too much stuff from way too many people.  Do something simple for the Holiday-with-a-capital-H season then pick a different date to show your clients how much you value and appreciate them.  You can use a smaller [...]

Here’s a question for you: How many clients do you need?

Posted: November 25th, 2009

[by Judy Herrmann] No, really – 1,000?  500? 50? 10? If you’re like me, the number’s a lot closer to the right than the left.  In fact, what I really need, what I really want is a core group of repeat clients who I like and respect and who like and respect my work. If [...]

It’s Not Rocket Science

Posted: November 16th, 2009

[by Judy Herrmann] For decades, my Dad, a real live Rocket Scientist, has been telling me I’ll be more productive if I work fewer hours and solve problems faster if I take more breaks. But did I listen? Of course not! Until, that is, I heard it from someone else… The “Entrepreneurial Time Management System” [...]

dpBestflow – Join Us Tonight!

Posted: November 11th, 2009

[by Judy Herrmann] On December 3, 2002, Dave Harp, the president of ASMP at the time, asked Richard Anderson, Peter Krogh and me to meet with him and Gene Mopsik in Baltimore. The ASMP Digital Standards Committee was born that afternoon and I don’t think any of us remotely imagined the full import of what [...]

Lessons from Childhood

Posted: November 3rd, 2009

[by Judy Herrmann] My daughter, Julia, judges books by their covers.  At 2 ½ she walks through the library and says “I want the baby blue one” or “That one, with the dog.” She recently checked out a story called Franklin Goes To the Hospital in which a young turtle with a cracked shell is [...]

Gear to Go

Posted: October 16th, 2009

[by Judy Herrmann] About 8 years ago, after 12 years of being strictly studio photographers, we shot on location professionally for the very first time.  Preparations were stressful, to say the least.  We were so nervous about not having something we’d need that we practically brought the entire studio along.  We got through the shoot [...]

Blog Smart

Posted: October 9th, 2009

[by Judy Herrmann] In the past few months, I’ve worked with a number of photographers who are struggling with their blogs.  Their technology is fine – they’ve been successfully managing their blogs for several years and have worked out the kinks.  They post regularly and have a rhythm down.  Their site analytics reveal lots of [...]

It’s Not You, It’s Me…

Posted: September 23rd, 2009

[by Judy Herrmann] Anyone who’s ever been on either side of that line knows it’s a lie.  It’s never really ME, it’s always really YOU, right? Colleen Wainwright, aka The Communicatrix, has identified one arena where this hackneyed saw actually becomes the truth: marketing communications.  A former actress, copywriter and designer, Colleen has worked in [...]

Take Some Me-Time

Posted: September 11th, 2009

[By Judy Herrmann] Keep your business moving forward and your perspective clear by scheduling an hour or two each week for reflection and planning.  Use this time to think about what’s working, what isn’t and what needs to change.

Quick Tip Week – Build a Technology Plan

Posted: August 17th, 2009

Most businesses think about business plans and marketing plans but it’s important to develop a technology plan, too.  Think about what new technologies (and skills) you need to invest in over the next year or two.  Include their costs in your CODB analysis and make sure you’re clear on how they’re going to help you increase [...]

Ideas Worth Spreading

Posted: July 16th, 2009

I first learned about the TED conferences several years ago from John Giammatteo, a Connecticut-based photographer who served with me on the ASMP National Board.  These annual conferences “bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers…to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes.” Ever since, I’ve tried to watch as many of [...]

Breaking the Rules

Posted: July 14th, 2009

For quite some time now, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz in the advertising world about how the days of using traditional print or television advertising to grab market share are fading.  People are too busy and have so much more control over what they’re willing to pay attention to that “interruption marketing” doesn’t [...]

The Future of Advertising

Posted: July 10th, 2009

The other day, I read a fascinating article in the Financial Times about the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival which noted a “seismic shift” towards interactive and digital marketing over traditional advertising campaigns. The shift from print to electronic media is old news to photographers – we’ve been talking about that for a couple of [...]

Social Media – It’s Free … or is it?

Posted: June 22nd, 2009

The other day, our architect comes over and starts talking about social media. He has a website but now he’s thinking he should start a Blog, join Facebook or use Twitter. When I asked him why, he said “Oh, I don’t know, it just seems like everyone’s talking about these things so I figured I [...]

Stay On Top of Email

Posted: June 18th, 2009

Awhile back, I e-mailed a business query to a good friend who runs a highly successful web development firm. She replied and then, several weeks later when she hadn’t heard from me, she followed up to make sure I’d gotten her e-mail. I was wowed – talk about customer service! I immediately asked “How’d you [...]

Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself…

Posted: June 2nd, 2009

At a recent seminar for the ASMP Ohio Valley chapter, an attendee asked me “What’s the biggest challenge facing photographers today?” A zillion possible answers flit through my head and then I had it: Fear. There’s no question – our industry is facing challenges on all levels. Technological, Economic, Political, Cultural – there’s practically no [...]

Selling Solutions

Posted: May 26th, 2009

Whenever I buy something I try to pay attention to how I respond to different sales approaches and use that to improve my own client interactions. We recently put a home renovation project out to bid and I think we’re learning more about sales from this process than just about anything else we’ve ever done! [...]

Know Your CODB

Posted: May 21st, 2009

Knowing what it costs you just to wake up every morning is critical information for all business owners to have.  Right now, with a country in the throes of an economic downturn and an industry undergoing disruptive change,  it’s even more crucial for photographers to do this exercise. The National Press Photographers Association offers an [...]

What’s Your Story?

Posted: May 11th, 2009

I just got back from a 3 day policy conference for a lobbying group where I received training on how to conduct citizen activism including educational outreach, fundraising and lobbying.  The parallels between selling politicians on a position and selling potential clients on your services were striking. Among other things, the conference stressed: 1) You [...]


Posted: May 4th, 2009

Things are changing so fast these days…or are they?  A couple of days ago, I realized that it’s now been 15 years since I started working with digital photography. In that time, the cameras have become smaller, more responsive and more affordable but other than that, they really haven’t changed much.  There are far more [...]

A Walk in Your Client’s Shoes

Posted: April 27th, 2009

One of the things that always amazes me about our business is the tremendous risk that buyers of photography services take on an almost daily basis. Think about it – you’ve got a box that you have to fill.  It might be a box on a screen or on a printed page but it’s an [...]

Who Are You?

Posted: April 20th, 2009

A few months ago, I had a great conversation with ASMP NY member, Gail Mooney. Gail is a still photographer who began working with motion imagery about 20 years ago, first with film and then with digital video. When I asked Gail about this transition, she said something to the effect of “Well, I wasn’t [...]

Learning from Lawyers

Posted: April 15th, 2009

Scott Rogers, a lawyer turned career consultant; teaches a seminar about career satisfaction for lawyers.  Yup, lawyers. In it, he points out that most of us spend the vast majority of our time thinking about all the ways we’d like to change the past or what we can do to control the future.  The reality [...]

Diversifying Your Portfolio

Posted: April 8th, 2009

When we hear the word “portfolio” most of us immediately think of our “book” or the body of images that we use to market ourselves as photographers. But the portfolio I’m talking about is the collection of skills and services that you market to your clients. Most of us don’t like to think about this [...]

Creative Partnering

Posted: April 1st, 2009

A recent bout with bronchitis got me watching TV for practically the first time since my 2-year-old was born.  In the middle of CSI New York, I was struck by an ad for Verizon featuring a Blackberry Storm being used to access Bank of America’s online banking system.  Verizon, Blackberry & B of A all [...]


Posted: March 24th, 2009

Feeling creatively stuck?  Faced with a problem you just can’t solve?  Instead of hunkering down and focusing all your energies on finding the right solution, try getting away from it – mentally and physically. Experts tell us that people do their best thinking when they’re walking, driving or taking a shower. As a green alternative, [...]