Author Archive

Creating Buzz

Posted: March 29th, 2016

[by Michael Clark] Promoting yourself and your work is a never-ending task for any creative. Over the last twenty years as a freelance adventure sports photographer I have tried just about every promotional method under the sun. No matter what type of promotion you do, it all comes down to the work. If the images [...]

Breaking through the Noise

Posted: March 17th, 2016

[by Michael Clark] Let’s be honest here, getting noticed no matter how you go about it always starts with the quality of the work you produce. If that isn’t where it needs to be then you can make all the noise in the world and no one is going to give you the time of [...]

Zigging While Everyone Else is Zagging

Posted: January 19th, 2016

[by Michael Clark] Over the last year, I have been testing out a wide variety of digital cameras, everything from the latest and greatest mirrorless offerings to top-end DSLRs to high-end, super expensive digital medium format cameras. I don’t see a new camera as something that will revolutionize my photography necessarily, but I was looking [...]

Standing Out

Posted: January 5th, 2016

[by Michael Clark] Every year, between Christmas and New Year’s, I work up my goals for the next year according to my latest 5-year plan. Those goals are a not only a list of ambitions and dreams, but they are also a working document that helps me focus on where I want to go with [...]

International Travel Tips

Posted: December 14th, 2015

[By Michael Clark] When traveling, I am constantly trying to streamline my bags; how they are packed and how I get them through the airport. Let’s be honest, most clients aren’t paying for first class tickets or any extras. If you want to travel in style or travel comfortably you have to do some real [...]

Down Time

Posted: December 3rd, 2015

[by Michael Clark] This fall has been one of my busiest in years. I have been traveling non-stop for the last two months or more. Constant travel can really sap my creativity. I also find that the constant hustling that is required as a pro photographer to get the next gig tires me out; the [...]

Summer Reading List

Posted: July 20th, 2015

[by Michael Clark] The axiom Never Stop Learning is a good one to follow for professional photographers. To that end, here are some top-notch books that will enlighten, educate and entertain. The Road to Seeing Dan Winters I read this wonderful book earlier this year and it is one of the best photography books I [...]

The Hustle Never Ends

Posted: June 22nd, 2015

[by Michael Clark] When I started out as an adventure photographer, I knew it would take years to really establish myself and solidify a career in photography. I had read somewhere that it would take two to three years to go full-time as a freelancer, and then another five to seven years before I would [...]

Adventure Photography Tips

Posted: June 8th, 2015

[By Michael Clark] The adventure sports community is a tiny genre of the greater sports world. Similarly, adventure sports photography is a very small portion of the photo industry, but it does get quite a bit of attention because of the wild and crazy images produced in this genre. Typically, adventure photographers start out as [...]

Overcoming the age of “Good Enough”

Posted: June 2nd, 2015

[by Michael Clark] A few of the questions posed to us for this week’s series of blog posts are: What do you say to convince clients that they need professional photography?  How do you convey the value of unique, powerful images to a buyer who’s on the fence? How do you describe the value of [...]

Luck is Not a Factor

Posted: May 19th, 2015

[by Michael Clark] To the photography graduates who are the Class of 2015, It takes serious passion, motivation, thick skin, and hard work to make a career in this industry. The key phrase in that last sentence is hard work. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have or how good your people skills are, [...]

Engaging Your Subject

Posted: March 12th, 2015

[By Michael Clark] The “talent” I work with as an adventure sports photographer are usually professional athletes. As such, some have been photographed quite often while others haven’t. Depending on the athlete’s comfort level in front of the camera, I will have to spend more or less time with them to gain their trust and [...]

Taking Stock

Posted: January 6th, 2015

[By Michael Clark] At the end of each year, usually between Christmas and New Year’s, I take stock of the past year and plan for the next. In 2014, one of the biggest revelations for me was that work shot for my portfolio, i.e. work that I have gone out and created myself, ends up [...]

A Diversified Strategy

Posted: December 1st, 2014

[by Michael Clark] To put it bluntly, a diversified income has allowed me to have a career in photography – without the diversification built into my business from early on, I would not be in business today. I can’t say I planned for a diversified income stream, it just happened that way; I was working [...]

Are You Indispensable?

Posted: October 28th, 2014

[By Michael Clark] Every four years, I start working on a new five-year plan to help me make sense of the industry, consider my place in it and to help chart the path I need to take to achieve my goals. From my conversations with camera manufacturers, it is my understanding that they intend to [...]

Establishing the Fee

Posted: August 11th, 2014

[by Michael Clark] Before 2008, pricing your work was rooted in standard licensing models where prices were generally agreed upon industry wide to some degree. These days, though, estimates for any given assignment can vary widely. For a variety of reasons, including the recession and the number of people entering the profession who don’t know [...]

Finding Your Tribe

Posted: August 7th, 2014

[by Michael Clark] It isn’t enough anymore to simply seek out clients to license images for editorial and commercial usages. As pro photographers, diversification allows us to maximize our income and build our brand in ways that we never could have just ten years ago. Building an audience of people who are interested and inspired [...]

Great Advice and Hard Truths

Posted: July 17th, 2014

[by Michael Clark] Starting out in this industry is a daunting task. I struggled quite a bit for a few years before I decided to go full-time and when I did, it felt like I was jumping off a huge cliff to see if I could fly. Early on in my career, Marc Romanelli, a [...]

Taking a Risk and Failing

Posted: May 27th, 2014

[By Michael Clark] Any creative person has to accept risk and the risk of failure. Not accepting risk will mean that your work will remain mediocre. Failure is part of the process of expanding your skill set and becoming better at whatever it is you do. It isn’t always pleasant, nor is it easy to [...]

Diversifying your Income via E-Books

Posted: May 12th, 2014

[by Michael Clark] Early on in my career, I created a one page printed Newsletter that I mailed out to 200 clients four times a year. This Newsletter served as a reminder to the photo editors and art buyers I regularly worked with that I was still available for assignments and also showed them what [...]

Expanding the Toolbox: Artificial Lighting

Posted: May 1st, 2014

[by Michael Clark] Learning to use artificial lighting is always a huge challenge but it will certainly help take any photographer’s skills to the next level. As a young adventure sports photographer, I remember very clearly having lunch with a prominent photo editor who told me, “You adventure photographers couldn’t light your way out of [...]

Finding Inspiration

Posted: March 20th, 2014

[by Michael Clark] Finding inspiration can be difficult. As with any artist, constantly trying to come up with creative images is at the heart of what we do. I was recently talking with a good buddy, fellow pro photographer Marc Romanelli about the creative process and how he finds inspiration. He quoted one of his [...]

Shooting Snowboarding in August

Posted: February 26th, 2014

[by Michael Clark] A few years ago I had a client from Germany that wanted to shoot four adventure sports in four days in and around Los Angeles, California. Ordinarily that would not be such a big deal. As an adventure sports photographer, I specialize in creating ‘out there’ images of some of the world’s [...]

Portfolio Reviews

Posted: February 7th, 2014

[by Michael Clark] Over the years, I have found that meeting with a potential client face-to-face and showing them my work is the most ideal form of marketing. In person meetings allow the client to get to know me and my work in a way that no other form of marketing can match. Of course, [...]

Staying Relevant

Posted: January 9th, 2014

[by Michael Clark] At the end of each year, normally between Christmas and New Year’s, I take the pulse of my business and make plans for the next year. I look at which goals I have accomplished, what marketing efforts are working, and what I need to do to keep moving forward. This is a [...]

Five Tips for avoiding conflict with Clients

Posted: December 10th, 2013

Editor’s note: I first encountered Michael Clark’s work when Rob Haggart featured his magazine-style newsletter on  A savvy business owner, articulate writer and powerful image-maker, it’s my pleasure to introduce Michael Clark as a new regular contributor.  ~JH [by Michael Clark] Over the last eighteen years that I have been working as a photographer, [...]