Author Archive

Is That a Micro Supercomputer in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Posted: March 31st, 2014

[by Richard Kelly] These days I rarely use what was formerly a phone as a phone much anymore. Now I am the first to admit that a micro supercomputer may not be the “best tool” or the only tool that I use. However, I have noticed that more and more I need my desktop/laptop less [...]

Advice on Building a Collaborative Production Team.

Posted: February 17th, 2014

[by Richard Dale Kelly] I have key people that I regularly count on for my production team.  The team itself scales up or down according to the specific job at hand. Early in the proposal process, I call each team member to get their perspective on the project. Once we get approval for the project. [...]

Estimates Are People Too

Posted: January 31st, 2014

[by Richard Kelly] Okay estimates are not people but it’s people who request estimates. In my practice, we get requests for proposals, requests for bids and informal requests to estimate a project. Many companies and organizations have policies that require multiple vendors to bid on a project. Assuming the scope and information are the same [...]

The F Word

Posted: January 24th, 2014

[by Richard Kelly] I have been talking a lot about failure lately. Since I was a young reader at the Ellwood City Public Library, I was curious about why people create. I read about Edison, Westinghouse and Ford – the American inventors of the industrial age. The one lesson that resonates with me today was [...]

A Great ROI at Photo Plus Expo.

Posted: November 1st, 2013

[by Richard Kelly] What makes Photo Plus Expo the world class, must-attend, photo industry meet up is that everyone is there. For a professional photographer there is a no other place or time where a convergence of knowledge, equipment and networking all come together. I have been attending PPE since the mid 80’s. My very [...]

Managing Cash Flow and What I Never Learned In School.

Posted: September 13th, 2013

[by Richard Kelly] Early in my career my assignments as a photographer were pretty small productions – maybe an assistant, a stylist and a model – pretty easy to manage. My business operations where also small – a personal checking account, a personal credit card, and an early Macintosh computer on a small drafting table [...]

Marketing Professionalism

Posted: August 6th, 2013

[by Richard Kelly] A few years ago ASMP commissioned a member driven marketing campaign geared to the modern photo buyer, someone who may not have been familiar with what ASMP/professional photographers offered other than just creative images and “correct” exposures. These “I am a professional” characteristics have been written about, here at Strictly Business and [...]

Just These Three Things

Posted: June 19th, 2013

[by Richard Kelly] My aha moment happened just before the CEPIC  Photocentric Day  but it crystallized for me during the panel on compensation and attribution that Judy Herrmann moderated.  In many ways I have spent a good part of the past 6 years thinking about the disruption of the publishing / advertising / imaging industries that I [...]

6 Books to Read this Summer

Posted: June 7th, 2013

[by Richard Kelly] I always have two or three books going. I like to have a little inspiration, a little intelligence and a little intrigue in my books at all times which is why I seem to have an open book, a dogeared magazine or a bookmarked blog on every surface in my studio.  Currently, [...]

My Insurance Agent: A Key Member of My Advisory Team.

Posted: May 28th, 2013

[by Richard Kelly] During SB2 and SB3 I spoke about building your personal team of advisers. My Insurance agent, Carl Caputo, is more than just a guy who can talk policies and deductibles. He is also a small business owner who understands the trials and tribulations of running a B2B business. Every year we have [...]

Adding Value and Living a Creative Life

Posted: April 26th, 2013

[By Richard Kelly] In my little world of photography there are two types of assignments. The first Is the one call assignment. You know the type, you get a phone call, estimate for the parameters of the assignment, you grab your gear, you make the picture, send off the selects, send an invoice and then [...]

It’s All About the Content, Stupid!

Posted: April 19th, 2013

[By Richard Kelly] The tagline for the 2013 NAB show in Las Vegas was, “Where content comes to life.” For an organization that has its roots in Radio and broadcast Television, this industry show, which draws 100,000 attendees annually, is more than microwave transmitters, Satellite Trucks and HDTV cameras. Oh believe me, it still is [...]

What if Copyright No Longer Existed?

Posted: March 7th, 2013

[by Richard Kelly] The purpose of copyright is, “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” This is how we as commercial photographers profit from our photographs. However, if we read these words from a broader [...]

Prospecting Gangnam Style

Posted: February 8th, 2013

[by Richard Kelly] I know you are probably looking for a different type of blog post after reading that title, but I think the beat of Psy’s song is appropriate when thinking about prospecting for new clients.  After almost 25 years in this business I have tried everything. When I look back though my successes [...]

A New Year, A New Ledger

Posted: January 15th, 2013

[by Richard Kelly] Happy New Year! I am one of those people who loves to open a new yearly calendar (I am using a moleskine weekly calendar this year) and start mapping out my photo adventures, my class and lecture schedules and my to do lists. The first few weeks of a new year I [...]

Permission to Fail

Posted: November 30th, 2012

[by Richard Kelly] I don’t gamble. I figure just living the life of a creative entrepreneur is enough risk. Most nights I go to sleep unemployed and wake up believing that someone will hire me, that’s risky! Having an independent creative lifestyle is a choice. When I lecture emerging photographers and visual artists about the [...]

My Team of Advisors

Posted: November 16th, 2012

[by Richard Kelly] I can’t say enough about the importance of a strong team of professionals to my photography practice. My accountant not only assists me with the day to day questions regarding payroll, taxes and other financial planning, but is also a micro business and an excellent counsel on many of the other business [...]

Creating Value for Your Business

Posted: October 19th, 2012

[by Richard Kelly] I remember in the eleventh grade Miss Selby, my English composition teacher, telling me that I should write what I know. As I planned to practice professional photography, I read everything I could about photography and the business of photography. That was in the early 80’s,  just a few years after the [...]

Curating the Conversation

Posted: September 18th, 2012

For the remainder of this week, we’ll continue to focus on topics relating to the September 27th launch of ASMP’s upcoming Symposium and book, The ASMP Guide to New Markets in Photography.  Register here to attend the live event. Registration is not required for the live stream presentation.  A key force behind the development of [...]

Lighting on Location

Posted: August 22nd, 2012

[by Richard Kelly] As a location based photographer, my equipment needs to be easily transportable, easy to set up and easy to use. Years ago I adopted wireless remotes and switched from packs to mono lights to streamline the wires on my location setups. My current favorite piece of lighting gear is the new Vagabond [...]

Time-Saving Apps

Posted: August 17th, 2012

[by Richard Kelly] I am always in search of apps for my iPhone that will save me time and keep me organized. As interesting as many apps are, a lot of the ones I’ve tried may help with organization, but add extra steps instead of efficiency. I need streamlining not complexity. The five apps that [...]

I Instagram, I Tumble, Therefore I am a Professional Photographer

Posted: July 26th, 2012

[by Richard Kelly] I make pictures. I see the world with a sense of curiosity, I discover, I taste, I sample, I see. I can share these discoveries, tastes, samples and sights with friends and followers who have “agreed” to share these common experiences. This social engagement through visual images and motion has never happened [...]

Releases for Professionals

Posted: July 11th, 2012

[by Richard Kelly] The ASMP model release has been an industry standard for decades. I remember photocopying the ASMP model release out of the ASMP Business Bible as an assistant member in the mid-1980’s.  In the early days of the world wide web, the ASMP posted model releases that photographers could use online at www.ASMP.org/releases along [...]

Seeking Licensing Solutions

Posted: February 28th, 2012

[by Richard Kelly] For imaging professionals the issues of copyright, licensing and compensation are forever intertwined. For the past three decades this model – licensing a specific use for a specific amount of money – has served us well.   In the print days we could limit use based on audited periodical circulation, a fixed number [...]

How Experimentation & Creativity Feed Profitability

Posted: December 1st, 2011

[by Richard Kelly] My personal work has always directed my commercial work. A portrait project here led to a magazine assignment there. A personal documentary led to a non-profit capital campaign. An experimental video led to a music video. Personal projects feed both my creativity and professional bottom line. When I’m face-to-face with a client [...]

No Small Decisions

Posted: October 12th, 2011

[by Richard Kelly] “There are no small decisions in moviemaking.”  – Sidney Lument , Director (pg 112 MAKING MOVIES by SIDNEY LUMENT Vintage Books) If you change “moviemaking” to photography, well you get the picture. This to me summarizes all my decisions from art, to craft to commerce. Every action has a consequence, or a [...]

Would You Sign This?

Posted: September 10th, 2010

[by Richard Kelly] Getting the appropriate model releases from our subjects that appear in photographs for commercial use is what a “professional” does as part of the overall practice of business. The standard  adult release says, “…They have the irrevocable, perpetual and unrestricted right and permission to take, use, re-use, publish, and republish photographic portraits [...]

What I Learned on my Way to the Commons

Posted: June 24th, 2010

[by Richard Kelly] It is my perspective that the role of copyright is to promote publication. Copyright is the engine that allows professionals to grant permission and collect money for the use of their work, that permission is a license. I see no reason for this to change. The fundamental change is how our images [...]

Copyright Registration – Protecting Your Investment

Posted: May 12th, 2010

[by Richard Kelly] With The Copyright Act of 1976 and later revisions including the Berne Convention, artists were no longer required to register for copyright nor to provide copyright notice. In my opinion, these two facts have led to two decades of visual artists thinking that they were protecting their visual investments. For a commercial [...]

Post Symposium Thoughts

Posted: April 23rd, 2010

[by Richard Kelly] If content is king, distribution is its queen. What does distribution and publication really mean today and in the foreseeable future? How can independent artists exercise their rights and gain fair compensation for the use of their work? I believe visual artists must adapt. We need to do business more efficiently by [...]

The Four “R”s of Pricing Photography

Posted: March 12th, 2010

[by Richard Kelly] The Four “R”s of Pricing Photography are Relationships, Rates, Rights and Reputation. One of the most valued benefits to my ASMP membership is the relationship I have with my fellow photographers. Not just the chapter meetings or the membership list serves, but real one on one relationships with my peers. I mostly [...]

So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

Posted: January 8th, 2010

[by Richard Kelly] No one predicting the future ever seems to get it right. So, I shouldn’t try either. Instead I am going to share what I am starting to see happen.    Traditional “old media” Publishers are still trying to figure out how to survive the shift from print to pixels. One way would [...]

I want my ASMP Video….

Posted: October 20th, 2009

For as long as I have been on the ASMP board, first as Education chair and now as President, I have heard from members and chapter presidents that we need to know more about video / motion, that we should use video for our education programming and that video should be utilized on our ASMP website. [...]

Charlie Rose is Free!

Posted: August 27th, 2009

For those of you who know me, you probably know that Charlie Rose is my favorite show on TV. As a curious person, I find the guests on the Charlie Rose show peak my interest even if I know nothing about the subject or topic. The number of books I have read based on the [...]

Summer Book : TRIBES by Seth Godin

Posted: July 23rd, 2009

It is summer 2009 and while some of us are packing the car for vacations to the sea shore or the mountains, many of us are choosing to “staycation”, or rather staying close to home or taking day trips to area attractions. Today’s economy is forcing us to re-evaluate, not just the family summer vacation [...]

Our First Week of Business Quick Tips

Posted: May 18th, 2009

ACCOUNTING TIP – pre-filled W-9 Form When working with a new client, after the job is complete and delivered the next step will be to send an invoice to get paid. David Oster, my accountant recommends having an IRS Form W-9 filled out and ready to send to new clients with your invoices. The W-9 [...]

A Social Media Strategy

Posted: May 15th, 2009

“There are no small decisions in moviemaking.” Change moviemaking to photography and that Sidney Lumet quote can teach us a lot about our photography and the business of. Jack Hollingsworth, an Austin based Photographer and Content Creation Partner, and a student of social media and marketing, spoke recently at the Picture Archive Council of America [...]

“Marketing Management is now Tribal Leadership” Seth Godin

Posted: April 29th, 2009

If you haven’t yet read TRIBES  - We need you to lead us by Seth Godin, today is the day to do just that, at 160 pages it is easily a weekend read. The basic tribe concept is that groups of people form  tribes around a person or an idea or a product to create [...]

The Only Way Out is to Shoot Our Way Out

Posted: April 24th, 2009

“It’s the economy stupid” was from the Clinton campaign (Bill’s not Hillary’s) and it is as true today as it was back then. On Monday, I attended the ASMP Chicago/Midwest Soup Kitchen & Town Hall Meeting “On Surviving This Economy (because failure is not an option!)” when Chicago based advertising photographer, Jim Krantz, offered the [...]

My Online Watercooler

Posted: April 3rd, 2009

As an editorial photographer living in Pittsburgh I am not really in the center of the magazine publishing world, but by subscribing and reading Meg Weaver’s weekly newsletter, Wooden Horse Publishing, I feel connected to the who, what, when and where of the publishing world. Like any resource, especially online, I only consider it one [...]

BUILDING YOUR OWN TEAM – The Accountant

Posted: March 25th, 2009

It is that tax time again. I just met my accountant for our semi annual cup of coffee to drop off my paperwork and financial records for him to use in preparing my taxes. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to know that I have someone on my team. Being [...]