Author Archive


Posted: December 9th, 2015

[by Thomas Werner] How can you stay inspired? Have fun. There are times when every picture you take begins to feel important and there is a weight to the process that slowly takes the fun out of image making. Take a little time and shoot pictures for yourself, you don’t need to share them, just [...]

Personal Archives

Posted: September 10th, 2015

[by Thomas Werner] Many of us think of a personal archive as a group of images and/or videos archived with a clear and accessible numbering system that will allow for easy access and identification of the image whether online or in print. If your goal is to build a valuable and enduring archive you need [...]

Portfolio Reviews

Posted: August 14th, 2015

[by Thomas Werner] My first bit of advice regarding portfolio reviews would be to save by taking advantage of the low cost reviews offered as a member benefit by ASMP chapters around the country. New England, Seattle/Northwest, Philadelphia, and San Diego are among the chapters that offer reviews, and New York offers both a fine [...]

Time and Diversification

Posted: April 10th, 2015

[by Thomas Werner] There has been a growing trend toward the diversification in terms of the demands on our time and our businesses. This change has been central to the success of many image makers in both still and motion. We have added new commercial revenue streams, are developing audience in social media, moving into [...]

“I Am Big. It’s the Pictures That Got Small. “

Posted: February 13th, 2015

[by Thomas Werner] My “Ah-ha” moment came when I realized that though many of our business models are changing, the underlying structure of our industry has not. We have always been in the business of supply and demand, selling imagery to distributors to attract and/or satisfy a specific audience. Whether it is a magazine, advertisement, [...]

Local, National, International

Posted: October 29th, 2014

[by Thomas Werner] We frequently, if not always, discuss image making in local or national terms. Yet over the past two years it has become apparent that access to multiple channels of international distribution, and a growing demand for socially engaged imagery, will substantively affect the careers of many photographers. As still photographs and motion [...]

Managing a Creative Team

Posted: April 16th, 2014

[by Thomas Werner] Building a strong, unified, and reliable team is essential to a photographer’s success. Professional images depend upon a team of experts, each applying their specific skills toward one goal. At its core this team may include; photographer’s assistants, hair and make-up stylists, and a wardrobe stylist. For larger scale shoots you may [...]

My Phone and I

Posted: November 14th, 2013

[by Thomas Werner] Yesterday I was looking at my Blackberry, that perfectly well working former symbol of progress and innovation, and discussing whether it was time to purchase a new phone.  The conversation drifted into the effects of technological change in our lives, when the question arose as to whether I thought anyone missed having [...]

Why Facebook Doesn’t Care

Posted: September 25th, 2013

[by Thomas Werner] It is difficult to write about social media without addressing the recent changes in Facebook’s terms and conditions. Changes that are a reflection of the value and function of photography and time based media, not only in social media, but in society in general. The implication in terms of our ability to [...]

Advice That I Would Give…

Posted: August 15th, 2013

[by Thomas Werner] What advice would I give if I could speak to my younger self? 1) Work harder and want it more than anyone else. If you don’t want it badly enough to make the next call or produce the next project, there is always someone else willing to do so. 2) Pay greater [...]

Diversification, A Lesson From the Past

Posted: March 28th, 2013

By [Thomas Werner] Let me introduce you to Misters Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, and Man Ray.  Edward Steichen was a legendary photographer, gallerist, publisher, filmmaker, and curator.  Mr. Steichen’s 1914 fashion photographs were the first modern fashion photographs ever published. As a filmmaker he won an Academy Award for his documentary film titled, “The Fighting [...]

For Every Action There is an Equal and Opposite Reaction

Posted: December 6th, 2012

[by Thomas Werner] Over the last few months there have been a number of very good conversations regarding image management and how we might track and monetize usage online. As I listen to each of the proposed solutions I can’t help but think of them as part of larger conversations. I don’t pretend to have [...]

Business and Pleasure

Posted: August 30th, 2012

[by Thomas Werner] Virtually every photo grad that I speak to wishes they had more of the business classes in college that they questioned having to take while they were there. Courses in business practices can be boring and, in terms of their structure, frequently impractical. Photography programs need to find ways to better integrate [...]

Provide a Positive Solution

Posted: May 9th, 2012

[by Thomas Werner] During difficult economic times it is easy to become frustrated as you work to hold onto existing clients while growing and changing your business. Do your best not to let your frustration enter into your work or your conversations, the end result will only be detrimental to yourself and your business. Clients [...]

Inspiration and Opportunity

Posted: April 12th, 2012

[by Thomas Werner] When I initially thought about this post the answer to the question of inspiration seemed quite simple. First my students came to mind, I often look to them for inspiration, their perspective on our business is enlightening and they consistently introduce me to new ways of seeing. Next I thought of friends [...]


Posted: February 29th, 2012

[by Thomas Werner] It is hard to debate the decline in licensing fees over the past decade. We have seen a number contracts asking for the right to use a photographer’s image on multiple platforms for one flat fee, particularly in the editorial world. This combined with the democratization of our industry and a large [...]

Use a Light Meter

Posted: February 24th, 2012

[by Thomas Werner] This may seem intuitive to many reading this, but I meet far too many young photographers who believe that as long as they have a printable image on the screen of their camera they have done enough in terms of creating. You need to use a meter to make informed choices regarding [...]

Letting Go is Hard to Do

Posted: December 19th, 2011

[by Thomas Werner] Personally this past year was one of extraordinary change.  One of the most difficult aspects of this transition was the re-examination of my business, and evaluating what portions should be held onto and what should be let go of. A number of hard decisions had to be made regarding where and how [...]

Wikileaks and You

Posted: November 7th, 2011

[by Thomas Werner] During the initial release of government documents via Wikileaks I had the pleasure of sitting in on a panel discussion addressing the ramifications of the event. There were the expected comments; one part of the panel celebrated the release stating the government needing to be more transparent and that people deserved to [...]

What is a fashion photograph?

Posted: October 17th, 2011

[by Thomas Werner] Great fashion photographs are a reflection of the moral, social and economic imperatives of our time in a way that other photographic genres are not. From war time to economic booms fashion photography has shown us where our boundaries were and how we alternately sought to embrace or break them. Beyond addressing [...]

We Are The Product

Posted: September 26th, 2011

[by Thomas Werner] As image makers we frequently talk about the change in the market place, the ability for so many to make and distribute imagery, and the falling value of our work. As we know, one of the main reasons for this trend is the spread of technology that has allowed a greater number [...]

Working Abroad: Plan Ahead but Leave Time for the Unexpected

Posted: September 22nd, 2011

[by Thomas Werner] When traveling and working abroad good pre-production is essential. Produce your shoot and travel details as thoroughly as possible before leaving on your trip. Coordinate as many details as you can with your local partners, and develop and deliver a timeline to keep your schedule tight and your team on the same [...]

Easy Travel Tip

Posted: July 11th, 2011

[by Thomas Werner] Keep your bags light and your travel simple. When traveling abroad you do not need to carry a heavy voltage converter or plug for battery operated items like your laptop, camera, and so on. You only need to carry a simple converter for your plug from US to whatever country you might [...]

Social Media Tip

Posted: June 2nd, 2011

[by Thomas Werner] Be sure to keep your message focused when using social media, facebook, twitter and linkedin all serve different purposes. For instance, don’t forward your tweets about where you are having dinner or partying to LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a business platform, be aware of the impression that you are creating. Thomas Werner; Educator, [...]

Photography Isn’t Dead, The Business Model Is

Posted: May 27th, 2011

[by Thomas Werner] Photography isn’t dead, but the old business model is. While you will find many people mourning this disappearing model and trying to figure out what to do next, you will find many more who are problem solving the issues that face us. People become frustrated in the face of change, but it [...]

My 3 A-Ha Moments

Posted: April 18th, 2011

[by Thomas Werner] There were three Ah-Ha moments for me when it came to Strictly Business 3. The first was seeing the light in people’s eyes as they gained insight into an aspect of their business that they have been struggling with, or gained clarity in terms of what they wanted to do next with [...]

Do You Overuse Email?

Posted: February 15th, 2011

[by Thomas Werner] Overly frequent e-mail promotions and updates can have an effect opposite of what you have intended. It may only be e-mail, but if you are not sending a new project, or have another relevant update, stick to a once every two, three or four month mailing. You don’t want a simple e-mail [...]

Quick Tip for Assistants

Posted: January 24th, 2011

[by Thomas Werner] If you are looking for assisting work an introductory e-mail, or snail mail, with your resume and other qualifications is nice to receive. Sending a reminder e-mail every three or four months is nice as well. Monthly or more frequent e-mails maybe keep you from working with some photographers and they can [...]

Breaking Through The Digital Clutter

Posted: December 17th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] E-mail is a beautiful thing, it is quick, free, lists are easily updated, and you can automate your promotion process so that mailings go out on a regular basis. The downside of email is “delete”. No one ever has to open your note or look at your imagery before is has been [...]

Video Quick Tip

Posted: December 10th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] When working with video internationally be aware of the changing standards from country to country. We work with NTSC in America, other countries work in PAL and other standards. Look into the methods, costs, and quality of transferring video from one version to another before working abroad. Thomas Werner; Educator, Lecturer, Curator. [...]

I Don’t Need a Release Because I Would Win in Court

Posted: September 8th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] “I don’t need a release, I would win in court….” I frequently hear this comment while discussing releases during presentations to students and working photographers, who then point to landmark cases that support their claim. There are many reasons that this logic is faulty, here is one case to illustrate the point. [...]

Stay in Touch?

Posted: August 17th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] When an art buyer, editor, gallerist, says, “Stay in touch”, they are asking you to send them updates on your new projects or work. They are not asking to you to be part of their fab five, or go to lunch on a regular basis. It is a just friendly way of [...]

You Are Not a Photographer

Posted: August 5th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] You are a producer, casting agent, editor, retoucher, creative director, manager, businessperson, curator, creative partner, educator and art director. You are a social media manager, pr person, advertiser, filmmaker, videographer, relationship manager, student, activist, and more….   I can hear people thinking, well, that is what a photographer is….no, these are just [...]

Use Social Media to Reinforce Your Message

Posted: July 30th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] So you have your Facebook account set-up, are adding business connections on LinkedIn, and are Tweeting from time to time. You spend “x” number of hours a week posting and building your base, you have “friended” and “connected” and “follow” your fellow photographers, favorite web sites, blogs and Facebook pages, personal gurus, [...]

Fine Art Print Viewing

Posted: July 20th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] If you want your prints to stay clean, always bring a set of new white gloves when dropping off your portfolio or meeting with a gallery or reviewer, to take a look at your work. Never assume the person viewing your work will have them, they most likely will not, and please [...]

Step Up

Posted: May 24th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] Soon after taking over the ASMP New York Chapter in 2001, our city and our industry was thrown into a dramatic state of change due to 9/11. Work virtually stopped as ad agencies and magazines did not know what to do next, photographers were lowering their rates in an alarming fashion just [...]

Copyright Is Important, But Not Like It Used To Be

Posted: May 14th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] Copyright is an important right, it affirms ownership, allows us to protect our rights, helps control usage, and gives us the ability to collect damages when our imagery is misused. Though too few do so, as a content creator copyrighting your images, video, animation, etc., continues to be good business. What has, [...]

Museum Portfolio Reviews

Posted: April 14th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] You can drop off your portfolio for review at a museum. Just call to find out what their policy is, and be aware that they may keep your portfolio for up to 6 months or more. You should also know that in most instances a junior staff member will be reviewing your [...]

As a Fine Artist You are Only Selling the Print

Posted: March 10th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] Whether selling editioned or uneditioned prints at a gallery, store, or as an individual it is important to remember that when you set the price for your work you are only setting the price for an individual print. Mounting, matting, framing, laminating, shipping, or other expenses should be charged accordingly. This may [...]

Social Media: Relax…

Posted: March 5th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] Much has been made of social media and it’s importance in terms of building your market and creating greater visibility for yourself and your business. While I agree social media has become essential to a well-rounded marketing a program, I find the emphasis many have placed on this topic a little extreme. [...]

What is a Professional?

Posted: January 26th, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] A lot of people with guitars can play guitar. The person who plays at the coffee shop is a professional to some, the person who plays at the wedding is a pro to others, the guy doing tours of local or national clubs is a pro to others, and then you have [...]

Think Different

Posted: January 21st, 2010

[by Thomas Werner] Think of video as more than documentary or an interview; think about how you can use video to create physical and emotional space, architecture, think of ways to immerse people, control their experience. Begin to use video in more ways than just a moving version of your still imagery. Get one step [...]

Take a Look

Posted: December 23rd, 2009

[by Thomas Werner] Some beautiful and interesting work. Take a look and allow yourself to see in a slightly different manner.

What About Flickr?

Posted: December 9th, 2009

[by Thomas Werner] Art buyers and art directors look for photos in the places they are most familiar and comfortable with. Put your photos up on Flickr, a large number of art buyers and photo researchers look for, and purchase, images there.

Make it Personal or It Isn’t a Gift

Posted: December 2nd, 2009

[by Thomas Werner] When giving a gift to client don’t give something that is too expensive and don’t give something that is a self promotion. Expensive may make a client nervous, and self promotion really isn’t a gift. Try a small ten or twelve dollar book of photography. It feels more personal, can be tailored [...]

A Week Focused on Creative Thinking

Posted: November 2nd, 2009

[by Thomas Werner] This is an artists statement from an exhibition at my gallery a few years ago. The only time that I used an artists statement in promoting an exhibition was this one. I came across it again the other day and think that it addresses something essential about our work and wanted to [...]

Get Out of Your Routine

Posted: October 27th, 2009

[by Thomas Werner] Take 6 friends, drive into the forest, desert, to the ocean, a lake, and just photograph each other all day….feed off the energy, creativity and community, and do not worry about the outcome of the shoot.

Take a Look

Posted: July 30th, 2009

This is not the usual group of portfolios, whether you find it commercial or not I will leave up to you, but I will say that some of these photographers are very successful….


Posted: July 17th, 2009

Learn to trust yourself, trust your talent, trust what your heart tells you to make and do, have faith in the future and things that you cannot see or yet imagine. Learn to believe again in the possibilities of the unknown.

Looking for a Little Work as a Photo Instructor?

Posted: July 7th, 2009

I always suggest sending a resume, either mailed or online, or both, right after January, and in the middle of August, right before the spring and fall semesters begin. These are both times where a photo program may find themselves needing a good instructor or two on short notice due to someone moving, getting a [...]

It’s Not About Going to a Movie

Posted: June 25th, 2009

As a professional Tweeting isn’t about going to a movie or where you are having dinner, it is about letting people know that you and your business is alive and vital. It is letting people know that you are shooting a job, making new work, traveling to different places, helping them understand what you can [...]

Signing Your Prints on the Reverse, Part 2 of 3

Posted: June 1st, 2009

As noted in my last post, photographs exhibited in higher end contemporary galleries are signed on the back, or reverse of the print. In addition to contemporary practices, there are two other reasons that you should consider when deciding whether to sign the back of your print as opposed to the front, these are; market [...]

Signing Your Prints

Posted: May 20th, 2009

Photographers exhibiting in contemporary galleries sign their prints on the back of the print, also called the reverse, or verso, and not on the front of the print. (more on that in another post) Sign in the upper left hand or lower right hand corner of the print, inside the print area (remember on the [...]

Let’s Work Together!

Posted: April 22nd, 2009

I spent an afternoon two weeks ago meeting with the owners of one of the largest studio and equipment rental houses in New York. Halfway through the afternoon they showed me a presentation that they give to new clients, the presentation and the accompanying conversation were eye opening. It turns out that studio rentals to [...]

Maybe it is Time to Reconnect

Posted: April 10th, 2009

Trying to decide how to change your business? Thinking about how to find new clients and reach into new markets? Stop for a minute. Walk over to your book shelf, dust off your books and look at the pictures that you love. Go online and look at pictures from contemporary photographers that you have never [...]