Archive for Business

Why the Middle Class Matters

Posted: July 6th, 2016

[by Jan Klier] Cross-posting from LinkedIn. These days there is a lot of talk about the state of the middle class in the world. As a matter of fact, the middle class does not only matter politically, but also within the economic bounds of a specific industry, such as the photography industry. Most photographers entering the [...]

Advertiser Pledge Sets Example of Accountability in the Fight Against Piracy

Posted: June 30th, 2016

With the recent establishment of our partnership with George Mason University’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP), ASMP will begin to include cross-postings in Strictly Business about  political, economic, and social trends related to a broad range of infringement issues being addressed by CPIP and its contributors. Cross-posted from the Mister Copyright blog. It should come as no [...]

Establishing A Unique Brand

Posted: May 31st, 2016

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] It’s often the case that finding yourself as an artist is difficult with all the distracting noise out there in the business. It is a difficult thing to look within, find that inner clarity, listen to that voice within and THEN build a strong brand-name around that vision. But, as artists, this [...]

What Photographers Can Learn From Brands

Posted: May 23rd, 2016

[by Jan Klier] Cross-post from LinkedIn. On the heels of my recent post on a different way of thinking of pricing, this email newsletter by Don Giannatti, and a conversation in my braintrust group last night, made me think of a pertinent analogy to the headwinds photographers are facing: The change in power between the [...]

Rethinking Pricing of Visual Assets

Posted: May 16th, 2016

[by Jan Klier] Cross-post from LinkedIn. Lots of change is afoot in the world of visual assets, which I consider the umbrella term for still photography and motion imagery. The still photographers are grappling with an apparent imbalance of supply and demand, competition from ‘everyone is a photographer’, a client base less versed in the business [...]

How Your Portfolio Edit Can Support or Tank Your Brand

Posted: May 9th, 2016

[by Carolyn Potts] Show too much=Risk being forgettable. You probably know by now that your brand is way more than your logo. It’s visual consistency throughout your online and offline presence. Think of Apple. One of the most iconic brands we know and probably the most widely-used example in discussions about branding excellence. If you [...]

Paperwork Share

Posted: April 25th, 2016

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

The Struggle With Modern Day Usage

Posted: April 18th, 2016

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

Personal Projects and Getting Work

Posted: April 15th, 2016

Success Story Series  – Part 3 [by Todd Joyce] I’ve done several personal projects and I have to say that the work that I received as a result, and what I’ve learned from them have been worth every minute/hour/day/week and month spent. One of the most rewarding projects was my 30 day portrait project.  [...]

One Good Thing Leads to Another

Posted: April 14th, 2016

Success Story Series  – Part 2 [by Todd Joyce] A year ago, I had a two month recovery after a major surgery. Coming back to work was a slow and draining process. Too big of a job could set back my recovery, so I had to choose what I did wisely. The first job I [...]

Listening and Looking for Solutions

Posted: April 13th, 2016

Success Story Series – Part 1 [by Todd Joyce] A very large law firm contracted me to photograph headshots for their company. It was stressed to me that the lawyers’ time is very valuable, especially if they were a partner at the firm, so we had to be as efficient as possible. The marketing director also [...]

Why Am I Here?

Posted: April 11th, 2016

In Which I Write A Blog Post About Blogging And The Symbiotic Spokes In The Wheel That Is Social Media. [by Barry Schwartz] For the longest time I could not figure out what social media could do for me. So I did nothing. Or almost nothing: I had a mousy level of participation on Facebook, which [...]

From Contact Form to Contract

Posted: April 8th, 2016

[by Pascal Depuhl] Before I ever speak to a potential client… … I usually get an email that reads: “A lead has been assigned to you”. It’s my Customer Relationship Management system’s way of letting me know someone just clicked the button on the contact form of my website. By this time, that prospective client has [...]

Client Onboarding

Posted: April 6th, 2016

[by Luke Copping] You’re in your office working, you have your music on, and you’re just getting into that flow state where you really start to ramp up your productivity. You’re wrapping up post-production, taking care of billing, and it seems like things are just falling into place for you today. And then the phone [...]

The Art of Self-Promotion

Posted: March 31st, 2016

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] Self-promotion is a tricky business – a delicate recipe of resources, relationships, and timing. An artist gains traction and momentum by being seen in many credible places at one time. So how do we accomplish that without becoming full time marketing gurus? How do we come across as confident without looking arrogant? How do [...]

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 [...]

Staying Afloat

Posted: March 18th, 2016

[By John Welsh] Life is about relationships and so is success. And since business is part of life, then success in business must also involve relationships, right? Perhaps there’s flawed logic in that claim, but I still believe it’s true. And as each year passes and brings with it “better” technology, it leaves us with [...]

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 [...]

You Said Timex But They Heard Rolex

Posted: March 16th, 2016

[by Francis Zera] Being successful at managing client expectations often boils down to managing just one thing: communication. If you invest the time and effort to be a clear communicator and work with the client from the start to set objectives together, you’ll rarely have any problems in this regard. When expectations are vague, problems [...]

Prospecting Like a Pro

Posted: February 11th, 2016

[by Kat Dalager] Shotgun marketing has become less effective in a population that would prefer to opt in rather than opt out. That means up front research is more important than ever if you want to make the most of your time and money. Where to Begin You could always buy an email or mailing list [...]

Validating a Prospector’s Approach

Posted: February 10th, 2016

[by Barry Schwartz] In my twenties I wanted to be a field biologist. I loved the idea of being outside, engaging with the elements, and how naturalists develop broad conclusions based on specific behaviors and occurrences. I appreciated that research never ends; that there was always more to learn, deeper to look, farther to go. I [...]

The Many Faces of Client Research

Posted: February 9th, 2016

[by Jenna Close] Researching clients is a significant part of how I market my services. I’ve found that there isn’t really a one size fits all solution, so I use many different tactics, largely dependent on what type of prospect I am trying to reach. Agencies: Using a list service, like Yodelist or Agency Access, [...]

Creating Client Connections

Posted: February 8th, 2016

Research is essential to finding new clients who fit with your brand.

Master Your Productivity with 11 Amazing Tools

Posted: January 21st, 2016

[by Pascal Depuhl] With every passing year, it seems clients are expecting more and more from their photographers. Kat Dalager even foresees a change of the very word photographer in her recent Strictly Business blog post, Predictions for 2016: “The word ‘photographer’ will change. Maybe it will be ‘image maker’ or ‘content maker’ or ‘capturer.’  [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

2012: Identifying New Markets for Your Photography

Posted: January 12th, 2016

We launched the Business as unUsual series with the fabulous Mary Virginia Swanson, whose program focused on editing your work to show your unique vision, presenting your work in print and electronic portfolios, marketing your work to different audiences and identifying new markets for your photography. Packed with visual examples, this program will help you [...]

Don’t Tell and Do it NOW!

Posted: December 23rd, 2015

[by Todd Joyce] We all make new promises to ourselves each year and most are broken by the end of January.   Promises tend to focus on being better at something (e.g physical shape, better communicator, better at marketing or to be more open to new ideas or styles). Some of the terms we use in [...]


Posted: December 21st, 2015

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

Case study: The Nuts, Bolts and Hazards of E-Commerce

Posted: November 23rd, 2015

[by Harry C. Thomas] ASMP member Harry Thomas recently contacted ASMP after discovering how limited the protections offered to photographers accepting credit cards really are. He shares his experiences in this post in the hopes that it may help others avoid getting burned. I accepted an assignment from a Fortune 100 company with whom I [...]

Everything Is Normal

Posted: October 16th, 2015

[by Rosh Sillars] There are more opportunities than ever for the creative image maker today, but the way you earn a living is different from ten, twenty, fifty years ago and it will be different twenty years from now. Take a look at the recently announced Light L16, which places a camera with sixteen lens in your pocket. Is this [...]

50 Shades of Grey

Posted: October 15th, 2015

[by Kat Dalager] The world is definitely a-changin’. For the most part, gone are high usage fees, gone are a lot of restrictions on usage. Right now, it’s a buyer’s market, and that’s due to many factors, including: Everyone is a Photographer. Anyone with a cell phone and Instagram is a photographer. While we know [...]

What They Didn’t Teach You in Photo School

Posted: October 14th, 2015

[by Demetrius Fordham] Since the beginning of my journey as a photographer eight years ago, I’ve witnessed so many developments that have reshaped the industry for working photographers today. Earlier this year, I wrote a book entitled “What They Didn’t Teach You in Photo School,” and as part of my research I solicited the expertise [...]

Photography is the Disruptor

Posted: October 13th, 2015

[by Richard Kelly] At many cocktail parties, conversations usually start with “Hey, I bet digital cameras have changed your business.” I usually explain that the digital camera is only a small component of the bigger disruption affecting my business and add that photography itself, is always a disruptor. When Mr. Niépce, fixed the first photographic [...]

What the Market Will Bear

Posted: October 2nd, 2015

[by Kat Dalager] It’s essential to agree to all terms prior to clicking the shutter. There’s nothing worse than having to clear up misunderstandings during or after a shoot. Misunderstandings may not only taint an otherwise great shoot relationship-wise, they can also delay payment. If the project specifications you receive do not clearly outline what [...]

Contracts — Five Tips For What To Do When The Fine Print Doesn’t Look So Fine

Posted: October 1st, 2015

[by Francis Zera] Contract law is powerful — you ‘re able to sign away legal rights that you otherwise automatically have (along with the opposite situation, depending on which side of the contract you’re on), so it’s no wonder that contract negotiations often feel precarious and sometimes downright frightening. Here are a some tips to [...]

Use Your Words

Posted: September 30th, 2015

[by Barry Schwartz] In every class and workshop I’ve taught on business practices, contracts are the source of more anxiety than any other topic, except perhaps SEO. And SEO doesn’t count because everyone already understands instinctively that SEO is a mystical, ever-morphing process whose secrets are hidden in a vault in an undisclosed location in [...]

The Devil is in The Details

Posted: September 29th, 2015

[by Gail Mooney] If you’re a professional photographer and aren’t business savvy or have a partner who is, you’ve most likely signed a bad contract. If you have, you are not alone. Even the greatest rock group of all, The Beatles, signed a few bad contracts in their day because they didn’t bother to read [...]

Contractual Thinking

Posted: September 28th, 2015

[by Charles Gupton] Without exception, anytime I’ve had a difficult, unresolvable conflict or misunderstanding arise as part of a project, it was the result of not having a written contract. That’s not to say that misunderstandings don’t arise at times even when I have a solid contract in hand. But, I’ve never had a disagreement [...]

This is a Test of the Team RK System and Only a Test.

Posted: September 25th, 2015

[by Richard Kelly] Even at this stage of my career I want to “test” new ideas or try new approaches to old ideas or just flat out want to work on a personal shot for my portfolio. Depending on the scope of the project that I give myself I will assemble the same team that [...]

5 Questions to Answer Before Building Your Team

Posted: September 24th, 2015

[by Pascal Depuhl] There are hundreds of posts written on the importance of creating personal work, testing out new techniques and developing new concepts. Stepping out of your comfort zone is probably the most important part of becoming a better photographer, filmmaker or creative person. This week I know that my fellow ASMP photographers will be writing posts, [...]

When It’s Time to Change

Posted: September 2nd, 2015

[by John Welsh] Giving Back to your community, your profession, your colleagues, to whomever – it’s a good thing. It creates community and it’s something we need when facing the challenges within the new marketplace. But what about Taking Back? It may be more important than giving in this state of unsettling business practice. We [...]

So You Lost the Sale… Now What?

Posted: July 31st, 2015

[by Blake Discher] As a professional photographer, it’s easy to forget you’re actually in business of selling. Sure, you create images, but without sales skills your business is likely to fail because it cannot sustain itself. Selling is difficult. It takes practice to get good at it. Naturally, you celebrate your successes, and with good [...]

Learning From Losing is Still a Win

Posted: July 30th, 2015

[by Michael Weschler] There comes a time in every photographer’s career, when you’re up for something bigger than you ever imagined you might get. You’re out of your comfort zone, but the timing feels right to stretch a little and meet this challenge. Don’t panic, but don’t get too excited yet, either! While it’s great [...]

I’m Sorry the Plans Have Been Canceled…

Posted: July 29th, 2015

[by Pascal Depuhl] Sunday afternoon a little after 2 pm, I get one of my favorite emails: “A new lead has been assigned to you.” Which is how my CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software lets me know that a potential client has inquired about working with me through the online contact form on my website. [...]

When Losing is Actually Winning

Posted: July 28th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] The most important thing I keep in mind when bidding on projects, especially those gems that I really, really, want, is that this is business, and business can be rough, so stay confident but don’t get your hopes up. I’ve had plenty of bids simply disappear into the void, with the client [...]

Losing Gracefully

Posted: July 27th, 2015

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] I’m going to take a moment to hold my head up high, take a deep, soothing breath and confidently tell you that I most certainly have a lot of experience with losing bids… I’ve most likely lost as many jobs in my career as I’ve gotten! Now that I’ve gotten that off [...]

Get Your Head in the Game

Posted: July 17th, 2015

[by Lynn Kyle] My simple tip for a great production is to do a dry run in your head the night before a shoot. After all the coordination has been completed, the talent booked, locations secured, and schedule and call times distributed, run through the day’s events in your head from start to finish. This [...]

Locations, Locations, Locations

Posted: July 16th, 2015

I first met R. Richard Hobbs through ASMP nearly 20 years ago. At that time, he was already an experienced location scout/manager with a roster of available properties at his fingertips. Rich took some time out of his busy schedule scouting locations for films, TV shows and photo shoots to share his expert advice on [...]

Assignment Production Preparation = No surprises!

Posted: July 15th, 2015

[by Steve Whittaker] Ok. You have the assignment, the client has signed off on the estimate, you have just received the check covering the 50% retainer (not a deposit), but are you truly ready for this assignment? You have already checked your equipment but what about getting access to your various assignment locations? When you [...]

Not Too Many Cooks

Posted: July 14th, 2015

[by Kat Dalager] It’s possible that you may be working with an art producer that works for your client. What does this person do that’s different than what the producer you hire does? Why would you need to hire a producer? Do you really need both? In very simplified and general terms: The photographer’s producer [...]

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 [...]

When in Rome, Dress Like a Chameleon.

Posted: June 11th, 2015

[by Richard Kelly] When I am working on an environmental portrait assignment, I like to start off knowing as much about a subject as I possibly can.  I begin with a simple web search to learn something about them, where they work, what they like to do. I usually try to meet with the subject [...]

Preparing for an Industrial Photography Shoot

Posted: June 10th, 2015

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

Building Trust is Key When Working With Architects

Posted: June 9th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] When negotiating contracts with architecture firms, construction companies, developers, engineers, and design firms you have to think about a lot more than just the time it will take to create the images. While some projects are logistically straightforward, many productions require lots of organization and planning. You may need to hire several [...]

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 [...]

Things I’ve Been Told

Posted: May 22nd, 2015

[by Blake Discher] Congratulations, you’re graduating!  Over the years smarter people than myself have been good enough to share their wisdom with me.  One admonished me to share my knowledge, here’s what I’ve got this morning, in bite-sized portions: Build your team from the start. Get a good CPA, attorney, and mentor. Hang with winners, [...]

For the Class of 2015 and Beyond

Posted: May 21st, 2015

[by Richard Kelly] Six recommendations for living a Creative Life: 1. Have something to say and develop that into a lifelong vision. If you don’t know what you want to say yet, then follow your curiosity – dabble in everything. 2. Be open-minded about your career and income stream. Look for unmet needs and follow [...]

Dear Graduating Class of 2015

Posted: May 20th, 2015

[by Jim Cavanaugh] I am writing this to you from a perspective of having sat where you are sitting 40 years ago this month. You have completed your formal education and are looking forward to building a career as a professional photographer and image maker. You are full of enthusiasm and optimism as well as uncertainty [...]

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, [...]

Now Get Out There and Fight!

Posted: May 18th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] For those just venturing out into the big, crazy world after however long a stint in photography school (or for those intrepid souls diving in to the business without formal training), here are some thoughts from someone who’s been around the block enough times to know what the gutters look like as [...]

It’s the Same, but Different

Posted: May 15th, 2015

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

10 Tips for Graduating Photographers

Posted: May 14th, 2015

[by Irene Owsley] Offering advice to young graduates is a tricky business, especially for those going into a profession that is particularly fraught with challenges, but here are a few suggestions : 1)    Back up: be prepared to devise additional income streams, ideally related to photography. There are diverse opportunities in related fields, such as [...]

Fortune Telling

Posted: May 13th, 2015

[by John Welsh] How far into the future do you think you can see? What will you be creating 5 years from now? How about 10? It doesn’t take a dose of the supernatural to figure this out, but it does take Vision. But it’s not having vision in the sense of business, marketing and [...]

Love It or Leave It

Posted: May 12th, 2015

[by Kat Dalager] Just when you think you can sit back and enjoy the ride, reality smacks you in the head. You have to decide if you are a participant or a spectator. Make your website your first priority. While I love looking at a physical book, I haven’t called it one in years, tablet [...]

A Letter From the Future

Posted: May 11th, 2015

[by Luke Copping] If I could go back and give advice to 20 year old me – graduating from photo school, full of potential, and prior to a major dose of burnout – this is what I would tell him. (It’s what I would tell any student graduating today, too.) 1. Register your copyrights – [...]

It IS Personal…

Posted: May 8th, 2015

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] I sincerely enjoy meeting and working with new people but there’s usually a lot on the line with the commercial projects I’m on so my team must be a well-oiled machine of perfection.  Some shoots are easy while others are extremely difficult!  I need to know my team members can work well together [...]

Perceiving Unity

Posted: May 7th, 2015

[by Paul Oemig] Irish poet William Butler Yeats once remarked “Talent perceives differences; genius, unity.” It’s true: our talent is enhanced when we collaborate with like-minds that we trust. With time some of these working relationships may become so strong, it’s hard to imagine you ever tried working without them. But unfortunately with time, it [...]

Collaboration is Pointless …

Posted: May 6th, 2015

[by Pascal Depuhl] …unless you get to work with people that are better than –or at least equal to– you. Look for collaborators who improve your work. “Sounds like fortune cookie wisdom,” you say, “if the person you want to team up with is better than you, why on earth would they want to collaborate [...]

The Qualities of a Team

Posted: May 5th, 2015

[by Luke Copping] What do you want in a team member? Are you looking for a subordinate? A yes-man who will follow you right off a cliff? A collaborator who works in partnership with you? Do you want to build a brigade of interchangeable cogs or a squad of specialists? Here is what I look [...]

Setting Up for Effective Collaboration

Posted: May 4th, 2015

[by Tom Kennedy] Effective collaboration depends upon finding partners who can fuel your own creativity. For me, it has often meant finding people who share the same passions, energy, and commitment to seeking excellence.   Their energy, drive, and capacity to focus have to be readily apparent. To make that assessment, I need to achieve a [...]

Reframing the Discussion

Posted: April 28th, 2015

When this post was first published on April 28, 2011, Tom Kennedy worked with ASMP as a keynote speaker for our SB3 conference and contributor to the ASMP Guide to New Markets in Photography.  Today, he is ASMP’s Executive Director and his insights into the value of relationships and the importance of deep listening ring [...]

The Next Step

Posted: April 24th, 2015

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] Personal work is an important part of continuing to grow as an artist and photographer. I have found that creative buyers are interested in hiring me based on the personal work that I create. Though it’s important to have fun with personal work as an artist, this is no game! Personal work [...]

Beyond the Portfolio

Posted: April 23rd, 2015

[by Irene Owsley] I can’t remember the last time I showed my portfolio. There are so many other ways to get eyes on one’s work these days, although I don’t deny the powerful impact of face-to-face meetings with potential clients. The value of pursuing personal projects is undeniable. These bodies of work allow the photographer [...]

25 Marketing Hacks For Creatives

Posted: April 22nd, 2015

[by Pascal Depuhl] Did you remember to list your photography business in the Yellow Pages this year? How about the last time you sent out a 4-color direct mail piece or FedEx’d your portfolio to a client? Probably around the same time you faxed that art director your estimate. Today’s content driven marketing is about [...]

Getting Personal

Posted: April 21st, 2015

[by Gail Mooney] I got into the business of photography as a means to an end. The “end” was to establish a career that would give me access to the life I wanted to live – exploring other lands and cultures. In essence I wanted a career that would allow me to pursue my interests [...]

Can You Embrace Multiple Media?

Posted: March 6th, 2015

[by Charles Gupton] For several years, I avoided the idea like it was a virus. I associated it with the sleazy spam-meisters of the business world. Until I realized its value and embraced it. As I looked around, increasingly more and more creative people I respected were not only doing their particular craft well, but [...]

10 Year Old Technology Makes Photographers Obsolete

Posted: March 5th, 2015

[by Pascal Depuhl] Photography has had a good run. From the first photograph ever captured in 1826 until today, we’ve all witnessed countless, amazing advances. Unfortunately the demise of the professional photographer is almost complete. Decade old tech kills professional photography Ironically the death knell to the business of photographers turns out to be 10 [...]

Stories by Firelight

Posted: March 4th, 2015

[by John Welsh] Collaboration. New Media. Repurposing Content. Audience Building. These trendy buzzwords are reflective of how we’ve evolved as image making pros, but what do we do with them? You’ll have to find your own answer but maybe mine will help… Although I like gadgets and enjoy exploring new tech and social outlets, I [...]

Dead End Negotiations or A Two-Way Street?

Posted: February 27th, 2015

[by Kat Dalager] Just last week I sent out project specifications to three photographers. I outlined the project and included a target budget. Of those three photographers, two came back with estimates and the third flat-out declined to participate due to the limited budget. Was I offended that the third photographer didn’t even send me [...]

Saying No to a Better Career

Posted: February 26th, 2015

[by Rosh Sillars] When I began my photography career at the age of eight-teen, my mantra was YES, I can do it. If I don’t know how, I will figure it out. Soon I discovered that saying yes to everything lead me down a career path of average photography and mad clients. This was a time [...]

Finish the Sentence; “Just Say No If…”

Posted: February 25th, 2015

[by Gail Mooney] There have been plenty of times when I’ve been asked to agree to things that were not in my best interests. In particular, I’ve had a lot of lousy, one sided contracts presented to me over the years, and sometimes I had to walk away. One thing I’ve learned about contracts is [...]

A Productive No

Posted: February 24th, 2015

[by Bruce Katz] There are times when saying no is a powerful tool for negotiation. It’s also a great way to get answers quickly. Here are some examples of using “no” productively. One caveat – you have to be sincere about using “no” and be able to walk away from the deal if needed. A [...]

Saying “NO” is never easy…

Posted: February 23rd, 2015

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] You don’t have to take every job! We ALL know this. We’ve all experienced the “low ball” clients, the “triple bids” and “bad contracts”. It’s a reality of our business and it’s up to us to educate ourselves. Only we can know individually what’s good for us and what’s not. But what [...]

Frog In The Water

Posted: February 12th, 2015

[by Barry Schwartz] Over the last couple of years, I had an “aha” moment that was more like an “uh-oh” moment – not even a moment, more like a slow unfolding of embarrassment. I teach a class in business practices for photographers at a local college, focused on developing a holistic view to building a [...]

This Contract Clause Will Get You Paid

Posted: February 6th, 2015

[by Blake Discher] You’re at your wits end because you blew it… big time. You trusted the client to pay you so you didn’t bug them to pay your customary 50-percent payment in advance. It’s been 60 days since you sent the invoice, your bills are piling up, the rent is due, your son needs [...]

The Amazing Kreskin and the Who’s Responsible Policy.

Posted: February 5th, 2015

[by Todd Joyce] In a recent shoot, I was photographing in a laboratory testing facility for a pharmaceutical company and the Art Director couldn’t be there in person. We had a direct link via an on line screen share w microphones, speakers, etc. I was so proud of the set up. It was working great [...]

No-Fly Zones

Posted: February 4th, 2015

[by Colleen Wainwright] I spent the first 10 years of my working life getting the best education in copywriting a person could get paid for, at a representative sample of major consumer ad agencies in 1980′s and 1990′s New York and Chicago. While I’m grateful to have had the opportunity, I am, as some kids [...]

Editing Authority

Posted: February 3rd, 2015

[by Paul Oemig] One policy I regularly include in contract terms is defining who has editing authority. The term reads clearly as: EDITING AUTHORITY – The Photographer reserves the right to edit and will be the final authority on the images that will be offered to the client. It might seem like a minor clause, [...]

Two Small Items That Make a Big Difference

Posted: February 2nd, 2015

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

Our policy on disseminating these sorts of policies can be found in the corresponding policy documents: How not to write terms, conditions, and policy documents

Posted: January 16th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] Like many photographers, when I started out I did photo shoots on a gentleman’s agreement basis — no contracts, no terms and conditions, no policies, just verbal agreements. Turns out that I was a combination of lucky and cautious, as I never got badly burned by a client, although I did lose [...]

Are Your Policies Focused in the Wrong Direction?

Posted: January 15th, 2015

[by Rosh Sillars] Policies should make it easy to do business with you. I believe most business owners approach polices wrong. They view their policies as a way to protect themselves and punish people looking to do them harm. After years of cancelled appointments, rights grabs and requests for free photography, I don’t blame photographers for [...]

Hard Noses and Evolution – The Life and Times of Your Contracts

Posted: January 14th, 2015

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] The most steadfast policy I have for my business is…No Signed Estimate, No Shoot. Period. In the very rare occasion that I’ve made an exception, it didn’t end well, and you should be suspicious of a client who balks about it. Your estimate is there to ensure everyone is on the same [...]

Providing Structure for You and Your Clients

Posted: January 13th, 2015

[by Jim Cavanaugh] Many small businesses consider policies the province of big business. They also often feel that policies restrict the flexibility and innovation necessary in entrepreneurial businesses. Poor policies can have a detrimental effect, but having a reasonable number of clear, well-crafted policies adds structure to your business, helps resolve client disputes and automates [...]

What Your Parents Never Told You About Diversified Income

Posted: December 4th, 2014

[by Lesa Snider] When I was a teen, my father was laid off from the job he’d had for over 25 years. Though my mom worked full-time, our family was financially devastated. To this day I recall intense feelings of confusion, betrayal and fear. I vowed that I’d never be dependent upon a single entity [...]

Is Diversification Right for You?

Posted: December 3rd, 2014

[by Bruce Katz] When I first started out over 30 years ago the common refrain I heard when I sought advice for establishing my photo career was to specialize. I took that advice to heart. Is this still good advice in 2014? Well maybe not nearly as good as it was years ago. The real [...]

Create a Theme for Your Career

Posted: December 2nd, 2014

[by Rosh Sillars] Most photographers depend on multiple sources of income to succeed. Unfortunately, some look to sources unrelated to photography rather than apply additional skills to their craft. Veering off course can be as easy as a simple opportunity, familiarity or desperation. When looking for new sources of income, it’s best to keep with a theme [...]

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 [...]

Tips to Leading a Successful Production

Posted: October 10th, 2014

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] Planning a shoot well, problem solving on set and creating a great work atmosphere are essential for success. Here are a few pointers I’ve learned along the way. Keep in mind the big picture. Your main job is to solve problems for your client. Make your client’s day easier, help them look [...]

The Perfect Production Companion

Posted: October 9th, 2014

 I first met Francis through ASMP where he has served in leadership roles for the Seattle chapter for many years.  Every time I speak with him, I’m impressed by his clarity of thought and range of experience.  I am delighted to welcome him as our newest regular contributor. ~ Judy Herrmann, Editor [by Francis Zera] [...]

OEERB – A Nonsense Acronym That Makes A Project Go Smooth

Posted: October 8th, 2014

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] Since all my projects are on location, and not always a location that is actually owned/controlled by my clients, a few additional strategies need to be applied to ensure a successful shoot as well as not negatively impacting my client’s relationship with the building occupant/owner. – Options. When scheduling a day to [...]

What is the Difference Between Online and In-Person Networking?

Posted: September 12th, 2014

[by Rosh Sillars] I’m often asked what is the difference between attending a networking event and networking using social media. The answer is not much. Yes, it’s true. At the former, you need to dress for success; the latter can be done in your pajamas. Otherwise, it’s all about the same. Whether you are online [...]

Building Your Network

Posted: September 11th, 2014

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] Building your network is an exercise in finding the people whom you click with. Social media has been an incredibly useful tool for me, so let’s talk about using it to build a strong and effective network. First, you will need to think about being someone that people want to connect with. It’s of vital [...]

Listen & Learn

Posted: September 10th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy]                  I believe any networking effort is best undertaken as an exercise in learning first about others’ needs. In order to be of value with your own work, you have to understand how your capabilities and interests might align with a need that others have [...]

Collecting People

Posted: September 9th, 2014

[by Richard Kelly] I’m a people person. Always have been. My grandmother told me when I was “twenty-something” that she always knew I would be a portrait photographer because as a child, I always asked people what they did and why. Apparently, I even had an imaginary friend named Bob. Like many “Bob’s” in pop [...]

My Business is My Pleasure: Six Ways I Keep My Priorities on Track

Posted: September 5th, 2014

[by Gail Mooney] I have never drawn a line between my labor and my leisure, simply because my work has always been my pleasure. I’m sure I’m not the only photographer who has a hard time separating their personal life, from their work. In my case it has been even more intertwined because my business [...]

On and Off: The Secret to Powerful Productivity

Posted: September 4th, 2014

[by Carolyn Potts] On and Off: Developing and maintaining a healthy balance between focused attention and relaxation is a key to long-term career success. As self-employed business owners, often working alone on projects, we have to to stay focused and be as productive as possible as no one else will pick up the slack. We [...]

The Dirty, Little Secret of Building a Network

Posted: August 29th, 2014

[by Pascal Depuhl] A few weeks ago, we talked about finding an audience.  The real challenge is to take those casual relationships and build them into a network that is strong, solid, sound and sympathetic. How do you get from a lukewarm like to a raving endorsement? Wanna know the secret of building such a [...]

Making Connections

Posted: August 28th, 2014

[by Gail Mooney] The best way to build a professional network is to approach it organically. Most of us have a variety of networks in our life, made up of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers or people we are connected with by common interest. But for some reason, many of us draw a line between our [...]

Start the Conversation – Connecting with Colleagues

Posted: August 27th, 2014

[by Lynn Kyle] My grandfather was a farmer. On days when he was not in the field, he would drive into town to go to the local coffee shop. Parking himself on the bar stool next to the other farmers, he’d talk over current agricultural issues and the business of farming. From the newest fertilizer [...]

The New Networking

Posted: August 26th, 2014

[by Paul Oemig] Cocktail parties. Crowded conferences. Brief business card exchanges — the tenets of traditional networking. While all those things certainly have their place, they are seldom a good method by which to build a solid network. Unfortunately, in such environments there is rarely time to form relationships in earnest and of those in attendance, mentalities akin [...]

It’s What You Say AND How You Say It

Posted: July 25th, 2014

[by Kat Dalager] It is true that most interpersonal conflicts arise out of a lack of communication and understanding, both of which lead to intolerance. Understanding the other’s point of view is critical to resolving issues, whether they’re with clients or with co-workers. Tip 1: Phrase things from the perspective of what it means to [...]

(Un)Resolving Conflicts with your Clients

Posted: July 25th, 2014

[by Bruce Katz] What happens when your client fails to communicate properly with you? What can be done with someone who is vague, disorganized or even misleading about their needs for a job? These problems can be a recipe for disaster… The project was flower shots on seamless for a start-up web business selling bouquets [...]

Paperwork is King

Posted: July 24th, 2014

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] With projects being discussed verbally, via email, among multiple people who might not always have exactly the same vision, and referencing a variety of documents, how do you ensure everyone has the same expectations for the project? Include everything in the Estimate. By doing this, you have one document that governs the [...]

Avoid conflict; set expectations

Posted: July 23rd, 2014

[by Rosh Sillars] In my experience, client conflicts begin when someone knowingly or unknowingly changes the rules or vision of a project after it is underway. Sometimes it’s scope creep – a bunch of little things that add up over time. I’ve seen situations where the client has no idea what to expect, the photographer gets to work [...]

Resolving Conflict

Posted: July 22nd, 2014

[by Jim Cavanaugh] As a business owner, some level of conflict with a small number of your clients is inevitable. The conflict can be over price, change orders, ownership & use, quality, deliverables, deadlines and more. The first key to resolve these types of conflicts is to endeavor to prevent them from happening. Most often, [...]

Communicate Fully to Prevent Conflicts with Clients

Posted: July 21st, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] Preventing conflicts with clients is part of a being a true professional. Creating opportunity for the client-photographer relationship to flourish requires patience, attention to detail, and good communication throughout the assignment process from the initial contact to the final product delivery. Avoiding conflicts starts with asking relevant, probing questions about how a [...]

Consolidating Overhead with a Home + Studio Solution

Posted: June 20th, 2014

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] Sometime around 2006, I opened my dream studio. It was a renovated warehouse, a relatively large studio space with a circular cyc wall that I had built and a second large area so we could have multiple sets at once. It was about the time that I really got the studio functional, though, [...]

3 Steps To Get Your Overhead Under Control!

Posted: June 19th, 2014

[by Pascal Depuhl] There is an old story from ancient Greece about a young man, Damocles, who is invited to switch places with the king. He jumps at the opportunity, but as a condition to ruling, he finds a giant sword suspended by a single strand of hair overhead. Needless to say, he quit being [...]

How Can You Make Your Small Business Look Bigger?

Posted: June 18th, 2014

[by Rosh Sillars] Marketing your company can be costly.  Half measures will lead to poor results. What can a small business do? You may have heard of the term remarketing, but maybe you’re not sure what it’s all about.  Some people have a negative reflex when they hear the term, thinking of those darn ads [...]

Managing Your Business Overhead

Posted: June 17th, 2014

[by Todd Joyce] Managing money can be especially difficult when self employed. You’re never sure how much is coming in and when, which can make managing your overhead expenses one of the hardest parts of running your own business. I have a friend who’s a structural engineer.  He uses phrases like “sustained loads” and “stress [...]

To Be Published or Self-Publish? Questions to Ask Yourself

Posted: May 16th, 2014

Nearly every photographer I know who has pursued publishing cites Publish Your Photography Book, as a critical resource.  Today, we present a guest post from it’s coauthor Mary Virginia Swanson. Enjoy! ~ Judy Herrmann, editor. [by Mary Virginia Swanson] Photographers often tell me they want a book of their photographs as part of their career [...]

Don’t Be Afraid Of Publishing

Posted: May 15th, 2014

[by Rosh Sillars] As photographers, we are familiar with the fact that most anyone can pick up a camera or phone to take a photograph with reasonable success. The reason is technology has made photography easier.  Technology has also made it easier to publish too.  Just like the amateur photographer who is selling their best [...]

My Publishing Stack

Posted: May 14th, 2014

[by Peter Krogh] Building on my last Strictly Business blog post, I’ll elaborate a bit about the different layers that make up my independent publishing stack. You can think of these as the building blocks that we use to create our new media publishing company. There are a lot of different tools and services you [...]

Self-Publishing Doesn’t Mean You Have To Do It Alone

Posted: May 13th, 2014

[by Luke Copping] In the last year I’ve self published two small projects. One: A magazine that served mainly as a promotional giveaway for clients that I ended up producing through MagCloud. The second was a 32 page newspaper that included both images as well as interviews and articles with artisans and entrepreneurs in the [...]

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 [...]

Own the stack

Posted: April 25th, 2014

[by Peter Krogh] Photographers have been able to thrive for nearly 100 years by providing photographic images to the marketplace. At the beginning, the creation of photographic image was so difficult, it required a dedicated specialist. Over that time, production has become easier, and more widespread. Today, photography is a language that is understood, and [...]

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks – or a New Dog Old Tricks

Posted: April 24th, 2014

[by Kat Dalager] No one is ever too old to learn new tricks. Staying current with marketing trends is as important as staying current with technology trends. At the same time, understanding established marketing principles is a great base to build upon. Old Dogs know the importance of cross-channel promotion and the need to create [...]

New Territories

Posted: April 23rd, 2014

[by John Welsh] How are we supposed know what direction to launch ourselves when we are facing an industry that evolves each time we blink? The idea of Making Great Images will always apply. That’s what makes us professional, it’s a given and one of the reasons you are reading this post. So, maybe during [...]

Thinking Towards The Future

Posted: April 22nd, 2014

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

A Well-Managed Team is Better than the Sum of its Parts

Posted: April 18th, 2014

[by Gail Mooney] Most still photographers are independent entrepreneurs. Some of us may employ a “studio manager” or a small staff, but many of us run the day-to-day operations by ourselves.  However, when working on large projects or assignments, we frequently need to build a team to help us carry these projects out.  This is [...]

Developing Talent

Posted: April 17th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] Among other things, team management is about alignment, coordination, and developing the strengths of those around you by understanding individual aspirations. A wise manager ignites personal passions and makes developing team chemistry a high priority.  This starts with having a vision for each person’s role on the team, and making that vision [...]

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 [...]

Not Unlike Parenting

Posted: April 15th, 2014

[by Kat Dalager] Managing a team is about practicing a philosophy as much as it is about performing a function. As a manager, ask yourself if you are setting people up to succeed rather than setting them up to fail. The most effective managers provide their teams with the environment, the guidance and the opportunities [...]


Posted: April 14th, 2014

[by Rosh Sillars] When working with a team, employees or coworkers it is common to feel that people are not meeting your expectations.  Sometimes you don’t live up to their expectations, either.  I’ve found that the common thread in most cases is that no one explained the expectations in the first place. Prepare you team [...]

Always Be “On”

Posted: March 28th, 2014

[by Blake Discher] Whenever I’m asked to share a bit of business advice, this is mine: “Every interaction is a networking opportunity.” I don’t mean just business interactions. No, I mean waiting in line at the grocery store. Watching your car go through the car wash. Sitting on a plane on the way to your [...]

Set Yourself Up For Success

Posted: March 27th, 2014

Planning to Fail

Posted: March 26th, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] Almost eight years ago exactly, I took a design business workshop that changed my outlook not only on design or even business, but, in the way of all truly great classes on narrowly-defined subjects, on life itself. The teacher, Peleg Top, who later became a personal mentor and dear friend, said these [...]

Survival of the Fittest

Posted: March 25th, 2014

[by Kat Dalager] The best business advice I can give photographers at this point in the industry can be captured in one word: Adapt. Universal shifts that are taking place throughout the industry are making adaptation one of the most essential skills to success – or just to survival. Work has become project-based rather than [...]

Your Work Is A Gift

Posted: March 24th, 2014

[by Paul Oemig] “Your work is a gift.” Those five words from James Victore make for some of the best business advice I have ever received. At first glance though, that perspective shift may seem rather counterintuitive to business. Consider four reasons why it is anything but: It reminds us of our contribution. That counsel emphasizes [...]

Leveraging Human Resources

Posted: February 21st, 2014

[by Peter Krogh] We all see that the photo business is changing, and that many people will need to adopt new strategies to build or maintain successful businesses. There are many factors to consider when developing this strategy, including skills, talents and what you like to do. I think it’s useful to list these out [...]

Inner Circles

Posted: February 20th, 2014

[by John Welsh] I really don’t like labels. In this case, The Urban Explorer. It’s a fine hobby for those who like to keep score of their visits to abandoned places by taking photos, leaving foot prints and posting their trophies online. The problem was, I was in danger of being viewed as one when [...]

Still Plus Video: Building capacity without breaking the bank

Posted: February 19th, 2014

[by Dan Lamont] Our clients have paid attention to the audience engagement data – and perhaps chugged a bit too much of the Kool Aid. A few years ago I morphed my photography business into Tatoosh Media, a multimedia production company. Now video requests outnumber still by about 3 to 1. That’s cool. To us [...]

Want a Rock Star Team?

Posted: February 18th, 2014

[by Pascal Depuhl] Steve Jobs built teams at Apple based on an interesting business model: the Beatles “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how [...]

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. [...]

Peaks and Valleys

Posted: February 14th, 2014

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] Multiple peaks and valleys are a normal, and rather expected, part of the photography industry. Your navigation of the highs and lows directly affects your mental and fiscal health. While in the spotlight, you may find very little time to sleep and during slower times, it feels as if the phone will never ring again. [...]

Freedom Comes With A Price

Posted: February 13th, 2014

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] One of the biggest drawbacks of being in business for yourself is the lack of that reliable paycheck. But, that is a nature of our business, and happily, you can take strides to alleviate the uncertainty. Stay Current. I’m sure I’m not the first one to tell you this, but, keep your [...]

Looking Down the Road

Posted: February 12th, 2014

[by Luke Copping] Planning for the cyclical nature of this business can be harrowing. There are good months and lean months and careful planning is needed to manage both your personal and professional finances the ensure that your savings and cash-flow remain manageable when business gets slow. For a lot of photographers this type of [...]

The December Panic

Posted: February 11th, 2014

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

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 [...]

Why Doesn’t She Like Me? I’m Not Sure, But I Always Say Thanks.

Posted: January 30th, 2014

[by Blake Discher] It began as a great relationship. She made the initial effort to get in touch! You felt a mutual attraction. The first phone conversation was promising, you thought to yourself, “this just might be the one.” You even told a friend or two about her. You gave her what you thought she [...]

Helpful Persistence

Posted: January 29th, 2014

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

When You’ve Lost a Bid

Posted: January 28th, 2014

[by Kat Dalager] What happens after a photographer is selected can be a mystery to those waiting to hear about a decision. If you’ve ever wondered why you don’t hear a peep after providing an estimate, please read on… No One Wants to be the Bad Guy One of the most difficult things for art [...]

Big idea: Be unrealistic

Posted: January 20th, 2014

[by Pascal Dephul] Here’s my observation: Today everybody and their mother is a photographer. iPhones, GoPros, point and shoot, Instagram, auto focus, auto exposure, auto correction, auto everything. Seriously, how many times have clients told you, that their nephew can do what you do, for a lot less money? – sigh- Let me ask you [...]

Balancing Personal & Professional Online

Posted: January 14th, 2014

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] As artists and photographers, we strive to share our vision with the world. Social media gives a visual artist a new way to be seen. Though it’s a substantial investment of our time, it provides a way for us to find our audience without limit of funds or geography. Trying to balance a separate [...]

My New Year Manifesto

Posted: January 10th, 2014

[by Gail Mooney] Say yes Ask why not? Breathe Be Present Be true to myself Keep an open heart and mind Connect Make my pleasure my business and my business my pleasure Keep my spirit alive Question Stay curious Inspire others Serve Challenge myself Improve myself Do something for the sake of doing Create Listen [...]

A New Year Brings New Opportunities

Posted: January 7th, 2014

[by Rosh Sillars] Ahh, the mental clean slate of a new year. If we did it right, we learned from our mistakes and embraced what worked in 2013. We can now cross into the new year with fresh ideas and an open mind to take on the new opportunities in front of us. Although the economics [...]

Work for free!

Posted: January 3rd, 2014

[by Pascal Depuhl] Picture your dream job, the image you’ve been dying to create, the gig you’d do anything to get. Got it? Great. Did you shoot it this past year? No? How about the year before? Does your work challenge and fulfill you? If it does, congratulations, you don’t need to go on reading [...]


Posted: January 2nd, 2014

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

Be the Bigger Person

Posted: December 12th, 2013

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

Nothing Left Unsaid

Posted: December 11th, 2013

[by Kat Dalager] Conflicts between clients and photographers come down to one thing: lack of clear communication. It’s the client’s job to provide adequate information but it’s the photographer’s job to make sure they have all the information they need to estimate, produce and ultimately bill the project. I prefer to provide written specifications to [...]

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, [...]

Put It All On The Table

Posted: December 9th, 2013

[by Luke Copping] Lets get a few things out of the way first: Never work without a contract Get a deposit up front. Always get it in writing Never let your client’s policies override your own. If it’s too good to be true it probably is. We’ve heard these all before – too many times, [...]

Stalking or Tracking… Which Is It?

Posted: November 27th, 2013

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] It may sound a little creepy, but, you can actually SEE who opens your email marketing, when they did it, if they clicked through on a link in the email, and if they did, whether they forwarded it or shared it on social media. How cool is that? All this is available [...]

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 [...]

Shoot for Yourself

Posted: October 4th, 2013

[by Kevin Lock] Throughout my career I’ve had a few experiences that have forced me to reevaluate and modify my work. One such realization happened to me pre 9-11. I was on the set of a movie in Berlin, my first international shoot. It was supposed to go two days. It went five. On my [...]

It Can’t All Be About Business.

Posted: October 3rd, 2013

[by David Robert Austen] I did a 3-day fine art photography course at the Palm Springs Photo Festival last spring and it changed my way of seeing photography. To rediscover the art is liberating. It is like switching from a telephoto lens to a wide angle lens: I “take in” more. Is it a road [...]

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 [...]

Early Payment Discounts Smooth Out the Bumps

Posted: September 12th, 2013

[by Blake Discher] About five years ago while working on a job in Mexico in which I worked side-by-side with a video production team, I was given advice that has helped me to get paid faster on invoices. The videographer did quite a lot of government work and shared with me that anytime he invoiced [...]

Managing Cash Flow

Posted: September 11th, 2013

[by Kevin Lock] In my photographic career I would hardly say cash “flows”. It trickles. It comes in a violent rush. It even gets pumped dry once in a while, much like the wells my uncle Dave used to drill. So how to maintain some liquidity thru the drought and stay alive in the desert [...]

Building a Business on a Shoe String… Cut Corners Without Pain.

Posted: September 10th, 2013

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] It was the best of times… it was the worst of times…  Yep, that would sum things up for me the last seven years. My family was at the financial brink, but I refused to give up on my business. So, a lot of hard decisions had to be made. Maybe a [...]

Repurpose Content Of Course, But Also Repurpose Opportunity

Posted: September 6th, 2013

[by Blake Discher] Non-photographer friends tell me all the time, “You have the coolest job in the world. You get to go places and see things that regular people don’t!” And they’re right. I think we do have the best job… we get paid for practicing the craft we love. Because many of my corporate [...]

Repurposing Your Content – That is If You Still Have the Rights to It

Posted: September 5th, 2013

[by Gail Mooney] Content is king in a world that consumes imagery on a daily basis.  Imagery has become a valuable commodity and if you haven’t signed away your rights to your photographs in a bad contract then continue to read this post.  If you have already put your “John Hancock” on a lousy work [...]


Posted: August 9th, 2013

[by Bruce Katz] One of the perennial questions that we get is “what separates a professional photographer in today’s marketplace from anyone with an a camera, internet connection, and instant access to making and distributing photographs?”  Here are some thoughts on what sets you apart from the great unwashed masses of hobbyists, and moms & [...]

Cheat Sheets – They Weren’t Just for College

Posted: August 8th, 2013

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] When I was first starting out, I struggled with ensuring a consistent and professional message/image to potential and current clients – remembering to ask all the right questions at the same time, and not going back to them for “one more question” – how annoying for them. I knew I had to [...]

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

Posted: August 7th, 2013

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

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 [...]

Working for Free

Posted: July 23rd, 2013

[by Gail Mooney] I read a terrific article by Suzanne Moore in The Guardian entitled; “In the digital economy, we’ll soon all be working for free – and I refuse.” I highly recommend that you all read this article because it speaks about sustaining a creative career in a digital economy where you are competing [...]

5 Attributes an Art Director Looks for in a Photographer

Posted: July 19th, 2013

[by Carla Miller] 1) Creative Partner The photographer should bring more to the table than solely technical capabilities. The ability to interpret a creative concept and build on it makes for a good collaboration. This benefits the Art Director and most importantly, the client. 2) Team Player Don’t be a prima donna. In the spirit [...]

Relevance Matters

Posted: July 18th, 2013

[by Sonja Gill] Photo editors tend to get pulled in countless directions every day. No matter what the story or subject, we’re looking for the best imagery that will please not only ourselves but also editors, designers, our readers, you name it.  I want to work with new talent and push the envelope creatively, but it’s risky [...]

Winning the Job

Posted: July 17th, 2013

[by Kat Dalager] One thing I wish that more photographers understood about my job is that photographer selection decisions are based on many factors – many of which are beyond my control. Beyond the logical reasons of price, availability, location or photographic style, sometimes decisions do not appear logical. Photographers can either be their own [...]

Finding Flexibility

Posted: July 16th, 2013

[by Maria Grillo] Photographers and designers share a concern for beauty. So you might think I’d want you to understand my need for some special brand of beauty in a photograph. Truth be told, the thing I appreciate most is a photographer who understands how flexible designers have to be. When I find a photographer [...]

The Best Part of My Job

Posted: July 15th, 2013

[by Liz Miller-Gershfeld] The one thing I want you to understand about what I do is that I want to meet you. More specifically I want to meet you and see your work, I really do. And the best part of my job is every part that interacts with you and the collaborative process of [...]

Insurance Is More Than Financial Protection For When Things Go Wrong

Posted: May 31st, 2013

[by Barry Schwartz] Insurance is not just protection against when things go bad.  Having insurance has other uses. When you’re trying to sell yourself to a potential client – especially one that’s not used to hiring professionals – letting them know you’re insured makes you sound like the professional you are (lots of people don’t [...]

Workers’ Compensation Insurance – Independent Contractor vs. Employee

Posted: May 30th, 2013

[by Don Pickard] Photographers hire assistants, hair and makeup, talent, drivers, catering and a host of other services on a daily basis. Most photographers use 1099’s and classify these services as “Independent Contractors”. The most frequently asked questions are: What is the difference between an Employee vs. Independent Contractor? Is my business required to maintain [...]

Looking Beyond Equipment Insurance

Posted: May 29th, 2013

[by Scott Taylor] Most of my initial conversations with photographers start out with them requesting insurance coverage for their cameras. They are concerned about their equipment being stolen or damaged. My standard response is for them to make sure that whatever policy they buy that the equipment is covered worldwide, for the replacement value of [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Multiple Income Streams, Easy as 1, 2, 3

Posted: March 27th, 2013

[By Blake Discher] Some economists say the economic climate we’re experiencing today is the new “normal”. There is no fast way to riches, but by creating and diversifying your income streams, you can more easily attain financial security in this “new world economy”. Your primary income stream is likely the business you are running now [...]

Selling More Than Time

Posted: March 1st, 2013

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

On Location with a New Client

Posted: February 28th, 2013

[by Bruce Katz] When working with clients on location it is critically important to manage your clients expectations properly on set so that the production can proceed smoothly and any unforeseen problems can be handled with finesse. It is especially important to establish a good on-set rapport with new and/or inexperienced clients who have not [...]

Be A Super Hero To Your Clients

Posted: February 27th, 2013

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] Admit it, you put a towel on to use as a cape at least once as a kid. Now grown up, we all want to be a Super Hero to our clients – we have to be to keep them. Here’s one easy way I achieve this on my shoots. I have [...]

Keep it Simple from the Start

Posted: February 26th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] When I started as a designer many years ago, I had an elaborate–and beautifully designed–series of forms that both the client and I had to sign off on: statement of work, intake, schedule, and so on. However, it took a while to understand that managing client expectations began well before those forms [...]

Invest in Yourself

Posted: February 13th, 2013

[by Richard Harrington] One trend I notice more and more is that people are not staying current in their training.  Whether it’s business practices, gear, or software, things are changing faster than ever.  As such, I wanted to list a few opportunities coming up to increase your knowledge.  Some of these are conferences, some are [...]

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, [...]

Sometimes You Just Have To Ask

Posted: January 24th, 2013

[by Blake Discher] It’s been 27 years since Robert Fulghum published, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”  In it he wrote, “Don’t take things that aren’t yours.” An origami artist is suing an abstract painter claiming that the painter improperly used his designs without his consent.  The painter maintains that because [...]

Negotiating in Good Faith

Posted: January 23rd, 2013

[by Gail Mooney] If you have ventured into video production, no doubt you will need to negotiate rights with other artists.  You may need to license still and/or motion imagery as well as music for a project you are working on. Regardless, if you are negotiating with an artist directly or with their rep, or [...]

Coffee at the Creative Café

Posted: January 22nd, 2013

[by Bruce Katz] When I was asked to write some tips about negotiating rights with other artists I had to scratch my head a little bit. Negotiate with other artists? But then after I thought about it for a while, I realized that I have had many wonderful opportunities to work with, and in doing [...]

Economy of Time and Motion

Posted: January 18th, 2013

[by Luke Copping] Money isn’t the only asset that you need to manage judiciously. Cash flow, income, sanity, energy, and time are just some of the resources that we have to properly manage. When one of these is neglected and not properly maintained your business can shift away from the ideal and harmonious balance you [...]

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Posted: January 17th, 2013

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

You Are NOT An Accountant – But You Play One In Your Business!

Posted: January 16th, 2013

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] One of the biggest dreads in my business is accounting. I hate it. I can’t even describe how much I hate it. First on my list of items to outsource IS my accounting. But until then. I have to do it myself. Most Important Accounting Task. Have a separate business bank account. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Big ≠ New

Posted: January 3rd, 2013

[by Luke Copping] The notion of the “Big Idea” carries with it some misconceptions. One of these misconceptions is that we must always be looking forward to find the next big idea – that big ideas must always be equally as new as they are valuable. In truth, there are countless ideas and inspirations laid [...]

Replacing the “Easy” Button with the “Pause” Switch

Posted: December 19th, 2012

Replacing the “easy” button with the “pause” switch Early in 2012, I came to the sudden and startling realization that my life needed an overhaul. While I’d accomplished a lot over the past four years of total immersion in social media marketing and speaking, I’d let too many other things slide: exposing myself to culture [...]

Don’t “What If” Yourself to Death!

Posted: December 18th, 2012

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] I have written seven drafts of this blog post. In my drafts I have written about my business plan, my business vision, my marketing plan…but, none of it really comes to the core of what 2012 was like for me. But, 2012, I am in disbelief! In late 2011 I relocated to [...]

Rates keep going down…so change the competition.

Posted: December 17th, 2012

[by Richard Harrington] This past year, there was increased downward pressure to lower rates.  More and more, my company was being underbid by our “competition.”  I use competition in quotes because the companies we’d generally lose to would not play by the rules. They didn’t carry insurance, they weren’t properly charging, they flew by night [...]

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 [...]

The Kayaker’s Guide to Photography

Posted: December 5th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] My former acting teacher used to tell his students that if we wanted to learn about acting, we should read a book about kayaking. I didn’t get it at the time, neatly demonstrating in zen-like fashion the exact reason he shared this “secret”: I wanted to get it so desperately. And when [...]

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 [...]

Taking Chances – That’s Normal, Isn’t It?

Posted: November 29th, 2012

[by Gail Mooney] I was always the “new kid” in school. My family moved more than 10 times before I graduated from high school.  We weren’t a military family, running from the law or in the witness protection program. My Dad was moving up the corporate ladder, our family was growing and it just set [...]

Dare to be Vulnerable

Posted: November 28th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] At Strictly Business 3, I had the pleasure of participating in Sean Kernan’s workshops on creativity. No special skills were required, save a willingness to jump in and play. What transpired was fascinating. A roomful of astonishingly accomplished people were, with one stroke, stripped of all but the simplest of tools: the [...]

Put the Risk on You

Posted: November 27th, 2012

[by Rosh Sillars] The best risk you can take is for your clients. Place the risk on you.  Make the decision to hire you much easier. Clients sometimes burn photographers, so photographers create new policies to prevent it from happening again.  This is common in all business and industries.  I was in a gift shop [...]

Fear Factor

Posted: November 26th, 2012

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

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 [...]

In Their Own Sweet Way

Posted: October 17th, 2012

[by Barry Schwartz] Part III of The ASMP Guide to New Markets in Photography features a series of interviews I conducted with 32 photographers.  Susan Carr, the editor, and I wanted to know how people built and sustained their careers, with a particular interest in seeing how they handled their marketing, identity, and new products [...]

Business Evolution

Posted: September 14th, 2012

 Andy Batt, a photographer working with both still and motion imagery will serve as a panelist for the session “A Candid Discussion with Working Pros. Have they found the answers?” during ASMP’s September 27th Symposium. In person attendees can register here.  Registration is not required for the live stream presentation. Our current business model is [...]

Collective Rights Management

Posted: September 13th, 2012

CEO of the Copyright Licensing Agency, Kevin Fitzgerald, has also worked as a publisher and writer.  Kevin will serve as a panelist for the session “The Challenge: Sustainable and Ongoing Creator Compensation” during ASMP’s September 27th Symposium. In person attendees can register here.  Registration is not required for the live stream presentation. A key barrier [...]

What an Indie Rockstar Can Teach Photographers

Posted: September 12th, 2012

By providing a user friendly and feature rich technological infrastructure, PhotoShelter, allows creators to license existing imagery independently.  PhotoShelter Co-Founder and Chairman, Allen Murabayashi, will serve as a panelist for the session “Current Distribution Models that Offer Compensation to Creators. Are these the answers?” during ASMP’s September 27th Symposium. In person attendees can register here.  [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

What I Wish I Knew Back Then…

Posted: August 29th, 2012

[by Blake Discher] I set my sights on becoming a professional photographer at a young age.  I wish I had been told right at the outset to assist for as many different photographers as possible.  One of my assistants told me how much she had learned by assisting that she wasn’t learning in photo school.  [...]

My Biggest Regret

Posted: August 28th, 2012

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] This touches on the very core of why I am so passionate about ASMP. Back in the ah-hem… cough… cough… late 80s when I found my passion of photography in College, the coursework was all about theory, creativity, and technique. Which, of course, is vitally important. But something that was never touched [...]

Never Really Finished

Posted: August 27th, 2012

[by Barry Schwartz] No matter how much you know, how many problems you’ve solved, or how ready you are for whatever comes, there’s always more to learn.  Professionals are never really finished being students. Rather than an ongoing horror, it’s actually a beautiful thing. For entrepreneurs like ourselves, you get used to never knowing it [...]

Nobody Plans to Fail, but Many Fail to Plan

Posted: July 30th, 2012

[by Todd Joyce] If you’re like most artists, everything has to be perfect. So you engross yourself in thought for weeks working on a grand plan that is the most comprehensive ever made. Then, you get distracted and it never makes the light of day and you continue as you have, shooting from the hip. [...]

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Posted: June 1st, 2012

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


Posted: May 31st, 2012

[by Jay Kinghorn] After three years of being a homeowner, I’m reluctantly learning to garden. One of the first lessons my neighbor taught me is to annually prune back the dead branches and leaves of our outdoor plants to allow the new growth a chance to survive. Since gardening also leaves quite a bit of [...]

Catch & Release (no, not a shutter release)

Posted: May 30th, 2012

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] If you’re anything like me, you will have a hundred different tasks running around in your head you need to do. They will nag me until I do something about it, distracting me from the project at hand or my family, and detracting from being 100% in the present. To help achieve [...]

The Great Juggling Act and How to Get it All Done

Posted: May 29th, 2012

[by Gail Mooney] If there’s one thing I’m good at – it’s using my time well.  My mother used to tell me “If you want something done – ask a busy person to do it.”  I never really understood that until I became the owner of my own business and had to do so much, [...]

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 [...]

I Want the Entire Budget

Posted: May 23rd, 2012

[by Rosh Sillars] Whatever my client’s budget is, I want it.  The worst feeling is when I leave money on the table. That is why I use per-image pricing. I’ve found that when clients have a set budget, they will use it if you give them the opportunity.  Day-rates don’t offer the opportunity to purchase [...]


Posted: May 22nd, 2012

[by Todd Joyce] Talking about money is difficult for many of us.   I admit, it brings about an uncomfortable feeling for me, too, but getting it out of the way up front is incredibly important.   There are three stages of discussing a budget: upfront, during any changes and the summary. At the first discussion of [...]

Tactfully Approaching the Budget

Posted: May 21st, 2012

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

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 [...]

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 [...]

Selecting Photographers

Posted: May 8th, 2012

[by Tom Kennedy] My observations about selecting photographers for assignments goes back to my time as director of photography at National Geographic.  Fundamentally, I saw it as my role to identify photographers who could contribute to the magazine on the basis of their talent, creative vision, and passion for particular genres that would be useful [...]

It’s Not Always About Price.

Posted: May 7th, 2012

[by Todd Joyce] Here is a short list of why you may have lost that job… Hard to work with Not a problem solver Not fun Style is wrong for the job Not good with clients Reminds the buyer of someone they hated in High School…  (it happens) Quality of work isn’t as good Too [...]

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 [...]

Never Go into Competition with the Person Who Taught You Everything You Know…

Posted: March 22nd, 2012

[by Todd Joyce] …because they might not have taught you everything they know.” One of the best ways to gain experience and knowledge of the industry is to assist.  I assisted for five years.   Five years?  Ouch.  I suppose some might call me a slow learner…  In that time, I gained a lot of knowledge [...]

Learn From Your Mistakes

Posted: March 21st, 2012

[by Ellen Boughn] Early on in my career I made a costly mistake…costly to the tune of over $5000 at a time when that was a bigger deal than today and my situation left no room for a financial misstep. I was an emotional wreck. First I went through the  ‘how could I be so [...]

Bloody Murder

Posted: March 19th, 2012

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

Frame Grabs – Don’t Leave Money on the Table

Posted: March 16th, 2012

[by Gail Mooney] When shooting video footage for a client, make sure you include in your SOW (statement of work) that no image licensing rights are granted for frame grabs pulled out of the footage.  Otherwise, you’ll leave money on the table and eliminate the need for your client to hire you to shoot still [...]


Posted: March 15th, 2012

[by Selina Maitreya] Possibly the most important tool you need as you aspire to success at any level in an area of photography is accountability.  Think about it – all plans, every effort, and each action you THINK about needs to be actualized in order for it to reap results.  But, in our universe thinking [...]

Under Promise, Over Deliver

Posted: March 12th, 2012

[by Todd Joyce] When a client asks when I’ll have something done, I often think how long it will take me, then add some time to it.  That way if something happens or I need more time, I can still get it to them when promised.  It’s better to deliver it earlier than they thought, [...]

Licensing + Options = Happy Client

Posted: March 2nd, 2012

[by Kevin Lock] Would you eat at a place that only served one menu item?  I am not talking about a burger joint that offers more than burgers.  I am talking about a burger joint that offers a quarter pound burger, medium well, white bread, ketchup and mustard.  No pickles, no fries, no drinks, no [...]

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 [...]

Progress Billing

Posted: February 15th, 2012

[by Richard Harrington] Billing is one of those subjects that can often be an uncomfortable conversation.  While you may not be comfortable talking about money, your client will be a lot happier if there are clear expectations that define the business terms. Every video or photo project should be split into progress payments. The benefits [...]

The Frequent Writer’s Secret Weapon

Posted: February 1st, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] I measure the usefulness of any piece of software on my computer by how much I miss it when using someone else’s machine. By that measure, easily the greatest item I’ve ever bought has been the text storage and expansion utility for the Mac, TextExpander. (Full disclosure: four years after becoming a [...]

Finances – Taking the Dread Out of the “Icky Part” of Business

Posted: January 31st, 2012

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] One of the biggest issues for my business, and it becomes the biggest issue because of my great desire to avoid it, is the finances. OK, I don’t avoid it, I hide from it completely. So yes, on my short list as my business grows is to hire someone to handle it [...]

Pareto Applied

Posted: January 30th, 2012

[by Charles Gupton] Have you ever received a message from the universe that wouldn’t let you escape it? Something so clear, simple, and obvious that you feel silly when the realization occurs? In the last couple of weeks, I have encountered one consistent message from over a half-dozen sources including several conversations, blog posts, books [...]

Collaboration, Are You Willing to Work for It?

Posted: January 27th, 2012

[by Selina Maitreya] Ask any photographer whether they would be happier shooting to layout or collaborating with their client to define the look and feel of a shot and most would reply the latter.  Photographers live to collaborate. During the process they feel alive, excited, creative, productive, useful, valued, and, yes, loved.  The process is [...]

How You and Your Best Friends Can Make $100,000 (for someone else)

Posted: January 26th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] For an introvert who’s generally happiest holed up in a cave, flailing away at a keyboard, I’ve racked up a surprising number of creative collaborations–everything from a TV pilot for a major network to a comic play (with music!) about two of the world’s least sexy chronic illnesses. Most recently, I completed [...]

Collaboration is Key in Video

Posted: January 25th, 2012

[by Gail Mooney] “Collaborate”.  That is my mantra and the one piece of advice I give to any still photographer who is thinking of getting into video.  Many photographers are overwhelmed at the prospect of having to learn new skills, like how to capture good audio and how to edit.  I tell them, even if [...]

Collaboration (Respect – the first three steps)

Posted: January 24th, 2012

[by Todd Joyce] Ladies and gentlemen, the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin! “R – E – S – P – E – C – T – find out what it means to me!”  -   Aretha sings that song with more attitude and heart now than she did when she first performed it in 1967.   I [...]

Using Collaborations to Up Your Game

Posted: January 23rd, 2012

[by Charles Gupton] Most of us have heard the old adage: “You’re known by the company you keep.” This can be especially true when it comes to collaborative efforts. Collaborative projects often present an opportunity to raise the bar for our own work. Foremost when considering collaborative partners, seek people who want to do what [...]

Manageable Marketing

Posted: January 20th, 2012

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

Habits of Highly Successful Photographers

Posted: January 18th, 2012

[by Selina Maitreya] After working with photographers for over 30 years I’ve had the opportunity to witness the habits that I see consistently in photographers who are successful. Regardless of where they live, how old they are or what type of photo they shooting these creatives all share these habits in common: They dont take [...]

Email Rules

Posted: January 17th, 2012

[by Jay Kinghorn] How often have you been pulled away from an important task to read an unimportant email that just dropped in your Inbox?  Messages that don’t contain a hot new project from a client or a valuable piece of information? Studies show that switching between tasks requires an extra fifteen minutes  (above and [...]

Features and Benefits – What’s the Difference?

Posted: January 16th, 2012

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] Even though nearly marketing book on the planet recommends focusing on client benefits, most service based businesses don’t understand the difference between a feature and a benefit. Feature: the characteristic of the person or business that OFFERS the benefit to clients. Benefit: What does the client RECEIVE from a feature? Another way [...]

Tracking Image Licensing Rights – The Universal Solution

Posted: January 13th, 2012

[by Roger Feldman] Image rights holders and image users face a daunting challenge when it comes to managing licensed rights. Each year, untold thousands of rights managed, royalty free, and wholly owned images are licensed and used under vastly different terms and conditions, making the management and tracking of rights over time extremely difficult. Yet [...]

Creating Sustainability

Posted: January 10th, 2012

Technological changes and the global recession have left the entire visual communications industry scrambling.  Publishers, advertising agencies, corporations and all of us – the creators of the visual content they use – are struggling to redefine both the value of our offerings and how we monetize them. Examining Compensation Models for Visual Content, the sixth [...]

The Future of Art & Commerce

Posted: January 9th, 2012

This week, we turn our attention to “The Future of Art & Commerce: What Creators and Users of Visual Content Need to Know in these Rapidly Changing Times.”  Jointly produced by the ASMP and Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) this series of 10 free webinars brings users and creators of visual content together for an in-depth [...]

Risk & Reward

Posted: December 22nd, 2011

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

Lessons I’ve Learned

Posted: December 21st, 2011

[by Selina Maitreya] Never underestimate the power of a talented, driven photographer.. The world is full of paradox. If you wait long enough things will shift completely. What goes around, comes around and around and around again. As we grow older the world gets smaller. Kindness is contagious. In the photo business everything has changed [...]

Don’t Sit on the Sidelines

Posted: December 20th, 2011

[by Jay Kinghorn] As I’ve traveled the country delivering my Adaptation: Running a Successful Photo Business in Today’s Era of Smartphones, Tablets and Social Media, I’ve spoken with photographers building remarkable businesses despite being in the midst of a global recession. Closer to home I’ve started attending the Salt Lake City Entrepreneurs Meet-up group, a [...]

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 [...]

What They Want

Posted: November 16th, 2011

[by Barry Schwartz] After Steve Jobs died I read over and over how he brought something extra to every product because Apple is a company of creatives as much as engineers. “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”, he told Business Week in 1997. Jobs didn’t [...]

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 [...]


Posted: October 14th, 2011

[by Barry Schwartz] “When you create something out of nothing, the first rule is to agree.” ~ Tina Fey talking about the process of improv at Google headquarters with chairman Eric Schmitdt. What else is it that photographers do, but exactly this? The first part: creating something out of nothing.  The second part: getting your [...]

Pushing the Boulder up the Hill

Posted: October 13th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] “There are no short cuts to any place worth going.” –Beverly Sills One of the gifts of the internet can also be one of its curses. Every minute of every day, we’re exposed to amazing achievements–all of which, because of context, seem to have sprung fully formed, like Venus on the half-shell. [...]

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 [...]

Pay it Forward

Posted: October 11th, 2011

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

Quotes that Moved Us Each to Action

Posted: October 10th, 2011

[by Susan Carr] This week five of our blog contributors, including myself, will share quotes that have been meaningful to each of us in the course of developing our careers. “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; [...]

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 [...]


Posted: September 15th, 2011

[by Kevin Lock] Are they really clients if they refuse to pay up?  I don’t think so.  I have another word for them. Let’s call them what the court calls them: Defendants. I am not litigious, but I refuse to be taken advantage of.  I’d rather not sue, but I have had to.  As a [...]

Building Relationships as a Cash Flow Tool

Posted: September 14th, 2011

[by Selina Maitreya] Initiating a relationship with the accounts payable contact at each company hiring you, immediately after a job is confirmed, is a wonderful cash flow tool. When you reach your new “partner” introduce yourself, and in a friendly way inform your contact that will soon be working with their company and that you [...]

Know Your Enemy

Posted: September 13th, 2011

[by Richard Harrington] There are several reasons you might not be paid by a client (and most have little to do with a dissatisfied client, aggressive behavior, or conspiracy).  Here are a few practical strategies I employ at my office. Use s systems of deposits. We will bill incrementally for work.  An initial deposit, another [...]

Past Due Accounts and Collections

Posted: September 12th, 2011

[by Steve Whittaker] Timely payments are important in any business. Your reputation and credit depends on being able to pay your assistants, employees, vendors, loan payments and any outstanding balances. A clear contractual agreement on both sides in the beginning is important. Our terms require a 50% retainer in advance before assignment date. With the [...]

On Keeping Up with Things – or – How I avoid Work Yet Feel Like I’m Doing Something Useful – or – How I Browse Without Feeling Like a Cow

Posted: August 19th, 2011

Some of my browser faves, in no particular order: British Journal of Photography – Great news, good interviews, roughly analogous to PDN.   Published in a foreign country yet in English; so convenient. Luminous Landscape – A review and essay site about equipment and aesthetics, all from a users’, practical viewpoint.  Not too gear-heady.  [...]

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 [...]

Favorite Bookmarks

Posted: August 17th, 2011

[by Jay Kinghorn] Inspired by two short What I Read interviews with Clay Shirky and Chris Anderson, I’ve been focusing my attention on those writers and publications that provide deeper, thought-provoking content, rather than the daily media buzz. Here are a few of the blogs and podcasts I follow to gain insight into the trends [...]

Belly Up to the Bookmarks Bar

Posted: August 16th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] There are dozens of useful Internet sites I visit daily (and yes, I realize this means I spend too much time online), but to know the ones I find most valuable, I need look no further than the bookmarks bar itself. Because it’s on that precious, narrow landing-strip of browser space that [...]

My Favorite Bookmarks and Why

Posted: August 15th, 2011

[by Richard Harrington] Clientcopia – This site lets me know that everyone has crazy clients. Good for a laugh and a pick me up. Basecamp HQ – I use this online project management tool for both my companies.  This keeps me organized and ensures open communication with my clients. Apple Trailers – [...]

My Real Job…

Posted: August 3rd, 2011

[by John Slemp] Attending my friend, Judy Herrmann’s, Breaking into the Biz program at my ASMP chapter brought back many memories of my own career transition after a decade of military service.  Talking to her after the program, I mentioned an epiphany I’d had about my own business and she asked me to post about [...]

More is (every now and then) More

Posted: July 26th, 2011

[by Barry Schwartz] Speaking aesthetically, less is usually more.  But not always so in business. Your contract has a list of what you’re going to deliver; how many files, what size, that sort of thing.  Expectations on both sides of the arrangement – what your client gets, what you expect in return – are well-understood.  [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Rethinking Your Business Model

Posted: May 25th, 2011

[by Jay Kinghorn] Recently, I gave a presentation to students in the photojournalism program at the Missouri School of Journalism. Understandably, they’re a little daunted by their job prospects after graduation. Traditionally, students pursued an internship while in school, then moved into a full-time position at a newspaper after they graduated. Today, many of those [...]

Thoughts on New Business Models for Photographers

Posted: May 24th, 2011

[by Kevin Lock] I have been in the (“professional” photographic) business for almost 20 years.  So let me ask you “what the hell do I know about new business models”?  I imagine that I am not alone in my ignorance. While completing a Google search on “New Business Models,” (drum roll please…) number 4  of  [...]

Photographic Evolution

Posted: May 23rd, 2011

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

Avoiding the Curse of Familiarity

Posted: April 29th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] We’re broken records, all of us who attended any one (or, if we were really lucky, all three) of the Strictly Business 3 conferences. “It was so inspiring!” and “I came away with so many new ideas and new friends, my head is exploding!” and “Boy, I’m bad at remembering names!” Okay [...]

Reframing the Discussion

Posted: April 28th, 2011

SB3 was a wonderful tonic for what ails us currently as we struggle to live our dreams while making a living that meets our obligations. The positive energy that encircled the conference rooms in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago came directly from the deepest acts of encouragement and sharing that were going on. One of [...]

We’re All In This Together…

Posted: April 27th, 2011

“There were many “Aha” moments for me during the SB3 weekend. I believe however that the biggest ones were to realize that we truly are all in the same boat and that I am not alone traversing challenging waters. And that, especially due to the technological and digital revolution, there is a plethora of viable [...]

Photographer and ….

Posted: April 26th, 2011

[by Rosh Sillars] My aha moment at SB3 hit me when I realized that industry changes have challenged photographers to use their creativity to adapt their skills and talents to other industries.  Today, photographers hold their heads high and say, “I’m a photographer and a writer, a videographer, a designer, a teacher or a consultant.” [...]

Going Forward from SB3

Posted: April 25th, 2011

- thoughts on the train to O’Hare [by Sean Kernan] Only after Chicago did it occur to me how easy it was to get people  to warm to the subject of my presentation. I mean, how hard could it be to get creative people to stand up and participate in creativity seminars? It was like [...]

SB3 or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Future.

Posted: April 22nd, 2011

[by Barry Schwartz] At SB3 I learned that just about everyone is worrying about the same stuff I worry about. I learned that everybody has their own way of marketing but that only those people who actively market (or have an independent income) are going to make it. I learned that it’s not just me [...]

Shine Me Up

Posted: April 21st, 2011

[by Edwina Stevenson] I’ve been a photographer in business for 20+ years photographing everything from people, location, food, catalog, industrial & beyond.  Honestly, I was hesitant to attend SB3 in the beginning. Looking back, I wish I could attend it again next weekend just to absorb more of what SB3 had to offer. Colleen Wainwright [...]

Remaining an Image-Maker, Not an Image-Taker

Posted: April 19th, 2011

[by Kristyna Archer] At SB3, Colleen Wainwright gave a keynote speech in which she drew a clear line between marketing success and being specific, useful, nice and awesome.  Ironically, I’d already noticed that everyone there was unusually nice and useful.  Her speech rang so true with this community.  It’s refreshing that ASMP understands the importance [...]

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 [...]


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 [...]

Cameras are the New Pencil

Posted: April 14th, 2011

[by Renee Rosensteel] It occurred to me as I was having lunch with a PRSA member that we, as media makers, need to prove our relevance to the emerging group of consumers who use cameras as part of their everyday language.  Today, everyone takes pictures to express ideas the way people used to scribble drawings [...]

Hanging with Winners

Posted: April 13th, 2011

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

#SB3 Inspired Me

Posted: April 12th, 2011

[by Felicia Perretti] As an emerging photographer, I signed up for the ASMP SB3 conference with excitement and nervousness. I didn’t know what I was stepping into but I was certain that the possibilities of networking, learning, and contributing were going to be endless. At SB3, I discovered a non-stop educational “boot camp.”  Everywhere I [...]

The Collective “A-ha”

Posted: April 11th, 2011

[by Gail Mooney] I’m just back from Chicago where I was a presenter at SB3. It was the last venue stop for this event in a series of conferences.  I wish there were more coming up because each and every one of those conferences in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago charged me up in every [...]

Just Five a Day

Posted: April 4th, 2011

[by Jim Cavanaugh] If you set aside a half-hour aside every business day to call just five new client contacts, at the end of the year you will have made contact with over 1,250 new potential clients. Jim Cavanaugh is an architectural and aerial photographer based in Buffalo, NY. He is President of ASMP.

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 [...]

Plan the Work, Work the Plan

Posted: March 31st, 2011

[by Todd Joyce] David, a very driven and successful director of marketing for a fortune 500 company, smiled sheepishly as he answered my question on where he went to school.   “Harvard, School of Business,” he said.   “Wow, that explains a lot,” I responded.   “Not really,” he said, “I learned some of the most important lessons [...]

Swallow Your Frog First

Posted: March 30th, 2011

[by Charles Gupton] Although time management is a concern for everyone these days, it seems to be a particular challenge for people in the creative fields. One of the biggest obstacles to effective use of our time is getting the things we all dread having to do out of the way so that we can [...]

Make Your List and Check it Often

Posted: March 29th, 2011

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

Time Management

Posted: March 28th, 2011

[by Kevin Lock] Wikipedia defines time management as “exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase efficiency or productivity.” Ha.  If only it was that simple. I put the question of time management to my daughter.  She added “ and not procrastinating”.  I am not sure but I [...]

Who is My Competition?

Posted: March 25th, 2011

[by Kevin Lock] I am my only competition. That is a fact. I consider working as a photographer to be similar to being an athlete, say a sprinter, in the Olympics.  Some would call that sprinter a competitive athlete. To back up this claim some might argue that the sprinter was in a competition and [...]

Amateur Photography & Home Improvement

Posted: March 23rd, 2011

[by Jay Kinghorn] Last week my wife and I began renovating our master bedroom. We hired a professional flooring expert to install the floors and a finish carpenter to complete the baseboards. We prepped the room for the flooring and painted the walls and trim. Hiring professionals to do the important detail work like the [...]

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 [...]

Reduce your Competition Through Loyalty

Posted: March 21st, 2011

[by Charles Gupton] There are usually a couple of reasons why a client initiates working with a photographer for the first time. It’s often our style of shooting, our approach, or our expertise that distinguishes us from our competitors in the mind of a client. But it’s usually a different set of values that builds [...]

LinkedIn – A Powerful Client Research Tool

Posted: March 16th, 2011

[by Jim Cavanaugh] LinkedIn has become my most important tool for identifying new clients. While not as popular or user friendly as facebook, LinkedIn has a different culture and is much more about business. Every time I have a new person “link in” with me in LinkedIn, I will add their e-mail address to my [...]

The Business of Facebook

Posted: March 15th, 2011

[by Jim Cavanaugh] Facebook has grown to be one of my most important business resources.  Once you move beyond Farmville, horoscopes and what your long lost high school friend had for lunch, there can be a wealth of information and the ability to reach out to and build relationships with current and prospective clients. If [...]

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  [...]

Creating A Downward Spiral

Posted: March 8th, 2011

[By Steve Whittaker] Recently, I visited several web sites of photographers who are fairly new to the field of Architectural Photography. Several were members of the ASMP Architectural list serve and I noticed that they had listed their fee structures on their web sites. In several cases, their fees reflected values that were available to [...]

Avoid Confusion – Talk About Usage

Posted: March 7th, 2011

[by Shawn Henry] The major point of confusion between clients and photographers with many photo assignments, both editorial and commercial, is the scope of the usage allowed by the photographer and those expected by the client.  This confusion often results because the photographer fails to address the usage issue up front, instead relying on “boilerplate” [...]

Admit a Mistake and Move On

Posted: February 25th, 2011

[by Charles Gupton] We all make mistakes. That’s a given. But how we respond when we make a mistake is not. In our response – or lack of one – lies a key to our potential success in relationships, both personal and business. Once we recognize a mistake has been made, our first response should [...]

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 [...]

Cascading Errors

Posted: February 23rd, 2011

[by Jay Kinghorn] Years of technical rock climbing and mountain rescue taught me that when things go wrong, it is often the cumulative effect of a series of small errors, rather than one big mistake. Further, the longer your objective takes to complete, the greater the opportunity for smaller errors to compound into large ones. [...]

Mistakes are Lessons in Disguise

Posted: February 22nd, 2011

[by Ellen Boughn] “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying”-Wynton Marsalis I had been in business nearly two years when I made a terrible mistake. I don’t remember the nature of the disaster but the lesson I learned remains some 30 some years later. After a couple of days of hand ringing and self-recrimination, [...]

The Fridge Account: A Personal Budget Perspective

Posted: February 16th, 2011

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

Will Your Likability Help You Succeed?

Posted: February 11th, 2011

[by Charles Gupton] At the start of a new year, many photographers focus on building their revenue by focusing on finding new clients for their services. Those prospective clients, like all of us, solve their daily challenges by selecting people and services that add the most value to their lives. Most photographers define “providing value” [...]

New Clients: Get Creative and Go For Quality

Posted: February 10th, 2011

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

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 [...]

The Quickest Way to Find New Clients

Posted: February 8th, 2011

[by Rosh Sillars] The best place to find new clients is through old clients. Pick up the phone and say hello.  You have clients out there ripe with new opportunities. If you don’t know that, it’s because you haven’t followed up in a while. Never assume anything. Maybe your client was a one-time assignment, maybe [...]

Want to Find New Clients? Follow Me

Posted: February 7th, 2011

[by Kevin Lock] Start with A, ASMP that is.  Your first step in getting more work is working on your Find A Photographer listing (FAP).  FAP… get it up, add to it, keep it updated, and buy more portfolios. (They are cheap.)  That is what I did and it has bumped me up in the [...]

Procrastination: Why Wait Until The New Year

Posted: January 7th, 2011

[by Barry Schwartz] I start planning my New Year’s Resolutions early, say, around July.  I do this because one of my primary goals is to get a jump on reducing my tendencies to procrastinate in the new year.  As a procrastinator, I find it’s helpful to have some quantity of ADD, something I once heard [...]

My Two-Years’ Resolutions….

Posted: January 6th, 2011

[by Shannon Fagan] On Dec 31, 2008, we entered the “tip of the iceberg” in what we all can agree was a two-year introduction to a new and permanently changed economy for professional aspirations in commercial photography.  Taking a twist on “Auld Lang Syne”, I enjoyed looking look back at how the steps I took [...]

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 [...]

The Power of the Collective

Posted: December 21st, 2010

[by Gail Mooney] I’ve had an incredible year.  Economically speaking, it’s been sub par and dismal, but I’m grateful that I’m still afloat and hopeful that things will improve. I don’t think my business will ever go back to the way it was pre-recession, but it has changed for the better in many other ways. [...]

Revive, Revisit and Rock On

Posted: December 20th, 2010

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

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 [...]

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 [...]

Staying Grounded

Posted: December 14th, 2010

[by Shannon Fagan] I usually wouldn’t highlight one service provider versus another in a publicly disseminated blog post, but a recent request to write about tactics for using “snail mail” in a digital era perked my interest in a topic that could easily be adapted to “tips and tricks of the trade.”  My snail mail [...]

Does Anyone Still Use Snail Mail?

Posted: December 13th, 2010

[by Todd Joyce] Getting an email thank you is nice, but when I get a hand written thank you via snail mail (SM), it simply means more.   I certainly give it more weight, because fewer people give the added effort, so it stands out as special.  I suggest sending a thank you to clients when [...]

Entering the Age of Collaboration

Posted: December 6th, 2010

[by Jorge Parra] As photographers have been working as One Man Shows since the very early beginnings of photography, “Team Work” is not a native concept to us, but it certainly has to be explored, in this time and age where all business models are crumbling, and new markets and new ways of making money [...]

“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 [...]

Making the Best of Event Photography

Posted: November 24th, 2010

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

Per Image Pricing for Events

Posted: November 23rd, 2010

[by Rosh Sillars] I’m a big fan of per-image pricing. I use it most for events in the retail environment.  This is especially true for the rare one or two corporate client weddings I photograph each year. I’ve discovered that people’s budgets are often bigger than what they reveal to me or even what they [...]

Thoughts on Event Photography

Posted: November 22nd, 2010

[by Kevin Lock] Are you thinking that Event Photography is a dead end street?  I say you are looking in the rear view mirror. At first glance, it might appear that event photography is just a way to make money, a way to survive in tough economic times.  Of course there is money involved 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 [...]

Are People Really Still Making Calls?

Posted: November 5th, 2010

[by Suzanne Sease and Amanda Sosa-Stone] A mutual client of ours recently worked on her brand, portfolio and marketing strategy (with Suzanne).  Then she came to Agency Access to work on implementing her marketing through Campaign Manager (with Amanda – a year long plan to make sure marketing is being done).  After getting her beautiful [...]

‘Stop telephonin’ Me

Posted: November 4th, 2010

[by Ellen Boughn] Lady Gaga has it right when it comes to the interrupting phone call: ‘Stop telephonin’, me. Stop telephonin’, me. (I’m busy). (I’m busy)’, she sings. When you pick up the phone to call a client, it had better be about something they want to hear.  And cold calls? If the reception on [...]

Getting and Using Referrals

Posted: November 3rd, 2010

[by Todd Joyce] “Nice day we’re having”  “How about those cubs”  yeah, it’s hard to start the conversation, but I still make calls to new ADs etc to get to know them.   I like to mention a person who referred me to get things started.   “Hi (AD), (Other person at agency) mentioned I should call [...]

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 [...]

Don’t be a One Hit Wonder

Posted: October 22nd, 2010

[by Blake Discher] By now, it’s very likely that every client you shoot for  knows about Flickr and other crowd-sourcing photo sites.  Look at crowd-sourcing photography from a client’s perspective.  Think about why some clients look to Flickr for photography instead of seeking out a photographer.    I suspect one of the reasons they even [...]

The Web is Dead, Long Live the Internet…

Posted: October 21st, 2010

[by Shannon Fagan] A subject line on one of the photography email list-serves that I follow caught my eye this week, “The Web is Dead!  Long Live the Internet!”  Hmmmm.  There was a link and click, click; I was taken Wired Magazine’s site.  There, Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff have prepared a compelling article about [...]

Domino’s Pizza

Posted: October 20th, 2010

[by Todd Joyce] Have you seen the Domino’s TV ad asking for photos of delivered pizzas to show how good they look?   Yeah, I hate losing work to a soccer mom with a point and shoot too. The Domino’s campaign is not about getting free photos.  It’s about a perception.  Even if nobody submits [...]

Work and Pleasure are One in the Same

Posted: October 19th, 2010

[by Gail Mooney] Seth Godin recently wrote in his blog about professionals and amateurs: “If you want something done, perhaps you would ask a professional to do it. Someone who costs a lot but is worth more than they charge. Someone who shows up even when she doesn’t feel like it. Someone who stands behind [...]

Professionals vs. Crowdsourcing – Who’s Who?

Posted: October 18th, 2010

[by Ellen Boughn] Last week I was in Los Angeles on a project and took the time to help a friend start a store on a site for handmade goods. Since this was an experiment on a shoestring, she asked if I would take the photos. After all I’ve been in the photography business for [...]

My Terms & Conditions

Posted: October 6th, 2010

[by Shawn Henry] We all hate receiving “those” contracts — the multipage monstrosities, with line after mind-numbing line of legal jargon and syntax seemingly designed to confuse and obfuscate rather than clearly define the simple terms of an agreement. Is it any wonder that clients hate receiving that type of contract as well? And is [...]

Placing Bets Away from the Middle: The Good, The Bad, The Traditional, and The Microstock

Posted: September 30th, 2010

[by Shannon Fagan] Bob Davies of PicNiche recently asked me, “There is a constant (and occasionally furious) debate about photography becoming commoditized by microstock producers and agencies. As a representative of photographers’ interests, do you think microstock or traditional stock offers the best opportunity for the stock photo industry as a whole to move forward, [...]

I am a Salesperson

Posted: September 24th, 2010

[by Blake Discher] Repeating my mantra “photographers are salespeople first, image creators second”, I thought I’d share two of my favorite blogs on the topic of sales. The first, written by S. Anthony Iannarino of Columbus, Ohio, offers straightforward suggestions and tips to help you with just about every aspect of the sales process including [...]

Think Like Your Customer

Posted: September 22nd, 2010

[by Todd Joyce] There are a lot of resources out there on business that unless it’s about a photography business, we don’t seem to want to pick it up…  I have news for you.  If you’re not treating your business like a business, then you’ll likely be out of business soon.   There’s a great book [...]

Why Continuing Ed Matters: beyond camera gear and PhotoShop tutorials

Posted: September 21st, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Last week was filled with the energy of students returning to classrooms across the country. It was only for a couple of hours, but, I, too, got a taste of the September excitement when I dropped in at Columbia College and attended the Columbia/ASMP Midwest co-hosted event: PDN’s 30 – Strategies for Young [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]

Backing Up is (Not) Hard to Do

Posted: August 27th, 2010

[by Barry Schwartz] The same old song: it’s not a matter of if there will be a problem; it’s a matter of when. Backing up is not just for data, though. How about this: you talk to a potential client, you agree on what you’re supposed to deliver, what you’re supposed to be paid, and [...]

Small Victories and Big Goals

Posted: August 26th, 2010

[by Jay Kinghorn] This summer, I completed my first XTERRA off-road triathlon. It was exhilarating and downright exhausting. Happily, I crossed the finish line muddy, tired and satisfied with my accomplishment. The key to being able to complete the race was a 12-week, self-paced training program to prepare me physically as well as mentally for [...]

A New Path

Posted: August 25th, 2010

[by Suzanne Sease and Amanda Sosa-Stone] Starting out in any new business is filled with excitement and the unknown.  Here are some tips we recommend to finding your path. 1.    Know where you want to go in your business (consumer: portraits, weddings, commercial: still life, architecture, fashion, editorial: portraits, etc…) 2.    Make sure you have [...]

You Can’t Rush Experience

Posted: August 24th, 2010

[by Paul Bartholomew] I often get emails and calls about my work from emerging photographers. I’m always open to sharing what I know and feel it helps educate those who may affect the future of our profession. Some of the most asked questions are about the camera or lens I use and if I use [...]

Taking Care of Business

Posted: August 23rd, 2010

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

Find a Photographer

Posted: August 12th, 2010

[by Todd Joyce] Membership has it’s privileges and one of the benefits of being and ASMP General Member is being listed in For what I do, I don’t get a lot of calls, but every so often I do get a call that is a result of FAP. Over the years, I’ve gotten about [...]

Efficient Freedom

Posted: August 6th, 2010

[by Charles Gupton] I once had a strong disdain for franchises as a means of business ownership. It seemed to me to be a sell-out to a system that limited the freedom of an owner too much for my liking. Especially after I watched a photography buddy of mine give up his heart and passion [...]

FedEx Days

Posted: August 4th, 2010

[by Jay Kinghorn] In 2005, an Australian software company, Atlassian, began an experiment they called FedEx days Their software developers were given 1-1/2 days to develop something “out of the ordinary” and show it to their colleagues at the end of the session. Atlassian’s goal was to inspire their developers to break their daily routines, [...]

Expand Your Thinking

Posted: August 3rd, 2010

[by Sean Kernan] The reasons to do it are obvious. The best way expand your thinking is to just do something. I suggest going to Paris. Not that you’ll think more there. You might even think less, but your thoughts will all be new, fresh. With the micro-gravities (shopping, picking up the cleaning, all that [...]

Start to CUS

Posted: August 2nd, 2010

[by Charles Gupton] Are you feeling the financial heat build along with the summer heat? Do you need to build some cool business and generate some cold cash? Well, before you get frustrated and start to cuss, why not CUS instead! CUS is an acronym for Courage, Urgency and Shamelessness. Courage does not indicate a [...]

I Like Facebook

Posted: July 27th, 2010

[by Todd Joyce] I like facebook. I admit it. I only have one identity too.Friends are people from college, family and clients. I try to keep it professional, but I don’t mind that my clients see the real me. I post some images just for fun or feedback and I don’t pester my clients with [...]

Creating A Greater Divide

Posted: July 16th, 2010

[by Paul Bartholomew] We live in a highly saturated world of images and as photographers our profession is rapidly changing and at risk if we don’t adapt. I hear a lot about photographers losing projects because an amateur or new photographer was “good enough” and got the job. Some blame it on digital technology, but [...]

Still Photographers as Amateur Videographers

Posted: July 15th, 2010

[by Gail Mooney] These days many still photographers are frustrated when their clients decide to take their own pictures or get photos from amateurs who take photos that are good enough. And sometimes “good enough” is not only good enough – it’s pretty good because technology has enabled just about anyone to take a reasonably [...]

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 [...]

The Best Way to Compete with Amateurs is… Don’t!

Posted: July 13th, 2010

[by Rosh Sillars] Trying to compete with someone whose purpose is to make a little extra money on the side without the overhead of a professional business is not realistic. It is a quick path to business failure. Technology has set the bar lower then ever for entering the field of photography as a hobby, [...]

Amateur Competition

Posted: July 12th, 2010

[by Leslie Burns] I hear photographers complain about amateurs cutting into the market. Here’s my advice: if your business is threatened by the work of amateurs, you need to work on your work. Technology has lowered the bar of entry in photography just as it has in writing, graphic design, fine art, advertising, product design, [...]

Summer Reading List

Posted: June 30th, 2010

[by Jay Kinghorn] There’s no doubt that the business landscape is tough for photographers right now. Still, every day, green shoots are appearing in the publishing and advertising industries that will allow well-positioned and technologically savvy photographers to make and impact (and a good living) as the recession subsides. Here are a few books I’ve [...]

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 [...]

Big Changes can Happen while Reading on Long Summer Days

Posted: June 28th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Instead of a best-selling mystery or a trashy summer novel, pack one of these into your beach bag and you’ll have more than a tan when you’re done. You’ll end up with some different perspectives regarding where business is headed–and how you fit in. I think it’s essential for any small business owner [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Creative Commons Licenses are Unnecessary and Dangerous

Posted: June 23rd, 2010

[by Leslie Burns] I hear lots of people say how CC makes “sharing” possible and promotes the “democratization” of creative culture. Really, it is the emperor’s new clothes of IP licensing–false, dangerous, and unneeded. For centuries (there is specific references to licensing in docs dating as far back as 1474!), traditional licensing has permitted creators [...]

Creative Commons, Friend or Foe?

Posted: June 22nd, 2010

[by Jim Cavanaugh] Ask most photographers about Creative Commons and they will likely respond that it is just a tool for people to use images without having to pay for them. At first glance this may seem true. Creative Commons allows people to use photographs and other intellectual property created by others in several broad [...]

This License is Non Transferable

Posted: June 21st, 2010

[by Steve Whittaker] Once in a while I will meet a marketing person who demands the right to allow property owners, contractors and other entities unrestricted use of our images without additional fees. Some have expressed their right to resell photographer’s images to recover their firm’s cost from an assignment or worse, make a profit [...]

It’s Quick Tip Week …

Posted: June 14th, 2010

[by Leslie Burns] You’ve (hopefully) got an electronic “filing” system in place for your images. How about for your paperwork?

Here Comes Summer …

Posted: June 1st, 2010

[by Susan Carr] I hope you had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. We often think of summer as down time for marketing and sales, but in this tough economic climate, these areas of our business can’t really afford any time off. Yes, you can take a vacation, but do not take three months off from [...]

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 [...]

My Road Map to Success

Posted: May 27th, 2010

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

I am a Strictly Business 2 Grad

Posted: May 25th, 2010

[by Kevin Lock] The American Society of Media Photographers Strictly Business 2 was a defining weekend for me.  It was the beginning of a series of significant and concrete ASMP experiences that continue to positively affect my business some two years later. That weekend I received a wealth of information, was introduced to leaders from [...]

Maintain Your Marketing Momentum with a Google App

Posted: May 18th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] When it comes to increasing your productivity– for the non-image-making part of your business–there are many great applications to choose from. Lots of people use Apple’s account. Yet there’s another good way of developing the workflow of integrating all of your contacts, tasks, and calendar events–no matter what operating system you [...]

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, [...]

Copyright & The New Economy: What I learned

Posted: May 13th, 2010

[by Jay Kinghorn] The Copyright & The New Economy symposium held on April 21st was, for me, an eye-opening event. As the moderator for Copyright and the New Economy, I did a lot of research leading up to the event. A common thread that ran through the research, the morning presenters and the afternoon panel [...]

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 [...]

Cold Calls?

Posted: May 7th, 2010

[by Kevin Lock] Having a hard time reaching out to new clients?  Pick up the phone and personally reconnect with past clients that you may have not heard from or worked with in a while. You will be surprised how this will boost your confidence and assist you in making long over due “cold calls” [...]

Are You a Good Listener?

Posted: May 6th, 2010

[by Blake Discher] When you’re on that call talking to a potential new client, remember to count to two before you answer any questions or ask new ones.  This two-second buffer will help you to be a better listener because you won’t need to be thinking about what you’re going to say next while the [...]

Consider Becoming an LLC

Posted: May 4th, 2010

[by Leslie Burns] Consider changing your business structure to an LLC for the liability protection it provides. Talk to a real attorney about this. A small investment in making the change now could save your personal assets down the road.

ASMP Specialty Groups

Posted: May 3rd, 2010

[by Paul Bartholomew] The specialty group forums and resources are a great benefit for ASMP members. Ask those who participate and you will find it’s a great resource that helps many of us with unique questions and issues within our specialties. Groups currently include architecture, food and fine art. See for yourself but remember to [...]

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 [...]

Real Friends are Priceless

Posted: April 29th, 2010

[by Todd Joyce] A photographer friend of mine tells me that his business is doing very well.   Mine has been slow, but seems to be improving.   I don’t mind saying so, but last year was my worst year since being in business.   I admit that I ignored my business too much and my friend [...]

Unlikely Parnerships

Posted: April 28th, 2010

[by Gail Mooney] Got a call a while back from a guy selling training seminars for NAB Post Production conferences. I have been a past attendee and the training they provide is top notch. I’ve never attended a poorly taught seminar – the instructors know their stuff and know how to teach it. I mentioned [...]


Posted: April 27th, 2010

[by Sean Kernan] If you’re not busy enough with work and also too busy trying to find some, try this: volunteer. Take some of that time and give it away. Be a Big Brother or Sister, coach a kid’s team, mentor a child. take your charming dog to a nursing home every week. There are [...]

The Unexpected Profit from Personal Projects

Posted: April 26th, 2010

[by Paula Lerner] One thing I’ve learned in 25 years in business is that doing personal work that has meaning to me almost always leads to lucrative commercial assignments.  Although it is unpredictable beforehand how personal project A may lead to job B, in the end doing work that I am passionate about not only [...]

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.  [...]

Copyright and The New Economy

Posted: April 20th, 2010

[by Jay Kinghorn] For many years, the profession of photography has been based on licensing a photo for a specific use, often with precise definitions on how, where and what size a given image can be reproduced.  Today, myriad forces, including client requests, microstock and Internet publishing are prompting photographers to rethink the traditional rights-managed [...]

Reaching Out

Posted: April 16th, 2010

[by Paul Barholomew] Do you have any questions about business practices, techniques or fees? Try reaching out to other photographers within your specialty. If you feel uneasy about contacting your local competition then contact someone in another region. ASMP members find that communicating with others is a great benefit and it’s valuable to your growth!

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 [...]

Production Charges?

Posted: April 13th, 2010

[by Leslie Burns] Double-check your production charges–are they priced correctly to give you a reasonable profit? Small financial leaks can sink your business.

Pricing Help

Posted: April 12th, 2010

[by Ed McDonald] You can find out how other photographers priced and negotiated real jobs. Take a look at some on ASMP’s web site in the paperwork share section. Go to  under Business Resources/ Tutorials and forms/ licensing and paperwork share. Or, go directly by clicking here.

You Need to be a Salesperson First

Posted: April 8th, 2010

[by Blake Discher] Even in these stressful economic times, your business will be more successful if you are willing to recognize one fact:  you need to be a salesperson first, and a photographer second.  Many photographers take great photographs, but far fewer excel at sales.  When I speak to audiences about negotiating, I’m always quick [...]

What Is Your Leverage?

Posted: April 7th, 2010

[by Paul Barholomew] We can be cheap, we can be talented and we can offer something unique. These are just a few examples from a long list of features and abilities we can offer to our clients. Ask yourself, how do you wish to sell your services and how will you be portrayed? What makes [...]

An Old Salesman’s Secret

Posted: April 6th, 2010

[by Rosh Sillars] Early in my career I worked at a furniture store to earn extra money. One day an older salesman came in to buy a chair. We began talking and before long I sensed that he had taken a liking to me. Naturally we talked sales. He asked me if I wanted 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 [...]

Sleep On It

Posted: April 2nd, 2010

[by Jim Cavanaugh] Part of being a business owner is dealing with occasional disputes that will develop with clients, suppliers and assistants. Often times the problem will pop up unexpectedly in the form of a terse e-mail, pointed letter or angry phone call. Human nature has us tend to react defensibly to the situation, especially [...]

Don’t Forget to Ask For Referrals

Posted: April 1st, 2010

[by Blake Discher] One of the best and least expensive ways to grow your business is through referrals.  But for a variety of reasons, most people are reluctant to ask for them. Maybe it’s fear of hearing “no”.  Maybe they think happy clients will just spread the word about “their favorite photographer” without any prompting [...]

Deep or Wide?

Posted: March 31st, 2010

[by Charles Gupton] The primary business of every business – be it banking, plumbing, restaurant or photography – is the work of acquiring and retaining customers. No buyers, no sales, no business. To that end, most business owners use the strategy of casting their nets in more directions in an attempt to draw in practically [...]

TEGWAR anyone?

Posted: March 30th, 2010

[by Sean Kernan] Remember this game? It stands for The Exciting Game Without Any Rules, and it’s a card game that is played by a number of sharps and one patsy. The way it works is that a few basic poker-like rules are put out and the game starts. At some point the patsy thinks [...]

You Probably Didn’t Know, but …

Posted: March 29th, 2010

[by Jim Cavanaugh] I can’t tell you how many of my photographs I have seen used without a license or permission from me. When I find one or more of my images infringed I take immediate action. My first step is to contact the company or person in writing. I lightheartedly call this letter “You [...]

Creative Convergence: What is it? And what does it mean to your business?

Posted: March 26th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] When the FCC debates are over and we figure out how to fund universal access to broadband, and it becomes as common as phone access, the demand for digital content will increase exponentially. There will be more media being consumed on more devices than we have now (or can yet imagine). Content [...]

Ideas are Welcome

Posted: March 24th, 2010

[by Leslie Burns] The business, as if you didn’t know, is changing and that means that your business model needs to change as well. This is true for all sorts of creative-based businesses so at least photographers can know they are not alone. The impact of the shifting technologies has, in a very, very short [...]


Posted: March 23rd, 2010

[by Gail Mooney] I talk to a lot of photographers these days when giving seminars on video. One thing I’ve been hearing a lot lately is that many photographers are collaborating with other creatives to expand their businesses and offer their clients more services. Certainly one area still photographers are collaborating is in video production. [...]

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 [...]

Your Computer: A low paid, yet highly productive assistant

Posted: March 19th, 2010

[by Jay Kinghorn] What if you could pay your best assistant $1.87 per hour to process your images for you? Consider this: A fully loaded, new MacPro with a stunning Eizo monitor, pro-rated over the three-year life of the equipment costs you less than two bucks an hour. It is tempting to save money by [...]

Making Copyright Part of Your Workflow

Posted: March 15th, 2010

[by Jim Cavanaugh] Photographers often cite one of the barriers to regular copyright registration is assembling the submission of images. In the old film days, it was a significant challenge to get physical copies of all your work in an acceptable form for registration. In today’s digital world it is much easier to assemble a [...]

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 [...]

One Project and Three Interpretations

Posted: March 11th, 2010

[by Paul Bartholomew] We deal with all kinds of potential clients and some give more information than others when it comes to projects they have in mind. We have the highly organized person who provides layouts, usage, digital specs and all sorts of very helpful information.  Then we have the person who calls and asks [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Get Powerful Info for Pricing Jobs

Posted: March 8th, 2010

[by Blake Discher] When a new potential client calls on the telephone, one of the first things I do is look up the caller’s website. What I’m looking for are two things:  their level of design sophistication and how they’re currently using photography.  These two bits of information can give valuable clues to what sort [...]

I’m Gonna Sue!

Posted: February 26th, 2010

[by Jim Cavanaugh] When I was a Chapter President, I would often get calls from angry members who found that one of their photographs had been infringed. They wanted the name of a copyright attorney so they could sue the infringer. I was always stunned when I asked about what the person said after they [...]

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 [...]

Equipment Backups

Posted: February 24th, 2010

[by Paul Bartholomew] It kind of goes without saying that having a backup camera is very important. The chances are high that you will eventually run into equipment malfunctions. Try to have a plan B in place. Did you think about a backup tripod? If your work is mostly accomplished on a tripod, everything will [...]

The Winning Path

Posted: February 23rd, 2010

[by Rosh Sillars] People generally take the path of least resistance.  Opportunities arise all the time, but we don’t always follow through on them. Think about the great opportunities you have missed.  What were your excuses? Did you have too much on your plate already? A scheduling conflict? You simply forgot? Most likely the root [...]

Please Release Me

Posted: February 19th, 2010

[by Blake Discher] Many photographers forget  that their websites are a form of advertising and as such the individuals in the images must be released.  ASMP has Property and Model Releases on it’s site, available to anyone, at  I keep copies of the simplified release in my camera bag and in my car’s glovebox.  [...]

Do You Have a Voice Mail Problem?

Posted: February 18th, 2010

[by Jim Cavanaugh] How many times have you heard people lament “I can’t get a hold of anybody. All I ever get is voice mail”. It can be frustrating until you realize that voice mail is really a perfect way for you to get your message to a client in a clear, concise manner. Just [...]

Save Time Getting Paid

Posted: February 17th, 2010

[by Paul Bartholomew] Sometimes an invoice payment is delayed because a W-9 form may be required by the client.  Whenever working with new clients you can send a filled out W-9 form along with the invoice or you can check with their accounts payable if one is required. This can also reduce the hassle of [...]

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 [...]

Your Number One Asset

Posted: February 11th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Do you know what is the most valuable asset you possess? You need a lot to run your photo business, but what is most deserving of protection? Hint: Its not your camera gear. Nor your computer hardware and software– or even your image archive or your portfolio. It’s your creativity. It’s what sets [...]

Fake It

Posted: January 28th, 2010

[by Leslie Burns] One of the biggest problems many, many photographers face in their businesses is being and acting confident. Just today I was speaking with a client who said, essentially, that he’d rather have scalding coffee poured in his lap than have to talk about himself. That’s pretty typical. Most photographers (and all creatives) [...]

Are You Communicating With Your Key Business Partners?

Posted: January 27th, 2010

[by Jim Cavanaugh] Most photographers spend countless hours developing and implementing marketing programs, direct mail campaigns, e-mail, web communications and social networking all designed to make clients aware of them and their work. But clients are only part of your business. What about other key support people like your banker  or your CPA? What about [...]

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 [...]

Having Confidence

Posted: January 25th, 2010

[by Paula Lerner] There’s a story I sometimes tell about myself when I speak to student groups. Many years ago at the beginning of my career, my husband walked into the room we then shared as an office to find me under my desk. Surprised and bemused, he asked “What are you doing under there??” [...]

Follow the Lawyers

Posted: January 22nd, 2010

[by Leslie Burns-Dell'Acqua] One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in law school has been to look at both sides of every issue and to negotiate solutions–not as antagonists, but as two “sides” with a common goal. If lawyers can do this successfully, leaving the venom and aggression out of it, photographers and clients can.

Building a Cash Reserve

Posted: January 19th, 2010

[by Jim Cavanaugh] Are you building a cash reserve to get you through future financial tough times? Seems like a crazy question to ask in a tight economy. But it’s something you need to do. It’s simple. Just set aside a small percentage of your fees in an interest bearing checking or money market account [...]

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 [...]

Investing In Efficiency

Posted: January 13th, 2010

[by Paul Bartholomew] Most of us try to cut back on expenses, but when does it affect our productivity and time? We often decide on the bigger monitor, the faster computer, the better camera and the list goes on.  Sure, this all costs money but think positively about the investment if it saves you time. [...]

Are You Planning for the Future?

Posted: January 12th, 2010

[by Jim Cavanaugh] In challenging economic times, our business focus often becomes one of survival. How will we pay the bills due at the end of this month?  How can I get that next job in the door? While getting work and paying current bills are urgent issues, they are not the most important issue. [...]

Continued Convergence

Posted: January 11th, 2010

[by Gail Mooney] My thoughts on the future – in a word convergence.  I see continued convergence with the tools we use as visual communicators – still cameras and video cameras becoming one and the same.  And with that, the convergence of the two industries – still photography becoming part of larger production companies that [...]

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 [...]

Future Success

Posted: January 6th, 2010

[by Rosh Sillars] The last decade brought the standardization of digital photography, an increased interest in the craft and the commoditization of photographic images. Many of the bread-and-butter jobs that once fed our families are now gone. Let it go and don’t look back. Change is constant. Turn around and face the future. Technology, which [...]


Posted: December 8th, 2009

[by Leslie Burns-Dell'Acqua] When was the last time you updated your insurance? I mean sat down with your agent and looked to see what you really need, and planned for the future, too? Don’t keep putting it off.

It is Quick Tip Week …

Posted: December 7th, 2009

[by Paul Bartholomew] With so many online accounts these days we become very vulnerable to hackers. I had my blog hacked this past year and decided on an easy solution. I created a much longer password that’s easy to remember by combining two passwords together. So far it’s been working.

No Time to Lose

Posted: November 20th, 2009

[by Leslie Burns-Dell'Acqua] A common complaint I hear from photographers is that they do not have the time to do everything. Welcome to modern life. We all are over-committed… but you can manage it if you do two things: use a schedule and say “no.” The schedule is simply required. Find a calendar tool you [...]

Routines Keep Me More Productive

Posted: November 18th, 2009

[by Rosh Sillars] If you are an independent photographer, routine may not be in your vocabulary.  I enjoy my freedom. To me, the word routine conjures up images of restrictive cubicles, repetitive tasks and stressful commutes. But, in order to keep my life on target I employ what I call my mini-routine.  It contains specific [...]

Time Saving Tips For Shooting and Editing Video

Posted: November 17th, 2009

[by Gail Mooney] The Shoot Have a plan – When I first started learning video at the Platypus Workshop, we weren’t even allowed near the camera until we could articulate our “commitment” or our story in a concise, one paragraph statement. Make a shot list if appropriate – If you go into a shoot with [...]

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” [...]

Change Order Forms

Posted: September 29th, 2009

[by Leslie Burns-Dell'Acqua] Make sure you always have blank Change Orders in your kit and use them. A change to a project during the shoot absolutely requires new numbers, but some clients try to get more for nothing by changing the project while on-set. Make sure also that the person signing it has the authority [...]

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.

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 [...]

Free As A Part of Your Business Model

Posted: August 27th, 2009

As Gail Mooney pointed out, Chris Anderson’s new book “Free” is causing quite a stir. Evidenced by the lasting effect Anderson’s observations and predictions in “The Long Tail” have had on business and culture, it is likely “Free,” the idea that businesses need to think about giving things away for free via the Internet in [...]


Posted: August 26th, 2009

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about Chris Anderson’s new book “Free”.   Malcolm Gladwell’s review of “Free” makes the point that even free comes at a cost. Most photographers can certainly attest to that.  Marketing guru Seth Godin makes the point that the paradigm is changing and that all the whining in the [...]

Free Isn’t New

Posted: August 25th, 2009

Does the concept of free economy mean anything to you? What if we replaced the word free with low-risk? Is the concept of low-risk economy easier to understand? One of the most powerful companies in the world, Google, offers its core services for free. There is no risk involved in Google. There is no risk [...]

I Highly Recommend “Free, The Future of a Radical Price” by Chris Anderson

Posted: August 24th, 2009

Chris Anderson’s new book is a provocative look at the growing economy of free. I know many of you may roll your eyes at the thought that “free” is our new competition, but do not judge this book by it’s title. Anderson provides a careful investigation outlining the history and future of this economic driver, [...]

Following Through

Posted: August 19th, 2009

We tend to put great effort into our marketing and trying to get new clients, but what about after the photo shoot? How are you presenting the final images? Think about what the packaging and presentation look like and follow through with your branding. It’s another opportunity to make a great and lasting impression.

Mantras for a Good Life

Posted: August 18th, 2009

Always have a dream.  Believe in it. Believe in your ability to make it happen. Keep your passions alive.  For me, my strong interest in cultural stories will always keep me exploring.  I need that and it gives my life perspective. Set goals – even little goals are good and then reward yourself.  They will [...]

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 [...]

Optimization Vs. Presentation

Posted: August 12th, 2009

This is one of those difficult decisions when designing a new website. You want your work to look it’s best and be presented in an impressive manner, but you also want your work to be found through search engines. Wouldn’t it be nice to have both? Unfortunately in many cases a compromise may be required. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Email Troubles You May Not Be Aware Of …

Posted: July 8th, 2009

[by Carolyn Potts] This week, on three separate occasions, emails from photographers that I know and love, ended up in my spam bucket. Each person was already in my address book; we’d had many successful email exchanges-there had been no previous spam quarantines. Want to know what happened? In each of those cases the photographer [...]

Didn’t Get the Job? Say Thanks!

Posted: June 19th, 2009

Want to be remembered by the potential client with whom you’ve just had an unsuccessful negotiation?  Take the time to send a “Thank You” card.  That’s right, a snail-mail Thank You card.  Create a one off, nice looking card on your color printer on nice paper, and hand write a note, something like, “Thank you [...]

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 [...]

Quick Tip Week – Let’s Start With Jamey Stillings

Posted: June 15th, 2009

This photograph by Jamey Stillings of the Colorado River Bridge appeared in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine. I stubbled upon it over my morning coffee and it changed my day. A beautifully executed image and a fascinating subject coalesced and I craved more. I went to Jamey’s web site and viewed the entire portfolio. I [...]

You Can’t Do It All

Posted: June 5th, 2009

Have you ever noticed how photographers try to do everything themselves? I think more so than any other creative profession, photographers still, today, insist on doing everything they possibly can on their own. Sure, you’ll hire an assistant here and there or maybe get a studio manager if things get really good, but overall, it’s [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

The Hat Trick

Posted: May 12th, 2009

When you get overwhelmed with marketing and/or business things and you don’t know where to begin because there is so much to do, try this: 1) make a list of tasks you want/need to accomplish–these should be very specific like “pay outstanding A/P” or “research 10 new potential targets” or “shoot something for myself” 2) [...]

Fear and Failure

Posted: May 8th, 2009

Most of us are terrified of screwing up in our businesses–of failing. On one level, this seems rational–we have bills to pay, responsibilities to uphold (families, employees, etc.) so failing sounds like a really, really bad thing. But on the other hand, it isn’t. Failure is rationally rather a very good thing. Why? Because it [...]


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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Are You Talking With The Boss?

Posted: April 17th, 2009

A sometimes overlooked, but very important factor in any negotiation is making sure the person to whom you are speaking is in fact the decision maker.  If he isn’t you ideally need to get that decision maker involved in the negotiation. One method I use to tactfully determine if the person I’m talking with is [...]

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 [...]

Stop Trying to Win

Posted: April 13th, 2009

The other day, in CivPro class (in case you didn’t know, I’m in law school), one of the students couldn’t seem to understand why the professor wouldn’t help him find a way around a basic rule of discovery. The student couldn’t accept that he should give up anything that might hurt his case! He might [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Why I Do Not Use Day Rates

Posted: April 6th, 2009

Like many photographers, I started my professional career by charging a “day rate” for my services. Rather than considering the scope of a project or the use of the images, I simply set a “day rate” or “half day rate” and applied those numbers to each request. I realized quickly this wasn’t working. One day [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Knowledge is Power in a Negotiation

Posted: March 30th, 2009

Part of preparing for any negotiation is preparing yourself. Knowing the market, both geographic and specialty, in which you’ll be competing is critically important. A very handy tool right on your desktop is your computer. Mine is always on, always connected to the Internet, and I use it when a new client calls for a quote. As [...]


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 [...]