Archive for Creativity

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Writing Is Like Eating

Posted: February 22nd, 2016

[by Luke Copping] I’m not a fan of Soylent – the light on flavor beige goo that’s all the rage amongst fitness nuts, post humanists, and optimization-obsessed executives. It’s supposedly a nutritionally complete liquid food that can replace all of your meals. It’s easy to digest, cheap, gives you everything you need to get through the [...]

Standing Out

Posted: January 5th, 2016

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

Shoot Your Way Through It.

Posted: December 11th, 2015

[by Richard Kelly] I’m a photographer. I frame my world. But sometimes I can’t see anything. Sometimes it is something outside my world that blocks my view; most often it is inside my head. Whatever the cause the prescription is the same; I have got to shoot my way through it. I credit photographer Jim [...]

Inspiring Habits of Successful Photographers

Posted: December 10th, 2015

[by Carolyn Potts] In his best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (which sold over 25 million copies), the late Stephen Covey stresses the habit of keeping your “tools” sharp. To operate at your highest and best levels, you have to remember to keep yourself sharp—and not just in your external career tools [...]


Posted: December 9th, 2015

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

Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat 

Posted: December 8th, 2015

[by John Welsh] There are many paths that can lead us out of The Creative Block. For me, it’s about genuinely wanting to know everything when situations present themselves – it’s wanting to know about people, about cities, about places and about other ways of thinking. That may be the journalist in me speaking, but [...]

Looking for Inspiration? Disrupt Your Life.

Posted: December 4th, 2015

[by Gail Mooney] I don’t go looking for inspiration. That doesn’t work for me. Instead it seems like the more I look for things to inspire me, the harder they are to find. But when I quiet my mind and allow it to wander to places that aren’t familiar, I start to see and take [...]

Down Time

Posted: December 3rd, 2015

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

Staying Fresh

Posted: December 2nd, 2015

[by Bruce Katz] One of the hallmarks of being a professional photographer is being able to produce creatively under almost any circumstance.  There are many times, however, when that creative muse becomes elusive or stale.  How can you jumpstart or keep that creative muse working? Here are a couple ideas that might help kick you [...]

Inspiration Information

Posted: December 1st, 2015

[by Francis Zera] Photographer’s block, aka “I don’t know what the hell to make photographs of anymore,” is a perennial problem for we creatives. We buy books of other photographers’ works, we attend inspirational seminars, maybe even start to think we’ve complely lost our creative spark. Happens to everyone, right? Perhaps. But here are seven [...]

I’m great!  I suck!  I’m so excited! I quit!

Posted: November 30th, 2015

[by Todd Joyce] Yes, we creative types are a bit bipolar in the area of confidence, so staying inspired can be constant a struggle.   Here are three simple concepts to keep your inspiration fires burning: Your value is not less because someone fails to see it.  It’s hard to do, but we can’t let our [...]

Be Thou My Vision — Finding Ways to Break Out of the Creative Doldrums

Posted: April 17th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] Once you’ve been in this business for a while, it sometimes happens that you find yourself in a creative rut. Fulfilling client requests and preferences keeps those clients happy and coming back for more, but can feel like you’re simply checking items off of a to-do list rather than genuinely creating something. [...]

Is It Me ….. Is It My Camera?

Posted: April 16th, 2015

[by Kevin Lock] The first thing that comes to mind in the journey of finding or rediscovering ones creative vision, is to shoot a project that you are passionate about. But, I have to be honest.  Even though I have done that in the distant past and it has worked for me,  I have not [...]

Fail Hard

Posted: April 13th, 2015

[by Luke Copping] Beginning the search for your unique vision can be both a terrifying and exciting time. Exciting because you are at a point of pure potentiality – there are no expectations or pre-existing forms being imposed on your creativity. You have a rare opportunity to be completely disruptive to your own status quo [...]

Blending the Personal with the Professional

Posted: January 29th, 2015

[By Bruce Katz] Shooting personal work is essential to keeping myself fresh and allows me to explore photographic ideas without outside deadlines, compromise or fear. I also find it is an essential tool to incorporate into my commercial business plan. The benefits have been much better than I could have ever expected especially (and surprisingly) from [...]

Get Off My Back

Posted: January 28th, 2015

[by John Welsh] That’s a somewhat comedic line from a film titled Screamers, which was adapted from a Philip K. Dick sci-fi story. A minor character in the film keeps having his personal space, in this case his fears rather than his physical space, messed with by another character who enjoys torturing the poor guy’s war-battered [...]

A Way Back To Why You Fell In Love

Posted: January 27th, 2015

[by Colleen Wainwright] Back in the late 1990′s, I was a full-time, working actor with an active design hobby that fed my jones for display typefaces. To anyone standing on the outside looking in, I had a great life, both professionally and creatively. But I was dying inside. Because somehow, somewhere along the way, I’d [...]

The Value of Personal Work (Part 2)

Posted: January 26th, 2015

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] In November 2014 I wrote a post called “The Value of Personal Work”, which laid out my personal philosophy about creating fun, relevant images that appeal to a target audience and how I plan to grow as a commercial artist by creating the work I want to attract. This article is more [...]

Caution: Personal Work Could Kill Your Commercial Success!

Posted: November 21st, 2014

[by Pascal Depuhl] Be careful, personal work could kill your career! Over the last few weeks I’ve hosted a couple discussions in various LinkedIn Groups asking “does personal work matter?” Predictably, many of the photographers who chimed in answered a resounding YES! We get to show our capabilities without the constraints of a client brief, art buyers [...]

Getting Personal

Posted: November 20th, 2014

[by Francis Zera] Personal work is sometimes treated as a dirty little secret — these projects make a photographer’s heart happy but are often seen as everything from a detriment to the bottom line to a dalliance that uses time that could be better spent pursuing paying jobs. To the contrary, personal projects should be [...]

Playing with Fire on the Creative Edge

Posted: November 19th, 2014

[by Carolyn Potts] Create personal work because it feeds both your creativity and your humanity. It’s a practice recommended for all photographers. There’s also a strategic benefit for advertising and editorial photographers who regularly create personal work/self-assignments. You could end up becoming the next in-demand style leader/trendsetter. And, guess who gets to subsequently command higher [...]

Getting Paid to Play

Posted: November 18th, 2014

[by Todd Joyce] “Do what you love for a living and you’ll never work a day in your life.” vs “Do what you love for a living and you’ll grow to hate it.”   How are you working to be sure that you aren’t going to end up hating what you do? Go play! Exercise your [...]

The Value of Personal Work

Posted: November 17th, 2014

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] Personal work has been a vital part of my creative process and my ability to stay relevant as an artist. As commercial assignment photographers, we often rely on the scope of a particular project or the vision of an art director to inspire our images. It is easy to lose sight of [...]

Free Association

Posted: March 21st, 2014

[by Paul Oemig] Suddenly, there it is. After so much time, and thought, and effort working on your project you’ve reached it: the proverbial brick wall. It was half-expected, but never could you have imagined it would be so staggering, or appear so suddenly. Whether it’s a wall of mental fear, or impoverished resources, or muddled communications, feelings [...]

Finding Inspiration

Posted: March 20th, 2014

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

How Do Visual Artists Get Over Writers Block?

Posted: March 19th, 2014

[by Pascal Depuhl] “Artists refresh people’s vision and help them see the world in new ways.” ~ Mark Getlein But how do you refresh your vision, what do you do to see your world in new ways? We’ve all been there. You look through your photos and videos and they are a sea of sameness. [...]

Keeping it Fresh. Keeping it Real.

Posted: March 18th, 2014

[by Carolyn Potts] When you’ve been jamming on too many client projects– or worrying about not having enough client projects–it’s easy to lose track of your inner flame, muse, creative vision, passion, or whatever else you call it. You stop shooting images that excite you and/or you stop shooting any new images that aren’t directed [...]

Zig When Everyone Else Is Zagging

Posted: March 17th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] Earlier in my career, I worked for a brilliant editor.   After getting a new position, I went in to have a conversation with him about what he expected.   I described my own vision for my new role for several minutes, then paused, and waited for his response.   After a couple of minutes [...]

Most Ideas Are Wrong

Posted: November 15th, 2013

[by Barry Schwartz] Creative results, like scientific results, mostly arrive out of failure.  “If at first you don’t succeed…”.   It’s not just some platitude; it’s how things really get done. You start out with a flicker and try to get it up to the level of a flame.  Anyone who has produced work from an [...]

Pushing the Edge

Posted: October 28th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] This year the ASMP Members Meeting at Photo Plus featured photographer Ben Lowy as the keynote speaker.   As a photojournalist specializing in global conflict and crisis, Ben’s work is fascinating, raw and edgy.  Simply the act of documenting these situations is quite impressive, not everyone is willing to repeatedly put themselves in [...]

Absolute Beginner

Posted: August 2nd, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] While I barely qualify as even a beginning hobbyist, photography-wise, I’ve been a writer since before I could hold a pencil. (Yes, making up stories counts.) The upside to this is that, when needed, I can bang something out with no problem: give me a word count, a due date, and a [...]

Go Ahead, Peek Over My Shoulder.

Posted: August 1st, 2013

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] Over and over again I hear the way to be inspired creatively is to visit a museum, gallery, or other artistic performance. But, I don’t live close enough to such venues that I can just “pop” in on one when my creative juices wane. Fortunately, I have museums and great artists throughout [...]

New Perspectives Provide New Creative Power.

Posted: July 31st, 2013

[by Carolyn Potts] When I find myself in a creative rut, I know that something has to change. It’s been said “If nothing changes, then nothing changes.” For those whose lives depend on keeping their creative and inspirational edge honed (that mostly likely would be you, dear reader– and yours truly as well), it’s good [...]

What’s Stopping you From Taking a Creative Risk ?

Posted: July 30th, 2013

[by Gail Mooney] I never imagined when I started out as a professional photographer some 30 years ago that I would get to a point in my career where I would feel like something was missing. That happened about 15 years ago. I was always busy, shooting assignments for prestigious magazines that my peers envied. [...]

Keepin’ It Real, Keepin’ It Fresh.

Posted: July 29th, 2013

[by Charles Gupton] Over the last several years, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time, it seems, engaged in business development. And there have been stretches where the assignments I’ve shot didn’t require an ounce of creativity to complete. During those periods, my heart felt as dry as an old bone in the desert sun. [...]

Working Your Creative Muscle

Posted: June 10th, 2013

[by Selina Maitreya] I’ve spent most of the last year bringing photographers back to their creative roots. Why? Because with all the focus on marketing, sales, and the huge effort it takes to stay in business, Creatives are reporting in that they are NOT feeling very creative.  If your creativity is waning you’ve got a [...]

Inspiration Isn’t Always in the Obvious Places

Posted: May 17th, 2013

[by Gail Mooney] We all get stuck every now and then. When I’m stuck, and it seems like all of a sudden my mind is void of any ideas that excite me, I remind myself that it’s probably time to change something. Usually, what I need to do is to change my perspective or the [...]

Don’t Burn the Guitar

Posted: May 16th, 2013

[by Bruce Katz] My inspirational revelation came long ago when I began guitar lessons. I had just seen an amazing guitar player (Danny Gatton) in concert the night before my weekly lesson and casually remarked to my teacher that I like to burn my guitar, as I’d never get to be that good. Without missing [...]

Widening the View

Posted: May 15th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] Inspiration comes in many forms: books, movies, a hike in the woods, a good conversation.  Underneath all that variety is a fundamental similarity: the ability to take us out of our little boxes and show us something new. With this in mind, I want to share a website that has inspired me [...]

What Inspires Me?

Posted: May 14th, 2013

[by Selina Maitreya] I am inspired by every day people in many ways. I don’t need to go to a workshop to learn how to be inspired. I simply keep my awareness in my front pocket. Inspiration is  all around me. I am inspired by young people who are filled with ideas and the joy [...]

Rules = Freedom

Posted: February 22nd, 2013

[by Jenna Close] Every winter I brainstorm about the creative work I want to shoot over the upcoming year.  I always start on these projects with great enthusiasm but then find myself stressing about all the other things that need to get done.  That stress causes my creativity to take a dive, which causes me [...]

Fending Off the Creative Slump

Posted: February 21st, 2013

[by Irene Owsley] I find it ironic to be writing about lifting oneself out of a creative slump in the deep of winter when gray skies and cold winds abound.  Getting out of a slump PERIOD, no less a creative one, is a steep order at this time of year. For me, these options are [...]

Think Inside the Box

Posted: February 20th, 2013

[by Sean Kernan] Spend your days making work to fit your client’s visions? That’s how we do our business, but it’s not how we started. Most of us began by simply looking around, seeing what was out there and making pictures out of it. No clients to second guess. It’s not so easy in the [...]

Own Your Art!

Posted: February 19th, 2013

[by Selina Maitreya] “I’m not an artist, I’m a photographer.” If I hear this one more time I will (maybe) scream.  Photography has long been defined as science and magic.  The magic is the art, it’s the mystery. It’s the piece of your world that some call “intangible.” I call it very tangible. I can [...]

According to the New York Times

Posted: February 18th, 2013

[by Barry Schwartz] According to the New York Times, getting enough rest is as important as working hard; in fact, it enables you to work harder.  For those of us who are creatives, I would suggest that getting enough rest can increase creativity. Tony Schwartz (no relation), in his article “Relax!  You’ll Be More Productive” [...]

Open to Creativity…NOW!

Posted: January 10th, 2013

[by Selina Maitreya] As a consultant to creative people, my job is to be aware of the concerns my tribe has and to deliver timely and accurate information that will enable creative souls to build a business that will thrive. For over 30 years I’ve focused on guiding my clients as they defined and refined [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Strobing my Subject

Posted: August 24th, 2012

[by Kevin Lock] I started off with a Vivitar 283, and it sucked. Ok…..substitute “my skills” for Vivitar 283. Luckily there were options and I utilized what was at my disposal. For some of my first newspaper assignments I was able to substitute a Norman 400 B. With the additional power and mobility of the [...]

Negative Lighting with the Lenskirt

Posted: August 23rd, 2012

[by Richard Harrington] I just came across a new piece of gear that’s specifically designed to remove light, and I love it.  The Lenskirt is essentially a portable lighting hood designed for when you need to shoot through glass, but don’t want reflections. This makes it the ideal tool for shooting time-lapse or video from [...]

Lighting on Location

Posted: August 22nd, 2012

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

My Favorite Lighting Gear

Posted: August 21st, 2012

[by Charles Gupton] From my early days as a photographer, I’ve always been far more captivated by lights and lighting than I have with cameras. Although I continue to shoot stills, as a result of shooting more motion projects I need equipment that will serve both areas well. I shoot on location in a lot [...]

Inspired by Creativity

Posted: April 13th, 2012

[by Selina Maitreya] Creativity of all types inspires me. My love for art of all kind started when I was quite young. When I was a little girl my grandparents lived in NYC. We ‘d travel in monthly to see them and often my mother had a trip to a museum planned. While we went [...]

Inspiration and Opportunity

Posted: April 12th, 2012

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

The Habits of Inspiration

Posted: April 10th, 2012

[by Charles Gupton] I think about inspiration a lot. What I’ve realized is that, not unlike food, I want to have it everyday. And even though I try to have it every morning, I like to have it in the afternoon and evening as well. As creatures of habit, we usually look for inspiration in [...]

Taking It All In

Posted: April 9th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] There’s nothing I love more than when inspiration strikes me.  It feels great to have an idea just ‘pop into my head’.  However, I think that feeling can be a little misleading.  The way I imagine it, those very ideas are not actually spontaneous.  They are a result of filling my mind [...]

Rediscovering Photo Bliss Through iPhoneography

Posted: April 4th, 2012

[by Tom Kennedy] For me, iPhoneography is all about restoring a fundamental kind of creative joy that I had as a 12 year old first discovering the magic of image-making.  There is a fluidity to using the iPhone as a camera that is somehow triggering my imagination and visual responsiveness to the world around me. [...]

How Experimentation & Creativity Feed Profitability

Posted: December 1st, 2011

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

Get Real!

Posted: November 29th, 2011

[by Sean Kernan] When I look at photographers’ websites they are mostly built on the stuff they do for clients…you know, the stuff we all do. And there are lots of reasons to set things  up that way. But often there’s a page called Personal Work, or something like that, shyly tucked away.  And I [...]

Consistency of Vision is Key

Posted: November 28th, 2011

[by Susan Carr] Websites are often the first place we show our work to prospective clients. The prospect arrives at your site via an Internet search looking for a photographer to fulfill a specific assignment. In these tough financial times, the searches usually include a specialty and a business location. If you fit these criteria [...]

Putting the Fun Back Into Work

Posted: November 4th, 2011

[by Richard Harrington] For most of us, we got into photography because it was fun.  Sure the prospect of making a living off something we enjoyed was exciting; it was a dream job. But then reality set in… what was once fun increasingly became work. I liken the entire dynamic to that of a marriage.  [...]

Too Many Client-Directed Projects Make You Stale

Posted: November 2nd, 2011

[by Rosh Sillars] Personal projects give you the freedom to think beyond the limitations of your client photography.  Yes, digital has allowed us to experiment a little more while photographing on assignment. Unfortunately we can only use so much of our client’s valuable time for personal experiments and pushing the limits. Take time to pick [...]

The Magic Happens Between the Notecards

Posted: October 26th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] While I get that the “sh*tty first draft,” as Anne Lamott calls it, is a necessary step on one’s way to beautiful, polished prose, the perfectionist in me still balks at throwing a bunch of words on a page with the faith that I’ll be able to sort them out later. What’s [...]


Posted: October 20th, 2011

[by Barry Schwartz] Some photographic subjects come pre-equipped with a “cool-factor”.  Hipsters in hipster clothing.  Musicians.  Designers dressed in black.  A piercing here, a tattoo there. I work in several areas, but my primary focus is architecture.  Los Angeles, where I live, was a center of cool architecture even before Europeans delivered us their fully-formed [...]

What is a fashion photograph?

Posted: October 17th, 2011

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


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 [...]

Searching Trends

Posted: September 30th, 2011

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

Naysayers, Failures and Other Terrors

Posted: August 24th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] As a young actor I used to think of creativity as something innate.  You were either born with it or you weren’t.  People would say to me, “Oh, you’re so creative!”  as if it were something wonderful I was given but didn’t earn, like long legs or a charming smile.  Because it [...]

Back to school

Posted: August 23rd, 2011

[by Kevin Lock] “Back to school, back to school… to prove to dad that I’m not a fool.”  (Adam Sandler / Billy Madison.)  Not sure about you but I for one don’t want to start over.  I have too many years invested.  Just like Billy, I do not want to repeat the first grade or [...]

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 [...]

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 – [...]

The Monster Under My Bed

Posted: August 12th, 2011

[by Gail Mooney] When I was a very young child and I couldn’t get to sleep at night (yes even then I found it hard to sleep) I used to play a game.  I’d pretend that there was a monster who lived under my bed and I would tease him by sticking my foot out [...]

Don’t Let a Global Market Crash Put Your Creative Portfolio at Risk.

Posted: August 11th, 2011

[by Carolyn Potts] I am writing this the day after the 500-point drop in the US stock market which was felt around the world. If your 401k now looks like a 101k, it’s hard to feel creatively inspired.  Understandably, many people are freaking out.  But remember: fear kills creativity. However… there’s always another way of [...]

Rebooting Your Brain on the Fly

Posted: August 10th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] When you solve problems for a living–i.e., when you’re a creative–it’s dangerously easy to let the well run dry, especially since it seems like we have fewer and fewer opportunities to take the down time we need to stay juicy. While my absolute favorite way ever to unsnarl a knot in my [...]

Using RAIN to Grow Creativity

Posted: August 9th, 2011

[by Tom Kennedy] A podcast I heard recently used the acronym “RAIN” to describe a technique for extracting the most out of daily life by staying in the moment.  Given the the drought affecting many parts of the world, that caught my attention.  As I listened, I realized how appropriate this acronym was for issues [...]


Posted: August 8th, 2011

[by Sean Kernan] The young Piet Mondrian was painting over some older canvases he had done. “Why are you doing that?” A friend asked. “Those are perfectly good paintings.” “I’m not trying to make paintings,” Mondrian replied, “I’m trying to find things out.” We all began by making photographs for no other reason than to [...]

These are a Few of my Favorite Things

Posted: July 20th, 2011

[by Barry Schwartz] In no particular order: The D-65 workshop gave me a professional workflow along with the tools to produce high-quality work – quickly – from camera setup all the way to delivery.  Was more fun than I thought it would be considering how often I thought my head would fall off.  At the [...]

Resources for Getting Inspired

Posted: July 18th, 2011

[by Jenna Close] Every so often I find myself in a creative slump.  I hate my photography, my haircut, my camera gear…everything.  It’s the worst feeling and can be difficult to shake once it takes hold.  The best remedy (aside from a few nights wallowing in beer at the bar), is to check out the [...]

An A-Ha Person from SB3

Posted: April 20th, 2011

[by Ellen Boughn] For many, the lessons from SB3 were summed up in Colleen Wainwright’s SB3 keynote message “be awesome” and “be nice”.  How surprising and refreshing to hear the phrase ‘be nice”.  (It reminded me of a sign carried by a small boy at a Madison, WI anti-war rally at the outbreak of the [...]


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 [...]

Take a Break, Take 30

Posted: February 18th, 2011

[by Kevin Lock] Take 30 minutes a day to shoot something close to your heart. 30 short minutes, they add up.  30 (min) x 30 (days) x 30 (months).  Pretty soon you will find your photography light-years ahead. Kevin Lock is a national board member of the ASMP.  When Kevin is not taking 30, he [...]


Posted: January 20th, 2011

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

Expanding Your Thinking

Posted: December 22nd, 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 [...]

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. [...]

Head to a Museum

Posted: September 23rd, 2010

[by Susan Carr] Last weekend I had the privilege of seeing the Henri Cartier Bresson retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Chicago stop closes October 3th, so if you are in the Midwest take note. It is a not to be missed show. The show travels on to the San Francisco Museum of [...]

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 [...]

Need a Creative Jolt?

Posted: September 17th, 2010

[by Carolyn Potts] Stuck for ideas for new portfolio images? Try this cool tool to come at a concept from a different angle. Carolyn Potts, international photo consultant & speaker; and former photo rep, shows seasoned & proactive photographers how to get more work. Find her at , and

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 [...]

You Are Not a Photographer

Posted: August 5th, 2010

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

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 [...]

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 [...]


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 [...]

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 [...]

Defining Yourself By Your Vision – Not The Camera

Posted: February 10th, 2010

[by Gail Mooney] I’ve been giving quite a few presentations lately for ASMP – “Should I Be Thinking About Video”.  One thing I’m finding is that there are always a couple of people in the audience who think that buying a DSLR hybrid camera will get them in the business of video production.  Part of [...]

Taking A Personal Day

Posted: February 9th, 2010

[by Paul Bartholomew] I tend to feel guilty on non-shoot days if I’m not in the studio working on something.  Maybe I’m afraid of missing that important call or email, but then again that’s what an iPhone is for isn’t it?  On the other hand, maybe I’m missing the point if I’m not concentrating on [...]

Robert Frank Tweeting?

Posted: February 8th, 2010

[by Sean Kernan] Living in this blizzard of Tweets, I have to remind myself that doing really creative work requires a certain amount of silence, even boredom. There has to be space in which things can occur, and if you are constantly talking about what you are doing, you can’t really listen, at least not [...]

Mozart in the Barn

Posted: January 4th, 2010

[by Sean Kernan] I’m just back from doing a creativity seminar for photographers and art directors at General Mills. In gathering my thoughts for it, I considered how the kind of eye-opening and thought-provoking work I do with people might really be justified in business terms. Of course, I think the value is obvious, and [...]

Work Begets Work

Posted: November 6th, 2009

[by Susan Carr] I had the privilege a few years back of hearing photographer Ken Josephson speak at the  Society for Photographic Education Midwest Regional conference. While discussing his own struggle with blocks in creativity or direction, he clearly stated his own mantra, “work begets work.” These three simple words have hung with me and [...]

Make It Your Own

Posted: November 5th, 2009

[by Paul Bartholomew] I think most photographers struggle with direction and style from time to time especially when starting out. It’s a never ending process, at least in my opinion because I think artists are constantly striving and moving in different directions. This constant striving is very fluid, you may try to predict where you’ll [...]

What If ?

Posted: November 4th, 2009

[by Sean Kernan] In your wildest dreams, what would you do, you stopped take pictures, starting today,? What would you do your thoughts didn’t have to express as photos, or even be visible? What if they could be verbal or sonic, or could just streak through consciousness like shooting stars, like those peak experiences we’ve [...]

Lessons from Childhood

Posted: November 3rd, 2009

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

A Week Focused on Creative Thinking

Posted: November 2nd, 2009

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

Get Out of Your Routine

Posted: October 27th, 2009

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

Quick Tip for Creativity

Posted: September 28th, 2009

[by Paul Bartholomew] Most of us heard about getting outside opinions when it comes to our portfolios. What about our creative ideas and notes we keep? Try finding a creative partner to share your ideas. You never know what someone else can bring to the table and perhaps you can help them too.

It’s Quick Tip Week – Pick Up Your Camera

Posted: September 8th, 2009

[By Leslie Burns-Dell'Acqua] Go shoot for yourself. This is always the best thing you can do for your marketing — making your own images. Your work will define your vision and your vision is your marketing starting point.

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 [...]

Take a Look

Posted: July 30th, 2009

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

My Sketchbook

Posted: July 28th, 2009

When studying fine arts in college my professors always emphasized the importance of carrying a sketchbook at all times. Ideas can pop up randomly when I least expect them, so to keep them from escaping me, I need to get them captured somehow before forgetting. The best part about a sketchbook is that I can [...]


Posted: July 17th, 2009

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

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 [...]

5 Things You Can Do to Jump-start Your Creativity

Posted: July 15th, 2009

1) Shoot film. Because you won’t get the instant feedback of digital, you’ll have to use bits of your brain that have probably been dormant for a while. 2) Go look at other art. Museums, galleries, wherever you can find art. Think about the process of these other artists and compare it with your own. [...]

Breaking the Rules

Posted: July 14th, 2009

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

This Week We Focus on Creativity

Posted: July 13th, 2009

Stop me if you have heard this before. When I write  about photographing I sometimes feel that I’m repeating the same thing over in slightly different ways. But then maybe there’s only one thing to say. And it’s something along the lines of, “Everything is everything.” So after writing my last post (Taking Pictures for [...]

Taking Pictures for No Reason at All

Posted: June 29th, 2009

That’s how I started in photography. I think it’s how we all start. There’s no client, no place what we do has to fit in. If we have a project at all, it is vague, and if in the course of things a strong picture emerges that doesn’t seem to fit…we changed the project! But [...]

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 [...]

It’s The Idea

Posted: May 14th, 2009

I’m often asked by people “What kind of video camera should I buy?” I must confess that question drives me crazy. It’s kind of like someone asking me what kind of car they should buy. But at least with cars – the end result is pretty much the same – you need something to get [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]


Posted: March 24th, 2009

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