Archive for General Observations

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 [...]

Resumé of Failures

Posted: May 12th, 2016

[by Barry Schwartz] Barry Schwartz Photographer, writer, educator RESUMÉ OF FAILURES (General Principles Edition, Photography) “Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are [...]

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 [...]

Coherence and Productivity

Posted: November 6th, 2015

[by Barry Schwartz] I am obsessed with developing new skills, part entrepreneurial requirement and part personal obsession (though I suspect obsession is the driver…). In today’s economy, keeping your skills sharp has become a necessity. People who are not entrepreneurs (otherwise known as “employees”), also have to keep their skill sets up-to-date.  Few people work [...]

In Business, Every Week is Shark Week

Posted: November 5th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] As business owners, we’re just like sharks – we keep swimming, or we die. Just as you think the required skills for your genre have been acquired, honed, and then mastered, along comes some new kid with some new technology that your client base seems to adore. While it’s a fool’s errand [...]

Evolve or Die – Sounds Harsh, but Very True

Posted: November 4th, 2015

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] To stay ahead of the pack and keep your revenue growing, you have to ensure you’re providing the services your clients are looking for, and that your business is operating efficiently. Business 101 right? Though I was doing well at ensuring my services are growing to meet my clients needs, I was [...]

Where Everything Starts

Posted: November 3rd, 2015

[by Carolyn Potts] As you may have read in some of my past Strictly Business blog posts, I’m a huge fan of learning how to manage your mind. Gaining the tools to optimize your internal world helps you better manage your external business world. And a better-managed business creates a better bottom line. On top [...]

The Cycle

Posted: November 2nd, 2015

[by John Welsh] Grow or Die. Scary words, right? They speak of challenge and failure. Those words have been floating around this disruptive digital economy for several years. But they are also helping us create great things and the concept should become a permanent part of our thinking rather than something to fear. So is [...]

Preparing for Risks

Posted: October 30th, 2015

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] For me, finding success as a photographer has required one calculated risk after another, year after year. It seems that the farther I go in the industry the greater the level of risk increases and the more seems to be on the line. While it’s true that greater risks often lead to [...]

Risk-Taking Tips For The Risk Averse

Posted: October 29th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] A goal without a plan is just a wish. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Business risk takes many forms, and each risk comes complete with an accompanying set of concerns. Do you finance the expensive new equipment you’ve been wanting, or wait and save up until you can pay cash? Do you try to [...]

Embrace a ‘No-Can-Do’ Attitude

Posted: October 27th, 2015

[by Pascal Depuhl] Why a “No-can-do attitude” may be the best thing ever Ahh, the “No-can-do” attitude. It’s your best friend, when it comes to being creative. “Nope, not gonna happen” is music to my ears. “No way! You’re crazy.” I’ll eat up that attitude all day long. “No! That’s a crazy idea.” Love it! [...]

A Feature Not A Bug

Posted: October 26th, 2015

[by Barry Schwartz] It took me a lot longer than I care to admit to understand that a lack of security is a necessary component of being an entrepreneur. Counterintuitively, actively taking risks is a requirement for a stable career. Championing risk is prescribed in books, magazines, conferences, movies, all over the culture at large, [...]

A Five Step Program for Producers

Posted: July 13th, 2015

[by Richard Kelly] A good producer listens, stays organized and communicates well. A great producer does those things and predicts the future, moves a ton of atoms with ease and shifts time on demand. I was a producer for many years often pairing up my skills as a first assistant and later as a photographer. [...]

One Small Step, One Giant Leap.

Posted: July 2nd, 2015

[by John Welsh] I have yet to meet a photographer who has an identical story; that is, one that relates to their ability to survive and have longevity in the profession. And you, the reader, may want to optimistically replace survive with thrive. It’s a massive gray area and one that’s relative. But forget about [...]

Can You Look Back to See Where You’re Going?

Posted: July 1st, 2015

[by Charles Gupton] Seldom does the arc of your career – or your life in general – ever follow the path that you thought it would when you planned it out. It’s only when looking back at the journey that you can see a connection between the seemingly disparate dots — a pattern or a [...]

To Improve Is To Change; To Be Perfect Is To Change Often.

Posted: June 30th, 2015

[by Pascal Depuhl] I can’t count how many times I’ve changed in my photographic career, from an amateur to becoming an assistant, from assisting to working full-time running an in-house studio at a catalog house, from working for someone else to working for myself as a freelancer. Change is always stressful, whether it entails learning [...]

An Evolutionary Path to Photography

Posted: June 29th, 2015

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] Eckhart Tolle once said, “In seeing who we are not, the reality of who we are will emerge by itself.” My decision to become a photographer and commercial artist wasn’t a lightbulb kind of moment, but more of an illuminated path I followed. When I started my career, “my plan” looked very [...]

Eggs in a Basket

Posted: June 26th, 2015

[by Jenna Close] When I first started my business, I had the specific goal of being the go-to expert for alternative energy photography. I wanted to make beautiful images of solar panels, wind farms, electric trucks, algae biofuel and the like. This idea arose from researching markets that I thought would survive the economic downturn [...]

Always be Reinventing

Posted: June 25th, 2015

[by Richard Kelly] Plotting my career in the early 80’s I never imagined my career today.  Photography industry insider Stephen Mayes describes my current lifestyle as having a “portfolio career” essentially one that includes multiple income streams from a variety of services over a range of industry sectors. What my mother calls having a lot [...]

A Generalized Specialty

Posted: June 24th, 2015

[by Barry Schwartz] My first career was in construction and kitchen-and-bath design, so when I became a professional photographer many years later it was a pretty natural progression to specialize in architectural photography. The business culture was something I understood very well, I already had industry connections, and I was more than happy to hang [...]

Looking Back to Move Forward

Posted: June 23rd, 2015

[by Bruce Katz] When I’m asked to give career advice to emerging photographers or my students that are just starting out in the business I try to take stock of my 30+ year career and distill my experiences down to some basic advice that is still relevant in today’s market. Early in my career I [...]

The Hustle Never Ends

Posted: June 22nd, 2015

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

Time and Diversification

Posted: April 10th, 2015

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

Learning to Pivot

Posted: April 9th, 2015

[by Judy Herrmann] As professional visual story tellers, part of our job is to communicate, interpret and sometimes even define the culture we live in.  I’ve found in my own career that having a strong understanding of the political, economic, social and technological trends affecting the world around us, has helped me anticipate change and [...]


Posted: April 8th, 2015

[by Kevin Lock] Trendy had a negative connotation when I was in Junior High.  At that time my friends and I embraced the punk rock scene.  We wanted to be different from the majority of the students at my school.  We rebelled in the music we listened to, our manner of dress, style of hair  [...]

SXSW – The Future of Media on Display

Posted: April 6th, 2015

[by Peter Krogh] Our industry is clearly in a state of upheaval, so trend watching is an important part of long-term strategic planing. As the media landscape changes, the business models for hiring photographers also change. New skills, new clients and new services are all part of the mix.  So how do we keep tabs [...]

The Magic of Vision

Posted: March 20th, 2015

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] Finding Your Vision It’s easy to get sidetracked from your career goals and there are a whole list of good reasons why it happens. Sometimes an artist has to reinvent themselves because their niche has dried up or they feel creatively unchallenged. Children are born or a parent needs caring for. It’s [...]

A Photographers Vision is “selbstverständlich”

Posted: March 18th, 2015

[by Pascal Depuhl] Vision is one of those uniquely personal experiences. Your vision is just ‘selbstverständlich” as we say in German. (Sorry, but there’s no really good translation for this word. Literally translated it means “understandable on its own.”) Your vision just goes without saying (the official translation). You know your vision when you see [...]

The Value of Instinct

Posted: March 17th, 2015

[by Jenna Close] In my experience, finding your vision is a journey without end. It’s a lifelong part of being a photographer. Previously, my forays into finding my vision could probably be better described as “finding a style”. I would spend a lot of time looking at other people’s work, work that I was drawn [...]

Directing for Stills | Directing for Motion

Posted: March 13th, 2015

[by Rhea Anna] Over the course of my career I have seen agencies looking for a way to integrate their print and broadcast campaigns. Agencies often want to be able to offer their clients a solution that will allow them to combine resources for their print and broadcast projects so they can gain efficiencies while [...]

Engaging Your Subject

Posted: March 12th, 2015

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

What I learned in Directing Actors Class

Posted: March 11th, 2015

[by Richard Kelly] My practice requires me to work with professional actors and models as well as working with non professionals, sometimes on the same project or in the same scene. I learned a long time ago that each person may require different types of direction. The trick is to have a few directing tools [...]

Taking it Further

Posted: March 11th, 2015

[by Sean Kernan] If this week’s bloggers have about 20 years of experience each, that’s 100 years of know-how right there, so I can’t wait to see what the others say. It should go well beyond “tips,” and I’m bound to learn something. Here’s what I’ve got: It is no secret that the writers and [...]

Find Your Natural Patter

Posted: March 10th, 2015

[by Jenna Close] It took me a long time to be comfortable working with people. My big breakthrough came on a job for NBC that required photographing upwards of 60 people in a very particular and stylized way. By the end of the first day I was completely exhausted from inventing things to say to [...]

Casting Counts

Posted: March 9th, 2015

[by Kat Dalager] Whether you’re testing or shooting an assignment, the talent and stylists you choose can make or break a shoot. Be Objective Not all people that look good in person actually look good on camera. Study the talent of successful photographers who are known to do it well. “Real people” talent may be [...]

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

Posted: February 13th, 2015

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

From WTF!?! to AHA!!

Posted: February 11th, 2015

[by Carolyn Potts] Last week I had an AHA moment that could have easily become an OMG! WTF!! moment. While putting together my slides for my “Rebooting your Business Brain 2.0” seminar for the ASMP Houston chapter, my Keynote presentation (Apple’s version of PowerPoint) endured a terminal crash. Despite 4.5 hrs. with a senior tech [...]

Constructive Reflection and the Year Ahead

Posted: January 9th, 2015

[by Francis Zera] The end of a year is a great time for reflection, and at times, for kicking oneself in the pants for past indiscretions. It’s also a great time for optimism for the coming clean slate of a year – a blank calendar for the year ahead feels, to me, anyway, like an [...]

The Future of ASMP

Posted: January 5th, 2015

[by Tom Kennedy] Our role as visual storytellers is critical today, regardless of the genre of photography we are pursuing as members of ASMP. We stand for creating visual images in all forms. Images that work effectively to carry forward messages about the world and enable our clients to make important connections. Our work informs, [...]


Posted: November 25th, 2014

[by Pascal Depuhl] Thank You. We are so busy in today’s society that we often don’t slow down to say thanks — although it’s the right thing to do. The kind thing to do. Mark Twain said that “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see” and thank you [...]

Creating Space for Gratitude

Posted: November 24th, 2014

[by Charles Gupton] Creating time and emotional space to be thankful in the midst of a deep struggle — or even a time of emotional darkness — does not seem either intuitive or congruent with the over-riding fear of the moment. However, I’ve come to believe that it is one of the most important and [...]

The Mobile Future

Posted: November 14th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] The world is going increasingly mobile. A slew of articles such as these posted by the PewResearch Internet Project and Reel SEO point to fascinating new usage patterns on various mobile platforms, particularly for the sharing of photos and the consumption of video. This shift has important implications for visual communicators. 1) [...]

The Big Picture is the Little Screen.

Posted: November 13th, 2014

[by Todd Joyce] You’ll often hear a movie promo or reviewer say, “this was a movie made for the big screen,” yet I bet you’ve never heard “this is a movie made for the little screen.”   But, maybe you should. An overwhelming number of netizens are viewing all web content, exclusively on handheld devices.  Apple [...]

Phone it In

Posted: November 12th, 2014

[by Bruce Katz] So, how can you be smart about the mobile phone/social media revolution and make your way through the almost infinite sea of snapshots and selfies on the web? Is it a useful tool for business, marketing and/or just getting a laugh from friends? I have found that it is a wonderful tool [...]

I Got a Phone in My Pocket

Posted: November 11th, 2014

[by Richard Kelly] In September of 2009 I took out my iPhone and using the camera app made a photograph. I made a few adjustments to color and contrast and uploaded it to Facebook. By the time I walked about 100 yards, I had “likes” on my Facebook page and I was seeing comments from [...]

Own It and CYI

Posted: November 6th, 2014

[by Kat Dalager] When things go wrong – and despite your best efforts, they sometimes will – here are two things you can do to make it right. Own it When something goes wrong, don’t blame your assistant, your producer or your dog. The photographer is ultimately responsible for everything that happens before, during and [...]

Whaddya Mean, You Don’t Know How To Drive My Car?

Posted: November 5th, 2014

[by Francis Zera] Several years ago, I was doing an architecture shoot at a new development that was a bit off the beaten path. I’d worked with the client several times before, but I’d not worked with the new marketing person they’d assigned to the project. Being somewhat new to the job, she’d forgotten to [...]


Posted: November 3rd, 2014

[by John Welsh] I’ve only played it once, and it’s funny to think how removing the wrong structural piece can cause disaster in the context of winning the game.  It’s just like certain jobs – they hinge on one key piece of production, and if perfection isn’t achieved, you’re in a bit of trouble. It’s [...]

The Only Way is Forward.

Posted: October 31st, 2014

[by Richard Kelly] I have had numerous conversations with creative’s of all types contemplating when “things” (meaning business) are going to get back to normal.  I have been a part of these conversations for quite a while, and even started a few myself.  I’ve come to realize that the only way to the new normal [...]

An Honest Job

Posted: October 30th, 2014

[by Barry Schwartz] A major perk of a creative career is the requirement to connect art with the world. One of the most influential newspaper editors of twentieth century, Ben Bradlee, former editor of the Washington Post, died last week.   Bradlee was instrumental in turning the Post into one of the best papers in [...]

Local, National, International

Posted: October 29th, 2014

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

Are You Indispensable?

Posted: October 28th, 2014

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

I Know a Lot of People

Posted: October 17th, 2014

[by Todd Joyce] Having been involved with ASMP on a national level, I know a lot of photographers all over the country. Great people too. They’re all resources to contact to ask about assistants, talent agencies, scouts, stylists, etc. I get calls from ASMP members coming to my area, too, and I’m glad to help. [...]

Fellow photographer. Mentor. Friend.

Posted: October 16th, 2014

[by Kevin Lock] I met my mentor in college and didn’t even know it. While attending San Diego State, I took my first ‘paying’ photographic job at the Daily Aztec.  After only being on staff for a few weeks I attended a slide show presentation on Somalia, presented by a photojournalist whom had begun the [...]

The Phone Call That Made My Career.

Posted: October 15th, 2014

[by Pascal Depuhl] One of my best friends is a photographer. I’ve known him for almost 25 years, actually he is the first guy I ever assisted, I’ve produced for him, he’s used my house as a location, I’ve borrowed his studio, he’s hired my wife as a model…but I want to share how he helped me [...]

With a Little Help From My Peers

Posted: October 14th, 2014

[by Francis Zera] This may sound obvious for an ASMP blog, but the photographers I’ve met through ASMP have definitely made all the difference for my career and for my sanity. Last year, I was invited to bid on what would turn out to be the most valuable gig of my career to date. Problem [...]

What’s the Worst Thing That Can Happen?

Posted: October 6th, 2014

[by Pascal Depuhl] Airplane pilots talk through the worst case scenarios every time they take off. That’s in addition to checking the aircraft before every flight, keeping amazingly detailed maintenance records and following check lists, that get meticulously – well – checked off. A few years ago I had the chance to hear these worst case [...]

Photographers It’s Time to Pivot, or #iwantpaid

Posted: October 3rd, 2014

[by Richard Kelly] For many years, professional photography was commissioned and paid for based on time or pages with no residual income going to the artist. The 1976 copyright act promised a new business model that shifted the ownership of commissioned work to the artist/creator. Licensing photography based on usage, when successfully executed was beneficial [...]

The Future of Image Pricing

Posted: October 2nd, 2014

[by Paul Melcher] The economics of photography are changing. What used to be a simple one picture/one price equation has now evolved into a complex array of options. The biggest change that we have seen in the last 20 years is the adoption and acceptance of the idea that a single image can have different [...]

Compensation for Photographers

Posted: October 1st, 2014

[by Eugene Mopsik] Throughout my 32 year career as a shooter, the business proposition was very stable and easy to grasp. Prospect for work, submit an estimate, shoot a job, edit, deliver selects with rights assignment, client uses and returns work within the limits of the rights assignment. Stock was a means to gain additional [...]

The Future of Work

Posted: September 30th, 2014

[Tom Kennedy] All visual communicators are subject presently to the twin disruptors of technology and digital media that have been constants for the past two decades. These disruptors have radically altered both the supply and demand sides of the economic equation and any consideration of future monetization strategies has to begin here. For most of [...]

The New Right in Front of You

Posted: September 26th, 2014

[by Luke Copping] My girlfriend was always bugging me to take pictures of our dogs. Not just in the backyard running around on my iPhone, but well lit, posed, and formal portraits of our mastiff and our two great danes. I don’t really photograph animals, but when your significant other asks you enough you eventually [...]

Don’t Wait…Too Late

Posted: September 24th, 2014

[by Kevin Lock] I read recently that the iPhone 6 is setting records, and it only just came out. Lines formed at Apple Stores around the country long before the big release on September 19. Sadly, I wasn’t there. I have never been one who had to have the latest. In fact, I am usually [...]

Rejuvenation In Stealth Mode

Posted: September 23rd, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] After a few years of doing the same-old, same-old, I had reached an impasse. My work, giving talks on and consulting with small creative businesses about marketing, had grown stale. Worse, my ability to write had all but dried up, and I’d lost my mojo for the few collaborative projects I’d begun. [...]

Revisiting ‘Vision is Key to Your Success’

Posted: August 1st, 2014

[by Richard Kelly] “As we move into the challenges of our Internet dominant economy, your unique vision is critical to building a sustainable career in this profession. It is the one completely unique offering you bring to the table. Vision is key to your success.” ~ Susan Carr in her Strictly Business blogpost dated November [...]

Working Backwards

Posted: July 31st, 2014

[by John Welsh] I have very few regrets. One of them is found in this post by Tom Kennedy. “Earlier in my career, I worked for a brilliant editor.” I somehow missed that action. And now that the bar has been lowered by The Image That is Good Enough, where can we find wisdom that [...]

Worth a Second Look: How Attractive Can You Be?

Posted: July 30th, 2014

[by Luke Copping] This is a post that I have come back to a lot over the last few years (like many of Colleen’s writings). In a time where so many photographers are needlessly expending energy trying to be all things to all people and putting faith in misleading social media metrics rather than real [...]

Strictly Business On My Mind

Posted: July 29th, 2014

[by Jenna Close] Below are some of the Strictly Business posts that I think of most often. Enjoy. Gail Mooney: Continued Convergence Where are we going? What’s next for our industry? These are questions we can no longer afford to stop asking, ever. To that end, the convergence that Gail speaks of continues to become [...]

Francis Bacon Disrupts His Plans

Posted: June 13th, 2014

[by Sean Kernan] Failure! When the topic was announced, it was oversubscribed at once and they had to add a week to accommodate the would-be writers. As I write this, my guess is that most of us will voice variations on the idea that what looks like failure isn’t necessarily failure at all, that it [...]

To Get Past It, Get Down With It

Posted: June 12th, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] You name it, I’ve blown it: marriage, career, the second-grade book report. (Note to self: do not start reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin the night before your report is due. Or, really, ever.) Nearly 20 years later, I can feel the sting of getting cut from my improv troupe’s “farm team”. If I [...]

Successfully Learning From Failures

Posted: June 11th, 2014

[by Charles Gupton] Several months ago, I made a huge, bumbling mistake. Recently, it reared it’s shaming head and bit me. My mistake was not delivering a proposal for a project we were hired to do. After being hired, I was asked for – and usually, routinely deliver – a written description of what our [...]

Embracing Failure

Posted: June 10th, 2014

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] I was raised in a cultural upbringing that taught me it was dangerous to dream too big, that we should not take risks and to always remain cautiously guarded. Unfortunately, I think that state of mind is all too common in our society. We are taught to avoid failure and by all [...]

Making Peace with Failure

Posted: June 9th, 2014

[by Tom Kennedy] Failure is perhaps the most dreaded word in our vocabulary as professional creative people. To many, the word conjures up painful experiences and devastating losses. It equals loss of income, self respect, and reputation. It can mean a loss of self esteem and self confidence. And it can be paralyzing to creative [...]

I Fail a Lot

Posted: May 30th, 2014

[by Todd Joyce] This isn’t a confession. There isn’t enough time in the day to address all of my issues. Despite all of my failings, I’m proud to say that I put myself in situations where I expect to fail. Yes, in a way, I try to fail. You might say that I’m very successful [...]

Fail Better

Posted: May 29th, 2014

[by Richard Kelly] I’ve read a lot about how today’s younger generation has been given too many “participation” trophies and that we aren’t preparing our children for the “real” competitive world. Our society does not accept failure. We don’t want to accept responsibility for things going wrong. Partly, I suspect, it’s because we fear litigation. [...]

Take Off the Training Wheels

Posted: May 28th, 2014

[by Luke Copping] If you love every single photo you take you are either the world’s best photographer or the world’s most boring one. Without error there is no impetus to improve, and if you can’t improve or find a flaw in your own work it may be time to move onto other challenges in [...]

Taking a Risk and Failing

Posted: May 27th, 2014

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

Failure Isn’t Fatal

Posted: May 26th, 2014

[by Gail Mooney] Failure is something we fear but is inevitable for growth. I know in my own life, whenever I’m not “failing” it usually means I’m not challenging myself.  In the short term things may seem to stay the same but that is rarely true in a creative business. You either grow or you [...]

Your Gift is Worth Something, So Give it Away.

Posted: March 14th, 2014

[by Pascal Depuhl] Every human being is born with it. An innate intelligence, a God-given gift. An amazing ability. You have it, I have it. They’re different and cover the whole spectrum of what people do, from accounting to zoo keeping. My gift is the ability to create visually inspiring stories. I trust you know [...]

On Volunteering

Posted: March 13th, 2014

[by Irene Owsley] It stands to reason that you might volunteer your time with projects or organizations whose ideals you admire and support. You develop an affinity for a group and align yourself with a community.  Early on, I picked up the food and drinks for ASMPDC’s monthly chapter meetings in order to meet photographers [...]

Serve Somebody

Posted: March 12th, 2014

[by Barry Schwartz] There are all kinds of assumptions about the act of “giving back”, and one is that it’s done for free, but that seems too limiting. Giving back can take all kinds of forms, including getting paid, like a job working for a charity or non-profit, where the trade is usually less pay [...]

The Power of Kindness & Giving Back

Posted: March 11th, 2014

[by Chris Winton-Stahle] A respected friend, and established director, once said to me, “I believe in the power of kindness. Pay it forward – keep the cycle going.” This is the mantra that my wife, Heidi, and I follow when giving back to the consumer and business communities. Why Give Back? Just think of the potential! When [...]

Avoiding Donor Burnout

Posted: March 10th, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] In my previous life as an actor, I was graphic designer of record for my theater company, handling every printed piece and web update for the four to eight shows per year that we produced. While I found the experience enormously gratifying in many ways (not least of which that it got [...]

The F Word

Posted: January 24th, 2014

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

Craft is Not Connection

Posted: January 23rd, 2014

[by Paul Oemig] A small child takes a piece of paper, a couple markers and crayons, and begins to draw a picture. He struggles, tongue-biting, his hand slipping occasionally, but finally completes the drawing to his liking; he adds a few words below. It’s crude: a corner has been torn, the colors don’t mesh, the figures are disproportionate, [...]

Jazz Masters

Posted: January 22nd, 2014

[by Barry Schwartz] The annual induction of Jazz Masters took place a couple of weeks ago, an award given by the National Endowment for the Arts.  The New York Times relayed some of the speech given by inductee 68-year-old saxophonist and composer Anthony Braxton: “Even today, I refer to myself as a professional student of [...]

Many Roads Lead to a Good End

Posted: January 21st, 2014

[by Jenna Close] I’ve had personal projects on my mind lately. Besides fueling creativity and preventing burn out, this type of work is an effective promotional tool and I see that trend growing. Lately, I’ve been investigating new ways (new to me, at least) of building momentum. A few of the ideas I’m most excited [...]

Staying Relevant

Posted: January 9th, 2014

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

Big Ears

Posted: November 20th, 2013

[by Bruce Katz] Over the past few years I tried hard to pay more attention to how I communicate and relate to my clients.  I’ve learned that producing excellent work on set isn’t always enough and that establishing real trust with your clients can make the difference between a longterm repeat client and a one-off [...]

My Phone and I

Posted: November 14th, 2013

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

It’s Not Strictly Business

Posted: November 11th, 2013

Editor’s note: I first met Paul Oemig at WPPI On the Road in Chicago. Our conversation on the changing role of professional photographers inspired the subsequent Bulletin article, It’s Like This Now, and our inaugural evolution/revolution webinar.  I am delighted to introduce him as a new contributor to the ASMP Strictly Business Blog. ~JH [by [...]

A Great ROI at Photo Plus Expo.

Posted: November 1st, 2013

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

Lights! Cameras! People!

Posted: October 31st, 2013

[by Shawn Henry] Most people go to Photo Plus Expo for the show; hoping to see and handle the latest and greatest gear. Lights! Cameras! That’s their Action! (For the record, the new Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras could be a cool addition to your kit whether you shoot Nikon, Canon or Sony…) Others go for [...]

Who Turned the Lights On?

Posted: October 30th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] One week ago today, ASMP held our annual member meeting in New York where we launched our refreshed logo and color palette. For several years, we’ve been fielding member complaints that our old logo looked dated. Crowded online and social spaces have fostered a bolder, snappier graphic design aesthetic across the board. [...]

“Get Better” Goals for Continuous Improvement

Posted: October 25th, 2013

[by Tom Kennedy] Earlier this summer, I had the chance to catch up on some reading for pleasure that included a book by Heidi Grant Halvorson entitled “9 Things Successful People Do Differently.”  It is a quick read distilling information gleaned from her personal research and that conducted by other scientists who study psychological motivation. [...]

New Story Insights

Posted: October 24th, 2013

[by Charles Gupton] You can’t swing a stick in the business world these days without encountering the need for better stories in all aspects of a company’s communication. But how do you discover a better story to tell? One key to a better story is to tell a different story; to step away from the [...]

Repeat Slowly

Posted: October 2nd, 2013

[by Barry Schwartz] Sometimes it takes awhile before I understand something is important. Not infrequently the way I achieve that state of higher consciousness is through repetition. Repetition is the basis of both our education system and advertising. After that, what else is there? So for instance. I’ve been told countless times what kinds of [...]

Choosing Your Vision

Posted: October 1st, 2013

[by Charles Gupton] The morning that two planes hit the towers of the World Trade Center, a traumatic wake-up call rang around the world. But a few months earlier, a call had come to me that had an even greater impact on our immediate lives. In that call, I lost – for most of the [...]

Repurposing Your Content

Posted: September 4th, 2013

[by Kat Dalager] What is content? To backtrack a bit, let’s make a distinction between photography and content. Photography is content, but not all content is photography. Content can be still or moving imagery, sound, music or text. The new uses of content require a paradigm shift in how marketers distribute their messages. Fundamentally, it’s [...]

Finding Your Online Voice

Posted: August 30th, 2013

[by Rosh Sillars] A picture is worth 1,000 words, but search engines can’t read them. Develop an online voice and the search engines – and people – will find you and share your work. Where do you begin? The best place to start is thinking about the questions people ask you:  How did you create [...]

Find The Voice You Already Have.

Posted: August 29th, 2013

[by Sean Kernan] Most photographers clutch when they are told they have to write something–the dreaded Artist’s Statement, for example–but time and again I have shown them that they can do it, using an incredibly simple exercise. What they learn is that it’s not a matter of writing but of seeing. Here’s the assignment as [...]

Use Your Words

Posted: August 28th, 2013

[by Luke Copping] Some of the most poorly planned and written e-mails that I have ever received were penned by fellow photographers. There, I said it. From blunt, single sentence messages asking for assisting positions to long-winded industry rants fueled by rage and devoid of punctuation. These messages can be frightful cocktails of bad narrative, [...]

Write Like You Shoot

Posted: August 27th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] One of the most common pieces of advice I hear given to non-writers who want to learn the secrets behind writing well is “write like you talk.” It’s terrific advice, especially when you’re stuck (I reject the notion of “writers’ block”). What trips up many of us is this insane notion that [...]

Make It Personal

Posted: August 26th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] “We are living the communication age”. (I got that quote from the internet). Whether through photography or by the written word each of us has a voice that is heard by more people than ever before. (That’s me just winging it). So what are the rules for attractive and effective communication? To [...]

What I Wish I Knew Then…

Posted: August 16th, 2013

[by Luke Copping] When this question came up as a part of this blogging assignment I was really excited. It seemed like a perfect chance to write about many of the topics that I often feature in my articles on Strictly Business: creative action, self exploration, involvement in culture, and crafting your own vision and [...]

Advice That I Would Give…

Posted: August 15th, 2013

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

Advice to Self

Posted: August 14th, 2013

[by Charles Gupton] Although I don’t believe there’s any value in looking back on your life with regret, I do believe there is much to be learned by assessing your missteps. Why continue to make the same ones repeatedly? A couple of tips I’d share with my younger self would be to develop meaningful relationships [...]

A Message in a Time Capsule

Posted: August 13th, 2013

[by Gail Mooney] When I was first starting out after graduating from Brooks Institute, I was fortunate to get some great advice from some well-seasoned pros. Almost every one of them told me to learn the business end of photography if I wanted to stay in business. Wise words, but perhaps the best advice I [...]

The Most Important Skill

Posted: August 12th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] When I first started out in photography, I was often told that the business would be difficult, that I would have to work hard.  Looking at it from the relative safety of the classroom, I thought this advice meant I needed to learn more of what I was already doing: better lighting, [...]

ASMP and CEPIC in Partnership at CEPIC 13

Posted: June 21st, 2013

[by Christina Vaughan] When I was elected President of CEPIC in 2009 in the East German city of Dresden, I was bowled away by the fascinating buildings and art treasures. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city center. A controversial Allied aerial bombing towards the end of [...]

Reaching New Audiences

Posted: June 20th, 2013

[by Benjamin Lowy] I recently completed a whirlwind trip to Barcelona to participate in the annual CEPIC Congress. In a nutshell it’s a meeting of all the organizations and companies that make income from the selling and buying of stock photography. The dominant conversations at the convention were less about the creation of unique photography [...]

Just These Three Things

Posted: June 19th, 2013

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

What’s ASMP doing in Barcelona?

Posted: June 17th, 2013

[by Eugene Mopsik] On Tuesday, June 11, ASMP partnered with CEPIC – the association for stock image distributors in the UK, Europe, Scandinavia and Asia to produce a day of photographer centered programing for their annual Congress. In an effort to learn more about the market for images out side of the US, ASMP first attended [...]

Your New Job

Posted: June 14th, 2013

[by Judy Herrmann] “You can no longer market to the anonymous masses. They’re not anonymous and they’re not masses.  You can only market to people who are willing participants.” ~Seth Godin Technology has given today’s audiences the ability to effortlessly bypass any communications that fail to engage them. As more platforms move towards delivering increasingly [...]

My Dog is So Useful For Taking Pictures of Cats

Posted: June 11th, 2013

[by Barry Schwartz] My dog is so useful for taking pictures of cats.  I usually walk him without a leash, and when we’re out where there might be something interesting to take a picture of, I bring a camera.  That would be almost anywhere. My dog, Whiskey, is rather interested in cats, and they in [...]

Pick You

Posted: May 10th, 2013

[By Rosh Sillars] Seth Godin famously advises: Don’t wait for others to pick you. This is certainly good advice when it comes to the publishing industry. As someone who has published books via traditional publishers, I’m not fearful of publishing on my own. You shouldn’t be either. Yes, there are advantages, such as distribution channels [...]

Don’t Rush to Right Wrongs

Posted: May 3rd, 2013

[By Colleen Wainwright] I hate it when things don’t go the way I want. Whether I let down a single client or a whole audience-full, delivering anything less than a stellar experience breaks my heart and bruises my pride. And that’s where I get into trouble. Because my ego really, really dislikes the hit, my [...]

Visualizing Your Day

Posted: May 2nd, 2013

 [By Selina Maitreya] One of the most powerful tools that I have been bringing to my clients recently is a daily scan.The purpose of the scan is to rid yourself of fear and prepare to walk through the day, with positive energy leading the way. Practiced before getting out of bed, this exercise enables you [...]

Past Performance

Posted: April 30th, 2013

[By Barry Schwartz] Boy do I hate making mistakes. I wasted time; time you don’t get back. I obviously wasn’t paying attention. I probably don’t know what I’m doing and somebody is about to find out. I clearly started out wrong, now I’m paying the price. I should have finished my degree, then I wouldn’t [...]

Top Five Best-est Pieces of Business Advice I Have Ever Received

Posted: April 11th, 2013

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] It’s just too hard to narrow down all the great business advice I’ve ever received into a single tid-bit so rather than limit myself, here are my top five: Don’t Wait for Everything to be Perfect. If you wait until your marketing is perfect, your portfolio is perfect, your mailing list is [...]

The Best Advice I Ever Got

Posted: April 10th, 2013

The best business advice I ever got was to always remember it’s not personal, it’s business. Work is called work for a reason. We work hard. Sometimes the ups and downs of business are mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. When the ride is at a high it can be exhilarating, refreshing, and enlightening! But when [...]

The Parts and the Whole Relationship

Posted: April 9th, 2013

[by Barry Schwartz] The best business advice I ever got had nothing to do with business. When I was in my early twenties, anti-intellectual, hyper-kinetic, unfocused, and curious about everything, I became friends with a neighbor, a professional intellectual.  Gregory Bateson was the stepfather of a friend and we sat in on the student seminars [...]

Letting Go

Posted: April 8th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] Before I ever decided to become an actor, I’d heard people say it many, many times: “If you don’t absolutely have to act, don’t!” I followed this advice–reluctantly–on either end of my acting career. It took a good (and, sometimes, bad) 10 years of working in advertising to realize (and, finally, admit) [...]

The Boy Scout Theory

Posted: March 22nd, 2013

[by Barry Schwartz] As a city boy, I joined the Boy Scouts to get out into the boonies to places I’d never been.  I had no idea what I was getting into; the same thing happened when I became an entrepreneur. Experiencing the Great Outdoors was all I wanted, so I did not take the [...]

Are You Truly Open to Creativity?

Posted: March 20th, 2013

 [by Selina Maitreya] Are you? Most photographers would automatically answer yes. After all they work in the arts. They shoot photographs, AND their clients are demanding they show up with a body of work that revolves around a defined and refined vision. “Of course I am  open to creativity” most would respond. While many say they [...]

What is Your Combination?

Posted: March 19th, 2013

[by Rosh Sillars]  My big idea is called the Combination Code. The Internet, social media and search engines have lowered the barrier of entry to many industries, including photography. In spite of the added competition to the market, many photographers still flourish. One way photographers continue to succeed, based on my observation, is to employ [...]

That Bridge You Burned? It’s Still Burning

Posted: March 15th, 2013

[by Blake Discher] We all deal with adversity throughout our careers, say, for example, when you lose a big job you were confident you would get.  There’s lots of good advice on what to do when faced with these challenges.  Equally important is what NOT to do… Because I read many professional photography forums each [...]

Setback OR StepBack?

Posted: March 14th, 2013

[by Selina Maitreya] In my life, most major events or occurrences that I initially perceived as SETBACKS were actually doors opening. If instead of feeling as if I was experiencing a set back and I simply  “stepped back” and waited peacefully to see what would transpire next, I could have saved myself (and many others [...]

When Things Go Wrong, Don’t Rush To Right Them

Posted: March 13th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] There are no feelings I dread more than the ones accompanying failure: anger, frustration, and especially sadness are far less fun than the fist-pumping joy of success. No wonder I always want to skip them and go straight to fixing the problem. What I’ve learned, though, is that when I don’t take [...]

Cherish the Process

Posted: March 12th, 2013

[by Charles Gupton] Humans, especially Westerners, seem to be addicted to results. Whether in sports, politics, business, or academics, people are obsessed with outcomes based on numbers. When the victories we desire fall short of our expectations, we frequently suffer emotional set backs that can cause creative paralysis. But the trouble with results is that [...]


Posted: March 11th, 2013

[by Jenna Close] I’ll never forget The Year From Hell.  In the span of 3 months my partner had to make a few expensive trips to the hospital, our steadiest client went bankrupt and the $7600 they owed us sunk with the ship, there was a blow-up over RC Heli use that caused us to [...]

Your Most Important Tool Isn’t In Your Bag

Posted: February 15th, 2013

[by Kimberly Blom-Roemer] There’s something that is often overlooked in our business.  It is the most abused, but yet the most vitally important thing: You! How are you taking care of you? When was the last time you sat for 15 minutes quietly, unplugged from everything, and not waiting on something or trying to go [...]

My Big Idea for the Year? A Smaller Lens.

Posted: February 12th, 2013

[by Kevin Lock] I appreciate simplicity and consider myself a minimalist.  I am not materialistic or greedy. When it comes to photographic equipment, I don’t have a ton of gear.  I carry two Nikon bodies with me to all shoots, I have a 70-200 on one body and a 28-70 on the other, but I [...]

Two Letters — DP

Posted: January 10th, 2013

[by Richard Harrington] The letters DP may mean digital photography to you.  Or perhaps director of photography if you have a cinematic background.  Here’s another meaning, digital publishing. I have been diving deep into the world of being a digital content creator.  The tools are now in your hands (or could be almost instantly).  I [...]

The Power is in the Question. Isn’t it?

Posted: January 8th, 2013

[by Charles Gupton] The quest started for me at ASMP’s SB2 conference in Atlanta several years ago. It was the quest for better questions. Our brains are incredibly powerful and magnificent organs. The calculations and associations our minds make every moment of the day are amazing. At the same time, our mind can be rather [...]

Rethinking Knowledge in a Connected Society

Posted: January 7th, 2013

[by Jay Kinghorn] “The smartest person in the room is the room itself: the network that joins the people and ideas in the room and connects to those outside of it…knowledge is becoming inextricable from-literally unthinkable without-the network that enables it.” ~ David Weinberger, Too Big to Know Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of [...]

In The Weeds

Posted: January 4th, 2013

[by Barry Schwartz] I used to take my dog to the best dog park ever.  Well-watered grass, shade trees, about half an acre, a short drive from the house, lots of parking, owned by a local gas company who graciously allowed anyone to use it. A sweet deal.  I went every couple of weeks. The [...]

Looking Forward to 2013

Posted: December 21st, 2012

[by Gail Mooney] It’s that time of year when everyone seems to reassess where they’re at in life.  While the year winds down, it seems natural to look back at where you’ve come and look forward to where you’re going. It’s really hard to look back sometimes, especially if you stress too much over things [...]

Lessons I’ve Learned – 2

Posted: December 20th, 2012

[by Selina Maitreya] Never underestimate the power of a talented, driven photographer. The world is full of folks who give only half of what they have, give 120% and you will shine. If you wait long enough things will shift completely. What goes around, comes around so be kind and honest and it will return [...]

Every Day

Posted: November 8th, 2012

[by Barry Schwartz] When I got started in this business, I wish someone had warned me about a particular experience I have every morning. Every morning, I lay in bed and think about what my day is going to be like.  And every day I’m wrong.  It’s like Groundhog Day (except each day is different). [...]

Photo Plus Expo 2012

Posted: October 30th, 2012

[by Gail Mooney] I’ve been coming to the Photo Expo since it began, way before it came to Javits.  As I walked around the floor this year, and attended a few seminars, I thought about how much it has changed over the years. The expo is kind of a reflection of what is going on [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

The Client Perspective

Posted: February 16th, 2012

[by Selina Maitreya] “What DO clients really want?” I hear that question all the time as I work with my photographers helping them build businesses that thrive. It’s remarkable . With all of the changes that we have witnessed and transitioned through, the one thing that has not changed is the answer to that very [...]

Where is Your Mind?

Posted: February 14th, 2012

[by Charles Gupton] Where is your mind when a client calls or emails you about a project? Invariably, my mind is buried in the details of some other project — or I’m on location shooting. Where my mind isn’t, at that moment, is on the client’s needs or concerns. But I know that if I [...]

Trading Shoes

Posted: February 13th, 2012

[by Jenna Close] There’s nothing like the other side of the coin to put things into perspective.  Earlier this year I found myself searching for a website designer.  In the process, I learned a few things about being a client. It’s stressful… The client’s colleagues and boss will be judging THEM based on how YOU [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Photography & Society; The Pro’s, The Hobbyists and Me

Posted: November 11th, 2011

[by Kevin Lock] 182 years ago Louis Daguerre invented his eponymous daguerreotype and photography was born.  With this new medium came a competitive and complex world that has conflicted the artist within and simultaneously seduced him/her into the realm of capturing the moment for financial gain. Fast forward to 2011 and you will find that [...]

The Impact of the Camera Phone and Citizen Journalism

Posted: November 10th, 2011

[by Richard Harrington] While much justifiable criticism has been levied against the evolution of cellphone cameras, there is a tremendous beneficiary… journalism.  We know have a literal global network of camera operators with the ability to capture newsworthy events and transmit usable photos. Many photographers dismiss this technological shift. After all, how can a point-and-shoot [...]

Technology Changes Place New Importance on Visual Literacy

Posted: November 9th, 2011

[by Tom Kennedy] In an era of  maximum image saturation, where every iPhone is a camera and no aspect of human activity goes undocumented, no matter how mundane, new questions emerge as to the value and utility of photography as a means of understanding human experience. As someone who began as my career as a [...]

People Watching

Posted: November 8th, 2011

[by Judy Herrmann] One of the most important functions I perform as a business owner is paying attention to the societal trends that affect my business.  Every decision I make – from the visual approach I take to producing new imagery to the prospective clients I target and the income streams I pursue – is [...]

Wikileaks and You

Posted: November 7th, 2011

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

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.  [...]

What Goes Around Comes Around

Posted: November 3rd, 2011

[by Barry Schwartz] All business is personal – especially when you work for yourself.  I’ve never forgotten something I heard Blake Discher say in one of his fantastic seminars, that when he tracked views on his website, his personal work was the only gallery where viewers typically looked at every picture. I had just recently [...]

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 [...]

Picking the Perfect Personal Project

Posted: November 1st, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] As a lifelong sufferer of Shiny Object Syndrome, I’ve generally chosen my non-work pursuits based on whatever glittery thing grabbed me. While it’s fun yielding to serendipity now and then, bigger projects requiring lots of my precious time/energy/attention tend to work out best when they’re rooted in some deeper longing and aligned [...]

No Validation Necessary

Posted: October 31st, 2011

[by Gail Mooney] I recently had the honor of having one of my still images on display in the Senate Rotunda in Washington DC.  It was one of eleven photographs in the Copyright Alliance exhibit,  “Recording Our History: Faces Behind the Camera“. It was this portrait of blues drummer Sam Carr that I shot in [...]

The Glamorous World of Doing What You Love

Posted: October 21st, 2011

[by Jenna Close] Corporate photography….often when non-photographers find out this is what I do, they ask why I did not pick a more ‘glamorous’ genre in which to ply my trade. I imagine they are thinking of Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz.  I do not make my living shooting celebrities or landscapes.  It’s not me.  [...]


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 [...]

Video is no Longer a Market Genre

Posted: October 19th, 2011

[by Gail Mooney] When I started giving seminars about video for ASMP a few years back, video was a separate genre of “photography.” In fact, most didn’t even consider it a genre of photography at all, but rather a totally different skill set and craft. Fast forward three years and video has infiltrated just about [...]

The Gift of Focusing Your Vision

Posted: October 17th, 2011

[by Selina Maitreya Today, vision is the front end sell in the world of commercial photography. Clients look to assignment photographers to have a defined vision applied to a subject area and expect a complete body of work, that represents the photographers “specialty.” Many photographers still resist the idea of focusing their talents, there is [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]


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 [...]