ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

All Posts By

Francis Zera

I’ve Been Everywhere, Man: Seven Tips For Traveling Photographers

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Traveling is good fun, but traveling for a photo gig and dragging along all the necessary photo gear can quickly put a damper on that fun. To help ease the pain, here are seven travel tips based on my frequent out-of-town photo projects. Pelican-style hard cases are your friend. They’re bulky, heavy, unwieldy, unattractive, expensive, and pretty much indestructible. Therefore, they’re indispensible for traveling with fragile lighting gear. In addition to securing my cases with…

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Inspiration Information

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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 tips to either recover that missing creative mojo or, even better, to avoid losing it in the first place. Stop buying all those…

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In Business, Every Week is Shark Week

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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 to be constantly trying to catch up, it’s a wise choice to keep on top of new technology and techniques so you can…

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Risk-Taking Tips For The Risk Averse

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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 enter into a new photographic genre that you’re really passionate about, or should you stay put, where things are relatively predicable? Do you…

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

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Contract law is powerful — you ‘re able to sign away legal rights that you otherwise automatically have (along with the opposite situation, depending on which side of the contract you’re on), so it’s no wonder that contract negotiations often feel precarious and sometimes downright frightening. Here are a some tips to help smooth the process: Include either the agreed-upon usage terms (or your default terms) in your initial bid. Also include the finalized terms…

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When Losing is Actually Winning

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The most important thing I keep in mind when bidding on projects, especially those gems that I really, really, want, is that this is business, and business can be rough, so stay confident but don’t get your hopes up. I’ve had plenty of bids simply disappear into the void, with the client never contacting me again nor responding to a follow-up call or email. I’ve also won many bids by being patient. There are as…

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Building Trust is Key When Working With Architects

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When negotiating contracts with architecture firms, construction companies, developers, engineers, and design firms you have to think about a lot more than just the time it will take to create the images. While some projects are logistically straightforward, many productions require lots of organization and planning. You may need to hire several assistants, a digital tech, stylist(s) and/or a producer, obtain permits and specialized insurance, and perhaps work with the city to temporarily close off…

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Add It Up — Intangibles Can Help You Seal the Deal

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When all other things are close to equal between you and a competitor bidding on a job, intangibles, including added value, are often what gives the edge to the successful bidder. Many clients already understand the core value that comes with professional photography; they just need to find the right combination of professionalism, knowledge, experience, productivity/work ethic, and quality work. Others need more guidance; we all know that going with the low bid or working…

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Now Get Out There and Fight!

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For those just venturing out into the big, crazy world after however long a stint in photography school (or for those intrepid souls diving in to the business without formal training), here are some thoughts from someone who’s been around the block enough times to know what the gutters look like as well as what’s inside those nice houses on the sunny side of the street. First, it’s not as bad as everyone makes it…

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

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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. Creativity comes in myriad forms. We’ve all come across photographs that have made us feel like amateurs by comparison; other times the accolades…

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