ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

All Posts By

Jim Cavanaugh

Dear Graduating Class of 2015

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I am writing this to you from a perspective of having sat where you are sitting 40 years ago this month. You have completed your formal education and are looking forward to building a career as a professional photographer and image maker. You are full of enthusiasm and optimism as well as uncertainty and fear. I could tell you that it takes hard work, perseverance, continuing education, business knowledge, brand building and more. (And it…

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Providing Structure for You and Your Clients

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Many small businesses consider policies the province of big business. They also often feel that policies restrict the flexibility and innovation necessary in entrepreneurial businesses. Poor policies can have a detrimental effect, but having a reasonable number of clear, well-crafted policies adds structure to your business, helps resolve client disputes and automates your decision making process. Policies should define activities your business encounters on a day-to-day basis. They should be reasonably broad and not so…

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Staying Out of Coast Mode

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I put an aggressive marketing program into action at the beginning of 2011. Like many other photographers, I suffered through a dramatic decrease in business from the economic downturn that began in 2008. I developed a new portfolio, a new web site, increased social media presence, a new e-mail campaign and most important, I made lots of telephone calls and personal visits to show my book. The results were predictable, 2011 and 1012 sales were…

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Resolving Conflict

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As a business owner, some level of conflict with a small number of your clients is inevitable. The conflict can be over price, change orders, ownership & use, quality, deliverables, deadlines and more. The first key to resolve these types of conflicts is to endeavor to prevent them from happening. Most often, the conflict arises from the client’s unmet expectations and is the result of unclear communication. The first step is to have excellent paperwork…

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LinkedIn – A Powerful Client Research Tool

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LinkedIn has become my most important tool for identifying new clients. While not as popular or user friendly as facebook, LinkedIn has a different culture and is much more about business. Every time I have a new person “link in” with me in LinkedIn, I will add their e-mail address to my Constant Contact mail list. I will also add the person and their company information to my database. I look up and bookmark their…

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The Business of Facebook

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Facebook has grown to be one of my most important business resources.  Once you move beyond Farmville, horoscopes and what your long lost high school friend had for lunch, there can be a wealth of information and the ability to reach out to and build relationships with current and prospective clients. If you are like me, many of your facebook friends are likely other professional photographers. A good number of these photographers will post links…

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Creative Commons, Friend or Foe?

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Ask most photographers about Creative Commons and they will likely respond that it is just a tool for people to use images without having to pay for them. At first glance this may seem true. Creative Commons allows people to use photographs and other intellectual property created by others in several broad categories of use. These are broad licenses where creators receive no compensation. This is the part that most photographers see as a devaluation…

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Sleep On It

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Part of being a business owner is dealing with occasional disputes that will develop with clients, suppliers and assistants. Often times the problem will pop up unexpectedly in the form of a terse e-mail, pointed letter or angry phone call. Human nature has us tend to react defensibly to the situation, especially if it’s a complaint or an accusation. I have found, rather than reacting with the fight or flight response, that I will have…

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You Probably Didn’t Know, but …

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I can’t tell you how many of my photographs I have seen used without a license or permission from me. When I find one or more of my images infringed I take immediate action. My first step is to contact the company or person in writing. I lightheartedly call this letter “You probably didn’t know, but”. The tone of the letter is professional and frank, not stern or threatening. If someone liked my image enough…

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