Friday, June 29, 2012

A Website Targeted at Faux-tographers Who Steal Images of Photographers.

One of the things to love about Facebook is the variety of material you can find there. Photographers old and new can always pick up a tidbit here and there about ways to enhance their work, website and products.

Of course, Facebook doesn't come without a bit of drama from time to time. In the past few weeks there was a controversy over an Arkansas photographer who was enhancing her own website; not by using techniques found online, but by using the work of other photographers that yes, she found online. The friends of the victimized photog came to her defense, blowing up the FB page and phone of the "stealer" with comments and links exposing her deeds.

Born from this fiasco is a Tumblr site dedicated to exposing these thieves, appropriately named "Photo Stealers". It depends on readers to submit the names and websites of people who are using other photographers' work (and website text) as their own. Viewers can send a tip using the Submission Form. Hopefully, this will help put a stop to (okay, help somewhat curb) this illegal activity.

Thanks to FStoppers and PetaPixel for links and info contained here!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Get One Year of Photovision for Just $49

One of the most popular methods of learning what's new in photography is to see and hear what other professionals are doing in their own studios. Unfortunately, it's simply not possible to travel the country and drop in on someone. Facebook groups can be helpful, but you really never know if the individual giving the information is accurate or just blowing smoke.
This is where Photovision's DVDs come into play. Every 2 months you receive a new DVD in your mailbox. Pop it into the TV or your computer and watch well-known industry professionals share their methods and techniques. Pause it, play it back, watch your favorite segment over and over. If you prefer to stream it online, you can do that as well!
Photovision has been given the "Hot One" award by the Professional Photographers of America for the quality programming they produce.
I’ve been receiving PhotoVision for years and always looked forward to the arrival of the DVDs in the mail. Even though I consider myself to be “seasoned” I feel like I learn something from every issue! 
Now, you can save $150 by using the promo code PVFAN. Just click on the link below and get all 6 DVDs or streaming video for just $49.
Have fun!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Some Inspiration from the Sandy Puc' Tour . . .

While I was working the NILMDTS table at Sandy Puc's seminar last night, she said something that made me smile and start thinking . . .

Sam was talking about photographers and comparing them to television characters . . . and she said:

"Did you ever notice that Wile E. Coyote has enough money to buy every known gadget from ACME, but apparently doesn't have enough sense to just buy dinner?"

Since the beginning of time, photographers have been gadget hounds. It's always amazing for me to hear the conversation at conventions about "how much I need x product" or "I would just love to have whatshisname's thingamajig" . . . and, I'm guilty of it as well. Almost every photographer has a shelf of things that they had great intentions of using often when they purchased it, but for whatever reason, never really put it into their routine.

Years ago I had a photographer who shot for me who constantly complained about not having enough money to buy a new lens he felt would truly improve his photography. I asked him how much he spent on cigarettes and we figured out that if he quit smoking for 6 weeks, he could have that lens. After that, puff away. (He never did do it . . . )

Then there's The Professor from Gilligan's Island; he's smart enough to be able to make a bicycle-powered washing machine, power the radio from a couple of coconuts and make enough stuff to help them survive, but he can't figure out how to fix a hole in the boat and get them off the island.

I once had a colleague who would invest hours into making studio accessories. Not props and backgrounds, but actual studio equipment. He once decided that instead of just buying a couple of studio lights, he would make a more powerful one himself . . . using parts from a local surplus store. Did it happen? Let's just say that hundreds of dollars (and many years) later, he was still trying to reinvent the wheel when we could have simply purchased one for a few dollars more. There is such a thing as being penny-wise and pound foolish.

Yup . . . I know a few photographers like that. Do you?

We all like shiny stuff. New stuff. Cool stuff. Expensive stuff. Stuff that may or may not make us money. We just need to make those important decisions as we run our businesses.

Will this investment help me make more money, or just add to my cool factor? Is it something I can utilize often enough to make it pay for itself in a short period of time, or is it going to end up having a "shelf-life", living in the back room and rarely seeing the light of day after the initial lustre has worn off? Am I wasting money in other areas that are preventing me from buying the things that I do need to help me grow my business?

Some people are truly daring. Think about the person who first looked at a chicken and said "I'm going to eat the next thing that comes out of that bird's behind!" We are risk-takers by nature . . . after all we decided to go into business for ourselves and walk away from the security of a job where someone else made the decisions and all we had to do was put in our time and collect a paycheck.

Now, we ARE the person who makes those decisions. And the paycheck we collect depends on how well we make them and how quickly we can adapt to change.

Perhaps Sam's best line of the evening was as she closed this segment. "After all, the road is full of flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision."

Don't become a flat squirrel!

(Thanks to Sandy Puc' for some great material!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Where will YOU be in 5 years?

I was reading a Facebook post today in which the writer stated that people looking for low price should expect low quality product.

While we'd all like to believe that is true, less money charged does not necessarily translate to low quality. Sadly, there are some really decent shooters out there who:

- Have no confidence in their work and ability to charge appropriately
- Have no business knowledge and therefore no clue as how to charge appropriately
- Think that they're going to save the world from expensive photographers by practically giving their work away

All of them are thinking that they are running a successful photography business - either full-time or "on the side" - and with the exception of the one who's trying to save the world, truly believe that they're charging as much as they can for their work.

There are a few basic statements that can be made which apply to many people who are new in the business. No, I'm not talking about the ones who went to WalMart or Best Buy and came home with a Rebel kit and a copy of PS Elements. The photographers I am referring to are the ones who have been active for a couple of years, gotten some additional education via traveling seminars and have actually kept themselves somewhat busy. However, they refuse to set their pricing at "market value" because:

Many new photographers are way better than they think they are. 
Most new photographers are severely underpriced.
As a result, most new photographers are making far less than they probably could be making.

Is this you? If so, here are a few more startling facts:

15% of you won't be a professional photographer next year at this time.
38% of you won't be here in 3 years.
50% of you will be out of business within 5 years.

You pick. Which one do YOU want to be?

Here's a graphic from business blogger Barry Ritholtz which outlines the profile of a US Small Business. How closely do you fit?