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by Jamie Rose, Director of Momenta Workshops
When I began my career as a photographer many years ago, I signed up for National Press Photographers Association and first learned about their seminar and convention programs. Being strapped for cash, as most graduate students are, I was informed NPPA gave free tuition to attend the Northern Short Course to students who volunteered for the program. As a volunteer, I attended my first ever NSC in Providence and was hooked.
With free portfolio reviews by some of the industry’s best editors, seminars ranging from lighting to business skills, keynote speakers like Bill Eppridge, Joe McNally and social gatherings until the wee hours of the morning with titans like Sam Abell, I left with my batteries recharged, new photo story ideas and a fresh perspective on the industry.
I’ve attended numerous workshops, seminars and conventions ever since and have always felt it was money well spent. The PDN PhotoPlus Expo in New York is a great place to see seminars, get inspired by amazing speakers and shop for the latest gadgets and gear. Likewise, the Look3: Festival of the Photograph is a wonderful 3 day event held in Charlottesville which celebrates photography from all over the world with three photography legends presenting each day.
This year, I am a guest presenter at the NSC in Providence and will be teaching seminars on The Business of Nonprofits Photography and Photo Mechanic: In the Field. My fellow presenters and speakers are awe inspiring: Matt Eich, David Gilkey, Karen Kasmauski, Amy O’Leary and so many more. The workshops cover audio and multimedia, Final Cut software training, business skills for freelancers, a student’s guide to presenting your work and much more.
As any photographer who has attended one of these seminars will tell you, professional development and networking in person cannot compare to being Facebook friends with photographers or hitting a happy hour every once in a while with other pros. The skills learned and the people you meet at these weekend-, week- or even day-long seminars is invaluable for your professional growth. I’ve made some of my best friends in the industry at these conventions, reconnected with colleagues I’ve not seen in years and seen presentations that reminded me why I became a photographer.
Every year, NPPA and other organizations offer scholarships for students and working professionals. For example, the NSC offers full tuition opportunities for working pros and volunteering in exchange for the attendance fees and there are slots left for 2011. Many other groups offer members a discounted rate and reduced tuition for students. With prices under $500 for many seminars, you simply can’t pass these opportunities up.
Trust me when I tell you: you won’t be disappointed when you invest in your career in this way!
An interview with Mary Virginia Swanson, creative consultant on making and marketing art. Written for our friends at APA National.
MB: First of all, thank you for taking the time to add your insight and expertise on this subject for the rest of us to benefit from. As we’ve discussed in the past, I started out as a fine art photographer in the late eighties, well before the internet gave artists access to a global marketplace. I’ve seen first hand how commercial photographers have gone from shipping physical portfolios from agency to agency as their primary form of promotion to circulating links to a wide distribution list with a well designed email campaign. How have you seen the world of promotion and commerce change for the fine art photographer over the last 10-15 years?
MVS: Today, introducing your work to new audiences or keeping in touch with those whom you’ve met should be consistent in brand identity and intention whether it is in print or via email. Depending on the market segment you are targeting, using social media such as Facebook and Twitter may be appropriate. Regardless, your website should be the anchor of your marketing, featuring a tight edit of images, and a clear message, with simple navigation.
By Jamie Rose, Director of Momenta Workshops
Trust me when I say this: I know how busy you are! There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the week between client relations, editing, post production, invoicing and photographing. However, even the busiest photographers will agree, you still need to make time for professional development. The easiest and most fun way to accomplish this is to get involved with your professional community.
Be a Joiner
Joining a photographic organization can provide you with many professional resources you don’t get by working in isolation. You will have access to other photographers, editors and multimedia producers in your area. You can find mentors, editors, assistants and even job opportunities. Many professional groups have a vast array of educational and learning opportunities normally free or discounted for members. As a former board member of the WHNPA: White House News Photographers Association and the current President of WPOW: Women Photojournalists of Washington, joining a professional organization is a great way to develop your network, expand your leadership skills and meet other passionate photographers.
You can start by getting involved in large international organizations like NPPA, APA, ASMP, ASPP and PPA which provide regional groups, seminars, workshops and learning experiences for photographers from all parts of the country and the world. These groups are great for finding resources for projects you are working on, getting discounts on gear and insurance or even having access to job listings.
Think Globally, Act Locally
Local chapters of these organizations are also a great way to increase your business presence in your hometown. For example, ASPP DC-South is very active in Washington, DC and offers seminars, lectures and membership slideshow events. City- or region-based organizations in your region are another great asset. In many cases, the dues are smaller and the networks are easier to navigate for new photographers. WHNPA , for example, is open to regionally based photographers in Washington but offer wonderful networking opportunities, members-only contests and grants, and local event-based support like Inauguration resources.
Consider starting your own group or organization. You can create a LinkedIn or Facebook group, like the Maryland Photographer Ladies. Help it grow by offering opportunities to group members. WPOW started as a small group of local female photojournalists who wanted to gather quarterly to share their work, encourage young photojournalists and learn from each other’s experience. Today, the organization has grown into a nonprofit with over 200 members and offers exhibits, mentorship, workshops and educational opportunities for its members.
Take the Lead
After you’ve been a member for a while, consider joining a committee. If you are really ambitious, take the plunge by running for an officer position or heading a committee. You will expand your leadership skills and be seen as a leader by your peers. No matter whether you choose a large or small organization or to create your own, you won’t regret the free time spent on this part of your career. Once you start getting involved, you’ll be amazed at the great experiences, great friends and great connections you will make!
For more suggestions or questions about starting your own organization, please feel free to contact Jamie Rose directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When we are defining our company’s branding identity, we often create a design based on our preferences. We like red and such our identity becomes a red logo. Or, the trend color is turquoise and the website becomes turquoise. The problem with creating branding identity based on these preferences is that it is built on the surface of a business. This type of identity doesn’t represent what runs deep in our business.
Want to build a strong brand that best represents your business? Sit down and define the following:
From here, work to define the identity that will draw people to your company. Powerful identity will work to link the customer’s eye with your business inside and out.
Branding is so much more than your logo, website, and stationery. It is in the way you answer the phone, the way you dress for a meeting, the way you present your porfolio. Branding that is carried through all aspects of your business will create a consistent experience for your customer. It is this consistent experience that makes your brand strong. These factors are what makes a brand become instantly recognizable and highly valuable.
Wanna learn more? Visit Sage Wedding Pros’ blog for more on mission statements, values, and branding.
It’s hard to pass up on buying new gear, new equipment. There is always something cool and cutting edge out there. And, we feel compelled to keep up with our competition. We hope this will improve our work, give us something unique to offer the client. So, we purchase and run with it…. Only for a few months… Until the next big thing.
The client could care less. Sure – they want quality and they want delivery. But ultimately, there is only ONE thing the client cares about: YOU!
The client wants to know that you are listening and want to meet his or her needs.
The client wants a RELATIONSHIP.
We all want this. We all want to know that whomever we hire for whatever we need is listening to what we say. We take our car to the mechanic. Do we care what tool he is using to fix the thinga-majigger? Nope. All we care about is that he is listening to our needs. We care that he is trustworthy and dependable and is quoting us a fair price for the work done. We want to know that he is looking out for our best interest. I had a mechanic like this when I lived in LA. I still dream of driving my broken down car 3000 miles cross-country just to have John do the repairs. Why? Because I know he listened to me. And, I trusted him. And, I liked the guy. I wanted (and still want) to do business with John.
When you stop to think about this, the client’s needs are quite simple. The client wants a relationship with YOU. Sure, your work will impress him. You bet that she’ll want to know you can deliver. But ultimately this all boils down to WHO YOU ARE. Are you listening to him? Are you helping them? Are you kind? Are you trustworthy? Are you fun?
We are in the business of selling relationship, nothing more.
Wanna learn more? Visit Sage Wedding Pros’ blog for more on sales to the wedding and event industries.
Our thanks to APA for the following article, penned by our very own Matt Bailey.
Do you want to add more dimension – and distinction – to your brand? Start using video on your website.
Video can help you market yourself as a professional who brings more to the table than a handful of carefully selected images. It can help you develop an effective brand, communicate your personal vision and illustrate what it’s like to work with you. And, with a slew of HDSLR cameras on the market and numerous other gadgets to help you capture video, it’s never been easier.
Where should you start?
The uses of online video can range from highlighting your videography work to showcasing a slideshow of stills. You can also use videos in lieu of a traditional “bio” page, to present testimonials or as a behind-the-scenes look at how your studio operates.
To view some different ways that photographers are using video online, check out these photographers’ websites:
Mark Wallace and
Follow the link if you want to read the full article @ APA
Justin Francis won’t tell you he’s a big deal, but he is. He’s a New York-based director, filmmaker and photographer who made his name in the music industry and has worked with the likes of Mariah Carey, The Cure, 50 Cent, Eminem, Gwen Stefani and The Roots. He’s the mastermind behind Alicia Keys’ award-winning “Unbreakable” and “No One” videos, and this year he directed commercials for companies such as Target, M&Ms, Dunkin’ Donuts and Adidas.
It wasn’t until later, after he had established himself in the film industry, that Justin began to focus on his other passion: Still photography. It was then – in January of 2008 – that he decided he needed a website to house his images, as well as some of his videos. He was one of the first liveBooks customers to effectively implement video on the Web.
In this Q and A session, we asked Justin to share his insights and offer advice to those who are just starting to incorporate video on their websites.
I don’t care if you’ve been in business for 2 months or 20 years; this is something that is always of concern to small business owners. And, for those people who feel comfortable in their pricing, it is a short-lived comfort. Pricing must always be examined and re-examined.
Are you priced appropriately?
Take a look at the following factors and consider how they impact your pricing:
But, in the photography world there is one major component of pricing that is often forgotten: YOU. What about your TIME, your LABOR?
Editor’s Note: Dr. Jeffery M. Levine was recently featured in the New York Times article, “The Elderly, Through the Eyes of a Geriatrician.” Levine (a liveBooks customer) discusses geriatrics and the combination of art and medicine on his healthcare blog, www.jmlevinemd.com.
As a young doctor starting out in my profession I wanted to stake a claim in academia – doing research and teaching about human aging. What I achieved is something different from what I originally intended when I began my project of visually documenting the process of growing old.
Initially I tried to catalog the physical manifestations of aging. Using Kodachrome slide film and flash, I captured changes of the skin and musculoskeletal system, supplementing my portfolio with x-rays that enhanced understanding of the physiology of growing old. One day out of curiosity I switched to black and white film, turned off the flash, and stepped back to photograph my patients in their natural environment and captured the interactions between me and my subject.
Like many photojournalists based in the United States, I traveled to Haiti to cover the January 12th earthquake. I came home with an impressive array of photographs, which I believed to be both marketable and worthy of public notice. Yet, like many young photojournalists, I had limited opportunity by which to market my work.
It was a small moment of crisis for me. Were these images of others suffering to become mere fodder for my tweets and Facebook updates? Just another portfolio to be displayed on my website? I immediately decided that I would do to do more than simply allow these images to lay idle on my hard drive. I had to find a way to make a difference, and also advance my career at the same time.