Ask the Photo Business Coach: How Do I Stay Positive in a Negative Environment?

In my last installment of “Ask the Photo Business Coach,” I offered some tough love for photographers who are always complaining about the business — basically advising them to adapt or get out. This month, I answer a question for those who want to stick with their photography careers, but need some positive reinforcement: “How do I stay positive in a negative environment?”

The Joy of Photographing People: Moods

(The following is excerpted from The New Joy of Digital Photography, a new book by Black Star Rising contributor Jeff Wignall.)

While it’s probably rude to photograph a person when they’re experiencing their worst moments, photographing a person’s many other moods can make for enticing and emotionally rich portraits.

The Joy of Photographing People: Relationships

(The following is excerpted from The New Joy of Digital Photography, a new book by Black Star Rising contributor Jeff Wignall.)

Often the best photos of people interacting, particularly parents with children, are the ones where neither of the participants knows they are being photographed.

The Joy of Photographing People: Kids

(The following is excerpted from The New Joy of Digital Photography, a new book by Black Star Rising contributor Jeff Wignall.)

While getting kids to pose for the camera can be difficult, getting them to play is easy — after all, playing is what they do best.

The Joy of Photographing People: Babies

(The following is excerpted from The New Joy of Digital Photography, a new book by Black Star Rising contributor Jeff Wignall.)

The great thing about photographing babies is that there is almost no one who doesn’t think every baby is completely cute. Even if they don’t know the baby, people will coo and purr over how cute she is. And if they do happen to be related to the baby, then naturally, it’s not only cute; it’s the cutest baby alive.

The Joy of Photographing People

(The following is excerpted from The New Joy of Digital Photography, a new book by Black Star Rising contributor Jeff Wignall.)

The great photographer Edward Steichen once said that photography’s job was, “to explain man to man and each man to himself.” And each time we photograph another person, whether we are aware of it or not, we are fulfilling Steichen’s credo.

How Can Photographers Escape Copyright Thieves? Michelangelo Had the Right Idea

In the 16th century, Michelangelo worked on commission. Without his many patrons, there would be no Sistine Chapel ceiling, no Pietà, no David.

Maybe it is time for photographers to return to the Renaissance model for financing their efforts. Because for many creative professionals, the current way of doing business seems doomed.

Photographers, Be Sure to Watch Out for Online Scams

Photographers marketing their images online should be alert to e-mail scams that seem to be growing in frequency. This is particularly true for those selling fine art prints.

The scam usually works like this:

Five Relationship-Building Tips for Wedding Photographers

Editor’s note: Natalie Bradley is a consultant who helps wedding photographers and other wedding professionals attract new business. In this video, she shares five tips for earning referrals from vendors and brides.

Composition for Landscape Photography, Part 2: Perspective and Balance

The following is adapted from Creative Landscape Photography, an e-book by Guy Tal.

A visual composition is the arrangement of elements within a frame. In yesterday’s post, we discussed framing, one of three interrelated considerations in landscape photography composition. Today, we’ll look at the other two: perspective and balance.

Composition for Landscape Photography, Part 1: Framing

The following is adapted from Creative Landscape Photography, an e-book by Guy Tal.

A visual composition is the arrangement of elements within a frame. In this post we’ll cover some essential guidelines and “rules” of composition that may help guide your thinking and provide you with options to consider in your landscape photography.

Five Tips for Better Event Photography

When I left the news business and began shooting weddings, I quickly realized I had a built-in advantage over photographers whose background was mostly in portraiture.

Specifically, I knew how to cover fast-moving events without panicking or getting flustered.

Eye on Image-Making: Photographers and the Law, Part 3

One of the legal issues that can snare an unwary photographer is defamation, which means harming the reputation of another person. Defamation when printed or broadcast is called libel, whereas spoken defamation is slander.

Stanley’s Photo Tutorial: Using Natural Light for Outdoor Portraits

Last time, we discussed using auxiliary lighting outdoors. In this video, we look at identifying locations where you can use natural light for an outdoor portrait without relying on a flash or other light source.

Visualization in Landscape Photography, Part 2: Creative Visualization

The following is adapted from Creative Landscape Photography, an e-book by Guy Tal.

Visualization is one of the most useful and powerful skills a creative photographer can possess. It is also one that takes time and practice to master.

Visualization in Landscape Photography, Part 1: Practical Visualization

The following is adapted from Creative Landscape Photography, an e-book by Guy Tal.

Visualization is widely discussed in Ansel Adams’ famous trilogy The Camera, The Negative, and The Print, where he defines it succinctly as “the ability to anticipate a finished image before making the exposure.”

Ask the Photo Business Coach: Should I Stay in the Business or Get Out?

In this installment of “Ask the Photo Business Coach,” I address a question I come across every day in photography blogs and forums, in one form or another: “Should I stay in the photography business, or is it time for me to get out?”

Someone Ripped Off My Photos Three Years Ago. Can I Still Sue?

A Black Star Rising reader sent us the following question:

I recently found a photo of mine on the blog of a small business. The blog post that included my photo was published in 2007. Is there any “statute of limitations” on copyright violators, or can I pursue this issue whenever I come across one of my photos?

Boudoir Photography: Breaking Into the Market

The popularity of boudoir photography has exploded over the past few years. It’s not only become a fashionable wedding gift for brides to present to their grooms on their Big Day (or the night before), but it also makes a great anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and “just because” gift. Along with the tremendous increase in demand, there’s also been a huge increase in the number of photographers offering boudoir as part of their services. Some are even specializing in it. If you’ve been thinking about breaking into this lucrative market, here are some things to consider.

For Photographers, There’s Always Another Layer of Learning

After studying Tai Chi for the past 25 years, I’ve learned a few things about form, about discipline — and also about learning itself.

Specifically, I’ve learned that there is always more to learn. And I’ve learned that the deeper I go, the more subtle my learnings become.

Want to Be a Wedding Photographer? First, Take a Hard Look at the Numbers

In 2009, more than 2.1 million weddings were celebrated in the United States. Wedding photography and videography are a $3.77 billion business.

Sounds promising — particularly for newspaper and stock shooters who have seen their livelihoods wither. But is shooting weddings the right business for you?

Photographers, This Is No Time to Self-Immolate

Earlier this month, the threatened burning of a Koran by Florida preacher Terry Jones garnered an obscene amount of world attention and media coverage.

Now, a French photographer, Jean-Baptiste Avril, wants other photographers to join him in burning their negatives as part of a rally protesting the harsh financial conditions facing the profession.

Eye on Image-Making: Photographers and the Law, Part 2

Photographers and videographers sometimes come into conflict with law enforcement and other government officials who try to stop them from making images in perfectly lawful places. The officials may believe they are protecting property or privacy rights, or they may simply be trying to exert their authority and control.

In Both the Craft and Business of Photography, Practice Makes Perfect

I come across so many photographers who seem to think good things should just happen to them — and if they don’t, it’s their “bad luck.”

To that, I counter with one of my favorite sayings, by the Roman philosopher Seneca: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Photographers, Stop Leaving Money on the Table

If you want to stir up a hornet’s nest online, start a debate between pro and amateur/aspiring/prosumer photographers about charging a reasonable price for your work.

Whenever I take the “pro” side in this debate, I usually get responses like this one (from the comments on my “12 Excuses for Shooting Photos for Free – and Why They’re Bogus” post):