For Photographers, Patience Has Its Rewards

Most photographers know to be patient in waiting for the right moment to get a shot. But we don’t all realize the value of being patient with ourselves.

I’ll give you a couple examples of what I’m talking about.

Notes from the VisCom Classroom: The Multitasking Generation

Most of my students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina are consummate multitaskers.

They came of age as the Internet was hitting its stride, as devices such as MP3 players and smart phones became ubiquitous, and as multimedia on the Web began to replace print journalism as their primary source of information.

Go Beyond Taking Photos to Explore Your Creativity and Expand Your Business

A colleague specializing in travel photography recently asked me about my photography projects. I told him that one of my projects was designing and producing all the communication materials for an art exhibit: catalogues, posters, street banners, mail invitations, video, viral communication, and — oh yes — photography.

Photographers, Be Sure You Have a Backup Plan

As I unpacked my gear at a recent photo shoot for a local publication, I suddenly flew into panic mode: I realized I had left my card wallet on my workstation 30 minutes away.

Then I remembered that I had a 2GB compact flash card in my glove compartment. I took a deep breath as a relieved smile spread across my face.

There Are No Shortcuts to Success in Microstock

A Russian photographer recently asked me what subjects he should shoot for microstock in order to maximize his earnings. He said: “I’m thinking cosmetics, photos of girls putting on makeup, girls and guys on the beach, girls in business suits with laptops, glamour club shots of girls in glam clothes, sometimes near crystal disco balls, modern dancers…”

Ask the Photo Business Coach: How Do I Close the Deal?

In this installment of “Ask the Photo Business Coach,” I answer the following question submitted by a Black Star Rising reader: “After a prospective client shows interest, what’s the best way to close the deal?” I shot this video in Red Rock Canyon, so I apologize for the wind!

The Joy of the Contact Sheet

Many years ago, when I was having trouble finding my path as a photographer, I asked my friend, the Canadian photographer John Max, for some guidance.

Don’t Give Up Hope Against Photography’s Dark Forces

Time Inc., the biggest publisher of magazines in the world, recently made an agreement with the AP, Reuters and Getty Images to license any and all non-exclusive images at a flat rate of $50, regardless of size or placement. This means that magazines like Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated — which used to pay $200 or more for a 1/4 page — will now have the same images for $50.

It’s Time to Set a Price Floor for Rights-Managed Photography

Is it time to institute a system of floor prices for the use of rights-managed images for editorial purposes? Is there any price so low — $50, $30 or $20 — that the image creator would prefer not to make the sale?

Online Magazines Are Energizing Photojournalism

Last month, I was fortunate to receive a Certificate of Special Merit at the Human Rights Press Awards from the Foreign Correspondents’ Club and Amnesty International in Hong Kong. I won the award based on the publication of images in a Black Star Rising piece on Chinese coal miners.

Eye on Image-Making: Palmetto Portraits

The results of a massive four-year photography project are on display through Jan. 9, 2011, at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. Called “Palmetto Portraits,” the exhibition features the work of 24 photographers who have created 275 color and black-and-white portraits of residents of the Palmetto State.

Survival Strategies for Photographers: Earn More with Printed Products

In this post in my video series on survival strategies for photographers, I explain why I offer printed products to my customers to earn more while presenting my business in the best light.

Is the Un-Photographed Life Worth Living?

All of us at one time or another ask the same question: “Is my life meaningful?”

We fear the thought of an existence that starts on a birthday we celebrate year after year until we perish, leaving seemingly nothing behind. We struggle to find meaning in everything we do, however trivial.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: Should I Put Pricing on My Web Site?

In this month’s “Ask the Photo Business Coach,” I answer the following question submitted by a Black Star Rising reader: “Should I put my pricing on my Web site to attract more clients?”

Photography Free-for-All in Bangkok

Two months of anti-government street protests continued today in Bangkok, as more and more photojournalists have arrived from around the world to capture the story in images.

Survival Strategies for Photographers: Using Facebook

In this post in my video series on survival strategies for photographers, I offer a few tips for using Facebook as a low-cost marketing tool for your photography business.

Do One-Dollar Stock Photos Really Exist?

I am tired of seeing rights-managed sellers refer to microstock as $1 images. That is not what most people are paying, particularly those personal users who buy very few pictures.

Actual prices are substantially higher, even for the smallest, Web-use only file sizes.

Notes from the VisCom Classroom: Reflections on the Semester

It’s the end of the semester. As usual, when I reflect on the past 14 weeks, I’m left with more questions than answers. In this column, I will cover some of the issues that I have been thinking about as an instructor in the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Photographers, Don’t Fall for These Client Pick-Up Lines

One of the toughest things for a photographer to do is to say “no” to new business, even if it’s a bad deal. Especially in today’s environment, your prospective clients have an arsenal of pick-up lines — ranging from sweet talk to coy bluffs — to make bad deals sound like good ones.

Survival Strategies for Photographers: Spend Time — Not Money — on Marketing

In this post in my video series on survival strategies for photographers, I look at some low-cost and no-cost ways to attract new business in a down economy.

Creativity Starts with a Blank Canvas

A few weeks ago, a gallery owner asked me where I got my inspiration. I’m sure he expected me to rattle off names like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz or Robert Frank — so my answer surprised him.

Make Prints to Improve Your Photography

One of the best ways I’ve found to improve my photography is to make enlargements of my favorite pictures. I got a reminder of this recently when I had a showing of my work at a local coffeehouse.

Notes from the Viscom Classroom: How’s Your Elevator Speech?

Do you have a killer elevator speech? In other words, can you tell a fellow passenger the essence of your business before the elevator stops at the ground floor?

If you are at a networking event meeting potential clients, your elevator speech is a great way to introduce yourself and sum up your business in a nutshell. But there are other advantages, too.

Survival Strategies for Photographers: Touch Base with Your Customers

Editor’s note: Black Star Rising is pleased to introduce a new series of video blog posts, “Survival Strategies for Photographers,” featuring Sean Cayton. Sean is a successful Colorado Springs wedding photographer and frequent contributor to this blog. In his first video post, he shares some ways he keeps in contact with his customers to drive repeat business and referrals.

Break the Ice to Get Better Pictures of Your Subject

I’ve spoken with many photographers who tell me it’s difficult for them to make small talk while photographing people. Whether they are shooting portraits, corporate headshots or professional models, they have a reluctance to engage their subject on a personal level.