Ask the Photo Business Coach: How Should I Follow Up on My Proposal?

In this month’s “Ask the Photo Business Coach,” I answer the following question submitted by a Black Star Rising reader: “What’s the best way to follow up on a photography proposal or estimate — without seeming too annoying?” I walk you through the process I recommend, step by step.

Should Photographers Buy Promoted Tweets?

Photographers now have another option for spending their hard-earned advertising dollars. Last week Twitter announced Promoted Tweets, a service that finally moves them into the paid advertising space. Is this service one that photographers should seriously consider? And how does it compare to current advertising options such as Google AdWords and Facebook?

My Life as an Expat Photographer: Joys and Challenges

After spending a substantial part of my 20s making repeated self-financed trips to Asia from my native Australia, I made the decision to relocate for a year or two. I figured I would save money that way, while minimizing the usual travel frustrations. I chose Taiwan — for no other reason than I had a friend who lived here.

Let’s Create a Two-Tier Pricing System for Stock Photography

If stock photography as a profession is going to survive, we’re going to have to find a way to develop a two-tier pricing system. One tier would be for commercial use of images and the other for personal and small use.

Market Your Photography with Your iPhone

(The following is adapted from 99 Ways to Make Money from Your Photos, by the editors of Photopreneur.)

With the iPhone, you can promote your photography anytime, anywhere. Meet someone at a party and tell them you’re a photographer, and when they ask you what you shoot, you’ll be able to whip out your phone and show them, explaining at the same time how you achieved the shot and why the images are important.

The Photography Industry Needs Fewer Lawyers — and More Trust

It creeps slowly under your door when you are not paying attention. It looks friendly, but it’s not. It uses smiles and persuasion to convince you of things you do not need. It builds walls around everyone and breaks any form of human connection. It’s the ultimate relationship killer.

Why Some Customers Will Pay More for Stock Photography

One of the key things to understand about stock photography is why some customers are willing to pay more than others to use an image.

Most photographers want to believe customers will pay more when the image is of “better quality” or more technically perfect. They believe that when they increase production values, build better sets, use better looking models, use people who look more “real” and when they generally spend more to produce an image, customers will pay more to use it.

How to Make Money from Photography Workshops

(The following is excerpted from 99 Ways to Make Money from Your Photos, by the editors of Photopreneur.)

Photography can be an unstable business. You often never know where your next job is coming from. That’s why many photographers turn to teaching at least part of the time; it’s a way to turn knowledge into cash and create a secondary income stream.

Black Star and Life: End of an Era

(In honor of Black Star’s 75th anniversary, Black Star Rising is publishing occasional excerpts from Hendrik Neubauer’s 1996 profile of the agency, Black Star: 60 Years of Photojournalism.)

Let’s Not Abandon Photography to the “Experts”

I recently attended a portfolio review where I had my work critiqued by 20 curators, gallery owners and publishers. In addition to receiving their feedback on my work, I learned two interesting things about the people who did the reviewing:

All Children Are Artists; Here’s How to Stay One

“All children are artists,” Pablo Picasso famously said. “The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” This is a problem that nearly all of us tackle as photographers. How do we stay passionate and creative in what we do?

Not Fade Away: The Ballad of Jim Marshall

My office in San Francisco was on Union Street, and my mail carrier was a sweet-tempered guy named Randy. One day, Randy poked his head into my office doorway and handed me a package of 35 mm color slides, returned from a client. I thanked Randy and told him that, in the future, if I wasn’t around, he could just leave a package by my office door.

When Fear Rules the Photography World, We All Lose

One morning you wake up, and it’s facing you. Everything you took for granted and that made your life comfortable is suddenly gone. Probably forever. Welcome to the economy of fear.

Your formerly cozy job, which once brought you a new batch of creative challenges every day, now brings you a daily dose of doubt and uncertainty. From photo editors who are not sure how long they will keep their jobs, to staff newspaper photojournalists who could be shooting their last images, everyone is living in fear.

Creating Montages in Photoshop

Back in the film days, we used to make photo montages using a slide duplicator to copy multiple images onto one frame of film. It worked pretty well; even color masters like Pete Turner were creating images this way.

Google Analytics for Photographers: Answering Your Questions

In this part of our video series on Google Analytics, I answer some of the questions I have received from Black Star Rising readers. (You can find the previous posts in this series here.)

Writing Your Photography Marketing Plan: Marketing Mix – Price

Last in a series.

OK, so now you have almost completed your photography marketing plan. You have defined your business, your product, your place, and how to promote yourself. You are ready to go.

Writing Your Photography Marketing Plan: Marketing Mix – Promotion

Ninth in a series.

Finally, in part nine of this series, we get to promotion — which most people think of first when they hear the word “marketing.” There’s a reason we waited this long: it’s best to know what to say, and whom to say it to, before you break out your bullhorn.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: What Makes a Winning Proposal?

In this month’s “Ask the Photo Business Coach,” I answer the following question submitted by a Black Star Rising reader: “What should I include in my photography business proposal?” Your proposal should have five elements: the “what,” the “where,” the “when,” the “who” and the “how much.”

Writing Your Photography Marketing Plan: Marketing Mix – Place

Eighth in a series.

In Monday’s post, we overviewed the four Ps of photography marketing and discussed the importance of defining your product. Today, we look at “place” — also known as distribution.

Writing Your Photography Marketing Plan: Marketing Mix – Product

Seventh in a series.

We have been exploring the process of creating a photography marketing plan. In the final four posts of this series, we take on the “four Ps” of marketing — product, place, promotion and price — as it pertains to photographers.

My Adbase Marketing Campaign: Early Results

In January, I wrote about my decision to try e-mail marketing with Adbase, which bills itself as “North America’s largest and most advanced database of creative buyers.” In this post, I thought I would share how my first e-mails performed.

Charles Moore, 1931-2010

Charles Moore, the celebrated Black Star photographer whose searing images of violence and injustice during the Civil Rights Era helped mobilize U.S. public opinion toward change, died last week at the age of 79. The Black Star family joins the world in mourning him.

Clients Will Choose Trust Over Talent Every Time

Many photographers, as well as other creative professionals, operate under the assumption that talent alone will carry them through their careers. While this may be true for a lucky few, I wouldn’t suggest you count on it.

Notes from the VisCom Classroom: Can Creativity Be Taught?

Where does creativity come from? How do entrepreneurs use creativity? Why is innovation often a collaborative effort?

These three intriguing questions are posed by Julia Hanna in her article “Getting Down to the Business of Creativity,” published by the Harvard Business School. Hanna, who is associate editor of Harvard’s Alumni Bulletin, draws on the work of three Harvard Business School professors — Teresa Amabile, Mary Tripsas, and Mukti Khaire — to examine how the workplace environment affects creativity.

Put Color Theory to Work in Your Photos

Learning color theory is traveling a road that, if you go too far too fast, will make you feel a bit like Alice — who, after eating a strange piece of cake and growing so enormously tall that she could no longer see her own feet, uttered the famous words, “Curiouser and curiouser.”