The Three Phases of Camera Ownership

If you remember buying your first DSLR, you probably can also recall your thoughts and the research you did. You can graze the Internet, find most anything about any camera and read reviews before making a decision.

Should International Photographers Register Their Images with the U.S. Copyright Office?

Black Star Rising reader Richard Cave sent us the following question:

Being a U.K. freelancer, if I as a U.K. resident put my pictures on the Web, do I need to register my images with the U.S. Copyright Office? The reason I ask is that we are no longer local, but now global.

Eye on Image-Making: Financial Planning, Part 3

In my previous two columns on financial planning, I discussed three tools that should be part of any business plan — the break-even analysis, the profit/loss forecast and the cash-flow projection. Now it’s time to consider a fourth essential tool: the capital spending plan.

Sometimes, Even the Best Lenses Need to Be Replaced

I’ve used cameras for most of my life, and I have really enjoyed what photography has brought me. This science and art requires attention to detail and ongoing maintenance. If you are serious about what you do, you probably spend many hours taking care of your gear. We know it’s important to keep dust off of our lenses and sensor, because any foreign matter degrades the quality of the image.

Will the iPad Save Photography?

I admit to being a gearhead. I love tech toys, and that includes not only photography gear but also computers and mobile phones. So you can imagine how excited I was about Apple’s big announcement on Wednesday: the unveiling of the iPad.

Never Underestimate the Power of Your Camera

Every time you pick up your camera, you have the potential to perform a revolutionary act.

Photography should be a kick in the establishment, a cure for the commonplace, a powerful explosion of new ideas.

Don’t Let Self-Doubt Hold Back Your Photography Business

If you are a new professional photographer or new to a different photographic genre, you most likely have some doubts about your ability. It’s not only a common feeling, but quite worthwhile in personal development.

Is Social Media a Waste of Time for Photographers?

I see a lot of skepticism about social media from photographers in various online forums. A recent comment on the business forum at NatureScapes.Net, for example, stated that there are “no clear examples of anyone ever having any success marketing in this fashion,” that social media has never helped sell “hundreds of units of anything,” and that, therefore, it is a waste of time.

Don’t Be Scared of the F-Word When Exploring New Business Models

The f-word, as in “free.”

In reading Black Star Rising recently, I came upon Harrison McClary’s post asserting that “A Photo Credit Doesn’t Pay the Rent.” In the piece, Harrison states pointedly, “I don’t give away my work for free.”

My Six Favorite Photography Podcasts

Over the past few months I have immersed myself in photography podcasts. I’ve found them a great way to catch up on industry trends, get reviews on the latest camera gear, and find out what other photographers are shooting.

Why I Chose an E-Mail Marketing Service to Boost My Photography Business

To help market my photography business in 2010, I decided to try an e-mail database and distribution service called Adbase. This post shares my reasons for choosing a service like Adbase (there are similar ones out there, such as Agency Access), along with my initial experiences. In future posts, I plan to share the results of my e-mail marketing program.

Notes from the VisCom Classroom: The Knight Case Studies Initiative

Case studies have long been used to teach business, law, and medicine, but do they have a place in the journalism classroom?

Kirsten Lundberg, director of the Knight Case Studies Initiative at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, is betting they do.

How to Get Your Images into Galleries

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

Gallery representation is the goal for many photographic artists who see exhibitions — even shared exhibitions — as a vote of confidence in their abilities as both artists and photographers. While there are lots of different ways of selling your images, few have the cachet, the satisfaction or the profitability of selling them through a gallery.

Supply Science Pictures for Photo Researchers

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

Photo Researchers is a highly specialized niche stock site that has been offering scientific photos for more than 50 years. In the past, most of the images it supplied came from doctors and scientists. Today, about 80 percent of contributors are photographers.

Keep Your Cool — and Use Your Smarts — When Dealing with Meddlesome Clients

Some days, everything goes according to plan and the assignment seems relatively easy. The assistants and talent do their jobs and you do yours — and even your coffee mug stays magically full.

Other times, however, working through a shoot is like slogging through thick mud; problems seem to crop up at every available opportunity. Be in the game long enough and you’ll have your share of both.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: Where Is the Industry Going?

In this month’s “Ask the Photo Business Coach,” I answer the following question submitted by a Black Star Rising reader: “Where is the industry going — and should I be worried about it?” It’s a question I get a lot.

A Great Photo Shoot Starts with Your Network

Sometimes with our focus on gear and technique, we forget that the most important resource we have is people. They help us to produce our work, they are the subject of our work, and ultimately they determine the value of our work.

Black Star: A Piece of Europe in New York

(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. Here, Neubauer describes Black Star’s role in bringing European talent to the U.S. media.)

A Business Insurance Primer for Photographers, Part 2

(The following is excerpted from Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition, by Black Star photographer John Harrington.)

I cannot imagine operating a business and going out on location without insurance. For many businesses — and certainly the government — you won’t be allowed to shoot within their property or purview without proof that you do have insurance and include them in the coverage.

A Business Insurance Primer for Photographers, Part 1

(The following is excerpted from Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition, by Black Star photographer John Harrington.)

I can’t conceive that it would be acceptable to operate a business without some level of business insurance, yet friends and colleagues do it all the time. I just think that’s plain crazy. In fact, you won’t be able to complete assignments that take place in many locations without insurance.  You’ll have problems obtaining loans, and the risk of you losing your entire business because of a lawsuit or a catastrophic loss of equipment, other assets, or data is just too great.

Sometimes, the Light at the End of the Tunnel Is an Oncoming Train

I vaguely recall getting a press release about the Web site Spot.Us a while back. After a Twitter conversation, I found myself poking around the page once again.

I was impressed by what I saw: A well-designed, organized and professional site asking visitors to donate money to fund news stories proposed by freelance journalists. As an added bonus, Spot.Us would pitch the stories to more traditional media.

Some F-Stops Are More Equal Than Others

Let’s say that your 50mm lens has seven f-stops. You might think that, depth of field issues aside, your lens should be capable of making equally sharp, equally well-defined images at any of them.

And maybe that’s true — if you never print anything larger than 6×8 inches.

Eye on Image-Making: East Meets West

If you are seeking inspiration for your image-making, there is perhaps no better place to visit than the Monterey Peninsula on the central California coast, which includes the towns of Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel.

26 Handy Excuses for Missing the Shot

Every photographer has their favorite excuses for not coming back with the goods on a shoot. Here are a few I may (or may not) have uttered at least once.   Perhaps you recognize a couple of these yourself?

Want to Achieve Your Photography Goals for 2010? Start By Writing Them Down

So here we are at the end of 2009. How did you do? I know some photographers who did very well — and others who spent most of the year living on ramen noodles.

Obviously, the recession took its toll on all of us. But from my experience, the photographers who enjoyed the best 2009 had one thing in common: they had a plan.