How to Make Exhibition-Quality Prints on a Budget

You can spend your life savings printing photographs and many people do.

An exhibition-quality, 11×14 print from West Coast Imaging, one of the finest labs in the country, goes for well over $100, and you won’t be disappointed by the quality. But put that print behind glass, in a frame, in a dimly lit gallery and how much of that beauty really shines through? And are potential buyers even aware of what you’ve spent?

Don’t Just Talk to Your Audience — Engage It

I’m sure you are familiar with the concept of the “elevator speech.” The idea is that — if you are asked what you do for a living or what your company does — you should be able to give a complete, compelling answer in the time it takes to ride an elevator to your destination.

Eight Ways I’ve Found Photographers for Corporate Assignment Work

I’m not a photographer (a casual look through my family albums will offer proof of that), but I’ve been hiring photographers for corporate assignments for more than 15 years now. I’ve hired photographers while leading the corporate communications function for billion-dollar companies, heading up marketing for a tech startup I co-founded, and today, as owner/president of a boutique public relations firm.

Notes from the VisCom Classroom: Crafting Course Assignments

One of the most challenging things about teaching is crafting course assignments. A good assignment must meet several requirements. First, it must engage the students and give them something interesting to do. Second, it must build on previous assignments and lay the groundwork for future ones. Third, it must produce a result that can be evaluated. And fourth, it must further the course’s learning objectives.

Bad Weather Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Photo Shoot

In August, I traveled to New York to take photos of the Statue of Liberty for several book projects. Going in, I knew exactly the kind of image I wanted: Lady Liberty’s green copper face against a rich, blue summer sky.

The Art of the Headshot

If you’re a professional photographer of any kind, you probably take a lot of headshots. When I worked at the Miami office of EFE News, the Spanish government’s official information agency, headshots of Latin pop stars, mostly taken at organized press events, were our bread and butter.

Six Photography Credentials to Set Yourself Apart

To win new photography clients, it’s important to be able to distinguish yourself from the competition. Obviously, you hope to achieve this with the quality of your work. But sometimes, credentials that illustrate your professionalism can be just as persuasive.

Enjoying the Unusual — and the Mundane — in Your Own Backyard

As a travel photographer, I generally spend about three days doing research for every day that I’m on the road. I tend to look for oddities — those strange, twisted places that rarely make it into the tour books.

Eight Lessons My College Photography Instructor Never Taught Me

Since I currently teach photography to college students part-time, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my own formal education in photojournalism. I’ve realized that many of the most important lessons I’ve learned — ones I hope to impart to my own students — were never actually taught in school. Here are a few of them.

18 Tips for Being a Photography Original

The future of photography is in original, exclusive content.

That’s harder to achieve today than it used to be. When photography was still film, print and slide, no one could really copy you, as they could not see what you had shot. As digital distribution has become the standard, more and more photographers see your work online and say, “Hey, I can shoot that.”

Microstock Is a Great Deal — for Buyers

Recently, I visited the forum of a modeling Web site where a photographer boasted about his microstock image being used on the cover of Time Magazine. He was proud that Time had purchased the image — for $30.

Looking for a Great Assignment? Create One for Yourself

There was a time when publications assigned photojournalists long-term projects with the goal of thoroughly documenting an important story over time. Unfortunately, with rare exceptions, those days are gone.

Eye on Image-Making: Words Are Important, Too

When I started working as a newspaper photographer in the mid 1970s, there was a clear division of labor: I shot the pictures, and the reporters did the interviewing. Today, photographers and videographers are often called upon to record both images and words.

Five Reasons Photographers Should Sell Value, Not Price

At a time when client budgets are tight, it’s tempting to reduce your photography prices in hopes of boosting your business. But successful photographers know that it’s better to focus on the value you deliver, rather than price you charge.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Model Releases

If you’re thinking of selling, or even just displaying, the photos you take of other people, it’s a good idea to get the subject or subjects to sign a model release. Photographers and attorneys can debate when such a release is actually needed — but when I have recognizable faces in my images, I like to have a release just to be safe.

My First Camera: An Homage to Analog

A camera obscura box with sliding door from the early 1800s trumpeted as the world’s first camera was recently on display in Macau, China. Its simple method for capturing light and projecting an image continues to drive camera technology today.

Why I’ve Gone Back to Making Prints of Family Photos

I’ve recently been reading about Ritz Camera’s struggle for survival. Apparently, one of the main reasons the chain has struggled is that people no longer get their photos printed. They put them online and e-mail them to friends, satisfied with the instant gratification that digital media allows.

Are Your Photos Informative — or Just Eye Candy?

Even before my children could read, they recognized restaurants by their logos. My oldest son began to hum “The Simpsons” theme whenever he saw fluffy clouds in the sky.

Images are powerful. And this power can be used in any number of ways.

Five Tips for Selling Your Old Photography Gear on eBay

Over the years, I’ve sold quite a bit of used photography gear on eBay, and I’ve always gotten a fair price for it. One of the keys to my success is that I always take a quality photo of the gear I’m trying to sell.

Don’t Fall for These Six Digital Photography Myths

We all know that digital photography has buried film. We also know that digital technology has brought high-quality photographic gear within reach of the masses.

But it’s not the panacea that some think it is. Doing it right still requires hard work — and talent. Here are six common digital photography myths:

The Best Photos Have a Subject — and a Verb

I recently took a part-time job teaching photography to high school students. Teaching has taught me a lot.

Yes, I was confident in my knowledge of photography — but I didn’t know exactly what I knew until I began to teach others.

Let’s Work Together to Protect Copyright

In my last post, I discussed some of the challenges facing copyright law that are of concern to photographers. Since I’m not one to complain without offering suggestions, I thought I’d share some ideas on how we as photographers can better our situation.

Eye on Image-Making: Looking vs. Seeing

I was talking to a magazine photojournalist the other day, and the discussion turned to the concept of visual literacy, or how we make sense of what we see. Specifically, he made the point that — in terms of production and interpretation — quantity does not equal quality.

Take These Shortcuts to Improve Your Photo Editing Workflow

If you’re like most photographers, you’d much rather be out shooting instead of sitting in front of the computer, endlessly tweaking your photos. The good news is that by employing a few shortcuts, you can speed up your photo editing workflow dramatically.

How I Stopped the Blue Angels in Their Tracks

I recently had the opportunity to shoot the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels at an air show in Rhode Island.  As it turned out, I was fortunate it was a two-day show.

I shot probably a hundred photos of the Blue Angels on the first day of the event, and while I was happy at times that I even managed to get them in the frame as they soared by at 400 mph, I was disappointed with both the placement in the frame and with the lack of sharpness. Of course, when your subject is going that fast, you can be forgiven some errors in framing and even in sharpness.