The pace of academia is usually exceedingly slow, but on rare occasions it accelerates like a Maserati. I recently volunteered (was drafted?) to design an experimental course for fall 2009 here at the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The course title: “Freelancing for Creative Professionals.” In other words, how to start and operate your own successful freelance business.
As photographers, our eyes are our most prized possession. The very nature of photography is visual; even the camera lens itself is an invention that attempts to duplicate the operation of the human eye.
Every year the process of filing taxes teaches me the true cost of doing business as a small business owner. My tax return also establishes a baseline for my business and shows me where I can improve.
I began my business 10 years ago. That’s when I started work as an independent contractor for a large metro newspaper — although I thought of myself as a freelancer rather a business owner at the time.
In this part of our video series on Google Analytics, I show you how to improve the value of your traffic statistics by filtering your own visits to your site out of the results. (You can find the previous posts in this series here.)
If you thought the money you contributed to this or that photography trade organization was a worthwhile investment, think again. ASMP, APA, EP, PPA, WHNPA, SA, and their siblings are guilty of the same crime. Silence.
We spend a great deal of time in my office thinking about how to communicate to clients. For example, “I need to get my contract to you to review and sign before I can get started on your assignment” can sound off-putting. Instead, we say, “We’ll send along some paperwork for this assignment, and once you sign it, we’ll be all set.”
This is my third video post on Google Analytics. The first two were designed to describe the benefits of Google Analytics for photographers, and to show how you can use it to monitor traffic to your Web site. In this video, we look at the Google Analytics dashboard, and how you can customize it to add the data that is most relevant to you.
How’s business? The answer depends on your individual circumstances, of course — but also on your perspective.
The glass is either half full or half empty for many of us today. Take the Windy City. Just as Chicago delivers its chosen son to become President, and one of its premier photographers to become official White House photographer, both of the city’s newspapers are relegated to the pit of bankruptcy.
As a former newspaper reporter who later became the head of large corporate communications departments, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with both photojournalists and corporate assignment photographers. And while many of the best assignment photographers I’ve worked with have also been photojournalists, I’ve found that some photojournalists don’t make the transition to corporate work very well.
I almost don’t recognize Shawna Simmons when she appears in my office doorway. A 2007 graduate, Shawna has returned to the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication to give several presentations as part of the school’s I-Comm Week, an annual exploration of the latest trends in mass media.
In my last video, I discussed the benefits of Google Analytics and how to install it on your Web site. In this post, I define some terms used to describe the traffic to your site, such as “bounce rate,” “abandonment rate” and “conversion rate.” Then I show you how to track these and other stats using Google Analytics — an important step to improving your Web site’s effectiveness.
I had originally started this post with a different topic, but after a recent airline trip I wanted to share a few observations about customer service and customer loyalty. The thing about customer service is that we all understand its importance in theory — but we sometimes forget to implement it in practice, in the heat of our daily work lives. That’s why it’s worthwhile to remind ourselves occasionally of what good service is and why it’s in our best interests to provide it.
When Captain Sully landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January, his photo wasn’t the face of the brand that everyone saw. No, what they saw first was that now-famous cell phone picture taken by a commuter. He was on a ferry that responded to the scene. Out came the camera, followed by a quick upload to the Web.
Fifth in a series.
Your wedding day is over. All of the planning and preparation has paid off, and you’re now married to the man or woman of your dreams. Basking in the glow of that unforgettable day during your honeymoon, you or your spouse will inevitably declare: “I can’t wait to see the pictures!”
Documentary photography may not command the same amount of money, magazine space and editorial support it did 10 years ago, but it is still thriving in many ways. You might be surprised how many photographers are still willing to risk their money, personal comfort, and even their lives to produce great photographs.
I’ve written before about multimedia slideshows, and how nice it is that today they are available to everyone via the Web, when in the past they were generally created for small groups. In this post, I will make the argument that multimedia slideshows can be a more effective way of communicating than online video.
Photography is the single most important element of most advertising campaigns. While copywriters may spend hours producing an eye-catching headline and copy that explains the benefits of a product, it’s the image that first attracts the viewer. It’s also the last thing the viewer usually remembers after turning the page.
When I was 13, a gangly and extremely enthusiastic teacher imparted to my science class the essence of Newton’s third law of motion: that every action has an opposite and equal reaction. Walking out of the classroom, I promptly forgot this lesson. Only years later did I realize that Newton’s third law governs not just motion — but virtually everything we do.
Paul Graham, in the essay Why TV Lost, says the problem with copyright owners — including photographers and agencies — is that they spend too much time worrying about the money they are losing to piracy, and not enough time trying to improve the experience for users. Solving the latter, he argues, can solve the former.
A good landscape photograph tells a story of the place it describes. And like all good tales, your landscapes should have a catchy beginning (the foreground), an interesting center (the middle area) and a memorable ending (the background). Not every landscape lends itself to this somewhat formulaic treatment, of course, but applying it saves a lot of time and provides you with a solid starting point from which you can improvise.
Back when I was heading the corporate communications department of a billion-dollar company, I had the uncomfortable experience of watching a graphic designer break down and crumple into a ball in my office.
Fourth in a series.
The bride’s dress won’t zip up. The brother of the groom had a little too much to drink before the toast. The flower girl’s hair catches on fire. The maid of honor loses the groom’s ring. You name it — it’s happened.
In my last post, I offered some recommendations for the camera gear you’ll need to make it as a freelance photographer. But having the right photographic equipment is just the beginning. Here are nine other business essentials to be ready for any assignment.
It’s the halfway point in the semester, so I thought this would be a good time to report on the video course I am teaching. Video has always been part of the Visual Communications sequence here at the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications. But until the spring 2009 semester, we’ve always incorporated video into our other VisCom courses — a little in the Introduction to Visual Communications course, a little in the two Photovisual Communications courses, and a little in the Graphic Design course.
A corporation’s offices are often its most public face. The architecture a company chooses sends a message about its brand. Landmarks such as Hong Kong’s Bank of China or New York’s Chrysler Building, originally constructed to house the offices of the Chrysler Corporation, broadcast international statements about a company’s ambitions.