(Second of two parts)
We are drawn into images by the sharpness of eye contact. Eye contact transcends the initial view of the image and allows us to establish that personal connection. Images that draw us in, keep our interest, and give us time to view the entire image are those where the eyes of the portrait subject look into our eyes.
The dictionary definition of influences is: “The power of things or individuals to exert force on another.” My influences in photography come in all shapes and sizes.
When I began my journey as an architectural photographer, I was a small child. My influences then were many and varied: Disney films, especially Fantasia; magazine photos and illustrations; museum art including paintings, and actual sights that I wanted to photograph all influenced the way I saw the world. Allowing a wide variety of images to chart directions for my lens gave me a broader base from which to grow and evolve as a photographer.
On Twitter today, home timelines currently show every single tweet made by those users whom we follow. We enjoy equally unfettered access to our followers—every single tweet we send appears chronologically in their streams. This may soon change, however, according to a recent announcement from Twitter.
In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, we talk about the common mistakes photographers make when designing their websites.
Editor’s note: This is the last in Susie Hadeed’s five-part series on creating a business structure around your photography. Read the entire series here.
Photographers have a problem when it comes to social media: The hard sell is dead. This is proven true by studies such as like Google’s Zero Moment of Truth, which shows that people now self-direct buying decisions online for everything from cartons of milk to cars and enterprise data storage. The result? More and more, we are listening to salespeople less and less.
Ah, marketing. That big black hole where we dump all our money and get nothing in return, right? That’s what it seems like sometimes. But, it doesn’t have to be like that! I’m convinced that in this world, there are lots of ways to market yourself that are not dropping thousands of dollars in a magazine ad or paying hundreds of dollars a month in Yellow Pages ads – and yet are more effective.
Instagram, the iPhone, even point-and-shoot cameras are coming loaded with them: filters to make your digital photos look like they were taken decades ago and stored in a shoebox until the internet came along. As professionals, we recognize digital simulations of color shift, scratches, chemical spots, light leaks, vignetting, lens flare, distorted lenses and edge print. But most people are just looking to invoke the nostalgic feel of decades past that, while not technically perfect, are no less steeped in loving memories of past happy times, family and friends. That cell phone snapshot that you just shot of some friends at a favorite restaurant? You can now make it look like it was shot with a Brownie 50 years ago.
After dreaming about it for years, I decided a few years ago to turn my photography passion into a profession. I soon learned the difference between sweet dreams and cold reality. Not that I’d do it any differently, but I’ve discovered many of the myths about what it’s like being a pro. Maybe you’ve discovered some of your own.
Selling print rights: it’s a quandary over which many professional photographers agonize. Should you offer them? Should you not? How much should you charge? Is it worth it?
It’s difficult for many photographers to sign over what they regard as their livelihood. Print sales are often how photographers make the bulk of their profits, so each professional must decide for himself or herself whether handing over a disc of edited images with full carte blanche is a wise business decision, but there are a few points to consider before shooting and burning.
On March 14, 2012, Temple University photojournalism student Ian Van Kuyk was sitting on the steps outside his home in Philadelphia when police pulled over a vehicle just a few feet away. Spurred to action by the unexpected event, Van Kuyk began to photograph the scene unfolding in front of him in order to complete a course assignment for nighttime photography. The college junior was not using flash and promptly complied with a police officer’s command to stand back.
Do you want to grow your professional client base and social media following this year? Are you looking to polish your photography skills and techniques? Maybe you’re simply looking for something fresh to inspire you?
While on-site search engine optimization is important — and it’s essential to use your keywords correctly (see “Basics Of Photography SEO, Part 2: Where To Use Your Keywords“) — those factors account for only 25 percent of the search engine ranking calculations.
As a technology geek, I can understand how easy it is to get caught up in the numbers and specs of your favorite gadgets and devices. We always want the newest and the fastest, standing on the flimsy rationale of making our lives “better” in any number of ways. For photographers, this rationale is a distraction at best, a monolith of an obstacle at worst.
When Photoshop was first introduced (I started using it in the early 1990s, not sure exactly when it was first introduced) seemingly everyone became a surrealist. You could hardly open a photo magazine without encountering an elephant swimming in a wine glass or a flock of geese morphing into flying dogs. It was a lot of fun. I don’t see as much of it as I used to see and I kind of miss it. Recently I’ve been doodling in Photoshop for fun and exploration as opposed to just enhancing my photos for publication. It’s a blast.
There are loads of SEO techniques that will bump your photography website up in the rankings. Many photographers don’t believe SEO is important because, after all, “we’re photographers.” That couldn’t be more off-base. If you don’t care who sees your photographs or how people find you, then nothing really matters, does it? However, if you care and want your photographs to be found by potential clients or even other photographers, then SEO can play one of the biggest roles in this endeavor.
Here’s the deal: Photography is all about sharing and social media is all about sharing. In fact, social media is specifically about sharing photography. So why is it that the extreme majority of those who take pictures for a living cannot make a living with social media? After all, if ever there was a tool invented for photographers, it’s social media. It is to image distribution what Photoshop is to image editing.
All my life, architecture has been a source of fascination for me. As a child, growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s and ’60s, I was exposed to an enormous number of architectural styles and architectural detail. I began to photograph and draw the houses, apartment buildings, bridges and other structures with which I came into contact. These photographs and drawings were often interpretive. With my Brownie, I would shoot a building at an angle to make it appear larger or smaller; I was expressing my impressions of architecture and my surroundings at an early age.
The stench was making my eyes water and I desperately tried not to scratch the fleabites that covered my perspiring body. I was trying to get comfortable so I could get some sleep on the wooden floor of a hut that was nestling on the side of a garbage dump.
In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, we talk about the difference between “great” and “good enough” in photography and how that difference helps explain the need for professional photographers. Only a professional photographer can deliver a consistently great product, time and again.
Pricing. Ugh. That’s what I hear a lot in the photography world when it comes go having to figure out what to charge. I’ve done the same thing. I do love business planning, but I often find pricing the most challenging. Not because I don’t think I’m worth it, but I get worried no one will pay what I charge! I get worried that if I tell someone it will cost XXXX to shoot their wedding, they’ll run away screaming and yelling.
In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I address the question: “Is creativity dead?” No way! After a relatively dark period for creativity – brought on largely by business efforts to hold down costs – we’re on the verge of a resurgence that will benefit photo businesses.
When he was young, Frenchman Jacques Henri Lartigue was given a camera as a gift. At the age of eight he began to record the life of his family with his new toy. Lartigue produced approximately 120 photo albums, probably one of the most interesting collections of pictures ever made of a family.
If you’re in the photography business to make money, then you want your website to be easily found by those looking for your services, which means paying attention to search engine optimization (SEO).