Does Social Media Activity Work for Photography Professionals?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I discuss whether social media activity is worthwhile for professional photographers. Ask yourself, where are your buyers spending time, and how do they absorb information?

Four Gems of Yellowstone

Second of two parts

There is no place like Yellowstone. I noted this in my earlier post about the joys of wildlife photography in Yellowstone National Park. But with 2.2 million acres within its boundaries, Yellowstone can be intimidating. Here are four of my favorite places in the park, with some thoughts about what you can expect to see at each.

The Art of Shooting Yellowstone

First of two parts

There is a long list of superlatives when it comes to describing Yellowstone National Park and the photographic opportunities there, but one word stands out more than any other – and that word is magnificent.  Just the word Yellowstone conjures up images of fighting bull bison, gray wolves chasing elk, grizzlies, and of course, geysers like Old Faithful. When I first began shooting in Yellowstone in 1985, I couldn’t sleep for a week before the trip began. I dreamed of the park and the possible adventures that awaited me. Even today, after more than 600 shooting days in the park over the past 27 years, my heartbeat quickens and my senses seem to sharpen as an entrance gate approaches. There is no place like Yellowstone.

Are There Positive Indications of Growth for the Stock Photo Market?

After reading about Shutterstock’s IPO plans on APhotoEditor, a comment in the ASMPstock Yahoo group caught my attention. Member Stephen Walker posted:

Creating a Catalog of Photo Shoot Locations

Blogger David Hobby recently shared an insightful post on how to make a location catalog — a great practice for on-location photographers since having a database can free up a lot of time and energy when planning a shoot.

Is Pinterest a Yes or a No for Photography Professionals?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I discuss Pinterest and other social networking sites. Are you giving your life away by posting photos there?

Netbarf and Other Ills Have Me Logging Off Social Networks

As a photographer, artist, and mature adult, I am slowly tiring of social networking sites. There are just too many of them; they consume too much of my time; and they do little for me as a promotional tool. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, on and on; it’s endless. There may be something of value in them for some people. But for me, there are just too many problems.

For Great Portraits, Shoot the Eyes

(First of two parts)

I was leading a safari to California’s Morongo Valley to photograph a gold mine of songbirds and raptors, and this article was on my mind. As we worked the different birds I found myself commenting about the difficulty of getting the eye in tack-sharp focus, and keeping it in focus. Some of the birds were in shade where the eye wasn’t lit up by a reflection of the sun and thus more difficult to key on. While there are always exceptions (silhouettes, profiles, artistic blur, etc.) we normally shoot the eyes of our subjects if they appear in the image.

Broken Promises and Stock Photography

The stock photography industry has to face the challenge of becoming relevant in an economy that has no patience for inadequate business models.

Today the vast majority of photographs are used without any contact with the traditional photo industry, which has completely lost control of production and distribution. But the industry continues stubbornly to apply old rules to this new landscape. It does not see, or purposely wants to ignore, that their model does not fit current needs and thus is chasing customers away.

Reviewers: Too Often Your Photos Suck

It’s a simple question. When I read camera reviews on blogs, why are many of the sample photographs that some reviewers use so bloody awful?

You know what I’m talking about. Whenever a new camera review is posted on a blog or website someplace, it usually includes a series of sample photographs taken with that camera. For the most part, they all suck. I know some of these reviewers are simply writers, but many of them claim to be working photographers. Why don’t they use images that show off their talent?

Has the Photography Business Bottomed Out?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I discuss how content is becoming a commodity and how you can react to that reality.

Where Do You Rank with Photography Snobs?

Editorial photographers used to jump from one story to another. News was news — whether sports, conflict, celebrity or natural disaster. A photojournalist would shoot a head of state one hour and a celebrity the next. And he or she would do so with the same talent, the same intense dedication to quality.

Two-Way Radios Can Help Keep Photographers Focused

When it comes to equipment, photographers always have to find a balance; no one wants to carry around something that’s not useful. Two-way radios (or commercial-grade “walkie-talkies,” as many users call them) are affordable, lightweight and provide photographers important advantages, several of which can significantly improve the images they capture.

For Great Photographs, You Have to Push

It was 20 below zero that morning as Casey Bell and I drove toward Yellowstone National Park on a winter photo safari. We had headed out in the dark from Gardiner, Mont., passing through Mammoth Hot Springs and heading east into the park. A passing storm had dropped about six inches of new snow, and we seemed to be the only vehicle on the road.

How to Save Time and Make More Money in Photography

I’ve been thinking about my photographer friends. They are absolutely passionate about what they do; they capture memories that last forever; they make people look so much cooler than they are in real life; and most of them are absolutely, totally exhausted.

Four Ways to Get Photography Subjects to Say Yes

Recently, I wrote an article about photographing strangers in the street and the perils and risks that befall all of us who do such “horrid things.” Though this is the method I usually prefer, there often are times when I will ask permission of the people I photograph. It all depends on the situation.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: What Are My Numbers Telling Me?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I discuss how to look at the numbers for your photography business. By starting with your financial goals and knowing your conversion rate, you’ll know how heavily you’ll need to market.

Four Steps to Higher Profits for Photographers

Every businessperson wants to know how to make his or her business more profitable. And yet when it comes to actually doing it, we often shoot ourselves in the proverbial foot.  Especially photographers.

For Great 360 Images, Bracket and Blend

(Editor’s note: Want to set yourself apart? Consider adding new skills for in-demand services. In this post, Tatianne Lugo from ICE Portal describes the techniques behind high-quality 360-degree virtual tours.)

Pinterest Comes with Pros and Cons for Photographers

There is no shortage of interest in Pinterest, and photographers seem especially keen to take advantage of this most visual of social media. But, as with most everything shiny and new, there are concerns, and bloggers haven’t been shy about voicing them. Let’s take a look, and stick some pins on both sides of the board.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: How Long Does It Take to be Successful?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I break down what you need to do (and how long it takes) to make it in the photography industry. Take a look at the steps I lay out in this video.

For Great Photographs, ‘This Is What I Saw’ Isn’t Enough

Looking at photographs is a very personal experience. Everyone has their opinions about what is good art and what is not. When it comes to photographs, some like landscapes, others go for street photography, and others prefer conceptual photography or portraits. It’s all a matter of personal taste. Of course, I have my own preferences, but it is not a particular style of photography that I prefer over another. What interests me are the way a photograph is made and the impact it has on me as a viewer.

Rights Licensing Is All About Visibility

In working to license rights to your photography, you need to recognize that there is a tremendous oversupply of images. So while your images are certainly much better on a quality and artistic level than most of the images out there, unfortunately that isn’t all it takes to make sales. As I said in my most recent post, getting the images seen by potential customers is the big problem.

Licensing Images In Today’s Market

I’m regularly contacted by photographers wanting to know how they can license rights to their images in today’s market. Recently I was contacted by a nature and wildlife photographer whose work was excellent. This photographer regularly conducts photo workshops where he teaches others how to take great scenic and wildlife pictures. Here’s what I told him.

How to Get a Blog Post to Write Itself

Blogging is a great, free way to promote your photography business. Its benefits include targeted local traffic and networking opportunities with other vendors and venues. There’s the free promotion when your clients share your posts using social media, not to mention the happy client testimonials collecting in the comments.