Practicing Your Wildlife Photography at the Zoo

Lions and tigers and bears — and gorillas — oh my! You probably won’t find any of these at your backyard feeders, but you will find them hanging out at the local zoo.

And while photographing zoo animals may be a bit less thrilling than shooting animals in the wild (though it is considerably safer), it’s still the best opportunity that most of us will get to approach many rare and exotic (and often endangered) species.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: How Can I Be a Better Negotiator?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I share my single best tip for negotiating your fees for photography jobs. Trust me: it works.

Photographers, the Battle with Social Network Terms of Service Is Lost — Get Used To It

Let’s face it, you are waging a losing battle. In fact, it’s not even a battle because one side has won already.

Every time you sign up for a social network, be it Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you are faced with TOS (Terms of Service) that are naked rights grabs — making it a risky proposition for you to share your images.

Photography Is the Third Language — Use It to Say Something

Most communication is nonverbal. It’s something we’ve all heard many times — ever since that 1967 UCLA study showed that only 7 percent of a message is delivered by the words, and the rest by everything surrounding them.

Are You Selling Your Photography in the Dollar Bin?

It seems like photographers are always arguing these days about how they should market their work, and how much they should charge for it.

As we contemplate this question, I thought it might be useful to look at other types of businesses for insight. Here goes:

Professionalism Trumps Talent Every Time

Many years ago, my wife and I operated a small ad agency from our home in northern Vermont. Since this was before the Internet, we relied on word of mouth to find local talent to help us, including printers, photographers, and copywriters.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: What Are the Three Keys to Marketing Success?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I share three keys to marketing success for photographers, including developing a clear value proposition, putting your clients’ needs first, and — most importantly — never giving up on yourself.

Camera Reviewers Don’t See What I See

A few years ago, I became interested in purchasing a rangefinder camera. When I checked for reviews of the product I was considering online, I found that many of the opinions were critical.

The viewfinder/autofocus system didn’t work consistently, worked slowly, or operated poorly in low light, the reviewers said. I noticed that one of the postings was by a friend of mine, so I wrote him for more detail on his experiences. He strongly advised me to avoid the camera altogether.

The Photographer’s Life Should Start with Family

It used to be said that the divorce rate for National Geographic photographers, with their frequent travels, was close to 100 percent.

I’m not sure if that was ever true, but I’ve read and heard plenty of sources that confirm the divorce rate for professional photographers is significantly higher than the national average.

Being a Starving Artist Is Highly Overrated

Sometime back, Martha Zlatar, art business consultant and founder of ArtMatch, offered 10 sure-fire tips for those interested in pursuing the romantic lifestyle of the starving artist.

In Defense of the Photographer’s Vest

Not everyone is a fan of the humble photographer’s vest. If you read through the 90+ comments on Peter Phun’s post, “21 Signs You’re a Real Photographer Now,” quite a few ridicule the very idea of pros wearing vests.

Stop Running Your Photography Business Like a Hobby

It’s great to have a passion for photography, but that alone won’t pay the rent. Unless you can get equally committed to the business side of the profession, your photography is doomed to remain a hobby or source of supplemental income. In this video, I offer some tips on how to get focused on developing your business.

Is Photography Adding to Your Quality of Life?

Most of the articles I read on photography websites offer advice on things like how to master different techniques, how to price your work, or how to market your business. But sometimes I think it’s important for us to take a step back and ask ourselves a bigger question:

You Don’t Need a 3D Camera to Create Depth

Amid all the recent hype over 3D cameras, it’s probably worth noting that creating the illusion of depth in photography is not a novel pursuit. Smart people have been finding clever ways to bring the third dimension into still photos almost since the beginning of the craft.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: Should I Get a CPP Certification?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I answer the question, “Should I get a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) designation?” I have a strong opinion on the subject.

On Vertical Lines, Graphic Art and Photography

My first day at L’ècole Des Beaux Arts in Montreal was quite memorable. Aside from compulsively staring at a very pretty blonde by the name of Josette, I eagerly awaited the arrival of the drawing teacher for my first class.

It’s Time for Pro Photographers and Hobbyists to Call a Truce

I’m a professional photographer. I also recognize that, increasingly, this designation seems to be losing its impact.

Besides being able to deduct equipment purchases on your taxes, what else does the title bring you?

Get Local Publicity for Your Wedding Photography Business

In this video in my series on wedding photography marketing, I share advice on how to get exposure in local media to build awareness and earn new clients for your wedding photography business.

Is It OK for Photographers to “Write for Free” for Black Star Rising?

A lot of photographers — pros and semipros alike — are angry these days.

Pros are angry because good-paying work is harder to find than it used to be; much of this anger is directed at semipros and amateurs, who are blamed for the oversupply of images in the marketplace.

Why Is a Photojournalist’s Gender Relevant to Their Work?

I’ve never been able to identify a photojournalist’s gender from the photos she takes. Have you?

When Margaret Bourke-White photographed the Nazi death camps for Life magazine, no one cared if she was a woman or not. Her images told the story and that was that.

If You Want the Best from Your Designer, Don’t Criticize Their Work — Critique It

(The following is adapted from the book Everyone’s Guide to Designers, by designer Clarence Bowman.)

One of the trickiest arts in world is the art of critique. But learning it is important to clients who wish to have good working relationships with their graphic and Web designers.

Action, Not Anger, Is Photographers’ Best Response to Getty

Stock photographers are up in arms. They’re angry — and understandably so.

But they’re not right about everything, and rage only gets you so far. As the photography industry continues to struggle with heightened competition, reduced demand and lower prices, photographers must learn to take action, both for themselves and for their industry, with the same energy with which they voice their complaints.

Wedding Photographers: Be Yourself to Be a Bride Magnet

Before hiring you to document their wedding, most couples want to know more about you than the quality of your work and how many ceremonies you’ve shot in the past. They want to get to know you as a person.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: What’s the Truth About Photo Contests?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I answer the question, “What’s the truth about photography contests?”

The Best Photos Make You Stop to Look Twice

“When you look into your camera, if you see an image you have ever seen before, don’t click the shutter.”

— Alexey Brodovitch

Based on my recent blog posts criticizing the tyranny of the new and the idiocy of artist statements in photography, you might have me pegged as a “grumpy old photographer,” as one commenter put it.