Ask the Photo Business Coach: How to Write a Killer Bio for Your Website

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I share some advice on highlighting your achievements in a high-impact biography for your website.

Getting Paid: Collection Agencies and Courts

Fourth in a series.

In the first part of this series, we introduced you to an Ottawa photographer who, when asked about getting paid, joked that “baseball bats work wonders.” In this last installment, we’ll discuss how to swing the legal lumber: namely courts and collection agencies.

Getting Paid: Using a Reminder System

Third in a series.

When it comes to getting paid for her photography, New Yorker Giovanna Grueiro has a system. You should too.

In this installment of our series, we’ll explore how having a plan to get paid for each job will keep your businesses — and your client relationships — healthier.

Getting Paid: Prodding the Slow-Paying Client

Second in a series.

Having a hard time getting paid for your freelance work? You’ve got company.

Some 44 percent of “independent workers” had difficulty getting paid for their work last year, according to the Freelancers Union, the industry group that counts more than 150,000 members nationwide. It says three out of four freelancers are paid late or not at all at least once in their careers.

Getting Paid: It Starts with the Invoice

(Editor’s note: In today’s uncertain economy, freelance photographers are waiting longer than ever to receive payment from their clients. Following is the first in a series of articles by Brandon Cotter, founder of ZenCash, offering tips to accelerate your cash flow.)

Ask the Photo Business Coach: How Can I Make the Most of Social Media?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I share some tips and tricks for photographers looking to maximize social media in their marketing efforts.

15 More Signs You’re a Real Photographer Now

Last year I wrote a blog post called “21 Signs You’re a Real Photographer Now.” Commenters said the post was elitist, “sexist crap,” “truly pointless,” “self-congratulatory nonsense,” and a “waste of time.”

Summer Doldrums? Stay Busy to Re-Inspire Your Photography

Summer is usually a slow period for me. You might say that I am “creatively inactive.”

I tend to stay close to home in Vermont during the summer. And when I try to shoot here, I generally don’t produce much that I like.

Hey Photographers, the Wedding Day Is Not About You

As a wedding photographer, I know my job is important. I could argue that I’m the most important vendor at the event, in fact.

After all, I’m the one who will be documenting the day for posterity. 

To Tell a Story Visually, Build Trust with Your Subject

Editor’s note: Carl Costas is a Sacramento-based photographer specializing in photojournalism. He is a former staff photographer for the Sacramento Bee. In his first video on visual storytelling for Black Star Rising, Carl discusses the importance of building rapport with your subject.

What Defines a Professional Photographer?

In May, Peter Phun published an article on Black Star Rising entitled “It’s Time for Pro Photographers and Hobbyists to Call a Truce.” The article has received a lot of comments. I would like to weigh in with my thoughts on the difference between professionals and non-professionals.

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.