To Overcome Creative Block, You Must First Embrace It

Google the term “creative block” and you’ll find countless articles trying to cure you of this terrible malady. This isn’t one of those articles.

Why not? Because I see nothing wrong with it; I don’t think it’s a malady at all.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: Why Followup Is So Important to Success

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I discuss the importance of followup and why keeping promises is so critical to success.

Sorry, Photography Students, But It’s Time to Find Something Else to Do

[Jim Pickerell’s new e-book “Secrets To Building A Successful Photography Career” is available at a discount to Black Star Rising readers. Just enter the coupon code “BlackStarRising” to get $5 off.]

To Succeed in Photography, Today’s Students Must Chart Their Own Course

As a photojournalism student, I’ve gotten lots of advice from professional photographers. As well-intended as this counsel may be, it usually comes down to a simple admonition: Stay out of the business.

Photographers, Stop Making Excuses and Start Taking Pictures

As a student, I had a lot of original ideas. And I was determined to take only original pictures.

I hated “me too” photographs. If I saw a classmate submit a portrait with a cliched subject like a bearded, homeless man, I’d shake my head and say to myself, “How trite.”

Creating a Wedding Photography Website That Sells: Your “About” Page

In this video in my series on creating a website that sells, I discuss creating an “About” page that will attract brides to your wedding photography business.

Creating a Wedding Photography Website That Sells

This is the first video in my series on creating a wedding photography Web site that sells. In this post, we address search-engine optimization and generating free offers to capture email addresses and other information from your site’s visitors.

Is Your Photography Site Social-Media Optimized?

With 10 percent of Internet visits and 25 percent of page views going to Facebook these days, Mark Zuckerberg’s social network has emerged as more powerful than even Google.

What are the implications of this? For starters, it means you should worry a little bit less about search engine optimization (SEO) and a little bit more about social media optimization (SMO).

How Many Photographs Will It Take to Make a Difference in the Middle East?

The farmers frantically picked their olives in the blazing hot sun. We were on a boulder-strewn hillside in Palestine, near the edge of a recently completed Jewish settlement.

Some of the farmers had started to carry their bags of olives to their carts, when suddenly a group of settlers came running down the hillside whooping and hollering, accompanied by a man blowing a horn. The settlers swooped into the grove of trees and grabbed for the olives, pushing and shoving the farmers.

Client Horror Stories: Runaway Bosses, Back Stories and Blue Socks

In my last post, I wrote about the difference between what I call “amateur” and “professional” clients. Some people thought the post was snobby and harsh, and suggested that — rather than avoiding amateur clients — photographers should work harder to educate them.

Ask the Photo Business Coach: How Should I Prepare for 2011?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I answer a question that many of us have this time of year: How do I plan for a prosperous and fulfilling 2011?

Use a Free Gift with Purchase to Drive Your Photography Sales

I hope everyone had happy holidays. Now that you’re back to work, I’d like to share some ideas on building your wedding photography business by offering “free gift with purchase” promotions.

The Two Types of Photography Clients — and Why You Should Only Want to Work with One of Them

As both a graphic designer and photographer, I used to think that working with clients was no fun.

Then I realized that all clients weren’t the problem — just a certain type of client.

I call them “amateur” clients. This is to distinguish them from the clients I do enjoy working with — “professional” clients.

Ten Seconds to Photograph the President

(The following is excerpted from Photographs from the Edge of Reality, by Black Star photographer John Harrington.)

I’ve had the privilege of photographing presidents going back to the first George Bush, and if you count President Reagan’s visit to the White House and ceremonies at George Washington University Hospital, where he honored those who saved his life, Reagan too.

Three Photo Locations, 45 Minutes…No Problem!

(The following is excerpted from Photographs from the Edge of Reality, by Black Star photographer John Harrington.)

One thing I revel in being able to do is making the seemingly impossible, possible.

Snapshots from the Italian Photography Market

I have worked in Italy and across Europe, as well as the United States. I can tell you from my travels that the virus that has infected the photography industry is a global epidemic.

I’m not sure we will find a cure anytime soon.

Photography Is a Numbers Game at Heart

I’ve always hated making cold calls. It’s hard not to take each rejection personally.

A friend tried to make me feel better about it by offering some advice. He said that if every 100 calls resulted in a sale, each of the rejections had gotten me one step closer to my goal — a “yes.”

E-Mail and Article Marketing for Wedding Photographers

In this video in my series on wedding photography marketing, I offer tips on using e-mail and article marketing to grow your wedding photography business.

Marketing Your Wedding Photography Business with Online Video

In this video in my series on wedding photography marketing, I offer tips on creating promotional videos to sell your services online and generate more bookings.

Sorry, But You Can’t Talk Me Out of a Future in Visual Journalism

Two years ago, as I sat on the sidelines of my very first college basketball assignment — Northwestern v. Indiana — I glanced over at the photographer sitting next to me and found myself scrambling to find words to strike up a conversation.

How Can Photographers Give Back During the Holidays?

In this video, I discuss why it’s important — and also good business — for photographers to give back to their communities. I also solicit your ideas for giving back, during the holidays or any time of year. I encourage your feedback.

Finding Comfort — and Creativity — in the Well-Worn Path

This photograph was taken last month as I took a leisurely walk along the River Seine in Paris. Somewhere near the Pont Neuf, I leaned over the wall separating the street from the walkway below and saw a couple relaxing along the bank.

Notes from the VisCom Classroom: What It Takes to Teach

I had the good fortune to spend the Thanksgiving holiday in the company of two university professors, people I would consider masters of their craft. A lot of the conversation was about teaching. What are the characteristics of a great teacher?

Ask the Photo Business Coach: What Makes a Great Picture?

In this installment of “Ask the Photo Business Coach,” I offer a simple answer to an oft-asked question: “What makes a great photo?”

Photographers and Publishers: End of a Love Affair

You know what’s funny? I’ll tell you what’s funny: by continuing to put so much financial pressure on photographers, the media industry will lose its primary source of imagery.

With declining space rates and assignment rates, increasingly obscene rights grabs that border on copyright infringement, unacceptable usage agreements and overall disrespect of the trade, publishers are literally pushing the photo industry to look for new revenues — and respect — somewhere else.