Thursday, January 31, 2008

Marketing Info

Here is a question posed to Maria Piscopo:

I am going to have my photographs published in a design book written by a world famous furniture designer. I have questions about licensing. There will be thousands of copies of this book. Do I need to license my photos so that with every book, I receive a percentage of the sale of the book? Thanks.

Maria Piscopo's answer:
"Photography to illustrate books can be licensed several ways. You will have to ask the publisher for his 'standard' contract and go from there:
1. Flat fee per print run of the books.
2. Small advance payment and higher royalties.
3. High advance and lower royalties.

For definitive information on this topic, go to and check out their book 'Art Licensing 101.' The information does apply to all image licensing. Finally you should probably have your attorney look the contract over before you sign to make sure all the terms are in line with copyright law."

Check out Maria Piscopo's articles on promo pieces, direct mail and advertising. Well worth the read!

Read more!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Copyright and Metadata

There is currently legislation making its way through Congress that would allow anyone to use and reproduce any images deemed to be 'orphaned,' as in not having a known owner. This Orphan Works bill may eventually pass into law.

What would this mean for photographers? Well if you don't attach metadata, including copyright and contact info to your images placed on the internet, they could potentially be used by anyone, for any reason. The problem is metadata can be stripped from an image, so then the copyright owner of the image could be intentionally 'not found.'

Suing for copyright infrindgement at that point would give the owner damages according to the perceived value of similar images on the market. So if a similar image can be had for cheap using royalty stock photography, then guess what? You'll get little redemption.

We are entering a new era where copyright is of little concern to people. Look at the music, entertainment and software industry. They have taken huge hits because of people copying materials illegally. Will photographers have to deal with the same issues? It seems like we're on the way.

I don't like to propagate this kind of negative news, but I feel it is necessary in this instance. It's not really 'negative.' It is what it is. It's simply up to us to respond accordingly.

There are some ways to reduce, though not eradicate, the likelihood of copyright infridgment of your images. Make sure you attach copyright info to all the images that leave your computer. Go to Photoshop and File Info. Do NOT use the 'save for web' photoshop option because it strips images of some of the metadata. Apparently Adobe will be coming out with a plug-in tool to safeguard the metadata when use the 'save for web' option. Not sure when.

Another option is to use PLUS, which is 'an international non-profit initiative on a mission to simplify and facilitate the communication and management of image rights.' This coalition was created in order to respond to these ongoing image rights issues in various industries. Using PLUS will facilitate the standardization of licensing language, greatly reducing the common misunderstandings between art buyers and photographers over copyright issues. Additionally, images will have embedded codes in them revealing exact usage rights, as well as copyright and contact info of photographers.

Something else you can do is register your images with the copyright office, which I haven't done to be honest. If you find someone has used your images in any way without your permission, you have the right to take them to court. Having your images registered will give you a much better chance in court, even though you already own the copyright. Here is some more info, offered by ASMP. The form to fill out is here.

Feel free to post any additional info in the comments section.

Read more!

Monday, January 28, 2008

SB2 Seminar Reviews

So here are some interviews made during the conference. It's worth a look, especially for those guys who are on the East Coast.

SB2 schedule:

Read more!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Wow, what an amazing day !!! I've been at the ASMP Strictly Business Seminar. My head is so full of info right now. I think it's going to explode.

Must get some sleep. Another full day tomorrow. I'll share more about it soon, sooo much good stuff.

Read more!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Combining Flash and Landscape Photography

I know some of you out there are strobists and shoot landscapes. Why not combine both? Here are some interesting examples.

Read more!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Helping Out A Charity

Givers gain. Volunteering services to a charity organization is an excellent to practice your skills, contribute to your community and build relationships.

Here's an opportunity in the LA/OC area brought to you by Maria Piscopo:

Project Cuddle’s next fundraiser is Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 at The Reef Restaurant in Long Beach- Dinner, Dancing, Silent Auction with John Stamos and Music & Entertainment by Surf City Allstars. They still need items donated for the auction and volunteers for the event.

If you are able to help out with anything, please contact the Project Cuddle office for a list of items we still need for the Auction. Email or call us at the office 714.432.9681.

Read more!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Free Business Seminars

There is one incredible resource we often overlook: small business development centers. They offer free seminars and one-on-one consultations. They are put-on by highly regarded and established professionals in their respective fields.

Just tonight I went to a free seminar organised by SCORE. The topic was 'Selling Techniques That Work,' and the speaker was in charges of sales for FedEx, no less. Last week, I went to one entitled 'Marketing. How To Get And Keep Your Clients.' That speaker has done marketing for the likes of Nike and Apple Computers. He's worked side by side with Steve Jobs, probably the best marketing guy on the planet!! And guess what, this guy is available for one on one consultations for free. Well, he did say it might costs us a cup of coffee since his preferred meeting place is Starbucks.

So how do you find out about all this cool stuff? Start here. ASMP has kindly put together a long list of resources that business owners can tap into. Plenty to munch on...

Read more!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Got A Few Extra Minutes?

Here are some cool blogs I have come across lately:

Photo Business Education
Confessions Of A Photographer
Pretty Girl Shooter
Soo Photography Blog
Brian Tracy
Steve Pavlina

Check them out and let me know what you think.

Read more!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

OC Strobist Meetup Next Sun Jan. 20th

Come join us for another edition of the OC Strobist Meetup. Nothing to do with the tv show I promise, just a bunch of passionate photographers learning about lighting. It's exciting, it's fun and you'll pick up a few things you didn't know, that's guaranteed.

If you want to come prepared, read up on Strobist. Look for the L102 post in the drop down menu on the right hand side.

So the default location is Huntington Beach, but I'm open to suggestions. So just email me at

It'll be Sunday Jan. 20th around 2pm. See you there.

Read more!

Template Websites

There are a number of internet companies that provide template-based website that can be customized to a certain extent. The general advantage to using one of these sites is that you can change the images and text on your site at will, without having to rely on a web designer (which can get pricy and inconvenient).

Each of these website companies have their pros and cons, ranging from price to ease of use.

Livebooks: generally regarded as the high-end of template-based sites.

I recently bought a livebooks site. It should be finished in the next week or so. The advantage to Livebooks is their awesome customer service. They are available on the phone anytime. You can even visit the designer if you live close enough to their offices, like me (15min. away). They don't consider themselves a template-based web design company, but you can tell a Livebooks site the minute you see one.

They can customize the site within certain parameters. Before buying the site, I thought I would have more latitude than I got, but they have certain limitations because of the back-end edit suite. The edit suite is incredibly user-friendly. Your grandmother could figure out how to use it.

The drawback to Livebooks is of course the price. How can you get a discount? If you're a student, you're in luck. Get an edu version site, if you don't mind the edu logo on your site. I think it looks amateurish for a pro, but for a student, it's perfect. All it costs is $100/year and you get to use the $3200 template. What I did is get that option and then converted to a pro site immediately. That way I got 20% off and a 2 year financing plan to pay for my $1400 site ($50/mo) and 2 years of free hosting.

Then you have Bludomain. I just bought a template of theirs for $400, much cheaper than LB. It's when I started to put together my site tonight that I understood why LB was so much more expensive. BD is much more complicated. It will take some serious work to figure out. They do have good customer service, but as of right now, I have a billion questions. A couple of friends of mine figured it out after a while, so I know it's not too bad. Once you get your BD site put together, you can easily change the images and the text. So I'm not worried about it. It's the initial work that is a bit daunting.

Keep in mind that BD still has their sale going on. Half price on their templates, it's a great deal. Most of them are $400, but they have some awesome ones available for a measly $100, hard to beat. It was supposed to end Jan. 1st.

Not to be ignored: sites designed in Flash cannot be ranked well with search engines because they don't have html. BD sites are all flash-based, a big drawback. LB places a ghost html site behind their flash designs, which the search engines can pick up, hence providing you with a much stronger web presence.

Some other sites worth checking out:
Big Folio: They cost the same as BluDomain. Not sure what they're like. If you do, let me know.
FolioLink: I've heard good things about them. Nice designs, but a bit pricy over the long run in my opinion (min. $250/year).

I'll put up more options as soon as I find them. Let me know if you know of any.

Note: Kathryn pointed out that BD does have one template, 'Lucy,' with a ghost html site.

Read more!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Underestimate Your Obstacles

Underestimate your obstacles. I didn't coin that phrase. I read it in 'Starting From Scratch,' a book about ordinary people who made the entrepreneurial leap. It is however a great way to describe what I have to do everyday.

It took me a long time to build up the courage to make the leap into professional photography. I would start thinking of all that it would entail, all those things I knew nothing about like marketing, business, accounting, on and on... I would get completely discouraged.

I remember reading a magazine, as recently as a year ago, in which some highly successful photographers were being interviewed. They described what it took to get to their level of success. I got so down on myself reading those interviews, thinking 'how could I possibly do this? I don't have the faintest idea where to start!' I had to put the magazine down. I couldn't tolerate being faced with how much I didn't know and how hard it would be to get to that level. It was awful.

Well since then, I have adjusted my thinking. Now when I read such an article, what pops into my head is: 'Tell me exactly how you got to where you are today because I am going to get there. Hell, I might even up the ante, and take it to the next level.'

I call pro photographers on a regular basis to interview and pick their brains. Why reinvent the wheel right? Find out what works and adjust it to your needs. Well I get tons of great info and feedback, but sometimes I get that tired old rant from established pros going on about how bad the industry is doing and how newbie photographers are ruining it for everyone with their low-balling... At that point, I tune out or change the subject. I have to or I would quit.

Being naive is way better than being cynical. I have dreams and I'm going after them. I will stop at nothing to achieve them. A lot of those guys that made it to the top defied all odds. They didn't listen to all the discouraging words, all the negative talk. They had their vision and they stuck to it.

I never considered myself ambitious. I was content with a simple life, simple things, simple jobs... Well, there came a point where living from paycheck to paycheck, and always scrounging for money got to be too much.

A turning point in my life happened in 2006 in a local restaurant. I had been working there as a cook slaving away behind the hot stove in a cramped kitchen for $9.50/hr. This mexican friend, Eduardo, turned to me, spatula in hand, and said: 'Hey huey, if I knew three languages, had american citizenship and a college education, I wouldn't be in this kitchen! WTF are you doing in here with us, Greg?'

I had to think long and hard about that one. It took me a couple of months, but I quit that job and embarked on this photography journey. It's been hard. I have made little money so far, but hey I'm happy. I'm doing what I love. I am learning constantly and making my way to the top. Thanks Eduardo !

Read more!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Good Times !

Today we had another meetup. There were 3 of us and I learned a ton of stuff about off-camera lighting. We had a great time and I am planning to make this a weekly event.

There is another strobist group in the area, so we are going to merge the two. So my plan is to make this group solid and large. Everyone involved will learn a ton of new lighting skills starting with the basics. After all, there are only 7 ways to control light. Learn those and you can apply them to any type of photography. Curious about what those are? Check and go to the L102 drop down menu on the right-hand side.

One thing we talked about was having a strobist gallery showing at some point. That would be amazing! So come out and join us yoooo.

Damn, that bread is making me hungry. And by the way, it's french. No really, it was baked in France.

Read more!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Geo-Tagging As A Marketing Tool

This is why having Maria Piscopo pulling for us is awesome. She sees through a marketing lens. Who else would have thought of this: using geo-tagging as a means of helping sell stock photos of 'places.' This is for all you guys who shoot nature, landscapes, even architecture.

Try it out and let us know if it works for you.

Here is some info on it:

Read more!

Friday, January 11, 2008

$1000 Advertising Award for OC Students

Here is an interesting proposition (hmm dinero) courtesy of the OC Ad Club:

The Orange County Ad Club is offering a $1000.00 Academic Achievement Award to students enrolled in advertising related disciplines at community colleges and universities throughout Orange County.

Applications must be received no later than February 29th to qualify. Recipients of the award will be notified and then acknowledged at the Orange County Ad Club Annual ADDY Awards Presentation in March.

The OCAC is committed to helping educators and students excel in the advertising industry. Programs are offered throughout the year to enhance understanding of the industry as well as provide networking opportunities. The Academic Achievement Award program is one of the many ways that the Orange County Ad Club expresses continued commitment to helping students reach their educational and professional goals.

Download the award criteria from:

Download the award application from:

If you have any questions or need further information, please visit our website at or contact me directly at 909-856-0984.

Sandy King

Read more!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Digital Workflow with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Digital workflow is one aspect of photography that we all have to understand and master in order to be effective. How should we manage our photos? What is the best way to treat our images from their initial creation to the final print, web image...?

In comes Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. This past week I have been learning this software with tutorials. It's such an easy, user-friendly and practical way to master a program.

Well I am just amazed at Lightroom's power. I can't understand how I lived without it! It makes my job simpler and expands my capabilities as a photographer. I can organize, compare, and edit loads of images with such ease. I think it replaces Adobe Camera Raw and even Bridge for me. Photoshop remains a complementary tool to retouch a select few images.

So don't take my word for it. Read and learn more about this software:

  • FAQ about Lightroom.
  • Interview of fashion photographer Martin Evening on using Lightroom.

Read more!

Maria Piscopo Workshops

Santa Monica College Continuing Community Education presents Maria Piscopo’s two workshops: The Business of Photography on Saturday, January 26 and Portfolio Development on Saturday, February 2.

Art Rep and Creative Services Consultant, Maria Piscopo, is scheduled to give Self-Promotion and Portfolio workshops for attendees at Santa Monica College Continuing Community Education on January 26, 2008 and February 2, 2008. Learn how to start and successfully run a creative services or photography business.

The Business of Photography (course number 110008) is on Saturday, January 26. Topics include finding clients, selling techniques, copyright issues, pricing your services, cost-effective self-promotion and planning your marketing.

The second workshop Portfolio Development (course number 110009) is on Saturday, February 2 and covers development of your portfolio for finding clients and photo jobs. Topics include indentifying your direction, image selection for portfolio, portfolio formats and a personal portfolio review.

For information, call SMC Community Services at 310-434-4000 or visit their web site and check by course number.

Maria Piscopo developed her workshops from her years of art/photo rep's experience and her two most current books, Photographer’s Guide to Marketing & Self-Promotion, 3rd edition and Graphic Designer's and Illustrator's Guide to Marketing & Promotion both published by Allworth Press, She is also a contributing writer for industry magazines such as Communication Arts, Dynamic Graphics Magazine and she writes the Business Trends column for Shutterbug magazine. For more information, visit her web site,

Read more!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Strobist Meetup next Sun. Jan. 13th

It's been a while since our last Orange County Strobist Meetup, holidays and all. So come out and join us. It's so much fun learning together. Everyone's creativity, passion, intellect and humor makes for a great time. Just ask anyone who's participated.

We'll delve further into the L102 course. We'll be exploring how to control specular highlights. It's something that comes into play with all types of photography. The easiest way to learn is by doing product photography, so bring along some objects you'd like to shoot.

We'll shoot in my 79 square foot 'studio.' You don't want to miss that opportunity. We'll meet in the early afternoon around 2pm. If the time doesn't work for some people, let me know and we'll try to work something out. If you need the address, email me at

I shot this camera yesterday for an ebay ad I am putting up. I don't like the camera. Never used it and never will so I might as well sell it.

Subject on top of white paper. Shot with one Nikon SB28 flash placed opposite side and above to create specular highlight and one SB80 flash to right of object. Both flashes triggered with Pocket Wizards.

Anyways I can already see a number of things that can be improved with this shot:

-specular highlight needs to be diffused more.
-not enough depth of field.
-large shadow is distracting.
-metal texture is too spotted.
If you see more, let me know. This is an experiment.

Read more!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Upcoming Events/Seminars in the LA/OC Area

There are a lot of cool seminars to check out in the coming months around here. The top one on my list is the ASMP Strictly Business 2 weekend seminar Jan.25-27. It's going to be amazing! Just $200 if you become an ASMP member. Well worth the investment for your business and you can write it off, yeahhh.

ASMP SB2 Jan.25-27.
Calumet seminars
Samy's seminars
APA Digital Printing seminar Jan.15th.
National Geographic photographers' presentation March 2nd.

Port of Cap D'Agde, France (summer '06).

If you plan on going to SB2 or any others, let me know. We'll make it a party.

Read more!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Photography Organizations

This is a compendium (ohhh big word):

ASMP ( American Society of Media Photographers)
APA ( American Photographers Association)
PPC (Professional Photographers of California)
ASPP (American Society of Picture Professionals)
PPA (Professional Photographers of America)
NPPA (National Press Photographers Association)
WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International)
WIPI (Women In Photography International)

Read more!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Create A Local Community

I just read an article by Maria Piscopo on her site about community. In it, she has interviewed a number of artists on the topic. She spells out how important it is, not just for networking but to foster friendships and connections in a creative sphere.

When I was in college, I took having photographer and artists friends galore for granted. It was a given, a part of my life. When I moved to Southern California, I knew no artists for the first two years. It was a missing element in my life. My non artists friends don't want to hear me go on for two hours about the off-camera lighting techniques I'm passionate about. They care how I feel, they care about what I do, but they don't share my passion for photography.

I took a photography class in the fall and that all changed. Now I have a close circle of friends and we talk about photography, business and other stuff all the time. It's amazing ! We support each other in our endeavours. If one of us can't do a photo job, we'll refer each other. We assist each other, share advice and even party, ha what a concept.

I value this community of friends I have. It's essential in fact. Just human nature really. We all want to share our passion with others. It's going to get bigger too thanks to the internet. This blog will foster a community of people who can support each other. I don't know how it's going to happen, but it's my dream, my goal.

This video is of my 'non artists' friends and I on vacation in the south of France. This is what I do when I'm not talking about business and photography... Guess who the last man standing is?

Read more!