Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Great Chance!

Here is an incredible opportunity to get some free promotion guys brought to us by Rob Haggart in his blog! This guy is a photo editor and will put two of your images into a slideshow and show it to art buyers, no joke. Check it here for yourself. You have 24 hours left to send those two image to him though, so no procrastinating allowed.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mentoring Program

I've researched and found that the National Press Photographers Association has a successful 4 year old mentoring program. You can read about it here. It's absolutely brilliant! I talked to the guy who set it up and was very impressed. Apparently it took some work to set up initially, but has not required much maintenance since then. It's all done through their national website. They have over 90 mentors at the moment.

The way they set it up is the 'mentee' (if that's the word for it) selects the mentor on the website and contacts him on his own. Mentors can have as many mentees as they want. The relationships can be set any number of ways, whatever suits the parties in question best. I researched and found out that people want mentors for different reasons, so it's more effective to allow them to set it up personally. General boundaries can of course be set, as they were stated on the NPPA site.

I have begun talking to ASMP leadership about setting up a mentoring program this way. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully it will be presented at next week's national board meeting.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Off To Chicago

Hey guys, I'll be in Chicago the next week to ten days. So I'll be posting again when I get back. I don't have a laptop to take with me yet. Sometime soon :-)

By the way, don't forget to ask any marketing or business-related questions to our resident advisor, Maria Piscopo. She has been graciously offering her help and we have learned a lot from her. If you have never read her book, 'The Photographer's Guide To Marketing And Self-Promotion,' go buy it. It's a must read. Maria has been a rep/marketing guru/lecturer/author for the past 30 years. She knows a lot. Maria is our secret weapon, our awesome resource !

Please email me with the questions at and I will relay them to Maria, then post them (while keeping you anonymous if that is what you wish) so we can all learn.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Have any of you had mentors? What type and what did you get out of the relationship? Or maybe you were a mentor to someone. What was that like? I am working to set up a local mentoring program with ASMP Los Angeles.

The idea is that emerging photographers could use the guidance and expertise of established photographers. Starting out in this industry is tough. You practically have to figure out everything by yourself when you run your own business. It's not like you have a boss training you. There are NO training wheels. So benefiting from the wisdom of an old pro is a wonderful gift for a newbie.

What does the mentor get out of it? Well for one, it's a way to give back to the community. It's a way to give of yourself and feel good about it. The other thing is a lot of emerging photographers just don't know good business practices. They make mistakes, lowball... and hurt the industry as a whole. So what better way to circumvent that than to establish mentoring relationships? It's not the magic bullet, but done right, it could make a significant impact.

I'd love to hear what you guys think about this. Any and all ideas, opinions, suggestions welcome. Email me or comment. Thanks.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Marketing With Photo Contests

Rob Haggart, author of the great blog and former photo editor for Outside and Men's Journal magazines, writes here about photo competitions. Apparently, editors much prefer to pick out photographers to hire from contest winners, rather than source books. It makes sense since the former will show only the best, while paid advertising does not weed out anyone but the poor.

Haggart even mentions what contests he would regularly pick photographers from. So this is a great incentive to start submitting to competitions. It's a cheap and effective way to advertise, if you win. You remember what it said on the wall of your high school classroom? "You never achieve anything until you try." That saying usually will not make a pessimist budge from his position, but you'll never know.... until you try.

haha ok ok, I'll leave you guys alone.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Finally Fixed The Comments....

I've been going nuts wrestling with the template on this blog for the past three months trying to get the comments section working. Finally got it fixed today, and it was the simplest thing. It took one click and about 5 seconds. Sometimes we make life so complicated. I even had blog gurus trying to figure it out. They gave me all kinds of crazy ideas, and I was completely overwhelmed and frustrated with the whole thing.

Someone had a good laugh at my expense. But hey, I'm laughing at myself now too :-)

I shot this cute blonde girl at the local baseball stadium the other day for a promo.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Online Usage Fees

Remind me to charge more for online usage! Disney is projecting 1 billion dollars in revenue from online content this fiscal year. So as Leslie Burns, the photo rep, likes to remind us, don't let any clients tell you the photos are just for online use.

Read it for yourself.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Free Food

Those words will get any college student's attention. Want to fill up a lecture hall or an art gallery, just mention those two words. Nowadays, it takes a little more for us uhhh business professionals. How about freeeeee software?

Go to ASMP's Pricing and Estimating Guides page and check out some cool stuff. You can download, among other things, Photobyte, a photography business management software tool. Donations accepted of course. Be sure to check out NPPA's Cost Of Doing Business Calculator as well. Quite the useful tool!

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Test Your Creativity-More Publicity

From Wired Magazine...In this week's photo contest, we want you to commit photographic suicide: We want you to shoot yourself. With a camera.

Use the Reddit widget below to submit your best self-portrait photo and vote for your favorite among the other submissions. The 10 most-highly ranked photos will appear in a gallery on the homepage. So get out your timers, remote triggers, mirrors; whatever wizardry you need to be both shooter and subject. Hang your skills and your mug out there for all to see. And please, make it interesting.

The photo must be your own, and by submitting it you are giving us permission to use it on and in Wired magazine. Please submit images that are as large as possible, the ideal size being 800 pixels or larger on the longest side. Please include a description of your photo, which may include exposure information, equipment used, etc.

If you're using Flickr, Picasa or another photo-sharing site to host your image, you'll have to provide a link to the image directly and not just to the photo page where it's displayed.

We've seeded the widget with a couple of our own photos to kick things off.

Also, check out the winner's galleries from our previous contests: Holga and Red.

Vote on self-portrait photos submitted by other readers.

Show entries that are: hot | new | top-rated. Submit your red photo.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the fastest, cheapest way to reach potential clients. It's also easy to track unlike direct mail. You'll know who has opened your email, how much time they spent reading it, and if they clicked on any links. It's also paperless and therefore environmentally-friendly and I know all of you care about that.

There are a few basic rules that you should follow in order to be effective with email marketing. Permission needs to be given for you to send messages to a client. You don't want to spam and get blacklisted. That would be the end of your business' internet presence. You'll also want to include a 'call to action,' as marketing people like to say. It's great to have a clear, concise, well-designed email, but if you don't ask the customer to do something, you're wasting your time. The CTA could be as simple as 'Click here to view my portfolio.'

It's very important to educate yourself before attempting email marketing. Here are a few places to start:

You'll want to buy a program designed to manage and track your emails. There are a couple that have been recommended to me. I'll include reviews of them in a subsequent post once I try them out.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Strobist Meetup March 9th

Hey guys, we got another meetup coming up next Sunday, March 9th. This one is going to be about 'Umbrella Specular Portraits.' We're moving along in the L102 tutorials on Strobist.

This series of lessons is about mastering the seven different ways to control light. Once you do that, you can apply that knowledge and experience to any type of photography. Whether you are a serious hobbyist or a pro, it's probably the most crucial thing you could dedicate yourself to learning. And what better way to do it than for free with a bunch of other passionate photographers !

We'll meet in Huntington Beach at 2pm. From there, we can hit up a number of different locations. For more info, contact me at

Curious about what we shot at our last Strobist meetup? This is one of the images we came up with.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Goals For March

So I talked of setting goals for March in my previous post. The trick in setting goals is being ambitious, but not too much. I'm good at setting the bar too high, and then being disappointed when I can't reach it. So I'm going to try a different approach.

I learned an interesting technique for setting daily goals from Jack Canfield. He sets really small ones. He'll have a goal to, for example, exercise five minutes a day. That's nothing, right? There is no logical excuse to not exercise at least five minutes a day. So what that does is get him started. Then guess what? He rarely ends up doing just five minutes. Most of the time, he'll exercise say 30 min., but if he does only do 5 one day, then he has still fulfilled his goals.

The hard part in having a daily goal is getting started. Some days you just don't feel like it. So if you keep the goal easily attainable, then your chances of doing it everyday increase tremendously. Consistency becomes possible. Progress becomes a reality. I've tested this out over a few days and it works. So now for the whole month !

Daily goals:
-two phone calls to potential clients.
-15 min. of database work on my potential client list.
-5 min. of organizing.

Weekly goals:
-surf and yoga twice.
-one product shot.
-1 networking meetup.

I will keep my word. Some days may be more difficult than others, like Wednesday when I go snowboarding on my birthday. I could plan it out ahead of time though, and call from the car on my way to the mountain. This is all about going above and beyond, getting past my 'excuses.'

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

The 30 Day Trial

March of last year was definitely one of the most productive months of my life. Why? Well I spent February doing Tony Robbins' 30-day Personal Power program. He's a motivational speaker and so I got into a great rhythm, getting so much stuff done. At the beginning of March 2007, I set goals for that whole month. I broke them down into weekly and daily goals. Then I kept track of what I accomplished everyday. I even wrote down what time I ended going to bed each day. Sounds crazy? Well the results were spectacular.

I'm setting out to do the same thing this March. Tomorrow I will write my goals down for the months, weeks and days that follow. Then I will track them diligently. One of my common mistakes when I set goals is that I set them too high. So even if I get a lot done, I am disappointed that I didn't accomplish my goals. I will make them more attainable this time around. That is not easy for me, but I'll do my best.

I encourage you guys to try it out. Do it for one month and see what kind of results you come up with. You will be amazed! High achievers and ultra successful people do this kind of thing over years. I'm just saying I will do it to this intensity for one month. That means that every minute will count. So when I am relaxing, it's because I planned it that way, not because I don't feel like working. If this sounds like it would take spontaneity out of my life, well I suppose it does to a certain extent. But I am so much happier when I play the game of life at a greater level and intensity. There are trade-offs. I am out to get the max out of this limited time I have and this is the best way I know how for them moment.

Steve Pavlina is a big inspiration for me. I thought of doing this after reading his article: 30 Days To Success. Trying out something for 30 days is the perfect way to either make it into a solid habit or find out if it's not the best thing for you. If you take this on, let me know how it goes. We can help motivate each other. You can reach me at

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

My Day

So it's now 11:32pm. How did my day turn out? Well I went surfing for an hour, caught some good waves, then rushed off to a Cashflow game meeting. Not sure what the board game Cashflow is about, read this post.

We played for 4 hours and I learned a lot about investing and increasing my cashflow. The other participants included a financial advisor, a day-trader, and a couple who invested in their spare time (they have 6 houses at the moment), and me, who knows absolutely zero about creating a positive cashflow. These games are played once a month around here. Apparently they are taking place all over the country actually. It's a great place to learn about investing in a fun, free way. For info on where they might be meeting in your area, check

I won't go into much further detail about what I actually did today. The rest was not that exciting! I learned a valuable lesson though. The reason I often don't accomplish what I set out to do is that I act according to my feelings. As long as I am motivated, I will continue my task. However, as soon as I find something more interesting to do, more captivating, I stop doing it. If I get bored, tired... I'll look for something else to do. In order to honor my word and finish what I set out to do, I must separate my actions from my feelings. It's called discipline.

I did ok today. I worked hard and got a good amount of stuff done. I wasn't as focused as I could have been though. I did get distracted, but hey I'm a work in progress. I'm only human. I still strive to constantly adjust how I spend my time. Procrastination is the number one cause of failure. I just made that up, but it sounds right to me.

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How Valuable Is Your Time ?

A little known fact: 20% of our activity produces 80% of our work. We spend most of our time doing things that have zero impact on our goals. It could be writing endless emails, internet surfing for hours, tv watching, long phone calls for no particular reason. It's endless interruptions, distractions... that prevent us from concentrating on what will make our dreams a reality. Is that effective? Hell no. So I have gradually improved my ratios by asking myself, before I take on an activity, 'is this the best use of my time? Is it really?'

It's 7:22am on Saturday March 1st. I'm doing something a bit different. Usually I post at the end of the day. Here, the idea is to look at this day as being infinitely important, as in every minute counts. I know everyone has heard that saying: "Treat this day as if it were your last." Anyone who has actually managed to do that, I would love to hear about it. No, what this is about is having the intention to make this day matter. In fact, every minute is going to matter.

I love to do this, though it's not as refined as it could be certainly. It doesn't mean I can't have fun and have to be 'productive' all the time. No, it's about having balance and living with intention. For example, spending hours watching tv is not having balance. Personally I don't have cable, so it's not an issue. I do watch movies quite often though.

Operating like this is especially important because I am self-employed, and self-managed. As such, I have to wear a lot of hats, and my to-do list is a mile long. In fact, I don't think I will ever get through it because everyday I add stuff to it. It's ok though, as long as I focus on the most important items. I get lost in the details, the meaningless stuff, all the time. And then I act surprised and disappointed when I don't get the results I want.

Another tactic that works well to increase productivity is having chunks of time (60 to 90 min.) dedicated to an activity, with zero interruptions allowed. That means phones are off, no internet surfing, no snack breaks, no tv... It's about focusing intensely on the task at hand, working with speed, concentration and care. I get more done working that way in 90 min. than I do in a full day working the haphazard way, no joke.

So in summary, it's not just about improving productivity, it's about improving my work/play balance, making every minute count, and focusing on what will impact my goals. It's an ongoing process for me. Let's see how it turns out today as an experiment.

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