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  • Real Exposures Interview

    I recently sat down with David Brommer, the force behind the Real Exposures interview series, to discuss what Brommer describes as my “visually striking and highly moving photo-essays for magazines and non-profit organizations, including a project on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.” We also discussed my more recent photo-essay depicting homes that people had left behind during the recent foreclosure crisis.

    20

    Aug 14

  • Tiffinbox interview: Creating Powerful Photo Essays And Personal Projects

    In advance of my CreativeLive course called “Create Powerful Photo Essays & Personal Projects” I sat down to talk with Seshu Badrinath of the tiffinbox site to discuss the class and how photographers can create photo essays and personal projects as well as publish them on their own.

    28

    Jun 14

  • Thoughts on pricing video projects

    Regular readers know that I am making a big push into video work. I find video an interesting way to tell stories, I like the fact that multiple senses are used in that story-telling, and of course, the publication photography business is moving that direction. I have had very positive reaction to my video “Cafe,’” which shows a locally owned and operated coffee place. One such response was music to my ears and lead me to write this blog entry.

    09

    May 14

  • Video Hardware That Works For Me

    I recently blogged about the software that I use when making my narrative videos. Here, I will be talking about the hardware, the cameras, lenses, microphones, recorders, tripods, etc., that I use. My technology choices (whether hardware or software) are very specific to my process, my workflow and my budget. The gear I use solves my unique set of problems and nothing more. Every person making videos should ask themselves, does the gear I have (or the gear I am considering) solve my problems?

    25

    Apr 14

  • Video software that works for me

    Digital imaging software programs, like the cameras I use, solve a given set of problems. Nothing more, nothing less. Lightroom, for example, is one of many options for software to turn RAW files from my camera into TFF or JPGs for my paying clients to use. In video, there are similarly a myriad of choices. The choices I use to edit my video/ sound and to make my time-lapse animations don’t make me taller, smarter or sexier. They solve my problem most efficiently and inexpensively.

    11

    Apr 14

  • Why would anyone do stock photography

    In the last couple weeks, my nephew and a long time student both asked me if they would be wise to start producing stock imagery to be licensed through agencies or photo libraries. Though reusing existing imagery is a part of my business, I worked pretty hard to discourage them. In the process, walked them through the question “why would anyone do stock photography.” In doing so. I realized the form of my answer would be useful to any one considering getting involved in stock photography.

    28

    Mar 14

  • Thinking about organizing the personal project

    My favorite kind of photography is the personal project (or photo-essay.) The thing I like the least about them is the time and effort required to keep such projects organized. But, I need to be organized in order to execute the projects efficiently, to promote the work to potential funding sources and exhibitors, as well as to have the same work reviewed and published. I made this podcast explaining how I organize my personal projects.

    19

    Mar 14

  • Why listen to me?

    I write a lot of blog entries, teach a lot of classes and give many presentations. Those are NOT why you should listen to me when I write something or say something. You should listen to me because you think I know what I am talking about. The question is how do you know that and by extension, why listen to me?

    14

    Mar 14

  • The hidden scandal in photojournalism’s award season

    The award season for photojournalism is upon us, like the Oscars or the Grammies. Unlike in the cases of those televised awards, the commentary will not likely focus on who attended which awards ceremony with who as their date. Nor will their be much commentary on the costumes worn, since nearly all the competitors will be dressed in black, the artist’s de rigueur clothing. If the last few year’s post-award scandals are any indication, the commentary will likely focus on digital manipulation, a topic certainly of importance. But, I am guessing the scandal-of-the-month club will again miss the real scandal in the world of photojournalism.

    28

    Feb 14

  • Looking at web sites

    Many photographers ask me to look at their web sites to give them feedback. When I review web sites, I think back to when my web site was reviewed by someone in a position of authority. His review reshaped my web site and still influences how I look at web sites. This podcast explores that initial review, which serves as a springboard for me to look at a series of other web-sites.

    19

    Feb 14

  • What I hate about online camera reviews

    I rarely look at online camera reviews, unless I am trying to answer a very, very detailed question about a specific setting, button or control an a given camera. While some of the reviews can be useful, a lot of them are garbage. I am still trying to figure out who to blame, the reviewers who write the junk or the end-users who put too much faith in the same reviewers.

    31

    Jan 14

  • Road trip road tips

    My daughter is setting off on her semester abroad in college. She chose not to go on a college-sponsored program in some sunny and warm spot, where she might be surrounded by other American college students. Instead, she chose to enroll in a university in the chilly, damp and often gloomy U.K., to follow her passion, costume design for the theatre. Needless to say, I am very proud of her adventurous spirit.

    10

    Jan 14

  • Clearly crossing a fuzzy line

    Last week I blogged about intellectual property in general and the theft of photographs in particular. The line between the borrowing of ideas and concepts, verses actual stealing of intellectual property can occasionally be fuzzy. But the thefts I was writing about were clearly over that line. In writing that blog, I was prompted to think about my own borrowing/appropriating/reusing.

    03

    Jan 14

  • I was wrong but they are even more wrong

    Throughout my career as a commercial photographer, I have had a fairly consistent attitude about copyright theft (and its impact on my imagery.) This was based on my world-view of the photography market and my ability to realistically respond/control that. A recent experience has shown me that my attitude was, to put it bluntly, wrong.

    31

    Dec 13

  • A GREAT question

    A former student of mine, who has gone on to great accomplishment, wrote me with a GREAT question. My answer was be used on his blog page, but I thought it was such a good question that I am cross posting it on my page as well.

    06

    Dec 13

  • Lighting Workshop with Victor Rodriguez, Jr.

    In November of 2013, I took part in a lighting Workshop with Olympus Trailblazer, portrait and fashion photographer Victor Rodriguez, Jr., at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA. During the three hour workshop, I gathered video clips, which I then made into this short, three minute video.

    24

    Nov 13

  • Steering Clear of the RAW Format Wars

    Most professionals (and serious photographers) working digitally, shoot RAW files. They usually do so because of the incredible degree of control and the higher image quality that comes with RAW files. Being able to correct white balance after the fact is one of the many great things about RAW files. The worst thing about RAW files, in my mind, is what I call the ongoing proprietary RAW file wars. In this blog entry, I will talk about what you need to know to stay clear of the RAW format wars.

    22

    Nov 13

  • Lessons learned jurying a photo competition

    I recently had the privilege of jurying the work for Car Culture competition for the PhotoPlace Gallery in Vermont. It was real education, both in terms of photography and learning about the global world of cars. As a photo-educator, I look at moments like this as “teaching moments” and so I wrote this blog entry about the jurying process. (As I also wrote the “juror’s statement that will accompany the final exhibition of prints that will opens at the PhotoPlace Gallery today, November 8th.)

    08

    Nov 13

  • A Pro Photographer Who Uses a MacBook Air?

    I have blogged, lectured and argued for many years that a camera is nothing more than a tool that solves a given photographer’s problem. A camera brand is not a symbol of loyalty to one kind of photography, nor is it some kind of credential for membership in some kind of “club.” The sooner each photographer starts to figure out what their particular challenges are, and which camera works for them to resolve those challenges (regardless of brand), the sooner they will start making the kind of photographs they want. Recent experience has taught me that I need to start talking the same way about the laptop computers that photographers use for digital image processing. 

    13

    Sep 13

  • How do I use my time?

    A professional photographer is perceived as someone who has the pure pleasure of getting paid to snap pictures all day. Though I have been a professional for over thirty years, my working life has never been that simplistic or idyllic. So, earlier this spring I tracked EVERY thing I did for seven days. I do mean everything. For anyone considering “going pro,” a few minutes spent looking at my detailed list of one week’s labor will be real eye opener.

    16

    Aug 13

  • Seven Questions You Should Ask Every Accomplished Photographer

    I have been taking photographs for almost four decades—mostly for money and always for myself. Over those forty years, I have slowly figured out what I wanted to ask the many photographers I encountered along the way.  I have distilled this down to a list of questions that I would ask any photographer, knowing that the answers will help any photographer.

    02

    Aug 13

  • How and why I use Tumblr

    A wise student asked me:”Tell me about your Tumblr. How it works & how it serves your purposes.” I thought it was a brilliant question, that if I answered it fully, would benefit many photographers. So, I made a podcast answering his question(s.)

    17

    Jul 13

  • How a liberal arts education saved my career again and again

    College graduation season is upon us and with it discussions about the importance of educating young people for the so called “jobs of the future.”  With a daughter half way through college, I have plenty to worry about in terms of her future. Yet I am here to make a last stand for a liberal arts education, the one thing that has saved my career again and again.

    07

    Jun 13

  • Photography as a second language

    With graduation season upon us, thousands of photographers-in-the making will soon be graduating from institutions across the country. The commencement speakers those students would be listening to will be loath to admit it, but getting paid to be a photographer is dying as a career option and it is clearly time for a new paradigm in the business of photography.

    10

    May 13

  • Copyright workflow of one professional photographer (me)

    Registering your photographs with the Library of Congress is THE most important thing any photographer can do to protect their intellectual property (their photographs.) While it is not a difficult process, it can be tedious. In this podcast, I walk you through my copyright registration process, in great detail.

    29

    Apr 13

  • How to organize the unorganized

    Another query comes in and another blog post comes out…. I received an e-mail with a question that was so good that I immediately answered the writer AND told him I would turn it into a blog post. His question, to put it succinctly was “How could he organize the unorganized?” This is a question nearly every photographer working digitally may have to face.

    22

    Mar 13

  • How to Build Awareness for Your Work

    This week’s blog entry is a cross posting of a blog that was the result of an interview I did with photographer and marketing expert Cindy A. Stephens for the Boston Photography Focus blog, which is sponsored by the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University. The blog was posted on February 13th, 2013 and was titled: “How to Build Awareness for Your Work.” Below is the full text (the interview and the blog that was built around the interview.)

    22

    Feb 13

  • Image abuse via Tumblr, Instagram, etc.

    A question came my way recently via email and again during a class in SIngapore. Any question that recurs that often is almost guaranteed to be worth a blog entry. After answering the question a couple times, in person and by e-mail, I knew I had a moderately intelligent answer that became this blog entry.

    08

    Feb 13

  • Cafe Coffee Day vs Starbucks (advice to Howard Schultz)

    People who know me are aware that I don’t drink alcohol, be it wine, beer or hard liquor. I do love my coffee though. In fact, am something of a “specialty coffee” junky (as the marketing types call it.) Starbucks will soon be opening locations across India, expanding into a country and culture that I know relatively well. I am rooting for Starbucks to change the India specialty coffee market, but not for the reasons you might expect.

    01

    Feb 13

  • Being interviewed via Google plus

    I had the pleasure of hanging out on Google plus (and being interviewed by) Frederick Van Johnson, the ball of energy behind many interesting photography projects including This Week in Photo. I enjoyed the hangout immensely wanted to share it.

    25

    Jan 13

  • Canadian copyright law joins the 20th century

    Canada recently changed its copyright law to align more closely with the rules of the World Intellectual Property Organization (or WIPO.) It is no surprise that most of the recent changes in copyright law have been driven by the explosion in digital technology and the internet. I came away a bit surprised, however, after I learned about the changes to the Canadian law.

    30

    Nov 12

  • Why go pro

    In a recent blog, I wrote about my experience presenting my work to a group of photographers in New Delhi (India.) I was particularly interested in figuring out which concerns are unique to Indian photographers and which are universal among photographers. This week, I am thinking about a universal question I get no matter where in the world speak, which is “how do I become a professional photographer.” Pondering that question among Indians made me wonder if something about their experience, their culture and their economy might spur a uniquely Indian answer.

    19

    Oct 12

  • Egregious rights-grabbing photo contests

    There are some days I feel like I live in some parallel universe. I use neither of the two major camera brands. I watch almost no television. I take public transportation rather than owning my own car. I could go on listing the ways that I am slowly ebbing out of the mainstream. A new and insidious trend has developed among photo competitions which looks like it will push me further and further into that other, parallel universe.

    05

    Oct 12

  • The business side of workshop teaching

    In my last blog entry, I wrote about how interns/teaching assistants can maximize the opportunities that such professional opportunities can offer them. Since then I have received a few comments and queries based on what I wrote (including two that are at the bottom of that blog entry.) This week I want to answer another professional development question, in this case about photography workshops, which I saw posted in a forum. It was one of those rare questions that I see on line which I actually feel qualified to answer.

    17

    Aug 12

  • Dish TV vs the Networks and our photographic future

    Am I the only creative content producer relishing the fight between Dish Network and the major broadcast TV networks? While I like a good legal slug-fest between Goliaths as much as the next person, I also have a real stake in the outcome. The second-largest satellite TV provider in the United States, Dish has unleashed Auto Hop, a feature allowing subscribers to automatically ad-skip through broadcast television shows. Three of the four major networks have responded with lawsuits to stop what they fear as the ultimate disruptive technology, which would clearly devastate their business model.

    29

    Jun 12

  • If I were starting out now

    I am an old photographer, (duh!) That means I have been taking pictures seriously for a very long time (forty years to be exact in 2012.) It also suggests I have some kind of wisdom to offer young photographers, which may or may not be true. Arguably, the most common question I get from young photographers is what would I do if I were starting out in today’s photography market. My answer usually starts with “I don’t know” and ends with “I’m glad I am not.” Since neither of those are a real answers, I owe a real answer to readers (and to a friend who asked me that same question recently.)

    15

    Jun 12

  • Why I teach workshops on stock photography

    An old friend, who runs a stock photo agency, saw that I will soon be teaching a class in stock photography near him. He wrote me a friendly but slightly incredulous note, saying “….a workshop on stock photography? Yesterday Pickerell’s advice was to ‘Find another profession.’ “ My reply was to say I am not likely to follow the advice of Jim Pickerell, arguably the longest running writer/commentator on the business of stock photography. But I did want to answer my friend in more depth. So I thought more about his question, why teach a workshop on stock photography?

    23

    Dec 11

  • The all important copyright registration process

    The NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) has a great tag line they used to use with many of their promotions that goes “Our Images Are Our Legacy.” I believe that same idea applies to all kinds of photographers, not just photojournalists belonging to the NPPA. (I would argue that this idea is true for any creative practitioner who wants their work to be their legacy.)

    09

    Dec 11

  • Where do you learn to be a photographer (part three of three)

    For the last two weeks I have been blogging about the important question of where do you learn how to be a photographer? To date, I have explored my take on the future of commercial photography, called into the question the value of formal schooling and offered some on-line resources that can serve as well as school, if not better (and they are much cheaper.) I want to deconstruct a few of those same resources to suggest how to find value in reading them.

    21

    Oct 11

  • Where do you learn to be a photographer (part two of three)

    In last week’s blog entry I started to explore the question, where do you learn how to be a photographer? Much of that entry was speculating on what the business of photography will be like in the future. I also called into the question the benefit of formal study of photography, at least for those who want to be commercial photographers.

    14

    Oct 11

  • Where do you learn to be a photographer (part one of three)

    Eager young photographers write me often, telling me about what they want to do as photographers and asking for my help. Part of me says to tell them to “…run as fast as you can, away, away from this ever more crowded field.“ Another part of me says, wait, the business continues and is (in some way) growing, doubly so, with the movement of most communications media to the web, which is an ever more image-driven media. So there will be photographers in the future, though not the same kind of photographers as there used to be. I recently blogged about the best college for photographers being the one where you learn how to “think,” not just take pictures. That begs the question, where do you learn how to be a photographer?

    07

    Oct 11

  • To put differences aside for the common good

    With summer vacation here (and all of Rhode Island’s many summer distractions calling me,) I worried that I might not have the patience to write something in depth. Knowing that most readers are probably equally distracted, I decided to write about something a bit smaller. In this case, I want to explore how the national headlines and my recent personal experience teach the same important same lesson, but only one of the two incidents came to any kind of really positive resolution.

    05

    Aug 11

  • Surviving and Thriving as a Professional Photographer

    In last week’s blog explored how I came understand and even embrace a couple guiding ideas about making a living as a photographer. The first of those is to accept (or even ideally embrace) the fact that what I do as a professional photographer exists within an ever changing, constantly shifting framework. Change is a constant and so I simply have to accept that. The second insight is that, for me, institutional affiliations, external validations of my skills and conventional certifications are not that much use in my own photography. That works for me. It may not be the same for other. With those two ideas in mind, this week I will offer some thinking points for any professional photographer (or professional photographer in the making) who is looking at the current business of photography and asking themselves, where can I fit in?

    11

    Mar 11

  • Should I become a Certified Professional Photographer

    I have worked in and around photography almost my entire working life. I took a few short detours away from my beloved medium, but those went nowhere fast. A recent email prompted me to look back over my career for insights to share with the photographer who wrote me. Looking back, I noted two important trends, lessons I wish I knew way back when I was starting out, but I did not. I am heartened by the thought that at least I can explore and explain those ideas now, for others to learn from.

    04

    Mar 11

  • Thinking about photography’s “constants”

    I read a number of on-line forums every day. My morning reading, which once was largely a leisurely enjoyment of the New York Times, now entails scanning the eight forums I read daily to see what items of interest are percolating through the world of photography. I rarely post on most forums, since I am not sure I have much to offer that hasn’t already been said. I recently posted on a forum and the thread that resulted taught me a lot about the state of contemporary professional photography.

    07

    Jan 11

  • Some thoughts on stock photography

    In this podcast, I answer a friend’s query about how she might get start doing stock photography. By keeping my comments a bit open ended as well as talking about my experience in stock, I turn what might have been a one-to-one conversation into something of wider use for other photographers. During the podcast, I use video screen-capture along with my narration to explain and show what I am talking about.

    15

    Dec 10

  • The making of a grumpy old photographer

    When I was first starting out as a photographer, I spent a lot of time with a few “grumpy old photographers.” Since I was the “young whippersnapper” back then, I was the butt of many of their jabs and barbed comments. I generally took it all in stride because I knew what I was learning from them was incredibly valuable. I also secretly hoped that I would survive long enough in the business of publication photography to become a “grumpy old photographer” too. As I have slowly earned the designation of “older,” I often wondered what was going to make me as “grumpy” as those guys. That finally happened recently and it surprised me when it did.

    19

    Nov 10

  • Open sourcing the business side of photography (part two of two)

    In the first part of this two-part entry, I explored old and new models for information sharing information on the best practices in the business of photography. Last week, I “framed “the question and gave some useful examples of open sourcing of business information. This week, I will do my part by going into my business model, making my own small contribution to the process of open sourcing the business side of photography.

    05

    Nov 10

  • Open sourcing the business side of photography (part one of two)

    A friend recently posted a thought-provoking comment about one of my September blog posts on The Wells Point site. The blog entry was titled: “Going pro vs doing photography for love, not money.” One question he raised in his comment was so good that I wrote him back, saying I would answer him in a blog post. So here goes.

    29

    Oct 10

  • Just say no

    A friend wrote me with an especially interesting question. In between when he posed the question and when I sat down to answer it, a bit of time passed. During that time, I was confronted with a few situations where I had to practice what I was going to preach to him when I answered his question. At first, I was annoyed by the delay and impatient with myself. In the end, what happened after the delay made me work harder as a self-employed photographer. It also made the questions that I am exploring in this blog entry more complicated (and interesting) than ever.

    22

    Oct 10

  • Lessons learned from old tax records

    My wife and I have been living in a small apartment for a few months, while we are looking for a new home, after selling our old place. It has been a real education on a number of levels. Some have been more personal/ philosophical and others have been more photographic/professional. Together this impromptu education has been an added benefit in what we knew was going to be an interesting experience. This week’s blog will explore the parts our experience that involve my current favorite topic, the changing nature of professional photography.

    15

    Oct 10

  • Why photograph for money?

    I have been reading many recent blog entries, across the web, talking about the changing business of commercial photography, now that digital imaging has “democratized” photography. Most of the blogs are talking about things like the wisdom of “going pro,” the hurdles to overcome in order to do that and various important thinking points in building a photography business. These are all VERY important questions and I am glad to know someone is pondering them in order to spur a much-needed dialogue on the subject. I have yet to read the blog post I have long wanted to read on that same subject. That would be titled something like: “Why photograph for money?” Since no one else has written that blog, I am going to try to do that myself.

    08

    Oct 10

  • Going pro vs doing photography for love, not money

    I make my living as a professional photographer. I initially believed that the designation “professional” meant that my photographs were so good that people would part with their hard-earned money to own, publish or see my work. Digital photography has prompted me to rethink that idea a good bit. Today, millions of new images are created weekly and the perceived value of those images is spiraling downward. A couple recent e-mails from student and the democratization of photography caused by the digital imaging have contributed to that reconsideration. The thought process that I went through as I pondered this question is the heart of this week’s blog entry.

    17

    Sep 10

  • A confession, of sorts

    I have a confession to make publicly. I did something last week that I have long sworn I would never do. I went against many long-held principles purely for the sake of expediency. I used to sneer at people who behaved as I just did. I took the easy way out and I know that my actions hurt at least one person, if not many more.

    16

    Aug 10

  • Who owns what? Model releases and copyright

    Model releases and copyright seem to be the source of more confusion than almost any other aspects of commercial photography. Though the law in both areas is quite well established, all sorts of new and insidious ideas are being bandied about on the Internet, which are to the detriment of photographers (as well as morally and legally wrong.)

    13

    Aug 10

  • More Summertime Snippets

    By relocating to Asia for much of the summer, we are undertaking something new to us. Some of the work I am doing here is specific to being here, whether researching an upcoming assignment in India or teaching a class in Singapore. Much of my time is spent on work that I could do anywhere, whether blogging or creating new podcasts. Since my life here is more slow-paced than back “home,” I have been enjoying the opportunity to ponder a few ideas that have been piling up in my “blogs-to-be” folder.

    19

    Jul 10

  • Who are the next victims of creative destruction?

    Do you think there has been a lot of yelling and screaming as digital technology has transformed the world of photography (and more recently video?) You are right! But, in the eyes of some, the worst is yet to come. The next victim(s) of creative destruction are going to put up a huge stink as they go sadly into technological oblivion. Their yelling and screaming will make the ruckus that photographers raised pale by comparison.

    09

    Jul 10

  • Hastening the demise

    Regular readers know that I often write about how rapidly changing technology is killing off various markets for professional photographers. I am concerned about this for selfish reasons, since I am a commercial photographer. I am also concerned for the next generation of photographers, wondering which photographic disciplines will be left for them to actually make money working in. If my recent experience is any indication, the future, with fewer and fewer financially viable market for pros is already here. I should know since I personally just hastened the demise of one viable market for commercial photography.

    05

    Jul 10

  • The contracting of our collective visual culture

    I make most of my living as a stock photographer. Stock photography is rapidly changing. Those changes have been impacting me (and my peers) for quite a while. So far you are thinking to yourself, none of this is big news. The news is that recently, the pace of that change hit a tipping point for me (and I am guessing for the larger world of stock photography.) If you care about photography in general (and stock photography in particular,) then what has been happening lately is especially bad news.

    18

    Jun 10

  • Exploring our responsibility to the people we photograph (part four)

    Patient readers of this blog will know this is the fourth (and last) entry in a series exploring the question, what is the photographer’s responsibility to the people they photograph? I have been muddling through these four essays because it is not an easy question to answer. Similarly, there is no magic bullet or one size fits all solution. The one thing I can say with complete certainty is that anyone who claims to have such a simple, crystal clear answer is oversimplifying, has never worked in the real world, is delusional or all of the above.

    07

    Jun 10

  • Exploring our responsibility to the people we photograph (part three)

    In between making a living and preparing for a big trip to India I have been mining my career (and my memory) as I consider the question, what is the photographer’s responsibility to the people they photograph? Answering that question has been (and will continue to be) a work in progress for me over my entire career. I can think of a few points where I got that balance closer to right and a couple where I am less sure that I did that.

    03

    Jun 10

  • Exploring our responsibility to the people we photograph (part two)

    In the last (and the next) few blog posts, I am exploring the question, what is the photographer’s responsibility to the people they are photographing? On one level this is an intensely personal decision that is best answered after an equally intensely process of decision-making. On the other hand, it has to be guided by some larger philosophical framework. If that sounds like an ethical dilemma, I think it is. Because I am slightly closer to the end of that long process rather than the beginning, I can identify and share some of the milestones of my own journey.

    31

    May 10

  • Exploring our responsibility to the people we photograph (part one)

    A photographer/friend wrote me with an excellent question, one that I now realize that I have been struggling with over my entire career as a photographer/photojournalist. In order to answer him coherently I needed to do what I have been doing in so many recent blog entries. That is, taking the question, rolling it around in my head, mining my life’s experience, making some half-baked notes and then asking him (and myself) more questions. Although I have the outlines of an answer, I have no idea exactly where this series of blog entries will go by the time it is it is finished. The one thing I am sure of is that it will take me a few postings to both think through my answer and to make it coherent enough for others to understand.

    28

    May 10

  • The end of the photography world as we know it

    The philosophical riddle, “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” has become the starting point of many jokes. It also raises important questions regarding observation and how we establish/define reality. While a physicist can empirically (and easily) prove that yes, a noise is made, the philosopher is less sure about what is thruth. A recent article in the New York Times, and especially the reaction to it, reminded me of this philosophical question.

    02

    Apr 10

  • Valuing creativity in music (and photography)

    I recently wrote about the similarities and differences between music and photography. While we experience each through very different senses, they also have a lot in common. Both have long, rich histories, which I pondered briefly in the last blog entry. This week, I am thinking about the fact that while both are used artistically and commercially, their respective approaches to compensating creators are very different.

    08

    Mar 10

  • Buying various types of camera insurance

    A friend is heading off to India on a fascinating assignment. Besides giving him advice on India, our conversation turned to the potential risks there. Inevitably, (and wisely) this led us to the question of insurance, particular in terms of cameras. I walked him through the various types of insurance I have. As I did that, I realized how often I mentioned the mistakes that I made over the years, as I figured out what to do in terms of insurance. Wanting to save him (and others) from the problems I encountered, I transformed that conversation into this blog entry.

    26

    Feb 10

  • Onward and __ward in the world of stock photography (part two of two)

    Because I make my living primarily as a stock photographer I spend a great deal of time and energy trying to understand the “stock market.” (I am not referring to the one in New York City’s financial district.) Today, the market for and suppliers of stock photography cross the globe. So the more I know about the business, the more successful I will be within that growing global market. In the first part of this two-part blog entry I wrote about which of my own images seem to work better and why. Now I am writing about other concerns that any stock photographer (practicing or aspiring) should think about.

    05

    Feb 10

  • Onward and __ward in stock photography (part one of two)

    I make my living primarily as a stock photographer meaning most of my income comes from licensing the publication of existing images. This is compared to being primarily an assignment photographer or a teacher of photography (though I do plenty of both.) The stock photography business is known to be increasingly competitive, with too much supply and not enough demand, the classic signs of a declining market. A few recent experiences served to remind me which parts of the market for stock photography are still doing reasonably well and why!

    01

    Feb 10

  • Some more new resources for photographers

    I recently spent five short days in Vietnam. I will be blogging about that soon, and posting a pod-cast exploring my reactions to that country. I want a few days to digest my experience in terms of blogging and few weeks to make the multi-media piece. In the mean time, I wanted to share some information and a few web sites that I came across recently. The connection to Vietnam is that although I was well into the developing world there, because of the Internet, I was able to keep up on many things happening in the world of photography.

    15

    Jan 10

  • One small history of Indian photography – Part two

    (In the first chapter of this blog entry, I introduced Prabhu Photo, a state-of-the-art photo lab in Bangalore, India where I had my E-6 slide film processed for merely a decade. The changing business climate for Prabhu photo is a bellwether for the changing imaging landscape in India.) I was such a regular at Prabhu that I kept my own loupe (magnifier) at the lab and I also had my own set of cotton gloves for handling the film without fingerprints. The young men who worked for Prabhu ended up knowing the drill as well, including knowing not to cut my film and what kind of coffee to bring me half ay through my edits to keep me awake. Those sessions at the light box alternated between exciting and heart-breaking, depending on how well or badly I had done in capturing on film what had been in front of my camera.

    08

    Jan 10

  • One small history of Indian photography – Part one

    I have been spending a lot of time at Prabhu Photo, a state-of-the-art photo lab in Bangalore, India. Back in the day, in the last century, (hah,) when I was shooting color slides, I used to have them processed at that same lab. Now that I have gone digital, I am going there to have color prints made from digital files. These prints are mostly for the various Indians I, or my wife, have been photographing. In the time I have known and worked with the proprietor, Allama Prabhu, I have seen his business grow and grow and more recently contract and contract. The change in the business of Prabhu Photo is something of a microcosm for the history of photographic processes in India. The amazing thing is that I am only talking about a short, thirteen year “history.”

    04

    Jan 10

  • Debating ideas or being run over by change

    I have been having an email exchange with a still photographer I know who is conflicted about doing work in video, as he is getting paid to do just that kind of work. His experience of being knee deep in a debate, while the issues at the core of that same debate swirl all around you, that is something I have experienced a number of times in the last decade. The latest debate, about whether still photographers should embrace video, looks to be another one of these equally intense debates. For me, the only thing different about this debate is that I am now old enough (and maybe wise enough) to be able to take a step back and analyze it a bit better than I have with similar previous debates. Whether I will make the wise decision is something only time will tell.

    14

    Dec 09

  • A new look at complaining about the “good old days”

    I was exchanging e-mails with Bob Krist, a freelance photographer who works regularly on assignment for National Geographic Traveler. Our dialogue started with the idea that when we were younger, the older photographers we admired complained about the good old days. I wondered if, today, when he and I are no longer young and are more prone to complain, are we just being nostalgic or is something really being lost in today’s photography market/climate?

    04

    Dec 09

  • Video vs photography, past, present and future

    What I know about video (other than what I have taught myself about editing in Final Cut Pro) could easily fit on one small page. What I will learn about video in the coming decades is unknowable. But, if I had to venture a guess, I would bet that fairly soon, I will be among the thousands of working photographers who will soon have to decide just how much more we want to, or need to, know about video.

    30

    Nov 09

  • Lessons in the business of photography

    Last Monday, November 9th, I gave a presentation in New York City at the Apple store in SoHo. It was titled “It’s the journey not the destination (but who does not like a good destination shoot?)” I was one of two photographers presenting that night. When I agreed to do this talk, months ago, I thought it might have made for a somewhat interesting evening. Little did I know, just how interesting that whole evening would actually be!

    16

    Nov 09

  • An impromptu course in design of web-sites for photographers

    These days, all photographers, from commercial/documentary to portrait/fine-art, live and die by their web sites. That should mean that most websites for photographers would be built with the same goal, showing the photographer’s work to its best advantage. You also would think that an equally important goal would be making those same sites easy to navigate and very user friendly. Based on my recent experience reviewing 13 photographer’s web-sites, those assumptions would be largely wrong.

    09

    Nov 09

  • The executive portrait, a.k.a.,”the five minute drill”

    This podcast goes on location with me as I make an executive portrait.

    23

    Sep 09

  • Stock photography is dead, long live stock photography (Act 3 of 3)

    This is the last of three posts exploring my perspective on the business of stock photography. Like so many blog posts, this started as a simple question from a friend, which I answered in part one. It morphed into something bigger because of what was happening in the larger world of stock photography. As I alluded to in the second in this series, the news is not good. In this entry, I explore how that same bad news is hurting me personally and harming our larger cultural collectively.

    14

    Sep 09

  • Stock photography is dead, long live stock photography (Act 2 of 3)

    This is the second of three posts explaining on my perspective on the business of stock photography. By way of background, I should say there is a reason I based the title of these entries on that famous quote about transitions within a monarchy when I wrote; “Stock photography is dead, long live stock photography.” The quote alludes to the idea that within a kingdom (and now within stock photography,) the old leadership and structure have ended but at the exact same moment, a new leadership and structure is already in place.

    11

    Sep 09

  • Stock photography is dead, long live stock photography (Act 1 of 3)

    Since the majority of my income is derived from stock photography, I pay a lot of attention to what is going on in the stock photography business. Three recent events got me thinking about the state of stock photography, prompting me to write three different blog entries. This is the first of three.

    07

    Sep 09

  • Summer freedom

    Summer time is supposed to be about relaxing and freedom from school/work. With that in mind, this post is going to be a bit more relaxed than some recent entries. I will mostly talk about the free things I have been taking advantage of recently.

    07

    Aug 09

  • An aspiring photographer wrote me…

    An aspiring photographer wrote me: “What advice might you give me on how to find opportunities (no matter how small), where I might find some interest in my work, or how to best focus my efforts.” Such a question leaves me wary because answering it takes away from what little time I have left between earning a living as a photographer and nurturing this site. As I pondered how to answer him, I realized the answer was really another blog post in the making.

    31

    Jul 09

  • When Jeff Sedlik talks, people (better) listen

    I am a dedicated daily reader of the online forums, APAnet and APAdigital. I was following a discussion thread in one of them when it came to an abrupt and final end. That was because, after all the talking around the subject, one person made a few succinct points that got to the heart of the topic and then, everyone finally “got it.” The writer was Jeff Sedlik and when he talks, people (better) listen.

    27

    Jul 09

  • Teaching mastery, ethics and excellence, in business and/or photography.

    I was discussing ethics and publication photography with a friend. We were e-mailing back and forth in the wake of the recent news of how the New York Times Magazine photos that were not supposed to be “photoshop-ped” actually were. He was joking that the only thing left was to ban digital cameras and force publication photographers back to using film. After laughing at the thought, we agreed that even that drastic a step would not make a difference. The history of photography is full of folks who exploited film’s perceived documentary nature to their own advantage.

    24

    Jul 09

  • So you want to teach photography workshops?

    A peer asked me how she could make money “teaching photography workshops as a business.” After picking myself up off the floor from laughing so hard, I gathered my thoughts and reflected on how I started teaching photography. Tracing the path I took from to aspiring instructor to veteran workshop teacher resulted in this blog entry.

    17

    Jul 09

  • Outsourcing and Cost-Benefit Analysis

    Before you skip this entry or fall asleep trying to read it because those two economics terms, please read on. Both of these are things all of us do every day in our ordinary routines. When it comes to their businesses, serious photographers, whether established or aspiring professionals, definitely need to think clearly about outsourcing and cost-benefit analysis.

    26

    Jun 09

  • What’s new: A few new resources….

    What’s new? Actually, lots of stuff! This blog entry is a series of blurbs about new things I came across that I think would be of interest to most photographers. Every time I see something new and interesting I cut and paste the URL into an ever-growing list. When that list gets too big I gather the best stuff and share it.

    22

    Jun 09

  • Resource pages updated on The Wells Point

    I just spent a good deal of time updating the resources pages on The Wells Point. I also added a couple new categories.  The whole point of the resource pages is to introduce photographers to the world of opportunities and resources available to them. Some enable photographers to show or sell imagery while others suggest ways to fund the production of such work.  Some of the resources recently changed their URLs, while others have gone out of business. Those can be found starting at http://thewellspoint.com/about/

    01

    Jun 09

  • Some thoughts on photo-contests

    If you are a photographer of any kind, you are probably inundated with information on photo contests. I am often overwhelmed by all the entry information that comes via snail mail and e-mail. I personally enter very few contests. I was thinking an explanation of my reasoning might help others as they consider entering contests.

    17

    Apr 09

  • The symbiosis between personal and commercial work

    Who are you taking pictures for? That’s a question that photojournalists hear a lot. But, I think ALL photographers should be asking themselves that question. In the process of sorting that question out, most photographers divide their efforts into “personal work,” and “commercial work.” I am not so sure about the wisdom of such clear demarcations.

    16

    Mar 09

  • Adapting to new technology verses adopting a new philosophy

    As commercial photographers, we are continually adapting to new technologies, moving from black and white, to color (then to slides) and now to digital. Similarly we are often expected to adopt new strategies and philosophies as the market we work within changes.  More and more folks I hear from are finding that second process of adopting harder to take, and I am not sure it is just a function of our advancing ages.

    13

    Mar 09

  • The life and death and life of Polaroid pictures

    Polaroids, those instant-developing images that we all came to love, seem like they would have become quaint in the digital age. Still the saga of Polaroid’s “images in an instant,” having gone through many incarnations over the years, continues. In fact, I just started using the first Polaroid product I have owned in a long time.

    23

    Jan 09

  • The questions I would ask any accomplished photographer.

    If I could corner an accomplished photographer in a bar and ask them anything, the questions I would ask are not the ones you might expect. They have little to do with the camera brand they use, the paper they print on or the bag they carry.

    05

    Jan 09

  • Important things to know about the business of photography

    If it seems like I am obsessed with the business of photography, I am.  That is mostly because I make my living as a photographer so the general state of the photography market interests (and impacts) me directly.  However, I am also interested on a more philosophical level.

    29

    Dec 08

  • The Internet is grand, isn’t it?

    I was struggling as I tried not to write one more blathering post along the lines of “Ain’t the internet grand?” After pummeling myself about that for a while, I gave up, so here goes.

    22

    Dec 08

  • What every photographer should know about model releases

    Model releases seem to be the source of more confusion than almost any other aspect of photography for aspiring (and established) professionals. I am asked about them during every class or presentation that I give. The irony is that model releases are remarkably simple.

    05

    Dec 08

  • Taking photo contests seriously

    A friend asked me if I could help her set up a photo-contest for her non-profit educational institution. I told her I do enter some photo contests, but I am quite leery of many, because they are often little more than easy ways for groups to gather imagery for their own use at little or no cost to them. I think I know a bad photo contest when I read the rules but what I really wanted to send her was resources for knowing what a “good” photo contest is, in terms of being fair to the photographers.

    28

    Nov 08

  • Exactly what is “stock photography?”

    I make most of my income from what is called “stock photography.” It is, according to http://www.stockphoto.net, “existing photography that is available for commercial use — as opposed to assignment photography, which is custom made to someone’s specifications.” Getting paid for existing images sounds like easy money, but it is anything but easy.

    24

    Nov 08

  • Some thoughts on being a professional photographer

    This podcast explores important questions that aspiring professional photographers should be thinking about.

    19

    Nov 08

  • Highlights from the PhotoPlus expo in NYC

    There were hundreds of new and interesting things to see at the PhotoPlus expo in NYC. A couple jumped out at me as interesting and important to the aspiring and accomplished photographers who visit this site.

    27

    Oct 08

  • Doing it for money

    Here are a few more great resources on the business of photography for those interested in “doing it for money.”

    13

    Oct 08

  • Portugese photography festival

    I was connected to information on an interesting photography festival in Chaves, Portugal.

    10

    Oct 08

  • Keeping up on the stock photography business

    If you are interested as I am in keeping up with developments in the rapidly changing world of stock photography, you should be reading a new blog called “about the image.”

    06

    Oct 08

  • Visual search engine

    Right now, if you want to search for an image, you are limited to searching using keywords. TinEye is a new and possibly revolutionary visual search engine currently in beta testing.

    03

    Oct 08

  • Model Release issues

    I am regularly asked when a Model Release is needed.

    26

    Sep 08

  • Lists of awards, prizes or grants

    There is a new blog attempting to “bring together a listing of all the awards, prizes or grants which are given in the various fields of arts.”

    22

    Sep 08

  • Photography driven Marketing campaign

    My agency, Aurora photos, is running an interesting marketing campaign that explores both the artistic and commercial aspects of photography.

    19

    Sep 08

  • Portfolio reviews

    The biennial portfolio reviews in Portland, Oregon scheduled for 2009 are now open for registration.

    12

    Sep 08

  • Business Resources

    Probably because I make my living as a photographer, I talk a lot about the business side of photography.

    01

    Sep 08

  • “Opportunities” for photographers

    I read a lot of stuff, every day, offering “opportunities” for photographers. Many of those are suspect, at best. Here are THREE interesting opportunities.

    22

    Aug 08

  • Starting the blog;].

    I am new to blogging so I will mostly be writing about things that I encounter in my daily routine as a photographer. Some will be about the business of photography and others about the craft. Still others will focus on the creative side of the medium.

    15

    Aug 08

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