Archive for the ‘Photo business’ Category

All things related to the business end of photography.

Editing some old images – what to keep, what to toss

Monday, February 10th, 2014
A young male brown bear walks up a salmon stream fishing for Sockeye salmon in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A young male brown bear walks up a salmon stream fishing for Sockeye salmon in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

So far this winter, I’ve spent a good bit of time editing old images from my hard drives. Mostly, cleaning up the hard drives and deleting images I don’t wish to keep. I’m trying to be a little lot more ruthless in my editing lately, and really have been cleaning up the storage space. I cleaned out over 50GB of space last week, and I’m still only a fraction of the way into that 1TB drive. I’ll probably cut it in half by the time I’m through.

It’s difficult to know exactly what to keep and what to drop some times.

Here’s a brown bear image I recently had a sale inquiry about, of a brown bear from Katmai National Park and Preserve. A beautiful bear, don’t you agree?

So when this bear came walking up the river towards our group, I shot a number of images. 22, in fact. Mostly, poorly frame photos where a branch disturbs the background, or the bears ears are back or he’s looking out of the frame or some such things that distract from the image. Maybe 3 or 4 are keepers from the sequence. I’ve processed and uploaded 2 to the website; here’s the other photo I uploaded to the site. The rest of the sequence really aren’t images I’m likely to sell. (more…)

What The Hell Is Google Thinking – Google Images

Monday, February 4th, 2013
A screenshot of how google images displays photos, hotlinking the original file, with a "Save Image" option.

A screenshot of how google images displays photos, hotlinking the original file, with a “Save Image” option.

Hey folks,

*Update, Nov 13, 2013 – there is now a formal antitrust complaint registered by CEPIC, the Center of the Picture Industry, thousands of photographers and picture agencies, against Google on this matter. See here.

So, by now a number of people around the web have commented on the new Google Images display; some even talking about how nice and clean the interface looks. What I haven’t seen is anyone discuss how the Google Mobile App now works.

At left is a screenshot from my iPad of how Google Images, using the google app, displays photos on mobile devices. Underneath the image is a tiny thumbnail showing where they’ve extracted this photo from (and where the source file is hosted – in this case, my website).

When the visitor clicks “Options”, under the file, the 3 options are
“Save Image”, “Similar Images” and “View Web Page”. That’s right, the very first option is “Save Image” – Google grant you the option to save the full size jpeg right from my website, without you ever having to actually visit my website.

This is a pretty ballsy move, I must say. There’s been quite a bit of chatter around the ole interwebs about the new google images, on various web masters forums and so on, as well as some of the social media. Twitter, Google plus, etc. See Official Google Rollout, or Webmasters World. Safe to say, a lotta people are peeved. I’m surprised no one has mentioned this (that I’ve seen, anyway). (more…)

Writing A Photography Business Plan – Part 2

Thursday, January 17th, 2013
An adult bald eagle walking through soft fresh snow. Chilkat River, Haines, Alaska.

An adult bald eagle walking through soft fresh snow. Chilkat River, Haines, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Writing Your Photography Business Plan

Excerpt #2

Mapping out where you want to go with your business, any business, probably starts best if you understand where it is right now. There’s no point in trying to decide how to get somewhere if we haven’t first identified where we are. There’s little point in trying to figure out a place we would like to be without knowing upfront whether or not we’re already there.

So sit down and assess, honestly, where your business is. Don’t just do the accounting and look for a profit/loss sheet. That’s important, but go beyond that. Look over your portfolio/stock files and assess where your work is. For a stock nature photographer, how’s your photography coverage of bald eagles? Los Vegas city lights? Blue whales? From a business viewpoint, that’s all about inventory (what an ugly word that is). That’s part of what your ‘product’ (perhaps an even more ugly word) is, so examine it. Write down, in some brief statement, where your work is at. For you.

How about your service? Where is that at? Email response, print quality, timeliness and efficiency of getting files off to the lab, prints off to the gallery/UPS, images off to your stock agency/website. Examine it and see where you stand. And if it sucks, note it down. If it’s awesome, note that down too.

How about your advertising? Where is that at? Beyond just advertising, how about your business marketing in general? (more…)

Write Your Photography Business Plan

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
Bald eagles congregate along the Chilkat river, near Haines, Alaska, in November. Perched in the dormant Cottonwood trees.

Bald eagles congregate along the Chilkat river, near Haines, Alaska, in November. Perched in the dormant Cottonwood trees. Click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

The Photographer’s Business Plan – part one

I’m sure all of the photographers reading this blog have written a business plan. Right? I mean, we’re all professional photographers, running our private small business with all the acumen and diligence of a studied businessman/woman. Right?

I wonder how many photographers out there calling themselves “professionals” have ever sat down and written an actual business plan. For their actual business. My guess, is very few of us have done so.

My guess, in fact, is that virtually every single photographer reading this post will spend more time on “liking” posts and “+1ing” comments and pictures on various social media than they will on mapping out some kind, any kind, of business plan. Rather than find 10 new facebook friends, or 25 new twitter followers for your business, how about spend 10 minutes working on your business plan? (more…)

Social media for photographers – another perspective

Thursday, December 13th, 2012
An adult polar bear sits on the shores of the Beaufort Sea, waiting for freezeup. Alaska.

An adult polar bear sits on the shores of the Beaufort Sea, waiting for freezeup. Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

So, I’m sure by now you’re all familiar with the 101 ways to heighten your photography reputation and business prowess through the magic of social media. There are nearly as many blog posts and articles on the secret mojos to becoming a social media icon in the world of photography and art as there are, surprisingly, photographers and artists out there in social media-land. Typically, these articles repeat the same tired old cliches: engage, time your posts carefully, be consistent, etc, etc, etc. Here’s another take on this ‘phenomenon’ of social media.

Recently I was in southeast Alaska photographing bald eagles. During that trip, I ran into 2 fellows from the BBC, filming for a wildlife documentary they’re making. Filming for another wildlife documentary they’re making. These guys have made several, and travel around the world filming for a company that makes some of the most amazing wildlife on the planet. The photographer, John Brown,  also shoots stills (as well as video) and is represented by Getty images. Pretty cool gig.

I mentioned to him about possibly doing an interview with him, if he’d be so kind as to give me some time; he did, and I enjoyed a great couple of hours chatting with the 2 of these guys about wildlife photography and filmmaking and all the stuff the rest of us merely dream of. I’ll edit that interview down in the near future and put together an article from it.

During the course of the conversation, I don’t recall John mentioning social media once. Not once. He didn’t give me his twitter handle, or his facebook profile, or refer me to his G+ page. He mentioned his website, but the rest of the conversation was about his work; his photography and his art. (more…)

On Selling Stock photography

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
Grizzly bear, Brooks River, Katmai NP, Alaska.

Grizzly bear gives me the once over, Katmai NP, Alaska. Click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Reading a recent post from someone on facebook reminded me of my start in stock photography, and I thought it might make a good subject for a blog post. How’d you make your start in selling stock photography? Every photographer wants, or once wanted, to be “published”. It’s the hallmark for aspiring photographers, I suppose.

I guess every photographer has their own story about how this happened for them. Here’s mine.

I received an email from a magazine editor in Europe requesting the use of this image, at left, for the cover of their magazine. They’d seen the image on the website, and wanted to license it. The email included the fee they pay for the image usage, and asked that I ftp the high-res file to them if that was acceptable. It was.

I dug the file (a tif file, scanned from a slide) from my external hard drive, saved as a high quality jpeg, and ftp’ed the file right away. I got a nice check and 2 copies of the magazine son after, with my photo sitting ever so proudly on the cover. My first ever sale, a cover photo for an international magazine. And it took my all of about 2 minutes to negotiate. “Wow; this is TOO easy”, I thought; “I’ll be rich before I’m a month older”. (more…)

The power of Command Q.

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Mount Sanford in Black and White, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A black and white version of Mt Sanford and reflection, from one of my favorite viewpoints in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

The secret to a productive day of creative work on the computer, for me, is Command Q. Tweet Deck, closed. Mac Mail, closed. Fetch, closed. Safari, Firefox and Chrome, closed. Dreamweaver, closed. Capture NX2, closed, Photoshop closed, Text Edit, closed. iTunes, open, and Photo Mechanic, open. 35 minutes of initial photo sorting/editing and keywording and I get an awful lot done.

Then, Command O and Capture NX2 opens up. Select the images from Photo Mechanic, and hit Command E. Those images open in Capture NX2. Command Q again, and Photo Mechanic shuts down. I do my basic RAW editing, conversions, etc, and open the images in Adobe Photoshop. Command Q and Capture NX2 shuts down as well.

(more…)

BBC – Wildlife Photography and full disclosure

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
Coyote pup sitting beside yellow daisies, Jasper National Park, Canada.

Coyote pup sitting beside yellow daisies, Jasper National Park, Canada. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

BBC = bBS

Hey Folks,

Here’s an interesting article from the UK Telegraph; the first paragraph pretty much sums things up: “The BBC is accused of routinely faking footage in wildlife documentaries, by using studio sets, sound effects and tame animals to portray creatures in the wild.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking: yes, indeed, the UK Telegraph commenting on any media source of ‘faking’ anything is pretty sad. Let’s disregard tabloid integrity for a moment and consider what this is really about (and what’s WAY more fun); wildlife photography.

Wildlife photography does not include zoo and game farm animals; shooting captive subjects, given that some folks are perpetually going to choose to do this, should always be labelled as such, even if only via context (see Darwin Wiggett’s bear photo for an example; and notice that he captioned it regardless).

I have yet to hear anyone explain how photographing a bear in a cage is wildlife anything. The root of the word ‘wild’ is free-willed, not Free Willy. I understand, for certain, there are degrees of what that might mean. Is a zebra migrating hundreds of miles across the plains in Africa before being hemmed in by a fence really free willed? *

The fact that there are indeed myriad shades of gray, woven through every possible facet of our world, does not make charcoal black any less black. We might differ on where 18% gray is, but we know what black is.

(more…)

What’s in a word; just what is a professional photographer

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
Brown bear, Ursus arctos, standing raised upright and rubbing her back against a birch tree in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska .

Brown bear, Ursus arctos, standing raised upright and rubbing her back against a birch tree in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

I can’t imagine my father ever calling himself a “professional University lecturer” or my brother referring himself to as a “professional math teacher”.

The word professional means many things; but when it’s followed with a vocation, such as “photographer”, it doesn’t mean that you enjoy photography a lot, or that you speak politely about it, or that someone bought a print from you. It doesn’t even mean that you have a website. It doesn’t mean you teach workshops and lead tours, either.

Show me a professional photographer, and I’ll wager a dollar I’ll show you someone who’s struggled to pay their rent, who’s sold gear to make their car payment (or sold their car to make their gear payment), someone who’s eaten peanut butter sandwiches because that’s what was available to eat.

A professional photographer has made real sacrifice to do what they do (there are always exceptional cases, with trust funds, a wealthy spouse, etc). It’s a risk. It’s giving up an awful lot to choose to pursue a particular vocation. It’s losing on that risk, picking up, and swinging the stick again. And again. And yet again. Repeat, infinitum.

It sounds much more glamorous than it might be. It means you take the bus sometimes, it means you sit in the rain and wish you were somewhere else. It means you sometimes take a lower price for a sale because you need shoes. Pardon my French, but it means you’ve been sh** on. It means you’ve wished, cursed and swore that you had chosen some other manner to live by. It means you say ‘yes’ when you think ‘oh sh**, that gig sounds like hell’. It means you say ‘yes’ and then that gig actually IS hell. And you then say ‘yes’ again. Still you pursue it.

(more…)

Updates; the drudgery at the end of summer

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
Borwn bear in the forest, fall colors, searching for salmon in a river. Brown bear (Ursus arctos) Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Borwn bear in the forest, fall colors, searching for salmon in a river. Brown bear (Ursus arctos) Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks

A few quick updates: though nothing is ‘final’ on the interwebs, it seems; the internet goes to infinity, I suppose.

The end of every summer/fall I’m busy with office work, paper work, reports, emails, photo editing, processing, prints, website updates, website tweaks, writing, photo submissions (Oh, how I detest that word “submissions”; yet it’s so wonderfully apt, isn’t it?) and heaven knows what else. It’s not so much fun, but (apparently) it has to be done.

Lately, here’s a few of the projects I’ve been dealing with and fires I’ve put out.  Many more to come.