One of the things I see happen most frequently in the field with groups of photographers is this kind of herd mentality that almost invariably works against the photographer. Particularly when things are not going perfectly. It’s cold, the eagles aren’t doing much, everyone’s been out for a long time, and soon enough, people start talking of packing up, of food and hot drinks, or editing images or watching TV, and before you know it, as the light ebbs, ever so slightly, people pack up and head for home/motel/town.
We all know once the light, on a gorgeous clear afternoon, goes down, the photography for the day is over, correct?
No. Continue reading
Writing Your Photography Business Plan
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? Continue reading
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? Continue reading
Just to wrap up the year for 2012, here’s a quick slideshow from the year – 30 photos from various trips. Good times and good memories. I hope you all enjoy the pictures. If you like, take a quick look at my “Year in Alaska” on video, over at Expeditions Alaska – some nice clips from the past 12 months; it’s pretty cool, if I must say so myself! 🙂
Thanks so much,
Carl Continue reading
If a tree falls in the forest? We’re all familiar with the old adage, and I think it’s an interesting question pertaining to art. If a musician, for example, doesn’t play music for an external audience, is s/he really a musician? Must a photograph have an audience?
In my opinion, the answer is a resounding no. Art is something creating. Art is the pursuit of idea. That process of making some thing is the essence of art. Playing my guitar in my room, alone at night in the dark, can be every bit as artful as a performance on any stage. Sitting outside the little Shack in the winter woods, alone but for the forest and the great night sky, gently playing my Native American Flute is art. Lifting my camera to the eye, reaching through the viewfinder for my composition, bringing together the elements I see, crafting an image, is art.
Whether the end product of that art reaches an audience is secondary; all too often that’s something over which I have little or no agency.
Art needs no audience. Art needs artists; people who make art.
That is the gift art brings our lives. What do we give in return?
I read it again last night. This nonsense has to stop. Why do photographers so often have such a hard time simply acknowledging that what we do is inherently technological? As such, technological advances (i.e., new gear) can (and typically do) play an enormous role in the work we produce. Perhaps much more so than most other art forms.
You’ve all seen the kind of commentary I’m talking about; another piece about how painters don’t talk endlessly about their paintbrushes. Or, even more inanely, how if Art Wolfe were to shoot with a P&S camera, he’d still produce a remarkable portfolio. It’s the photographer, not the camera, that produces great work, blah, blah, blay.
Right? Continue reading
Few creatures express the wild quite like a soaring bald eagle does.
This photo is presented as a memorial to the late Jean Keene, good friend and a dear lady, from Homer, Alaska. Jean’s love for the eagles gave bird lovers, wildlife lovers and photographers from all around the world a lifetime of amazing opportunity, but more than that she showed by example how to care about the creatures with whom we share the earth.
Thank you Jean – may you Rest in Peace.