Thursday, December 27, 2007

Write This Down and Post It Up Somewhere

Write this down, and post it near your phone, or print it as a label and put it on your cell phone where you can see it before you answer any incoming call:


When your taking a call, you absolutely must not think as if the call you are taking is the only one for tomorrow. this week, or even this month. You must believe truly that it's just one incoming request, or you will beat yourself down on price, rights demands, and, self-valuation.
(Continued after the Jump)

True power comes from the presence of alternatives.

If you have no alternatives, then you will be at a distinct disadvantage when being called for any assignment. To paraphrase a past president - the trouble with our creative colleagues is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so.

I hear so many people talk about things like "...if I mail a copy to myself, I am protected if someone steals my work...", or "...if I don't register my work, after 90 days it falls into the public domain...", or "...the photo editor tells me that I am the first person they've talked to who has a problem with work-for-hire...", and the list goes on and on.

There are so many falsehoods out there about the business of photography. That's why I wrote a book, proofed by some of the best in the industry, and endorsed by the heads of major trade organizations, titled "Best Business Practices for Photographers". I'm glad it's doing so well, not for any reason other than the messages and practices in it are getting into the hands of photographers, many for the first time.

I was watching a 60 Minutes interview with Joel Osteen and he was talking about why he doesn't appeal to his TV audience for money, saying "...we didn't want anything to distract people from watching, to turn off the message, cause we know how people are skeptical of TV ministers - "hey, there's a guy that just wants my money" - I didn't want any of that....", and what he said was a similar mindset I had, and which was why my belief was that the best thing to do was to donate the advance for the book to the ASMP, APA, and NPPA. Because I didn't want, at any time that I encouraged people to buy the book either here on the blog, or in my presentations to think "oh, he's just trying to sell books..." and be skeptical of the content of the book because that thought process is distracting from the important point about the message I was, and am, trying to deliver. Yes, if you click through on the right to buy a book, Amazon gives me a dollar or so, but it doesn't cost you any more, and thus, that dollar comes from Amazon, who is indirectly supporting this blog's mission.

Because the falsehood continue, so too, this blog. We turn one year old next week, and I have countless ideas for the future, and, we've reached nearly a million page-views in that time, and over 148,000 "absolute unique visitors" as well. I honestly had no idea that that would be the case. We will be launching a third blog then, which I think you'll be excited about, because it's interactive in much more of a manner than this one.

Unlike Osteen, who does concede (fairly so) about the fact that he does accept money from attendees and those that send money, saying "well, we need people to support us, or we can't stay on. But we don't get on there and ask for it. And it's amazing how people can see, when you're genuine, they send money.", my bills are paid by the assignments I do, and rights I license, from editorial to corporate, and so on. Osteen has some solid, life-affirming messages, and is changing peoples lives, and if you're not familiar with him, one of his mantras is "why don't you get your hopes up, why don't you start believing that, no matter what you have, or haven't done, that your best days are still out in front of you." Amen pastor.

When what you're reading here, and asking about, is helpful, that's great. That's the purpose. And, many many of you have written, with inquiries, suggestions for topics, and otherwise expressions of appreciation. Thank you for letting me know I am being of some assistance.

Keep those cards and letters coming.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

After days and days in shopping malls photographing "holiday displays" (come on, just call a spade a spade, they're Christmas displays!) for commercial clients who's entire business is all about decorating the malls around the country, my one wish would be that these malls install auto-power-off switches so that when I am working from 11pm until 6am in an empty mall, that I don't hear the same songs on rotation for days on end. But, alas, when I return home, and it's all about my daughters who are so excited to see Santa, listening to those songs takes on a different - more personal - meaning, and they somehow are not a bother anymore.

My wife asks what I want for Christmas, and I want for nothing. I am healthy, have a job I love, and a wonderful wife and two beautiful children. What more could I ask for?

  • Peace on Earth?
  • Good Will Towards Man?
  • Rights Respecting Clients?
  • Colleagues Who Value Their Own Talents and Rights As Much As Their Clients (secretly) Do?
  • A Photographer's Union?
Come on, let's be realistic, and just enjoy the holiday!

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

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