Rules Were Made to be Broken by Rachel LaCour Niesen

Playing chords doesn’t make you a jazz composer. Playing it safe around tight corners doesn’t make you a champion grand prix driver. Playing to your strengths doesn’t make you perform under pressure.

Here’s the thing: you have to improvise. You must invent new ways of seeing.

But first you have to know the rules. Master exposure calculations, understand depth of field, learn how to drag your shutter, perfect your follow focus technique, rock your off-camera flash, make your gear an extension of your body, own ambient light.

Then, throw all of it out and invent visual riffs. Careen around tight corners so you feel frightened. Play to your weaknesses. Play, above all, play! The more you play, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you are empowered to break “THE” rules.

If this sounds simple it’s because it is. Don’t over think the photographs that speak to your heart. Feel them …

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Your Guide to Building Business Systems (An Email Course)

So, you want to be a successful photographer? We want that too!

That’s why we’ve designed this email course. It will act as your guide to building a strong foundation for your business. Running a successful photography business isn’t easy, but it gets easier when you have a clear vision and solid business systems. Sign up for this email course for the complete guide.

You don’t have to be a super hero

As a small business owner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by daily decision-making and tasks. Sometimes it seems that you’re expected to be all things to all people – and do a good job wearing many different hats!

The reality is that you can’t do it all. Successful photographers understand this, which is why they begin with a clear vision for their business. This vision guides them to set specific short term and long term goals. From there, they set up systems …

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The Value of an Image by Elizabeth Villa Ippolito

“Photojournalism isn’t just an invitation to sit on the front row of global history, it’s also an invitation to sit on the front row of family history.”

-Rachel LaCour Niesen, Intimate Invitations: The Photo that Changed My Career

In the three weeks that I’ve been married, I’ve had the opportunity to remember our wedding ceremony through many conversations with family and friends. Without fail, in each and every one of those conversations I have been asked about my favorite part.

While I loved each and every part of our wedding day (weekend really), there was one piece in particular that stood apart from the rest.

We called it our “Unity Ceremony,” a time during our wedding where the communities that raised us came forward and gave us a meaningful token—something that we could keep and share with future generations.

One of these tokens was given to me by my Grandma, on behalf of …

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What’s Love Got to Do With It? by Justin & Mary Marantz

I think by now most of us realize that business in general, and the wedding industry in particular, is very relational. Simply put, we are happier, do better work, get burned out less, and have more job & life satisfaction overall when we work with people we actually like. People we have strong relationships with. The kinds of couples that we would want to be friends with anyway had we met them in any other walk of life. And the kinds of couples that we would gladly spend time with, even if it wasn’t part of our job. These are the kinds of couples we have affectionately deemed our “Clients-Turned-Friends.”

The question then becomes: Ok, so how do you find couples like that? How do you book your entire calendar solid with couples you actually connect with and enjoy spending time with, instead of just having a few bright spots here & …

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Making Virtual Copies vs. DNG Copies in Lightroom 3 by Jared Platt

This Lightroom Podcast is in answer to the questions: How do I make duplicate images in Lightroom and name them with unique names so I can show them to a client and be able to keep them separated?

This is basically a question of when you should use a virtual copy vs a DNG copy. So here is the answer.

Making Virtual Copies vs. DNG Copies in Lightroom 3 from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Jared’s Lightroom Workflow Workshop is back on tour. Austin, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia are all on the schedule for July and August. To learn more and sign up for the workshop, go to www.jaredplattworkshops.com.

About Jared Platt

Jared Platt is a professional photographer and photographic educator. He studied photography at Arizona State University where he earned his undergraduate and masters degrees in Photography. He teaches college photography courses as well as workshops for professional photographers and provides online education for photographers …

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The Magic Bullet of Successful Wedding Photography by Justine Ungaro

“Boy, I never knew I could look so good.”  – Lisa Binder, Washington DC

If you were to create a list of the various components for building a successful wedding photography business, you would most likely include things like great customer service, personality marketing, understanding your ideal client, great photography, recognizable style, and unique product offerings. Yet, there is one component—arguably the most important component—that probably wouldn’t make your list. It’s what I consider to be the “magic bullet” of wedding photography and the one thing that leads to more bookings, more sales, and more happy clients than anything else. Ironically, it’s also the trait that I find to be almost a lost art in today’s highly competitive wedding photography market!

So what is it? THE most important skill for successful wedding photographers is the ability to make people look great. It’s the ability to take FLATTERING photographs of real …

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What Your Email Auto Responder Says About You (We’re Ready for a Debate!) by Katie Humphreys

I’ve been a photographer since 2004, and I’ve walked more than a mile in a photographer’s shoes.  Now that I find myself regularly working with photographers, I’m able to see things from a different perspective while still being able to empathize with the day in, day out challenges that photographers face. And it’s from that perspective, that I invite you to consider the following.

I’m not sure how, why or when. But, somewhere along the lines, photographers—lots of them—decided that it was a good idea to set up email auto responders to automatically reply to each and every email that they receive.

These automatic responses look something like this:

“Due to the large volume of emails I receive, it may take me awhile to respond to your email. If it’s urgent, please call me. Otherwise, I appreciate your patience as I dig through my pile of emails.”

In theory, these messages are supposed …

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Reinventing Yourself: A Meandering Journey with Joe. by The Community Team

An Interview with Joe Buissink by Rachel LaCour Niesen

Atlanta photographers- hear more of Joe’s story tomorrow, July 13th,  at the Atlanta PUG Meeting! Then, come back on Thursday for Pictage & ShootQ Business Bootcamp!

“I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.”  – Henry Rollins

This is one of my favorite quotes by an artist I admire. He’s characteristically irreverent and unconcerned about pissing people off. In fact, he implies that we must define ourselves by reinvention. The last statement is particularly poignant: “To cut yourself out of stone.” Notice he didn’t say “sculpt.” He said “cut.” Did you hear that? CUT. Reinvention is a painful process. And it’s a process you have to go through alone. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? I think so.

Yet reinvention also means renewal, hope for a fresh future. As …

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How I Forge Collaborative Vendor Relationships by Lisa Lefkowitz

One of the most rewarding paths I’ve taken as a photographer has been forging collaborative relationships with other wedding professionals. By recognizing the contributions of the many creatives involved in assembling a wedding, I can help foster a team environment that makes our wedding day experience more of a collaboration, and helps form meaningful working friendships. After the wedding, my approach to synergistic promotion creates a word-of-mouth buzz that allows my work to speak for itself.

It Takes a Village

I can’t create beautiful images of gorgeous florals, cakes, tablescapes, and even a bride, without the many talents of floral designers, cake designers, event designers, makeup and hair stylists… The list goes on. The beauty that is a wedding is the result of many, many hours of work, most of which we as photographers don’t see in-progress.

I try to respect the vision of each artist, by thinking about how they would want …

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Your Photography Business is Not About You by The Youngrens

Your photography business is not about you.

That’s not something we hear very much these days. In fact, I feel sometimes that one of the strongest messages we hear during this rapid growth of the industry is the exact opposite. We hear that it’s all about us. That we need to market ourselves in order to stand apart from the crowds. That it’s not about the photography, it’s about the photographer. That it’s about our unique personality, our particular eye, and our ability to make photographic art that nobody else can create. It’s YOU that defines your brand and separates your business from everyone else in the market.

I would agree 100% with those statements. But I still submit to you guys that your business is not about you.

Let me explain.

Your branding, yes, should reflect what makes you a unique individual and a distinctive artist. I think that successful photography businesses are …

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