The Power of Realism in a World that’s Addicted to Perfection

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We live in a world where people expect perfection. We are fed perfection through the media, through magazines and advertisements. Pressure to be perfect, look perfect and act perfect are everywhere. So, what’s the power of realism in a world that’s addicted to perfection? I didn’t realize the expectancy of our role as photographers until I photographed a client with a roll of film. She seemed less confident, unsure of herself and didn’t like the idea of not having Photoshop to ‘touch up’ her images afterwards.

I assured her; I told her she was beautiful and not to worry about changing a thing. Afterward, when the film was developed, she looked at them in awe and was excited to see that she loved how she looked with no “touch-ups” at all. It was like she was surprised to see herself in a ‘real’ light.

I see this mentality not only in my clients, but …

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How to Create a Home-Based Photography Studio: Part 2

In Part One of this series, I talked about the merits of having a home-based business and shared reasons why you might want to have a studio space for your home-based business.

Now, let’s get down to details: how can you create a home-based photography studio?

The short answer is: SPACE. You have to have some kind of space that you can create or convert. In the beginning, I converted a spare bedroom into a studio; it was tiny, but it was better than nothing! Now, after three years of planning and construction, I have over 450 square feet dedicated to my photography business.

Throughout these two processes, I spent months analyzing my business and trying to identify ways to address my needs and my clients’ needs — all while staying within my budget and physical space constraints.

The following inventory can help you analyze your own studio needs. Your budget, your existing …

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How to Create a Home-Based Photography Studio: Part One

When I started my photography business, I dreamed of the day that I would be able to move my business out of my home and into a bright and shiny studio space. In my mind having a storefront was the true distinction of a “real” photographer. Oh, how silly I was!

Thank goodness, in the years that followed, I did some serious research about the business of being a photographer before I pursued a retail space for my business. I learned that there are lots (and LOTS) of incredibly successful photographers who not only operate a home-based photography business, they prefer it that way. Even more compelling, the Benchmark Surveys done by the Professional Photographers of America reveal that overall the most financially successful photography businesses in the United States are home-based!

As my knowledge of the photography industry evolved, I began to see my home-based business not as a stepping stone …

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How Two Photographers Realized their Dream of Studio Ownership – by Sharing!

Two Canadian photographers are following their dream to create Edmonton’s finest photography rental studio. “The Photographer Studio,” owned by Tammy & Lauri, was created in January 2012. The concept was to provide an affordable studio setting for local photographers who don’t have their own space, or don’t have the volume of shoots to sustain their own studio.

Originally, the concept began with a co-op style rental agreement that allowed photographers to share the space equally with the odd hourly rentals when the studio was available. Within the first year, however, the owners realized that this was not enabling profitability. They pivoted quickly and changed to a membership option, with hourly rentals made available to non-members.

So, what goes into a smart shared studio space?

Member photographers get a range of perks such as:

 

Up to 12 hours of studio time per month for a minimal fee Access to the studio during their pre- booked times Props …

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9 Ways We Survived and Beat Burning Out as Wedding Photographers

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I wasn’t sure I wanted to write this. I mean, even if it’s in the past, who wants to admit to burnout? What will our clients think? What does that say about us? I don’t ever want anyone to feel like we gave them any less than our very best and we have a reputation to uphold after all! But ultimately, I decided this was worth writing because I see a lot of burnout out there. It’s all over the place and I feel like we owe it to our clients to work together to push through it and provide them with something awesome, regardless of how we personally feel. If our story can help someone else do that for their clients, that’s all that matters. If our story can encourage someone who is currently burned out – to help them see that there is a light at the end …

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4 Steps to Untether Yourself from Technology

Think about a typical day. How early do you start using your phone or log into Facebook? First thing? What’s the last thing you do at night? Is it the same? Do you fall asleep with your iPad on your chest? Do you ever stop and think it’s all too much? As photographers we spend significant amounts of time “connected.” We have websites and blogs to update and read, pictures to edit, clients and vendors to connect with; and it’s all made easier by being constantly in touch. But there is a price that we’re paying for this connected lifestyle.

We struggle to focus on one task at a time. We check every notification that lights up our phone, even if we’re in the middle of a conversation with a real person. We go out to lunch with a friend or vendor and the phone sits face up on the table…as if …

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Why Photographers Outsource (and what it says about their business)

In talking with photographers about post-production work over the past few years, I’ve found that there are three primary reasons for outsourcing this work. What’s more, the reasons for doing so evolve over time and are often indicative of the photographer’s business maturity.

See if any of these reasons resonate with you.

“I’m so busy I will never get all this work done….what was I thinking?.….my clients will kill me….so will my family & friends, if I have any left. Heck, I’ll be happy if I just live through this…I can’t answer another ‘where are my images?’ question. HELP!”

We tend see more of these cases as the photography season advances. There were good intentions to get acquainted with an editor earlier, but there wasn’t that much work then and the photographer did it all. Now things have backed up and clients are getting frustrated.

This is where outsourcing post-production work can be a …

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Meeting Expectations You Didn’t Know Existed: Part 4

How to Satisfy the “Crazy” Clients.

How do you react to clients who have expectations that you are not aware of or expectations that you think are unreasonable? In the previous posts in this series, we talked about how clients get their expectations from four different sources:

– The Market Norm

– The first exposure to the type of product or service you offer 

– Confusion caused by your business’ complicated structures

– Poor communication between you and the client

Once you understand these four sources, you can better understand how to satisfy more of your clients.

If you ever visit an online photography forum or hang out with a group of photographers, you’ll hear multiple stories of “crazy clients.” We all like to tell stories about the “insane requests” clients have. The forums and community groups are our version of office water coolers.

Recently, our staff made a decision to stop using the term “crazy” for any …

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4 Tips to Finding Your Photography Style

Finding your photography style can be difficult, especially when you’re just starting. It takes time, but once you begin working on finding your style, it actually gets easier. Here are 4 tips for finding your photography style:

1. Study other images. Determine why you truly like a photo. Is it the light, the angle at which the photograph was taken, the subject’s expression, the bokeh, the layering of compositional elements? The list of why you like a photo could be really long or very simple – maybe you just like the way the subject is backlit. Once you start to realize what you like about other photos, you can start to hone your style by emulating those elements.

2. Start studying your photographs. What are your favorite portfolio photographs and why are they your favorites? You can use Pinterest to help organize your style. For example, you can create a Pinterest board …

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Operation Route 66 – serving those who served us.

Alex Velez's situation is more complicated. He wears dark Oakley sunglasses indoors and out to prevent extreme headaches – a feature I've learned to associate with traumatic brain injury, the hallmark wound of our most recent wars. In addition, after being dislocated, his leg never healed properly. He drags the half-dead limb around waiting for our over-burdened VA to get around to an 'optional' amputation. A prosthetic will give him much greater mobility.

A year and a half ago my son and I started down a path that changed our lives. As a country we had just learned there was going to be an end to Combat Operations in Iraq, but there was a lesser-reported story emerging: veterans were starting to die by their own hands at home, at a higher rate than on the battlefield. We decided then that we were going to meet the men and women who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, document our experience and talk about how we – Americans – can serve those who served us.

When we first began, we realized there was a disconnect. We didn’t know a single veteran and initially we had trouble connecting with them. After exhaustive research; tapping out friends, families and social networks we began to find them. At the beginning we would go on 26-32 hour road …

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