On Finding Your Voice

Making  your mark begins by finding your voice.

Every other guy who picks up a camera secretly has a dream of being a fashion photographer. There’s the girls, the money, the esteem, and the idea of living the glamorous life we were all entitled to before the world got in the way with all its prickly thorns. But there’s a simple reason that most guys will never be a fashion photographer. And it’s not the skill, the competition, or the personality. It’s much more basic than that. It’s that most men could care less about fashion. Because, when it comes down to it, you need to have something to say if you want to make your mark, and this isn’t a parable for fashion alone.

It is true for any photographer in any field. You have to care about your subject. And that begs the question: How much do we really care about weddings? Of course, …

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The Art of Automation

There was a time when every automobile was built by hand.

Today, there are only a handful of manufacturers that put their cars together one at a time, but those cars are so ridiculously expensive that few of us will ever sit in one, much less own one.

The reason we can all afford a car today is because of automation. Automation is also the reason that there is incredible consistency in the quality of any line of cars. There are too many wedding photographers who want to build their photos one at a time, the old fashioned way. They want to create perfection in each one, but that kind of old-fashioned thinking leads to either unsustainably high prices, or unacceptably long turn around and absolutely no consistency in the quality and style of the product.

Learning lessons from manufacturing mavens.

Automation saves on labor costs and creates consistent results. Of course, you’re an artist, so may …

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Out of Synch: Photographers vs The Music Industry Part 3

Music can supercharge the emotional impact of your stories, help you create a unique brand and sell more products, slideshows and sessions. 

But music also has the potential to distract from your stories and your business if it’s used poorly.

I’m Roy Ashen and I’m a huge fan of professional photographers and event filmmakers. My team at Triple Scoop Music has dedicated the last 7 years to helping creative professionals grow their businesses with fresh, original music by talented independent artists. We’ve hand-picked over 10,000 songs and we make licensing easy and affordable. Over the years I’ve seen and heard all sides of this important issue. So, let’s dig deeper together!

How Music Licensing Really Works: 

Let’s start with some facts about music licensing to make sure everyone understands the basics. Then, let’s talk about why your photo studio can benefit from the same approach used by Apple’s latest iPad videos.

What’s a music license? 

A music license …

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Best Business Practices for Busy Season: Part 1

Understanding Cost and Time

Since Spring is in the air, we’re sharing a series of Best Business Practice posts featuring the team of ACEs. Get to know them and learn how their tips and tricks will streamline your studio this season! As any ACE will tell you, the reality is 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 goals. From there, they set up systems to accomplish their goals. This week, ACE Kate Passaro shares her tips for running a streamlined business.

Q. What’s your primary area of photography and when did you start
 shooting full-time?

ACE Kate: My primary area of photography is people – littles, bigs, at a wedding or at home. I currently do not work full-time on photography; I still maintain my full-time job. This is my fifth season documenting weddings and families.


Q. What was your …

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The Merits of Mobile: Part II

Triptych 1: Real Life by Amber Holritz

Series: The Merits of Mobile

Don’t miss the first post in this series by Will Jacks, a photographer based in the Mississippi Delta.

Real Life is Beautiful: the Instagram Edition!

The best camera is the one that’s with you.

Since Chase Jarvis kicked off this discussion years ago, more photographers have adopted mobile photography as a playful personal expression and a serious artistic endeavor. In fact, “Mobile Photography” is simultaneously contributing to the democratization of image making and the artistic positioning of professionals. Last week, Instagram hit 27 million users, making it one of the world’s fastest growing social networks. To top it off, Hipstamatic and Instagram unveiled a photo-sharing partnership. Clearly, mobile photography is more than a hobby; it’s serious business.

To explore the merits of mobile photography, The Photo Life is publishing a series of posts from photographers who embrace the adage, “the best camera is the one that’s with you!” This, …

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The Merits of Mobile Photography: Part I

The best camera is the one that’s with you.

Since Chase Jarvis kicked off this discussion years ago, more photographers have adopted mobile photography as a playful personal expression and a serious artistic endeavor. In fact, “Mobile Photography” is simultaneously contributing to the democratization of image making and the artistic positioning of professionals. Last week, Instagram hit 27 million users, making it one of the world’s fastest growing social networks. To top it off, Hipstamatic and Instagram unveiled a photo-sharing partnership. Clearly, mobile photography is more than a hobby; it’s serious business. 

To explore the merits of mobile photography, The Photo Life is publishing a series of posts from photographers who embrace the adage, “the best camera is the one that’s with you!” First in the series is a testimonial from Will Jacks, a photographer based in the Mississippi Delta.

With the click of a button, you can now…slow down.

I admit it. I was one …

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The Nutcracker Challenge: Part I

Parris Whittingham

“Even in the works of the greatest master, the organic sequence can fail and then a skillful join must be made.” – Tchaikovsky

Several months ago, a childhood dream of mine came true. My Mom and I saw the New York City Ballet perform The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. Growing up, I was enchanted by this world of sugar plum fairies, whimsical music and indoor snow. Nearly two decades later, these childhood fascinations were re-energized.

After the show, I became curious about why The Nutcracker is such a commercial success and how it became the most popular ballet in the world. Exploring this story offers deeper understanding about creating a “Nutcracker” within your photography business.

Create Space for Listening In 1892, the first production of The Nutcracker was staged at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. Unlike the production I witnessed at Lincoln Center, the original show was a commercial failure. Critics …

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How Photographers Can Use Facebook Timeline

My relationship with Facebook is always exciting because, like most things in life…it’s constantly changing! Photographers be warned: Facebook Timeline for brand pages is live and you’ve got until March 30th to transition. After that, Facebook will automatically switch your page for you – boo!

There are some great opportunities with Facebook Timeline, but consider setting aside a few hours this month (if you haven’t already) to create new imagery for your brand page. Below is a breakdown of what’s new and exciting, as well as key items ‘to do’ before March 30th.

Let’s start with the exciting new things:

1) Cover Image Size – A Whopping 851 x 315! One of the great things about Timeline is the ability to showcase a large image at the top of your page or use a collage of your work to wow your customers! Facebook encourages you to get creative…but not too much. According to Facebook’s new Terms and …

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Out of Synch: Photographers vs The Music Industry Part 2

Last week, Nashville-based photographer Peter Carlson tackled the timely topic of music licensing. Many of you chimed in with your thoughts, questions and frustrations! So, we’re eager to share the next post in this series focusing on music licensing for professional photographers. You’re invited to voice your opinion by commenting below!

In my previous post, I introduced you to one of EMI’s Publishing Directors, John Thompson. What I love about John is that he has always been one of the music industry’s most forward-thinking leaders. He is passionate about art and wants to see the industry innovate continually.

After reading your comments on my previous post, I thought it would be valuable to learn where John sees music licensing going. So, let’s ask John and find out!

Peter: When it comes to licensing, the biggest complaint I hear from photographers today is that the music industry has not made it easy to license …

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5 Ways Workflows Saved my @$$…and could save yours too!

Since Spring is in the air, we’re kicking off a series of Best Business Practice posts from the tried-and-true team of ACEs. Get to know them on The Photo Life and learn how their tips and tricks can help streamline your studio!

I’ve tried my hardest to keep a mental to-do list. Laying in bed at night, thinking of all of the things that need to get done and promising myself, “Yes, I will definitely be able to remember this in the morning if I just make the list into a rhyme.” And inevitably, so many of my to-do’s were to-forgotten’s!

Business can be overwhelming, especially when working with numerous clients over the course of the year. You are in charge of keeping track of new leads, wooing potential clients, contacting upcoming clients and remembering to place product orders all at the same time. That’s a daunting to-do list to keep in order, but …

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