Self Promotion: To exist or not to exist

Why self promotion? To get paid for your photography, you have to identify your market (for your photography niche) and do a self promotion campaign to the publications and markets that are likely to buy and publish your work. You need to submit your literature, your portfolio, your materials, etc. to the specific target market for your niche. One of the most effective methods of promotion is with post cards, for example.

Promotion Tip #1

Suggested Action: Choose your most impressive image and print it on a post card. Then, send it every editor, publisher and art director that you want to shoot for. Include your contact information on every post card.

In addition to post cards, you should publish in resource or stock books. If you want to shoot weddings, for example, you have to be in bridal catalogs. Part of your research should be to determine ‘where do your potential photography customers look for fresh photography.’ That is where you have to be.

Promotion Tip #2

Suggested Action: Begin with a combination of advertising, direct mail, email, telephone calls and faxes. You also need to use several types of communication because everyone has their favorite method to be contacted. Some prefer telephone and fax, others only use email, and others prefer the U.S. Mail. You must use all of these to make certain that your message gets through.

Promotion Tip #3

Suggested Action: When you show your images anywhere – at an art fair, to editors, in your portfolio – anywhere, be sure to have a ‘leave-behind.’ A ‘leave-behind’ is any sample of your photography work with your contact information. A ‘leave-behind’ can be a business card. Of course, business cards are a must, but you need more than a business card to leave a lasting impression on potential customers, clients or potential business partners. Along with business cards, include:

• Bookmarks
• Calendars
• Newsletters
• Business Card Magnets – these are very effective, especially with a stunning photograph on it

Depending on the kind of photography you prefer, you can launch a self-promotion campaign for as little as a few hundred dollars. However, if you want to do fashion or one of the other high-end photographic niches, prepare to spend thousands of dollars on promotion. Your competitors are already spending that much and more. You may have to spend competitively or act more strategically.

Promotion Tip #4

Suggested Action: Be everywhere. There is simply no substitute for self promotion. If you want to be successful selling and publishing your photos, your market needs to see and be aware of you all of the time. A great method to increase your ‘everywhere’ presence is by contributing to your community. Examples:

• Join local service and business organizations
• Offer to do training programs in the community
• Volunteer with charities, fund-raisers
• Present slide shows in the community
• Sponsor a community photo contest
• Write a column for local community papers

Promotion Tip #5

Suggested Action: Be a publicity hound. Public relations is one of the best forms of cost-effective self promotion. Your ‘publicity hound’ tools should include:

• A Press Kit
• An audio press release
• A visual (video VPR) press release
• Your CD Photography Portfolio
• Your resume

Self Promotion Rules

• Don’t sound desperate – regardless how much you want their business
• Use one dramatic photo on your marketing tools rather than many smaller images
• Show only your best work!
• Have your contact information on everything that you have in public
• Use media to spread the word about your photography skills, your photography business and yourself.
• Be prepared to contact a potential customer nine times before they even begin to pay attention to you.

Sending only one or two ‘messages’ just won’t get it done.

If you promote your work and yourself on a regular basis, you will impress your potential customers as professional, dependable and efficient. Self promotion is critical to the success of your photography business. You will not succeed without self promotion. If you cannot do it, hire an agent to do it for you. It must be done or your simply will not succeed in photography as a business.

Photography Website Considerations

A photography website, like any other website, should enhance and improve your methods of doing things. You must consider what it is that you want your website to do for you. Just having a website for the sake of having one – can become a burden and usually a costly disappointment.

Begin by determining your website’s purpose. For example, do you want to show your photography work? Do you want to show your photography work for possible sales or for future clients and customers? Are you looking to extend your reach beyond your local community? Or, are you looking to extend your reach throughout the world? Of course, technology allows worldwide reach.

For the most efficient and effective photography website, I suggest that you also consider a website option that fits your style. For example, are you tech savvy? Do you have time to keep up with technology? Do you have time to learn how to keep up?

Photography Website Consideration – Automation and the Technology “Heavy Work”

There are many very bad choices for a photography website. Also, there are a great deal of very good options for a photography website that fits your personal style. For me, I don’t like to spend a lot of time keeping up with all the latest website technology. Yet, I want my website to be as automated as possible and as easy to use as possible for visitors. My website option has to include a web hosting company that does all of the technical work for me.

Also, I want to be able to access my website and be able to make changes and updates whenever I choose. I prefer easy-to-do-and-understand website controls. And I must be able to reach technical support when, and if, I need help.

Photography Basics & Articles Library

photographyPhotography for beginners can be confusing. It doesn’t have to be. A lot of it is confusing because of all the technical terms commercial photographer Cairns like to use. I have concluded that photography skills can be effectively developed without a great deal of technical study. Much more is required to produce quality photography than“just pushing the button.” But, a lot of technical study and training isn’t necessary to learn how to consistently produce quality photography. Continue reading “Photography Basics & Articles Library”

How Can I Bring Out the Best in the Amateur Fashion Models I Work With?

Be prepared to work hard to get amateur fashion models to strut their stuff

Earlier in the interview, Bruce Smith explained to our listeners where they could find amateur fashion models to work with. He gave some very helpful tips and went on to explain how to bring out the best in those models once you find them.

Bring Out the Best in Fashion Models

Working with amateur fashion models can be hard. You’re going to be working with people who don’t actually have “model potential” and that’s going to be a real struggle. You’re also going to be working with people who do have potential, but don’t have any real experience.

You are going to struggle very, very hard. Unless you are really full of enthusiasm and energy, you’re not going to be able to make them look like professional models.

You have to work extra hard when working with amateurs, because the outcome of the shoot is going to depend on you, the photographer.

To Sum Up

Finding amateur models is only half the battle. When you’re working with models who aren’t experienced, even if they do have talent, more of the pressure is put on you as the photographer.

You need to put more energy and enthusiasm into your shoots if you want to bring out the best in the amateur fashion models you work with.

Dogwood Flower Photograph by Tony Sweet

Taking a crisp photo of a dogwood flower with a LensBaby

Tony Sweet’s artistry, technique and special equipment allow him to create a spectacular flowering dogwood photo. I asked him how he achieved this great image of a dogwood flower.

Here’s Tony’s answer…

The Dogwood flower photo: applying the slinky effect to your flower photography
Tony Sweet: … the next one down is the shot with one of my favorite lenses when I’m kind of caught in the creative block, or not, but if I need something to really perk things up I use the Lensbaby. Do you know what that is?

Audri Lanford: I do, but why don’t you tell our listeners about it…
Tony Sweet: Iif you haven’t seen one, their website is Lensbabies.com but basically, to give you a word picture of it: think of it like a front element on a Slinky. You know what a Slinky is?

Audri Lanford: Sure.
Tony Sweet: From the old days.

That’s kind of what it is. And you can bend it around any way you want. Their motto is “Bend it baby.” That’s their company motto and you can do that. You can bend the lens up and down, side to side, there are no restrictions. (Of course, there are some, like 90 degrees, but you can bend it enough that you have complete flexibility to pick your sharp spot.)

it is sharp enough. For a lens like Lensbaby, it’s sharp enough. You aren’t going to get it razor sharp. It’s not made for that. It’s more of a Holga type, the side, the edges get all blurred and very selective point of focus. (A Holga is a cheap, foreign made camera that leaks light, so film exposures often show blurring or other distortions).

It’s a great lens for creating a mood, for creating a different look. Just great fun. You see here. It’s real soft, soft edging to it and ghosting and it’s just sharp enough in certain spots where it holds you attention. But a remarkably fun lens to use.

I love mine. And at the Lensbaby class at Betterphoto.com I teach, everybody has a good time. It’s a tremendous tool. I’ve seen a Time Magazine cover shot with this lens.

The Lensbaby is not a toy lens. It’s definitely a photo quality effect. The glass is not top quality, but the effect you get is pretty serious. It’s just tremendous.
So, that’s how I created this dogwood flower photograph.

Does This Photograph of a Yellow Butterfly Tell the Tale of Life and Death?

Jo Whaley uses the image of a yellow butterfly and an old daguerreotype to convey the story of life and death

When Jo Whaley heard that the Greek word for butterfly was the same as the word for soul, she was inspired to capture this shot of a yellow butterfly. Here she explains the story behind her intriguing photograph.

The Cycle of Life and Death

Jo Whaley: This photograph of a yellow butterfly shows an old daguerreotype of two women with their hands folded. On top of them is a yellow butterfly. We don’t see their faces at all.

I think I mentioned earlier about my research where I would work with an etymologist and have conversations with her. It was this etymologist who wrote the essay in my book. Linda Wiener is her name.

At one point she said, “Jo, do you know that the ancient Greek word for butterfly is the same word for soul?” That just sparked my imagination immediately. I went, “Whoa, it’s like a metaphor, that going from a caterpillar to a cocoon, the insect actually liquefies and reemerges as a butterfly, and then only lives for a couple weeks, and then dies.”

That, as a metaphor for our bodies passing into some other reality just gave me chills so in the book, you’ll see a number of images that use the decayed photographic image of a person who is now dead. I’m using that sense of a metaphor of the soul moving on as a butterfly.

I should share with you, Audri, and your listeners, what that word is. That word is psyche, which is of course the root of psychology and it’s also the goddess of love, which I just love. That came from research and conversations with the etymologist.

In Summary

Not all butterfly pictures are the same, and Jo Whaley’s photos definitely tend to buck the trend. This yellow butterfly shot may not be your typical butterfly portrait, but it offers more depth and drama than the average photograph could ever hope to provide.

Do You Have Any Tips for Wedding Photos to Make the Images More Special?

photographyAvoid having the “same old” wedding photos with these helpful tips

Wedding photos are treasured for a lifetime – even for generations. It’s important to make them special. Bruce Smith discussed some tips for creating memorable wedding photographs.

Energy is Contagious

Bruce Smith: There are a couple of things you can do to make wedding photos special. First of all, be enthusiastic. What you put into your images will be reflected in the still shots themselves.

By being enthusiastic, by instilling the energy into the subject, by making the subject feel good and making them feel that they look amazing, you get them excited about the shot.

If you’re excited about a photo yourself, your subjects will be excited about it too. If you walk into a room and there’s a heavy atmosphere in the room, nobody feels good. If, however, you walk into the room and you fill the room up with your enthusiasm and excitement, everybody around you feeds off this positivity.
I would definitely say positivity is one of the most important things.
Audri: I love it, this is great.

Meeting the Challenges Head On

Bruce: I remember the difficulty of shooting wedding photos, even though I haven’t shot them in a long time. You are often working with people who don’t necessarily want to be photographed — even though they’ve commissioned you to go and do it.

There are a lot of things working against you. People are wrapped up in their day, they’re thinking about getting to the wedding breakfast and having a glass of champagne (or five). It’s very difficult to get your wedding photos in on top of all that.

You have maybe two or three hours. During that period of time, you have to get 50 or 60, maybe even 100 amazing pictures taken.
If you’re planning on doing the actual wedding photos on your own, you should at least hire someone to do the formal shots.
Leave yourself free to shoot the wedding from a journalistic approach. It’s very popular these days. It’s actually been popular for quite some time.

Many people want their wedding photos to be like a photojournalist’s story of the day. They don’t want it to be all formal and stiff and boring. They want it to be exciting and fun, capturing the moments of the day.

Have a look at some of the other wedding photographers out there. There are a lot of websites that will show what other wedding photographer Newcastle are doing. You can see the approach they are taking. You’ll see there’s a lot mixing formal wedding pictures and a journalistic approach.

A journalistic approach is much more fun. You shoot lots and lots of pictures — every little thing that you see, every little head you see turned, every little child that’s pulling a funny face or doing something silly. You just have to be observant during the day.

If you can, leave somebody else in charge of the formal pictures. Those aren’t difficult to do. It’s just somebody setting up a camera and taking correct exposures and making people smile. It’s not hard to get everybody lined up and straight and looking nice.

If you leave someone else doing the formal shots, you can go off and do all these lovely journalistic pictures, which are much more fun. That’s how I’d suggest doing it.

In Conclusion

Want to get great wedding photos? First, make sure you share your energy with everyone around you.
Then try to see if you can get someone else (or hire Margaret river wedding photographer) to take the formal shots. That will give you all the time you need to take a fun and photojournalist approach to the rest of the wedding photos.

Capturing the Sparkling Beauty of an Orange Slice

How Ron Goldman got this amazing macro shot of a beautiful orange slice

Think this picture of an orange slice was taken with a macro lens? Guess again. Things aren’t always what they seem. Here Ron Goldman tells us the real story behind this colorful photograph.

Not What You Expect

Ron Goldman: This picture of an orange slice is still one of my top favorites that I ever shot. I shot this during a class that I was taking with Bryan Peterson. We were experimenting with sparkling water in different subjects and I took a piece of blood orange and sliced it fairly thin and was trying to get it to stand up straight, up and down, in glass of sparkling water.

I was not having any luck whatsoever getting the shot that I wanted because the piece of orange kept moving and falling over before I could get a chance to shoot it with the light coming through.
I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with it when it floated up and was laying perfectly flat in the top of this glass of sparkling water and I’m looking down at it going, “Now, if I just had a way to get the light to come through the bottom of the glass.”
I thought I had an old slide viewing box from years ago that I hadn’t used so I dug it out and set it up. I set the glass of sparkling water on top of a slide viewing box to provide the backlight for this image. I simply set my camera tripod up where I could shoot straight down over the glass and the slice of orange. This is what I ended up with.

Audri Lanford: Wonderful. Is this a macro shot?
Ron Goldman: Yes, I actually used extension tubes on the same 28-70mm lens that I shot a lot of these with. That just allowed me to focus up a little closer than the lens’ minimum focusing distance so I could get a little more detail with all the bubbles and the veins in the fruit.

To Sum Up

This is a macro shot, but Ron Goldman didn’t use an expensive macro lens. He simply used extension tubes on a 28-70mm lens to get the details of the bubbles and veins in this beautiful orange slice photograph.

Capturing the Falling Rain on a Gathering of Fresh Tomatoes

Here Ron Goldman tells us how he set the scene for this stunning photograph of fresh tomatoes

When looking at tomatoes it’s not hard to tell fresh tomatoes from ones that are a few days or weeks old. How do you capture that freshness on camera? If you’re Ron Goldman you put your ingenuity to work for you. Here’s how he managed to capture this beautiful shot.

Bring the Rain

Ron Goldman: I actually took this shot of the fresh tomatoes while taking a class with Bryan Peterson. He had one of the most stunning images I’ve ever seen in my life of a shot that he took of some tulips in the rain. I’ve shot hundreds of flowers that way now. It’s still one of the most amazing images I’ve seen.

So I decided I would try doing that same technique with another subject. You can probably tell I like tomatoes a lot, so they’re in a lot of my images. I went out and picked some ripe tomatoes and set a table up outside, again towards evening when the sun was very low in the sky, lit from behind but instead of 180 degrees it’s probably more like 160 degrees from the camera lens where the sun is shining through.

I took a garden sprinkler (again, this is a sunny afternoon and I wanted to get a morning dew feel to the photo) and I set it on the ground next to the table so that the water was coming up over the top of the table and landing on the tomatoes themselves.

The background for this is actually just a bunch of trees. There’s fairly decent separation between the subject and the background so even with using a fairly large aperture to get the shutter speed that I wanted, I was able to keep the background nice and blurred. It turned into a nice green color, which obviously goes very well with the red tomato.

In shooting something like this, a telephoto lens is really a good idea because it gives you enough distance from the subject so you don’t end up being in the rain and getting yourcamera gear all wet.

A polarizing lens is also very handy to help with glare and reflections. It can also give you a little bit longer shutter speed. This was shot at 1/60th of a second to give the length of raindrops that I wanted.

I recommend that you experiment around a little bit, but 1/60th is always a great starting point whenever you want to shoot a subject that looks like it has rain falling on it like this. It stretches out the drops, but makes a beautiful background.

If you have too slow of a shutter speed, The picture is all blurred and you really don’t get the detail of the individual drops coming by. Again, if it’s too fast, they’re more dots than they are stripes like this so I recommend that everybody at least try this. It’s a really fun technique and you can do it with just about any subject and get a really unique and interesting look.

Audri Lanford: I’m definitely going to try that. Did you use a tripod, or wasn’t it necessary?
Ron Goldman: Oh yes, my camera’s always on a tripod. 100% of my food images are shot with a camera on a tripod. One of the most important items is people really need is a tripod. You’d be amazed at the difference it can make in your images.

In Summary

Ron Goldman wanted to catch the falling rain in his photograph, but no rain was to be found. How did he work around it? Ron simply used a garden sprinkler and some creativecamera settings to capture this stunning shot of the rain falling on fresh tomatoes.

An Up-Close View of the Beautiful Design of a Kiwi Slice

Ron Goldman takes fruit photography to the next level with this beautiful kiwi slice shot

Ron Goldman discovered a great way to photograph fruit and put it to test with this shot of a kiwi slice. Here he explains how his experience with the orange slice went further and further with other kinds of fruit.

Can’t Get Enough of a Good Thing

Ron Goldman: I started photographing all kinds of fruit that were fairly translucent when sliced and laid the slice right on top of a slide viewing box to light it from behind.

Then of course set my camera up on the tripod and set it right over the top, and got it nice and close to fill the frame with this image, fairly simple technique to use and you can get some really spectacular images that way.

In Closing

Orange slices aren’t the only objects that can be photographed on a slide viewing box. After Ron Goldman discovered this technique he began shooting all kinds of fruit this way, including this amazing photograph of this kiwi slice.