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2011 - Yep, it's groozi!

2011 Posts

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

I am strangely saddened tonight after learning that Steve Jobs has passed away. Perhaps it is because he and I are close in age and it’s a reminder of just how important each day is. Or perhaps it is because I am humbled by his achievements. Someone more eloquent than I tweeted just a short time ago: “Countless people are learning Steve Jobs died on devices that would not exist without his vision. That’s a legacy.”

Below is the text of the Commencement address he delivered on June 12, 2005 at Stanford University. (If you’d rather watch the full-length video, click here.) I’ve seen it before, several times in fact, but watching it now, it affects me in an entirely different way. In any case, he will always inspire me. These three sentences are the ones that have stayed with me from the first time I heard the speech: “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Rest in peace Steve Jobs.

How One Photographer Is Beating the Economy

On one of the professional forums I read daily, there is a conversation about the lousy state of the industry, how clients are hiring based only on price, how protecting one’s intellectual property rights has cost clients, how competitors are charging less and giving more, and blah, blah, blah. It’s the usual bitching and moaning that happens in any economic downturn when photographers: 1) are selling a product that a buyer can obtain elsewhere for less; or 2) are inadequately conveying their value-add to their clients; or 3) have clients that don’t care about the additional “value” the photographer adds to a project.

Michael Albany, a Philadelphia photographer specializing in architecture and portrait photography offered up some valuable insight that I think can help to inspire other photographers. He wrote:

I totally understand the fact that the old grey mare ain’t what she used to be and that our industry is A) in a total state of flux, and B) that the market is becoming saturated with too many Uncle Bobs but I have to say that I am so tired of hearing people whine about it. So you want to charge less or leave ASMP because they don’t [fit] your agenda, bye. Have a nice day.

I joined ASMP to learn and to grow and guess what, I am. Is it the end all to be all? Nope. Is my photography business where I want it to be? Well if you don’t know my name then no, it’s not. Is it growing? Yes.

On Selling, Negotiating, Commodities & Differentiation

Negotiating for PhotographersThis essay originally appeared in the handbook given to attendees of the American Society of Media Photographers‘ (ASMP) very successful Strictly Business three-day conference series earlier this year. The essay is reprinted here in its entirety. (ASMP’s updated-daily “Strictly Business” blog is another great resource for photographers.)

Selling and Negotiating.  The words strike fear into almost every creative person I’ve met.  As creatives in the photography business, we love to take pictures and have a strong desire to satisfy our clients.  The selling process, by its very nature, involves give and take, and at some point along the way, we’re likely to not give the client (or potential client) everything he or she wants. And, keep in mind that sometimes we won’t get everything that we want. That’s negotiating.

Negotiating Needn’t be Scary (Video)

Last month I had an opportunity to do an interview in the form of a webinar with Photoshelter co-founder Grover Sanschagrin on the topic of negotiating. He asked great questions and at the end of about 45 minutes the listening audience of more than 1,000 photographers was invited to submit questions. It was my first webinar and judging from the feedback, I think it went well. If you have questions, please ask them in the comments and we’ll get a dialogue going. Thanks for watching!

[vimeo clip_id=”27036957″ height=”” width=”580″]

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(Written by Detroit People Photographer Blake J. Discher)

Networking? Have a Kick-Ass Business Card

If you are going to take the time to develop a networking strategy, one of the first items you’ll need is a drop-dead gorgeous business card. I mean a card that when you hand it to someone, they say, “Wow, that’s a really nice business card.” If you’re not getting this response, you need a new business card.

First, photographers are not designers. Hire a designer to do your card. If money is tight, maybe you could trade services with a designer. They know what’s current as far as design styles go, understand and are aware of papers, and will help you to create a better looking card that you probably could.

Network Even Amongst Your Peers

handshakeI presented my program “Stop Grumbling – Get Out There” to a group photographers in New Orleans. (The New Orleans chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers.) It’s a roughly two hour seminar on networking and negotiating techniques.

Usually the doors open about an hour before I speak and I use that time to introduce myself to people as they arrive, exchange business cards, and to get a rough gauge of where the audience is in terms of networking experience. I always ask the question, “So tell me about what you do,” and from a person’s response I can tell a lot about what stage of their career they’re in and how much experience they have in handling a first-time face-to-face meeting with a stranger.

Show Personal Work on Your Website

When designing a new website (or redesigning your existing one), one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is what to call your portfolio galleries and what to include in your images. Photographers are all over the map, some simply number their galleries: Gallery 1, Gallery 2, and so on. Some use more descriptive words: People, Places, Editorial, and Corporate. I’ve even seen gallery titles such as, Happy Faces, Beautiful, and Innocent. Clients I’ve asked prefer intuitive, descriptive gallery titles.

I think even more important than gallery names is that you include personal work. Years ago, before the web became the prominent method of showing one’s portfolio, a consultant suggested that in addition to one’s regular portfolio, a photographer should have a second, perhaps smaller, book of personal work.

I Was Hacked… Glad I Backed Up With Useful Plugin

At 4:51am Sunday the server on which this blog is hosted was suffered a “defacement attack by a hacker, at least that’s what my hosting company called it. I’d never heard of such a thing, but they call it that when only the homepage of a site is altered and no other destructive scripts or malware are planted. The hacker changed out the index.php page in every directory of this WordPress blog. (A screengrab of his idea of what Groozi should look like is at the end of this post.)

I remained calm, figured out a fix, located a clean copy of index.php from WordPress, replaced the hacked one with the good one, and was back in business.

After hunting around, I found a great plug in for WordPress called “Backup to Dropbox” (full info). The easiest way to install the plugin is to search for it within your Admin/Plugins panel of WordPress and install it from there, but you’ll need a free Dropbox account first.

If you are unfamiliar with Dropbox, it is “cloud” hard drive storage. When you sign up, you get 2GB of free storage and that’s where the plugin will automatically store a complete backup of your blog. You can even schedule backups. If you don’t have Dropbox, get it here. Full disclosure: If you use that link to sign up, you and I will both get an extra 256MB of storage, so we both win… cool! UPDATE (4-10-12): Now we’ll each get 500MB of free space!

Now I’ll have a recent backup of my entire blog including all my posts and images and I don’t have to remember to do it, the plugin does it for me. Here’s what the hacker’s handiwork looked like:

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