On the Sun Times Firings… One Month Later

On the Sun Times Firings… One Month Later

(NOTE: I do not get any newspapers, nor am I at all interested in newspapers as they are printed… If I want yesterday’s news, I can listen to it on the radio. Newspapers are desperately trying to find a way to keep going without changing what they do. It is not possible, but they will continue to be surprised by every new trend that comes along until they shutter the doors, and sell off the furniture. Not if, but when. That is my personal opinion and of course may shade what I write.)

This may not win me any friends, but I have somethings to say about the Sun firings that I gotta get out. A comment on another thread got me thinking about it like this:

The Sun-Times fired all their staff photographers.

They were indeed the first to do this en-mass, but do remember that the NYT and LAT and SF Chronicle made massive cuts a few years ago. Also add ESPN and a few weekly magazines to the list. I think I read something about Sports Illustrated as well, but not sure if it was the entire staff.

The Sun may be the first newspaper to fire the entire crew, but they won’t be the last. Not by a long shot. Many other papers are down to only a small handful, and whether they fire them or let them retire will be a matter for the owners. (I have no doubt they will NOT do the honorable thing, most of newspaper owners are assholes. While that is not a scientific acknowledgement, I believe it to be true.)

Some say it is all about the bottom line, but I think in this case the bottom line is change.

Spot news has changed. The people on the scene now have technology that can record both video and photographs, and – they are there NOW. A PJ must be dispatched, sent across town, awakened… whatever, but they are usually NOT on the ground when the spot news is breaking.

Most people do not have any discerning taste regarding spot or hard news shots. Just watch the incredibly lame and terrible video that passes for local news any evening. Kids in garages could (and do) make better. How many people call the newspaper to complain about the tonal range or excessive sharpening of that shot of the car accident on Main? Sure, G+ photographers do, but who else?

As to the ‘beat’ photographer… the guy or gal who checks in at the local cop station and hangs around waiting for a grab shot or two… no one cares anymore. That was of interest to the public at an earlier time, it is not anymore.

A quick snap of an iPhone of the mayor giving a press conference is fine for most dailies. Think of the shots where the PJ’s are all lined up with cameras in the air shooting a talking head giving a press briefer… do we really need Pro’s for that anymore? The shots are generally tepid to boring.

Photo from this article which you should read as well.

iPhones in the hands of reporters can make tepid, boring photographs just fine. Add one of them cool camera phone filters and – wow. But I digress…

In this PP article, they show cover/cover comparisons of the Trib and the Sun side by side. And while the Stanley Cup covers can be held up as a “see we told you so” moment, the rest of the comparisons seem to be not so harshly decided. The Sun continues with the same sort of stuff it had before.

Is that surprising? It is disappointing?

Do YOU have a subscription to the Sun-Times?

Just asking…

I do not pretend to like this new trend, but I do recognize that it is a trend that will not be reversing any time soon. Every major story in the past 3 years has been covered by folks on the scene with camera phones and P&S’s, the PJ’s coming last to the scene.

The plane in the Hudson didn’t wait to sink till the PJ’s got there from Midtown, nor were any PJ’s on the scene in Boston when Muslim terrorists blew up innocent people. Riots in the streets of Cairo, to shootings in the streets of Washington DC, the people there have it… stills, video, the whole shebang. By the time the PJ gets there, they body is covered and the cops are taking statements.

That was enough then, it isn’t now. It won’t be going back to the old ways.

The world has changed… and PJ’s better change along with it.

Or risk being the subject of nostalgic documentaries made by those who did.

Pricing to the Value of the Work

Pricing to the Value of the Work

I heard a very talented photographer say she charges less than others because she is new to the business and doesn’t think she should charge as much as the older, more established photographers.

I think she is completely and totally wrong. The value of the image to the client is neither less nor more depending on her time in business.

If the image is good enough for the client to use to sell more of his custom colored, whizbang widgets, it is good enough to charge rate for. If it is not, the photographer is wrong to be charging anything at all and the client is an idiot for running an image that will not help him sell his widgets.

The viewer of the ad has no idea the age of the photographer, nor should that even enter into the discussion of the value of the image… that value is intrinsic in whether or not it works to convince, convert, entertain, mystify or indulge.

My thinking is this;

If the work is good enough to charge anything for, then it should be regarded as an item that has the value of being priced in the current rate climate.

If I show you a photograph, and you love it, do you love it less when i tell you the photographer was only 16, or that the photographer had been shooting less than 2 years?

If I show you a photograph and you hate it, do you like it better if when I tell you that the photographer is an experienced, well respected photographer, or that the same piece is hanging in a local museum.

To me it makes no difference… If I like it I like it and if I don’t… well…

In other words the work created has no relationship to the creator’s status unless it is attached by the creator themselves. There is no intrinsic ‘beginner’ value to the image, nor is there something automatically inherent in an image shot by an old timer.

When we create images for people they can only fall into two camps in my opinion. Good or bad, and should considered that way for our clients and ourselves.

To provide a less than excellent product is in my mind a bad way to build presence, create a fan base or even grow into an artist. The reason is that since the artwork doesn’t carry any intrinsic information as to why it is less than stellar, the viewer sees it as representative of the work of the artist. The print doesn’t have a disclaimer “Well, I was just starting out.”

This is not to ignore the fact that artists grow and work that was acceptable before becomes less interesting as the artist matures. That is a different situation though. The artist still held that work in high esteem when it was created.

I know that it seems like I am rather pedantic on this, but I think it is important and can be quite a challenge when one is trying to establish a price that doesn’t make one look like a dork.

(Yes, I used pedantic and dork in the same sentence.)

And remember that when one begins pricing, all other prices are based on that model… so if you start low, it can be seen by your clients and fans as a challenge or “issue” to raise your rates. If you start high, it is seen as a value when you ‘discount’ or ‘gift’ lower rates. The value of your work stays high, but you can always bequeath a lower rate for any reason you want.

A $25 shoot fee is a bargain when your normal rate is $100.
A $25 shoot fee is a steep rise when your normal rate was $10.

Same shoot, different paradigm based on where you started your pricing.

The photograph is loved, used, published, viewed, and scaled to the users wishes… no matter how much you charged or how long you have been in business. The image now lives as its own entity, with no ties to anything but its own value.

So stop tying things that have no relationship to the finished image into your pricing. If it is a good image, it is worth as much as you say it is… and hopefully you will say it is worth much more than the amount of time it took to make it and print it.

Say it is priceless… but you will make them a deal – yeah – do that.

Well, This Cliff Jumping Thing Worked Out Well

Well, This Cliff Jumping Thing Worked Out Well

On Jumping Over A Cliff…

So this guy tells me… “You should jump off that cliff, Don.”

I stare incredulously at the guy cause I am not good on cliffs. Not as bad as my bud Charles… but that is a different story. I am not crazy about heights.

“Are you crazy”, I say… “jumping off a cliff can hurt, or even kill me.”

“Nawwww”, this guy says… “I have jumped off a lot of cliffs and never got hurt. Ever.”

“Really…” I am now intrigued… still skeptical, but intrugued. “How did you manage to do that?”

“It’s really SIMPLE”, he said, “all you have to do is know the secret of cliff jumping, which is a really easy method that I can teach you.”

OK, so now I am all in.

“Teach me”, I said. And then forked over $467.93 (still don’t get that price, but another topic) and we began.

He showed me all the techniques he used and we studied his methods of leaping and preparing and ‘thinking’ about his process.

On jump day, I thought the right thoughts, prepped the correct way, ran for the cliff exactly how he showed me, and did a perfect rendition of his ‘cliff-leap’…

On the way to the hospital, he sat next to me with a concerned look on his face. I was bandaged and bent, and had a tube in my nose.

“What happened?” I was going into various stages of consciousness.

He shook his head an looked at me with a look of pure patronization.

“You chose the wrong cliff.”

You can learn all the cliff jumping techniques you want from famous cliff jumpers… or whatever. But you better know what cliff you are leaping from.

They are all different, you know.

After 10 days in ICU, and two months of therapy I realized that he was right. The tactics worked fine, but not on that cliff.

“Ahh, yes, I remember you. Your the one that chose the wrong cliff”, he said as I called him on his private line.

“Yes… I want to learn how to choose the right cliff.”

We set it up for the following week. He had a group put together for an advanced workshop ($964.86 – ???) and I found myself in the company of various folks who have been in and out of physical therapy and chiropractors. They too had chosen the wrong cliff.

We spent the next 3 days learning to judge distance, find height and figure out velocity of falling imbeciles versus the depth of sand. This was grueling work, and we finally could judge the right cliff for the incredible cliff jumping to come.

As we were hoisting brews to a job well done and saying our goodbyes, he casually tossed out this little nugget; “I hope you all don’t kill yourself from doing the wrong thing in the air between the cliff and the sand… and goodnight.”

We looked at each other incredulously… “What do you mean… in the air…?”

He stopped and looked at us with a quizzical stare and said… “Look, knowing what to do and which cliff to choose is one thing, but the true power of cliff jumping is knowing how to fly and what to do to keep yourself safe.”

$3672.94 later I had mastered the skills of cliff jumping, the art of choosing the right cliff, and the science of what to do during the jump.

I haven’t done a jump yet, though.

I am quite busy working on my next workshop on “Cliff Jumping for the Young at Heart” which is based of course on all that I learned from those wonderful workshops.

It’s gonna rock… stay tuned.

First Be A Photographer

First Be A Photographer

I follow a very nice group of people on a forum on Facebook. They are all trying to start their businesses with varying degrees of luck and success.

One of the things that is emerging is that many of them are simply not ready to be professionals and in business. And that is a shame.

It is not a shame they cannot be in business, it is a shame that they thought it was as easy as buy a camera, get some business cards on the way home from the camera store and then shoot like one of their heroes shoots.

Not having any understanding that their hero spent years, decades even, learning and honing their craft, they think that if they copy the light and methods, success will be right around the corner.

It usually isn’t.

And while the perky workshop husband and wife teams go merrily out the door selling young photographers on how ‘easy’ it is to become rich shooting families and babies and weddings, the reality is that it is anything but easy.

Yes, they may have opened their doors five years ago, but they were shooting a lot longer than that.

Marketing plays a huge role as well, but that is a discussion for another time.

My take on all of it is that first, before the business cards and the promos and the vouchers and the awesome website and the perky videos… one must first BE a photographer.

Being a photographer means shooting technically and artistically without encumbrance. It means knowing the gear, how it works, how light works and how to use it to make the images you see in your head… or on someone else’s Pinterest.

Being a photographer means not struggling with simple light, and being able to concentrate on the shot at hand. Being a photographer means knowing what the shot is going ‘to turn out like’ before committing it to the film or sensor.

It takes time. And a lot of shooting and failing and screwing up. It takes understanding the win, and working through the challenges.

Football players generally play more than 8 years before they are considered by the pros. Tennis players play for years and years before getting to the pro circuit. Cello players and rock drummers play and woodshed and practice for decades to get to the point of becoming a paid musician.

Why would anyone expect photography to be any different.

I think it is important to shoot a lot of photographs, and love making photographs so much that it is all you want to do. Live photography and breathe photography and dance photography.

When you are shooting photographs that matter, photographs that everyone thinks is awesome, photographs that YOU think are awesome, you may turn around and realize that you are already a professional photographer.

That’s when the fun begins… really.

Thanks and see you next time.

Clarion Call 2013: “Open to Creativity’

Clarion Call 2013: “Open to Creativity’

This will be a truly fascinating day. Plan now to make it a must listen. Selina is a great friend, and a consummate teacher/mentor. Her work researching creativity and its many manifestations will give you insights into the process you may never have touched. I am recommending this to every photographer I know!

NOTE: IF YOU SIGN UP HERE, WITH MY LINK, and decide to purchase the Clarion Call Four “Open to Creativity” program, you will also receive a code to both of my UDEMY Courses to register for FREE. That is a $100 value. In order to qualify for that, you MUST sign up for Selina’s program from the links on this page. I will be notified from Selina when you purchase, and a Free Code will be emailed to you ASAP.

And whether you purchase or not, you absolutely MUST listen in on this extraordinary seminar.

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Clarion Call 2013: Open To Creativity – Five of the World’s Greatest Experts Deliver the Steps, Practices and Knowledge to Truly Open To Creativity

Five  of the world’s greatest experts have joined teacher/guide Selina Maitreya, for a “first ever” event to deliver the steps, practices and knowledge that all creative souls must take in order to truly OPEN TO CREATIVITY.

In today’s world, those seeking to develop a Creative life, build a creative profession or simply release the artist within have few resources to support them. The key to living an artistic life is to learn how to connect to the creative muse, the higher self and to stay in the zone 24/7.  Doing so enables those seeking to build a creative life with a direct connect to true creative power, deeper relationships, more financial prosperity, excellent health and peace.

Clarion Call 2013; OPEN TO CREATIVITY is a worldwide online event that brings 5 of the world leaders together to share information and inspiration for the purpose of transformation. CC2013 will take place March 28, 2013 from 12 pm EST -7pm EST. This is a free, live event hosted by Ms. Maitreya.

Joining Ms. Maitreya will be leading experts Jean Houston, Jill Badonsky, David Meggyesy, Barbara Biziou and Jeffrey Van Dyk.

Each featured expert will share their knowledge, insights and practices that will help all Creatives to:

  • Bring the artist within out into the world 24/7
  • Re-Open their sensory systems for maximum creative potential
  • Access higher states of creativity
  • Break through creative blocks
  • Move through procrastination
  • Build a life that supports the artist within
  • Develop abundant lives through their connection to creativity

During 6 hours of nonstop content, participants will learn and experience:

  • How to honor your responsibility and bring your gifts to the world.
  • How to release the artist within and bring your creativity front and center
  • A fun and enjoyable meditation that re-opens the sensory systems for maximum creative potential
  • Rituals to start the creative process
  • The importance of you the artist as athlete
  • The importance of redefining the concept of competition
  • How competition helps you open to creativity
  • How to leave creative blocks behind
  • Tricks and Triggers for starting the Creative Process
  • Secrets to move you through the “old paradigm” of starving artists
  • Strategies to build prosperity

“Building a creative life is a possibility for everyone on our planet.  Whether you are an artist, a person who loves creativity or a being who is choosing to live creatively, working to connect your inner and outer lives has several benefits.  Your life becomes deeper and richer, your relationships become more long lasting and beneficial and abundance in your life is everywhere, financial, health and well being, “shares Maitreya.

“As a guide to Creative Souls I am committed to helping as many people as possible discover their path to building a life that is deep rich, meaningful and prosperous. I am thrilled to welcome legendary teacher Jean Houston, author /lecturer Jill Badonsky, author/lecturer David Meggyesy, world ritualist/author Barbara Biziou and teacher Jeffrey Van Dyk to Clarion Call 2013.

I encourage you to join me and my guests for a FREE 1 day telesummit and experience their knowledge and wisdom as you learn what you need to do to OPEN TO CREATIVITY.”

Seating is limited for this event. Registration details are here.

About Selina Maitreya

Sometimes the Greatest is Releasing it in others…

Selina teaches. She illuminates a focus and a purpose for creative individuals of every version and variety. To be “creative” is to make use of one’s divine gift. “Divine”, in a sense of something that flows through you from a place beyond you. Selina helps you release the grip of doubt and move forward from stagnation (a nation you do not want to live in). Selina teaches transformation.

Selina walks the spiritual path with her feet firmly planted on the ground. Selina has a long and respected history of working with and advancing the careers of creative types, especially in the visual realm.
She is now taking that value and vision into all manner of creative enterprise. Whether it’s writing, painting, photography, knitting, pottery, dance, music or a thousand other less-than-obvious creative endeavors, Selina can help you think, work and live a creative life.

At the core of all creativity is a desire and passion to connect. Selina re-energizes and renews that connection.

For Selina Maitreya, creating symbiosis in relationships and empowering the artfulness of the soul are serious personal and professional pursuits.

A life of consulting, partnering and immersing herself in matters of vision and creativity has fully informed her belief system, which Selina offers wholeheartedly to her students. Create a life of human being.

Chronicling Selina Maitreya
Selina has spent over 30 years as a consultant to creative professionals, an author, a internationally acclaimed lecturer (over 100 dates and counting) and developer of several professional workshops. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Boston Graphic Artists’ Guild and is a former correspondent for Photo District News. She has been profiled by The British Journal of Photography, Light Years (Ooty, India), ADWEEK, The Boston Globe Magazine, and PDN. In addition, Selina’s opinions and knowledge on the business of selling creative services have been included in articles in a variety of publications.

The creator of the mega online telesummit CLARION CALL, Selina has brought together thousands of creatives with international teachers resulting in massive growth for all. Unleashing, redirecting and invigorating creative energy is what Selina does for “creatives” of any kind, in any discipline.

Thirty Three Tired and Dated Photographic Expressions: Un-Edited

Thirty Three Tired and Dated Photographic Expressions: Un-Edited

Riffing on a post by Ash Ambirge today, I asked the intrepid members of my Lighting Essentials Flickr group to come up with a list of photographic cliche’s and terms that they were also tired of.

I did not edit them, nor did I censor any of them… 33 different pet peeves by 33 photographers.

Now, you may believe some of them should be on the list, and others may piss you off.

Good…. that means it is a great list.

So without further comment:

1. Blowing out the Ambient
2. Creamy/Dreamy/Delicious Bokeh
3. Use the Histogram to _________
4. Gangnam Strobist style
5. Beating the sun
6. Stofen/Fong make soft light.
7. Capture
8. It’s only a phone camera
9. its a little hot
10. iPhoneography
11. “Capturing life’s precious moments”
12. it’s a little soft
13. “put it on the thirds”
14. ‘Clicking’ a picture
15. The “Dave Hill Look”
16. What triggers do I need to buy?
17. Photoshopped
18. I coulda done that better
19. Capture an image
20. Its fine I’ll fix it in post
21. Spray and pray
22. RAW or JPEG?
23. Lost detail
24. tog/photog
25. Signature (Don’t tell Missy)
26. Just tie some knots in a piece of string.
27. Chimping
28. Momtographer
29. Never use hard light
30. That’s an expensive camera, it must take great pictures
31. pixel peeping
32. Light Depth of Field
33. If you use P you suck.
(Bonus 4 – don’t never say we don’t give you free stuff…)
34. HDR
35. TTL sucks
36. “Editorial ”
37. Document the Experience

If you want to add your single most annoying phrase or term for photographers, add it in the comments. NOTE: arguing with the list is pointless: I didn’t write it, and I do not remember who said what. So if your Ox got gored, consider it for what it is. It’s just for fun.

Direct all hate mail to “ScooterPie@soyouthinkIreallycare.org”

(And you really SHOULD read Ash’s post… it will get you thinking about the words you use.)