Time to Put the 8 Week Portrait Class Away for A While

Time to Put the 8 Week Portrait Class Away for A While

Winding up one of the Portrait Classes:

I have loved teaching these mini classes and studying some of the great modern portrait photographers. I believe much can be learned when one immerses themselves into the work and looks deeply into the work and styles of those masters of the medium.

The students have raved about the classes all year, and it is kinda sad to retire them for a while. Of course if you were a student, you still have access to the course materials and all of the videos we created (over 72 hours of video classes and reviews).

I have no plans on when I will do this class again, but I will have a self guided class for those who want to learn on their own. If you are interested let me know by email.

To all of the photographers who have taken this class a big THANK YOU. Your work was an inspiration to each other and me as well.

Exceptional effort will realize exceptional results.

— Don

(NOTE: The last Portrait 102 class will be winding up in two weeks. I will be putting it away as well.)

Sometimes the Nonsense We Tell Ourselves Can Make Us Crazy

Anybody seen a forest around here... I can't see it  with all those trees.

Anybody seen a forest around here… I can’t see it with all those trees.

Sometimes the Nonsense We Tell Ourselves Can Make Us Crazy.

Today, I have a challenge for you all. Not one that I make lightly. And one that comes from a deep and abiding point of wanting you to be successful. Really successful.

It has to do with barriers. Barriers to better imagery. Barriers to better clients. Barrier to a more lucrative and exciting business.

Barriers that we set our selves because we are very comfortable in where we are. And that includes being comfortable when where we are sucks. That is how we humans are wired. Staying in the status quo is far easier, and far more comfortable than breaking out of the bubble an confronting change.

We work hard to not change anything. Even if we want to change, there is a fear that holds us in a stable place without challenging the edges because fear says we will meet great harm if we do.

And in most cases this is pure bullhonky… (yeah, I heard that somewhere…)

We have built those barriers with our belief systems, and those belief systems are so often built on a base of fear instead of a base of knowledge.

For instance:

Have you ever heard a photographer say “I can’t charge that much, my clients can’t afford it”? I have. Nearly everyday it is sputtered out on some forum somewhere on the net.

It is such a self defeating thing to say. And it will make success for that photographer come much slower.

Let’s take this statement apart like an old Chevy motor and find out why the sucker don’t run good.

  1. If you are trying to sell something to someone who cannot afford it, that makes you kind of a smarmy kind of saleswacko, right? I mean, what kind of evil SOB tries to sell stuff to people they KNOW cannot afford it. Now this may not run in the front part of your conscious brain, but believe me it is in the subconscious.So you are already setting up failure because to succeed in selling something to someone who cannot afford it makes you a slimeball.
  2. The assumption that you know what they can afford is also sort of a silly idea. You don’t know what they can afford or not afford. Just because you cannot afford it, doesn’t make it unaffordable to your neighbor or client. You may THINK they cannot afford it, but really you are saying “I don’t think my stuff is worth what I am asking for it – and no one else does either.”Maybe it isn’t – but that is for another discussion.
  3. Pre-disqualification is simply fear stopping you from finding out what other people think of the value of your work. Perhaps you are right, and they do not value your work at a rate that you want to charge. OK… fine. We would at least know that, and could work toward a specific challenge to fix it and raise the value in your customers view.
  4. This sort of negative talk has no upside. It has no value other than to further convince you that there is no reason for you to expect to be successful because you make stuff no one wants to pay for.

Now ask yourself if that sounds like a business that is going to succeed?

I don’t think so either.

Fact is, there are people who can afford your work. There are clients that WANT to afford your work. There are clients that would work with you if you doubled your rates before they would work with you now, because they want the BEST photography and they know that is not cheap or free.

How about the excuses/reasons we have for not marketing our work? From the feeling that it doesn’t matter anyway (see above), to ‘why bother, the business is dying anyway”, to a fear that if you do market, you will have to deliver something and that would mean moving from your comfort zone of doing nothing and bitching about it.

These are fear walls that keep us focused inward – unable to move to the next place and feeling that it is both a blessing and a curse. After all, if you never get a gig, you will never screw up a gig, and that makes you feel safe.

Success will put you in the spotlight and you will have to perform… to spec. That can be scary, but we know what to do to never be in that position, right?

We keep on doing what doesn’t work. And we keep on filling our heads with non-truth, fear based excuses and reasons why we can’t.

Man that word sucks the suck out of suck… “can’t”.

It is a word that means “throwing in the towel.” It is quitting before you even try, and admitting to the world that you are incapable of doing something you may very well have never tried.

It is also a lie. In many cases you surely CAN do what you need to do… you have chosen NOT to do it. A choice, not a disability.

Look… change is hard. Really hard.

But it is necessary. It is life. It is the very fabric of our world. Change brings innovation, new ways of seeing things, and possibilities that may seem endless… unless you ‘can’t’.

I think you can. I think you can be successful. I think we can all be successful. Damn the economy. Damn the restrictive governmental regulations. Damn what our parents and siblings and the people we work with say.

They may be right when they say they ‘can’t’ but we have to stop letting them make us think WE can’t.

We just have to change things up. Make new ways our ways. Develop strong ties to growing in ways we have not thought about before.

We do things differently than we have been doing them. We CAN make changes, of course we can. We CAN find clients who want our work – hell, other photographers find people who want their work. We can too.

We stop saying we can’t. We stop not marketing (our current method) and begin marketing. We stop telling ourselves that they cannot afford us, and look for clients that can appreciate the value. We stop sitting on our asses and playing on Facebook and get out there and make more pictures…. OK, that last one was for me… but you get the picture.

And here is the challenge.

What negative lines are you repeating to yourself that may not actually be true?

  • Is it that you are not ready?
  • Could it be that you are not good enough, and don’t want anyone else to find out?
  • Is it that no one would like your work, so why bother trying to show it to anyone?
  • Is it because your gear is not as good as that guy with the really awesome blog says it should be?
  • Is it because someone on Flickr said you were terrible with composition (although eleventyhundred others think you do just fine)?

I know there is a negative phrase you are repeating time and time again. Tell us what it is… and tell us how you will fix it.


 

If you are interested in the “No Fear” last edition of Project 52, visit this page for more information. We will fill this group very quickly.

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James Eisele, West Palm Beach FL Commercial Photographer

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I met James Eisele down in West Palm Beach, FL when I did a workshop in that area. He showed a lot of talent and when I started the Project 52 course, he jumped in and became involved.

I have watched his work improve at a very high rate, and his studio in West Palm is busy a few times a week.

James Eisele Website
James on Instagram
James on LinkedIn

Images from James’ portfolio.

Interview with James Eisele.

Tucker Joenz, St, Augustine FL Commercial Photographer

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Tucker Joenz was with Project 52 for a couple of years and in that time I watched him go from hobbyist to serious photographer. He works hard and creates wonderful pictures for his clients. Tucker also shoots self assigned personal projects that have garnered some attention.

He is making the jump from part time photographer and part time designer to full time photographer and I thought you may want to hear what he has to say. St. Augustine, FL is not a great market, but Tucker is finding his footing, and bringing in clients.

Tucker Joenz Website.
Tucker on Instagram.
Tucker Joenz Blog.

Images from his portfolio.

Interview with Tucker Joenz.

 

 

Finding and Keeping Commercial Photography Clients: Part Four, Staying Connected

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(NOTE)
If you are just coming into this series, I highly suggest you start at Part One, and then do Part Two and Part Three before starting Part Four. Links for all of them are inside the protected area, and you can access them easily.

A brilliant portfolio won’t get you work if no one sees it.
A full set of Channels and SubChannels means nothing if you have not implemented a plan to get the work.
Having an amazing list of possible clients is worthless if you are not contacting and showing and sharing your work with that list of clients.

This morning before I sent out this week’s In The Frame to subscribers, I received an email from Chris Brogan, someone I follow and admire. In it he asks if we are the “Sharpest Saw in the Shed?”

And we would all like to consider ourselves the sharpest around, right?

Then he pointed out the that sharpest tool in the shed is the one that is NOT working, or being used. It just sits there retaining its sharpness… and if that is the goal, then great. But the goal of a sharp saw is to cut wood, trim trees, build things.

So it is time to get dirty, so to speak. To take all that we know and have listed out and make a plan for getting in front of the clients we want.

It wont be easy – did you expect it to be?
It wont happen overnight.
It wont happen without extreme effort and deep commitment.
It may get messy.

But it is absolutely vital to your growth and health as a commercial artist with a camera.

No selling on this post. While this program is being finished up, I will be working on some marketing for it as well. I didn’t want this mini-program to be a huge selly-sell. It is designed to be real, positive, and constructive teaching on what you can do NOW to increase your viability in this great business. More will come later this summer. I expect the program to be finished around the end of July or first of August.

Subscribers to “In The Frame” have gotten this information already. Please subscribe to get access to this video, and the next two. They are full of information you can use right now to help build a strong client list. “In The Frame” comes out each Sunday, and we never spam you. We focus on the business and art of commercial photography. And please et me know if this series is helpful to you.

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Irene Liebler and Sandy Connolly: Starting the Journey

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Irene Liebler was one of the Project 52 members from a few years ago. She did the course twice, I believe and rarely missed an assignment. She also rarely did an image that we were not blown away by. Irene is a consummate artist, and a painstaking perfectionist when it comes to making the image she sees in her head.

She is also a commercial photographer in a small town near Hartford, Connecticut.

Her partner, Sandy Connolly is also a photographer who also does business development and produces many of the shots they do. Together they are the “Hurricans”… you just have to think about that one… heh. And they do their work together at Super Nine Studios.

Links:
Super Nine Studios Website
Super Nine Studios Facebook Page
Twitter
G+
Blog

As you know, the world of commercial photography runs the gamut from highly creative approaches to providing the client with exactly what they want. Irene and Sandy do just that – providing a creative pallet when needed, but also capable of creating the working commercial photograph when it is appropriate.

Some examples of the work Irene and Sandy create at Super Nine Studios, Connecticut.

A video interview we did for you is here, and Irene and Sandy discuss their unique working arrangements, how they got started, what is happening now and plans for growth in the coming months/years. They also share a few of their assignments with you as well as provide a few tips for those just getting started.

 

We will be presenting more of the Project 52 members who have successfully made the jump into professional commercial photography all month.

I am doing Project 52 one more time; I call it the “No Fear” edition and enrollment is now until the end of June, or we get 100 students whichever comes first. (At this point, registration has been open to the public for 24 hours and we are over half way there.)

See this page for more information or to enroll in Project 52 Pro – “No Fear” – we start July 1.

Thanks for visiting.