Catherine Vibert Delivers Social Media Headshots

Catherine Vibert Delivers Social Media Headshots

P52 Alum and member Catherine Vibert explains the necessity of having a perfect headshot for Social Media. This kind of client centric marketing will create an interest in those needing to have the best headshots they can get. And – that is EVERYBODY on social media as a business person.

Well done Catherine.

“Social media and marketing collateral formats are not a one size fits all thing. You will need to be able to crop your pictures to fit Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, About Me, and any other myriad of social media outlets. This is my speciality. I shoot with cropping in mind. To get the most bang from your buck out of one single headshot, it needs to be shot to be chopped. I made a little collage of various crops from the same picture.”

See how she did the magic at her website.


An Easy Tool for Shooting to Format

An Easy Tool for Shooting to Format

Project 52 Alums Anna and Filipe (McGunn Media) have created a set of templates (mattes) for shooting to formats that are many times required – especially by social media.

They have made them available free on their site as well, so you can download them if you need to shoot to a specific format (say a Facebook Header) and want to make sure the composition fits.


Large Format Shooters: This Looks Really Interesting

Large Format Shooters: This Looks Really Interesting

GALAXY HYPER SPEED Direct Positive Photo Paper

I love shooting large format cameras, but the hassle of developing 4×5 and 8×10 negatives can be daunting unless one has a full darkroom. Paper is easy… safelight and some trays and you got it.

This project will bring some sanity to those of us who really love the look and feel of a large format image, but have trouble getting the negs developed. Yes, there are labs – but take a look at what they charge. A weekend shoot could easily run $200 for 20 or so images.



(images from the kickstarter page)

The answer is to shoot on paper.

I load my 8×10 with the paper I use to print on and make images directly onto it. I can then develop the image in a tray under safelight. Yes, the image is a negative, and yes it is backwards. A simple scan of the print can fix that. Or, do a copy shot on your DSLR and reverse it in Photoshop.

(For those of you who like to think out of the box, shoot the paper negative onto black and white negative 120 film and end up with a positive transparency of the image… small but mighty. Scan the positive as a transparency.)

Check out this KickStarter project and see what they are offering. I am in at $150. I hope you all support this project and enjoy a bit of a resurgence in the interest in large format photography.

GALAXY HYPER SPEED Direct Positive Photo Paper

“We all know about direct positive photo papers nowadays. With all their nice features they lack one very important quality – the high speed. Every single shot is very time-consuming for large-format photographers, and fellow pinholers struggle sometimes for hours. In addition, if there is a moving object in the shot, the object turns out blurred (if it appears at all). However, 70 years ago photographers already had a solution to this problem – Kodak Super Speed Direct Positive Paper.”

Link here. Send them some love.

24 Frames In May II, 2015 Edition

We had an assignment on Lighting Essentials that was fairly easy to be involved with… sort of. The assignment was to load one roll of 24 exposure film into the camera of your choice and shoot each shot as though it were the ONLY shot you had. No ‘bangin’ off a motor drive, more like treating each frame as a singular image with the importance of a view camera.

Below are the amazing shots the photographers did in contact sheet form. Damn I miss contact sheets.

First up, Rudy Giron, Guatamala.


Rudy Giron's Comments on his 24 Frames

Rudy Giron
• Canon EOS Rebel XS [EOS 500] from 1993 with 28mm 2.8 lens
• Lens: 50mm F1.4 AIS, 105mm F1.8 AIS
• Film: Expired Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 color film from 2001.
• Scanned at Kodak mini lab, Antigua Guatemala

Rudy Giron Photography
• Antigua Guatemala, Central America
• Tel: +502 4569 4419
• Email:
• Website:

24 frames of film for May 2015.

I used an expired roll of Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 color film from 2001 on a Canon EOS Rebel XS [EOS 500] from 1993 with 28mm 2.8 lens. Some frames exposed more or less well, while others were under/over exposed. I don’t know if this is camera error or simply the film was too old. Most frames were shot at f2.8 while others at f5.6 if enough light.

My theme is entitled “Come in” [“Pase adelante” in Spanish] which is what vendors would say as you enter their business. I tried to show all kinds of business as seen from the doorway. About half the roll is from tiny business found in villages around Antigua Guatemala while the rest of the roll was captured on the more affluent shops in downtown Antigua Guatemala.

My cost for this film project was $3.75 for film developing and scanning of the 24 frames at 6 megapixels [8″x10″] plus an index print at my local Kodak mini lab. I had the roll of film and I provided an SD card to the lab so I didn’t have to pay for a disc. The turn around for developing and scanning the 24 frames was 1 hour. They still sell a roll a 24-frame of film at this Kodak lab for $5.

Next, I will get some black and white C41 film as this is the easiest and least expensive way to have black and white film developed, scanned and printed in Antigua Guatemala. I have a few more themes in mind, for instance, portraits of the vendors inside the local market.

Alfred Kypta has a write-up on his blog about the 24 Frames in May assignment.


Steve Gray did last year’s 24 Frames project as well.


Steve Gray's description for his 24 Frames submission.

As with last year, I used my trusty Minolta X-370, using a 50mm f/1.7 lens. This time I opted for Ilford Delta 100 black and white film. Apparently the light streaking I saw last year was indeed caused by the old film, and not by the camera. Yay!

I sent the film off to The Darkroom (, which did an okay job. I did see a little bit of oddness in one or two frames (probably from handling the wet film). I corrected what I could with Photoshop, and I tweaked the cropping and contrast a little…so these are not genuinely straight out of the camera shots. Still, I’m okay with what I got. I bought a second roll of the same film, and now I need to plan an activity to shoot with it. If I keep this up, I’m going to have to splurge on a developing tank, chemicals, and a scanner. Heh.

The images can be viewed individually on my website @

My base website is

From Catherine Vibert:

Hi Don, here is the contact sheet, and the link is here: This was fun!


Melissa Hanson‘s entry.

Melissa Hanson, Utah
Pentax K1000, 35mm
Sigma 28-70 zoom f:2.8
Sears 70-210 macro-zoom f:4
Kodak High Definition ISO 400
Lab:  Atelier A.F.A.
Flickr album:


Chris Dean:


Chris Dean's Info

Camera: Hasselblad 500 C/M with 80mm Zeiss 2.8 Lens
Film: Kodak Portra 160
Developed and scanned by a local lab (
No cropping or editing

Chris Dean:
Twitter: @chrisdeanphoto
Instagram: @chrisdeanphoto

Full size pictures available at:

Last year’s 24 Frames in May was my first (serious) attempt at shooting film. This year I thought I’d make things even more interesting (difficult) for myself by getting to grips with a medium format camera. There’s a lot to learn!
It has a 6cm x 6cm negative, so everything is short in square format (a 1:1 format rather than the 3:2 of my DSLR).
It has a waist level viewfinder which means you look down into the camera, and left-right is reversed, which is a little confusing!

There’s no built-in light meter so you have to take light readings separately (or rely on the sunny 16 rule).
The negatives are a lot bigger than the 36mm x 24mm of a “standard” (35mm) film camera, which means the depth of field is very shallow, and you need a very steady hand (or a tripod) to avoid blurry shots. Focusing is critical and hard!
Unlike a digital camera where you can take hundreds of shots, you’re limited to 12 shots per roll of film. So you need to make sure you’ve got that shot, especially when you’re trying to treat each frame like gold dust.

May was especially hectic this year, so I didn’t ending up spacing out my shots to the extent that I would have liked, and the medium format camera slowed me down even more than the film 35mm did. So I rounded off the roll by taking a portrait of everybody attending a fancy birthday dinner I was having.

I had great fun. I’m looking forward to shooting more film, and have booked myself into a black and white darkroom developing course – can’t wait!

Bret Doss shot in and around Seattle.


Bret's Info

Participating in Don Giannatti’s Project 52 has a lot of fringe benefits in addition to the exceptional training; for example, a challenge to get out a film camera and shoot 24 Frames In May.  I was happy to be able to participate this year, and also to find a clean Pentacon Six medium format camera (and some really clean lenses) on eBay.

The official challenge is to shoot 24 frames, one a day, and with a medium format camera that would mean two twelve-exposure rolls.  I had to follow a different path to my 24 Frames.  Since the camera was new to me, as were the lenses, I shot some tests as well to make sure everything was working.  As I was using some extension tubes for some of the calla lily images, I was estimating the compensation factor, and so did some bracketing.  The nature of my life and of the calla lilies I acquired for the project did not permit making only one frame a day.  In the end, I exposed six rolls of 120 film over two separate days, and selected 24 from amongst the test &bracketed images, ignoring the failed test images.  I used Portra 160 for the color images, and mostly Ilford HP5 (ASA 400) for the black and white (the last two you see are Ilford Pan-F — ASA 50).  Lenses were mostly the 80 and 65 mm, though I also shot with a 120, 180, and 300 as well.

I went to some of my favorite subject matter: the marina area and some calla lilies in the studio.  I used open sky window light for the callas.  I think next up will be some portraits with the Pentacon!

The film was sent to The Find Lab, using their Fatboy scanner option. Great service and quality scans.

The only post I did was some slight levels/curves for those images where neither bracket was ‘just right’ and I needed to be somewhere in the middle.  I retouched a very few hot pixels that appeared in very few of the scans, and applied a light sharpen to the images.

all images © Bret Doss, All Rights Reserved

Jorge Rodriguez Santos shoots in Cambodia.

Camera: Seagull 4A-107 TLR
Film: Ilford Delta 100 120mm
Scanned in color setting to give the sepia tone.
Jorge Rodríguez Santos
Jorge Rodríguez Santos Photography
Siem Reap, Cambodia

Tomas Jansson


Tammy Bogestrand

Olympus OM2n
24mm Olympus lens
Tri-X 400 black and white film.

I limited myself to the 24mm for the entire 24 frames.


Reed Waters:

1960 Yashica Mat
Kodak Porta 400 120 film.
These are out of the camera, no post processing.

Michele Cushman
Camera: Nikon N65
Film: Ilford Delta 100 Professional Black & White film
Developed & Scanned by The FIND Lab
no editing of the photos
This was my second time participating in the 24 Frames in May project. Last year I also used black and white film and documented a trip back home to NYS for my nephew’s first communion. This year, I photographed my youngest son’s first flight lesson up in Frederick, MD.  Another P52 photographer, Bob Knill, set up the flight lesson for him on what turned out to be a beautiful day.  I captured the essence of the day with my favorite photograph being the one where my son is out of focus standing outside the hangar while I focused on the nose cone of the plane. That shot turned out exactly how I had envisioned it in my head before taking it.  There are a couple of shots where they are identical because of a happy trigger finger.  Overall I am happy how these turned out.

Darla Hueske had a film mishap and only 15 of her shots came out unscathed. A shame because so many of her images are really good.

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.)

Moving From the Studio to The Great Outdoors: Meet Ken Howie


Ken Howie is a friend of mine and an excellent photographer. Ken used to have a studio in the same space as my old studio (and now, Dave and I are in his old studio).

Ken was a consummate studio shooter. He was nearly 90%+ studio work – from product and still life to motorcycles and automotive. His studio featured one of the best coves in the valley and the lighting tools he created were amazing. His clients included Fender Guitars, Ryobi Garden Tools, The Phoenix Art Museum and many other local and regional companies.

He made a decision to move not only from Phoenix to North Dakota, but to move from still work to video work as well. His careful approach to getting ready to move from a very large city to a town of 1000 or so is instructive for all of us.

Ken is a friend, as I noted, so this is part interview and part two buds chatting about the business.

I hope you enjoy meeting Ken Howie. You can see his website at


For most of his career, Ken’s portfolio contained this work:

These are a few of his new work:

A big shout out to Ken and Theresa Howie for doing this interview with us. Much appreciated, guys.

Portraits: June 2015


Image © Catherine Vibert

Student Work:

A few of the amazing portraits students in the Portrait Workshops have turned in. There are dozens of truly great portraits. I am choosing only 16 for this post.

Perhaps It’s Time to Rethink “Photographer”


Plastic spoons in the early morning sun.

I got a beautiful pen as a gift from a client recently. Thanks for that, Randi, it is an absolutely gorgeous writing implement. And, I assure you, I will write with it.

Because I am a writer as well as a photographer.

Millions of pens are sold daily in the world. How many people who buy them or receive them as gifts are writers? Probably not very many. In fact, they do not refer to themselves as “writers” even though that is what pens and pencils – and word processors – allow us to do.

We write with them, although few of us are writers.

I also received some art supplies for Christmas. A brush and some watercolors. I love to dabble.

I am not a painter. Seriously. Although I do know how to mix the pigments and how to use a brush to put the paint on the paper, it is as far away from being a painter than a kid in a big wheel is from driving an 18 wheeler.

An that’s OK. The words “truck driver” have not be co-opted by kids in plastic toy trucks.


Now – photographer – well, that is another story.

That word has more meanings now than a zebra has stripes.

And that is becoming a problem.

If no one knows what you do because the term has been changed to mean everyone with an iPhone, Android, Rebel, D810, Hasselblad, F2 or Pink Barbie camera, then there is a serious problem running through the very core of what we do. That uncertainty will tarnish your brand and make it more and more difficult to become seen as a professional in the eyes of clients.

Perhaps it is time for us to begin thinking of what we do in a different way – a way that makes sense to those who are not already doing what we do. Maybe we need to change the way we describe ourselves and what we do to be more descriptive and narrow.

We all know what a laptop computer is. Did you know that Apple doesn’t sell one? Nope, they sell MacBooks. “Books”, not laptops.

How about Dos Equis? Do they sell beer – or a chance to be the most interesting man in the world? Does that leave out a large population of earth dwellers? Yep, but they are only interested in their demographic.

It is time for photographers to rethink the term “photographer”. After all someone who shoots weddings, is quite a bit different than someone who is running up a hillside under gunfire shooting as a photojournalist. A family shooter simply has less stress than a fashion photographer and there is quite a bit of difference in photographing the sunset in your backyard and a travel photographer hiking down three miles in the dark after waiting all day for a perfect shot.

I say we focus on what we achieve instead of what we do. We are visual experts, image gurus, and lighting wizards. We help companies sell more stuff. We help entrepreneurs raise more capital. We help businesses grow by engaging more clients and getting better results.

Our visioneering, and image creation help tell stories, clarify processes, deliver value and change the minds of consumers looking to purchase goods and services.

Better photographs help companies sell more stuff… period.

And THAT is what we may start seeing in the more savvy photographers out there. A focus on the results oriented bottom line of the companies who hire us. No bullshit over pricing, no hand-wringing over bidding… a simple value proposition that says WE MAKE STUFF HAPPEN.

“Hi, I’m Don and I am a photographer” – images of wedding photographers, baby photographers, the lady across the street making iPhone photos of the birds in her yard go rushing through their heads.

“Hi, I’m Don. I help businesses tell their story visually” – they understand instantly what I do that helps THEM.

I know it has been floated before, but it is now getting to be the time for us all to take it seriously. In a way, we are going to rebrand this industry with a more modern, and business friendly job title for photographers.

Ten Things To Think About When ‘Re-branding’ Your Photography

  1. Nobody cares what you do… they want to know what you are going to do for them
  2. Focus on the benefit for the client, not what you do
  3. Think globally and position yourself as an expert
  4. Being an image expert, a graphics guru, or a visioneer is new, so be very open to explanation
  5. If you need to explain what value you bring to someone who is simply too dense to get it, move on
  6. Only YOU know what your value is worth, and YOU are the one who states it in the beginning
  7. Perception is everything – it just is
  8. Never underestimate the power of a great idea – always be looking for them
  9. Tell your story and show your strengths – a badly designed logo, ugly website, and typography that sucks doesn’t say image guru, does it
  10. Do more than you do now – charge more than you do now

In short, we all must think about a re-brand of the job of being a commercial photographer. The name is lost to us, the civilians don’t care, and the market is in real need of the services of a visual expert that can engage customers…

Hey… I can do that.

You can too.

It’s Father’s Day: Make a Photograph to Keep


The Best Photographs I Never Took

It was Christmas a few years ago. My father in law came for the annual Christmas Dinner at the Giannatti’s. We host about 20 people here throughout the day, and Floyd always came over with his warm and infectious smile. The dude knew how to work a room.

He was sitting near the window light, hunched over due to severe back pain and was smiling intently at a story my brother in law was telling him. An adventure story, I’m sure. The light was fantastic… a soft, wrapping light that brought out the features of his 82 years, and added a bit of sparkle to his eye.

“I should grab my camera and get that”, I thought, just as someone asked me to do something in the kitchen. I didn’t grab my camera at that moment, and when I finished in the kitchen, the moment was lost.

“I’ll get it next year”, I thought to myself.

We were on a small dirt road, in a forest somewhere north, a long time ago, when my mom and dad started playfully goofing around and tossing pine cones at each other. It was a sincere moment between them and something rather… rare.

“I should grab my camera and get that”, I thought, and I headed back to the truck. I stopped to grab a drink and when I had turned they had moved on to doing something else… each alone to themselves.

“I’ll be ready next time,” I thought. I will keep my camera at the ready.

On a very warm summer’s day, my next door neighbor, Mr. Bailey, asked me to come over and see something he had made. It was a magnificent stained glass window decoration that he had lovingly built by hand. The craftsmanship was stunning and he was very proud of the work he had put into it. At 90, working with your hands on delicate things like glass is no easy feat.

“I should grab my camera and get that”, I thought, it would be a great portrait.

But I got caught up in other things, and didn’t get back over to my neighbor’s house in time.


A true luxury,  a gift of improbable proportions, a terrible foe, and an all around bastard.

Time is the currency we always underestimate. We think we are given vast quantities of it to spend as we want, whenever we want, on the most frivolous things we want.

“There’s more where that came from” is a wonderful mantra when thinking about money. It sorta sucks big time when thinking about time.

We can make more money. We cannot make more time. And time is even more relentless than the seas that pound rocky shores to sand over millenia. Nothing we can do, buy, beg or steal can stop time from simply passing.

Except… a camera.

To me the still image is the most powerful tool we have to stop time. Ineffective, lame, small potatoes tool for sure. But it’s all we have at the moment.


I got you now, time. In fact I preserved that moment, however simply and unsophisticated my capture of it may be, forever. That 1/250th of a second. Out of a lifetime… Yeah – I got that one, time dude… so bite me.


My first daugher at 4 days old, lying in a patch of sunlight on the floor near our window.


My girls laughing for their first “trio” shot (with ever so many more to come) on a small rock outcropping in the foothills. That rock is gone, covered over by a CVS Pharmacy and a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. And they are all oh, so much older… but I got that tiny little moment of our family lives. I GOT IT.

On a tiny piece of slide film, now scanned and printed and archived.


My wife, graduating with honors from her Master’s Program. What a day.

Those shots I got. I had my camera with me and I cheated time a bit. It was as fleeting as ever, but I snagged my 125th of a second of it and preserved it in the best way I know. Primitive and less than perfect, but better that we have it than not.

We turn our lenses on the things that matter to us far less frequently than we photograph things that in the end have no meaning at all. I would trade a terabyte of model shots for a gig of my folks, or more of my kids growing up.

I never made it back over to Mr. Bailey’s, and he passed later that week. My folks and I never went up to the little road in a forest again and they are now gone. My father in law never came to dinner again and passed later that year.

Those photos will never be made.

Time made certain of that. Time didn’t hear me say ‘next time’ because, well… there is no next time.

The moments we live are spent as we live them. We never know how much time we have, and yet we waste so much of it on things that have no importance, while missing those tiny moments that would have been cherished.


The still image is, for me, one of the most fascinating of art forms. Capturing a moment of time, and holding true to that moment as best it can, the photograph can help us feel, remember, and enlighten. Yes, it can trick and deceive us as well, but that is for another essay, at another time. For now, we are discussing the better side of the photograph.

Today is father’s day. Grab that camera and if you are fortunate to be able to make an image of your dad, do it. What I would give for an opportunity to make one last photograph of my father, my mother, my brother… what I would give.

Make photographs of the people you love, and the life you live.

Make the best photographs you have ever taken of those that mean the most to you.

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.


On Work Ethic – Nick Giron, Photographer

Photo by Nick Giron

Photo by Nick Giron

Drive through your town and look at the businesses YOU DON’T go into and figure out why they work without you.  Look at your business and ask why someone would want to come into yours. If you’re the only one that knows the answer to that it could be part of the problem.

I’ve grown up in family businesses we’ve built from the ground up.

Success is never immediate.

We owned a flower shop/tux shop/wedding chapel in L.A.. Massive square footage. Big lot. All ours. 4 rentals on an adjacent street, a cabin at a lake, and property at another lake.
It started by selling flowers out of a trunk of a Ford at a Shell stations parking lot.

Success is never immediate.

We lived in a single wide trailer behind the house we converted into a flower shop. The graphics on the delivery van were painted on by my father (He was artistically gifted. They DID look good, heh). No kitchen. We took out the wall for a walk in cooler. Christmas was a few gifts exchanged during a brief reprise. 4 A.M. trips downtown to get flowers. Friday night flurries of driving to other tux shops to fill rental orders with stock we were short on. Sweeping rice and dead birds (That’s why they don’t throw rice in CA anymore) Listening to my mom explain why our arrangements cost as much as they did and making sales.

THAT is family business.

Worked my first graveyard shift at 8 yrs old, taking out trash and taping wires and making bows during a busy June prom/wedding season. That’s what you have to be willing to do.

Success is never immediate.”

Nick Giron, Photographer, Modesto, CA

James Eisele, West Palm Beach FL Commercial Photographer


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.

Please Don’t Buy Stolen Gear


LensProToGo, a popular camera gear rental house and studio in Massachusetts was hit by the lowest of scum and had over a half million dollars of gear stolen.

This gear will undoubtedly be offered for sale in shady cesspools of slime (their homes) and on line at auction sites and other places gear is sold.



Make the seller show you the serial number, and check it out against this list of serial numbers from LensProToGo.

And if you need to rent something for a gig, give them a call.

Why I Have Decided to do Project 52 One More Time

This will be year 5 of Project 52. It has matured and seen many alumni start businesses going from weekend warrior to full time shooter. P52 has helped many more photographers find their creative voice and look at the world in a different way. It has formed lifelong bonds of friendship between photographers for whom geography is simply a challenge, but not a barrier.

To tell you the truth, I was happy as hell how it had turned out and five years is a while. I thought that the class that ends in August would be the last one and I would move on to other things.

But it kept calling me back. I knew it was good, and I wanted to make it better. I wanted to make it THE best place for emerging commercial photographers online. And I wanted to make it into a class that people could take on their own time. So a little over a month ago I sat with my wife and discussed it… the time commitment, the evenings at the computer… and we decided that since I love doing it so much – and felt it needed one last go – I decided to do it again.

One last time. (My wife thinks that I will do it again because I do love doing it, but that is definitely not the plan at this point.)

This time I am using a member management tool ( and Stripe to take the payments. Really looking slick and very happy with the way it is going.

Look…if you are thinking about becoming a professional commercial photographer, or adding commercial work to your consumer business, this class is for YOU. You can see how it works at and find out a lot more about how it can work for you.

There is a lot of chatter on the interwebs designed to take your dreams away from you and stuff them in a dufflebag with bricks, but that is horse doo. There are professional photographers working out there. Building businesses in areas that you would normally think too small for the “guru super-stars” and you may be right. But then I never wanted to be a guru superstar, do you?

I want to work in photography, making images for clients that love me and pay me and provide a good life with time to pursue my other photographic interests. Shooting a garage opener catalog pays enough to spend a week in Alaska AND pay my bills… hey, that works for me!

If that sounds like it may work for you too, and you are ready to do something that could easily be the hardest thing you have ever done, then take a look at this course. At this writing there are only 22 spots left and they will be gone soon. Ii was over half filled on pre-register alone.


Member’s Sites

Go to this page to get links to current and former Project 52 alums.


We can answer a lot of questions on this FAQ page.

How it Works

This page has some examples of real world assignments.

Want More Info?

If you want to contact me with any P52 questions, use this form. Thanks.

Oh… and if you want to just get out there and register for the most intensive, real world based photographic training available on the internet, go here and make the commitment. To your photography and your future.

Off Topic Sunday: Gadgets, Gizmos, and Music

Every once in a while I get so many little things going on that I decide to share them with you all. I call them Off-Topic Sundays and they are always fun for me.

So here we go:

2015-06-14_1023First… ever have your phone die on location? Not good, and since so many of us USE our phones for business and for making BTS photos and videos, they have become indispensable. Here is a nifty solution.

The Anker Astro E7 Ultra-High Capacity 25600mAh 3-Port 4A Compact Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank with PowerIQ Technology for iPhone, iPad, Samsung and More (Black)

Giant Capacity: Charges the iPhone 6 ten times, the iPhone 6 Plus or Galaxy S6 over six times or the iPad Air twice. Safely recharges with a 2 amp or higher output charger (please note most phone chargers only have 1 amp)

Available at Amazon (Affil)


iPhone Tripod Mount

I have just purchased one of these iPhone Tripod Mounts… slick as can be. Great for making videos without that iPhone/Android camera shake. You will make more movies… :-)

RetiCAM® Smartphone Tripod Mount – Metal Universal Smartphone Tripod Adapter – Standard Size, Black

Are you a wedding or consumer shooter?

Ya gotta love this… heh.

Bill Evans at his finest.

Looking for some quiet, but quite modern jazz for those long hours processing? Try this very mellow album out.


Like old lenses? Like alternative processes?


Image © Geoffrey Berliner

Check out this article with some amazing images taken with old Russian lenses.

“Geoffrey Berliner is the Executive Director of the Penumbra Foundation and the Center for Alternative Photography in New York. As the head of an organization whose goals are ‘to be a comprehensive resource for photographers at any level’ and ‘to continue to publicize the impact photography has had and continues to have on culture, history and the arts,’ his exposure to photographic materials -from 19th century gems to modern equipment- is so extensive, one cannot even begin to fathom just how much knowledge and experience this man has acquired. His collection of over 2000 vintage Petzval lenses is unparalleled, and the object of envy of both traditional and contemporary photographers. Although such lenses are reputed to require a certain level of skill to be used, Berliner seems to manage them with so much ease, producing splendid results.”

I am looking into some alternative lenses as well. Possibly going to try to adapt a few old enlarging lenses for my digital cameras.

A friend of mine, Moses Wilson, sent this very cool idea of using old projector lenses and the results are pretty darn cool.

I am working on getting a lot of props together for a TinType shoot I want to do, and also building a ‘quick-setup’ darkroom for processing sheet film and prints I shoot in the Deardorff.

Shooting paper is quite interesting. A rough ISO of 6 means a long exposure or lots and lots of light. It also shoots in reverse so the print is a negative, and backwards. No problem since I then shoot or scan the print and reverse it in Photoshop.

I am looking forward to sharing some of this stuff with you later in the summer.


Last thing – Nikon Lens Junkies

… you are going to love this. All the major Nikkor lenses with the stories of how they came about. My favorite Nikkors were always the 35MM f2 and the 180MM f2.8. Both are stunningly beautiful to work with.

Anyway – if you have the time – this is really fun and informative article.


Project 52 – “NO FEAR” Edition.

Project 52 only has a few seats left for this one last season. If you are or have been interested in it, NOW is the time to take a look. I have built a lot of new and super cool stuff into it. Here is the site if you are interested.




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