Men playing drums

Two men Drumming

     I didn’t think I’d be shooting for the Focus Philly competition as I hadn’t been able to come up with a concept for this year’s theme of “Unseen Philadelphia.” In an age of iPhonegraphy and Instagram what  hasn’t already been photographed and posted on-line for the whole world to see?  Then one evening at a dinner party with some friends, I overheard a conversation and had one of those “eureka” moments. Butting into their conversation, (which is totally uncharacteristic of me) I told them about Focus Philly and asked if I could photograph them. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they not only knew of ASMP and what it stood for, but that one of their relatives had been an active member. They agreed and the shoot came together as planned. Whether or not I get into the show or (new this year) the book, the shoot was memorable. I’m also pleased that I was able to share the experience with my son Wynn, who acted as photo assistant, video shooter and editor.

      As a professional photographer it’s easy to become jaded and only pull out a camera when there is a check involved but ASMP’s Focus Philadelphia reminds me on an annual basis why I became a photographer in the first place and the value of shooting for myself.

     Thanks to this years sponsors, Adobe, Brilliant Studios, Calumet Photographic, Power Plant Productions, Springboard Media, Think Tank Photo, and Videosmith and the members of the ASMP Philly Board who not only keeps this competition going but makes it better each year.

     Don’t ask me who they are or where the photos were taken,   if I told you I’d have to kill you.

      Whether your an established photographer or just emerging (I love that phrase), Focus is just one of the benefits of membership. If you are a member and have yet to shoot something better hurry the deadline is August 31st (wink, wink). 

I’m sure many of you, like myself, started blogging with high hopes of  developing a large following of loyal readers. We started out enthusiastically, uploading our best photos and writing clever, insightful copy. We posted often and always had one or more new ideas percolating in the back of our minds.
After awhile and dozens of blog posts, reality sets in, our following consists of only family members and a few close friends. Disillusioned we stop blogging and turn our attention to Facebook, or the 140 characters or less, Twitter. Yes, Facebook and Twitter have their place but they are no substitute for an interesting, well maintained blog. 
Rosh Sillars presented “Secrets to Driving Traffic to Your Blog,” at Strictly Business 3 in L.A. and in Philadelphia and will be presenting in Chicago as well. 
Rosh gave insight on finding your own voice and developing your own style as well as tips, tricks, and tools to build the following your blog deserves.
For me the biggest take away was “Givers Gain.” Help promote others and they will do the same in return. So I’ll try to give a little back to Rosh and say, go hear him at SB3 in Chicago, or visit one of his links below.
Rosh co-authored The Linked Photographers’ Guide to Online Marketing and Social Media along with Lindsay Renee Adler. You can order it from Amazon.

One of the criticisms levied against ASMP’s Strictly Business is that it’s only held in three cities, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago. That’s once on the west coast, once on  the east coast, and once in the mid west. Yeah, you may have to fly, take a train or drive to get to one. You’ll need to book a room at a hotel. Is it worth it, you might ask? Ask Christopher Shain. Chris heard about SB3 then traveled half way around the world to attend the Philadelphia Seminar. Christopher is an architectural, industrial and corporate photographer based in Sydney, Australia.  He won the prize(ASMP hat) for traveling the greatest distance to attend. Chicago doesn’t seem so far away now, does it?

Hey!, isn’t that Rosh Sillars in the background let’s talk about him next.

 To see more photos click SB3 Philadelphia.

Christopher is pictured above with our fearless leader, Eugene Mopsik.
Thomas Werner speaking

Thomas Werner speaking at SB3 in Philadelphia

I was fortunate enough to be asked to be “Photographer of Record,” for the Philadelphia Strictly Business 3 seminar sponsored by The American Society of Media Photographers. I had covered SB2, Philly back in 2009. Some posts from that seminar can be found here, here,and here. This is the first of several posts I will publish about the event.

SB3 made it’s first stop in L.A. on Jan 21st-23rd, then came to Philadelphia this past weekend. If you wanted to go but didn’t you have one more opportunity to attend in Chicago, April 1st-3rd. This program is not cheap to produce so don’t assume you’ll just go next year. There was a two year hiatus between SB2 and SB3 and nearly a decade between SB2 and the first SB seminar. I’m sure your aware how quickly the photography business is changing so even if you attended SB2 I assure you there is be plenty of  new information to help you grow your business in today’s marketplace. Here’s a link to register for SB3 Chicago.

Pictured at left is Thomas Werner of Thomas Werner Projects. He is an educator, lecturer, curator and consultant based in New York City.  Thomas reviewed and compared galleries in several major U.S. art markets. He offer insight and advice on to how to match your body of work to the appropriate galleries. Your not just looking for a space to hang your photos but seeking representation by someone who understands and shares your vision, ultimately leading to increased sales.

My portrait of Ninja, Rick, “Ryuama”(Dragon Mountain)Henderson of the Triple Cities Martial Arts Academy of Upstate New York, made it into the show.

Rick is a licensed Art of Combat trainer, holds six world titles in Kata and Sparring and is current World Heavy Weight Sparring Champion. Despite the fact he could knock you out in the blink of an eye, Rick is the kindest and most gentle person, I have ever met. Full disclosure, he’s my brother-in-law!

Thursday, January 21st, 2010, 7PM
The University of The Arts
Hamilton Hall
320 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

This years judges were Paul Runyon, John Saal, Zoey Sless-Kitain, and Jill Waterman.

This years sponsors: The Camera Shop, Brilliant Studio, Philly Creative Guide, Philadelphia Photographics, Modern Postcard, Wacom, Power Plant Productions and Yards Brewing Company.

See you there!

W.C.Fields once said, “Never work with children or animals.” I wonder if he meant children and animals were difficult to direct, or that he was afraid he’d be upstaged? From my experience, I’d say it was a little bit of both.

While searching for images to show at last night’s, ASMP Philly “Expose Yourself” social event, I decided to show images I had shot for The Mainline Animal Rescue. This was the perfect opportunity as I could combine two verticals into one horizontal image that would fit better into the presentation. I sized each at just under 400 pixels wide and pasted them into a new white background that was 8oo pixels wide.

The price of admission was six bucks, six images or a six pack of beer. Thanks to Blake Discher for that suggestion and thanks to Jim Graham of PowerPlant Studios, for hosting. The event was well attended with over thirty Philadelphia photographers showing their work.

Blake Discher presenting "I Stink at Negotiating."

Blake Discher presenting at ASMP in Philadelphia.

Blake Discher stopped in Philadelphia to zap attendees with superhuman negotiating powers,”Hey, you missed me!”

Blake was on the road with two of his lectures from the ASMP Strictly Business 2 seminar, “I Stink at Negotiating” and ” Is your Web Site Making You Money?”

Do you panic when you have to discuss money with a client? Do you talk too fast, ramble or sound indignant? Do you give in too fast to a lower price or broad licensing terms?

Seminar Topics:

o Learn how to prepare for a negotiation.
o Researching a client.
o Increasing your clout
o Listening skills
o When is it time to walk away?
o The Follow-up is critical.

Next Stops for “I Stink at Negotiating.”

9/16/09 Cleveland, OH

9/24/09 Kansas City

11/13/09 Denver, Co

For more information or to register visit ASMP

View my past post about Blake at SB2

SB2, Judy Hermann

Judy Hermann speaking at SB2

Judy Hermann of Hermann + Starke speaking at A.S.M.P.’s Strictly Business 2 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

On Saturday morning, Judy Hermann of Hermann + Starke, started off the SB2 general session with her first presentation “Setting the Stage” an overview of the founding principles behind strictly Business 2. Judy credits much of her success today, to what she learned by attending Strictly Business 1 over a decade ago.

Later, she gave her “Digital Essentials” presentation discussing the digital tools every photographer should know and use.

“Managing Change,” was Judy’s third presentation. Like many professions, photographers are caught up in an onslaught of new technology combined with paradigm shifts in the industry and the culture at large. Judy offers advice on how to not just manage change but how to use it to your advantage. To give you an idea of how she looks at the issue, her chapter in the SB2 booklet is entitled, “The Sky is Falling, Grab your Camera!” It’s one of those “Turn that Frown Upside Down” kinds of talks that may leave you feeling a little better about your career choice.

After six years as ASMP President, Judy Hermann will be stepping down at the end of March, having served the maximum, two consecutive 3-year terms. Judy will assume the chairmanship of the ASMP Governance Committee and Todd Joyce will step up as President, providing there is no bloody Coup d’etat or preemptive strike from another organization. Thank you Judy for your service, from a card-carrying member.

I just uploaded 110 jpegs from SB2, Philadelphia to my Flickr page if you would see more.


Leslie Burns-Dell

Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua speaking at A.S.M.P Strictly Business 2, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I first became aware of Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua from her posts on several of the photo related internet forums that drop into my inbox on a daily basis. I didn’t know who she was but found myself flagging her posts and returning to them again and again when contemplating how best to market my services as a commercial photographer.

“It was just swell,” meeting her in person. You know, like meeting a radio D.J. you’ve listened to for a long time, all mystery is removed. Questions like; “How tall are they?” “How do they do their hair?” “What kind of clothes do they like to wear?” are put to rest. With this post I hope I’ll succeed in sparing you all that unnecessary and non productive anxiety , should you meet Leslie in Chicago. It will free you up to just listen to the good stuff she’s throwing at you.

Leslie spoke about print portfolios (why you still need them,) mailers, mailing lists, email marketing, and more. Basically, a roadmap to getting your marketing plan together, seeing it through, and moving your business to another level, even in these challenging times. She even outlines a seven-step program to get you on the right track.

Though nothing beats a one-on-one consult( Chicago, Friday, gotta register, $75) you can go to Leslie’s website, Burns Auto Parts (her grandfather sold auto parts) read the articles and listen to her monthly podcast, Creative Lube. If you still prefer pulp you can get her book Business Basics for the Successful Commercial Photographer ( or, How to Use your Left Brain Too.)

SB2, John Harrington

John Harrington speaking at SB2

John Harrington speaking at SB2 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Despite appearances this is not a supermodel, sporting the latest in men’s fashion, it’s Washington, D.C. based John Harrington presenting at SB2, Philadelphia. Sorry, couldn’t help myself, to me, it looks like a runway shot.

John’s presentation is entitled, Critical Tools for Your Photography Business. Not tools as in, a monkey wrench and a hammer, but tools like, invoices, estimates, contracts and releases. Often referred to as the paper trail, not to be confuse with the Oregon Trail, The Appalachian Trail or the Cimmaron Trail. John also stressed the importance of registering your images with the copyright office and walked us through the process.

John is the author of “Best Business Practices for Photographers,” and is considered my many to be a must have reference book for the professional photographer.

John will be presenting in Chicago, and will also be doing one-on-one consultations on getting your paperwork together. You need to register for the consultations. A 1/2 hour consultation is $75.00.