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, Joyce Tenneson

Joyce Tenneson speaking

Joyce Tenneson speaking at Strictly Business 2

Saturday evening’s keynote speaker was Joyce Tenneson. Members of the audience were given a sneak peak at her upcoming book, A Life in Photography, featuring images taken over a 40 year time span, from 1968 to 2008. Voted one of the top ten most influential women in the history of photography by readers of American Photo Magazine. I’ll try and guess who the other 9 might be, not necessarily in order, just as they pop into my head. Feel free to comment on my selections or to add your own using the comment link at the bottom of this post.

  1. Margaret Bourke White
  2. Diane Arbus
  3. Imogen Cunningham
  4. Annie Lebovitz
  5. Cindy Sherman
  6. Mary Ellen Mark

On Sunday, Julia Larson Saperstein asked me, (the epitome of machismo,) If I felt the men in the audience had the same reaction to Joyce’s work as the women. While, once in a while, in the company of a woman, or a child, I find it advantageous to “Get in touch with my feminine side,” I had to answer, “No, I don’t think we did.” Our loss.

Joyce had copies of several of her books with her in Philadelphia and was available for a book signing after the keynote. If the response in Chicago is anything like it was in Philadelphia, you’ll want to get in line early!

SB2, Blake Discher

Blake Discher speaking

Blake Discher speaking at Strictly Business 2 in Philadelphia

Blake Discher, Firefly Studios, is a corporate, editorial and advertising photographer based in Detroit. Blake gave a presentation on pricing and negotiating, conducted a workshop on optimizing your web site and gave private web site consultations. You must sign up for any of the private consultations and a half hour session is $75.

Blake’s personable with a great sense of humor, which makes for a friendly, non-intimidating one-on-one, critique of your site and your work. Okay, Maybe he does look a bit like Nosferatu in this image, and his nickname is Black Discher, but trust me, he’s cool. I would have signed up for his consultation but I knew I’d be too busy shooting!

In the image above, Blake explains how he priced an image for use on billboards using Hindsight’s Photo Price Guide.

Catch him Chicago if you can!