Friday, February 27, 2009

How to Submit An Article to Photo Lovecat

We believe that everyone has unique bodies of knowledge and talents to offer the greater photography and small business community. Because we don't claim to know it all, we welcome your guest articles for submission, review, and publication on If there's something you think needs to be heard and you don't want to share it on your personal blog or you'd like a larger audience, we're happy to give you a place to share your voice.

Step 1: Before submitting an article:
- Because we are a volunteer organization made of people who run creative businesses, please respect our time by doing your research and submitting only full content blog articles as you are proposing it would be published according to our guidelines below.  We will not respond to solicitations- only full article submissions.
- Use the search box in the upper left hand corner to see what has already been shared on the topic you're interested in covering. If you can link to previous articles written here in the context of your own article, that would make you a super lovecat.
- Determine if what you want to share is appropriate for our audience. We generally write for photographers in their first 3 years of business and we like to provide smart, savvy, easy to implement business advice and tips.
- Please note we do not publish tech or gear related articles (unless they're a personal review of gear or software).  We focus on marketing, social media, finance, management, education, and organization.
- We only publish original content in its full article format.
- If you feel like you still have something valuable and worthwhile to offer, move on to Step 2!

Step 2: What you need to submit an article to Photo Lovecat:
- Title
- 75x75pixel Photo of yourself
- Website link
- Short blurb about your background experience (2 sentences or less).
- Article text in email or html format (include any links to photos or videos to be embedded)

Step 3: Here's what we'll do:
- Review your article for acceptance or denial
- Suggest any editorial changes
- Publish to Photo Lovecat
Notice: Some articles may be denied publication for:
- Blatant advertisement of a particular service or product
- Opinions/Information are slanderous or damaging
- Copyright and intellectual property infringement

Step 4: When you're ready to submit your article:
Please send your submission to photolovecat at

Thanks for being a Photo Lovecat!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why You Need a Tribe

I think everyone wants a tribe. Someone to support them. Someone to talk about them. Someone to help move them along. People will talk about you if they believe in you, and this will in turn bring you work, along with many other amazing things. (I met my husband in a way through the "tribe" theory, along with a lot of friends.)

This video is packed full of great information from Seth Godin - all about why you need a tribe. Check it out!

How can this help your business grow? What can you do to change your world? Where is your tribe? What 1000 people (or even 100 people!) do you know that believe in you so much they will spread the word about you? How can you capture that? What are you the BEST at that you should focus on?

And to those of you reading this - THANK YOU for being a part of the Photo Love Cat tribe! We work for love, and we couldn't do what we do without you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Christine Tremoulet is a Houston, Texas Hot Mama Boudoir photographer and wants you to have a Business of Awesome. She also runs Wholly Matrimony, a destination wedding blog. She is a creative geek, having blogged since 2000 at BigPinkCookie. When she isn't taking photos or knitting, she is busy devouring all the info related to Marketing & Social Media and its powers that she can find online. Follow her on Twitter.

Friday, February 20, 2009

WPPI 2009 Review

I'd love to hear your thoughts on WPPI 2009. Who was your favorite speaker? What did you like on the trade show floor? What were some of your favorite places to eat or hang out? What parties did you love? Who did you meet that pleasantly surprised you? Please share your thoughts in the comments and see what other people had to say as well!

Friday, February 13, 2009

WPPI: What To Pack / Bring

If you've never been to Vegas before, here are some things to know in general:

  • Dry Air - if you have problems with dry skin, asthma, or allergies, they will be even more noticeable in the middle of the desert, so bring plenty of lotion, inhalers, eye drops, and antihistamines to combat the problems that come with dry air. You should also keep a water bottle handy to keep your body hydrated from the inside out - it will help prevent your body from creating its own forms of moisture, like mucus.
  • Dramatic Temperatures - because there's no moisture in the air, the outside temperature can drop 30-40 degrees between the high and low for the day, and indoor temperatures can vary greatly from room to room, which means that layers are essential for remaining comfortable no matter what temperature situation you find yourself in
  • Smoke - Vegas is generally a smoker's paradise, and while the Casinos and Hotels do their best to ventilate and provide clean air, you still will not get very far in Vegas without encountering second hand smoke. You may want to bring a little Febreeze to freshen up clothing items that may be worn multiple times, and antihistamines will help prevent the smoke from making you sick
  • Best Dressed - since much of Vegas is about the glitter and glam, many of the hotels and locations have a high-end, night-out feeling. This means that you'll want to dress up a little (think business casual) pretty much everywhere you go. You don't have to go all out during the day, but when evening strikes there's definitely a night club vibe that could make you feel underdressed if you're just sporting some casual daywear
  • Long Walks - since most Vegas blocks are nearly a mile long, that means it can take 15-30 minutes just to get to one other casino on the strip, and often it can take that long just to walk through one casino. Comfortable walking shoes are an absolute must, unless you plan to pack plenty of pain medication for sore feet and legs!

When it comes to WPPI, here are some things that will help you be prepared for anything:

  • Business Cards - you will be meeting people left and right and the best way to remember them is to get their business card. I would also suggest writing a few notes about that person ON their business card after you've spoken with them to help you remember details when you transfer those cards to your address book or need to reference a conversation you had but can't remember who it was with. Bring plenty of your own cards to hand out to others so that they can remember you as well!
  • Journal - rather than keeping random pieces of paper for each presentation or idea session, I would recommend a moleskin or some other kind of journal to help keep everything in one tidy place so that you can easily reference the ideas later on. After each session, I would recommend summarizing and making bullet points of any action steps that you'd like to take in the coming year based on what you just learned.
  • Battery Chargers - make sure you have a way to charge your cell phone and/or camera batteries when you're away from your hotel room, since it's highly likely that your hotel room is going to be much too long a walk for you to return that critical phone call when your battery decides to die because it's trying so hard to pull a cell phone signal through several tons of casino or resort architecture.
  • Have a Game Plan - Visit my previous post on How to Plan for a Great Convention & Tradeshow Experience:

For more great tips on how to prepare for WPPI, please visit these other blogs below!

Chris J Lee's WPPI Survival Guide Series:

Joe Photo's Five Tips:

Rachel LaCour's Survival Tips:

Becker's Schedule & Tips:

Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years practing marketing & management in corporate and non-profit businesses before pursuing her passion for photography as an independent small business. She loves helping others find creative and low-cost solutions to business problems. Follow her on Twitter to see her daily adventures and thoughts.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ask Jillian - Kudos Without Credit?

I've gotten some great "Ask Jillian" questions, so I think I'd better get to writing! Today's "Ask Jillian" comes from a photographer who I am going to dub "Catalina" (yes, after software I was using last year, for the nerds among us). She's like to know how to deal with bloggers who post and talk about her images...but don't credit her or ask permission.

Catalina writes us to say:
One of my big boosts of blog readership and business has come from being on some high profile wedding blogs. It's so flattering and I have built real life relationships with these women. My question is, I get a lot of other blogs just taking my work and using it on their not so well done blog. They even go as far as to take screen shots of my websites of non-watermarked photos. I put a message on my blog saying I'd be happy to 'loan' you the photos and to let me know. Through the magic of google alerts, I can still see people using my photos without asking for their blog's content. I don't want to ruin any potential relationships, say if the person is an invitation designer in my area, but I really want people to show a little respect. How might I handle these situations without looking like a scary cop?
Well, Catalina, in the new era of web 2.0 this is going to become a very common problem. I think it's awesome that you are (as has been suggested here before) using Google Alerts to find out when others are saying nice things about you! It's a wonderful feeling to find out that your business is being talked about....but not so great when they are talking but not using your name!

I think you're already taking the right approach, but let me expand a bit. Here are the things I try to remember:

1. Stay calm, cool, and collected.
Catalina is already doing this, but it's a good reminder for the rest of us. Keep in mind that it's a positive thing to have more people looking at your work, so don't get too worked up. And *most* people out there really want to do the right thing and will if you just ask nice enough. Don't get yourself all worked up until you've tried the nice approach first.

2. Make friendly and encouraging contact with the blog owner.
Most will be elated that you found their blog and contacted them. Start off by emailing them to say that you noticed they had featured some of your work, and thank them for their kind words! Say you're super excited to be on their "insert appropriate positive adjective here" blog. Then ask if they would mind posting a link to your website or blog, so that blog readers can see more? If their blog is well done or has a big readership, you might ask if they would mind if you mentioned their post on YOUR blog! This gives them a bit of a turn-around boost and really shows you're willing to help them out too.

You might also leave a comment on the blog entry, that says something to the effect of:
"Oh my gosh, thanks so much for featuring my work! I'm elated that you like it. Anyone who wants to see more... - hugs, photographer"

3. Don't worry about the level of "professionalism" on their blog.
Catalina mentioned that sometimes the blogs aren't well done, or the screen captures they are taking look poor. I wouldn't worry too much about it. I do like the idea of offering to provide higher quality images for their use, but otherwise don't sweat it. Readers of the blog (probably friends and family of the author) aren't likely to hold it against long as they have a link to your site which *is* high quality. It's more important that they are saying nice things and providing a link to your blog/site.

4. Put it in perspective.
If the "nice approach" doesn't work, don't necessarily jump into "lawsuit" mode. Yes, it's frustrating when we aren't getting credit for our good work, or when someone is presenting our work in a less-than-professional way. But our response...both internally (stress and emotions) and externally (emails, calls, lawsuits)...needs to be proportionate. Take a step back and decide what the impact will be. If it's a random bride's blog and her family and friends are her only might be worth just letting go. Do a couple of google searches for your business name, and see where that link shows up. First page? Worth pursuing. 18 pages in? Probably not. (In cases of you not being likely won't show up at all.) Think about the time, stress, and money you'd need to put into fighting the injustice, and decide if it's worth it to you.

Depending on the situation, it might be a mild case of "stealing intellectual property" (they aren't claiming the work is theirs, but they are using it without permission). If you feel it's worth pursuing, check out Anne's post about confronting someone who has stolen intellectual property.

Thanks Catalina for the question! I hope that you have more blog recognition than you know what to do with, cause I know it will help you grow your business!

PS - Another idea would be to add a disclaimer to your blog/site indicating that images may not be used without crediting you with a link to your website. Then when you contact someone, you have a policy to point to.

Jillian Kay is a wedding & portrait photographer from San Jose, CA. By weekday, she is a mild mannered software engineer. By weekend, she is a joyful and energetic force behind a camera! Jillian enjoys tackling the tough questions about client relationships and helping others see win/win solutions. When not working, she loves taking walks, blog-stalking, visiting with friends, and enjoying life!.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Embracing Change in a Fast Moving World

Things happen at an amazingly fast pace these days. Something happens, someone makes a video, sticks it up on YouTube, before you know it a meme has been born, and it is remembered for a long time afterwards.

As photographers, we're putting photos out there in a digital form. Our clients then take the photos and use them, maybe in ways we didn't intend originally. What should you do? Should you embrace it? Enable it? Or be angry?

How you choose to react can impact how people feel about your brand for the long run. More & more people think that if they have the files, it is ok to upload them all to Facebook, Flickr, or wherever else. Sharing them with their friends. From their perspective, they've done nothing wrong.

I plan to provide all of my 2009 clients with a web-ready DVD, along with instructions that those images can be posted anywhere and everywhere. I *want* them to post them all over the place. I use the Mogrify2 Plugin for Lightroom and put my logo on every file on the DVD. Whenever someone sees the images, they can easily look me up and hire me for their own great photos. My clients love the idea, and I love that I'm giving them a way to spread the love.

I've been thinking about all of this for a few weeks now. Peter Shankman, the man behind Help A Reporter Out - aka HARO, came to Houston recently to talk at an ISES meeting about things like Twitter, Facebook, and your business. You know I couldn't pass that opportunity up!

At the end of his presentation, he closed by showing us the following video. First he told us the backstory. Basically, there was a mime. Everyone hates mimes, probably even more than clowns. So the mime came up with a routine to this song, Torn, by Natalie Imbruglia. (You can check it out on YouTube.) Originally, when "the Man" got word that he was doing this performance to a song, they were not happy. Copyright issues, performing to a song without the proper license (you know, sort of like when people put your digital files on Facebook even though the license doesn't cover that), and cease & desist letters were going to go out. But then the artist's manager found out about it. It was already a hit on the internet. They stopped and realized that they could take the other route. They could tap into the buzz already generated, and use it to turn it into something so much more.

What are you embracing as technology moves at such a breakneck speed? What are you doing to make sure your clients have the best experience possible while working with you, and that makes them want to shout from the rooftops about your work? I would love to hear your feedback - please share!

UPDATED to add: Don't let all the technology changes leave you behind, leave your clients confused, or ... well, ok, we just wanted to add this funny video that Anne sent to me that ties into the fast changes in our world:

Make sure your clients don't feel like that. "wub wub wub..."

Christine Tremoulet is a Houston, Texas Hot Mama Boudoir photographer and wants you to have a Business of Awesome. She also runs Wholly Matrimony, a destination wedding blog. She is a creative geek, having blogged since 2000 at BigPinkCookie. When she isn't taking photos or knitting, she is busy devouring all the info related to Marketing & Social Media and its powers that she can find online. Follow her on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

WPPI 2009 - Giveaway Gala ::UPDATE::

Just wanted to send a quick update to everyone interested in the 2nd Annual Giveaway Gala on February 17th during WPPI 2009!

Do you know if your friends are coming to the party? Even though we've already sold out of our regular tickets, you can still register on the waiting list to receive location information about the party! Registration will end on Monday February 9th - so that we can get the information out to our attendees next Tuesday!! Location details will only be sent to REGISTERED guests and there will be door security checking the registered guest list. It's totally free to attend, we just need to have your info in advance for insurance reasons. If you haven't already let us know you're coming, please register through the link below:

Last year we had a blast hosting the first ever Giveaway Gala party and it was a HUGE success!! (see: We're still looking for a few more sponsors for this year's party- so if you know of a company that needs a little more exposure and is looking for an opportunity to meet some photographers who are looking for solutions- please send them our way, we're happy to help make the connection at the Giveaway Gala!

For any sponsors who are interested, the cost to be a sponsor is $500 and all sponsorship dollars go directly to the cost of the location and libations. To host your own party in a private suite would cost a minimum of $5000 (we've done the numbers) and you would need to launch a major marketing effort in order to attract the kind of following that we have already attained through our resourceful blog, which is regularly referenced and linked to throughout the photography community.

Here are the top 10 reasons why our sponsors love the Photo Lovecat Giveaway Gala:
10. We are experienced event organizers who take care of everything - you just show up and have a great time!
9. It's a great way to meet people directly and to ask them about their needs and to answer any questions they may have about your service or product.
8. The environment is laid back and upscale with decent volume levels that make networking and meeting new friends easy.
7. Photo Lovecat has an outstanding reputation in the photography community, and is a trusted source for reputable business practices, which elevates the brand perception of those who become involved as sponsors.
6. One Sponsor per category ensures that you will have exclusive representation for your category on all marketing materials and at the event. (Note: some exceptions have been made when companies agreed to share a category.)
5. Photo Lovecat audience ranges from beginning to experienced professional photographers who are looking for business solutions to help them run their business more efficiently and effectively.
4. We like to have fun!! Did you see how much fun we had last year?
3. Sponsors receive guest list information in order to make use of follow-up relationship building efforts.
2. Last year we sold out capacity for the event and had a waiting list of an additional 100 people!
1. We do this because we love helping others, no profits are made through this event.

Brand You

Anne has talked about this before, but it is worth talking about again ...

Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot. - - What is Branding?

Your logo is not your brand. It is your logo. I see so many people get wrapped up in creating their logo, when they may not even need one. Does Annie Leibovitz* have a logo? No. But do you know who she is? Most likely. She has a strong brand.

A logo is a symbol that people can use to identify your work. It might set tone for their initial perception. But your brand? That is so much more. That is truly based on how people feel about your business. It is something you can try to control, but you can't control how people think and feel.

Before you get wrapped up in it all, stop and think -- what do you want people to think and feel when they think about you? About your business? About your photography?

How can you move forward and build that brand?

Suggested reading:
- Ayn Brand's Branding 2.0 presentation - Grace's presentation at the recent PhotoCamp Houston was what got me thinking about this topic, and the Annie Liebovitz example is entirely hers - she posted it on Twitter that day.
- What is Branding and How Important Is It to Your Marketing Strategy?
- Become a Passion Brand

Christine Tremoulet is a Houston, Texas Hot Mama Boudoir photographer and wants you to have a Business of Awesome. She also runs Wholly Matrimony, a destination wedding blog. She is a creative geek, having blogged since 2000 at BigPinkCookie. When she isn't taking photos or knitting, she is busy devouring all the info related to Marketing & Social Media and its powers that she can find online. Follow her on Twitter.