Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: Jasmine Star Seminar

This seminar was held in Akron Ohio as part of the Akron Photo Series.

Website: http://www.akronphotoseries.com/schedule.html

Presenters: Jasmine Star

Date: March 29, 2011

Location: Akron, Ohio

Price: $45 with a discount (regular price $60)

Included: 3 hour presentation from Jasmine Star

Bonuses: 10% of proceeds went to Akron Childrens Hospital

What I Expected: To see what all of the fuss was about without waiting in a line at WPPI.

Expectation Met: Meh. I didn't become the latest Stargazer but she did have a few tips I plan on incorporating into my business.

Summary: I know I have got a lot of questions as to WHY I went to this from people on Twitter last night. It was funny that my followers knew me enough to know that ever since my last few workshops/seminars I've really cooled my heels and stopped drinking a lot of the kool-aid that has been passed around. However I wanted to give her a fair shot to see what all of the fuss was about. I met Jasmine a few years ago at WPPI and I thought she was quite lovely, humble and relatable. With her being so close to home (20 minutes!) I figured that I owed it to myself to give her a fair shot and I firmly believe that even if the experience is bad, you can take away something from it and learn from it.

When we walked into the room Jasmine was greeting everyone as they came through registration. She totally skipped me which was either an oversight (which is what I truly want to believe) or on purpose. I really hope it wasn't the latter but I also know that I have made my bed of being a bit of a rebel for speaking my mind within the photographer community so I'm okay with it if it was a cut direct.

There was a good crowd there last night for her - I'm glad to see there was a good turnout because I've heard some of the speakers brought in for the Akron Photo Series were not having large turnouts. I am really bad at guessing numbers but I'd guess around 200 people? Most of us arrived early to get seats and to chat with everyone. There is a group of us that meet up every month so we are all pretty friendly. I also think every single person (save for one) that has shot for me was there last night which is kind of fun.

Jasmine spoke for about 3 hours straight and gave mostly branding information on how to make your online presence stronger and more reflective of you. There was a small break but other than that it was 3 hours of solid speaking guided by a slideshow presentation projected onto a screen. She told her story and what worked for her and how she got from starting out with a dream to be a photographer after her wedding in 2006 to today where she is well known and booking $10K weddings. She gave a lot of solid information about how to personalize your brand and things you could do to make your branding reflect you more to ultimately attract clients that are your ideal clients. I took notes and I definitely feel that there is a few things that I can take back with me and implement into my business and use to further enhance my business and branding. I was disappointed that there was not a Q&A session at the end due to lack of time (it ended almost on the nose of 9:30).

I'm going to keep it real for you guys. There were three glaring problems last night that really took away from her presentation.

One, she talks way too fast. If you think that online she seems fast, in real life it is about 2 times as fast. When you are trying to not only take in what she is saying but take notes it becomes almost impossible to keep up. I brought my computer b/c I am a fast typer so I could keep up with her for the most part taking notes but I saw many people giving up about 30 minutes in and putting their paper and pens away. At one point she told us that she doesn't talk fast, we just listen slow. I know it was a joke but it was almost offensive.

The second problem was that while she had an outline for the presentation, it was still a bit jumbled and more often than not I would be completely lost as to what points went under what sections and so forth. There was a lot of "I'll expand on that later" without expanding on it and jumping around on topics. The anal outliner in me died a bit over this.

Finally there were quite a few glaring discrepancies in her presentation and it was a bit troubling to hear. i.e. she said in the beginning of the seminar that she booked her first wedding for $1K. Later when expanding on the subject she mentions that the bride came to her with a budget of $1K but Jasmine wouldn't include the disc of images for that price so the bride ended up paying $1500 to include the disc. So, her first wedding was NOT $1k. Little things like that I picked up on and they were bothering me.

Jasmine, I am doubtful that you know of our little place on the web but if you do, please listen.

I took two years in public speaking and a little of me was dying last night during the seminar. I'm not saying that everyone should be highly trained to public speak but I do feel strongly that if you are going to charge people to come and hear you speak on a large scale like this, you should invest in yourself and make sure you are presenting the best YOU to everyone that you can much like you have done with your website/blog. You had a lot of good information and with a bit of training, I think that you could reach people better and go much further. I say this to you because I really honestly liked you when I met you before.

Recommend? It was worth the $45 definitely.


Corey Ann is a wedding & lifestyle photographer from North Canton, OH. She is a mix of everything - fashionista (runs Clothes for Pros, clothing suggestions for photographers), travel guru, deal hound and geek rolled into one. She's had a website online since 1997 and a blog since 1999. When not plotting world domination or her next trip, she can be found reading one of the 100+ books she reads a year. Follow her on Twitter.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Let's Get Together

I want to meet you and connect you with other photographers in your area. One of the things that has helped me so much over the last six years of moving & starting my business over in three different states, has been the ability to connect with my peers and colleagues at local PUG meetings. No, we're not talking dogs, we're talking photographers. PUG meetings are sponsored by Pictage, but they are open to you no matter what lab you use (Pictage helps pay for snacks and drinks, as well as providing support for national photography speakers who offer free talks at meetings.) Local PUG meetings are open to all professional and aspiring professional photographers and are designed to help local photographers support each other. I host the PUG in Boston and every time I get an email from a photographer who just moved to the area, or a student who recently graduated and is now looking for people to work with, I always invite them to the monthly PUG.

Of all the professional groups in the city, it's the most welcoming group of photographers that are easy to connect with and are interested in learning from one another and helping each other out.


Our PUG has hosted free talks from people like Joe Buissink, Dane Sanders, Jared Platt, Mike Larson, Jim Collins, Wade Holloway, and so many more. After each meeting, guests have had a chance to connect individually with the speakers and get one on one feedback. Usually before a presentation, we spend time connecting with each other and sharing stories about what happened in the last month or what projects we're working on. We've also hosted many local people like Wedding Planners, Tax Accountants, Financial Planners, Commercial Photographers, Consultants, and even an engaged couple who met with many different local photographers just to get their perspective on the whole photography meeting experience. We have learned so much from each other, and we are all better off for it. As much as we can connect online and learn from webinars, what's still missing is that solid local support network that you can really only get by meeting your local colleagues face to face.

If your equipment fails and you can't rent in time... if you break a leg the day before a wedding... if your second shooter backs out on you... your local photography community is where you can find the help you need to uphold your professional commitment when time and resources are tight. There's just no replacement for that.


So, let's get together. I'm going to be visiting several PUG groups around the country to help people get their email, time, and brand under control with some quick & easy tips. This is a FREE event. If you're anywhere near the area, I hope you'll come out so I can meet you and so you can connect with your local photography community. Please RSVP if you plan to come out for the evening so we can have plenty of snacks and drinks waiting for you:

California - San Francisco April 20th:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=195098363855843

Florida - Orlando April 26th:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=151710554888959

Texas - Houston May 5th: (Christine will be there too!)
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=120351248039352

Michigan - Detroit May 10th:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=134529556615135

Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years practicing 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. Check out her next workshop at SmarterBusinessWorkshop.com.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What kind of Business Do You Need? LLC, Sole-Proprieter, Inc?

When I saw this easy to understand info-graphic, I just had to share here. Click to see the original source.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Review: After Dark Education - Las Vegas

Thanks to Stephanie Zettl for sharing this review with us!

Website: After Dark Education www.afterdarkedu.com

Presenters: 35 Mentors...
Ben Shirk, Bert Behnke, Bry Cox, Carl Caylor, Chuckie Arlund, Cody Clinton, Damon Tucci, Dan & Alex McClanahan, Dan Davis, Don Chick, Eddie Tapp, Heidi & Troy Effert, Jen Hilenga, John Cooper, Jordan Chan, Julia Radlick, Justin Jagare, Ken Sklute, Kevin Jairaj, Lindsay Adler, Lori Nordstrom, Mark Fitzgibbons, Martin Grahame-Dunn, Melanie Anderson, Mike Fulton, Mike Ridinger, Pete Wright, Peter & Kelly Holcombe, Stacy Walker, Steve Ragland, Tim Riley, Travis Gugelman

Date: February 16-18, 2011 (The next one will be May 9-11 in Cincinnati OH)

Location: Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, NV

Price: $400

Included: 3 days of instruction, mentoring and shooting

What I expected: Good business advice and a chance to try out different light techniques in a studio environment

Expectation Met: Yes. The experience actually exceeded anything I could have expected.

Who This Workshop is For: I believe anyone at any level can learn something at After Dark. I think people who are in their second to fourth year of business will take away the most in terms advice, experience and technique. However, I learned a great deal and I have been shooting for 12 years and have owned my own business for 8 years.

Summary:
Education is very important to me. I believe that photographers should invest in themselves by investing in their education. I have been fortunate enough to study with some of the best photographers and attend some very good conferences. I like classes that have small student to teacher ratios, hands on experience, offer practical information, and support an open and welcoming environment.

When it comes to return on investment for your educational dollar, in my opinion nothing compares with After Dark Education. However, the big problem with After Dark Education is that it is difficult to explain exactly what it is. It’s not exactly a workshop or a conference. It’s not a class or a convention. It is unlike anything else currently on the market in terms of an educational experience.

I was encouraged to attend AD by some past attendees who raved about the experience. They explained that it was a mixture of classes on everything from business to Photoshop and practical hands-on shooting. Since AD fell right before WPPI in Las Vegas, I decided to attend. I could always use some business tips and I needed to brush up on my studio lighting skills. I walked away with much more.

After Dark gets it’s name from the idea that much of the valuable education at a conference happens after dark, away from the conference rooms of 1000+ people, when you can ask questions, play and experiment. AD runs from about 1:30 pm to 2 am. (As a self-proclaimed night owl, I was happy with this arrangement.)

The set up for AD is a bit different than most conferences. The ballroom in the Hilton hotel was divided up into 10 Pods and 10 Bays.

The Pods are a sitting area of chairs, couches and a plasma television where one of the 35 mentors could give instruction on topics such as Lightroom, Photoshop, business and selling advice, marketing, portfolio review, camera basics, art history, and more.

The Bays were full studio set ups with every type of light modifier possible. The mentors gave instruction on everything from children’s portraits, to pet photography, to high school seniors and high fashion work. After the mentor gave instructions, everyone was encouraged to try shooting the different situations. The mentor was there to make sure they got the shot and understood what they were doing.

The approximately 250 students attending had the opportunity to freely choose the classes that interested them. Because so much was being offered, the student to mentor ratio was pretty low. People could freely ask questions and receive the help and instruction they needed. While there are set classes and topics to be taught, it is loose enough to allow for the organic learning experiences that lead to the all important “ah-ha” moments.

What I appreciated about the mentors that teach at AD is their willingness to answer questions and help. If someone had a question about a topic, many mentors were willing to give personal attention outside of their scheduled “pods” or even have additional mini “pods.” There were no stupid questions. You’re there to learn and that’s taken seriously.

The real magic of AD happens after the “formal” shooting set-ups are over at 11:30pm. This is when students are encouraged to grab one of the models, a group of other students, some lighting gear, and go create something. The creative energy is infectious.

One other thing I appreciated about AD was that there was no pimping of goods or hard sells for action sets and marketing material. You never heard the phrase “And if you want to learn how to do this, buy my DVD.”

This workshop is not for anyone who wants to sit on the sidelines and watch. You are expected to participate. Personally I hope that people do more than participate, but actually challenge themselves. Those that put forth the effort will walk away with a great deal of knowledge. I know I did.

As AD continues to grow and improve there are a few things I would like to see improved. It seems to me to be a bit focused on portrait work. I’d like to see more wedding pods. I’d also like to see more women mentors. I think it would add to the students experience to be introduced to successful women photographers who also know their craft well enough to teach it.

In conclusion I can not say enough good things about my experience at AD. It was well worth the money and the investment of my time. And since learning never stops, I plan to attend another AD in the future. There will always be something new to get out of it.

Stephanie Zettl is a St. Louis Wedding and Portrait Photographer. She enjoys both the scientific and artistic sides of photography and is always looking for ways to keep her creative juices flowing..

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How to Respond to a Negative Review

Just say.... "Thank You"

I really could end this post at that. That's really all you need to say. However, that's really hard to do when you're fired up and emotionally wounded. So, here are a few steps to help you get to that point:

Things to write down in an email TO YOURSELF:
1. Identify how much of the review is based on things you can control.
2. Identify what things you could have done better if you or the client had been better prepared.
3. Identify what you never could have had control over, no matter what the situation.
4. Accept that you are human, and that in this human life, sh*t happens.
5. Accept that you have no control over anyone else's emotions or perceptions.

Before responding to your client, have a glass of wine (or whatever relaxes you without overdoing it), get a good night of sleep, and take a nice long bath or shower. After you've had a chance to reset your emotional state, you'll be in a better spot to respond without resentment.

Things to write down in an email TO CLIENT:
1. That you appreciate your client is being honest about their opinion.
2. That you are sorry for providing an unsatisfactory experience.
3. That you would like to know what you can do better next time.
4. That you are committed to providing great service.
5. That you are grateful for the opportunity you had to work with them.

If a review was posted online anywhere, don't respond to it. It will only look defensive and petty for a response on a public site. It's ten times better to simply reach out to clients who appreciated you and ask them to submit their kind and positive reviews to balance any negative public rating you may have received.

A great example of a graceful response to a negative experience, is the one that Conan O'Brian gave on his leaving NBC...



Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years practicing 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.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Review: Epiphanie Lola Bag

Action shot of me using the bag © Tommy Huynh

After the Kelly Moore Bag didn't quite pan out for me for what I was looking for in a camera bag, I continued the search and finally have found one that I really love! Yay!

Epiphanie Lola Bag Review

As with my past product reviews I have put the Epiphanie Lola through its paces for the past few months using it how I have intended to use it a few times over before I sat down to write this review. I have taken this bag to Mexico and again on a trip to Las Vegas with many trips around town and to parties in between. I chose the Lola style from their lineup because it had caught my eye early on. I think though that many of their bags look quite charming and I was very close to going with the Clover.

Use of the bag:

I think that it is important to know what I bought this bag FOR when reviewing the product. It helps you have an idea in mind of what I’m reviewing it on.

• Use for travel for non-professional trips when carrying a lighter kit. I don't always want to haul along my wheeled bags and would like the camera to be concealed when touring touristy areas unless I *choose* to bring it out.

• Use for family/friend events where I want to keep the camera closed up until I chose to use it.

• Use for portrait sessions when the gear I carry is lighter.


Pros:

+ Stylish!!! I get compliments on it all the time and people were constantly asking where I got my purse.

+ The options for the bag are great - it now comes in three colors.

+ Ability to hold camera bodies.

+ Dividers come out and can be repositioned to configure to your needs.

+ Inside zippered pocket and two outside pockets to fit keys or other small personal items. I love that the inside is zippered so you can keep important objects very safe.

+ Two options for carrying: one via the handles or a cross-body strap that is adjustable and padded.

+ Allows you to covertly carry gear without screaming I have thousands of dollars of equipment in here!


Cons:

- Due to the slanted style of the bag, the 70-200 sits a bit awkwardly.

- Lenses do fit but again, due to the curve often sit funny and make it a bit trickier to reach in and grab like the Shootsac.

- They are often out of stock and out of stock for months. Which is a great thing for them but makes buying frustrating.


Final Thoughts:

During my time with this bag I found that I really enjoyed it. When I carried it in Las Vegas I took it to a concert, shot a wedding with it and used it to transport my gear during flight. At the concert, I was constantly complimented on my purse and many were shocked to find out it was a camera bag. I do like stylish things and that pleased me a lot to find that people truly thought it was an expensive designer purse. I also used the bag to shoot a wedding that took place on the strip and discovered that while it wasn't as easy to work with as the Shootsac during a shoot, it still worked rather well and I was glad that I was able to put the camera away when I was done with the shoot. Finally when flying with the bag I was the most pleased. Carrying the bag was no issue at all and while the bag was heavy (I had a D700, 70-200, 85 1.4 and 24-70 plus video light, flash, batteries, chargers and my Canon G11 in the bag) it never became so heavy that I was itching to put it down. It also easily fit in the overhead bins and beneath the seat.



This bag was a win for me and I hope that my review helps anyone that is trying to decide :)

UPDATE:

I have found the biggest flaw with this bag and it made me very, very sad. When flying with it over the summer I discovered that the red tint stained my white shirt whenever I got sweaty. As I was shooting in New Orleans in the summer - sweat was definitely happening. It didn't show up so much on darker attire but my white shirts were affected. It rubs off when it gets moist it seems so I think it'd also do this when it rains? I'm not sure. It definitely made me sad and disappointed. Epiphanie DID offer to replace my bag with a new one if I sent the bag back to them but they didn't have any other Lola's in stock and what was in stock I wasn't in love with. I've kept it and continued to use it since then but I may revisit the bag idea in the summer and consider purchasing something else.

UPDATE #2:

In the comments I've had a few requests for pictures of the bag with a couple items so I am adding it to the blog rather than hiding it in the comments. One commenter wanted to see the bag with a 70-200 and another wanted to know if it could be adapted to fit an iPad. I apologize for the iPhone pics but I am not feeling 100% today and didn't feel like editing. I'm enjoying the off season!



This is how I have my bag configured: a divider in the middle with 4 compartments. On the one side are two split evenly, on the other side a skinny space and a large space.




As you can see, there is no way to make an iPad fit standing up.



However, if you lay the iPad lengthwise and detach the center divider, you can make it fit, albeit just barely. If you have a case, it may not work.




This is the Lola with a Nikon D700 with attached Rapid Strap and 60mm macro, Nikon 70-200 VRII and a Nikon 24-70 along with the iPad 2. It all fits, but I have to tell you, it's not light!




Here is the bag with the above configuration zipped up. It barely zips but it does close.

Corey Ann is a wedding & lifestyle photographer from North Canton, OH. She is a mix of everything - fashionista (runs Clothes for Pros, clothing suggestions for photographers), travel guru, deal hound and geek rolled into one. She's had a website online since 1997 and a blog since 1999. When not plotting world domination or her next trip, she can be found reading one of the 100+ books she reads a year. Follow her on Twitter.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Regular People and Money

Binita Patel dropped by my studio last week to chat about life and business (I love visitors) and she made reference to this little Cosby clip, which is perfect for the photolovecat audience. We all just want to be regular people, right? ;-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Meet: Jennifer Grant

Jennifer and I have been crossing paths for a while. She's gone through almost as many transitions in life as I have, and is currently going through a major rebranding and exploring things like having an associate brand. This is big stuff and the best time to talk about what you're learning, is when the experience is fresh. She comes from a background in the business world, but at heart, is an artist. When she submitted a guest post to Photo Lovecat... we put her through the WRINGER! We roughed her up a lot and yet she still remained zen about it all - now THAT is the sign of a true warrior- which also let me know that she'd be a great fit for our feisty Photo Lovecat group. She has been through a lot and she is at a point of unlimited potential. I can't wait for her to share her expertise and a bit of her journey here on Photo Lovecat. Enough from me - let's hear from Jennifer!


Name: Jennifer Grant

Business Name: Jennifer Grant Photo, The Virtue Sessions (boudoir) and VividSpark (for emerging photographers) [.... formerly Kate Linden Studios]

Websites:
http://www.jennifergrantphoto.com
http://www.thevirtuesessions.com
http://www.vividspark.com
http://twitter.com/_jennifergrant
old photography site: http://www.katelindenstudios.com

Location: Almont, MI (aka Northern Metro Detroit)

When did you start your business? Summer 2001

What services do you offer? Wedding, Lifestyle Portrait and Boudoir Photography

What products do you offer? WHCC prints + Canvases, Finao Albums, and soon Wild Magnolia Albums (eco friendly!)

Are you home or studio based? I do my editing work from home, and I hope to soon have a office/studio space where I can meet with clients and photograph Boudoir sessions. For now, I meet with clients via skype for long distance conversations and in their neighborhood coffeehouse when they are close.

What do you enjoy about working from home? I love working from home because it means I can get more done! No drive time means no wasted time in traffic. Plus I can squeeze in household things when my computer is busy processing. Not to mention I always have a very sweet lap buddy-my fuzzy cat Sir Isaac Newton. :)

What have been the challenges of working from home? My single biggest challenge working from home is that I often forget to quit working! Besides that, it's often isolating so I have to work hard at reaching out and maintaining relationships. I often rely on social media to make sure I don't become a hermit!

Do you have any employees? I don't have any employees currently but I do take on interns every season and I expect to start growing a permanent staff very soon!

What do you outsource and to who? I tried outsourcing last year but wasn't thrilled with the results-I ended up paying $600+ to do what I could have done in a day so it wasn't worth it at all. I look forward to training someone to do all our processing and being in house-I really love the idea of having a job for someone local and supporting the local economy through my hiring.

How did you acquire your photo skills? I got started by second shooting for a local photographer (at her request) and eventually, she told me that I would "go farther and do more" so I need to open my own studio. Since then, I've been dedicated to shooting shooting shooting and always improving. I've only taken 2 workshops so I'd say my skills are from continually pursuing excellence, really dissecting my own work and applying what I learn from my mistakes (big and small). I'm continually learning every day!

How did you acquire your business skills? I actually have a bachelors of business administration with an emphasis in marketing so much of what I know comes from what I studied in college. I also read a ton and like to study big businesses for things they're doing that can be applied to small business.

What do you wish you would have known starting out? I wish I would have known that it was important to network. I always believed that I would simply be 'discovered' by the quality of my work but there is definitely an element of who you know. I know that if I'd been building relationships with people in the wedding industry, my business would have grown much faster.

What has made the biggest difference in your business? Relationships. Actually building relationships with other photographers and other industry professionals has really helped me grow my business and helped save me from pitfalls that I might not have seen fast enough. Having support as well as people who will be honest is so critical.

What do you want for the future of your business? I want to grow and support the local economy through hiring all while giving my clients an amazing experience. I also am excited to help other photographers bring their dreams into reality and I can't wait until I can do that more. Eventually, I hope to have a gorgeous studio where clients can feel special and indulged.

What do you want for your personal future? To travel more, to love more, to grow more. I need to continually work at balancing life and work.

What are you passionate about other than photography? Small business! I can't get enough of helping other entrepreneurs succeed. Oftentimes we get stuck in a place and we can't fully see the picture. I love coming in and opening their eyes to where improvements can be made and watching growth happen.

Share a little about your home life: I am married to my best friend and soul mate Dan. Highschool sweethearts, he proposed to me in front of the football team after school one day with all my friends surrounding us. We've been together forever it seems (in a wonderful way). We live in a tiny town (2,500 residents) on the edge of the Metro Detroit area (literally 42 miles directly north of Detroit) with our 2 cats; Sir Isaac Newton and Chewbecca (she's a girl). Our families live just miles away but we are ready to adventure on so I sense a move is in our future!

My favorite quote is:
Just one?! It's not really a quote but a phrase: "Scientia potentia est" (Latin for "Knowledge is Power") because I believe it's true. But beyond that, I live by "you are beloved" and the idea that my existence is about being love, personified.

Tell us a funny story about one of your experiences:
A funny story...I truly have the best clients and they are all a ton of fun so recalling a single funny event is actually kind of hard. I'm sure this isn't the funniest story I have but this summer, while we were doing portraits of the bridal party, one of the groomsmen who is a rock climber, decided to try and scale the side of the stone church! It was kinda crazy seeing him just cling to the wall and make it up 8 feet or so before it was time to leave. I'm sure he would have gone farther if given the time!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game

Over the weekend I noticed a dramatic increase in the amount of facebook freakouts over gas prices. What do people expect? It's a LIMITED resource and there's no where for costs to go but up- that's just basic economics- and yet people continue to be blissfully ignorant that their own reliance on this non-renewable resource is the REAL problem.

I've seen people suggest not buying gas for a day, or not buying gas from certain companies, but that's not going to solve the problem-

It will only hurt the small business owner trying to make a living and provide for their family.

Those small business owners are your clients- do you really want to hurt them?

If true change is to happen, it needs to start with people getting out of the gasoline game all together. By reducing our individual usage of non-renewables, we create less demand, and large companies are forced to invest new sources of energy which are both renewable and sustainable. The fact is, most of the big energy companies already know how limited their supply is and they're getting desperate to keep providing in a profitable way in order to tide over the general population until the demand decreases. One way to force people to move more quickly is to make the current supply much more expensive to access. In the meantime, profits may soar, but demand will decrease, and people will get angry that they have to change their ways. The oil companies are not the problem- they are merely creating supply for the market demands. The people creating demand are the problem. We live in a society in which we can vote with our demand and our money-

If you want to see change, you need to be a part of the solution.


To be part of the solution, you need to educate yourself on the alternatives available to use in your home and business life. Some people don't even know where they are currently contributing to the problem outside of the gas pump- which is just one small part of the oil equation. Here are some great resources to help you understand your alternative options:
• Greenpeace: 10 simple ways to use less oil
• Matador: 50 ways to use less oil
• EIA: Renewable & Alternative Fuel Options

Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years practicing 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.
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