Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How to Protect Your Images From Being Stolen

While there are definite downsides to all of these solutions, here are some things you can do to help protect your work from being stolen on the internet.   Keep in mind the only failsafe way to keep your images from being stolen is to keep your images completely offline but this doesn’t mean that your clients will also abstain from uploading them.

1.  Digimarc.  It’s definitely NOT a cheap solution but it’s the best way to digitally watermark your images to keep track of them online.  The watermark can’t be removed with editing.  Check out their website for the details and pricing information.

2.  Watermarking.  While it’s been proven that watermarking is definitely not fool proof it is a deterrent as it is an extra step to take to make your image their own.  If they are determined, they will persevere but they may move onto another image that is easier to make their own.  The harder your watermark is to remove, the harder it is for them to steal the image.  This also allows a potential client to easily find you if your image is found somewhere that isn’t your website (i.e. Pinterest or Facebook).  Keep in mind that if the watermark is small and in the corner it may be easily cropped out.

3.  Use Flash.  Of course, there are definite downsides to this method, but it is not as easy to steal images from flash websites because you cannot right click and flash based websites are not able to be crawled by Google meaning any images on your website will not make it into Google Images' databank.  Of course you can screen capture but again, it is a deterrent.  
4. Don’t Allow Pinterest.  Pinterest is second only to Google Images as a place that thieves find work.  You can opt out of allowing Pinterest to source your webpage but of course, this doesn’t mean that someone won’t still pin an image there.

5.  Register Your Copyright.  For $35 per image or $65 per group (i.e. a wedding or portrait session) you can register your images with the US Government.  This won’t stop people from stealing your image online but if they are stolen you are entitled to higher damages should you chose to pursue it legally.   This comes into play when corporations resort to stealing images, which has begun to become a trend.

Corey Ann is a wedding & lifestyle photographer from North Canton, OH. She is a mix of everything - fashionista, travel nut, deal hound, photo theft evangelist (she runs Photo Stealers) 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.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Online Photography Courses You Should Know

This is a guest post submitted by Bridger Rodriguez:


Are you interested in taking your interest in photography to the next level? Taking a course in photography is a great way to improve your skill set and knowledge in this form of art. But for some people, the daily commute and classroom-based learning experience are too much to bear. Fortunately nowadays, you can find nearly any course you want to take through the Internet. Online photography courses are accessible for different photographers, from amateurs to professionals. These courses, however, differ in price, curriculum, and requirements, so investigating some courses prior to actually applying is important to ensure that the course fits your personal schedule and needs.

Better Photo
This online photography course provides more than 80 programs assembled in a diversity of classes including basics, digital, composition, and photo editing. Programs last from as short as four weeks to as long as eight weeks. Instruction is given through email or live chat, so there is sizable versatility in participation. You can simply email or talk to them in real-time whenever you have questions or issues in need of addressing. Note that these programs are not rendered for free (betterphoto.com).

NY Institute of Photography
The web-based program is subdivided into three parts - full course in professional photography, Adobe Photoshop, and basics of digital photography. While the program is a costly one, NY Institute of Photography provides an optional classroom-based curriculum plus a web-based program at the same time. These extra materials involve video tutorials, illustrated content, student advising, and audio analysis. The school provides a 21-day money-back guarantee and gives you up to three years to finish the course (nyip.com).

School of Photography
The school imparts 7 web-based programs including Basic, Digital Imaging, Glamour, and Landscape. The first two programs are recommended for amateurs while the other five are good for advanced photographers. Special offers are accessible when taking more than one course at the same time. The school provides a complementary night session through its website (schoolofphotography.com).

The Perfect Picture
The Perfect Picture fragments its programs into 4 groups - beginner/intermediate, intermediate/advanced, making money in photography, and digital darkroom. Students enlisted in the program are given the week's worth of lessons that can be downloaded from a provided link. The student then has 10 days to accomplish the assignment. Completed projects are then uploaded, and a teacher evaluates the work and sends his opinions. Participants enlisted in the coursework also obtain tutorial videos regarding the fundamentals of Photoshop so as not to waste time offering basic pointers to guarantee all students are at equal levels (ppsop.net).

Creative Tech
Creative Tech provides 10-week photography programs a few times annually. The course is, however, restricted to 1,000 students and fills up quite fast. This first-come-first-serve basis allows the teachers to focus on a smaller group of students hence making the learning experience more efficient and effective (creativetechs.com).

Online photography courses are a great alternative to classroom-based ones. They save you time, effort, and money and yield a substantial amount of flexibility.

Bridger Rodriguez writes about the arts, education and more. His most recent work focuses on The Top Online Masters in Education.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Winner! Easy Money + Client Manager

Our winner through random selection is Jen Smith!

Please send an email to hello {at} jennifergrantphoto.com by noon (EST) Wednesday April 24th to claim your prize!

P.S.-Next time we'll use a form to collect entries so we can reward our winners in a more convenient fashion ;-)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How Much Does Each Click Cost?

When I was shooting film, costs felt so much more obvious when I was wasting negatives that I couldn't use, but what about shutter actuations that put wear and tear on the camera?  So, I decided to go and figure out how much each click costs me....

5D MkIII = $3,500 
$3,500.00/150,000= $0.023333 per actuation
That means it's 2¢ for each click of the shutter, whether or not I actually use the image.

When I'm shooting events, my keep rate is somewhere around 20% of what I shoot, which means that it's actually 10¢ to click the shutter 5 times just to get a shot I really like and think is worth keeping.  If I end up with 800 images on a wedding day, that's about $80 of wear and tear on my camera just to show up and click- not even taking into account batteries and flash wear and tear.

Now, since I'm likely to go through 150,000 shutter actuations in one year, let's approach camera costs from a warranty perspective.  Canon provides a limited 1 year warranty on their cameras, but if you purchase a camera plus an add-on Mack Diamond 3 year warranty, you get cleanings, repairs, and replacement if your camera is a lemon.  It seems if you're going to spend a lot on a camera, you want it to last longer than one year, right?

5D MkIII = $3,500
Mack 3 Year Diamond Warranty = $225
$3725/ 3 Years = $1241 per year

So when my equipment is on a diamond 3 year warranty, theoretically I should be able to get 450,000 actuations out of my camera, even if it has to go in for repairs.

I bring this point up because it's often overlooked as an overhead cost that gets factored into pricing.  Whether you do the math from a usage perspective or a warranty perspective, it's good to know how much you need to budget for your equipment each year so that you're able to replace it regularly without being in a pinch.

It's also good to know if it would be more affordable for you just to rent your equipment on an as-needed basis.  I've determined that if you shoot less than 150,000 actuations each year or less than 25 shoots a year, it may actually be more affordable to rent than to buy a new camera each year (assuming you already own a back-up camera).  When you consider it's $133 for a weekend rental of a 5D MkIII, there's only a savings in owning a camera versus renting one if you use it enough to make it worth the cost of replacing it regularly and if your camera outlives its manufacturer's warranty and expected shutter actuations.

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 in 2004 as an independent small business. She loves helping others find creative and smart solutions to business problems. Follow her on Twitter to see her daily adventures and thoughts.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Review: The Easy Client and Money Manager

If you've been out there on the web trying to find information on how to better your photography business, you've probably come across The Modern Tog, created by Jamie Swanson.

Like the team here on PhotoLoveCat, Jamie has a passion for helping photographers do what we do best by helping us get our other 'stuff' squared away, letting us focus on photography.


She's just launched an awesomely easy way to track your clients AND your money called-get ready for it- The Easy Client and Money Manager. Click here to learn more 


Over the last week I've had the privilege to check out The Modern Tog's newest offering before it went on sale. With my advance copy, I dug in-looking under the hood and putting it through its paces!



Who is the Easy Client and Money Manager for?

  • Photographers who have NO form of client or money tracking in place
  • Photographers who keep track of things on scraps of paper or random documents
  • Any photographer that is only tracking 1/2 of this-whether it's money OR clients
  • The photographer who wants everything in ONE place

The Easy Client and Money Manager is ideal for photographers in their first or second year of business but can be used by anyone who needs to get on top of their client workflow and financial information. 


What's nice about the Easy Client and Money Manager is that it's built as an excel document so you don't need any fancy software. There's really not much to learn and what you do need to know, they cover in the workbook which takes you step-by-step through everything.

Seriously-if you have excel and know how to click and type, you can use this!  It's really that easy. 

There's a place to put your entire workflow so you know exactly where you are with every client. Even more awesome is that it's not some 'standard' workflow-you put in what YOUR workflow is so it matches perfectly!

I was pleasantly surprised to see they'd worked a way to include an invoice that you can customize with your logo so you can present clients with a professional image while you're asking for their money (which you'll then track in the manager!).

Built right in is the ability to keep track of your bank accounts as well as client payments so you know EXACTLY where your money is going and know how much you owe in sales taxes or use tax. 

Now, who is the Easy Client and Money manager NOT for?

  • Photographers who use professional accounting software in conjunction with professional client tracking (Think QuickBooks and DayLite or ShootQ, etc)
  • Photographers who have a bookkeeper-the power is in the numbers side of this product so if you have someone professionally managing your money, you have plenty of other workflow tracking options
  • Established photographers with a 500+ clients per year. While the excel would handle it, it is my personal opinion that it would be tedious to manage that many via this system. YMMV. 
  • This is not for photographers who like to run various financial reports unless they also happen to be excel experts and know how to work with the data



Overall, I found the Easy Client and Money Manager to be just that: Easy! 

While I personally like a more robust solution (hey, I'm one of those people that loves running business numbers and ratios), I think that this is a great solution for a ton of photographers.   The Easy Client and Money Manager is simple with simple instructions, giving you what you need to get out from under overwhelm and into the freedom that comes with knowing what's going on in your business.


One thing to note: if you're a Mac user and you rely on numbers to read excel spreadsheets OR happen to be a google docs user: This will NOT work for you. The functions used in the spreadsheet are too complex for numbers or google docs and will load up broken and unusable.  You MUST have excel to use it. I know because I tried. Don't worry though-I also loaded it in Excel and it works exactly as promised. :-) 

On a scale of 1 to I GOTTA HAVE IT, this is a 7.5 for me

There's room for improvement but the bottom line is it does what it claims to do with a minimum amount of learning. Nearly everyone has excel so it works on all platforms which is a bonus.  

What I'd like to see: a prettier look. Yes, it's an excel spreadsheet but is there any reason for it to not look stylish?  Things that are lovely to look at get used more.  Seriously, there are books written about it. Like Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things

I'd also like to see a few more charts for seeing what the health of the business is (snapshots if you will) as well as a more integrated client tracking so that you aren't having to try to remember to be consistant. (I.E. Did I log John Smith as J. Smith or John S. or ???)



The bottom line is if you have NO clue what the health of your business is, if you have no idea whether you're making or losing money, if you're always worried about what you owe in taxes, if you always seem to be short on cash and have no idea where it all went, this is a great affordable option for you.



Normally $129, now through April 18th you can get the Easy Client and Money Manager for $89.  So if you're in need of way to keep track of your clients and money, now is the time! Click here to learn more Don't wait for next year when tax season rolls around-get on top of that now! 



Click to learn more about The Easy Client and Money Manager

But wait! We're giving one lucky reader a copy, compliments of The Modern Tog. Pretty sweet, right? We don't want anyone to miss out on the launch price though so the drawing ends April 14th.  To enter, simply leave a comment! Woohoo! That was easy, right? We'd love to hear how getting The Easy Client and Money Manager would make your life easier so leave a comment (please make sure your email is included in the space provided as we will be notifying the winner via email.)
You have until April 14th to leave a comment for your chance to win!

// Official Rules // NO PURCHASE NECESSARY // Open to US Residents 18 and up // Entries will be accepted April 9-April 14th, 2013 // Enter by leaving a comment (make sure your email address is entered on the comment form where it says "email address". This is how we will notify the winner  //  Winner will receive a copy of The Easy Client and Money Manager valued at $89  //  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning  //  Winner will be selected by random drawing on April 15th and have 48 hours to claim their prize via email  //  If potential Grand Prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded  //  VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW



//Disclaimer//
I was provided an advance copy for review, however, my review is about my own experience with the product.  Thanks for helping support this blog and its content creators by using the affiliate link contained in this post. 



Jennifer Grant is a editorial and lifestyle photographer from Metro Detroit, MI. She started her creative journey with web design and a passion for music when she fell in love with photography during her pursuit of learning business.  Her passion for business is fueled by her desire to see people in the business of being creative succeed and thrive and she loves helping other businesses find a solid foundation. 
Follow her on Twitter to get doses of inspiration and peeks at her daily adventures.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Craig John - A Photographer's Life Interview Series

Photographer's Life Interview Series features photographers who have been working as a professional photographer for five or more years.  We are so grateful that these photographers are willing to share an intimate and candid look at their life behind the camera. ===========


Let me introduce:  Craig John Photography - http://www.craigjohn.com - a Milwaukee, Wisconsin  Wedding Photojournalist since 2007.
Craig John Milwaukee Wisconsin Wedding Photojournalist

Sneak peek of Craig's current website: 



Can you share 3 of your recent favorite images?

I love the snippets of the wedding day the bride and groom never get to see, but thank me to high Heaven once they see their wedding from 'my' perspective.

Love this one from an outdoor wedding in WAY WAY northern (BFE) Wisconsin. We were waiting through a rain delay before the ceremony could get underway. 
Craig John Wedding Photographer Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I live for and feed off of chaos. This photograph, from an April 2012 Milwaukee wedding, epitomizes the chaos 90 minutes before the ceremony.

Craig John Wedding Photographer Milwaukee Wisconsin

…and the chaos continues one minute before the groomsmen were about to walk down the aisle during a late October wedding in Milwaukee. …shit just happens, and I love it. LOL 

Craig John Wedding Photographer Milwaukee, Wisconsin


How did you learn the craft of photography?
Craft? I took a few photography classes in college while I was a graphic design student. I've taken several workshops and attended seminars, including the DWF Convention in Carefree, Arizona. I have numerous photography books and videos.  Much of my education is simply through trial and error. …I'm still a work in progress. There's is always something to learn. The thing I continually work on is observation and timing, and it's something I can work on when I'm walking in the mall, noshing at a local restaurant, hanging out at a party. …and now watching Jonas grow up. Learning 'see' and 'anticipate' is something you can't learn from a book - it comes from 'doing', it only gets better with experience. 

How did you learn the business of photography?
Much like the craft of photography, there's always something to learn, and I feel like this is the weakest aspect of my business. A lot is trial and error. I have a raging case of ADD, so I easily get side-tracked. Right now I'm supposed to be designing a wedding album and planning for a food photography portfolio shoot… I'm branching out inspired by my food package design career prior to shooting weddings. :)

Do you work from home, a studio, or something else?  
I have a home office in a room over my garage. It saves on gas, and I get to see my little 1 year old every day, all day. …though I am looking for a studio I can add a kitchen and prep area for my food photography. …See? There's the ADD. 

Can you share photos of your workspace (or describe it for us)?
Good lord, you do NOT want to see that mess that has become my office space. It's a disaster right now.

The room over my garage is about 225 SQ ft - with a sloped ceiling starting at 4 ft. I have a big south facing street view window, an east facing sky light. The east wall is painted electric green, the west and south walls are painted belize blue, the north wall is painted a deep fuchsia. 

On the east wall, I have two birch doors sitting horizontal on 4 three foot commercial grade wire shelves to create a long production area with storage. It's table top created from the doors is wickedly durable. 

On the west wall, I have one birch door laying on three saw horses to hold my HP laser printer and my Epson 3800. My computer is on typical Office Max glass desk top next to the Window. Every now and then I just need to look out the window and do a little day dreaming. 

On my desk is my 26" MultiSync display, three Other World Computing Mercury Elite Pro hard drives for back-ups, my NewerTech Voyager hard drive mounting hub, my iPad mounted to the NewerTechnology swivel iPad stand (connected to a pair of Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 computer speakers), so I can play movies and TV shows while I work. I really need the background noise, and a break from music and the radio every now and then.  I was on a Harry Potter and Star Blazers kick in 2012. Prior to the iPad on a stand, I used my laptop to watch movies. In 2011 I was on a Lord of the Rings extended edition kick. :)

On the Fuchsia wall, I have a library of graphic design books, photography books/DVDs, and a host of other publications for education/inspiration. My portable studio lighting kit is also tucked in a cubby back there somewhere. :) 

Must gets for your work station:

Get 'em here: 


Do you have regular employees, associates, or other people who help you in your business?  If so, share a little about their role(s) in your business.
I don't have any employees or associates, at least not full time. Every now and then I'll contract out a second photographer IF the wedding couple wants an extra photographer. 

What do you outsource, and who do you outsource it to?  (Website, proofing, printing, billing, products, assistants, retouchers, accounting, etc.)
Nothing. I guess I'm a control freak when it comes to finishing the final product. …it's nasty habit carried over from my 14 year graphic design career. 

How many weekly hours would you say is spent working in your photography business?
In the summer? 60-70. That entails shooting, sorting, processing, and finishing the images as well as marketing and networking.  In the winter? 20-30 on wedding album design, marketing and networking. 

What percentage of your business working time is spent shooting vs. working behind the scenes?
15-20% …maybe. 

How did your last five clients find you and what did they hire you for?
Three from professional wedding vendor/venue referrals.  One from bridal referral.  One from a wedding planner.

What do you consider to be your most effective marketing efforts for your business?
Most of my Wisconsin weddings are out-of-state couples getting married in SE Wisconsin. I get couples from Chicago, to Washington DC & NYC, to Dubai, most of whom grew up in Wisconsin, so venue referrals are imperative for my business. I joined SE Wisconsin Chapter of National Association of Catered Events four years ago. I do my best to attend the monthly meetings and get my face in front of everyone. Most of us members have become good friends, we call ourselves "Nacies", so it really ends up being a night out with friends. But, aside from the phenomenally good eats and good laughs, it keeps me top of mind with many of the local wedding industry artisans, including other photographers. 

I also go out of my way to really get to know the wedding the people running the wedding venues. I've become a preferred wedding photographer Whistling Straits. I love the entire staff up there, and they make me feel like a friend or wedding guest rather than just another wedding contractor. I get that feeling pretty much where ever I shoot in Milwaukee to Kohler. It's a great feeling. 

What other careers or jobs did you have before (or while) you started your photography business?
I was graphic designer for 14 years. I worked in Madison, Wisconsin for three years, started my brand packaging design career in NYC. My wife and I moved back to Wisconsin, and I worked in Racine and Neenah, Wisconsin. My last job was at Design North. They had an onsite photography studio to do test photography for their food packaging clients. I spent many days in the studios, and I loved it. …it's the inspiration driving me to get behind the camera for food photography now….possibly my next step in my photography career. 

How do you spend your time when you aren't working?  
I spend my time with our little 1 year old, Jonas. I know a lot of people say this about their kids, but dammit, Jonas is the most adorable baby in the world. LOL 

I also take Monday mornings off and go golfing with my neighbor. 

What hobbies or interests outside of photography are fulfilling for you?
Golf. It's maddening, but dammit, I love it anyway. Drawing, a carry over from my art school background. We love watching movies at home or in the theaters. It's such a good escape from reality. I'm also a foodie. I love spending Sunday throwing meats in the smoker for the week. We also love restaurants. …see the connection to food photography? LOL

When Jonas gets older, we want to get back into traveling again. 

Do you feel like you have a good balance between your personal and working life?
Not at all. I can't remember the last time we took an actual vacation. It's been a challenge to get my business humming, and right now the wedding aspect seems to be taking a dip. The wedding industry is SOOOO FREAKING fickle. There's no rhyme or reason when, why or how brides book photographers from one wedding season to the next, so it's virtually impossible to predict or plan for the upcoming year. 

Over the next few years, I'm hoping to branch into food photography and work my ass off to get my work in front of the right people. Plus, as Jonas gets older, I don't want to work every weekend in the summer. I want to spend many summer weekends with my family. :) 

Who else is in your household with you (spouse, roommate, dependents, pets ;-)?
So, there's Angie, my wife. I can't believe how much I lean on her for emotional and mental support. She has been my crutch on so many levels, and she has her own full time job - 50-60 hours a week as an Account Group Director at a prominent Advertising Agency in Milwaukee.

Jonas, our little 'man'. Dude has been walking since he was 8 months old. I need him to feel young again, but dammit, he makes me feel old too. I can't keep up with him. 

Our dog, Murray (named after the 'Mad About You' dog). …and yes, he LOOKS like a Murray. He's a rescue dog from the Appleton, Wisconsin area. Some farmer was breeding puppies and selling them to the Hmong community for….food. The mother of Murray had EIGHT litters before she was rescued from the farmer, and they rescued her last litter, of which involved Murray. He's the kindest, friendliest dog I've met - which is typically a personality trait picked up from the owners. Yeah, it's true. He's wonderful with kids, and especially Jonas, but the transition has been a little hard on him. He doesn't get the attention he used to, and that'll have to change when it warms up this spring. …there is a spring coming, right? 

We have two cats, Little (tiger stripe) and Tiny (pitch black) - both love Murray to pieces. Both fear Jonas to death. Tiny eats polystyrene. Little poops on our living room carpet. Tiny is a people lover and great people at the door. Little is a 'fraidy' cat, and hides the moment someone knocks on the door or rings the door bell.  

What percentage of your household income is derived from your photography business?  If less than 100%, what else helps pay the household bills?
2011 it was 65%, in 2012 it was 45% - Angie got a raise with her early 2012 promotion. And yes, it's been a Godsend. But, the fact our lives don't 100% depend on my photography income doesn't minimize the need for my income in anyway shape or form. And this spring, thanks to the fickle wedding industry, we're feeling the pinch as brides seem to be booking later/closer to their actual wedding date. 

What have been the most challenging personal aspects of being a creative small business owner?
Managing the finances and my business debt. I'm a gear slut, and if it's not one thing I "want", it's something else. Plus there's always something breaking down, or something else actually 'needed', and it's tough to plan for it. I'm just not that good at it yet, though I'm getting better.  

The worst part is getting rid of business loan. My business won't be entirely profitable until my small business loan is paid off….and that'll free up (GASP) $700/month. Yeah, that's $8,400 per year. It might not sound like a LOT of money, but really, it's a LOT of money for a small business. 

What do you love about being a creative small business?
The freedom to work when I want with whom I want. I'm pretty selective. Now, with Jonas in the fold, I won't work on major recognized US vacation/holidays anymore. 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve…and our birthdays. I can also take Monday mornings off to golf with my neighbor to clear my head and get me revved up/recharged for the rest of the week. 

*paused* - NACE meeting survey just came in via email - there's my ADD in action…
…OK! I'm back….

If you could share any advice with a photographer getting ready to start their business today, what would it be?
February 15, 2007 was the first day I shot a wedding as a second shooter. June 16, 2007 was the very first wedding I shot by myself - With a Nikon D50, 2 SB-800's, and couple of prime lenses: Nikon 50/1.8D, 85/1.4D, 105/2DC, 180/2.8ED, 60/2.8D Macro.  Start small and light, but have your back-up gear - you can't go into a wedding with one camera, one lens and one flash. If your gear goes down, you go down. It's better to have two small inexpensive kits than one really expensive camera/lens combo kit. …and if you have to, invest your money in your lenses before your start investing in expensive camera bodies. BUT!!! do it without picking up a lot of business debt. 

I can't stress this enough (from personal experience): Do your best to avoid picking up business debt. Business debt can be a deep deep hole that sucks the life of you and your business….and even your family. 

And regardless where you're at in your career (photography wise or business wise), it should always be "Onward and Upward". If you're not growing, you're definitely falling behind. 

If people love you so much now that they want to stalk you, what's the best way?
Facebook. I've basically abandoned Flickr for now. My blog is suffering because if I'm not shooting/processing/delivering, I'm with Jonas during the day. My blog is in desperate need of updating. …and I'm not overly active on FB either, but I do post some shit every now and then. 

Please pardon any and all clams during my written babble. I'm overly busy planning for this exciting new tangent my photography career is about to take; so, no, I didn't proof read. LOL

Much love to all,
c

=====
Additional questions for Craig? Leave a comment below! 
Want to recommend another photographer we should interview? Leave us a comment and let us know!





Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jason & Allison Domingues - A Photographer's Life Interview Series


Photographer's Life Interview Series features photographers who have been working as a professional photographer for five or more years.  We are so grateful that these photographers are willing to share an intimate and candid look at their life behind the camera. ===========

Let me introduce:  Jason & Allison Domingues, of Jason Domingues Photography - www.jasondomingues.com & www.913816live.com- Kansas City, MO Wedding & Music Photography since 2004

Jason & Allison DominguesJason & Allison Domingues

Creative Family Photo

Here's a sneak peek of their wedding website: 
Website Screencapture

Share some of your recent favorite images:





How did you learn the craft of photography?
My Dad handed me his dad’s camera when I was 14.  It was a Yashica TL-Electro.  I read a few books (yes I studied the camera before Al Gore invented the internet) and went through many rolls of film.  I shot through high school and a little in the Army. 

How did you learn the business of photography?
I am still learning it, Allison (My amazing wife) has handled that yucky stuff from the beginning.  It seems to change every year.  Learning from colleagues and friends in the industry. 

Do you work from home, a studio, or something else?
I work from the studio and Allison works from home.  

Can you share photos of your workspace?






Do you have regular employees, associates, or other people who help you in your business?  If so, share a little about their role(s) in your business.  Well funny you asked.  We are bringing on an associate shooter this year.  We have had photographers shoot for us in the past but this is the first time we are branding the associate shooter.  He will be responsible for his own work and edits.  He will be just shooting under our name. 

What do you outsource, and who do you outsource it to?  As of now we do not out source anything.  I know I know, we should be.  We are working on that very thing as we speak.

How many weekly hours would you say is spent working in your photography business?  It changes from month to month.  I would say in season, April thru November,  6 days a week with some days at 12 plus hours; off season, December thru March, I would say 3-4 days a week.

What percentage of your business working time is spent shooting vs. working behind the scenes?
Shooting 15-20% 

How did your last five clients find you and what did they hire you for?
Google and Referrals.  We have a pretty kickass SEO program we have put in place and it seems to be driving a lot of new clients.  They hired us for weddings and music promos.

What do you consider to be your most effective marketing efforts for your business?
SEO and Networking.  We tried the paid advertising thing and it was like throwing money out the window.  I do think they work for newer photographers trying to get their name out there. 

What other careers or jobs did you have before (or while) you started your photography business?
Jason: I was in the Army for 3 years.  I worked for wood working company that designed Kitchen cabinets and fireplaces.  I also worked for Pella Windows.

How do you spend your time when you aren't working?  
Messing with my kids heads.  I am starting a new business (can't say yet) but if you follow me on Facebook and Instagram you can figure it out. ;)  (Anne's Hint: it involves leather and buckles!)

What hobbies or interests outside of photography are fulfilling for you?
Music…Anything that has to do with music I am game for.
Traveling…This is something Allison and I are trying do more of together.  It seems like I travel a lot for work and I am trying to do it more with the family.

Do you feel like you have a good balance between your personal and working life?  
I think I can say yes (although it is off-season). I have been trying to be home by no later then 5pm.  Spending more time with the family with the phone away and the laptop up.  I know I am not perfect at that but I am trying.

Who else is in your household with you?
Allison (my lovely wife), Avery and Calen (My little humans), Riley – dog, and Lilly - Cat.

What percentage of your household income is derived from your photography business?
100%

What have been the most challenging personal aspects of being a creative small business owner?
When the game changes and we have to figure out how to play the new game.

What do you love about being a creative small business?
It is all ours- we decide.

Where do you focus your business investments? Equipment, marketing, website, education...
All 4 in some sort of way.  Equipment and education is the top then Filtered to the others.  

  • Equipment - I do not buy brand new.  I really like refurbished camera and lenses. 
  • Education - I really invest in this the most.  I keep learning no matter how long I have been doing this.I try to attend 3-4 conferences/workshops a year.  
  • Website - This is where I focus a lot on.  SEO and online presents is big for me. That is the first thing our clients see of us.
  • Marketing - This is probably the biggest thing I work  on.  I do not pay for advertisement but that doesn't mean I don't advertise.  We focus on blogs and getting published.  I meet with local photographers in my home town to network.  My biggest secret is after the wedding we post our weddings within the week of that wedding. That helps me get "vendor cards" (secret) out to vendors the week of the wedding. 
What was your most valuable piece of equipment when you were starting out?
I fell into the trap of "I need this and I need that". My wedding/concert gear consists of (2) bodies one with a 35mm lens and one with an 85mm lens and (1) 580 flash that's it.  I do have an "oh shit" bag that has what I need to finish a job in case my equipment fails or gets stolen.

What do you think has grown your business the most? Word of mouth, talent, marketing, workshops, community of other photographers. 

What do you do to continue to grow as a photographer and business?

Know when to change direction.  Know when to adapt to the new way of weddings.  I have seen really really good photographers fail because they didn't know how to play the game.  Do not change your style but how the game is played.  Do not think that your photography alone with get you where you need to be.  It is much more then that.  Focus on the business side the most.

If you could share any advice with a photographer getting ready to start their business today, what woud it be?
If this is your passion then go for it.  Do not let anyone tell you you cannot do this.  I have to put the big “BUT” into it.  Know your limits.  If you need help ask for it or go and learn from someone that has been through it.  Do not do this if you think you will be one of the cool kids because you will fail. 

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Additional questions for Jason?  Leave a comment below!  Want to keep up with Jason elsewhere online?
Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jasondominguesphotography
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JasonDomingues

Want to recommend another photographer we should interview?  Leave us a comment and let us know!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tomme Hilton - A Photographer's Life Interview Series

A Photographer's Life Interview Series features photographers who have been working as a professional photographer for five or more years.  We are so grateful that these photographers are willing to share an intimate and candid look at their life behind the camera. =========== 

Let me introduce:  Tomme Hilton Gallery - http://www.tommehiltongallery.com - a Charleston, SC Wedding, Boudoir, and Family photographer since 2005.

Sneak peek of Tomme's current website: 
 Can you share 3 of your recent favorite images?


  


How did you learn the craft of photography?
I always had a love/enchantment with photography from a young age. A friend of mine begged me to shoot her lower-budget wedding for her wedding gift and I drug my feet, kicking and screaming.  Well, 35 rolls of film later she pretty much talked me into doing this as a full time business venture. I guess that meant she liked her pics but I never really got clarification on that. ;)

How did you learn the business of photography?
I wrote local photographers and pleaded with someone to mentor me. I couldn't seem to make the right connections so I READ and PRACTICED, and READ and PRACTICED over and over again. I would randomly steal people as subjects when my own kids objected after a while. I had such a thirst for learning and I didn't want to wait until someone decided to teach me, I HAD to learn for myself. So, I enrolled in a photography class and was let down by not really learning as much as I had hoped. I learned more on my own than I had in that class and discovered that once you know the basics, you pretty much have to figure out your style, your preferences, the way YOU see the world all on your own. No one can do that for you so the discovery process ensued.

Do you work from home, a studio, or something else? 
Most of my work is location shooting and I was using my studio solely for my Boudoir sessions. I decided to resume the home business instead and we now use other great locations for Boudoirs when I shoot them.

Can you share photos of your workspace (or describe it for us)?
I have an old vintage desk complete with metal pulls and painted shabby chic white with peeling paint. It reminds me that in order for something to be beautiful it doesn't have to be perfect. I have a frilly lamp with fringe to the left of my workspace that really lends a feminine mystique. It's a soft yellow and I love how girly it is. On my desktop you will find carbonated mineral water, a handmade pottery mug that houses tea or coffee, my MacBook Pro sits on the desk as does the 21" iMac that is relief for my tired eyes after looking at small figures on the MacBook for hours on end.  I currently have sticky notes (REAL paper sticky notes) with notes to myself of all my to-do's.. that somehow seem to still get overlooked in the scheme of it all. I have a yankee candle on my desk too. I'm ultra sensory so having something smell good around me helps put me in a better frame of mind.  My current scent is 'Fireside'.

Do you have regular employees, associates, or other people who help you in your business?
Erica is my second shooter slash assistant. She helps second shoot weddings with me and we take turns updating our blog and Facebook pages. She lives in Columbia which is about 100 miles from me so we provide coverage for not only my area (Charleston, SC) but she is also providing and retaining clients in the Columbia, SC market as well.

What do you outsource, and who do you outsource it to?
I'm currently not outsourcing.

How many weekly hours would you say is spent working in your photography business?
40 plus

What percentage of your working time is spent shooting vs. working behind the scenes?
10% shooting and 100% behind the scenes. That equals 110%, but yep, that's pretty much correct. Even on a shoot, I'm using Instagram and posting pics to Social Media for clients to see and share with their friends and family.

How did your last five clients find you and what did they hire you for?
Word of Mouth Referrals. Weddings and Boudoirs.

What do you consider to be your most effective marketing efforts for your business? Networking. Keeping a presence and making sure you aren't forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind mentality.

What other careers or jobs did you have before (or while) you started your photography business? I am educated in Medicine so that's where I got my start. Medicine is an interesting industry with a lot of bureaucracy and red-tape instead of just the relationship aspect that I had assumed it would be: Helping People. I was itching for a creative outlet and photography was my answer.

How do you spend your time when you aren't working?  I shoot for me. I love to explore and take pictures of things I consider beautiful and artistic. I love to document the world around me.
I love spending time w my friends and family and that is what grounds me and keeps me humble.

What hobbies or interests outside of photography are fulfilling for you? Nutrition and Science interest me. Since google came along, I consider myself a research analyst.. aka google-nazi so I'm consistently researching modes to help people live their most optimal lives. I firmly believe health is the first and foremost means to a superb life. 

Do you feel like you have a good balance between your personal and working life?  I'm working on that. Having a home business means those thoughts that wake you in the middle of the night.........'OH NO, DID I EMAIL THAT CLIENT BACK??' at 3 am is a little too easy when your laptop is a few inches from you and too easily accessible.
- If not, how would you like to change it in the next few years? Outsource. Find a rich business person who can give me a solid business foundation! ;) Oh, they have that. It's sugardaddy.com, EWWWW

Who else is in your household with you?  A husband, son, uncle, two boston terriers (Huck and Brooklyn) and three hens (Agnes, Agnes II and Red).

What percentage of your household income is derived from your photography business?  40% is from photography the rest is another day job and my husband's employment.

What have been the most challenging personal aspects of being a creative small business owner?  For me, personally the Business side is challenging. When you become a photographer, you just want to SHOOT and be CREATIVE. Spend all your time MAKING ART. No one pulls you aside to let you know what a challenge the business aspects are. How much time is dedicated to behind the scenes work.. graphics.. website updates... blogging... Facebook updates... tweeting... accounting... editing......the list goes on and on. All the things most of us don't like doing, we spend ALL our time doing. That is the most difficult part of this business - is that it IS a business.

What do you love about being a creative small business?  I love being my own boss and having my own creative thought process. I love not having to report to anyone every day but my clients. The relationship aspect with my client is fulfilling. I love getting to know them from their engagements to their wedding, their maternity pics and then annually for family photographs. That is extremely fulfilling and the most gratifying job I could ever see myself doing.



Where should starting photographers invest their money?  Initially when I started, my money went toward equipment and gear... being a photographer has turned me into a techie that ooh's and aaah's over the latest greatests.. but I'm disciplined enough to know that there will soon be something to replace even that.  The majority of my budget hands down goes to marketing. Even if I have to drive to a Planner's office to talk shop, that's an expense for fuel. There will never be 'ENOUGH' of a budget for marketing... branding materials, trips to Starbucks, the little things quickly turn into a huge budget monster. 

Equipment  - early on what was your most valuable piece?  What altered my business (IMO) is learning how to use off camera lighting. I think most women photographers were a little apprehensive so it was really unusual for a chick to pull out all her lights. It was rather expected of male photographers but a little unusual for women photogs. I really needed to be that girl that wasn't afraid of lighting nor a slave to sundown. 

What do you think the number one thing was that grew your business?  I become a legitimate FRIEND of my clients. I become real and I keep the relationship aspect alive and burning throughout all life's milestones. I am genuinely interested in their families and their joys and triumphs. I was a cheerleader of their lives on the side and Facebook allows me to keep in touch and stay involved with them. That's really the reason I love(d) photography from the minute I developed my first photo.

What do you do to continue to grow as a photographer and grow your business?  There will be hills and valleys, understand that and it will make your life much easier. There will be times you just want to throw in the towel and say 'The hell with it'. It's normal. It will pass. When I go through these periods, I initially thought something was wrong with me.. "Is photography REALLY my calling or am I crazy for even trying?" when I seemed to be swimming upstream. I'm hard on myself and my own worst critic. The good thing about it is - every photographer I've talked to in biz over 5 yrs has BEEN THERE before. Whenever you get to your own boiling points, understand we've all pretty much been down that road and blazed the asphalt for you.

Being a photographer can also be a very lonely business. There are times you feel alone, on your own with little support. You need someone to bounce ideas, thoughts and maybe just need to vent about a situation - sometimes there is no one but yourself. Find a group you feel welcomed in and not judged. When I'm feeling down on my luck, and ready to throw the white flag I have a group that talks me down off the ledge and I find that's crucial. That support is so good for your psyche.  


If you could share any other advice with a photographer getting ready to start their business today, what would it be?  Remember, it's a business first and foremost. Hobbyists shoot for the pleasure of their imagery. Clients hire you for profit. Gear, Education, Time and Expertise all factor into our rates.  Be conscientious of the industry and do us all a favor,  Charge accordingly to your area so you aren't diminishing another photographer's income based solely on price. Experienced photographers charge more because they are worth it. It does nothing for our industry nor a client's education of photography value when you undercharge and de-value the art. We all have a responsibility to teach and educate clients continually on photography worth.  Always attempt to pay it forward by remembering the industry you came into. If you want a great, independent creative job then you will need to make sure there is an industry left for us to thrive in. Even us older loons who have been here a while - you may need to learn a thing or two from us or borrow a light every now and again.  Always attempt to make our industry better than when you entered it. Set industry standards don't just follow them. Set the bar high.  - Tomme Hilton

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Additional questions for Tomme, or just want to leave a note of thanks?  Leave a comment so she can continue to share her wisdom with you!  Want to keep up with Tomme elsewhere online?
Follow on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tommehiltongallery
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tommehilton

Want to recommend a photographer we should interview?  Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Aaron Spicer - A Photographer's Life Interview Series

A Photographer's Life Interview Series features photographers who have been working as a professional photographer for five or more years.  We are so grateful that these photographers are willing to share an intimate and candid look at their life behind the camera. ===========  

Let me introduce: Aaron Spicer Photography - www.aaronspicer.com - Fredericksburg, Virginia Wedding & Portrait Photographer since 2006.

Aaron Spicer - Fredericksburg Virginia Wedding & Portrait Photographer 

Here's a sneak peek of his current website:

Fredericksburg Virginia Wedding & Portrait Photographer


Can you share 3 of your recent favorite images?
Fredericksburg Wedding Photographer Aaron Spicer


Fredericksburg Portrait Photographer Aaron Spicer


How did you learn the craft of photography? 
Clumsily. I credit my parents for always having a camera in hand. Monkey see, monkey do. My first camera was a Fisher-Price toy in preschool. I kept at it, and learned the true craft of photography the same way I still learn it. Out of necessity. I always have ideas that are just beyond my technical expertise. So I sit down with my ideas, and then figure out how to make them happen.

How did you learn the business of photography? Also clumsily. My wife was in marketing at one point, so she really gave me a head start. From there, I studied various business models, and went to a few of the smaller photo conventions. My current business model isn’t really anything to be admired, unless your goal is quality of life and a home life/work balance that is skewed heavily in favor of home life.

Do you work from home, a studio, or something else?  I work from home. I’ve got a nice little three-room suite. One for my office, one as a meeting space, and a small shooting space that I can shoot headshots in. My office is a giant mess of hard drives and random bits of paper. My meeting space is pretty nice. I had a table made by a local carpenter. It’s standing height, so it also doubles as my packaging/work space. My studio is bare bones. Just enough room for a ¾ length portrait.

Do you have regular employees, associates, or other people who help you in your business? Aside from the occasional second shooter or assistant, I’m pretty much a one-man show.

What do you outsource, and who do you outsource it to?  I’m working on a new website, but it’s a template, so that’s pretty much like outsourcing, right? I print through Miller’s and host through Zenfolio. Everything else is done in house.

How many weekly hours would you say is spent working in your photography business?
Depends on the week. I usually work from 7 a.m until about 1p.m. through the week. By noon or one I start to get stir crazy and have to go do something else. Run errands, go cycling, grab lunch, do some gardening. I’m also a volunteer track coach at a local high school. So on certain days I start coaching around 3. Sometimes I’ll come back to do some work at night, but not usually. If I’ve got a Saturday wedding, I make sure to take a full day off during the week.

What percentage of your working time is spent shooting vs. working behind the scenes? Probably 25% shooting, 75% behind the scenes.

How did your last five clients find you and what did they hire you for? My last five clients were all referral based. Three of them were for family portraits, and two of them were event-gigs.

What do you consider to be your most effective marketing efforts for your business? This past summer I decided that in lieu of portrait sitting fees, I was going to ask my clients to make a small donation to local charities. My clients seem to really love it, and it’s gotten people talking about the portrait side of my business.

What other careers or jobs did you have before (or while) you started your photography business? I started my photography business while I was a high school English teacher. It worked out pretty well, because I had summers off.

How do you spend your time when you aren't working?  Biking. I’m a bit obsessed with cycling. In the formative years of my business I ruined my health. I’ve been trying (mostly successfully) to reclaim that for the past two years. If I’m not on the road, I’m probably fishing, touring wineries with my wife, or gardening.

What hobbies or interests outside of photography are fulfilling for you?
I’m a self-proclaimed home chef. Cooking is definitely my passion outside of photography.

Do you feel like you have a good balance between your personal and working life?  Yes, for now. What I’ve got is working pretty well for where I am in life. But I also know that in the long run, it’s not sustainable, financially speaking.  

What do you do to make sure you achieve that balance regularly? A couple years back I stepped off the photography merry-go-round and just decided to find my own way. I really cut out a lot of noise, and whittled my network down to people I value as friends and associates. You know, people I can be honest with, and who are honest with me. We don’t pretend that our lives are one big Airplanes and Blazers party. I guess what I decided is that while photography is my passion, it isn’t my life.

Who else is in your household with you? My wife Lisa, my stepson Hunter, and our three dogs; Zoe, Ike and Coco.

What percentage of your household income is derived from your photography business?  Roughly 50%. My wife works full time as an educator.

What have been the most challenging personal aspects of being a creative small business owner? Forcing myself to work through the slow times. February was a slow month for me. I specifically set it aside to redo my aging website. Somehow…it didn’t happen.

What do you love about being a creative small business?
Only having to wear clothes one day a week. And getting to do my grocery shopping in the middle of the day with the octogenarians and desperate housewives.

If you could share any advice with a photographer getting ready to start their business today, what would it be?
  Shoot anything and everything that comes your way, but show what you love, and nothing else.  I think the thing that I would have wanted to know right off the bat is that there really isn't a right way to do things, and that can really be applied to questions about gear, questions about shooting, or questions about business. When I went to my first photography convention, I was with a group of photographers who got extremely frustrated by the fact that all the presenters were giving conflicting business and shooting advice. But for me, that was the most valuable lesson I learned. It was pretty freeing for me to realize that I didn't have to follow anyone else's path. I still have to remind myself of that from time to time. Just recently two of my favorite photographers, Zack Arias and Greg Heisler, published videos about being inspired and their work ethics. I got a good chuckle out of it, because Zack mentioned having an "inspiration wall" where he posts tear sheets, storyboards and sketches. And then I watched Greg's video and he said that the last thing he ever wants to do is to think about someone else's work when he's making a picture. At the end of the day, they both produce gorgeous work, so who cares how they got there? Let's face it, most of us in this industry are self-taught, both in photography and business. There's a lot of insecurity that comes along with that. I've spent way too many seconds of my life debating whether the clone stamp or the healing brush is the "proper" tool to use, or whether I should shoot zooms or primes, or if I should watermark my images or not watermark my images, etc, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating reinventing the wheel. Just soak up everything you learn from other photographers and business people, and then use what works for you, with your art and your business.   - Aaron Spicer

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If you have any additional questions for Aaron, or just want to leave a note of thanks - please leave a comment so he can continue to share his wisdom with you!  Want to keep up with Aaron on social media?
Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaron_spicer
Follow on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AaronSpicerWeddings or http://www.facebook.com/AaronSpicerSeniors


Want to nominate your favorite photographer?  Let us know in the comments or by email!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Website Critique Webinar


We are happy to be hosting another webinar TOMORROW featuring website critiques.   These were a huge hit last year and we've been asked to do them again so we brought it back.

Tomorrow's webinar is going to be run by Corey Ann.   As with in the past, there will be three websites we've chosen to review and there will be an open chat during the webinar where my fellow Lovecats Anne and Jennifer will be helping me host!  

So what are you waiting for?  Click below and register for some fun chatting and learning!



Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scotty Perry - A Photographer's Life Interview Series

A Photographer's Life Interview Series features photographers who have been working as a professional photographer for five or more years.  We are so grateful that these photographers are willing to share an intimate and candid look at their life behind the camera. =========== 

Let me introduce:  Scotty Perry - www.scottyperry.com - Wedding & Family Photographer from Louisville, KY since 2007.

A sneak peek of Scotty's current website:
Scott Perry Website



Can you share 3 of your recent favorite images?
Thats not hard at all, is it?


Candid Wedding Photo by scottperry.com


Military Wedding Photo by scottperry.com


How did you learn the craft of photography?
I started back in highschool when my parents got me my first ‘real’ film camera. I kept with it through the years but didn't really delve in until I was old enough to buy my first DSLR. It was a lot of trial and error and research on the webz. I can't say for sure that I know what I'm doing now, I just know what I like to do, so I do that.

How did you learn the business of photography?
The wrong way, trial and error. To be honest I'm still not good at it.  I am a better photographer than I am a businessman. Theres a lot more stress when it comes to the books and the legal side of it all ::cough:: taxes ::cough::.

Do you work from home, a studio, or something else? 
I have a home office but I usually end up calling where I am sitting at the time my office.

Can you share photos of your workspace (or describe it for us)?
I keep it dimly lit or dark. I have a desk lamp behind me screen which makes it easier for me to stare at a screen for long periods of time.  I currently am rocking a stand-up desk that I pieced together and improvised with Ikea products. Its your basic home office, it stays messy and there are hard drives scattered throughout.

Do you have regular employees, associates, or other people who help you in your business?
I had an assistant for 2 years but he recently went out on his own which is awesome. He helped with the day of and was my 2nd shooter. Provided plenty of bathroom humor and beard jokes when necessary.  He also shot almost all the “formal” family photos the last year.

What do you outsource, and who do you outsource it to?
I probably should outsource everything. I outsource nothing. It makes it hard at times to fulfill requests, answer emails, edit photos, design albums, balance the books (which I suck at anyway), etc....

How many weekly hours would you say is spent working in your photography business?
During the wedding season I probably pull 20-30 hours by mid-season; that's including the time spent shooting, editing, albums, etc.

What percentage of your business working time is spent shooting vs. working behind the scenes?
20% ? If I had to make an educated guess

How did your last five clients find you and what did they hire you for?
My last five were mostly referrals from past clients/friends/other photographers. I'll be shooting their weddings or families.

What do you consider to be your most effective marketing efforts for your business?
I never really marketed formally. I tried it once and it was a waste of money. Word of mouth is HUGE.  I have a significant online presence as well via social media.

What other careers or jobs did you have before (or while) you started your photography business?
I've held a job for every season while doing photography as well.  I work on healthcare IT as a programmer and was also a consultant for a year.

How do you spend your time when you aren't working? 
Working.
With the kids.
Attempting to take my wife on a date.
I recently took a role at my church heading some of the creative things and production that goes on behind the scenes.

What hobbies or interests outside of photography are fulfilling for you?
Music. Eating. Pizza. On top of all that is helping and encouraging people.

Do you feel like you have a good balance between your personal and working life? 
At times
- If so, what do you do to make sure you achieve that balance regularly? 
 Late nights
- If not, how would you like to change it in the next few years?
I've thought about setting a schedule where I put in 3-4 hours twice a week in the office. Enough time for me to cull, edit or do any of the admin/clerical work I put off.

Who else is in your household with you?
Wife, 2 Boys, 1 Dog

What percentage of your household income is derived from your photography business?  If less than 100%, what else helps pay the household bills? Depends on the year :). Its been as much as 50% split with my other job(s) and as little as 25%.

What have been the most challenging personal aspects of being a creative small business owner?  Figuring out style, preferences, but this really was as easy as just being myself.  The most challenging has been the business side, clerical and admin tasks. the books. accounting. taxes.

What do you love about being a creative small business?
Freedom. Its has been a release for me from my daily musings of a ‘real’ job.

If you could share any advice with a photographer getting ready to start their business today, what would it be?
Don't do it on your own. Don't be afraid to ask anyone for help or advice. Don't let others bring you down.  If no one local will give you the time of day, reach out to the webz, there are a ton of us out here who are willing and want to help. Be yourself most of all. This business for me has been one massive and long interview, don't be fake because people will read right through you. 

For those just starting out with nothing but a burning passion, don't accept money from your friends or family or their friends and their families; get some experience first, shoot for free, figure out w.t.f. that those letters and green box even mean on your camera dial. Gain some experience and once you're confident enough to think your images are money worthy, go for it, but don't half-ass it. Shoot with that passion that you have and don't be scared to do what you need to do for a shot. I've stepped in front of, crawled underneath, jumped on to, elbowed and ran to get a moment or a shot. For me photography is about anticipation, at least the kind that I do. I want my images to be earnest and (at least) appear unforced. Learning when to snap and to not spray and pray is a knack you have to work to acquire.

Figure out what you want to shoot, look at peoples work who you admire. Analyze (don't copy) what they're doing. Think about what their settings might have been. Drill it in your head. Experiment. Then.... cut off your blog reading, stop looking at those peoples work because in your mind those people will probably always appear cutting edge and better than you. Join a community of like minded people/"artists"/photographers and gain your inspiration from things other than the photography you're shooting. Check out videos, still art, music, conversations and most of all observe. - Scotty Perry
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If you have any additional questions for Scotty, or just want to leave a note of thanks - please leave a comment so he can continue to share his wisdom with you!  Want to keep up with Scotty?
Follow on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Scotty-Perry-Photography/137532106334256
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