05 April 2010

New ImageMaven site and blog

Hi all,

It's been awhile. I've been creating beautiful things over at ImageMaven.com and working on some online courses for you.

Check it out today, and please keep in touch on the new site. The lights may go out on this blog soon.


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25 December 2009

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings to all of you! Best wishes for a prosperous and happy 2010!

There will be some changes coming to ImageMaven in the new year. Stay tuned!

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11 November 2009

Remembrance Day Photo

A few years back I had the privilege of traveling through the back roads of France, Belgium, Holland and Germany with a friend who's father had served in Europe during the Second World War. We followed the route the allies took from Normandy all the way to Northern Germany along the Green Route Up as it was known. During our trip we also visited Canadian war cemeteries to document the gravestones for the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. This is a photo from the Groesbeek War Cemetery in Groesbeek, The Netherlands.

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09 November 2009

Annual Birthday Portrait

It's that time of year again, for my nephew's annual birthday portrait. Tristan is now 3 years old and he's always ready to lend a helping hand in the kitchen or with any construction projects that are going on. He is also a great photo assistant.

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23 October 2009

How to use Social Media to Boost your Business

I have mixed feelings about the value of using social media to get new business. To be honest, even blogging seems useless most of the time. I blog for the benefit of my students mostly, and to give myself a forum to express my views. Social media is all tricked-out now that large multinationals have figured out how to exploit the system. I don't do FaceBook mainly because I don't know where my information will end up, plus I spend enough box time each day. I'd rather connect with close friends and family through private channels like a personal email or a good old fashioned phone call.

So, what do I do? I am LinkedIn, as I view it as a more professional application, but again it's not something I check every day. I use it as a way to stay connected to my new and old clients plus a few of my top students. I also belong to RedBubble, which is a place where I can discuss photography with like-minded artists, and maybe sell a few prints a year, but it's not a huge revenue generator. It just keeps me connected to a creative community.

In all my years of business, all of my clients except two, have come through a referral or some form of personal connection. The ones that didn't came through an RFP for a large energy company, and the other by using SEO for my online stock photography. My social media is being-in-the-same-room social, as opposed to the box social. My most successful social media tool is actually getting out and being social at events, parties, and by simply staying personally connected with friends and acquaintances.

Doing what I do is my best method of self-promotion. People show their friends and colleagues photos I've taken. They tell a story about an experience they had while working with me or taking one of my seminars. They endorse me. That is the best way to get new business. I'm not a big star in the social media galaxy. I'm not writing for one of the top 10 photography blogs. Total strangers who read my blogs or see my web site don't know me so they probably won't hire me. I don't strive for hits, links, adwords, stumbles, or tweets. If I get them great, but I don't worry about my stats. I don't compare myself to other photographers. I don't try to steal their clients. I have a small humble business that serves a small group of really awesome clients. If I want to serve them well, I can't be too concerned about all the hype and latest tricks surrounding social media. Instead, I need to spend that time doing what I do even better.

Besides, soon enough something new will come along and then everyone will flock to it.

Here's another perspective on the whole subject of social media.

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12 October 2009

Stealing photos from web sites is wrong!

Do you think it's alright to take photos off web sites? Everyone does it. No harm done, right? Think again!

Since many of my readers are new to photography and very new to the business of photography, and since stealing photos off web sites is a common (and condoned) practice, I wanted to share this manifesto that is making the rounds of several photo industry blogs this week. Pay special attention to point #2.

The following manifesto comes from ASMPNY and can be found at: http://www.dontscrewus.org

  1. Photographs are Intellectual Property and therefore have value to the creator. If you are tempted to steal, that is because you recognize the value of the IP and are not respectful of the value of efforts of the creator. That's not right.
  2. Just because a photo is posted on the Internet, it is not free. It wasn't put there so you can simply take it. It was put there to share an idea, promote talent and gain attention. You can't walk into a museum space or a gallery space and walk out with whatever strikes your fancy. Cyberspace is no different.
  3. There are laws in place that protect Intellectual Property and they come with penalties. These penalties are exponentially worse than paying to use the work and acknowledging the creator. Exponentially is a lot.
  4. Professional photographers are just like you. We have families to feed and mortgages to pay. Stealing takes food off the table. Times are tough enough thank you very much.
  5. If contacted directly, a professional photographer can be very accommodating, get involved and help you make your project better making you and your client look better. And who doesn't want to look better?
  6. Stealing. Not cool. How did you feel last time someone pirated one of your ideas or advertising concepts. Sucks huh?
  7. That photo you are thinking of stealing took time to make. Sure the shutter snapped in a fraction of a second, but there are years of hard work, education and talent invested in it. Stop for a moment and consider that please.
  8. Speaking of investments. That photo wasn't taken with an iPhone or a disposable camera. Not that the iPhone isn't great for snapping pics of your BFF. Professionals have significant investments in cameras, lights, computers and software. These things are costly to own, upgrade and maintain. Remember that next time you are looking at our work.
  9. We are passionate about what we do and we hope you feel the same way about what you do. Passion brings respect. We respect that you are potential clients and future collaborators. We want to work with you. We hope you want to work with us too. By the way, if the project is Work for Hire please let us know upfront. We can't respect you if you try to sneak one by us.
  10. Some things were meant to be free. Human beings, primo parking spaces, unsolicited advice about your love life. And yes, even occasionally photos. Just ask.

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04 October 2009

Online Photography Courses

I am developing an interactive learning environment (ILE) using multimedia tools to teach photography, and am currently conducting market research. The program I am planning will focus on people fairly new to digital photography. In the future I will be developing courses for other imaging topics based on the feedback from surveys and the first round of courses. I will be launching the program sometime in the first half of 2010. It seems very far away at this point, but in reality there is still much to do!

Please take a few minutes to complete my survey, and pass it on to anyone else you know who might be interested in an online photography program.

Thank you!

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