Saturday, March 28, 2009

How hard is it?!?

So, I recently did all the album artwork and all the promotions artwork for Rhett Miller's upcoming album.  I didn't specifically put in my contract that all photos must have MY name on it, and not the label or promotions company.  Many labels will do it if you just ask.  I should've...  

As you can see by the story above, new promo pics are being used, but my name is not.  At least it will show up in the album itself.  Speaking of which, I was in a Denton book and music store called Recycled Records, CD's, and Books yesterday.  By chance, I ran across one of the first albums I ever did photos for.  I think it was the second one ever, put out in 1997 by some Christian metal band named Spittin' Jonah.  

I glanced through it and noticed they never bothered to put a photo credit in the liner notes.  It is standard practice to put all credits in the album's liner notes...  photos, any illustrations, art direction, recording, production, mastering, etc...  Oh well.  Those things happen I guess.  

Friday, March 27, 2009

Would you like cheese with that?!?

Why are there so many cheesy backgrounds out there?  It's like Olan Mills (or Glamour Shots, depending on which one you hate more) exploded all over the place...  I saw an advertisement for $99 muslin backgrounds, so I clicked on it:  

The ad had a nice, basic background in the shot, but that's not what I found when I went to the website.  I was bombarded with page after page of cheesy, stupid looking backgrounds.  Who buys these things?  Who uses them?  What kind of client would want them???  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hasselblad for free?!?

Oh, if only I lived near a Calumet store...  They have a chance to "test drive" the new Hasselblad H3DII for a couple days.  They do have an option for shipping a demo to you, but I'm not sure I need to have them ship a $20k camera to me right now.  Besides, I'm not in a position to buy one of these beauties at the moment, so I'd feel bad "borrowing" a demo without any serious intention of purchasing one.  But, man!!!  How cool would it be to sport around town with one of those for the weekend?!?  

You can view the special off here:  

Sewer video...

Sounds gross?  Well, I was asked to shoot a video assignment about a group of "explorers" that trek through the Dallas storm drains.  See the video here:  

Though Janik Photography is 99% still photography, there will be the occasional video pop up now and then.  And who knows?  With the video capabilities of the new Canon 5D MarkII, video may become a regular thing for me.  Of course, it will still be a few months before I even own the MarkII, so I'm getting a little ahead of myself there...  

The Disney Trifecta?!?

As far as performers go, I don't think any three stars could make a better trifecta than Justin, Britney, and Christina.  The three have been battling it out on the charts for years, and each has moved to the top spot at one point or another.  Their post-Disney careers have been interesting, to say the least.  

I've photographed most all of the pop idols from the Nineties and the current decade, including Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey, Mandy Moore, N'Sync, and on and on and on.  As far as the pop idol trifecta goes, I've shot Justin and I've shot Christina.  However, Britney has always eluded me.  

She's back in town this next week.  Will this be my big chance to finally compete my collection?  Will I develop some sort of super powers after I do so??  Will the world stop turning and a beam of light extend down from heaven???  OK, maybe not...  


Are you asking for it?

I've known this for a long time, but it always helps to hear it again.  You have to ask for it!  Yes, just remember those simple words when planning your marketing strategy.  Your professional photography business won't get clients if you don't ask them for their business.  This isn't Field of Dreams and they won't come just because you built it.  

I think the last person to say this was Hal Samples.  He was talking with my wife about the current state of the economy and how Dallas photographers are holding up through this tough time.  When she mentioned the conversation, it reminded me of just how important that one little phrase can be.  

I am currently marketing myself to more editorial clients, trying to expand my magazine and newspaper exposure.  I am also branching out into the commercial world, trying to get more advertising assignments.  I want to make sure these potential clients know that I want to work for them.  I don't leave any doubt in their minds that I consider shooting for them to be important.  

These clients see tons of photographers every week, and I bet most are too timid or scared to speak up and actually ask what it will take to shoot for them.  We all think that our work - our portfolio or tear sheets - will be enough to make us stand out.  I've noticed that the most successful people are the ones with the good work AND the guts to ask for more.  

So, are you asking for it?  When you see a potential client, do you mention that you'd love to shoot for them.  Do you ask what you need to do?  Do you let them know that they will be a valued client?  Next time you speak with someone about your business, make sure you do this...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dropping like flies...

Seriously, do I have to say more?!?  

Thank goodness the papers I shoot for are still around... for now.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Yet another one falls...

I think this will start happening at an alarming rate, now that a few newspapers have folded or gone to web-only daily editions:  

ASMP, of course!!!

Where are you going to get the best info for starting and running a photography business?  The ASMP, of course!  And they now have a new blog, starting with some videos (for those of you that think reading is overrated).  Especially interesting is the video on Copyright:  

150 update...

I've had some people ask me about my last post, and if I was suggesting that social networking websites (like facebook) are a waste of time and effort.  That's not really what I was trying to say...  

Instead, I was pointing out that the average person is capable of maintaining and keeping tabs on one hundred and fifty friends, give or take a few.  These are the people that you can develop an ongoing relationship with.  These are the people that you can interact with on a regular basis.  

If you have a friend list of five hundred, one thousand, or more, you will find it very difficult to keep up any sort of constant, consistent, and sincere dialog with all of them.  Any of the "others" - the ones that don't get original posts or messages from you - are exactly that...  they are extras.  

These people may glance at your posts and bulletins, but will not necessarily feel compelled to attend your event or buy your product because of you.  They don't feel that same intimate connection that your core friends will.  So, any bulletin sent to them is just another advertisement.  If your offer is interesting enough, they may accept it (come to my concert, buy my new cd, vote for me in this contest, etc...), but don't expect them to act JUST because they are your "friend".  

That's what I meant by the previous post.  I DO think that social networks are very useful.  I was just trying to dispell the myth that they alone will bring you fame and fortune.  Instead, they alone will act as just one more tool - or avenue - for you to reach people.  However, the majority of those people will have to be swayed by the content of your comments, and not merely by the fact they are on your friend list.  Get it now?  

I spend time following up with friends and industry peers through website social networks (linkedin, facebook, myspace, industry forums, etc), but I also make phone calls, go to physical meetings, drop off my portfolio to be touched and thumbed through.  I talk to friends and ask them to refer me to their friends.  I go out an ask for work.  When you break it down, each item is effective, but is only one small part of a bigger marketing and networking picture...


Read this link, then come back and tell me your thoughts.  I'll wait for you to finish...  

It's pretty interesting to think about, really.  If I have five hundred friends on myspace or facebook or wherever, I still don't visit them all.  I make an effort to skim over the day's updates from everyone.  I try to reply to those posts that I find interesting.  But still, I don't ever get around to visiting ALL my "friends".  I have a few that I see there name and wonder how they even got onto my list of friends in the first place.  Now, how is THAT a friend?!?

I've got a close network of people that I routinely converse with, and an even closer network that I consider to be part of my inner circle.  Electronic social networking has not made me into some sort of mega-friend, and I am pretty sure that many of these "friends" rarely even notice my updates.  

So, what does this have to do with photography or Dallas or Jason Janik?  Not much... at least not directly.  But it DOES deal with the overall umbrella of your photography business and how you market it.  This is the deal:  

Just because you have five hundred or a thousand friends on your social network, it doesn't mean they are all going to be there for you.  Don't think you can send out some e-blast about your upcoming art show and all thousand will come running to buy prints.  Don't look at facebook as your salvation.  Don't expect a thing from it, and you won't be disappointed.  

Instead, consider any extra help from these networks to be a bonus. They give you one more tool in a fight to let people know about you, your photography, and your upcoming events.  A handful of new myspace friends came to my art show last year, thanks to my bulletins and emails.  People I had never met, except in the virtual world.  A few new jobs/photo shoots developed from connections made on myspace, but it didn't spawn a tidal wave of work, allowing me to retire early.  No matter how many times I can make a blog, bulletin, or email, some "friends" will not respond - or even bother to notice it.

However, I do see these networks as useful tools.  They make communication more efficient, and I have developed "real" friendships with a few of my virtual friends.  But, they are just one tool of many used for networking and not some sort of magic answer to all your networking problems.  Building up a large number of myspace friends can help you market your business, but I stress the word HELP.  It takes a lot more to actually succeed.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Leeson's Insight...

I've known David Leeson for almost a decade now.  I met him when I started doing freelance photography at the Dallas Morning News in December 1999.  In case you didn't know, he is a Pulitzer Prize winner, which makes him cooler than me and you.  He shoots still and video, and it looks like Canon has asked him to do some work with their new 5D Mark II...  

There's only the intro video up at the moment, so I suggest you bookmark this page and check it out for regular updates.  I'm guessing this film and video guru is going to give us some amazing insight into the newest Canon camera!