Consumer Video Tips

Nothing But Information on Today’s Hottest Consumer Video Gear, Tips & Tricks

Don't Miss Summer School!

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By Scott Bourne

August 8-11, 2010, both Skip and I will be in Las Vegas teaching and networking at Skip’s Summer School. Last year, this was hands-down, one of the top three conferences I attended or spoke at. The vibe was incredible. It was intimate, fun and educational. Skip really started something special here, and I am proud to be associated with it.

Now what does this have to do with GoingPro2010? Nothing -other than Skip and I happen to be working on that together as well. But Skip’s Summer School is a separate project. It’s his baby and I’m just lucky to be associated with it at all. And so will you be if you decide to attend.

You get 15 speakers, networking opportunitues and lots of fun for $239 if you sign up before July 1. And Skip has also arranged for everyone who attends Summer School to get a 50% discount on WPPI registration.

If you are a new pro, an emerging pro or just thinking of going pro, Summer School is MORE important for you to invest in than a camera. Skip and I hope to see you there!

If you want more information on Skip’s Summer School, it’s all right here.


Written by scottbourne

May 27, 2010 at 7:48 am

Posted in Workshops

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Get Out of Your Rut!

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By Skip Cohen

Here’s the scenario:  I was sitting at Arby’s at the Akron Canton Airport having a sandwich before my flight.  I was just livin’ the dream!   On the magazine stand was this month’s issue of “O”.  The cover story:  “28 Genius Ways to Get Unstuck and Make Your Dreams Come True.”  Well it got me thinking about a blog theme and the end result is  “24 Not So Genius Ways to Get Unstuck and Make Your Dreams About Photography Come True!”

1) Stop saying, if I only had that exotic lens, I could change the look of my images.  If you can’t afford it, then rent it!  Rental gear gives you a chance to try out virtually anything.  So if you honestly believe different gear will help you and cash flow is short, then rent that lens or camera body and give them a work out!

2) Practice, practice, practice! Work to get your images dead on, right out of the can.  The long hours in Photoshop cleaning up images because you took a short cut are killing your ability to market yourself, work with clients or simply practice your craft!

3) READ – READ – READ – from magazines to blogs to books – there’s a ton of information out there to help you through virtually every aspect of professional photography.    And don’t just read magazines about photography, but read the magazines your clients are reading.  Every wedding photographer should be reading at least one bridal magazine.  Every children’s photographer should have a copy of any one of the major family/parent magazines.  Commercial photographers should be looking through magazines fashion magazines, etc.

4) Do a press release!  The only one out there who’s going to watch out for you is YOU! So, let’s start with a press release about something you did recently.  Here’s a blog to read that will take you through the entire concept.

5) Do another press release!  You can’t do just one and then walk away and see what happens, because you have to develop a pattern, a stash of releases.  If you’re going to become a publicity machine, remember – publicity doesn’t happen by accident.   And your initial reaction is probably, what can I talk about?  Well did you buy any new gear recently?  How about a new state of the art printer?  Did you attend a workshop or conference?  Are you in the process of diversifying your specialty?

6) Attend a workshop – there’s no excuse for not attending workshops and conventions – they’re on line, in your own backyard, in every major market.  CreativeLive is FREE if you attend at the time the webinar is scheduled.  PDN’s first Virtual Trade Show with ten webinars just took place, but there are more coming throughout the year.

7) Be a stalker!  Okay, I’m using this in the purest of business sense, but there are so many people in this industry willing to help you…follow Scott Bourne, Dane Sanders, Bambi Cantrell, Tony Corbell, Kevin Kubota, Chase Jarvis, Art Wolfe and the list goes on and on and on!  Identify the icons whose specialty is closest to your interests and then bring them into your network.

8) Look at pictures…here’s the fun of photography – you really can just look at the pictures!  Look at the work of photographers you admire.  Look at images from photographers in other countries.  Pick up any consumer magazine and look at the pictures in the ads!  Our clients are influenced by the images and trends in their environment – TV, magazines and the newspaper are all influencers.

9) Look at MORE pictures…here’s where ( and ( come into play.  You should take one morning a week, for half an hour and just look at images.  Both sites specialize in images by commercial photographers.   Here’s your chance to be inspired and stay in touch with the trends going on in advertising.  I’m not suggesting you copy anybody’s work, but pay attention to the lighting, the exposures and the composition.  As a wedding photographer you might get a new idea on how to do a great shot of the wedding rings looking at jewelry photographers.  Children’s photographers might get ideas from commercial work of children and lifestyle photography.

10) Start your own blog!  A blog can help more people get to know you and your work, but if you only blog once a month or inconsistently it’s a waste of time!  You need to pick an interval and then stick with it.   One of my favorite ways to start has been photographers who start posting one new image every day.  It’s fun to watch, but I’ve also noticed their photography gets more and more interesting as they become more disciplined.

11) Design next year’s holiday card!  No photographer should ever send out a Hallmark card!  You’re photographers – be proud of your work and use your holiday card this year to show off a little bit.  And, on the back of the card make sure to put your name and contact information.

12) Photograph something completely different today in a way you’ve never photographed before!  Change the aperture, the exposure, play with the depth of field, shoot wide open with different focal lengths – whatever it takes to do something you’ve never tried before.  If you’re experimenting in the studio, then switch your lights around, change your camera angle – just make things different!

Okay there’s the first 12 – give me a few days and I’ll have at least 12 more!

There are reasons for being stuck in a rut, but there are NO excuses.  We’re an industry of people who tend to help each other and watch each other’s backs.  It’s okay to be down in the dumps trying to figure out the best way to jump start your career, but it’s not okay to be complacent!

And remember, you’ve got me and Scott Bourne here to help you snap out of it and get that career moving towards reality!

This post sponsored by WHCC – White House Custom Colour – Get Five Free 8×10 Prints From WHCC

Written by scottbourne

May 26, 2010 at 7:19 am

Posted in Business

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One More Twitter Search Tip For Professional Photographers

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By Scott Bourne

In my first post about this, I shared with you the secret of using Twitter’s search tool to find prospects. The examples I gave were pretty simple. If you’re so inclined, there are more powerful things you can do with this tool. Below, you’ll find a complete list of the acceptable Twitter search operators. Use these in your search to really drill down into the Tweets to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Search Operators

You can type these search operators directly into the search box. (Alternatively, you can use the advanced search form to automatically construct your query.)

You can also use Twitter’s Advanced Search if you’re more comfortable drilling down using a form.  One of my favorites is to perform the search and check “Asking a question.” This is more likely to yield me a chance to be helpful.

The goal of these posts is simple. I want you to succeed at your photography business. I’m certain that Twitter can help you on some level. I hope this information has enlightened you as to how powerful this tool can be.

This post sponsored by WHCC – White House Custom Colour – Get Five Free 8×10 Prints From WHCC

Written by scottbourne

May 25, 2010 at 5:38 am

Posted in Marketing

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GoingPro Podcast Episode #5

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Announcing the GoingPro podcast. You can subscribe to the show free of charge in the iTunes store here.

You can direct-download the MP3 at Podomatic.

Here’s the NON-iTunes RSS Feed.

In this episode Scott & Skip discuss 10 business tips for photographers.

NOTE: If you subscribe to the podcast in iTunes you’ll always get it before we announce it here on the blog. It’s our way of saying thanks for subscribing free at iTunes.

Written by scottbourne

May 24, 2010 at 4:57 am

Posted in Audio Podcast

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Could Your Photography Business Be Disintermediated?

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By Scott Bourne

Technology is changing the way some companies do business. Your company could be disintermediated if you don’t change with it. But an alternate way to look at it is to say that your company may disintermediate your competitor. It all depends on how you look at or use technology.

Here’s an example of how changing technology is impacting the video rental business.

Hollywood Video, based in Wilsonville, Ore., is shutting down 2,500 video rental stores nationwide.

The once-booming chain has fallen victim to changing technology as consumers turn to video-on-demand services, inexpensive video vending machines such as RedBox and to mail and Internet movie rental company Netflix.

I remember when Hollywood Video was opening a store a day. I was impressed by their rapid growth. But that was in the 1990s, and as much as it makes me feel old to say it, that was a a very long time ago. Times change. Technology changes. Consumers change. What about you?

If you’re employing all the old guard techniques and technologies, you could be in danger of becoming fungible. If you can be easily replaced by another photographer who has a better grasp of technology than you do, you have two choices. Stand pat and watch it happen (can you say Hollywood Video) or, you can advance, rethink, retool and move forward, embracing new technology and trends and maybe you will be the one to replace the other guy/gal.

Digital SLRs, digital post-processing, blogs, online portfolios, social media, e-mail, portable computers and even iPads have changed and are changing most of what happens in the typical photography business.

Pay attention to this stuff and ask yourself how you might use it to make your business more responsive to client needs. After all, Hollywood Video’s demise didn’t happen in a vacuum. It wasn’t just the fact that new technology existed – it was the fact that their customers demanded and embraced the new technology while Hollywood Video didn’t that made the difference.

This post sponsored by WHCC – White House Custom Colour – Get Five Free 8×10 Prints From WHCC

Written by scottbourne

May 21, 2010 at 3:48 am

Posted in Business

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Build Evangelists For Your Photo Business – The Macintosh Way

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Guy Kawasaki has been a big influence on my career. I read his book The Macintosh Way, the week it came out, way back in 1989. Ever since, my approach to “sales” has changed.

You might be tempted to think this is a computer book. It isn’t. It is a marketing book. In fact, I think it’s the best marketing book I’ve ever read. It helped me understand the difference between sales and evangelism.

You might also be tempted to think that you can’t learn from a book written more than 20 years ago. Believe me, you can.

I know this book’s message is still powerful because it’s a core value in my own successful company. I have built the ideas taken from this book into my basic approach and seen results.

If you’re “going pro,” you need to learn these lessons now – before you start making mistakes that are too big to fix later.

Since you’re about to find out (if you don’t already know) that running a photo business is more about marketing than it is about photography, it would be helpful to know a thing or two about the right thing and doing it right way.

Reading this book is a good start. It’s out of print but the Amazon link above will lead you to some used book store sources for it.

As you read it, consider how the lessons Guy taught 20 plus years ago apply today, in a world where we have Facebook “fans” and Twitter “followers,” this is a great time to learn how to convert those folks into evangelists.

If you have truly satisfied customers/clients, figure out a way to turn them into your own private sales force. Their positive word of mouth will outpace the results you get from an advertisement in a local publication every time.

To figure that out, start by reading The Macintosh Way. Then, build yourself some good Karma and give the book to someone else who’s starting a business. That’s doing the right thing in the right way.

This post sponsored by WHCC – White House Custom Colour – Get Five Free 8×10 Prints From WHCC

Written by scottbourne

May 19, 2010 at 7:06 am

Posted in Marketing, Sales

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Wedding Photography – Don’t Underestimate What It Takes To Get Started!

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Photo Copyright Scott Bourne

Post By Skip Cohen

Every time I’ve spoken at a photographic school I always open by asking the same few questions.  I ask for a show of hands of how many people want to be fashion photographers?  How many want to photograph cars, Harleys, etc?  How many photojournalists?  Then portrait, outdoor/landscape and finally weddings.

The big winner is always the commercial fashion and product group and wedding is always in last place.  But, the best part of those few lonely hands of people wanting to be wedding photographers is what I say next.

“Okay, everybody get the names and addresses of these few future wedding photographers, because they’re going to be able to buy you dinner while you chase your dreams!”

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a big fan of all the photographic specialties and an even bigger fan of chasing dreams, but so many people still fail to see how great wedding photography can be.  So, like any career path, if you’re going to do it, then do it right!

1)    Photographic Technique: Great wedding images are absolutely driven by photographers who understand photography.  You don’t have time to re-take the shot if you miss it.  You have absolutely no control over your environment.  And, you don’t have time to take a break or rethink your approach. Your foundation for success needs is based on a solid understanding of photography: composition, lighting and exposure!

2)    People Skills: If you’re lousy with people, give up any idea of being a success in wedding photography.  A great wedding photographer has the combined skills of a psychologist, artist and priest!  A typical wedding day is loaded with stress and it’s often going to become your job to help keep the bride and groom mellow and having fun!  The trust a bride and groom put in their photographer often goes well beyond just capturing memories.

3)    A Mind’s Eye:  In his new book, Wedding Photography from the Heart: Creative Techniques to Capture the Moments that Matter, Joe Buissink talks about how he’s worked to develop his “mind’s eye” and visualize the images he wants to capture, before he’s clicked the shutter.  I’m not sure if it’s artistic talent or his ability to understand his clients, but the result is simply an amazing collection of images at wedding after wedding.

4)    Confidence: This isn’t just about understanding photography and your equipment. It’s about understanding people.  Photographers like Joe, Bambi Cantrell, Jim Garner, Dawn Shields, Jerry Ghionis and Yervant, just to name a few, know exactly how the final images are going to look and they especially know how their confidence plays a roll in developing trust with their clients.  Their confidence contributes an almost Zen-like calmness on the day of the wedding.

5)    Asking for Help: I’ve seen commercial photographers work on a product shot for hours until they get the look they want, but a wedding photographer only has one chance at each wedding.  However, wedding photographers seem to know when to ask for help.  Just take a look at the questions that come up on the Digital Wedding Forum, (DWF) and the responses when somebody is in need of advice. You can’t be afraid to ask for help.  Even more important is taking advantage of opportunities to be second shooters and assist other more established wedding photographers in order to keep learning the best ways to cover a wedding.

6)    Be A Storyteller: A great wedding photographer is the best of storytellers with the ability to edit the images from a wedding and produce an outstanding album.  That album is the first family heirloom of a brand new family and done right, it can open the door for hundreds of future opportunities.  Remember, the younger the bride the more friends she has who are going to get married!

7)    Never Compromise on Quality:  From the quality of your gear, to the images themselves – a good wedding photographer NEVER compromises.  No photographer should ever compromise, but because of the time constraints and the trust bridal clients put in their photographers there is absolutely no room for mistakes!

And the most important quality is that all of the great wedding photographers have an incredible sense of pride.  Think about that for just a second.  What would a wedding album look like without great images?   We’d all be looking at sketches that made the album about as exciting as the jury artist who did the OJ trial!  Bridal clients put their complete trust in their photographer – not to just tell the story, but to be their eyes for all those moments of joy they might miss.

Monte Zucker, one of the industry’s most amazing legends, as a portrait and wedding photographer, was once given a lifetime achievement award at a luncheon at the UN.  Along with him on the platform were several photojournalists who were being awarded for their coverage of various wars and 9-11.  Monte accepted his award and then said, “I’m so honored to be here.  All of you have to photograph the world the way it really is, but I’ve got the most amazing job.  I get to photograph the world the way it should be!”

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a fan of all the photographic specialties, but without question, wedding photography is near and dear to my heart – it’s an incredible career path, but only if you do it right.

This post sponsored by WHCC – White House Custom Colour – Get Five Free 8×10 Prints From WHCC

Written by scottbourne

May 18, 2010 at 7:59 am

Posted in Business

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