Monday, October 29, 2007

All in the family

Did a quick shoot at Citrus Historical Park on Sunday for John and Jennifer. There were about 20 people for a formal group shot but afterward we stole some time to do some of their family. The two younger boys on the right play drums and piano and are in a worship band with my kids. Here are a couple of good ones. I was reminded how when you do families and large groups that there are fewer great shots..but given the time we had and the number of people...I was happy with what we came away back to my lights!! :)

Friday, October 26, 2007


The woman has lights!!! I'm so excited I can barely stand it. I'm having so much fun with these guys. It is so much fun playing with them. I got them today and set them up late this afternoon. I haven't had a lot of time to play yet but I like what I see so far. I think I will have a hard time sleeping tonight cause I'll want to sneak out to the garage and take more pics! HAHA!!

Here is one more of my cat Jack...anybody want a pretty cat?? Grace is allergic.. :( Just thought I'd throw that in there... :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Those Eyes

I have had a love affair with eyes my whole life. As a kid I would draw faces and I would always start with the eyes. I think that is what drew me into photography...capturing the life that lived in eyes.

This Saturday Constance and I had a great time getting some new headshots. Her husband Greg even got in on the act carrying around equipment for me, providing water and making Constance laugh! :) It was a great time!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

California Fires

To friends and family - we are fine and far from any of the fires.

But there are thousands of people who are hurting at the loss of their property. It is a very heartbreaking situation.
We are praying for all who have lost and for the massive amounts of people who are displaced out of their homes.

(images courtesy of taken with NASA satellite)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lets get down to business!

Learning from experience is a valuable lesson but it is also extremely painful at times. Part of the reason I began this blog was to help fellow photographers -

Most clients are wonderful people who are a joy to do business with....because of this we tend to lean toward believing or hoping that this will be true in all cases. For the rare case when it is not true. It is important that you protect yourself from being taken advantage of by practicing good business principles with ALL your clients....just in case.

So let me share with you some ways to avoid nightmares with your clients.

1. Be flexible.

In as much as your schedule allows be as accommodating and flexible as possible. This is just good customer service and shows them that they are important to you.

2. Get it in writing.

No matter how small the job, I am finding that it is critical to have the agreement in writing. At the very least an email that stipulates what you will do and for how much and when you should be paid. I will be writing up a general contact for all my clients to sign before I take one picture.

2a. Include fees for custom editing.

I am also finding that many people love the quick touch ups done by we photographers who know Photoshop well...but there are those rare few who want plastic surgery and while I am happy to do this for takes a lot of time. I have spent an hour on a photo before only to have the client choose a different one in the end to purchase which leaves me feeling I did a bunch of work for nothing. So I have learned that I need to charge a fee for this kind of editing in order to place a value on it for the client.

3. Use a storefront such as exposure manager.

I use exposure manager for my storefront on the web. They process all prints and orders and mail them to the clients, in return I pay them a small fee for each transaction and yearly subscription fee. This is helpful because the client is required to purchase the prints before you spend your valuable time editing, cropping and uploading the images. It safeguards you from the client backing out of an order as well. Once they paid with their credit card it is a done deal. I learned this the hard way.

4. Deliver your orders in a timely manner.

There is nothing more aggravating than to wait months for pictures you want. Its one thing if your client waits months to order them...but if you wait months to process them...that is just bad business.

5. Be a good example.

If your client gets upset about a situation take the high road. Let them rant and rave all they want but stay focused on the business and the facts. If you made a mistake admit to it quickly and offer ways to make it up to them. If you must stand up for yourself then do so in a way that will not come back to haunt you. Be courteous, be polite but don't let clients railroad over you. (that is where the contract comes in nicely)

All of this is common sense but I know that many of us over look especially the contract when dealing with clients in favor of keeping things casual and loose. But people respect us when we have our ducks in a row. And that is all a contract ensures....respect.

Here are some links to web resources that help you with contracts and professional questions.

SAMPLE CONTRACT (very simple)
The link above will open a pdf but on the site there is also a version that you can open in word to change as needed to suit your business.

American Society of Media Photographers have some good tips for running your photography business.

There is also the professional organization WPPI that assist photographers in many ways. There are 5 different levels of membership from about $50 per year.

click here for the member benefits and make SURE you click through to the second and third pages where the really good benefits discounts on things like data recovery, insurance, equipment and software.