Fuji X-E2 shots at the Southwestern Photojournalism Seminar

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 1/1300

These are all JPEGs right out of the camera from my time here in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference.

Tonight was the start of the student workshop.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/85

These are some photos of my friends trying out the Fuji X-E2. My friends Bob Carey and Ron Londen both had the X-E2 and had just bought the new X-T1 camera. Unfortunately, I have only been able to play with their cameras.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/60

Enjoy the photos and see how great the camera does on Auto-White Balance and shooting JPEGs.

By the way, I also have a RAW file for each of these.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/110
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/240
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/3.2, 1/210
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/3.6, 1/220
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/3.2, 1/220
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/3.2, 1/200
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/3.2, 1/210
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/280
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/170
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/160
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/150

Fuji X-E2 with XF 55-200mm vs Nikon D4 with 28-300mm

Fuji X-E2, XF 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.8, 1/90

I didn’t set out to compare these two cameras and lenses but just ended up shooting both of them.

A couple of variables don’t make this a perfect comparison. I like shooting AUTO ISO on both cameras. You cannot shoot RAW on the Fuji above ISO 6400, so the camera is set up with the highest ISO, whereas on the Nikon D4, the high ISO default is ISO 12800.

Nikon D4, Nikon 28-300mm, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/125

Both lenses have a vibration reduction system turned on, and both were handheld during these photos. One thing of interest is the Fuji XF 55-200mm; zooming in gives you the same focal length proportion as the Nikon 28-300mm at the most extended focal length. The difference is the ƒ/4.8 on the Fuji versus the ƒ/5.6 on the Nikon.

Focusing performance was superior with the Nikon as compared to the Fuji. I had them both set to single-frame focusing versus continuous. Both were on AUTO focus, looking for faces. Fuji would hunt every single time. The only way to stop that was to go to the manual guide.

The one thing I can say about comparing the two cameras is I love the Fuji results better than the Nikon, but the Nikon is far superior for catching moments. The Fuji is trying to decide if the subject is in focus too often.

Here are two photos with the Fuji X-E2 and the Nikon D4

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 3200,  ƒ/4, 1/500
Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 12800, ƒ/8, 1/125

A couple of photos just from the Fuji X-E2

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 4000, ƒ/2.8, 1/500
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/105

I think if you are trying to nail a moment just right, the Fuji takes a moment too long to lock in on the focus as compared to the Nikon system.

If you carry the Nikons all day long as I was doing, you then know why I am so interested in making the Fuji system work–WEIGHT. So I could deal with the slight delay of the Fuji system for the weight I would save carrying them all day long like I have been covering a meeting.

If you are used to being able to shoot sports as I have with an autofocus system as quick as the Nikon D4, you will be slightly disappointed in the Fuji. However, if you have never shot with the best Nikon systems, you might be OK and not notice the delay.

Fuji X-E2 is excellent for meetings

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 4000, ƒ/3.2, 1/500

I am on my feet for the second day of a four-day meeting. The day starts around 6 am and goes past midnight every day.

Walking around from place to place with gear for this many hours can take its toll on you.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/105

The Fujifilm X-E2 holds together the dynamic range I regularly see at this meeting. I love the color and the detail it captures.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 2000, ƒ/4, 1/500

I only regret this meeting because I only have one Fuji X-E2. If I had two, I could run around with just two lenses and get everything I needed with the cameras. I would keep the 18-55mm on one camera and the 55-200mm on the second camera.

Of course, the only downside I see with the camera compared to my Nikon D4 cameras for this event is the battery life. So, I am going through about three batteries a day.

The best part of carrying the cameras all day long would be the simple fact of the weight and size. I feel so much better if I all had two cameras and two primary lenses. As soon as the 10-24mm comes out, I would add this to the other two and have everything I need to cover meetings.

Photographers: How to turn a “Cold Call” into a “Warm Welcome.”

No matter if you are using a phone or meeting someone in person who you do not know, you are “Cold Calling.” If you play it right, this could be a “Warm Welcome.”

COLD CALLING is the sales process of approaching prospective customers or clients—typically via telephone, by email or through making a connection on a social network—who were not expecting such an interaction. The word “cold” is used because the person receiving the call is not expecting a call or has not specifically asked to be contacted by a sales person. A cold call is usually the start of a sales process generally known as telemarketing.

WARM WELCOME is a hearty, hospitable reception or greeting, as in We got a very warm welcome when we finally arrived.

My friend and I have met with a few photographers struggling these days. Today we had lunch with another newspaper photographer who lost their job. Sadly this is happening a lot these days.

First, this feels like crap for anyone going through this, and I have been through it two times. From the get-go, we wanted to let the person know that this has nothing to do with their skills but was most likely a numbers game. When that happens, you often will see some folks who kept their jobs while you lost yours, and it is hard to see the logic.

The great thing about these photographers is they are taking their time to asses their situation. They are also not sitting still either. This photographer had already created categories he will put on his website later. Personally, this photographer’s work was excellent. I wish I had all those images in my portfolio.

The photographer had some names of folks he was going to call. The plan is excellent that he had a portfolio just moments from being on his website and had some contacts already.

My friend and I had about 70 years of experience. However, this tip we shared with him didn’t exist for us until later in our careers.

What to avoid

The surest way to hit a dead end with a potential client is to ask them questions that are simple “Yes” or “No” answers.

Do you have any photography jobs that I can do? The answer is “Yes” or “No.”

What to do

Ask open-ended questions, more about the person and less about you and your photography. For example, someone just laid off can call someone and ask if they would meet with them. They explain that they were just laid off and would like to pick their brain.

Ask questions from your experience. If you could go back and start over, what would you recommend to someone like me? People like being asked for their expertise and will most likely talk to you.

Asking them for guidance and suggestions creates a sense of you seeking advice which is much different than asking for a job.

Some of the best folks to talk to are those who also went through a layoff. Surprisingly you will find many folks have been through this before. Most have a great deal of empathy and will offer some words of their wisdom.

Ask them before you leave if there is someone else that they recommend you talk to that could help them. Also, ask if they tell the new person that they referred them; most of the time, they will, which will help you get that next appointment.

Asking someone to look through your work and recommend how they might arrange it is a great way to get your work seen and keep the dialogue open with them.

You are starting a relationship.

It is much easier to follow up with them and say you listened to them and took their advice. You have done some things, and I wanted to review the changes you have made with you. Again, no need to ask for work.

The best advice I could ever give here is a simple observation. Those who are genuinely interested in building lasting relationships with people and not just using them are the ones who are the most successful in life.

If you ask for all this advice and never follow up to show the person how you listened and would like them to see what you have done, they know you were there only for a job and not a relationship.

Tom Kennedy, the director of photography at the time for National Geographic, had Don Rutledge, my mentor, contact him and ask to take him to lunch. Don continued to stop by every few months and enjoy lunch with Tom. Tom would also do the same thing with Don after a while.

One day Tom asked Don why Don had never asked for work from Tom. Tom then said that Don was the only photographer he had ever met that ever done this. Tom discovered that Don was genuinely interested in just having a friend.

Many people through the years had done the same to Don that photographers had done with Tom. They were not interested in a friendship; they just wanted a job.

My long-term goal for my career is to one day work with my friends. Guess what–that day is now for me. The reason is I did want a relationship with people and not just their money.

Great Photos Often Start With Dramatic Subjects

Fuji X-E2, XF 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5, 1/105

How can you go wrong with a fire-eating subject? If you miss the exposure, maybe, but if you get a well-exposed photo of something average and then something more dramatic, you get the idea of why start with a more exciting subject.

Fuji X-E2, XF 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5, 1/140

Look for things like this Luau in Kona, Hawaii, for example.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 640, ƒ/4.5, 1/100

I photographed him for this Fire Knife dance at Truett’s Luau in Fayetteville, GA. So, you don’t always have to go to Hawaii to get your photo.

Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 640, ƒ/5.3, 1/3200

Later, I photographed the same guy the following day, but this was outside in the sunlight. This change in time and location should help you see how much a place and lighting can help a situation or not at all.

I think to improve your photos, don’t light everything when they turned off all the stage lights and let the fire dancer be the center stage so that the image is more dramatic than in the bright sunlight.

Without flash. Photo by Clara Kwon
With off-camera flash. Photo by Clara Kwon

In these two photos, you can see how Clara Kwon had no flash, and then adding sparkle helped to make the subject “pop.” She is not lighting everything, and the rest of the scene is slightly darker, making the subject stand out.

Remember to pick exciting subjects and try your best to put them in the best light.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 200, ƒ/22, 1/13 with two Alienbees B1600 with CTO triggered by Pocketwizards.

Student’s work from the YWAM School of Photography 1 2014

Photo by Clara Kwon

These are examples of the student’s work from this past week on lighting that I taught in the School of Photography 1, which is part of Youth With A Mission’s University of the Nations campus in Kona, Hawaii.

This class was the first time most of the course used studio strobes.

Without flash — Photo by Andrea Klaussner
With flash — Photo by Andrea Klaussner

They learned how to use off-camera flash on location. The assignment required them to hand in one photo without a flash and one with it. Some of the student’s photos looked better without a flash, and sometimes you don’t need a flash.

 Without flash — Photo by Lizz Busby
With flash — Photo by Lizz Busby

The bread and butter assignment for a photographer is the environmental portrait. Taking a poor lighting situation and improving it was the purpose of the assignment, as well as knowing how to make it.

The students took a baseline photo without a flash and below the sync speed for their camera. Then they made a flash reading setting the strobe to be one stop greater than the aperture reading without the flash. They then only changed the aperture to the great one-stop aperture that was the flash setting. They were also encouraged to see if more power from the flash was better for the photo.

1:3 Lighting Ratio Assignment

In an earlier blog post, you can see the students’ assignments. First, they needed the leading light [key] at 45º from the camera, with the model looking straight into the camera. We did this to help them see the shadow across the nose. They then had a fill light one stop less than the leading light.

They could use different backgrounds from White, Gray, or color.

Photo by Debbie Smit
Photo by Erik Wuesthoff
Photo by Keziah Khoo
Photo by Lizz Busby
Photo by Oo Shinoda
Photo by Melissa Kelsey

I think the students all did a great job, and in less than a week, each person had a potential of a couple of photos to add to their portfolios.

12 week photography workshop for those who believe photography to be a calling

Dennis Fahringer has been leading a photography program in Kona, Hawaii for more than 25 years. I first heard of the program back in the 1980’s from my friend and mentor Don Rutledge.

Don was leaving on a trip to do work in Hawaii and at the time Don worked for the International Mission Board for the Southern Baptist. I joked with Don and asked what Hawaii had to do with international missions since it was a state.

This is when Don told me he was just teaching at the Youth With A Mission’s University of the Nations campus in Kona, Hawaii.

Dennis Fahringer teaching in SOP 1 [Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ4.8, 1/250]

Some of the past guest speakers that Dennis brings in for every class have included Gary S Chapman, Louis Deluca, Joanna Pinneo, Don Rutledge, Patrick Murphy-Racey, Gary Russ, Anacleto Rapping, Ron Londen and many, many more.

Most of the students are just starting out. The ages range in the class from 17 to 69 for the class I am presently teaching. Most of the classes I have taught the majority are from 18 to 30.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/6.4, 1/25

Dennis has collected a large selection of books and videos for the students.

Dennis shares with his students many of his notes he has collected through the years on photography using Evernote app.  Dennis has shared some 3,700+ notes with the class that he has in Evernote: just short of 30,000(!) Just this alone is worth the price of admission.

If you are really wanting an intense photography program for twelve weeks then this is it. Before you can take this class you must do a DTS.  This is a 12 weeks lecture phase, plus 10-12 weeks outreach phase, thus 6 months total.  This is a Discipleship Training School where for part of your time will be a cross cultural experience. Many of these DTS groups go all over the world.

In my present class we have nine different nations represented. Those perspectives are great when learning photography.

Here is the YWAM Kona webpage for you to learn more about the program here.

Many who take the class go into business as photographers, other may use this in missions and even some just keep it as a hobby.

Photographers: The Best Of Times Are Often The Worst Of Times

Nikon D3S, 14-24mm, ISO 320, ƒ/13, 1/180

My oldest step-son Nelson Lalli [he is in the center front row], chose to go to The Citadel, a military college. Unfortunately, he decided to go to a school where for the most part, students are paying to be yelled at and pretty much humiliated, as I saw it for most of their entire first year. At The Citadel this year, they are called Knobs.

We all know that they teach this to the military because they learn to follow orders, which is critical to the success of the military.

Later Nelson decided in his Junior year to try out for the Summerall Guards. Now, if you think being a Knob was hard, the comparison is like thinking of your Knob year as a cakewalk.

Nikon D3S, 28-300mm, ISO 1600, ƒ/6.3, 1/320

The Summerall Guards must do all that the rest of the Corp of Cadets is doing plus all the extra physical and psychological torture [well, to an outsider] they do. He had to listen to orders while someone was yelling into his ear just inches from his ear.

Do you know what they talk about as Seniors? They tell all the stories from Knob year, and if they were a Summerall Guard, they also tell those stories.

Great storytelling requires tension. It would help if you had something to move the story along. What is great about a good story is it is memorable.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/45

The students I have been teaching in Hawaii have instructors sit with them and pour their wisdom daily.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/3.6, 1/110

However, years later, many of these students will remember more about their kitchen duty than from a devotional that someone led because of the stress that comes from dealing with difficult situations and overcoming them.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/3.6, 1/8

Late into the evening, you see students all over this Youth With A Nation campus studying and trying to get everything done for their assignments.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/110

Here you can see three students in my class working together, trying to grasp how to set up three lights: The Main, The Fill, and the Background. Of course, each morning had to be set for a different power, and the Main and the Fill light needed to be one-stop different.

Not only did they have to get the lights set, but they also had to get a custom white balance. So now, when they had all this technical stuff, they still had to work with a model and get a good expression and composition.

They were stressed. They continued to come to me. Rather than giving them a quick answer, I often asked them questions. The stress you could see going up on their face. Then as Keziah Khoo experienced, there was a eureka moment where they got it. The joy on her face made all those struggles worth it.

The difficulty of the class and then mastering the subject made her feel good about what she now knew how to do that she could not do before.

I wrote this today to let those of you who are experiencing a lot of stress know that these times are memorable, and as you make it through these tough times, the fact that you survived alone makes for a great story.

When your life is boring, it is because you are most likely not challenging yourself and growing in knowledge.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 1600, ƒ/5.6, 1/500, Exp Comp -1

While many people love an incredible sunset, I love an amazing sunrise. I love the fresh air and the fresh start to each day.

Funny how sleeping on something insurmountable yesterday is not so bad the next day.

Look at your challenges as opportunities that make your life one exciting story to read.

Photography Workshop is the best way to learn photography.

Fuji X-E2, XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/60

I am enjoying teaching here in Hawaii. So you don’t feel sorry for me soaking up all the beaches and warm weather; we are inside much of the day in class. Here the students are working on their assignment for a 1:3 lighting ratio.

If you want to see their assignment, it is in an earlier blog post.

You will need to return next week when I hope to post some of their photos.

Fuji X-E2, XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/140

No matter how much I told the students, it wasn’t until they started shooting did they come to see if they understood the concepts.

The cool thing is I don’t jump in and help them. Instead, I let the students work in small groups and teach each other. So you see, they are synthesizing the information when they teach something they just learned.

If you listen to someone, you probably only get about 5% of the content. If you read about it, then 10%, but when you start practicing, you are now in the Kinesthetic level of learning, and the average recall of the content after 24 hours is 50% or better.

Based on research, you will retain what you learned when you have hands-on learning and get to practice. As a result, you will keep 75% of the content.

Those students who helped their classmates understand a concept they had just grasped will recall 90% of that concept the following day.

Give me a call. I do personal one-on-one workshops, or you can have me come and lead your camera club in a hands-on workshop.

Photographing the Island Breeze Luau cast on the beach of Hawaii

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 200, ƒ/16, 1/200 with 2 Alienbees with CTO 1 for off-camera flash. These are triggered with the Pocketwizard Radio Remotes.

I enjoyed shooting these photos of the Island Breeze Impact Tour cast at the Old Kona Airport State Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. In this setting, I took control of the situation as compared to the night before, when I was photographing them while they were putting on a Luau.

While the stage lighting is excellent, the amount of light they use in the show is minimal.

Fuji X-E2, XF 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.6, 1/125

The show I was shooting at ISO 6400 with ƒ/4.6 and a 1/125 setting compared to the controlled shooting on the beach with ISO 200, ƒ/16, and 1/200.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 200, ƒ/14, 1/320

I am in Hawaii teaching lighting to YWAM School of Photography students. We went to the beach for them to see me shoot mixed light, where I added light to the scene to help make the photos better.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 200, ƒ/14, 1/400 no flash

As you can see in the photo, there is no flash; it is more of a silhouette.

Photo by David White

In this photo, you can see it was taken by my assistant David White. First, I set this up using the Alienbees B1600 flash with CTO 1 over the strobes to warm up the subject, and then I color-corrected for the light, which made the sky even bluer.

Two Alienbees B1600 at full power on the right at 45º with CTO Gels.
Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 200, ƒ/22, 1/20

Brooke Valle, a former student of mine, is part of Island Breeze and is spinning the POI. I worked with her to have her friends and family in the cast come and help us with the photo shoot.

Brooke is spinning the “POI” [it is the Maori word for “ball” on a cord].

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 200, ƒ/16, 1/400

Due to working around other events, we could not shoot right at sunset. So we shot had to stop about 30 minutes before the sunset. Had we been able to go later, the sky would have been a little darker and more vibrant than in these photos.

I am under-exposing the subject about two stops to get the background to saturate and be darker. I then am overexposing the issue by two stops with the strobes. The combination of the under-exposure on the camera and the overexposure with the lights makes the subject well-exposed; the background is slightly under-exposed and a little more saturated than what the naked eye saw.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 200, ƒ/8, 1/400

If we had waited a little longer, then flame would also have shown up even more.

Nikon D3S, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 200, ƒ/7.1, 1/100

Two years ago, I did a similar shot, and by waiting till the sun dipped below the horizon, I could capture the flame much better because the sky was darker.

The class enjoyed watching and seeing all the lights set up and also taking some of their photos of the cast in costume.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, fill flash -1 EV, ISO 6400, ƒ/5, 1/15

Why travel with other photographers and a pro?

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/9, 20 sec

If you want to be a better tennis player, you play with better players. If you want to grow as a photographer, then surround yourself with other photographers and better photographers.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/7.1, 1/640

This past weekend I traveled around The Big Island of Hawaii with 8 of the 16 students in the School of Photography class at Youth With A Mission. We were sightseeing together some of the sights of the Island.

The top photo is of the Volcano National Park during the evening. Here most of us were using tripods. This advantage was that you could see each other’s work and ask what they were doing. Again, this helped people learn how to capture such a problematic situation.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/6.4, 1/500

Now when you are on these trips, take the time to find those who are better than you or at least have more experience. Ask them questions and learn what you can.

Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/11, 1/500

Karen Walker is one of the students in the workshop I am teaching this week. She would find me and ask great questions. “What are you looking for here?” might be one of the questions Karen would ask. She was just a sponge and sought me out as much as possible.

She then wanted to be sure she wasn’t annoying. So I told her this is why I am here to help teach.

Fuji X-E2, 55-200mm, ISO 200, ƒ/5, 1.1 sec
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 2.3 sec
Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 5 sec

What surprised me was how many students never asked me a question about photography. Every year this happens. I come as a visiting guest speaker, but the students often will not take advantage of my presence to grab me and ask questions.

My recommendations:

  • Find a group to do some photography
  • Find a professional to take a class with
  • Ask questions beyond the lecture time
Remember, why take a class in person or buy a video if you don’t ask questions? Take advantage of the instructors and people around you. Ask why they are doing what they are doing. Ask how they are getting the photo. Clarify how they knew to do that. Sometimes they don’t know, and if it was just luck.
You learn from being engaged with others.

Too many professional photographers put too much emphasis on the image and not enough on marketing.

A very well-known photographer posted this on Facebook

Maybe, just maybe, we need more powerful images – beauty, humanity, authenticity – not shinier websites or better business cards.

I understand when you look around and see people pouring money and time into a lot of glitzy promotional material when I think their photos suck. Over the years, I learned that maybe I need to pay attention to them more. What are they doing that gets them work year after year with work, in my opinion, is subpar?

Putting down others is where I think too many pros are today. They are putting down someone else’s work to lift themselves. The problem is they are just whining and struggling to pay the bills. Meanwhile, those with “shinier websites or better business cards” are becoming quite successful.

What is also strange is this photographer sets up most of their “humanitarian photos.” They take a lamb and put it in a kid’s’ arm that isn’t their lamb, and they are not a shepherd, but that is what they need to promote the nonprofit.

I commented:

Where do you think the audience sees your images today–websites, just like we are seeing this comment. Sure we need good content, but people need to see the images and they will not see them on your camera or computer.

Their Response:

sure but (a) the internet is not the only place photographs are shown and (b) my argument is not against good design, it’s for more compelling photography. No one benefits from brilliant PR efforts that do not begin and end with photography that connects.

Well, the photographer and the client are benefiting. They are connected and doing something, while those who are still all into themselves and their images are not connecting to clients. They are self-centered because they didn’t spend enough time on websites, business cards, and, more importantly, pointing potential clients to their websites through emails, flyers, postcards, and phone calls.

My final comments:

Actually, I would disagree. I see way too many photographers who have so-so photography but better marketing and business sense than all the photographers who have great work and not PR and business sense. I think all the layoffs of Pulitzer Prize winning journalists that are struggling right now proves my point.  

I AGREE that great images really are important. HOWEVER the one thing most photographers need help with is business and marketing.  

I think you are a great example of someone who does a great job marketing and promoting yourself. Your work is very professional, but I know many National Geographic Photographers and Pulitzer Prize winning journalists that have much better work than you or I who are struggling. 

I think your whole premise to your comments here are just the opposite of what photographers need to hear. Those in agreement look at those photographers with successful businesses wondering why someone is hiring them. 

The reason is simple—those photographers are promoting themselves while they continue to think it is all about the image. 

Further, I would argue that both those who are spending a lot of time on portfolios, business and marketing are missing the crown jewel of success. 

We are no longer in a B2B [Business to Business] or B2C [Business to Customer] market. We are in a H2H [Human to Human] market. 

We need to be out there listening to the needs of people. When we have listened long enough then we need to help think of ways that we can help solve problems for people. Sometimes this means we are not a good match. But by listening we can then see how our skills may be of service. 

We then should be talking about how our work will address their concerns. We should have examples of how we have done this for others. We then need client testimonials backing up our claims. 

If we do this we will quickly learn it isn’t all about us. This is what focusing on content alone will do—make it all about you. We need to focus on others and really connect. 

I think Jesus said it best John 13:35
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
This requires us to reach out not just to the subject—but the customer and the audience. 

Our job is to be as transparent as possible in the process. We want the audience to connect to the subject. When we do this people are moved by the moment and don’t notice all the hard work. They just are moved by the story.