Beyond the Lens: The Reality of a Freelance Photographer’s Workday

[Caption: This is Garrett Hubbard, an award-winning photojournalist who was a speaker at the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference in 2012. This is taken when we took the group out for Cowboy Church, and we enjoyed riding some of the horses before the service and eating together.]

When you think of a freelance photographers, you might imagine them constantly clicking away behind the camera lens. But the reality is that photographers spend a significant amount of time outside of shooting assignments on other tasks essential to running a successful business. Photographers typically only pay a fraction of their time taking pictures.

So, just how much time do photographers spend shooting? Estimates vary, but it’s generally agreed that photographers spend around 20-30% of their time on shooting assignments. The rest of their time is spent on marketing, bookkeeping, website maintenance, and administrative work.

Marketing is a crucial aspect of a photographer’s business, as it’s the key to attracting new clients and keeping existing ones. This might involve reaching out to potential clients, networking with other professionals in the industry, or creating compelling social media content to showcase their work.

Creating and maintaining a website and blog is another essential task for freelance photographers. This is where they can display their portfolio, share updates on their latest projects, and provide valuable information for potential clients.

Newsletters are also becoming increasingly popular among photographers, allowing them to keep in touch with past clients and promote new services or special offers.

Bookkeeping is another crucial aspect of running a successful photography business. This includes keeping track of all expenses, such as equipment purchases, travel expenses, and office supplies, and tracking mileage driven on vehicles. Using specialized software to categorize all spending, photographers can make filing taxes much easier and more efficient.

I use Quicken for Mac to track all my spending with checking and credit cards. Each transaction is given a category. Many things may not be related to tax right-offs, like groceries, but because I am tracking everything, Quicken then works well with TurboTax for doing my taxes each year. I also recommend using TripLog for tracking your vehicle mileage and expenses. When filing for taxes, it will let you have accurate costs like repairs, gas, and insurance that might be higher deductions than the mileage, but you will not know this until the end of the year.

Of course, there are times when a photographer simply can’t afford to take time away from shooting to focus on these other tasks. In these situations, it’s all about making the best use of the time available. This might mean setting aside weekly hours to catch up on administrative work or squeezing in a few marketing tasks between shoots.

Ultimately, the success of a freelance photography business relies on a balance between shooting assignments and taking care of other essential tasks. By prioritizing marketing, website and blog maintenance, bookkeeping, and administrative work, photographers can build a strong foundation for their business and set themselves up for long-term success.

Why Your Business Needs an Image Archive in Today’s Social Media Environment

[Caption: on the far left is Ambassador Andrew Young taking a picture of his long-term friend Jesse Hill Jr, who is honored by Georgia Tech’s Ivan Allen College on Founder’s Day Symposium, paying tribute to Hill’s remarkable life and legacy as a Civil Rights Activist.]

In today’s social media environment, having a solid brand image is essential for any business. However, with the endless scrolling and constant sharing on social media platforms, keeping your brand relevant and in the conversation can be challenging. That’s where an image archive comes in.

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Having a collection of photos and historical events in your archive allows you to showcase your brand’s evolution and participation in current events. In addition, by posting blog posts, social media updates, and electronic newsletters with these images, you can demonstrate how your brand is a part of the current conversation.

Building a solid brand is like building a personal tribe. Just as individuals share photos to establish street cred, businesses can use images to demonstrate their relevance and authenticity. An image archive is a powerful tool to keep your brand at the forefront of your customer’s minds.

By investing in an image archive, your business can benefit from a range of advantages, including improved brand awareness, increased customer loyalty, and improved engagement on social media. So don’t miss out on this powerful branding tool; start building your image archive today.

I recommend PhotoShelter, and here is a link to signup.

Why Photographers Should Offer Archiving Services to Their Clients

As a photographer, you understand the importance of capturing moments and creating memories that last a lifetime. But what happens when those memories are lost or forgotten? That’s where archiving services come in. By providing an archiving service to your clients, you ensure the longevity and safety of their precious images and offer them the convenience of a searchable, downloadable, and even printable archive.

One of the best archiving solutions for photographers is PhotoShelter, a digital asset management (DAM) system that allows you to store, organize, and share your images with clients. With PhotoShelter, you can keep and back up your pictures and add metadata to them, making them easily searchable and discoverable by clients. This metadata stays with the photos and can be transitioned to any DAM system, making the archiving process seamless for clients.

Moreover, PhotoShelter offers a range of services to clients, including printing, downloads at different resolutions, and even online galleries for clients to share their images with friends and family. By providing this service to your clients, you enhance their experience and strengthen your relationship with them.

Furthermore, by helping your clients transition to their online system using PhotoShelter, you establish yourself as a reliable and knowledgeable professional. You can guide and support them during the transition, ensuring their images are safe and secure.

In summary, archiving services are crucial for photographers who want to offer their clients a complete package. Using a DAM system like PhotoShelter, you can provide a convenient, searchable, and secure archiving solution offering additional services like printing and sharing. And by helping your clients transition to using their online system, you establish yourself as a trusted professional who values their clients’ memories and experiences.

The Importance of Written Correspondence with Clients

In the digital age, written correspondence with clients is more important than ever. Whether you’re a freelancer, small business owner, or work for a large corporation, clear and concise written communication is critical to building and maintaining strong client relationships.

Responding to Requests

One of the most important aspects of written correspondence is responding to client requests promptly. Whether it’s an email, a phone call, or a message on social media, clients expect a timely response to their inquiries. Failure to respond promptly can lead to lost business and damage your reputation.

Cover Letters, Proposals, Invoices, and Deliverables

Cover letters, proposals, invoices, and deliverables are all essential documents that should be written professionally and carefully. Cover letters and proposals should be tailored to the specific client and project, highlighting your strengths and demonstrating your understanding of the client’s needs. Invoices should be clear and detailed, outlining the work completed and the costs involved. Finally, deliverables should be well-written and polished, reflecting the high-quality work that you’ve done for your client.

Event Coverage

Suppose you’re providing a service, such as photography or videography, for a client’s event. In that case, checking in with them before the event to confirm your attendance and review any last-minute details is essential. This ensures that you’re both on the same page and helps avoid misunderstandings on the event day.

The Role of AI in Business Correspondence

Today, many tools are available to help improve the quality of your written correspondence. AI-powered writing assistants like Chat Open AI can help you find the right tone and style for your message. Grammarly is a grammar and spell-checking software that can help you catch errors and ensure your writing is polished and professional.

In conclusion, written correspondence with clients is essential to building and maintaining strong client relationships and responding to requests promptly; writing professional cover letters, proposals, invoices, and deliverables and touching base before events are all critical aspects of business correspondence. With the help of AI-powered writing assistants and grammar software like Chat Open AI and Grammarly, improving the quality of your written communication has never been easier. So why not use these tools today to take your business correspondence to the next level?

The Evolution of Digital Cameras: From DSLR to Mirrorless

[NIKON D3, 122.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4500, 1/1000, ƒ/5, (35mm = 240)]

As a professional photographer, I have seen the evolution of digital cameras over the past two decades. Looking back at the photos I took with my first DSLR, the Nikon D100, I noticed the images at the upper end of the ISO range often looked soft and had motion blur. This is because the camera had a sensitivity range of ISO 200-1600, and anything above ISO 800 pushed it as far as a clean image.

Not Sharp Due to Shutter Speed [NIKON D100, 24.0-120.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 800, 1/10, ƒ/5, (35mm = 90)]

It was common to shoot at slow shutter speeds to capture photos with available light, and if you used flash, the background would go black. But with my Nikon D3, which had a sensitivity range of ISO 200-6400, I was comfortably shooting at ISO 12800 with better results than previous models at ISO 800. This was a considerable change; the most significant difference regarding available light was my Nikon upgrades.

Rodney Bullard, executive director of S. Truett Cathy Foundation; Jon Bridges, Senior Vice President – Chief Marketing Officer for Chick-fil-A; and Vince Dooley, former head football coach and athletic director for the University of Georgia at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game between Oregon vs. Georgia on September 3, 2022. [NIKON Z 9, VR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 25600, 1/4000, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 32)] FYI, the camera was set up for action sports and not for grip and grins, but I love this shows you how good ISO 25600 looks on the Nikon Z9.

Today, with my Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera, I can get good images at ISO 25600. The increased ISO sensitivity has let me raise my shutter speed, resulting in sharp images without motion blur. In addition, the dynamic range and noise have all improved.

The one thing that helped the most for Nikon’s DSLRs was moving to a full-size sensor, which helped with ISO and noise. The camera sensors also got better at rendering color with each new camera, and the auto white balance improved, but I still prefer the custom white balance.

“I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.”

Marty McFly from Back to the Future

However, the shift from DSLRs to mirrorless cameras has brought a new wave of technology that requires some getting used to. As a result, some people post on social media about being disappointed with their new cameras. Still, most of the issues are due to needing to read the manual or watch tutorial videos.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl 2022 [NIKON Z 9, NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 12800, 1/2000, ƒ/5.3, (35mm = 300)]

Another significant improvement in camera technology over the past 20 years has been in autofocus. The autofocus systems in DSLR cameras have improved significantly over time, but the move to mirrorless cameras has taken autofocus to a new level. Mirrorless cameras use a different autofocus technology, allowing for more precise and faster autofocus. This technology relies on contrast and phase detection, which work together to provide incredibly accurate autofocus, especially in low-light situations. Mirrorless cameras also have more autofocus points, making tracking moving subjects and maintaining focus easier. Additionally, many mirrorless cameras have advanced features like Eye Detection autofocus, which can detect and focus on a subject’s eyes, even when moving. Overall, autofocus technology has come a long way, and the advancements in mirrorless cameras have made it easier to capture sharp, well-focused images.

As with any new technology, learning how to use it effectively takes time. YouTube has helped many people know how to use their technology, but the problem is that you must watch and learn.

In conclusion, the quality of images delivered today by digital cameras is far superior to what was possible ten or twenty years ago. The technology has improved to capture sharper images with better color and dynamic range with less noise. But to fully take advantage of these improvements, learning how to use new cameras properly is essential.

March Madness: More Than Just a Basketball Tournament

March Madness is one of the most exciting times for basketball fans, and for a good reason. The thrill of watching underdog teams compete with the best of the best to win it all is unmatched. But beyond the excitement of the tournament lies a deeper meaning to the game of basketball. It teaches us valuable lessons about life, and we can learn from some of the greatest players and coaches in the sport.

Bobby Cremins Cremins assisted former NBA coach Lenny Wilkens in the American basketball team’s appearance in the Summer Olympic Games of 1996 in Atlanta. This team was the second of the “Dream Teams” in the Olympic Games, and it featured such NBA stars as Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Reggie Miller, Shaquille O’Neal, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, and John Stockton, several of whom were returning for their second Olympic Games basketball tournament. This “Dream Team” was undefeated in the Olympic basketball tournament, of course, and it defeated the second-place Yugoslavian team, 95–69, in the championship game to win the gold medal.

One such coach is Bobby Cremins, who has significantly impacted the Georgia Tech basketball program. His coaching philosophy emphasizes hard work, discipline, teamwork, and character, all of which have contributed to his success and the success of his players. In addition, his love for the game and his unwavering enthusiasm has inspired many, and his influence is a testament to the power of basketball to teach us valuable life lessons.

Stephan Marbury, the point guard for Georgia Tech, scores on Clemson. Clemson would defeat Tech 73 – 70 due to two missed three-point attempts by Marbury on Jan 30, 1996.

As we watch March Madness unfold, let us remember the love of the game and the lessons it teaches us. Michael Jordan once famously said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” This quote speaks to the resilience and persistence required to be successful in basketball and life.

Chris Bosh, their second-leading scorer, struggled and finished with 13. He’s been in a funk of late, shooting only 33 percent in the past four games. ”In the first half of the season, I was getting a lot of one-on-one coverage, and I had a lot of open looks,” Bosh said. ”Any coach that sees that will make sure it doesn’t happen. I’ll have to try to stick to the game plan better and turn this around.” February 20, 2003.

John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, believed basketball was not life’s ultimate goal. Instead, he stressed the importance of teamwork and playing for a higher purpose, emphasizing hard work, discipline, and character. These lessons can be applied to our daily lives as we learn to work hard, persevere, and overcome obstacles like basketball teams do.

Beyond the lessons taught by great coaches and players, basketball also teaches us the importance of teamwork. Trusting in each other’s abilities, supporting each other, and working towards a common goal are all valuable skills that can be applied to many areas of life.

Tennessee State forward Jerrell Houston (3) drives on Georgia Tech forward Zachery Peacock (35) during the second half of NCAA college basketball gameplay at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008, in Atlanta. Georgia Tech won 63-58.

As we watch March Madness unfold, let us celebrate the love of the game and the lessons it teaches us. Let us strive to work hard, persevere, and succeed in everything we do, just as the players and coaches on the court do. And let us remember that basketball is more than just a game; it teaches valuable life lessons that can help us succeed in all areas of our lives.

Capturing the Essence of Corporate Events: A Guide for Event Photographers

Caption: Bob White and Joanna Benson Spencer reconnect at the Roswell Fire Department’s Ole Timers Dinner at Station #24 on February 28, 2023. This event has occurred with Oyster Stew served each year for over sixty years. However, this is the first event in a couple of years due to COVID restrictions.

I just did a coverage yesterday for the Roswell Fire Department’s Ole Timers Annual Dinner; the photos in the blog are from that event. Event photography is an art, and it’s not just about capturing the elements of the event but also the emotions, moments, and personalities of the attendees.

Capturing the attendees’ emotions and interactions is crucial when covering a corporate event. A great event photographer should anticipate moments and be ready to capture shots that can convey the mood and emotions of the event. These candid shots help showcase the attendees’ personalities and relationships, creating an album that reflects the true spirit of the event.

It’s also essential for an event photographer to communicate with their clients to understand their expectations. Often, clients want to have a large group photo taken. As an event photographer, it’s essential to know how to manage a large group of people, find the right spot, and ensure everyone is in the correct position.

Roswell Fire Department Ole Timers’ Dinner


To ensure your photos are searchable online, it’s essential to keyword them with relevant and specific terms. This way, your photos will appear in the search results when someone searches for a particular topic or event. While it may be impossible to keyword everyone’s name, be sure to get those who are the speakers or in leadership roles. Additionally, include relevant keywords such as the event name, location, and date to improve searchability.

In conclusion, event photography requires more than just capturing the elements of the event. It’s about capturing the attendees’ emotions, moments, and personalities, which help tell the event’s story. A great event photographer anticipates moments, pays attention to the interactions between the guests, and communicates with their clients to meet their expectations. Finally, keyword your photos for online searchability and increased exposure.

Here is a link to all the photos