Where is the “B” [Business] button on my camera?

Many who first buy a camera put their camera on the Green “P” button or like on this camera the Green Camera. That is the mode where the camera does all the thinking for you.

Soon you realize to get the results that you were looking for you have to tell the camera what to do. This is when you start to learn what M, A, S and the other settings on that dial do other than the green camera or even the P mode.

When photographers start trying to make a living at this they look for the green “B” mode for their camera. They want a simple business mode that thinks for them and tell them what they need to do to be successful.

If they are not careful on some camera models the B mode is actually standing for “bulb” and that is another discussion for another day.

What prompted this blog post was a Facebook post.

Facebook post question: What is it that editors, photo buyers and parents are sick of the most as far as buying photos?

My first response: Photographer over explaining their prices. Just tell us the price. Give me a low, medium and high price option and let me pick.

Facebook response: Are you talking about editors parents or both?

My response: Everyone

Facebook Response: I just got fotobiz X. Is there a way to package that for people?

My long response:

Yes there is. The software is really designed for editorial, freelancers who do B2B verses B2C. However you can create your own price items. It doesn’t create a price list that you hand to people. It is used to create estimates and invoices.

I notice you and many others post a lot of detailed questions that really cannot be adequately answered on a Facebook or even blog post. Those questions about business are often show some lack of understanding of business practices.

This is quite common in photography. People take up photography and most realize at some point that putting their camera on “P” doesn’t mean professional photos.

The learning curve then becomes quite steep as they go from pointing and shooting to making the camera see the way they want it to see. Most will spend some money on classes or workshops.

Once you then decide to charge for your services and try to make money doing photography you quickly realize the “B” setting on trying to run your business doesn’t work. Well it is even more difficult than photography because there is no “B” setting.

You really need to take a class in business practices for the profession. You can pay a photographer with more than 3 years of experience that is successful to help you get started. I recommend talking to photographers who are members of ASMP.org or PPA.com. Both of these organizations have business practices at the core of the reason they were formed.

Because where you live can also impact how you run your business due to tax laws you also then need to talk to an accountant and an attorney. Each of the organizations have a list of those who work with photographers. Nothing can be worst than making money and then finding out that you owe more taxes because you didn’t do something right.

In most communities there is the US Small Business Administration that offers many classes for free. They want you to be successful. here is where you can find out more about their “FREE” help https://www.sba.gov/.

Going back to your original question that started this thread. You basically have asked about two types of businesses, one is business to business model and the other is business to customer.

Talking to a customer who is part of the industry [i.e. editor at publication] is totally different than talking to someone not a part of the industry [i.e. a mother wanting photos of the family]. One person hires photographers regularly and will talk a lot differently about hiring you.

While you can create a basic price list for services, in this industry you will find yourself having to create custom estimates pretty often. It is much easier to do when you understand the how you create a price for a service.

You have to know how much you have to bring home to cover your base. You know your phone, rent, gear, software, marketing materials and more are always ongoing expenses to run your business. You must know this number and if you don’t you cannot create a price for anything. You don’t even know what you must charge to break even.

99% of every photographer I have ever helped that came to me about business practices was losing money on every job. They were actually paying most people to shoot for them, but because they didn’t know what their bottom line was to run their business they were charging most of the time 50% or more lower than the price that they needed to break even.

Here is a blog post I wrote talking about just getting to know your expenses.

Here is a blog post on tips on price estimating.

FREE is not necessary for photographer with a portfolio

[Nikon D750, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 125, ƒ/1.4, 1/100]
One of the best ways for restaurants to get you to buy their food is to sample it. Walk through almost any malls food court and one of the restaurants is giving out samples. When you have low market awareness with your food then you have to do something to get people to know you exist and what you offer is good.

Now photographers don’t have to give their photos away for people to know what they will get if they purchase a photo from you. They can look at your portfolio and it serves the same purpose.

Successful business model is one that is a win-win deal for all involved. The problem for most people starting out in business is they don’t know what they don’t know.

The devil doesn’t come dressed in pointy horns. He comes in everything you wished for …

Drug dealers give free samples to get you hooked. They don’t work in back alleys all the time. Today many are selling what appear to be legitimate prescription drugs. There are even doctors who have been doing this because it is so lucrative to them because of the kickbacks they get from drug companies.

When most successful business start out they hired lawyers, accountants and other experts to help guide them so they would be successful.

When you start out I cannot recommend enough getting expert help. One of the best photography organizations I know is ASMP [American Society of Media Photographers]. I have been a member since 1987.

The group was founded to help represent magazine photographers in matters of wages and working conditions. Those early years ASMP was acting as a union for photographers. While today it isn’t a union the purpose of ASMP at its core is to help photographers be successful businesses.

Remember Groupon? Businesses thought that giving super discount to get customers in their doors would have them later pay full price. A study by Lightspeed Research shows that 63% of Groupons are purchased by existing customers. … Sucking value out of the small business market will ultimately damage the local merchants that are the bread and butter of Groupon’s base. Groupon’s model is not sustainable.

Now if Groupon which is a discounted price sucks value our of small business what do you think of Unsplash?

Beautiful, free photos.
Gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers.

Remember photographers do not have to give photos away like you see in a mall’s food court. They can show their images on websites or displays. People can get a taste of what you offer without you giving anything away.

Remember: “Successful business model is one that is a win-win deal for all involved.

Mikael Cho is a graphic designer who was solving “his problem” when he started UnSplash.

Mikael’s problem was that when he needed samples for an idea he was working on he realized that when he went to Google Images he couldn’t just use those images. Not sure exactly how he knew that those were copyrighted and not for free, but I am guessing it would be similar to others who start out. They made mistake and someone pointed out you cannot do that without paying for the images.

By the way Mikael had his bills paid by another way it appears than graphic design. He thinks of himself as an artist. He just wants to create and share.

This is great if you have a job. Then your creativity is a hobby and not a career. The problem is that Mikael sucked people who want to do this for a career into his creative vortex.

Mikael seems to be talking as an artist. I have heard this many times before. Usually in the past I would then hear they don’t want to “sell out.” Wikipedia defines: “Selling out” is a common idiomatic pejorative expression for the compromising of a person’s integrity, morality, authenticity, or principles in exchange for personal gain, such as money.[1] In terms of music or art, selling out is associated with attempts to tailor material to a mainstream or commercial audience; for example, a musician who alters his material to encompass a wider audience, and in turn generates greater revenue, may be labeled by fans who pre-date the change as a “sellout.” A sellout also refers to someone who gives up, or disregards, hence the term ‘sells’ – someone or something – for some other thing or person.

Simply put, you can’t live out your purpose if you aren’t selling and that’s why sales is a critical skill for artists to develop.

Even if you don’t participate in Unsplash and give your images away you should be very concerned. You cannot stay in business if your clients can get what you could provide through a “FREE” service like Unsplash.

All working photographers need to educate the public and especially those who are trying to be photographers on the pitfalls of highly discounting their work or giving it away for free.

I understand shooting your first wedding for a friend to get samples to show for a portfolio. You do have to do some work for free to create a portfolio, but once you have examples you no longer have to do free to show what customers can expect when they hire you.

Your goal as a successful business should be to have customers who are willing to pay full price and come back to you over and over.

7 Tips for the financially struggling photographer

A few weeks ago I had a Facebook friend request. It was another photographer. Now this scenario has happened more than just once for me. I want to walk you through what happened and what I want to share with those photographers who are struggling financially.

Since I didn’t recognize the name I went to his profile and clicked on his “About” section. Here you can see my information.

Now little did he know that I wasn’t just a photographer, but I hire photographers throughout the year for a few of my clients. I act as a director of photography role as well as other roles for those corporations.

I was looking for a few things that I feel like show me you are a successful professional photographer who is growing their business.

Do you have a way for me to contact you other than Facebook? I like to see three things: 1) phone number, 2) email, & 3) website.

It wasn’t long in our messaging that he said something like he is struggling as a freelancer because his market is over saturated.

When I asked if he had a website he said I need to work on that. He even said he knew that was important.

7 Tips to get more jobs

1 Get a website. You don’t have to know much at all to make this work. You can go to WordPress [https://wordpress.com] and create one for free. You can also go to places like PhotoShelter [www.photoshelter.com], Godaddy [https://www.godaddy.com/] and many other places that cater to photographers.

2 Create a domain name. I recommend Godaddy, but there are others. This is where you create your personalized web address. A .com address runs about $12 a year, but if you buy it for many years the price drops. You basically rent these addresses. You can also “mask” your website domain name with your custom domain name.

3 Create email with your domain name. I have actually had so many email addresses through the years that I cannot remember them all. I started with Compuserve and it was a number. The cool thing is once you own your domain name you can “mask” your @gmail.com address to be me@yourdomainname.com. People send you email to your address and it actually can go to your @gmail.com address. The advantage here is that in 20 years when Google goes out of business or is bought and the email address changes to all your customers and prospects you are still me@yourdomainname.com.

Back of Card
Front of Business Card

4 Create business card. Be sure your card has: 1) your name, 2) phone number, 3) email address, 4) website address, 5) your town & 6) your specialty. You want people to find you but you don’t have to put your street address on there to advertise to people where all your camera gear is located. You do want people to know if you are close by for an assignment. Don’t put just photographer on the card. That is as useful as putting human on the card. Put what you are the very best at doing on your card.

5 Buy business software. I recommend to photographers Cradoc’s FotoBiz. It will help you with creating cover letters, creating estimates & invoices and tracking of your receivables and payables. It also includes FotoQuote, the industry standard pricing guide for freelance photographers.

6 Create a home budget. This should be the very first thing you do. You cannot know what to charge if you don’t know what you need to pay your household bills. Once you have created a home budget that takes into account everything you spend money on during a year from rent, food, and the basics; it should also include things like vacations and retirement as well.

When done celebrate! This is what I would call the foundation for your business.

7 Last step is a Marketing Plan. In a nutshell this is where you will identify all those potential customers who need your specialty.

Rule-of-thumb marketing. If you contact 1,000 contacts only about 100 of these will be interested in your services. That means that 900 have various reasons that they are not interested. The reasons they are not interested run from every thing from they has someone they are happy with or that your style of work doesn’t mesh with their style.

Out of the remaining 100 only 10 will hire you. Again there are many factors here. The best way to put this is 90 are willing to date you, but not marry you.

No matter what you are doing, you are marketing yourself. Either you are helping your brand or hurting it. When you meet new people how many know that you are a photographer?

Since I used the marriage metaphor earlier, your marketing should be like the process you find your mate. You are working on building a relationship. So the first time you meet someone you don’t ask him or her to marry you. Also you need to be clear that you want to date or you never make it clear that you are interested.

I have written many articles on marketing that you can search for on my blog here.

I hope this has given you some things that can turn your lack of getting work into the road to prosperity.

Go to Lens combination: Nikon 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 & Nikon 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6

Impact 360 Institute’s Campus Expansion
Dedication [Nikon D5, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 2200, ƒ/8, 1/100]
One of the types of photography I do a great deal of for clients is the event coverage. This is the type of coverage that you are capturing the photos with available light and an occasional on camera flash for a quick grip and grin.

Impact 360 Institute’s Campus Expansion
Dedication [Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/500]
In these situations you need to go as wide as possible to pretty close up. I find that the Nikon 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 is the best lens for capturing those super wide and wide angle shots.

Impact 360 Institute’s Campus Expansion
Dedication [Nikon D5, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 5000, ƒ/8, 1/100]
With a new campus dedication I needed to show tour groups going through and around the new campus. I used the 14 -24mm to capture the room interiors with people to give a sense of perspective and to capture as much of the room as possible.

Now I was also using the 28-300mm because I was needing to capture moderate to telephoto shots of people around the campus and the speakers at a podium.

Larry Cox
Impact 360 Institute’s Campus Expansion
Dedication [Nikon D5, 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 11400, ƒ/8, 1/200]
Now this lens combination works great for just about any situation. Now for a smaller venue I am often using the Sigma 24-105mm ƒ/4 when I just want to carry one camera.

Impact 360 Institute’s Campus Expansion
Dedication [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/400]
If you are to cover things where you have speakers an need to capture rooms where you cannot back up enough then the 14-24mm and 28-300mm lenses will help you do a great job.

I am also loving my Fuji X series cameras and lenses. I am finding shooting with the Fuji X-E2/X-E3 with the 10-24mm and the 55-200mm lenses will give you a similar lens coverage.

Fuji X-E3, 10-24mm ƒ/4, ISO 10000, ƒ/4, 1/200]

The Fuji is much lighter system than the Nikon.

[Fujifilm X-E3, 55-200mm, ISO 1250, ƒ/5.6, 1/1000 – Flashpoint Zoom Li-on R2 TTL & Flashpoint R2 TTL transmitter]
It is much easier to walk around at an event all day with the Fuji system.

I haven’t tried the Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS. I would love to try this with some high school football games to see if it could work. However, I am super confident with the Nikon D5 & Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 with the TC-2001 converter keeping up with the action.

I am also more pleased with the Nikon D5 having microphone and headphone jacks for recording video. The Nikon D5 is the camera system that does it all and really my only complaint is the weight.

My recommendation is to have lenses for covering events that are at least 20mm wide to 30mm for a full-frame camera. As far as a camera I cannot see ever buying a camera today that doesn’t have ISO of at least 51200 and the low of 100. This will let you shoot in almost every situation without the need of a flash. The reasons I use my flash today are to add light to improve the photo where often there is no light.

Shooting events requires you to be ready for just about everything, so be sure you have the lenses, camera and flash to do deliver for the client.

Don’t raise Cain in your business

Story of Cain and Abel [Fujifilm X-E3, 18-55mm, ISO 1000, ƒ/4, 1/200]
Yesterday when I was in my Sunday School class we were studying the story of Cain and Abel. While I have read this story over and over since a little child each time I come to the scripture a little differently. Life experiences and where I am in life really can impact one’s perspective.

Reading this as a business owner I saw this in a new light. I thought of how I see this story lived out in business every day.

Just read the story with a customer being God and while Cain and Abel are two freelancers giving estimates to get a job.

Genesis 4:1-15

4 Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.

While discussing this passage in our class I was struck by why God didn’t treat both Cain and Abels gifts equally. The scripture doesn’t say why he treated them the way he did.

You would think God should treat them equally.

I can think of many Christmas and birthdays where opening a present I was disappointed or one of my family/friends were disappointed with a present. It was always important in my circles that you were appreciative for the gift.

So I can get why God might like one gift more than the other, I am that way. Our customers and potential clients also have reasons they pick one vendor over another and they don’t always tell you why.

Instead of dealing directly with God over his gift Cain got angry with his brother Abel. Sound familiar. We often are upset with our competition.

Instead of taking our anger out on others we need to work on ourselves. We need to remember there is always a next time. Maybe not with that client, but with another.

Maybe you are like Cain and realize you only have  “fruits of the soil” as a farmer and not an animal to sacrifice because you are a farmer and not the cowboy. Don’t be shortsighted and think the only way you can win a contract is to take out your competition. [You could be just talking about your competition in a bad way to the customer.]

Look at what you have to offer and do everything you can to be sure that your presentation of your gifts is as good as the gifts themselves.

Focus on your Audience’s Needs. … As you prepare the presentation, you always need to bear in mind what the audience needs and wants to know, not what you can tell them. While you’re giving the presentation, you also need to remain focused on your audience’s response, and react to that.

Face Expressions – The Nuance For Great Photos

The Summerall Guards perform during half time at the football game during Parent’s Weekend at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 1000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Knowing your subject gives you insights to what makes a better photo than just any photo.

My son was a Summerall Guard at the Citadel in the class of 2011. During this time I took more photos of them performing and started to see these moments that I thought gave you insights into how they communicate during a silent drill.

The Summerall Guards perform during half time at the football game during Parent’s Weekend at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 450, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
One thing I noticed was the face expressions showed them counting to themselves or when they breathed loudly so those around them would hear. This let them all know if they were together in their counts and their moves.

The Summerall Guards perform during half time at the football game during Parent’s Weekend at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 450, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
The Summerall Guard was formed in 1932. Membership is considered a high honor at the military college. The platoon’s purpose is to exemplify, through a unique series of movements based on the old German close order drill, the exactness and thoroughness with which a cadet is trained. The drill, is performed to a silent count. Each year’s Guards take responsibility for teaching the next year’s unit the precise drill.

The Citadel’s (19) Dominique Allen quarterback passes while Mercer’s (23) Will Coneway Line Backer defends in game during Parent’s Weekend in Charleston, SC. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 2000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
In sports very similar predictable moments happen as well. I know that if I am covering a team like The Citadel they are trying to get to the goal that they are facing. So even on defense if a fumble or interception happens the players will try and go towards the goal.

The Citadel’s (29) Grant Drakeford A-Back is tackled by Mercer’s (3) Stphen Houzah Defensive Back during game in Charleston, SC. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 900, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
I like to stand or kneel in the endzone which they are going so that I can see their faces. If I am on the sideline I sometimes get their faces, but when I am face on to them the percentage of photos with their faces seems to be a lot better for photos.

The Citadel’s (42) Brandon Berry B-Back is tackled by Mercer’s (6) Jamar Hall Defensive back during game on Parent’s Weekend in Charleston, SC. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 1600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Their extra effort on the play will be them lunging towards the goal line, which is where I am standing.

The Citadel’s (62) Jonathan Cole Offensive Line makes a hole for (42) Brandon Berry B-Back while Mercer’s (95) Blake Oliveira Defensive Lineman reaches for tackle during game in Charleston, SC. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 1100, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
The holes that the offensive linemen are creating for the running backs is facing that goal line.

The Citadel’s (18) Cam Jackson A-Back is tackled by Mercer’s (5) Malique Flemming Defensive Back pursues him during game for Parent’s Weekend in Charleston, SC. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 1400, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Even if they are stopped, which is most of the time, the expression on their faces shows that often they are putting it all on the line. This type of a tackle photo when the guy just got a first down works well on sports pages.

As you can see in both the examples of the Citadel cadets that if they are on the Summerall Guards or if they are playing a sport it is the face expression that draws the audience into the photograph.

What you are wanting to show as the photographer is the effort and one of the best ways to capture this is in the expressions.

Go here to see more of my photos from The Citadel during Parent’s Weekend.

By the way were were at The Citadel due to request for my wife Dorie Griggs to preach on Sunday. Here is her message if you would like to hear it.

Who has your back?

[Nikon D2X, Sigma 18-50mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/320]
If you are a freelancer or a business owner you might be like me and wake up in the middle of the night sweating from anxiety of how will I pay my bills this month. There is nothing on the books for a while and you wonder will the phone ring again or will you get an email.

Matthew 6:25-34

25 I tell you not to worry about your life. Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing? 26 Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds?

27 Can worry make you live longer?[a] 28 Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don’t work hard to make their clothes. 29 But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth[b] wasn’t as well clothed as one of them. 30 God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith?

31 Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?” 32 Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. 33 But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.

34 Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.

So I know that scripture and still I wake up in a cold sweat. My main concern is how to get a paying job from a client or potential client. This is the core issue.

[Nikon D2X, Sigma 18-50mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 100, ƒ/2.8, 1/200]
One of the best things about being young was not having these worries. My parents carried those worries for me. I went out and played with my friends.

I think the key to solving the “cold sweats” at night are the same keys to building strong friendships.

One of the coolest things I can remember growing up was when someone knocked on the door and wanted to play with me. Today I still enjoy it when a friend calls me up and asks me to play golf with them.

This feeling of euphoria is one of the most powerful emotions.

[Nikon D2X, Sigma 18-50mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 400, ƒ/2.8, 1/80]
What was even better than just having a friend knock on my door was the invitation to do something that they had already made plans. Do you want to go bowling? Some of the best memories are when I had a friend who was creating an experience for me and asked me to join them.

One way to have your “cold sweat” disappear is the client to call with a project. That solves my problem right away. This does happen, but what I have found that solves this problem more than receiving a request is to be just like that friend of mine knocking on the door asking me if I wanted to go out on the lake in their boat for skiing.

You see, most all of your clients also have those “cold sweats” of some sort. They need ideas as well.

Solve your clients problem and you will solve your own

What is your client’s problem? This takes a lot of time to figure out. Steve Jobs solved problems for the world. One of the first problems he solved was a way to carry around a lot of music and help musicians sell their music through the iPod and iTunes.

Another problem Steve Jobs solved was needing a computer with you all the time to be able to solve problems at a moments notice. The iPhone allowed you to search the web right in the palm of your hand.

[Nikon D2X, 20-200mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 4100, ƒ/2.8, 1/80]
You need to put your clients first and success will find you. Once you have clients it is much easier to get to know them and learn what their needs are than if they are prospects.

If you do a great job of providing a solution to their problems that you can provide then you are on the way to a profitable career.

Not every solution should involve you. If you are truly concerned for a client there are times that you just will give your client a solution that doesn’t involve you directly.  When you do this on a regular basis rather than just one time you will be communicating that you are really looking out for their best interests over your own.

By not always coming to a client with solutions that only you can fulfill but others are better at meeting those needs you become the fixer for them. They will be more likely to listen to you more than if the only time you are coming to them you are the solution.

[Nikon D2X, Sigma 18-50mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 400, ƒ/4, 1/640]
When you are the person calling your clients with ideas for their problems, you are just like the friend knocking on their door asking them to come and join you on an adventure.

Mac Users tips on Sharing files with PCs

USB Drive

This is written for Mac users. I have found that when it comes to formating a USB drive or even an external hard drive that you intend to share with PC users it is important to know there are many ways you can choose to format the drive.

I will walk you through the steps here which will let you easily share your files with anyone and if they want to they can add files to the drive to give back to you. We had to do this for our Storyteller Abroad Workshops where we had a mixture of Macs and PCs used in the workshop.

We wanted to share photos and videos so we could use this in b-roll and we needed to have everyone’s Adobe Premier project completely saved to a hard drive that we could open on the instructors computers to fix if needed later or if we need to change something due to changes in the storyline.

In your toolbar pick the Launchpad.

Then select “Other” folder.

Inside that folder is “Disk Utility” that you want to select. Another way to select this is to go to Spotlight and type in Disk Utility.

When it launches it you will then go and highlight your drive that you want to format on the left column.

Then in the top center of the menu click on “Erase”.

Name your drive and then click on “Format” so you can see all the options.

You want to pick “ExFAT”.

Next be sure you pick the scheme of “Master Boot Record” as well. The problem is that Apple defaults new partitions to GUID, which is bootable on a new Mac. But Windows can’t read it. You have to manually choose MBR (Master Boot Record) as the partition type, which is bootable in Windows, and then format as exFAT.

Sometimes you might get an error after it attempts to format the drive. Try it a second time and it usually works.

Now you can share your files using a USB drive or hard drive with your clients.

I suggest using this format all the time so that you never get the call that the client cannot open your USB Jump Drive or Hard Drive.

Use flash like garlic – A little goes a long way

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/125 – Neewer TT850 flash, Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger, MagMod Magsphere]
I am one of my favorite customers Raving Fan. For the past 13 years Chick-fil-A has taken one day a year for customer appreciation day. However the cows like to call it “Cow Appreciation Day.”

Being a Raving Fan of Chick-fil-A I wanted my photos to stand out and show my enthusiasm for the brand.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 560, ƒ/4, 1/100 – Neewer TT850 flash, Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger, MagMod Magsphere]
Now everyone is taking photos with their phones and point and shoots of the day. I am competing with thousands of photos. How do you make your photos stand out and look “different”?

The best way I have found is to use a flash off at 45º of the camera axis to create a pleasing light. It also helps color correct giving you excellent skin tones.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/6.3, 1/200 – Neewer TT850 flash, Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger, MagMod Magsphere]
Here is the setup where my assistant is holding the off camera flash for me.

Using the flash helps in so many ways. I do not have raccoon eyes from the sun overhead and getting the skin color just right is equivalent to singing in tune.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 140, ƒ/2, 1/100 – Neewer TT850 flash, Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger, MagMod Magsphere]
I am using the flash inside and outside. Also I am just adding the flash to about +1 Stop above the existing light. Sometimes a little less. If you are just above the existing light level the flash can help color correct any color cast.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/6.3, 1/200 – Neewer TT850 flash, Neewer 433MHz Wireless 16 Channel Flash Remote Trigger, MagMod Magsphere]
One more thing that might not be apparent, but I am not lighting the entire scene. I am just adding a little light to the subject only. The backgrounds are all lighted by other light source than my flash.

If you want to make your photos stand out just add a little light to the subject, because just like seasoning a little light goes a long way.

Here is all the gear I used for the photo shoot. All of these links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a commission from any purchases made using the affiliate link. This is at no additional cost to you.

Nikon D5
 Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4
Neewer TT860
Neewer Radio remote

MagMod Basic Kit – v3


How to identify people in large group photos and projects

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 100, ƒ/9, 1/80 – (2) Alienbees B1600 for fill]
Yesterday I did a few large group photos. The editors needed identification of everyone in these group photos. Within Lightroom you can go to “People” and it will search for all the faces and using face recognition software similar to how Facebook works.

While Lightroom helps you with “face recognition” you still have to get everyone’s names. For an earlier post on how Lightroom “face recognition works here is that blog post.

Here is a link to Adobe Lightroom and PhotoShop software:


By the way I just made the photo with all the people’s names in it big in Lightroom and did a screen grab. In addition to putting the information in the IPTC I also gave them this photo for them to see the identification.

[Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 360, ƒ/1.8, 1/200]
I had each person print their name on a 3.5″ x 5″ card with a Sharpie. Then I made a quick headshot of each person.

[Nikon D5, 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 140, ƒ/1.8, 1/200]
After they held up the card I had them put it by their side and did a couple of very quick headshots. I gave all these also to the client. It is a bonus for them, but I needed it to help me to identify people in all the photos.

I also needed everyone to fill out a Model Release. Here is the short form I use on a card stock.

My assistant hands out pens and the cards to make all this go really fast. I use the Software fotoBiz to create the model releases. It comes with the wording as well for the model release. This is a link to the software. I am an affiliate and the revenue from sales helps support this blog.

I hope these tips can help you the next time you need to identify a large number of people quickly in your group photos.