an Iguana found me

This is just one more example of a fact to me that there is a divineintervention in my life. Recently I got the call again from a majorpublication that is interested in possibly a feature about my backyardproject. I won't mention the name (ng), but will say it will be a very cool part of my life.

Only problem for me though was I hadn't photographed a backyard creature in a while. It just seemed to dry up. I do feel like I send out radio waves that attract these things. How else can I explain that this giant 6 foot long Iguana appear out of no where. He showed up this morning right next to the porch. We had one apple in the house and a bag of carrots we were going to throw away. Anna cut them into pieces and we started tossing them to him. Because these guys can be very rough if threatened I chose to try not to catch him, but let him come into the house on his own. After about a few minutes of coaxing him to our open door, he just walked right on in. I was a little unprepared for this (mostly because I wasn't thinking he would come in), but I set up my Elinchrom Ranger RX battery kit with two S heads. One with a soft box and another with a grid reflector for some backlight. Because I didn't think I would have much time with him, I didn't even set up stands and just rested the lights on the floor or a nearby chair. As a backdrop, I used two pieces of giant 4x8 black foam core, cut to fold in half. He had no problem walking onto it and posing for me. As long as there was some carrots to occupy him.

Actually it was pretty freaky how good he was. Almost as if he was
modeling for me. Watch the video Anna shot of the event here.

What to learn from this? Take advantage of every opportunity God gives
you. No matter how trivial it may be. Don't get lazy. Just create.
This has to be one of the coolest shoots from this project yet.

Of course I could have done without the Iguana leaving a human sized
poop on my foam core, but I can't complain.


Saw this on Ian Summers' blog and had to post it. It is very real and exciting. Just think about our parents and them saying, "If I only knew to invest in this or that company way back when..." Well, here we are on the edge of a shift and seeing the ones that are succeeding. What are you waiting for?

A conversation with Dave Moser

Recently I had a conversation with a friend, Dave Moser. Dave is a photographer based in Philadelphia and strong supporter of the ASMP. In fact it was he that pushed me to join and get involved. While we were on the phone I congratulated him on his latest marketing campaign and decided to ask him a few questions for a blog entry. Below is what he said.

A little background about Dave. He graduated #1 in his class from the University of Dayton with a BFA in 1990 and started full time in 94 after being the most booked assistant in Philly.

When you first started how did you do your marketing?
Marketing is something I have never really made enough time for. I was very fortunate to run a strong business based on word of mouth. I am now looking to grow my business and work more consistently with top creatives who hire based on style and collaboration rather then locale and price. In January 2008 I started consistent efforts by hiring a team to help. This has proven to be a great choice and I am now heavily involved directly with the marketing along with overseeing the team. The team consists of Ian Summers (coach), Anna Adesanya (marketing coordinator), David Samson of Adville (copywriter) and Partners Design (Design Firm). This allows me to wear less hats and do what I really love to do, take pictures! I have not only gained more time after delegating these things but have gained an enormous amount of energy as I am not bogged down with things that are not my strengths!

What influenced you to make changes (if any) to target very specific audiences? Unlike many others that apply a shotgun affect to their marketing.
I want to work for top creatives at Ad Agencies, Design Studios, and Magazines. I am less concerned with the "company" and more concerned with what I saw as great work from an individual. I am now seeking to build relationships with these individuals and looking to maintain them as they move from job to job. I believe this industry is about relationships (even more so then other industries) and this seems to be the best way of growing my business/marketing virally as well as keeping pace with such a transient industry.

What can you expect for the next year's efforts in marketing as we start to ease out of these 'tough times'?
I have received some really great unsolicited national press and really great feedback on my campaign but have been told that there has been very little work out there. Some of the strongest feedback has been about how memorable the campaign and my work is. With continued consistent efforts and follow up, I hope to be considered for the projects that are now starting to materialize. Just in the last three weeks work has picked up profoundly, and I attribute this to our marketing efforts.

What organization would you say helped you the most in your path to success as a photographer?
ASMP and Editorial Photographers. Since the beginning of the internet photographers are less likely to be islands and are more willing to share information. This has greatly empowered us as an industry. There is still much to learn from networking, thank you Aaron for this opportunity, and working together in numbers to insure the profitability and sustainability of our industry.

Anything else that you think a 'self-promoting photographer' should consider on their path?
I believe creatives are very interested in seeing our personal work and experiments along with our commissioned work. Our personal work shows not only where we are going but hopefully shows something new unique and exciting. This also provides a chance to expose them to our passion and why we entered and remain in photography.

Check out Dave's work at


Backyard project featured in October's Popular Photography magazine

October's issue of Popular Photography magazine is the Nature issue. So it is pretty much an honor to be presented so well in such a specific subject of a large magazine as this. Many thanks to Peter Kolonia for the text as well as Tim Barker who did the amazing illustration.

Click on the photo to see it larger.

A few questions with Matthew Pace

Matthew Pace is a corporate portrait and food photographer based in Miami, Florida. We know each other from the American Society of Media Photograpers (ASMP) where he is current South Florida chapter president. A wealth of knowledge and experience, Matthew is always willing to answer questions and mentor me when it comes to business and photography.
When I first transitioned from the Navy to the commercial world, moved to south florida and became a member of ASMP, he was one of the first to start helping me in getting on my feet. Here are just a few of the important questions I asked him when I first started.

Tell me a little about your websites and email blasts?

I have a few websites that feed off the main one. I also have 2 separate blogs that I sometime feature images on and talk about them or perhaps a subject that relates back to what I do. The blogs have some advantages over the websites but the drawback is, you need to blog regularly to keep them coming back. I send out email blasts to drive them to my blogs and sites but for the most part, I get clients from the searches they do.

Today's industry has changed slightly on usages of images and compensation to the photographers that license them. Tell me a bit about what you are seeing in the industry of usage.

The licensing has changed dramatically today...the fact that usage is web already says use..multi times..and perhaps in multi versions.  Space rates somehow don't seem to make sense to clients in this arena unless they are buying stock as in..a need for a banner ad. For your photography service, web usage seems to be a lumped thing. As for print ads, in the editorial market, usage is often determined by them as space rates. I do find however that work for hire is no longer an issue and I am seldom asked to do it. 

How do you go about coming up with prices for clients?

Pricing is always an issue. You have to determine your CODB (Cost Of Doing Business) and what you think is fair since there are no set rates,.Clients will fall into a few catagories...a direct client(consumer)..third party client( from an agency)..corporate client( represents a company dept.)...and editorial... 
Consumer clients basically shop...they have little clue and often small budgets.They start with.."How much would you charge?" they have little info to offer of what they need as well and require a lot of hand holding. But there are more of them to deal with.They are the small businesses that thanks to the internet can put up a store cheap. I generally ask where they have budgeted at and then try to work from there unless that job is simply not workable. Third party come to agency or designers with a round budget already established by them.The agency will try to get it under the mark to save on their end. Basically, they know how much to spend, it just matters on who.If you are a top name, they expect a known rate,as they are buying that name. At a lower end, they buy the service,talent understood otherwise they wouldn't be calling you. 
A corporate client, is spending company money and is often more flexible in budget.They have a give and take and will usually shop around to get a ballpark figure. They will ask for as much usage as they can get.
Editorial clients already have a set fee in mind.It goes with the page rate and they get one time non exclusive usage as par. 
All never get copyright and none have third party usage.

If (when) the client comes back with a lower budget or needs to come down on price, what factors influence you on negotiating this?

I try to play in the usage end...since most ask for the most, I try to explain why they don't need that much and show them what that can translate to in $$$... I might try to trim some expenses if possible, perhaps in re-thinking the job and finding it really doesn't need 3 assistants..or an extra day if we can do this..but there will always be a point where it simply pays to walk away as that type of client will be problematic to the very end.
I recently had a client down on their budget argue a usage fee.He had a product that I normally buy so we agreed on a barter against usage(not the fee) and we both came out with a win win.

What is the most important thing to remember when discussing licensing images?

Copyright and non third party usage.

Any other guidance you could give someone trying to learn proper business in photography?

ASMP is the best place to go to ask questions and find guidance in this business. They fully address most issues and scenarios, along with the 6000 other members who can tell you what is happening in the field. Their website  is a host of info and the dues asked for will be compensated in knowledge,friendship, and business generated , but like any organization, what you put in is what you get out .

Matthew's imagery can be seen at these sites.

I can tell you first hand the advice he (and others) gave me was paramount to success in my career in this industry. 

Thanks Matthew!

Fwd: FotoWeek DC Awards Competition - 9/13 Deadline

This is a great competition. I highly recommend submitting.

Dear Friend of FotoWeek DC,

Entries to our 2009 international awards competition are pouring in, and with our Sunday, September 13th deadline just around the corner, we encourage you to submit your best work!  

Our annual festival, November 7th to 14th, is shaping up to be yet another amazing year with critically acclaimed international exhibitions, portfolio reviews at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, stimulating lectures by sought after photographers, and exciting events throughout the metropolitan area.  

Nine good reasons why you should enter! 

    * Have your work displayed at FotoWeek DC Festival Nov 7-14, 2009
     * $21,500 in cash awards
     * Media & online exposure at
  • * National Geographic Society Awards Ceremony & VIP Reception Nov 5, 2009
  • * Published in Limited Edition 2010 FotoWeek DC Book
  • * Open to all professionals, amateurs, and students around the world!! 
  • * Entries judged in 12 separate categories (including social documentary and multimedia)
  • * Images accepted in digital, film, cell phone, and alternatives processes
  • * Distinguished p judges
Enter no later than 11:59pm PST on Sunday, September 13th!  

Visit for a complete listing of award categories, eligibility, rules, judges and information on FotoWeek DC 2009.
FotoWeek DC relies on your generous support to fund our non-profit programs and events.
We look forward to seeing your work & good luck with the competition!
FotoWeek DC

ASMP - Red One Cinema Camera Show and Tell

I set this up and, if you can make it, would love to see you there.

"Red One" digital cinema camera show and tell

Tuesday, September 15th
Barry University
Andy Gato Gallery, Thompson Hall, 2nd Floor
11300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores
6:30pm gathering 7:30pm showtime.
Refreshments will be served.

Free to all ASMP members/ guests and students

Anybody following industry trends cannot deny the advances in video capabilities has begun to impact the still market. Many of the new lines of pro digital SLR cameras already have video capabilities and over the next few years this will increase exponentially. Now with the release of the Red One digital cinema camera, the ability to freeze a movie frame and have enough quality for print is now present. Just look at Greg Williams' cover of June's Esquire magazine and you will see the applications are already being practiced and used in the market.

ASMP will be providing a unique 'Show and Tell' from one of Florida's providers of this new equipment. David Cox is the owner of Highway Definition in Stuart, Florida and has agreed to bring a red camera set up with him and to speak about the applications of this technology to your still photography business. He will be showing examples as well as a hands on demonstration of this next generation of digital capture.

Visit the follow ing links for more on this and other happenings:
ASMP South Florida Blog
ASMP South Florida Home Page
ASMP National Home Page