Relating to customers. A customer is a "paying" customer.

Book Review: Picture Perfect Posing or

BTW, I am NOT an affiliate and receive 0, zero, nada, nothing if you buy it from Amazon or Barnes and Nobles or ...

Q: First of all what makes a good (photography) book?

A: For me, it's a book that will read many times and each time I read it, I will learn or discover something new

Picture Perfect Posing by Roberto Valenzuela is definitely in the “good book” category.

What's Wrong With Photographers?

Over the weekend, I was reading a local weekly newspaper with a wedding 2 page special. Contrarily to expectations, there was plenty of text but there were also big ads. One ad was a quarter page and four other ads. The five ads added up to a whole page, the text added up to the other page.

  • One ad for a photographer (top left)
  • One ad for a wedding music
  • Three ads for three catering companies


Secrets of Great Portrait Photography

I was speaking with a “famous” photographer. He was showing me some of his photos, mostly posed portraits. He went on to point to me the highlights in the eyes, the fill-in in the shadows that were revealing… The flash for the background… and all I could think was: “How terrible this photo was.” We were talking about a lady in her 50s with a Carmen Miranda hat1 a foot away from old, yellowish slats curtains.

The photos were technically “perfect”, but what a piece of cr*!p. It was more like a properly lit “jail mugshot.” He was under the impression that lighting is what makes a good portrait. I was in the process of reading “Secrets of Great Portrait Photography” by Brian Smith.

Secrets of Great Portrait Photography” is not about lighting. Joe McNally and David Hobby have already cornered this market. The book is unique (I don't know of any other book) in that it deals with how to interact with people instead of dealing with light. Only 2 pages on the lighting gear and 2 pages for what's in the bag… For Brian Smith, portrait photography is a contact sport.

  1. Carmen Miranda was an Hollywood actress, famous in the 1940s and the 1950s for her huge fruit hats. 

Do Your Photos Have Any Value?

Photos can have 3 values:

  1. Sentimental
  2. Financial
  3. Historical
  • The vast majority of the photos only have a sentimental value. These are the photos the people take with them in case of floods, fire, disasters… When was the last time you looked at them? Do you even know where they are? Can you find them? In the old days, only 15 years ago, we would look through the albums and go through the shoe boxes full of photos. Today? I know where my photos are in Lightroom. I know my categories, I know my keywords, I know which directory/folder these photos are located in.

The State of the Photography Industry 2013

I was at a presentation in preparation for CES 2013. (What do they need to prepare?) It was a panel of men in the imaging distribution industry. We are talking the distributors, not the individual retailers nor the photographers. We are talking the big boys, the guys with the dollars. And yes, it's the guys, there were all men. They spoke percentages, they never mentioned units or dollars. I wrote down a few numbers. To confuse the matters a little more, the various distributors spoke “differently”. Some of the numbers are for the whole 2012 year, some of the numbers are for the first 9 month of the year 2012.

My comments are in the footnotes.

Answer the "Bloody" Phone

In the last month, I've contacted 3 professional photographers. I have emailed all of them and I have left voice mails with two of them. Three weeks later, nothing. Either they have not replied to my emails. One said, “I am very busy right now but I will email you back in a couple of days.” The second photographer sent me an automated reply. “I very busy right now, email or call me back in 48 hours.” The last one never answered his phone or his email. How do they stay in business? How do they earn a living?

This is work, this is business. Many photographers complain about how people do not value photos anymore. Then they complain that there is no money in photography, that every Tom, Dick and Harry poses as a professional photographer…

When was the last time that you hired somebody that couldn't be bothered returning your calls, replying to your emails… You do not answer, next … There is always somebody else available…

If you run a business, this is a business. Businesses have:

Who's Your Customer?

Seth Godin is an empire by himself. He has published a dozen books, created a few companies and has one of the most influential blog on the Internet In November 2012, he actually raised a fantastic issue, “Four questions worth answering”

  • Who is your next customer? (Conceptually, not specifically.

The End of Facebook

It's not the end of Facebook, but it's the end of Facebook marketing for photographers.

By now, everybody must have heard about the financial problems at Facebook. On 18-May-2012, Facebook became a public company and started trading with the opening price of $42.05 per share on the first trade. Today, 16-Oct-2012, the share price is now: $19.48. That's a 53.6% price drop in just 6 month or in real terms 35 billion dollars lost.

SmugMug and the Kerfuffle

The Friday night of the Labour Day weekend, I received the following email:

Subject: New Pro Account Pricing

For the first time in 7 years, we're raising the price of SmugMug Pro subscriptions, something we tried hard not to do.

We know $100/year is a lot and personally, if I were asked to pay more for a service, I'd want to hear from the person responsible for the decision. That's me, so I placed my dSLR on a tripod, and looked it right in the lens, imagining it was you. I tried to offer a peek inside SmugMug and our thinking: …

$2.05 for that Photo

On 14-May-2012, ShutterStock Inc has filled its IPO to raise $115 million. IPO: Initial Public Offering, the first sale of stock by a company to the public on a stock market. Part of being a public company, it must file on quarterly basis audited financial statements and need to provide guidance on what they expect…


The standard practice, when filing financial statements with the SEC (Security Exchange Commission), is to provide audited financial statements. It is legal to provide unaudited financial statements provided it is disclosed, but it raises all kind of warnings. It makes people, including me, ask the questions: “Why are the financial statements not audited? Can I trust this information?”


Until now, ShutterStock Inc was a private company and did not have to reveal any of its financial information, of its value, of how it operates its business.

Part of its IPO filing, ShutterStock had to reveal the number of it's customers, its sales, its expenses… and most important: the value of its average sale.

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