My tough-as-nails schedule often keeps me tethered to my studio until the wee hours of the morning. My social life (or lack thereof) has seriously taken a hit due to the demands of being a serious creative and entrepreneur.
WPPI’s convention in Vegas seamlessly blends my joint passion for hard work and hard partying (finally, I can get out!)—I don’t care if it sounds cliché, it’s 100-percent true. The whole affair is teeming with photographers just crazy enough to throw every ounce of their passion into growing their business. WPPI is where like minds can join forces to collaborate, inspire one another and, yes, talk shop over a stiff martini with two olives. In fact, it’s our inalienable right.
Below, scope out all the highlights of my planned itinerary at WPPI 2012, with highlights including my Platform Class on savvy use of social media, two days of judging, a special TWiT Photo Episode, and plenty of free evenings for indulgence in my aforementioned elixir of choice. Business and pleasure, if you’re doing it right, always join forces.
Many of WPPI’s Platform Classes are going to fill up quickly. I encourage you to act fast! Register via Pre-Board here.
Today is the last day to bid in the Thirst Relief Mentor Auction! I’ve signed up this year as a Mentor, donating 90 minutes of instructional time to the highest bidder. Bid now to win a one-on-one session with me via Skype or at WPPI, and you can help save lives while improving your photography!
As the winner, you can use the time however you want. Are you a beginner seeking tips to take your images to the next level? With extensive experience as a photography judge and educator, I can give your portfolio a critique as a whole in addition to critiquing individual shots. But the opportunity goes way deeper than that.
Maybe you know you’re a great photographer, but just can’t seem to break into the market? I can offer valuable time- and money-saving advice, gleaned from years of figuring out this industry, to help get your business off the ground. I’ll help dissect your business model to find the areas where you could be saving or making more, and I’ll assess your website and marketing materials to offer feedback on how you’re reaching out to potential customers.
Act fast! Bidding ends tonight at 11pm EST.
All of the proceeds of the annual Mento Auction benefit Thirst Relief International‘s efforts to provide humanitarian and disaster relief to those in need worldwide through the provision of safe, clean drinking water. The mission of the auction is twofold, to save lives and change the world, and to create better and more successful photographers.
Look at these numbers: Last year, the sponsors and 90 mentors who participated in the Mentor Auction raised more than $40,700 which directly provided 8,147 people with clean water. Add to that the incredible wisdom and talent that is being shared through these mentoring sessions to create more successful photographers and entrepreneurs, and it’s truly a win-win for everyone involved
Start bidding now: http://bit.ly/uH5PH6
Only a handful of people in the world can call themselves Grand Master of Photography – and Peter Eastway is one of them. Peter is a master landscape photographer and has won multiple awards such as Australian Professional Photographer of the Year and at WPPI. This week on TWiT Photo, we’re going international and we’ll be chatting with the Australian pro to learn his photography insights. Watch here or download for free on iTunes.
Have questions, suggestions or praises? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Skip Cohen has been one of the most profound influences on my career. He’s been a mentor, a friend and an ardent supporter of my work ever since our first phone conversation. During that phone call, he informed me that I had won the Hy Sheanin scholarship, an incredibly generous scholarship from WPPI to attend the WPPI expo in Vegas. He has also helped me on countless occasions to figure out how to channel my passion into marketable business skills. Because he knows the industry so well, he has been my guide all these years and I trust him to give me the best possible advice. Photography enthusiasts can look to his highly informative blog, Skip’s Photo Network, and seminal workshops, such as the upcoming Skip’s Summer School for an authoritative resource on the world of photography and photography business.
Follow Skip Cohen on Twitter.
Post By Skip Cohen
Okay, so you woke up this morning and for whatever reason decided your work is so good that one of the companies out there should sponsor you. Sound familiar?
Chasing the sponsorship rainbow can be a daunting task, mostly because there is no rainbow! The manufacturers, labs and service providers in our industry are buried in requests for sponsorship. The economy presents the obvious challenges and virtually everybody is cutting back on expenses. That puts you in line for support along with hundreds of other photographers and projects. What are you going to do to make yourself stand out?
Let’s see if we can develop a great list of things for you to think about before you go “fishing”:
What do you have to offer?
In my previous life at Hasselblad, I used to get requests from photographers who thought they should be sponsored just because they were creating great images with our cameras. NOT! Companies are interested in what you bring to the party in helping them sell their products and increase awareness for their brand. I learned a valuable way to look at sponsorship from Beth Meyer when she was at Kodak years ago. With every sponsorship request she would receive, she had one key question, “How is this sponsorship going to help me sell more Kodak products?”
Today, being a great photographer is only a qualifier. Being a requested speaker, being active in social media, having a blog, writing for one of the magazines or having a story about your work in a magazine are all key things a company will be looking at if they’re considering a sponsorship relationship. If you’re not a household word, then the issue becomes your potential. You might be a young gun and have potential for influence with newer photographers or you might have developed a unique application for the company’s products.
How are you using the products/services you want to represent?
Companies today have thousands of photographers to choose from if they’re looking for somebody who uses their products/services in exactly the way they were intended. It’s your job to find unique applications or events that will give a company greater exposure.
Long term versus short term?
There are all kinds of sponsorships to consider. Long term means just that – you’re looking to represent the company with some level of support or compensation for a year or more. Canon’s Explorer of Light program would be the benchmark for the most extensive sponsorship. At the other extreme would be a photographer who was only looking to borrow a particular product for a single application. Another example would be a charity event you’re about to photograph and looking for a lab to pick up the cost of prints in exchange for some level of exposure.
Obviously, everybody would love long-term sponsorship, but you have to walk before you can run and until you’ve made yourself unique and a virtual legend, most companies have limited funding for extensive support. It’s also important to define “extensive support.” The max is staying independent as a photographer, but being paid by a company on a regular basis to represent their products. These are pretty rare today, but it would mean being paid on a monthly retainer or for every program you taught using or promoting a company’s products/services.
How are you willing to be paid?
Are you looking for cash reimbursement of your expenses and speaking fee or are you willing to take support in trade? Being sponsored by a lab, for example, will often give a photographer access to all the great services they offer. The same would go for an album company, who would be willing to supply a photographer with product for his/her clients. Obviously, at the sponsor level, product/services trump any cash payments.
How’s your reputation?
Some of you are going to laugh about this, but I’ve seen some of the most obnoxious people on the planet furious because a company didn’t think they were good enough to be sponsored. Even more absurd is the fact that they protested too hard, aggravated everybody in the company and wound up taking years to recover. Nobody is interested in taking on your emotional baggage when it comes to handling rejection. Play it cool if you get turned down. The more professional you handle a rejection, the more likely you’re going to stay in focus for future projects.
For someone who jumped headfirst into the world of Facebook and Twitter, I struggled with social media ROI. Does my investment of time yield any real return for my photography business? To that, I say yes – social media allows me to connect with people I wouldn’t have otherwise known and enabled me to stay in touch with people I do know. Case in point: I got acquainted with Mr. Nice Guy and opera singer turned pro photog Dustin Meyer through Twitter. Dustin is an award-winning photographer based in Austin who inspires photographers with marketing and shooting tips on his blog MpactPhoto, the Austin Collages.net CLASS group and at WPPI. Here, he talks about the importance of presenting a quality image of yourself on social media. Be the nice guy, not the guy people want to avoid :)
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Post By Dustin Meyer
So some people call me a Twitter addict. I’ve also heard “Facebook fanatic”. Facebook even called me and did a case study on how I was using them to promote my studio. Right after that interview, they launched Facebook Pages. True, I do spend a lot of time on social media. Maybe because it’s a natural fit for my big mouth, or perhaps it caters to my more talkative nature. Either way, I use social media every day.
Queue the sighs of exasperation. I know. Every photographer out there is on Twitter. And what makes it worse is the constant barrage of self-promoting tweets I encounter every five minutes. Plus, there’s those spam bots that ask if you want to win a free iPad 2. No thanks, I already have one. So, how do we make sense of this “social mess”?
Disperse the brain fog, and take a deep breath. The one thing we always have in this world is our self. So, let’s start with that. Just like with dating, client meetings, or job interviews, you have to be yourself. If you are always out there putting up a front, people will start to back off fairly quickly.
Here’s an idea. Put something out there that’s genuine, without expecting any immediate gratification. Rather than running out into the street and shouting for everyone to pay attention to you, perhaps you could just say good day to the first person you walk past. Or even better, if you know about something that helped you, share it with others. Again, without any expectations of any return whatsoever. You will find that more people will appreciate your sincere generosity more than your ability to yell.
Why does this work? Junk is junk, whether it comes to your mailbox, your inbox, or your ear box. People become desensitized to the fuzz all the time. Why do you think advertisers are so worried about DVR? Everyone is skipping commercials these days. As photographers, you must remember that you’re out there to sell you, not your products or services. So represent yourself with a quality image of yourself, don’t just paint yourself with ads and bumper stickers.
Think of it like this when it comes to social media: we are all stars. But some of us are black holes, and others are supernovas. One kind always sucks inward, taking in everything and giving back nothing. The other is a bright undeniable source of energy that illuminates the entire universe. My favorite people on Twitter are those that find other people’s blog posts or other helpful information and share them with their followers. I almost always ignore those that are just out there to push themselves.
In conclusion, by presenting yourself as someone with an interest in others, you generate an image of yourself that people truly appreciate. Yes, it’s ok to share your excitement about your latest achievement. But keep it to a modest expression of glee.
So in this universe of social media, what will you choose to be? A black hole? Or a supernova…