Google+ April | 2014 | A Camera and a Dream

Archive for April, 2014

Vintage Beer Tin Sign

It’s been a busy week end here in Brew City, AKA Milwaukee Wisconsin, Charo and her husband came to visit.  We needed to go over our business plan for the blog and it seemed like a good idea to go over things in person before busy season hits for both of us.

And of course, it seemed like a good idea that there should be beer when we were done working.  Because, you know, beer.  So in between us doing our very first pricing review together  (here and also here because The Google crashed in the middle. It wasn’t the Rum Chata’s fault) we hit up a few local distillery and brewery tours.  We have a lot of history in this cold city I live in, it’s one of the perks of living in an old industrial city.  It’s also ridiculously cheap to drink here in comparison to the beach town Charo lives in so there was that.

Instead of the predictable large scale Miller Brewing tour we decided to concentrate on the smaller guys in town and it was  really fun for me to see the history behind some of these places. Seeing the actual line from the scene from Laverne and Shirley at Lakefront Brewery, sitting on the chairs from the late 1800’s  from the old beer hall at Pabst Brewery and tasting some of the most damn fine gin and vodka in the world from Great Lakes Distillery.  The tours were a chance for the people who run the craft places to tell us why they are passionate about what they do.  We heard lots of stories of someone having some Yeast and a Dream…people who took a chance on making a living what they loved the most.

Sound familiar? It was inspirational.  Motivational.  But it didn’t REALLY tell us what kind of nitty gritty it takes to open and maintain the day-to-day operations of that kind of business and the challenges they face in their industry.  It wasn’t supposed to, it was supposed to entertain while we quaffed some delicious beverages, and it did.

But what if we went on that tour every week?  Would we learn how to open a Brewery?  No.

There are lots of blogs you can read that will give you inspirational and motivational advice on photography.  We decided in the course of the week end  that we are  not going to be one of those blogs.  Why? Because that shit is easy.  In fact it’s so easy we challenged ourselves to do nothing but talk in inspirational cliches for one entire hour.

“This meal is delicious. It’s nice to be able to appreciate the finer things in life”
“I appreciate having a good meal with good friends.  You make new friends you keep the old, one is silver the other is gold”
“Sometimes you have to just go for it”
“You are so right.  There is no can’t in American”
“Sometimes you have to think outside the box!”
“We’re so happy to have had you here. We’ll be sorry when you are gone!
“We hate to see it end, but home is where the heart is!”
“Visiting here has been like a dream”
“A dream is a wish the heart makes”

This went on…the entire..week end.

That’s the kind of blog we don’t want to be.  I’ve been to too many seminars where I walked out realizing that the speaker talked a lot and said NOTHING.  I looked at my notes and the few I had scribbled were not worth the ink on the paper. For us, this also carries in to the products that we affiliate in the photography market.  Because if we are going to say something is worth buying we have to be able to say “Seen it, would buy it myself, would make me some monies if I implemented this stuff”.

While affiliate sales provide us with some cash to keep the blog going, at the heart of this we really do it because we are passionate and feel blessed by this industry.

Kidding!  We do this because we know that a lot of you feel like we do, that this industry is changing so fast that we want some real world advice on how to make it.  How to keep our jobs and stay Sane, Happy and Profitable at photography.

With that, we’d love to hear from you dear reader.  What would you like to see on this blog?

Do you like the pricing reviews?

Want more meaty how-to stuff?

Want more photos of my bunny?

Leave some comments below, won’t you?  We like to know that it’s not just our moms reading this.


P.S.  Tomorrow at midnight Mountain time the killer Salesographer Deal ends.  The email that goes into more detail on what you get is here.  And if you are too lazy to read that then let me do some MATHS…$74 will get you a $50 Pro DPI gift certificate and a killer series on how to jack up your portrait sales NOW.

P.P.S.  We’ve pimped this class out before and for good reason. It’s one of the most popular pricing series out there, Joy Vertz’s Pricing For Profit.  It’s a much more intensive  3 week course that will walk you through your entire price list  to make sure you are profitable start to finish.  If you’ve got some major work to do, this is where you want to start.  Watch the informational videos here.






businesswoman with a note-book

In 2002 I went to my very first WPPI conference in Vegas.  I had been in business officially for 5 years at that point, but in truth it was really my first year of treating it like a full time business.  It was the first time I got on a plane alone to fly to a city I had never been to to meet people that I met on the internet who were photographers like me.  Writing this now I still remember when I first caught sight of the Vegas skyline thinking in a panic “What if they aren’t real?”  What if I had been duped by an elaborate internet ruse? I knew so few photographers in my area, just a handful. Suddenly I was being dropped off in the middle of HUNDREDS of them.   I wonder what the actual numbers were of attendees at WPPI 2002, but if I had to guess I’d say 2 or 3 K.  Now the average attendance 12 years later is 13-16 K  depending on where you read it.  Doesn’t really matter what the  actually numbers are, anyone that has gone for many years can attest to the changes in the industry and how it’s grown.

And because now you can’t go 3 feet without meeting another “photographer” these days, the way we learn has changed vastly.  Saving up that 1K years ago to to go WPPI was my educational fund for the year. It’s where I took classes, went to shoot outs and entered print competition. It was where I learned marketing techniques and had late night pow wows with other photographers who have grown to be trusted colleagues. Now there is a dizzying  array of places to find advice on photography marketing, shooting, branding….. this blog included.  What’s even more interesting to me is that with the massive advances of information out there, photographers are more cynical than ever about where they get their advice.  Coming from a background where it was just accepted that you paid others for their expertise, the shift now is more of the battle cry of  “You don’t need to pay for that, you can find that out by just doing some research on the internet”, and “those that can’t shoot, teach!”

If I took a seminar that was amazing, it was awesome.  And if I took one that was not so amazing, I consoled myself with finding the nugget.

The nugget is that one piece of information from anything you are learning from that you can apply to your business or your life. 

As long as I got one nugget, I considered it a win.

Then came my Nugget journals.  They first started when I was going to seminars to write down notes.  I’ve always been a person who needs to learn visually, so the act of writing things down so that my brain can process information is important for me.  I can’t do it on a computer, or with a voice memo…it has to be in the written word.  I think it’s the conscious slowing down, of putting pen to paper that makes a difference for me.  In the rare times that I do not have Big Nugget or Little Nugget journal (who resides in my purse) I’ve tried voice memos, emailing myself…none of them work as well for me.  I’m still trying to decipher the voice memo I left myself three weeks ago when I had no Nugget at hand to jot my thoughts down on that says:

“Don’t forget to write something on yoga pants and the fashion industry and how photographers need to brand like they do or don’t dress”

Yeah. I am sure it seemed brilliant at the time thanks to a endorphin rush after yoga, but don’t look for that blog post any time soon, because I don’t know what the fuck I meant.   Namaste.

Now with the blog,  Big Nugget and Little Nugget have taken on a different use in my life.   Now they don’t just contain photography stuff, but also life stuff.  Quotes from books I am reading that make me stop and read it again.  Quotes from inspirational Ted talks.  Observations on human nature.   Things I want to try out in my business.  Some of them I pay for, some of them I find along the way.   But in every single thing I read or watch, there is a nugget.

Here are some recent ones:

“I am a stark raving, maniacal fan of being unpopular”  Ted Talk, Erika Napolentano.

“A drop in price teaches the best customers to wait for a sale or consider other cheaper offerings”  Worth Every Penny, How to charge what you are worth when everyone else is discounting.  Sarah Petty.

“Sometimes you need to come to an understanding that you may complete a project by accepting that you are not going to do it”  Ariana Huffington, speaking about her new book Thrive

This month I challenge you to take some time out every day and write down your nugget.  It’s out there, I promise you.   And when you find one, leave it in the comments, won’t you?


P.S We’re working on our latest price  list reviews for our winners Bridget and Josh, so stay tuned for information on the upcoming Google Hangouts!