Archive for April, 2007

2 weeks, 4561 miles

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

I’m currently in Atlanta, having presented Beyond PMS yesterday morning for the fine APA-Atlanta folks. Tomorrow, I have individual meetings with some of the fine photographers in the Southeast, and not just from Atlanta. Like the presentation, the consultations are bringing people from places like eastern Tennessee. I’m honored that so many people have made such efforts to come see me.

Danelle Dalpra is the Director of this chapter and she is amazing. Besides all her hard work for APA-A, she is an outstanding producer who can make your project run much more smoothly no matter where you and/or your project may be. Producers aren’t used enough, in my opinion. The value that Danelle can bring to a project is so much greater than the cost–the photographer gets to focus on the creativity, the client gets taken care of at a higher level, the details are left in the hands of someone whose entire mission is to focus on them. The resulting shoot experience and, yes, even the final images are better than they would otherwise have been.

I want to thank her for all her hard work in making the event a success, as well as her kindness to me. And thank you to all the attendees–especially those who drove from places like Savannah and Alabama.

Charlotte

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Last evening I gave my Beyond PMS presentation to APA-Charlotte. It was a wonderful evening. I heard lots of positive feedback and had great conversation with the photographers who came to the event.

I’d like to thank the sponsors of this event, Paper Chase Printing, AsukaBook, and Modern Postcard. Their generosity helped this smaller APA chapter bring me in. It’s often very difficult for smaller pro groups to bring in the very people who can best serve their membership–sponsors like these mentioned do a great service and I encourage everyone to consider using their services and buying their products. It helps them to justify their sponsorship, of course.

As for the Charlotte people, I have to thank Rick Hovis, Jon Silla, Erin Ellis, and Heather Busher for all they did in getting me here and making the event run smoothly. I’d also like to thank Mitchell and Connie Kearney for their wonderful conversation and kindness after the event. Lastly, thanks to everyone who came out and especially those who also booked private meetings–it was a pleasure meeting all of you.

From here it’s on to Atlanta. My presentation there is on Saturday morning for APA-Atlanta with consultations on Monday. Another city and, I bet, another group of interesting, thoughtful, and creative professionals (safe bet as I know some of the Atlanta folk already).

I love what I do.

Talk about pre-qualifying

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

In my talks and my consulting (actually, in all my work), I emphasize the importance of finding the right clients, not trying to get any possible client out there. Well, Fletcher Martin, an ad agency in Atlanta have figured out a great and amusing way to pre-qualify their clients. Under the guise of a questionnaire/game, they share their manifesto–what they believe they should be for their clients, what the relationship should be, and even get in a good swipe at how spec work is of no value. All with humor.

I love the payoff in particular–they say that they are only looking for 4 new clients. Just like our industry, theirs is changing and fluid, but they understand that they don’t have to ride all the different waves. They just need to ride their own wave and find the (few) right folks who appreciate and respect what that means. 4 new clients–that’s it.

(hat tip to Brandon Barr for the link)

BAPblog in your email

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

If you’d like to get new BAPblog posts in your email, just enter your email address in the box under Subscribe on the right of this page. Rather than getting the headlines in an RSS feed, you’ll get the post, delivered right into your email, via FeedBlitz.

Of course, you can always come here (or get the RSS feed) as usual. The new email service is just an option. Me, I like it. I get Seth Godin’s blog that way now.

Btw, once you sign up, you can mark your email as private on the FeedBlitz site and no one will get their electronic mitts on it.

Seinfeld gets it

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

Last evening, as I was getting ready for a dinner meeting here in Philly, I had the HBO tribute to Jerry Seinfeld on in my hotel room. He was being presented with an award, and rather than just doing the usual, they had a panel of comedians discussing what it is to be a comedian, the process, and what it’s like to work with execs, etc., in the business. It was really fascinating. Their creative struggles and issues were very much like what I see in my clients and the people I meet in all creative industries.

At one point they were talking about how the TV show Seinfeld ever got made. The panel pretty much confirmed that it somehow snuck in–under the radar, if you will. Usually, when an idea like the one for Seinfeld gets pitched, the execs reject it with comments like how the viewer won’t “get it” or how breaking the 4th wall doesn’t work in TV, etc. But somehow, Seinfeld got on.

That didn’t stop the attempts at micro-management by the execs. They would send “notes” (production notes) and the like all the time. Seinfeld was asked how he handled this. His reply is one we should all keep in mind:

[I’d tell them] Entertainment is not their field.

He meant that it was his, that he was the entertainment pro and that they had to back off and let him do his job. After all, he had made himself popular and famous doing what he thought best. He was the pro. They had to trust him. He continued:

Let the comedian do his thing–he got this far on his own–let him do his thing.

You are the pro in your field. Sometimes your clients need to be reminded of that. Do it gently, respectfully, but do it the next time they try to tell you a shoot is only going to take a half-day or the like. They came to you for your vision, your abilities, your talent. It was what you have already achieved that made them want to work with you. Most importantly, remind them that they won’t get the best results (for them!) unless they let you do your job.

Speaking of the road

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

I’m in Philadelphia for the next couple of days, then I’m back on the train and headed to Charlotte, NC (followed by Atlanta, then Richmond, then Washington, DC, and last Boston). I have some one-on-one consultation appointments still available in these cities but they will probably book up like they did in Austin!

Book soon to be sure of a slot and to take advantage of receiving my worksheets prior to our meeting. That way we can make the best use of our time together. For more information, check out the links above or go to the Tour page on my site. Or just shoot me an email or call 619.961.5882.

Stirring the pot

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Even on the road I want to keep up with my regular podcasts on Creative Lube. The newest edition is online now and it discusses pricing (it’s on iTunes too). That ought to help make people think. Share your thoughts by commenting on this blog or by emailing me.

Waving buh-bye to Austin…

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

I have a few moments before getting my cab to the train station and I wanted to thank again all the wonderful people in Austin who have been so helpful to me with this visit. First off, everyone at ASMP-A/SA–most specifically Julie Farias and Matthew Lemke who organized the event, drove me, gave me fine Austin goodies, and generally treated me with kindness; the photographer who let us use his studio for the presentation, Jack Hollingsworth; the sponsors, especially Livebooks (thanks Corey for coming out and sharing!) and Modern Postcard; and finally John Langford and Kimberly (who works with John and reminds me a bit of me a few years ago) for providing the location for the individual consultations, coffee, water, lunch, and fine conversation. They know how to treat a visitor and I’m sure their clients are treated very well.

The Austin photo community is much like many other cities, but the openness and kindness I saw from just about everyone sincerely impressed me. These people seem to understand the idea that though they could all be considered competitors, they choose to be colleagues and a real community. Bravo.

Oh, and thanks to my friend Paul who managed to show me the bats (Eek!) from a safe, indoor location (with great food).

Hello from Austin

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Last night I gave my first presentation of the Spring Tour, here in Austin Texas. The people have been fantastic. Everyone has been so warm and funny–it’s been a real pleasure talking with everyone.

During the social time before my presentation and afterwards, I listened to what the photographers were saying, and, like most places, the people here have the same concerns about the state of the industry and the education of the next generation of photographers and other creatives. It was good to see that one of the local photo educators was at the event and was so appreciated by the working photogs here.  There is a significant amount of contact between the school and the working pros. This is, obviously, a very good thing as it encourages the newbies to start off working with the best professional standards.

As in most things I’ve observed in Austin so far (except a rude cab company), they’re getting a lot very right here.

Get out!

Friday, April 13th, 2007

This will be my last post (probably) from my home base as I hit the rails this Sunday on my Spring Tour. I’m really excited about the events, presenting Beyond PMS to the various groups, but most of all, I’m excited about getting to meet so many new people.

We live and work in greater isolation than ever before. Thing is, humans are by nature a gregarious breed. We’re social creatures. We need contact with others. If we don’t get that contact, we tend to get frustrated and even depressed.

Definitely not good things for your business.

When was the last time you went to a meeting of some sort–a professional one or maybe one for your favorite hobby? MeetUp.com us a great resource to connect with others who share your interests, but your local professional groups are the best for you and your business. ASMP, APA, AIGA, ad clubs…think about the groups for your profession and for your potential clients’ professions. Go to a meeting or two, then join up and get active.

Most of these professional groups rely heavily on volunteers. For example, almost everyone I am working with in the various cities I’ll be visiting on tour are volunteers. And, more often than not, they are more successful than their non-volunteering counterparts. Why? Probably for lots of reasons but at least one of them has to be because they are connecting with other humans in a positive way.

So, my advice–get out there, get active, and go meet some people.