Archive for May, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

First off, I want to thank Heather Elder for the shout out in your fantastic interview on And photographers, if you haven’t listened to the interview, you really, really need to. She offers a ton of information about what she and her group are doing to drive their success–you can use a lot of her tips.

Pay particular attention to what she and her group are giving to their clients (note they are not giving away the work!) and how they are interacting. I was particularly struck with the part where she says that it’s not all about the work (images) anymore. So true… and that is not a bad thing, really. It does mean, however, that if you are one of those photographers who doesn’t like people (and yes, I have heard that from more than a few of you), you are in for a tough future. Now is the new relationship marketing and I think it’s going to stick.


Next, I wanted to mention that today is my last day as a non-lawyer. Tomorrow (June 1) I take my oath and get admitted to the California Bar. I’ll also get admitted to the Federal Court, Southern District of California at the same time. That second admittance is kind of important in our world since copyright is a Federal Court thing (to put it in lay terms)–that is, if you want to sue for infringement, you have to do that in Federal Court.

Anyway, my point in mentioning tomorrow is two-fold: 1) I want people to know that I will be an official, real-life lawyer (finally!) and so will be available to help on legal issues; and, 2) I want to thank everyone again for all the fantastic support you have given me on the road to this goal–every email, post, etc., of encouragement has meant the world to me.

Oh, and the lawyer training makes me do things like write “1)…. ; and, 2)…” Ha! I’ll try to keep the legalese to a dull roar and avoid using words like “preclude” on this blog or in the work I post on my new BAP2Go app.


Third bit: As we’re rapidly approaching the mid-point of the year (where did the first half go?!), many of you may be feeling a bit like you have fallen off the rails. That’s okay. It’s pretty normal. All those big plans made at the beginning of the year may have gotten a bit lost as real life slipped in. Still, you can make some significant changes in your business and your life before this year comes to a close. I really like this article which offers 60 small things you can do over the next 100 days.

One big warning though: do not try to do everything! Pick just a few (like less than 5) and focus on doing those well rather than trying to do it all. There will be another 100 days and you can add new things then. Or maybe you can pick a couple now, and after 30 days or so, add a couple more… rinse, repeat.


Last thing: I encourage you to follow me on twitter (@LeslieBAP) and “like” my Facebook page as I post much more frequently on both those tools.

Looking Outside

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

A couple of days ago Carolyn Wright ( asked me to look at a contract that has generated some discussion in the photo community and do some research/analysis on it. I did and she posted the results along with her thoughts on her blog (here). I was really honored that she thought well enough of my work to post it with only a few small edits. I felt all lawyer-y (even though I’m not one until June 1) and rather proud of myself.

As soon as it was posted, I emailed my father, a retired attorney, and sent him the link. I thought that he’d read it and let me know how he thought I sounded professional or something. But he didn’t. In fact, I didn’t hear anything from him.

When I later spoke with him I asked if he had read it.
He said he had.
That’s it.
I asked what he thought about it.
He replied that he wasn’t qualified to judge.
I said “You practiced for how many years?! Of course you are!”
But he countered with “I never did anything with intellectual property so I have no idea what you’re talking about there.”

In other words, I couldn’t get a pat on the back out of him about that post for anything.

And suddenly, this thing I had done didn’t seem like such an accomplishment after all. Poo.

The reality is that the accomplishment is just as significant as it always was. The trouble was that I was too trapped in looking for external validation to see what I had done for its own worth, in my own heart and mind.

See, I had done what many creatives do all the time: I looked for validation outside and when I didn’t get it, I devalued what I had done.

How often do you get excited about a project, a promo idea, an image you’ve made, or something you have done only to have someone else not get as excited about it as you were? How often do you let that become a disappointment and affect how you see your idea/image/whatever?

Well, stop it.

Being a creative professional means that above all else, you need to have the faith in your own creativity. That means if you think your idea/image/whatever is great, it’s great, no matter what anyone (even a consultant like me) might say. You can’t look to others for that validation–you must generate it from within.

As others have noted, you will hear a whole pile of “no” before you ever get a “yes” in this business. So, in my opinion, you have to have your own belief in your work/creativity/ideas as a rock-solid foundation to put up with all that negativity. The successful people of this world (not just creatives, but across the board) are those who believe first in themselves, no matter how nuts others think they are. They understand that what they create is of value and believe in that value, no matter what others say.

You need to be such a person, too.


It costs HOW MUCH?!

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011


That’s the price of the BAP2Go app which you can purchase from iTunes here.

Why is your mouth agape? That isn’t expensive… it’s cheap, actually. I wanted to price it closer to $100, but getting you people to pony up for anything that doesn’t have its own chip or lens is just about impossible so I settled for $59.99. 🙂

After Apple takes their chunk and you factor in the costs for development and maintenance and the time I’m putting in generating new content and, well, I’m not making much. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think I should raise the price.

What gets me is how difficult it seems to be for y’all to recognize the value. And then I thought about it and realized that it’s not really so surprising after all since y’all (many of you) have a horrible time valuing your own work! So, let me explain the value in my work and, hopefully, you’ll see how this price isn’t high, it’s if anything low. Maybe it will help you reframe how you look at the value of your own work, too.

First off, I’ve got years of experience in the industry. Lots of years. More years than I really want to admit some times. The point is, the old story about Picasso doing a drawing in very little time and charging $50K or whatever applies here: it’s not that it took me two hours to write one of the articles I posted on the app… it took me my entire professional career to be able to do it. And there are multiple articles. And more are going to be added over time.

Second, same dynamic for the podcasts–your getting deep, sound knowledge. Plus, the annual subscription for the Creative Lube podcast was $80, but you get it built in to the app–no muss, no fuss. Fiscally, then, you’re already ahead in year one, but with each new addition, your cost drops again and again because you are getting more and more.

Third, you get video/keynote-based presentations. There’s only one up there now, but there will be more and more posted. You don’t have to pay any more to get them they’ll just magically appear in the app. More stuff, not more $$.

Fourth, I’m a week from taking my oath and being a lawyer. While I won’t be able to give specific legal advice on the app (there are ethical issues involved) I will be able to discuss legal issues and can do so with more knowledge and authority than a non-lawyer. You’ll be getting all that info too, again at no additional cost.

Fifth, the photographers and others who are offering advice up for free? Well, they are making their money as photographers or reps. That’s fine–good for them– but I am a consultant (and soon lawyer). This is my profession. I went to law school because I wanted to learn more to help photographers. As this is my profession, I make money by sharing my expertise… for a fee. I put my time and energies into studying the business of photography, not what new camera is out there or what lighting system to use. I’m not trying to produce a shoot while I’m trying to write a podcast. My focus is entirely on the business of being a creative businessperson and how my clients can be more successful at it. That’s all and that’s everything. And that is of great value.

In sum, what you are getting is like a book, but one that will increase in volume and value over time–like an expanding photography business encyclopedia, but all in your pocket.  What you pay for today will be worth more in three months, and even more in 6, and still more in a year, etc. So, the app is actually an appreciating asset, and those are damn rare these days.

I know many of you have and will spend (possibly much) more than the price of this app for a static, print book of Avedon’s images which, while gorgeous, won’t do as much for your business (it will help inspire, of course). Doesn’t it make sense to spend not quite as much on something that is of a greater value to your business today and will be of even greater value tomorrow?




In case you haven’t heard

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

On Friday the 13th, the California State Bar released the pass list for the February Bar Exam. I was on it. After years of wanting to go to law school, finally getting the chance (and a scholarship!), reading around 4000 pages a term, and sitting through three days of intellectual hell (the actual exam), I am a lawyer.

Well, almost. I have to pay my Bar fees and take the oath. 🙂

Thanks to all of you who gave me so much support through the years. Every kind email/FB post/tweet really helped.

Win a Free Copy of the BAP2Go App

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

I’m going to give away three, count ’em three, copies of the BAP2Go app (each a $59.99 value!), but you’ve got to earn it… sort of. Here’s the deal:

1) Post something about the app on your blog or Twitter or Facebook or some other medium that reaches other photographers. For example, you could post that you are posting in the hopes of winning a copy of the app. Or, you could post that you think the app will help your biz. Or you could post that the app exists.

2) Include a link to the app. You can copy/paste this short form, if it helps:

3) Send me a link to the post, or tag me on the tweet (@LeslieBAP), or somehow let me know about the post/tweet/fb/whatever (screenshots ok). This last step is important because it’s how I will know to put your name in the hat.

You can do 1-3 as many times as you want, and each separate one will be its own entry into the drawing.

Do all that before May 20th, 5pm PT, and I will take all the names of those who completed the steps and put them in a hat and draw out the winners. Make sure I have your email addy to be able to contact you if you are a winner–to send you a code.

Yes, this is a shameless request to get publicity about the app out there. Duh! I’d like the app to be successful, of course, and the best way for that to happen is for the news of the app to get out to as wide a photo audience as possible.

Thanks for the help and GOOD LUCK!



BAP2Go App

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Available today, the new Burns Auto Parts Consultants to Go (BAP2Go) app provides buyers with vital business information. It’s like having my brain, in your pocket, but without the squishy mess.

Seriously, though, what the app does is give you instant access to Manuals, other writings, my Twitter feed, and Creative Lube podcasts and will, soon, also have videos, information about upcoming speaking events, and (when I pass the Bar), legal information too. All the content is at no additional charge after purchasing the app and it is constantly push-updated. In other words, you pay once and, in a month, you’ll have more than you paid for. In 6 months, even more. It’s kind of like an ever-expanding photo business multi-media encyclopedia, all in one place and for one flat fee.

Currently it’s only Apple-product friendly, but an Android version is in the works.

Copyright’s benefits to society

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Terence Hart is brilliant. If you don’t follow his blog, you should. His most recent post serves as a wonderful reminder of why copyright is important not just to the individual “author” but to society as a whole. I am particularly struck by the A. Kaminstein quote about half-way down. In part, it reads:

[…] ironically, in seeking to make the author’s works widely available by freeing them from copyright restrictions, they fail to realize that they are whittling away the very thing that nurtures authorship in the first place.

You are an artist, the maker of culture and society. Copyright is the tool that makes that possible.