Archive for March, 2012

Big News

Friday, March 30th, 2012

It is with a great sense of pride and excitement that I announce my new position with the law firm of Carolyn E. Wright, LLC… better known to most of you as Starting April 1 (yes, April Fools’ Day) I will be working full-time with Carolyn (and Evan).

As you may remember, I have been working as a lawyer with the firm in a part-time capacity since I was admitted to the Bar last June. Not surprisingly, I have loved the opportunity to be an advocate for photographers and the work has been rewarding. It’s exactly what I have been hoping to do since I first thought of going to law school–copyright law (mostly). Now, I will be devoting myself even more to this passionate pursuit.

The firm devotes itself to defending the rights of creative professionals, particularly photographers. While we do a lot of copyright work, we also handle other issues that affect you and your business, like contracts, etc. One of the things I like best about Carolyn’s firm is that we don’t just handle the big cases–we do a lot for the “little guy/gal” artists.

Carolyn is well known for her outstanding advocacy and Evan Andersen is equally devoted and bright. I’m joining a great group and a growing firm. We know the photo world and the law.

What this means for Burns Auto Parts is that I will be doing considerably less marketing consulting work. I will take on some clients and certain projects, but not at the same level as I have in the past. It means that I will be even more selective about the clients I choose to work with for non-legal work–I will have to be convinced I can really help you to put the time and effort into doing so.

I will continue to write the Manuals and produce the Creative Lube podcasts, for those of you subscribed or who own the BAP2Go app. Don’t worry, I’m not bailing on that. For most of you, you won’t even notice a shift. I’ll still be posting on Twitter and the Facebook biz page, and here, although possibly more often on

And if you do want me to help with your marketing (editing your book, website, or the like), it will never hurt to ask. Just be warned I may have to say “no” and I’ll likely nag you about registering your copyrights even more.


Targeted advertising

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Y’all have heard me nag about how important targeting is. It’s crucial. It’s absolutely the first and most important step in all your marketing. If you have a targeted audience, your ROI will increase, sometimes dramatically.

The days of the shotgun approach to marketing, just like the days of being a generalist photographer, are over.

That being said, what tools can you use to reach your targets? Well, I’m working on a podcast about that which will be posted for BAP2Go app owners in the next few days.

One thing that I want to share here, though, is that if you are trying to reach art directors and other creatives who often hide behind the “firewalls” of no emails and/or the much needed and ever effective Art Buyers/Producers at agencies, there is a new resource for you: advertising on

Okay, full disclosure: Adland is owned and operated by a friend of mine. That being said, I get nothing from her for any of this. Buy space or don’t, it doesn’t affect me. She told me about her new pricing structure and thought it might be a good way for some of my followers to get their names in front of ad people. That’s all.

So, that’s why am I telling you about buying ad space on–Because Adland is viewed by the creatives who make the ads. We’re talking about much of the crème de la crème of the ad world, globally. And now you can get in front of their eyes for very little money. Like $15 and up little money, or $90 for 30 days (for the smallest ads, you can go bigger, of course, details here). All you need is a PayPal account… and an ad, of course.

Go to the page and look at the ad sizes. Get your designer to make an ad of the right format (that clicks to your website, hello!). Then you can buy the space and upload your ad. And if you have questions, email Åsk (my friend, the owner).

Will buying ad space on get you a job? Not if that’s all you do, of course. But it is another tool to get your name and work out there, in front of your actual targets. Sure, it would be great if you were running ads in Archive or the like, but for many of you, that isn’t a financial option. And every time I hear about one of you trading work for ad space in some general consumer magazine or something like Dentists Monthly, I want to beat someone. A total waste of your efforts. You need to reach your targets, and this may help.


Pride and Purgatory

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

This article has got to be one of the most important things written for creative professionals in, well, forever.

Not to ruin it for you, but the author worked in advertising for a very long time and doesn’t any more. During his tenure, he saw some of the huge shifts in how the business works and how those shifts have been at the behest of the accountants, not for the betterment of the creative work or the lives of the creative workers.

This all holds true for photographers, writers, illustrators, designers, as well as those directly in the advertising game.

Mostly, what I want you to get out of the piece is how willing you are to take it. Each of you will have to answer that question for yourself, but take some time to do so honestly. Have you thrown in “all rights” when you knew it was wrong for you, because you felt you had to? Has your professional organization knuckled under to the pressure rather than stand up for you? Have you worked for free or for much less than you know the work is worth?


Are you making your work? Work you are honestly proud of? Work that will outlive you?

Are you protecting your rights in your work–especially your personal work that you are proud of–so that your children can possibly reap the rewards when you are gone?

Or are you just a cog? The money-guys’ bitch? The one whose fragile ego won’t permit being told “no” because you feed off praise like Renfield on a bug?

You pick.

Why Are You Complaining?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Yesterday, I learned about the death of Paula Lerner, and my heart broke a little. She was so young and such a defender of photographer’s rights. I knew, liked, and respected her.

I learned that news after hearing from a very close friend that one of her other best friends has cancer, again–a woman who just got her divorce papers on Sunday. Divorce and a really bad form of cancer. Ugh.

All this bad news got me to thinking: why am I complaining about anything in my life right now, especially work stuff? Why are any of us?

Business is hard. To paraphrase a favorite movie, anyone who says otherwise is selling something. Business is work and doing the stuff you don’t want to do. Business is hiring accountants and lawyers and making pitches to potential clients and doing research and paperwork and making trips to Costco.

Oh, and making your art, too.

It’s sacrifice and frustration. It’s making tough choices like to take what may be a hit now for the possibility of a long-term gain (the subject of my latest Manual that subscribers & app owners got yesterday). It means having to say “no” to a lot more than you ever imagined, like to buying you or your kids stuff because you need to pay your over-priced health insurance.

It means having to smile to clients who are driving you nuts.

But it’s life, and you chose this path.
Stop and think just how great that is. You are Here, as the sign says.

No matter how tough it gets, no matter how much you struggle in your business and to make your art, you are here and doing it. No matter how psychotic the client demands, how long the hours, how much you miss your life partner because you’ve been locked in post for the past week, or how frustrating the airlines are being about your gear, it beats the hell out of the Alternative, as my 86-year-old father puts it.

I hope we all take a moment to remember those who have inspired us, like Paula, and then honor them by recognizing that we’re all here temporarily and need to embrace the fantastic opportunity that presents. Play your music a little louder, do the drudge work with a better attitude, and push your art more.

And stop complaining about any of it.