recent magazine and online articles by me

It’s interesting the turn my career has taken over the years. Commercial photographer, wedding photographer, portrait photographer, educator and writer. I’ve worked through many genres of photography and now concentrate on creating art, commercial imaging and education/writing.

Current writing ASP and The Photographer Magazines

Article in the Fall Issue of ASP Magazine

Here is are a couple magazine articles I’ve penned and had published recently. One is for American Society of Photographers (ASP). It was a follow-up to my photographing the Milky way article. This was on processing to take the images to the next level. Look for the Summer issue for planning and shooting. Fall issue was on post-production of Milky Way images. The camera, lens and long exposure collect way more information than your eye can see. Post processing reveals all the color and grandeur of the Milky Way.

Article in the latest issue of The Photographer Magazine

The other magazine article that just dropped was for ‘The Photographer’ magazine. It shares ideas on capturing water droplets in and artistic and colorful fashion. The Art of Photographing Water Droplets can be accessed and read here.

Photofocus online

Photofocus is an online magazine for which I write at least three articles a month, often more, for the last three years. This is in addition to writing for Successful-Photographer. Here are a couple links to the last articles I posted.

If you are looking to sell your work online here is a possible solution for you. Getting your art found on Fine Art America.

This is an article on post-processing images with beauty retouching for hotel properties. Developing high-end hotel property photography.

Photography career

Weirdly enough all of my photography career has been some combination of photography, education including hands on and presentation to photography groups and writing about it. If you need a speaker, writer, photographer or Lens Based Artist, let me know!

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

 

photo book publishing path – part two

photo book publishing path – part two

My photographer friend Sara Frances shared her trials and tribulations of self-publishing a photo book. This is part two of a five part series. Read on for some great ideas. (Editor) Start with Part One

Publishing Path Part Two

In this issue we’re tackling the conception of your book to the birth; the first three steps. Concept, audience and content. Most artists and photographers would incorrectly argue that their art is the first thing to be considered. At least not when a book is the concept.

Gary McLaughlin and longtime friend Glory Ann Penington teamed up in a self-published Blurb printing, now to be reissued with a commercial printer to get serious about selling.

What is your concept?

Ask what you have to say as an art photographer. Your theme, favorite subject, particular style, longtime project—what you believe in as an artist, what moves your soul. This is not a portfolio; nothing like what we do every day for our clients and to attract new ones. To be viable, a photo book cannot be a loose collection, but must tell a cohesive story—the story you are simply itching to tell!

Yes these artists know each other well; fitting images to the words and vice versa is a powerful combination.

Define your audience

Then the next question is to define the audience for that specific story. The scope of potential audience determines quantity print run as well as whether a specific topic will gain traction. Call it market research, or just plain search, for salability. This means going to book stores, photo book stores, and internet. But that’s not all: gift stores, museums, art galleries that offer photography are the next rung of outlets where you book might find a welcoming audience. How about new age or inspirational stores, even hospital gift shops! How about non-profit schools or nature institutions (that’s called special sales)?

Control your sales

Do you want to capitalize on a current trend or do you want to strike out to fill a topic niche that you feel is under-represented? Here are three approaches for controlling costs and expanding audience.

• Since the documented sales of most limited edition art photo books is 80 copies or less, you may choose a very limited run that you are sure you can see to family and friends—say 50 copies. Many art and poetry book printers require a commitment of this quantity as a pre-condition. Not a wrong answer.

Master Photographer Lisa Hill teamed up with three non-profits she is passionate about to offer calendars of her art work, entirely for their benefit—and no up-front cost to her

• If you want to scale your potential sale numbers, the collaborative route will open doors. Team up with an author, and your mail list more than doubles: yours, the author’s, and people interested in hybrid works. Added value.

• Teaming with a special interest non-profit that is involved in the subject of your images has potential, assuming the product is something the charity’s public will get behind. Be prepared to provide significant percent of monetary return as well as doing a significant part of the marketing and all of the fulfillment.

Lisa is a demon social media self promoter. Her line of art prints, calendars, cards and commercial work all feed off each other. Note her lovely logo and signature.

Sara Frances

author photo sara francisSara is a many-decades Master Photographic Craftsman out of Denver whose artistic focus has always been book making with images. Her albums won PPA merits starting well before digital capture, as well as for what is believed to be the first ever awarded portrait album. She has evolved from daily, shorter-term studio photography into exclusively special projects of long commitment. Her second hybrid photo/memoir art book, Fragments of Spirit, now published under her own mark, Photo Mirage Books, is available mid-December 2020.

Renewing her lifelong interest in creative writing, she was recently was accepted for Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Poetry Collective, graduating a year later with a forthcoming hybrid work marrying over 275 manipulated iPhone images with 120 poems: What to Wear to Paradise.

Her three-year quest to learn all facets of the art book industry has influenced her to give back with hands-on publishing classes. She is a judge for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and for Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA.) She teaches for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Denver, for PPA Super One Day seminars, and also mentors hybrid image/text projects.

To find Sara on social media search SaraFrancesPhotographer or email – imagination@photomirage.com

photo book publishing path

photo book publishing path

Fellow photographer Sara Francis has published photo books and asked to share the trials and tribulations of getting them into print. Please welcome Sara with these guest posts as she shares this five-part series on getting a photo book into print.

Your Photographic Forever; a five-part series that will make you want to put your images into print. Why Print a photo book now?

In spite of distancing and upheaval, it’s a great time to publish a photo book—your photographic art in book form. My personal experience on the road to publish my retrospective and photo-memoir kickstarts this series. Here’s the good news.

All book sales, including art and photo books, are up more than 100%. As photographers, we already own and work with many of the tools needed to conceive and design an attractive, salable book—without paying for costly designers and editors. Printing costs are now much less than you’d expect.

The concept of a book, a stunning, coffee table book, hard cover, with a wide-ranging folio of our own work, well, that’s a goal that most of us have fostered for some time. I tried all sorts of avenues, including university presses for my 60-year photo project and memoir of the Taos Native American Pueblo, the artists of Taos I have known and the wonder of the region. Yes, strong regional interest and potential audience. I discovered four major roadblocks.

A great title, and also an informative, attractive contents page must grab attention. Note that most books are filed with only the spine showing, so be sure to have title, author and publisher name or mark showing.

Choose your publisher

Institutional presses, if they accept you at all, take at least two years to come to print, and you have little say in the design and presentation. Exclusively photo and art book printers have limited funds and take a handful of projects a year. Many say they approach only photographers they themselves name. No chance to submit. More mainstream publishers are so genre-conscious that images, especially images with text or poetry are simply not a fit they consider. Worse, publishers who claim support for new or regional artists mostly just want to sell you their design and editing services, so you still have little input.

Image and text, both poetry and memoir, tell the story of why I photographed this child.

This the bad news I encountered, and it was a deal breaker. I’ve spent more than three years figuring out how to do it myself, my way. I set out to work through the entire process from concept to design to print to distribute and promote. I wanted my book to look just like I wanted, not someone else’s design. At this point I can give you more good news. Over 50% of all books published are now independently or self published. And this trend continues to increase.

Ceremonial color proves a good foil for the sepia duo-tones in telling the regional story.

Steps forward

Classic rule of thirds composition in a grab shot, again unfolds the story.

Here’s the breakdown of steps to make the process financially feasible and technically manageable. In this series I hope I can coach you to think seriously about publishing and start the process toward reward under you own hand.

Concept
Audience
Content
Printer choice
Design
Edit
Warehouse
Distribution
Promotion

Bob is the first one to tell you that you don’t get rich on a book. My job is to show you steps to publish that won’t break the bank. And the riches! The satisfaction of a beautiful book is worth everything.

Proceed to Part Two of your book publishing path.

Sara Frances

author photo sara francisSara is a many-decades Master Photographic Craftsman out of Denver whose artistic focus has always been book making with images. Her albums won PPA merits starting well before digital capture, as well as for what is believed to be the first ever awarded portrait album. She has evolved from daily, shorter-term studio photography into exclusively special projects of long commitment. Her second hybrid photo/memoir art book, Fragments of Spirit, now published under her own mark, Photo Mirage Books, is available mid-December 2020.

Renewing her lifelong interest in creative writing, she was recently was accepted for Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Poetry Collective, graduating a year later with a forthcoming hybrid work marrying over 275 manipulated iPhone images with 120 poems: What to Wear to Paradise.

Her three-year quest to learn all facets of the art book industry has influenced her to give back with hands-on publishing classes. She is a judge for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and for Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA.) She teaches for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Denver, for PPA Super One Day seminars, and also mentors hybrid image/text projects.

To find Sara on social media search SaraFrancesPhotographer or email – imagination@photomirage.com

ppa image competition district

ppa image competition district

Coming Soon PPA’s IPC District Competitionppa image competition logo

IPC. Stands for International Photographic Competition from Professional Photographers of America. (PPA) If you are a PPA member it’s time to finish creating those images and get them printed and/or uploaded.

I am a huge fan of PPA’s Imaging Competition. I believe that it had a strong indfluence on me becoming the image maker I am today. My growth as a photographer and artist was accelerated and continues to keep my skills moving forward. I highly encourage you to get in. Remember that you are not getting into image competition to compete with others. It is to compete with yourself.

I’ll be helping to judge the District Competitions at PPA Headquarters in Atlanta from the 5th through 7th of June. Judging will start on the 2nd of June and you can tune in to hear it live. This link will be valid once IPC starts. http://stream.theipc.org You do not need to be a PPA member to watch and learn. If you a PPA member and are in the Atlanta area come on by to see the competition live. This is the warm ups to the IPC in August. IMages that do well in Districts automatically earn a Merit at IPC.

Here are some links to some of my past IPC results.

PPA Artist entries 2018

PPA Open entries 2018

Kinda cool that PPA choose one of my images in the PPA Loan Collection to help promote the 12 elements!

Learn about the twelve elements of a Merit image

You have a little over a month from today to complete your registration. Here are the details…

DEADLINES AND FEES

  • $129.00 for PPA members registered by 5:00pm EST May 8, 2019. (non‐members: $65 additional)
  • Please note, any PPA member that entered a district competition will pay a reduced case fee for IPC of $50.00 for PPA members registered by 5:00pm EST, July 18, 2019
  • $164.00 for PPA members registering May 8, 2019 after 5:00pm through May 22, 2019 at 5:00 pm EST No registrations accepted after May 22, 2019 at 5:00 pm EST
  • $39.00 per case for image critiques. Please allow 4 weeks following the completion of the competition. Critiques will be posted in your “My PPA” account
  • Physical print entry cases must be received by May 29, 2019

    Best of luck to you in your quest to become a better photographer and image creator!

    Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

portrait pricing guidelines with steve bedell – part four

portrait pricing guidelines with steve bedell – part four

Portrait Pricing Guidelines with Steve Bedell – Part Four
Marketing Monday Guest Post

Here is Steve’s continuation from part 1 and part 2 and part 3 portrait pricing

Six: Wall portrait bonus

We all know the money is in the wall portraits and wall groupings. So from our initial contact right through the sales session that’s what we should be striving for. To drive that point home, I offer a discounted price of about 30% off on gift prints when they purchase a portrait 20 inches or larger. (Note: The discounted price is the price I feel I should sell that product for. If they don’t have a wall portrait I am just more profitable on the smaller prints)

pricing for profit graphic part 4


SEVEN: Albums

I know many photographers like albums. I am not a huge fan. You either have to take the time to do the layout or pay someone to do it (my choice). I know you can get big numbers from them but make sure you cover all your bases, including time, when deciding the pricing.

I prefer Album boxes. Make a few 5×7’s for peanuts, slide into 8×10 mats and put into the box. Pretty simple plus if you make an error in any image you just change out one print.



EIGHT: ALWAYS list most expensive product first

I’m firm on this one; this is pretty much an unbreakable rule. People read from the top down, left to right. Start out with that 40×60 for half a million bucks (you wish) and by the time they get down to that 16×20 for $800 it’s going to look pretty inexpensive. The mind works this way, at first they think ‘Oh my God, I can’t afford this’ to ‘Well, that’s more in my budget’. Start small to large and it’s an uphill battle.

It works the same way with your good/better/best pricing, always list the most expensive product first or right to left.



NINE: Session fees

OK, there’s a lot of wiggle room in this one. I know some VERY successful (Bradford) photographers who have no session fees. I know others who have very high session fees. Which is better for you?

Well, Bradford has a brilliant system where he has one background and I’d guess not much changing in the lighting. In my semi-retirement, I am doing everything from the consultation to the shoot to print delivery on location. That’s a significant chunk of time to be doing everything for free so I have a session fee of $300. That works for me, you may be different.

But there is another good reason to have that session fee. You don’t want to discount your products but the session fee can be used as a bargaining chip. You can do 50% off session fee promotions, free sessions for returning/good clients, etc. and not be hurting your sales average.



TEN: Payments

When we tally up the order we ask ‘How would you like to pay for that’. Most people either give you a check or a credit card and that’s the end of it. If they ask if they have to pay it all up front, we tell them they can pay 50% now, the balance when they pick up. 90% pay in full right off. I don’t offer payment plans, that’s what credit cards are for.



ELEVEN: Minimum orders

I’ve never had minimum orders. Why? I feel like they act as a barrier. Job one is to get people in front of your camera. People may not like the idea of having to spend a certain amount of money before even seeing the end result.
Have I ever been burned on this? Of course, but not that often. We are very comfortable with our photography and sales skills so we’ll put that risk on us.



TWELVE: Wall Groupings

You sell wall groupings by showing wall groupings. That is one of the big benefits of Proselect, Swift Galleries and others. Most can even let you show them on their own walls. If you go to the house during or before the shoot, you can take pics of the walls ahead of time. You can also ask them to do, some will, some won’t.

I price my wall groupings at a slight discount to buying the images individually. Why? I’d rather sell 3-5 images than just one. Most of the wall groupings I sell are Gallery Wraps.

Big tip: Use the templates from your lab. ACI has over 25 different templates and when you order them as a grouping the price is about 15% less than if you ordered them individually. Design your wall groupings ahead of time using these templates and you’ll be even more profitable.



THIRTEEN: Don’t use dollar signs or odd number pricing.

If you’re a low end studio, go ahead and price your work using dollar signs and odd number pricing. Example: 8×10 for $34.95. If you are trying to convey that you are a luxury product, use 20×24 for 1100. An Hermes bag is not priced at $4997, it is priced at 5000.
”

Steve Bedell has been a professional photographer for over 35 years. He has done weddings, portrait andsteve bedell head shot commercial work but now restricts his business to portraits only.

 Steve holds the Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman degrees from the Professional Photographers of America and is a PPA Approved Print Juror.

He has been named the New Hampshire Photographer of the Year a record 8 times and in 2011 was awarded the New England Photographer of the Year title. His specialty is natural light portraiture.

He has written hundreds of articles for photo publications, taught classes and workshops nationwide and produced several lighting DVDs. His private newsletter, EPhoto, reaches over 2000 photographers. Steve was a regular contributor to Shutterbug magazine.