18Feb

Working on my second book

Just wanted to let everyone know I’ve been working on my second book – I’ll be done with the 45,000 word manuscript in June, it will hold over 200 images, and will be published with a division of Random House on the summer/fall of 2011 to be sold around the world.

It’s another photography how-to, deals with the outdoors, and I’m very excited about it – brings me back to some of my roots in photography, as well as one of my big loves. Recently I captured a few winter images in Yosemite National Park for potential book shots, and had a great time with a small group of photo friends.

I’ll keep you updated on it went it hits bookstores, and hope everyone grabs a copy! (I’ll have signed copies available too at that time).

Thanks!

17Apr

Want to become a pro photographer?


I want to have a career as a professional photographer.

I hear this from so many people whether through email, at live lectures and events, or from my students at various workshops. But I must admit, in all, it’s a very tough competitive industry where the money is even harder to come by than it was 20 years ago-not to mention the oversaturation of the stock licensing market – can something be oversaturated? Is that an oxymoron? Can’t find it in my dictionary. I digress.

Back to the industry, from 1991 (when I graduated college) to today, the changes have been dramatic, some positive, some negative (I remember when my stock agency contract went from 7 pages to 27 pages in a matter of 6 years). As always, you must have so much more than a good portfolio to make it- and no one or company will do it for you- you have to do it all yourself. It ain’t easy, and sacrifices, luck, hearing “no” over and over, as well as risk are all part of the game. But more importantly, you need to be professional- and that means learning business (more an that later).

In 1995, I used the first digital SLR Nikon put out, the E2s, and could see the changes coming down the pike (there I am at the Eco-Challenge adventure race in ’95 using the camera above the Colorado River). And although some say digital has been a big positive to the industry (exact copies of image files instead of poor-quality dupes, fixing mistakes post-capture, and the famous cloning tool to add that third eye to your friend’s head), I would say that it too has it’s pros and cons – one of which being the fact that you have to buy new gear all the time, new software, and new computers- it’s an expense, not an investment everyone.

Plus, I carry more gear than ever these days in the post 9/11 hell that is airport travel – ugh- someone buy me a new shoulder and a couple of knees please – and a whiffle-ball bat to beat on the seven TSA agents when they decide to test every roll of film – all 150 rolls at midnight (true story in Las Vegas in 2004 after catchin’ six other flights where they didn’t do this).

I was asked recently what it is to be a professional photographer. If it was someone who made over 50% of their income from photography, or just someone who gets published from time to time. As a full-time commercial travel photographer for 19 years, I’d say a pro photographer is someone who not only makes a living from photography, but one who charges appropriate fees, is technically sound with their equipment and craft, respectful and professional with his/her subjects, and one who uses proper business practices. That, to me, is what this job is about.

Another example of this is learning the art of negotiating, and realizing that if you want to do this for a living, you have to go back and forth with clients about contracts, rates, and rights. I recently had a client want to license an image, trying to pay rates half of what we normally charge (rates that really fit into 1989 and not 2009). We respectfully declined when they said they wouldn’t pay higher fees than theirs- the excuse was the economy (as if to say my business is not affected by the economy – I love that new argument – “our tight budget” has always been a staple for low rates). The following day the client came back and licensed rights to the image at our quoted rate. If photographers don’t learn how to value their image and determine specific fees for their services, they won’t survive in the industry.

More to learn more? My Business of Photography workshop isn’t scheduled yet for 2009, but does run from time to time, and we hope to have a date in place soon. I also offer personal consultations where I can focus on your goals and interests, as well as discussing specific industry information. I can discuss some aspects of being a pro at other workshops (such as the one coming up in June in Seattle, or Santa Fe in July), although my time during these courses is usually dedicated to the topic at hand. Here’s our main workshop page for more info.

In all, becoming a pro photographer is possible. Here’s to your dreams and ambitions- make ’em happen, it’s worth it. Enjoy your week everyone!


01Mar

My photo segment on "The View From the Bay"


On Monday, February 23rd, had the pleasure of being on The View From the Bay – a wonderful afternoon San Francisco Bay Area show on KGO-TV Channel 7, hosted by Spencer Christian and Janelle Wang.


We did a five-minute segment on taking family photos like a pro – it went very well and was a blast to do!

We talked about taking great photos with any camera, and I showed 10 slides on how to easily improve your picture taking through simple techniques and fun camera functions.

We also discussed how critical backing up your digital images are- so important to do- and to do it with reliable drives like Lacie hard drives (great desktop and rugged mobile hard drives I’ve used for years in my business), as well as Delkin’s archival gold DVDs (for which I burn thousands of images on to for safe keeping – 100 year archival DVD discs).

I also showed how to display your images in fun ways through Apple’s iLife ’09/iPhoto program (showing an album we had printed from a trip to Disneyland), or buying wonderful archival albums with style from Kolo.com. Kolo also added the segment to their blog at Koloist.com – check it out (simply click on the link)!

When I came home and watched it, and I was jazzed- sometimes it’s hard to remember how things like that went (and sure I’d love to be 30 lbs less!) but I was very pleased how it flowed.

Crazy, it felt like it went a minute and a half, but turned out to be exactly 5 minutes long as we planned. I also received a message from another producer of a local CBS show on The CW (Bay Area focus), complimenting my segment. We booked another tv interview for the fall (sometime in November). I’ll add it here once we have firm dates.

The show and hosts of
The View From the Bay were pleased as well and I thank them for the opportunity- a great professional staff of wonderful people putting together a top-notch show. This is what I’m working toward- to be known as that funny guy on tv that teaches people all about photography. The PhotoGuru.

If you’re interested in watching the segment, here’s the link: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=view_from_the_bay/everything_else&id=6674127

For more on Photoguru with Sean Arbabi, to review our tv show pilot, or read articles on photography, tips and tricks, new gear and software, and more, go to: http://www.photoguru.tv