Field Report:

The Non-Glamorous Side of Photography

Interesting Links – 8/29/08

Dispatches From the Edge: 40,000 Feet – Photo Business News & Forum. John Harrington describes a day in the life of photography business while traveling. A very exhausting schedule!

2008 PDN Stock Guide

Waffle House Wedding Photos – Not business-related but I saw this on Twitter and had to share this slideshow.

The Pitfalls of Self-Published Books – Jorg Colberg writes about his experiences with various print on-demand publishers. This is a good read because I suspect that most photographers that try the self-publishing route are likely to consider these sources first because it doesn’t come with the overhead costs of running your own publishing company.

August 29, 2008 Posted by | Weekly Links | , | Leave a comment

Florida Nature Artist, Gloria Hopkins Interview

Residing in South Florida, nature artist Gloria Hopkins paints and photographs lush landscapes of various locations in the United States. She recently completed her first online book titled, Natural Design: Image Design for Nature Photographers.

Red Fox, Island Beach State Park, New Jersey

Red Fox, Island Beach State Park, New Jersey

What prompted you to take on such a complex topic for your first book?

When I began learning about art at a young age, image composition was a concept that was difficult for me to grasp. There were no art schools for seven year-olds, so I had to learn about it on my own and this took many years.

After discovering photography in 2000, I realized that the concepts of image design were the same for painting and photography, but few books existed that showed a photographer, practically, how to put together a composition.

I soon found a few online photo critique forums and fellow members would respond with great enthusiasm when I would address the design aspects of their images. I realized that they were going through the exact same struggles with image design that I went through with painting all those years ago. Natural Design was conceived to help clarify the topic for photographers while allowing me to write about my favorite topics.

Explain to our readers what the typical day in the life of Gloria Hopkins was like during the writing of this book? How long did it take to complete?

I began writing Natural Design in 2003 and it took me five years to complete. During the first two years I was employed full time and I had to work on the book at night and on the weekends, which I did faithfully. After leaving the office environment in 2005 I went to work on the book full time.

I spent many days at libraries studying every book I could find on art, design and photography. Other days were spent in the studio writing, editing and pouring over thousands of photographs. I would often paint at night, just to clear my head of the book, and for a change of pace. The days were long and sometimes it seemed there was no end in sight for the book and the non-paying, thankless work.

But I had Natural Design envisioned in my mind and I knew that it was an important book to write. It was self discipline, personal drive, and my love of writing and image-making that kept me going. The long days and nights were well worth it. Selling my first book was the single most satisfying moment of my professional life.

Waipio Valley, Hawaii

Waipio Valley, Hawaii

How have you been promoting this book?

The book was just made available in June ’08 and I have to confess that aside from a little affiliate marketing program I have just set up, and my new Google Adwords campaign, the only marketing effort I have made is displaying it on my website. I’m thrilled to say that the book is selling steadily through word-of-mouth, and I am enjoying a nice, long vacation.

Red-crowned (Japanese) Cranes Dance, Oil on Canvas

Red-crowned (Japanese) Cranes Dance, Oil on Canvas

How do you feel about photographers who don’t comply with park rules such as harassing wildlife or wandering off-trail?

I wish they would consider all of the consequences of their actions and not just the obvious. In addition to the clear lack of respect for the law and the authority of property management, those who break the rules disregard their own reputations as well. Not only that, they are toying dangerously with the reputations of all nature photographers.

Because we carry big gear we tend to be viewed as a group. Fair or not, that’s the way it is. And the bad behavior of one can and often does reflect negatively on all of us. Because we represent each other, in the interest of conducting ourselves professionally, and in order to establish and nurture good relations with park personnel, we should always be respectful in the field.

Any photography announcements or personal projects that you would like to tell us about?

Photo Design: Image Design for Photographers is already in the works. Also, I’ve been planning a six-month relocation “dream trip” from Florida back to the West in the next few years, of course photographing the whole way. My landscapes portfolio needs some new additions and I can’t wait to get out there with the cameras.

Most certainly a book will be written about the trip. From now until then I am working on securing the vehicle and financing for the trip, which is another reason for writing Natural Design and the forthcoming Photo Design.

Thanks Gloria!

You are most welcome, and thank you Richard!

To see more of Gloria Hopkins’ art, check out her website at:

August 22, 2008 Posted by | Interviews, Photographers | , , , , | 2 Comments

Interesting Links – 8/20/08

NPPA Independent Photographer’s Toolkit – Tools you’ll need to run a photography business.

Rights-Managed Stock v.s. Royalty Free Stock – ASMP

Annie Griffiths Belt: A Nomadic Family Life – Double Exposure Online Magazine.

The Brand Gap Slideshow – Great slideshow that examines what a successful brand is.

Ask an Art Buyer: Promotion – Heather Morton. Understand how to promote yourself to art buyers.

Dane Sanders – His intro video is one of the best photographer videos I have seen.

August 20, 2008 Posted by | Weekly Links | , | 2 Comments

North Carolina Outdoor Photographer, Leann Greene Interview

Residing in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina, nature and children’s sports photographer Leann Greene is a busy, working mother of three. Find out how she does it.

Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Many hobbyist photographers can probably relate to you in addition to people who are thinking about having children. How are you able to manage your desire to photograph nature while maintaining such a busy personal life?

I need the outdoor photography as “me” time as I always feel recharged after spending the time on what I want and having tangible results. Of course you have to make some concessions but if you want it enough you can do it. I have no other hobbies so I don’t feel I’m being selfish in a way that detracts from my family.

The majority of nature photographers are men so how does it feel to be a woman in this testosterone-driven genre?

I think nature photography and especially landscapes can use the female perspective. The men I have photographed with are enthusiasts also and I’d say there is a “prove yourself” period that quickly fades away when your shared appreciation of the outdoors takes over. I enjoy hanging out with the guys and picking their brain about tactics and methods. I don’t know if many men feel comfortable asking the same of women photographers.

Mountain Laurel Blooms, Lake James, North Carolina

Mountain Laurel Blooms, Lake James State Park, North Carolina

Name some female photographers that inspire you.

Lori Kincaid and Alison Shaw are two female photographers that I’d like to emulate.

Given your experience with outdoor recreation, share some general safety advice for the female readers of this blog.

Don’t worry about looking fashionable. Safety is the top priority. Make sure you have the right footwear for the outdoors. I have been in fear for people walking across rocks in everyday street shoes. Comfortable & functional pants can make a difference also because you may need to make deep knee bends or climb up big steps. So I prefer cargo pants.

I enjoy outings by myself so I can’t preach about not going out by yourself but one thing I’ve learned is always heed your intuition if you have an uneasy feeling about something or a situation. I have left early upon occasion when people or the weather conditions have given me a bad vibe.

As a life-long California resident, game hunting is not a common form of recreation in my region. However, it is a popular form of recreation in some states like North Carolina. So what does someone like me need to know to avoid getting shot at by hunters while photographing or hiking out in the woods?

First of all, you need to know the boundaries of the areas that you’re in. Game lands in North Carolina are marked by signs on trees but are also very easy to research online. The seasons for each county are also easy to research online.

Try not to be so quiet when hiking because wildlife will think you are a predator and hunters may also think you are game. If you are out during a hunting season then be sure to wear some hunter’s orange! Also don’t mock the hunters – duh! Overall though, everyone I’ve met is friendly and excited to be outdoors also.

You recently went on a wildlife photography excursion to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, with Cindy Nowlin, another nature photographer from your region. Tell us about the experience.

We planned our trip to find young whitetail fawns. Cindy is extremely familiar with the Cades Cove section of the park. For fawns, we actually didn’t feel the need to line up at the gate before sunrise since they wouldn’t be out and about until later in the morning and later in the afternoon. We were open to whatever was presented to us in terms of animals or scenery and filled our days with walking and exploring the park. With patience we were able to track the behavioral patterns of some does and fawns for some nice photographs.

Bull Elk Salad at Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

Bull Elk Salad at Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

You are a two-time winner of the Friends of the Wilson Creek Photo Contest and came in 2nd place in 2007. Developers recently took an interest to the Wilson Creek Wilderness Area, but they encountered some opposition. What is the current status of Wilson Creek now and what would the preservation of this area mean to you?

It turns out the land owners hoped a non-developer would want to purchase their land adjacent to the wilderness area. The actual wilderness area wasn’t for sale but land also along the creek was offered for sale. A developer was interested but their bid was rejected after much public outcry. The family did accept an offer from the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and the Wildlife Resources Commission. Hopefully they will be able to secure the funds by the deadline of December, 2009.

For me, it’s one of those places where you can really feel away from it all yet still be close to home. Kayakers, fisherman, swimmers all benefit from the deal. It offers many free activities so why should only the affluent get all the good spots?

No arguments from me about that. So are there any photography announcements or personal projects that you would like to tell us about?

I’m taking a class on photographing people so I can offer high-quality outdoor portraits and combine my affection for the outdoors with a service to sell.

Thanks Leann!

To see more of Leann Greene’s photography, check out her website at:

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Interviews, Photographers | , , , , | 9 Comments

Interesting Photography Links – 8/13/08

Heineken Discovers Flickr Isn’t Full of Free Photography – A Photo Editor.

Joel Meyerowitz MagRack Video – An interesting how-to video of how he shoots street photography in New York.

Studio Photography Magazine – The current issue has a great section about marketing strategies. While geared toward wedding and portrait photographers, photographers of all styles can learn from their advice.

Young Photographers United – An interesting service for young aspiring professional photographers.

August 13, 2008 Posted by | Weekly Links | | 2 Comments

San Francisco Photographer, Jim Goldstein Interview

San Francisco-based nature photographer and independent photojournalist, Jim Goldstein’s images have appeared in the Washington Post, Sierra Club, Future Snowboarding magazine,,, and a variety of other publications. Goldstein has also made a name for himself by writing about a number of controversial topics on his photography blog, JMG-Galleries.

You seem to know how to touch a nerve within the online photography community, as evidence by the 200 comments that you received on a blog post recently. What is the philosophy behind your blog?

The goal of my blog is two fold to introduce people to… 1. great photography and 2. issues that face photographers as well as society at large. In that sense I try to show not just how photography has an impact on viewers and our culture, but how culture and viewers have an impact on photography.

Would you say that your background in web marketing has played a part in being so well-connected to the online community?

Not to be disrespectful in any way as this question made me chuckle. I get a laugh out of this question mostly because when I think of an answer to this question I think about how long I’ve been online and how old that makes me feel. I’ve been actively posting photographs to the Internet for over 10 years and have been active in online discussions before the web browser came into being. In that sense I think my interest in photography and its display online has transcended my web-marketing career. Clearly my background in web-marketing has helped me stay in the know about various types of technologies/services and how they can be used from a marketing perspective. Ultimately I think it is my long tenure online and active participation that has helped me best keep the pulse of the online photographic community.

You once went on a lengthy photo excursion up to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with renowned nature photographer, Art Wolfe, while he was filming his TV show. The images you came back with are stunning, especially of the caribou migration. What would the preservation of ANWR mean to you?

Thanks Richard its great to hear that my photographs had an impact.

To me, no pun intended, the Arctic Refuge (AKA ANWR) is the tip of the iceberg. The Arctic Refuge represents the first of many dominos that when knocked down will forever change how our protected lands and wildlife will be managed and preserved. Sadly the war of words has transformed how we even talk about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The next time you listen to a debate about this one wildlife refuge take note of the terms used. “ANWR” it completely removes the correlation to “wildlife”. “ANWR” it becomes devoid of anything meaningful just as those who want to drill this region see it. It is a wildlife refuge and people seem to forget this in day-to-day discussion. People are also unaware that “wilderness areas” have the greatest degree of protection of any federally protected land, even more than national parks. No manmade elements, no roads, no buildings, nothing can be built in these areas to provide the greatest level of protection possible to the wildlife that live and migrate through these areas.

I was very lucky in being able to travel to this region with Art Wolfe and other conservationists. The trip opened my eyes even more to the plight of this area. Since this trip it has become clear to me that there has been a systematic effort in the past eight years to weaken the protection of our protected lands in a desperate effort to reach the last pockets of undeveloped natural resources including oil, timber, precious metals, minerals and even the commodity of land to cut costs for energy companies to run power lines from point A to B. Although President Eisenhower signed the legislation establishing the boundaries of the Arctic Refuge it is President Teddy Roosevelt that helped solidify the value and interest of protected lands to the greater population. These lands were protected for a reason and in the case of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge it protects the last pocket of migratory wildlife that rivals what most associate with the plains of Africa.

Permanent preservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that is home to 36 fish species, 36 land mammals, nine marine mammals, and more than 160 migratory and resident bird species would mean a big and meaningful step forward in how the last of our wild lands are protected.

San Francisco is a pretty wacky place and you have photographed events like Bring Your Own Big Wheel as well as the Folsom Street Fair. Is there anything in the city that you haven’t photographed that interests you?

The great thing about San Francisco is that it is so incredibly diverse and open. The photographic opportunities are endless. With an open mind every event is a photographic opportunity. I personally would enjoy photographing more political rallies as well as some of the more eclectic events that pop up from time to time. Bring Your Own Big Wheel is a perfect example of the more random, eclectic and fun events that pop up. Seeing grown adults revert back to big kids riding plastic wheeled tricycles down a curvy San Francisco hillside road would make anyone smile or laugh.

Any photography business announcements or personal projects that you would like to tell us about?

I have several photographic projects underway, but the most noteworthy item to mention is the recent kickoff of a series of photo tours that I’m putting together. The first photo tour I have lined up is the Sea Otters of California Photo Tour in early September of 2008. For those interested in wildlife photography this is a great day trip to photograph and learn about California Sea Otters. I’ll have more photo tour announcements coming soon on my blog.

Lastly I’m happy to announce that one of my photographs has been selected to be shown at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle as part of the 2008 International Conservation Photography Awards. If your readers are in the Seattle area some great conservation oriented photography will be on display there as part of this program from August 30, 2008 until October 12, 2008.


August 11, 2008 Posted by | Interviews, Photographers | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Interesting Links – 8/6/08

ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography, 7th Edition – The photographers’ “business bible”. A must-read.

“Use of my photos on Facebook without my consent.” – Business forum. Always get it in writing first.

The Cloud is Falling – Vincent Lafloret / Sports Shooter.

Lost America Night Photography – I really dig Troy Paiva’s work. There is an unbelievable amount of forgotten structures in the California desert, and he really does a good job at capturing it.

Into the Light: A Digital Photo Story by Ibarionex Perello. A powerful life story multimedia narrative from a former editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine.

August 6, 2008 Posted by | Weekly Links | , , | Leave a comment

Outdoor Adventure & Baby Boomer Lifestyle Photographer, Sherri Meyer Interview

Professional outdoor adventure and lifestyle photographer, Sherri Meyer is based out of the historic, Sierra Nevada Foothills gold mining town of Auburn, California. Having access to the Sierras as her backyard, she has photographed a variety of adventure sports such as kayaking, marathon running and off-roading. Here are her thoughts on the current state of the stock photography industry:

Hiker viewing the spillway at Clementine Dam, on the north fork of the American River, Auburn, California

Hiker viewing the spillway at Clementine Dam, on the north fork of the American River, Auburn, California

I noticed that a number of your images appear to be of the baby-boomer generation. From what I have read, this is a category that is in demand and under-photographed so was it a conscious business decision of yours to photograph this demographic?

The main reason I photograph “Baby Boomers” is because I am one and most of the people I know are too. Some of them have become regular models for my photography. But, it is also a fact that photos of this generation are of high demand and in low supply. That is the other reason why I focus mainly on the “Boomer” generation. The “Baby Boomer” generation is the largest segment of the population. So why is there such a low supply of photos of them? Go figure! By the way, according to the publishing industry, you are also considered a senior if you are 50 plus. Photos of seniors are also of high demand and in low supply.

From a business perspective, what would you like to photograph that you haven’t already?

I would like to Photograph for REI and Title Nine. I would love to have my attractive and fit “Baby Boomer” models featured in their catalogs. Title Nine does use women of all ages in their catalogs, but REI seems to focus on children and models in their 20’s and 30’s. I really think they are missing the boat by not featuring older models in their catalog also. I would like to change that. Since the “Baby Boomer” generation is the largest segment of the population that means they also spend the most money for products [and typically have the most disposable income.] Therefore, they also deserve to be part of their marketing program! I would also like to do some food product photography. Every month, I pick up the Raley’s “Something Extra” magazine where I shop. It’s a free publication they put out for their customers. It’s full of recipes, accompanied with outstanding food photographs. I love looking at the photos and thinking that is something I would like photograph. Also, one of my sisters photographed food years ago, for the natural food company she and I worked for. I always admired her work. That may be where it all started.

Business reasons aside, what would you like to photograph that you haven’t already?

Cowboys. I have always been attracted to photographs of cowboys. I have stayed at a dude ranch and photographed cowboys, as well as other activities that go on at a dude ranch. I have also photographed rodeos and cowboys performing various other ranch duties. But, what I would really love to do is go on and photograph a real cattle drive. I would also love to photograph singer/songwriters Emmy Lou Harris and Jimmy Buffett, two of my all-time favorites.

Silhouette of a woman running at Mackerricher State Park

Silhouette of a woman running at Mackerricher State Park

When dealing with a client directly, is there a minimum price that you set for negotiations?

Absolutely. Our fees are negotiable; however our minimum fee for any usage is $150.00.

When a potential client inquires about the use of an image and claims to have no budget for photos, there are some amateur photographers out there that are willing to give the client unlimited use of the image for free in exchange for a credit. They generally believe one of two things: 1. it will lead to a higher paying transaction in the future, 2. they only care about seeing their work published so they can brag about it. How do you feel about this?

I don’t think anyone should give their work away for any purpose, period. If your work is good enough to use for free, then it’s good enough to charge for! Richard, this question really hits my hot button. I’m giving you my short answer to this question for now, but I would love to write more in a future post.

Without naming names, tell us about a client from hell type of story.

I have worked with more than one client from h**l and they all have something in common. They have no respect! The three that come to mind were back in my earlier days and they were all regional, low paying markets. One of them was a brand new magazine. The editor knew nothing about working with photographers. I had to educate him about everything. Then, when one of his employees left on bad terms, she left with a CD of my images. Who knows where they ended up? I had another editor lose 4 of my [slides.] After contacting him several times, I managed to get all but one back. One of them was “nowhere” to be found until I sent him a bill for $1500.00. The next day, it was found. Amazing isn’t it? Then, there was the client that lost a whole submission consisting of 40 slides. I billed him also for $1500.00 per image. Soon thereafter, the images were recovered. I didn’t stop there, however. I did get compensated for the inconvenience of it all. The biggest problem with this type of client is they get treated the same way a good paying respectful client gets treated.

Couple hiking through a meadow of wildflowers in the American River Canyon

Couple hiking through a meadow of wildflowers in the American River Canyon

I noticed that you recently switched from the Photoshelter Archive to hosting your own Lightbox photo archive. What factored in your decision to do so?

There are a couple of reasons why I chose to go with Lightbox Photo over PhotoShelter for archiving my images. First, I wanted to have my images on my server rather than someone else’s. It’s more expensive to use Lightbox and there is a huge learning curve to setting up the galleries, but the benefits are worth it. I feel like I have a lot more control of my images, I’m getting more traffic and uploading images is much faster. Don’t get me wrong. I love PhotoShelter. I think they are one of the “best bangs for your buck” out there. I do still use their basic service and I plan to contribute to the new PhotoShelter Collection (PSC) very soon.

Any photography business announcements or personal projects that you would like to tell us about?

I don’t really have anything in the hopper right now, but there are a couple of things I would like to do down the road. I would like to publish a coffee table photography book featuring photos of… We will keep that a secret for now. Also, I would like to teach photo workshops and maybe do a little consulting. I did teach a few classes a couple of years ago which included a photo workshop through the adult education program here in Auburn.

Thanks Sherri. You’ve provided some great insights for the rest of us to ponder.

See more of Sherri Meyer’s work at:

August 4, 2008 Posted by | Interviews, Photo Business, Photographers, stock photography | , , , , , | 14 Comments