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  3. Wonderful! Lovely photos and a great article. Ah, to be able to afford the 400mm f/2.8 prime. My dream lens for lure coursing and agility photos. lol But I just bought a Sigma 100-400 that only goes down to f/6.3 but I'm still pretty excited about it!
  4. I am honored to have my work featured in a wonderful article by B&H photo recently! https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/the-difference-makers-what-you-can-do-with-a-high-end-telephoto-lens
  5. Hi All, Here is a quick video when B&H interviewed me while I was in Alaska over the summer. Enjoy!
  6. Hello everyone! I will be speaking at B&H Photo's OPTIC 2021 conference on the Main Stage at 4:30pm ET / 1:30pm PT ! It's live, free, and virtual! "One Hour to Art -- Creative concepts for the busy photographer" At 5pm ET / 2pm PT I will be doing a LIVE Q&A session! Join in and ask questions! That will be in the Virtual Expo Stage Register here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/promotion/15107/optic.html It will also be recorded and I will post that recording here as soon as it is available!
  7. GET INSPIRATION FREE! If you missed our live session Friday, May 21, 2021, great news... you can watch it below! We had a delightful conversation that was heavily focused on how we find inspiration. We think you'll enjoy it! View the recording Chat discussion (inspirational ideas from our own participants are also here!) To register for classes, click here What to share this with others? Copy/paste this link: https://j.mp/3hHVvtv Let us know what you think! What inspired you most? Post your comments below and thank you for being a part of our time together. We appreciate you! All our best, Amy Johnson & Lisa Langell "Artners" at Focus Your Art, LLC
  8. 8. If you want to re-open the TIF file in Photoshop, once again you should click on the Photo menu, select Edit In, then Edit in Photoshop 2021. Alternatively, you can right-click on the photo and choose Edit In > Edit in Photoshop 2021 from the drop-down menu. This time, when you get the dialog box about how to open the file, you must select "Edit A Copy" or "Edit Original" in order to see your Photoshop layers. If you choose "Edit a Copy", Lightroom will create a copy of your TIFF file. If you choose "Edit Original", Lightroom will open the TIFF file created the first time you opened the file in Photoshop. With "Edit a Copy" you will have *two* TIFF files. With "Edit Original", you will have only *one* TIFF file. There is no other functional difference. If you choose "Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments", you will lose your layers. 9. When you are done with the file in Photoshop, choose File > Save. Do not choose File > Save As.
  9. 1. In Lightroom Classic, choose Lightroom > Preferences (Mac) or Edit > Preferences (Windows) and then click on the External Editing tab. Set up the preferences in this tab as shown. 2. From Lightroom Classic, select the photograph you want to edit in Photoshop. You can do this from either the Library module or the Develop module. 3. Click on the Photo menu, select Edit In, then Edit in Photoshop 2021. Alternatively, you can right-click on the photo and choose Edit In > Edit in Photoshop 2021 from the drop-down menu. 4. The first time you do this, Lightroom will ask how you want to edit your photo in Photoshop. Choose Edit A Copy With Lightroom Classic Adjustments to open a copy of the photo with any Lightroom adjustments that you have already made. 5. Your photo will open in Photoshop. Depending on your computer's memory, this can take several seconds to happen. 6. Make the changes in Photoshop, then choose File > Save. Do not choose File > Save As. 7. Go back to Lightroom. A copy of your newly edited photo will appear in your Lightroom Library.
  10. While all of the resources in class will be on either Vimeo or Zoom, instructors will occasionally use Youtube videos as outside resources. This tutorial will walk you through some of the options you may find for navigating those videos. Please note that videos may have some or all of these options depending on what the original account uploaded them with. So if you don't find an option (like closed captions), it's because the person who uploaded it without those options. It is, unfortunately, completely out of FYA's control. First, the videos that will be shared on FYA, will be embedded into a post. You will see this at the top left of the video: If you click on this, it will open the video in another tab on the actual YouTube page. You can view it on YouTube or just watch it on the FYA page, either one works. Once you start playing the video on FYA or open it in YouTube, you will several options at the bottom of the video: or this on YouTube itself: Let's run through all of them! 1. The first icon is the play/pause button. That one should be self-explanatory! 2. The next is the volume button. This volume is not the same as the volume on your computer, so if you have the volume turned all the way up on your computer, but the video still seems soft, check this area. You can change the volume in one of two ways. Hovering over it will bring up a slider to the right of it. You can move that slider around to change the volume (moving it to the right increases the volume). You can also click on the speaker icon itself to mute the video. To unmute, just click on it again. [keyboard shortcut for muting: m] 3. Moving to the right bottom of the screen, you'll see the "CC" button: This toggles the closed captions on and off. Please note that these may be auto-generated, so may not be perfect. Some videos will be better than others for this! [keyboard shortcut: c] 4. The next icon (the one that looks like a little gear) is the settings icon. The options here: Annotations - This is automatically toggled on. Annotations are clickable images and text that are added to a video to encourage viewers to take an action at specific time points in the video. These are those text boxes, images, or video previews that pop up while watching the video. They might do things like suggest another video to watch, direct you to the videographer's website, subscribe to their channel, etc. You can toggle these on or off. Playback speed - There are many reason to change the playback speed. You may want to get through sections of the video faster without just clicking ahead in it (thus allowing you to listen and find the part you're looking for). You can increase the speed by as much as 2x. You may also want to slow it down if there's something you missed. This may be especially important when someone is demonstrating how to do something in Photoshop or Lightroom. If you miss it at the normal speed, go back and watch it at a slower speed. You can slow it down to as much as 1/4 of the speed (.25x). (Note that this does not change the pitch of the video, for those who remember high speed dub!). Subtitles/CC - These are additional subtitling options. In this case, you can opt for auto-generated captions in English or you can select "auto-translate" and pick any language (as these are auto translated, they may not be very good, but the option is there!). Quality - Videos are default to 480p as a quality. You may click on this to select to watch the video at a higher quality (up to 1080 if the video offers it) or reduce the quality if you don't want to use as much data or you have a slow internet connection. Other options that may appear - This appears on the bottom left side of the video, next to the play/pause button only if you're watching the video on YouTube. Clicking this will send you to the next video in the person's list. Note again that this will not appear on the FYA page where the video is embedded and won't be particularly useful for class situations, but I wanted to make sure you knew what it did. -- You'll see this on the FYA page after you start playing the video. Clicking this will open the video (beginning from where you left off) in Youtube. -- This is the "miniplayer" icon. This will take the video down to a small pop up on the bottom right of your screen. To bring it back to the previous screen, hit this in the upper left corner of the video: [Keyboard shortcuts: i] -- This is the "theatre mode" icon and will enlarge the video to wide screen (think of it a little as partway between the standard video and full screen). To return to the normal mode, click on the icon (which now looks like a wide screen box) again: [keyboard shortcut: t] - If you have your computer set up to be able to send videos to a TV, this will cast the video to that TV. - This last icon on the far right bottom of the screen is the "full screen" icon. Click on this to view the video using the full screen of your computer. To return to the regular screen, hit the "Esc" key on your keyboard or select this icon in the lower right of the video: [keyboard short cut: f]
  11. All of our in-house videos will be uploaded to Vimeo and embedded into the course content here in the class forum. Vimeo offers several options to customize the video for your own comfort. This tutorial will walk you through some of the options available and how to find them. All of the options for the videos are located on the lower right corner of the video. Here's a walk through of how they all work: 1. The first one is the volume control for the video. This is not the volume control on your computer. So if, for instance, your computer volume is up all the way, but the volume still seems low, check here. You can click on the different bars to raise or lower the volume (the bigger the bar, the louder the volume). But also, while the video is playing, you can use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to raise and lower the volume. 2. The CC button is used to toggle the closed captions on/off the video. When you click on it, it will come up with the options. In the case of FYA videos, the options will be "English (United States)" or "None." 3. The little gear icon next to the CC button allows you to choose two different settings: Quality of the video There are numerous options here. 720p is the default, but if you're running on a slow internet connection or using your phone's data plan, you may want to choose a lower quality video to view. Speed This one is especially handy. You can speed up the video by as much as 2x (note that it only speeds up the video, but will not raise the pitch, for those of you who remember high speed dub all too well!). You may want to use this if there are parts of the video you want to get through without having to just skip ahead or also if you just find the speaker speaks slower than you'd like (probably not a problem here, but something you may note for videos from elsewhere!). You can also slow it down to as much as half the speed. This is what you may really want to make use of. For example, if Amy or Lisa are showing you how to do something and it goes by too quickly for you, you can go back, watch it at half the speed to really be able to see it. I cannot recommend using this enough! If you don't get it the first time, watch it at half-speed and see if it makes more sense! 4. The final icon allows you to view the video at full screen. Just click on it and the video will pop out and take up the entire computer screen. This is also very handy, especially for those tricky things you're being shown in Photoshop or Lightroom. Personally, I suggest watching the entire video full screen. When it's in full screen mode you can either hit the "Esc" key to return to the smaller video or hover over it and you'll see this: Click on that and it will return you to the smaller video.
  12. Zoom gives you a handful of options to customize your playback. Here I'll run you through the possibilities so you can watch the videos in the best way for you. All of the options for the Zoom videos appear on the bottom of the video itself. You'll see a bar that looks like this: From left to right: 1. This one is probably obvious, but this is the playback/pause button and will tell you how far into the video you've gone: 2. If you're having trouble with the volume (e.g. you have the volume at "100" on your computer but it's still soft or not playing), check the next icon. Zoom videos have their own volume controls that are in addition to the ones on your computer. If you hover over it, you'll see a little slider to the right. Moving it to the right will increase the volume. If you hover right over the little speaker icon, you'll see a pop-up that says "mute." Click on the icon to mute the volume entirely (not that you'll ever want that option, but you never know!). It will then look like this: Clicking it again, will unmute the video. 3. On the right bottom side of the video, you'll see more icons. The first of those will allow you to change the speed of the video. Unfortunately, it doesn't allow you to slow it down, but if you want to get through sections faster without just trying to skip through the video and guessing where to start the playback, this will help. You can choose 1.5x and 2x the speed. Just for info's sake, this does not make the voices higher (those of you who are old enough to remember high speed dub know what I'm talking about!). It just speeds up the video. 4. The next one "CC" is for closed captions. You can simply click on this one to turn the subtitles on or off. 5. The next one is a Zoom-specific thing. It allows you to switch between speaker view (where the current speaker takes up the whole screen) and gallery view (where you can see all of the people on the call). I would recommend keeping it in speaker view as there's not really a "gallery" for these. 6. The last one allows you to toggle full screen on and off. Hit it to view the video at full screen size. Then you can either hit the "Esc" key to return it to the smaller size or hit this in the lower right corner of the full size screen: One other thing you might notice in the Zoom videos. If you hover over the playback bar, you'll see some white dots. Those white dots show you where the presenter started and stopped sharing their screen. So if you're looking specifically for where the instructor was showing you something, you can click on the "sharing started" sections to view them.
  13. Click HERE to watch the replay of our webinar from January 30, 2021!
  14. Registration for Lightroom Foundations is now open! https://community.focusyourart.com/store/category/3-lightroom-foundationsamy-johnson/
  15. Setting up your Google Account You will need a Google account to submit assignments for the Focus Your Art courses. You can use an existing gmail.com account or create a new one. Even if you already have an @gmail.com Google account, you should know that you will be creating public albums for this course, so you might consider creating a new account for this course if that bothers you. Google likes to keep things fresh, so some of the screens may not look exactly like the ones below. However, this should still work to get you through the process. If you have any trouble with this process, please post in the discussion forum and we'll be sure to assist you with getting set up. If you have a Google account already, go to https://myaccount.google.com/ and scroll down to the "Using Google Photos" section below. Creating a New Account If you need to create a new account, you can do so here: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp Fill in your name, and create a user name and password and click "Next." On the next page, you can choose recover options (phone number, alternate e-mail address). These are optional. Google does require you to add your birthday and choose a gender (note that there are options for "rather not say" and you can also choose the "custom" option). On the next page, scroll down and click on "I agree." Once you have created your account, you can upload photos to share with the class. Using Google Photos Click at the top of the screen on the Google Apps icon, as shown below. Next, click on the Photo icon from the popup window. Your icon may be in a different place in the panel and you may have to scroll down to find it. You will need to change some settings before uploading your first photos. To get to your settings, click on the little "gear" icon in the top right corner of the screen. Change the upload size from "High Quality" to "Original." Turn off all of the settings under the "Suggestions" drop-down menu: Turn off the following settings under "Group Similar Faces" and "Sharing": Uploading Your Assignments to Google Photos Google generates a custom link for your album so that you can share it. Do not cut and paste the link from the address bar. That will not allow others to view your album. To share the album, click on the "share" icon in the upper right hand corner. Note: For class situations, you will need to share the ALBUM, not just an individual photo. Please make sure you've opened the album and have all photos in the requested order (see below for a video on how to re-order your album) and then click on the share button. Click on "Copy Link" at the bottom of the pop-up screen. This is the link you will need. Click on Copy. And then you can paste that link into your post on FYA. If you want to rearrange the images within the album, here's a video tutorial for that process: If you have any problems or questions, be sure to post them in the Discussion forum.
  16. From time to time in a class, the instructor may ask you to make a screen capture -- your settings, an adjustment brush you used in Lightroom, etc. If you're not sure how to do it, it's quick and simple! How to create screencaps on PC There are two main ways you can create screencaps on PC. My preferred way of doing it is to use the snip and sketch app that comes with the later versions of windows 10. 1. On your computer keyboard hit the Windows Key + Shift + S. This will grey out your screen and you'll see this at the top of your screen: 2. Draw a box around whatever it is on your screen you want to take an image of. Once you do, you'll see a pop-up in the lower right corner of your screen showing you what you just screencapped. 3. Click on it to bring it up in the program. 4. From there, you can simply hit CTRL+S or click on the little disk to save it as is. 5. You can also do things within this screen like cropping it further, using the "ballpoint pen" or "pencil" to write on it , using the "highlighter" (which I did on the disk above), or even erasing parts of it. ______________________ The other way you can do a screencap is to use the "print screen" function on your computer keyboard (note: on a laptop, you may have to hit the FN button along with the print screen one). On my computer keyboard it's situated above the Home/Page Up/Page Down keys, but it may be somewhere else on yours. The print screen function will take a screencap of your entire screen and copy it to the clipboard. 1. Open up your Paint app. 2. Click CTRL+V to paste. Or at the top left corner of the screen, hit the "paste" button. 3. For some strange reason, Paint always comes up with the whole thing selected. To "unselect" it, click on the Select button. 4. Click and drag around the area you want to select. 5. Click on the "Crop" button (see screencap above). This will leave you with just the small selection you wanted. Note: If the part you need to select extends past what you can see on your screen, you can click on View and then "Zoom out." This will shrink your view. 6. Hit CTRL+S or Select "File" at the top of the screen and click on Save. Note: Paint automatically comes up saving as a PNG file. You can use that, or you can select the dropdown menu to choose JPG. How to create screencaps on a Mac There are multiple ways to create screen grabs on a Mac, but in general you will only want to be capturing a portion of your screen and saving it to disk so that it can be uploaded. Luckily, this is a really straightforward process. 1. Press and hold the Command and Shift keys, then tap the 4 key and release them all. Your cursor should change from a pointer to a crosshair. 2. Position this crosshair in one of the corners of the area you want to capture, then click and hold while you drag the cursor to the diagonally opposite corner. 3. When you release the mouse/trackpad button, the capture will be made and automatically saved to your desktop, labelled "Screenshot <date> at <time>". You can then upload this screenshot to Google Photos as normal. This article describes other methods that you may choose to use to capture the whole screen or whole window, but the method detailed above will suffice for the courses here at FYA.
  17. If you've forgotten your password for the site, you can easily reset it. 1. Click on "Existing user? Sign in" at the top of the screen. This will give you a drop-down menu where you can enter your user name and password. At the bottom of the drop down menu, you'll see the words "Forgot your password?" Click on that. 2. On the next screen, enter the e-mail address you used to register on the site and click on "Recover password." 3. If the e-mail address you've sent is valid, you'll get this message: "Your password reset request was successful. We have sent you an email with further instructions to recover your account. Check your email within the next few minutes including any junk or spam folders." If the e-mail address is not valid, you will see the following in red writing: "We could not find a member account with that email address. Please try again with other information." Double check your e-mail address and try again. 4. From there, you will have to go over to your e-mail. You should find an e-mail that looks like this: If you do not get an e-mail within a few minutes, please check your spam/junk folder. If you're sure you haven't received it, please open a support request and we will deal with the problem ASAP. Note: Because you are not logged in as an existing user, please choose the "Contact Us" button on the support request page. This will send a message to the appropriate people who will be able to assist you in resetting your password. 5. Open the e-mail. In the e-mail, you'll see the following. Click on "Reset my password." 6. Choose a new password. Note that the pop-ups are suggestions, not requirements, but a smart password consists of these things and it's good to take that into consideration when creating your password. Once you hit Save, the system will log you in and you're all set!
  18. If you're new here and want to be a part of the community, here's what you need to do! 1. Go to http://www.focusyourart.com 2, Click on "Subscribe to the Community": 3. Click either option below (both are free for a whole year): 4. Check your email inbox. You will receive a validation email after you subscribe. Check your spam/junk folder as it sometimes arrives there. If you still do not receive it within about 10 minutes of subscribing, email Amy (amy@focusyourart.com). 5. Once validated you should be able to login. 6. You may unsubscribe at any time. You will not be charged to join for a whole year so try it out without risk. We are building more into the site every day! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! Thank you SO much and welcome to Focus Your Art!
  19. You may find, as you peruse the forums, that you want to follow a specific member's posts (especially Amy and Lisa!). To follow a specific member, click on their profile picture in any post to draw up their profile: Once on their profile page, click on "Follow member," which will bring up a pop-up menu. Two things to note: 1. If you have not selected notification settings for members, you will receive a warning stating "You have not chosen how the notification should be sent." You will need to go back to your notification settings (tutorial here) and select an option for members. 2. Just like with posts, you can follow publicly or privately. By default, the system is set up for you to follow publicly, but uncheck the box to keep that private. Once you click on "Follow" the button will now appear green and say "Following member." Just like with posts, you can click on "Following member" and unfollow at any point.
  20. Sometimes you may be interested in following a post that you don't want to comment on or a post you can't comment on. This is especially true for those who are taking the classes. There will be an "Announcements" post (letting you know content has been posted, the teacher's upcoming schedule for checking the forums, etc.) for each class at Focus Your Art. These are posts you cannot reply to, but will be important to follow so you get notified of important information. So how to do that? Click on any post on the forum. On the right side, you'll see this: Note: If you're on the mobile website, this will appear at the bottom of the post. If you click on "Follow" you will get a drop-down menu allowing you to choose how you receive notifications for the post: You can follow a post publicly or privately. The forum automatically checks off "Let others see that I follow this". You can uncheck this to follow the post privately. The number next to "Follow" will go up, but it will not show your name. I followed this post privately, so this is what other forum members will see when they click on the number next to "Follow": I am the "...and 1 other" part. And just a note, at any point if you wish to change your following preferences or simply unfollow a post that you've followed, go back to that post and click on "Following": You can click on "Unfollow" on the left or alter your preferences and select "Update preferences."
  21. January 4 Meet & Greet for Subscribers replay is now available to watch. If you aren't a Subscriber, you can become one by clicking "Subscribe to the Community" at the top of the page.
  22. The community forums are set up automatically to not follow any content. But many people like to get instant notifications when someone else replies to their topic, or they want to log into the site and see what new content is there from people interacting with their posts or posts they're interested in. The great thing about this forum is there are many ways to customize this for your own preferences. So where are the notification settings? Up at the top of the screen to the right of your name is a little picture of the earth. This is where all of the notifications are. Click on that. And then select "Notification settings." On the next page you'll see several drop-down menu options for things like mentions, followed content, and a few other things. The "followed content" one is perhaps the most important, but you can change settings for anything to customize what content you get notified of. If you click on the "Followed Content" section, it will open up all of your options. Automatically follow new content I post: This is for any topics that you, yourself, start. So your questions, your homework thread if you're in a class, etc. Automatically follow content I reply to: This is for any topics someone else has started, but that you have replied to. There are several ways to follow this content and in the next section you can set it up just how you want to: Method to use for content I follow automatically -A notification when new content is posted: You will automatically get an e-mail or see a notification as soon as someone replies -One email per day with all new content from that day: If you prefer to get a daily digest of responses, choose this option. -One email per week with all new content from that week: If you prefer to get a weekly digest of responses, choose this option. -Do not send me notifications: This is the default option. Choose this if you prefer to go look for new content yourself. You can then choose how you receive notification. Notification List: For those people who use Facebook, this should look familiar. That same little "earth" at the top of your screen will also notify you of new posts in topics you're following. When you log into the site, you'll see a number there if you have any notifications on content you are following. If you click on that earth now, you'll see a drop down with your notifications listed. Anything new will be in bold. Anything you've previously seen, will not be. And just like Facebook, if you click on one of the notifications (new or old), it will take you directly to that post and that response. The other nice thing about it is that it's instant. If I'm on the site and someone responds to my post, the number automatically goes up (or appears). It's real time notification when you're logged in and on the site! Email: This is the other way you can received notifications. You will get an e-mail every time someone responds to a topic you're following. You can also follow members (tutorial here).
  23. The replay of the Q&A webinar from Friday, January 1 is posted in the forum. The answers to the questions we couldn't get to in the live session are in the same thread, so be sure to check that out as well. If you have other questions, please use the Community Forums to ask! Both Lisa and I, as well as our wonderful Moderators, are checking in on these topics.
  24. Want to start your own photography business? Here are some thoughts that I hope will help you in your journey forward-- and please take the following advice as general insights that may/may not apply to your particular direction in the business. First, I REALLY understand the excitement that running your own business brings! Every day is truly an adventure! I want to be supportive toward anyone getting started---but also give you the realities so that you don't go into it blindly. This isn't to dissuade you at ALL... but it's just what I wish I knew going into this business that I started in 2010, while I was still working full-time as a psychologist/consultant. I don't think this information would have changed my mind...but it would have better prepared me for the challenges! Second, 2021 is the hardest time ever to be a photographer. It was already really challenging with stock photo markets drying up or paying pennies, magazines going belly up, printed calendars being used less and less by younger people over digital technologies, and more. But then COVID-19 came. It has been a HUGE disrupter in the industry. Those who survive will be fiercely competitive and will have honed their skills and business offerings to new heights. Nearly all of the pros in the nature photography business that I know of (and even many in the portrait business) were knocked squarely on their anatomy with what COVID did--and is doing--to their businesses. Many have not recovered and I know a number who have given up their businesses and went back to whatever they did previously (or something new). It's REALLY tough to be a photographer right now in an extremely competitive market and without the ability to rely on myriad income streams. If you've built up one "vertical" in your business too heavily, you are likely over-reliant upon it and may set yourself up for failure. This business should be like a mutual fund--- a lot of pots that have upside potential so that if one falls off, you can still rely on the others. Many have turned to webinar instruction--but webinar instruction is fiercely competitive and anyone delivering dull, uninformative and trite classes have been left in the dust. These include some of my dearest industry friends who are excellent photographers, but aren't the best at content development, speaking or teaching in an online environment. All of that said, here are a few of my suggestions: 1. Define what type of photography business you envision having. There are many ways to own a photography business. Portraits? Landscapes? Nature? Video? Wedding? Pet? Children? Stock? Event? Food? And those are just a few! Often, most professionals engage in numerous avenues at once---or at least build up numerous revenue streams over time because you can't put your eggs all in one basket, such as just selling prints, or just leading tours/teaching workshops, or just shooting for magazines, stock, etc.). That's a fragile, precarious way to run your business. 2. Have a good business plan. Even a simple plan is better than none. Include short and long-term goals that include services, products, initial funding sources and short/long-term financial goals. A business plan will make you think critically about what you want to do and focus you. It will also point out the needs and pain-points so that you can start working those out. There are plenty of business plan templates on the internet for free to download. You may also find SBA.gov and https://www.score.org/ to be helpful. 3. Do the research. Become informed. Here are a few resources to get you started: I'm not sure if nature photography is your genre or not, but if so, here is a wonderful article that The North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA.org) posted in their blog about how to make a living as a nature photographer that may help: http://www.nanpa.org/making-a-living-as-a-nature-photographer-story-and-photographs-by-jack-graham/ Another article you may find helpful: https://visualwilderness.com/business/tips-for-building-a-successful-nature-photography-business If you are thinking of other genres like portraits, pets, commercial, etc., there are undoubtedly articles online that provide similar tips. Use relevant keywords to find them. 4. Does your business plan involve image/print sales or licenses? I personally recommend exploring your potential market. Do market research. For example, where and to whom do you envision selling your work? Who are the buyers? Do you understand the "hot buttons" for those buyers? (The thing that makes them buy!) In the nature photography world, photos that are printed in magazines and calendars are typically very different from what consumers hang in homes. Pay attention to what is on-trend today for home interiors / commercial interiors and see if your work is in alignment with today's styles. If it's licensing for stock, what trends are in? What is in demand? It's often not what you think. DO NOT LISTEN to most friends and family who tell you, "Your work is so good you should start a business" UNLESS you are confident they seriously understand the photography market. Take advice from those who have been-there/done-that. The rest have wonderful intentions of being supportive but in my experience they rarely buy enough prints to influence your bottom line by more than a few bucks and their purchases tend to fade in frequency pretty quickly. They also want deals. Or things at cost. You'll be under pressure (direct or indirect) to give everyone you know a deal. Print sales may be a portion of your product offerings for your business---but PLEASE NOTE that very few photographers that I know of make the majority of their income from print sales. I'm not saying it doesn't happen--but it happens with far less frequency than you'd imagine, based on what I see and hear in the industry. Print sales are usually a small percentage of overall income. (There are always exceptions!) Even when you lump all of the avenues such as general image licensing, magazine/calendar articles/photo licenses, stock and print sales -- it may only be 5-10% of your business starting out. It may grow to be up to 25%, but you will be in rarified air if it's more than that. If you choose to sell your images to the public, my strongest recommendation is to build strong relationships with people first--and always. People tend to buy work from someone who creates quality work plus has wonderful story-telling abilities about the work they create, the relationship with each piece, and more. Additionally, GREAT relationships are absolutely, unequivocally essential to every part of your business. If you're not great at relationship-building (and maintaining), you'll struggle starting any business. When it comes to clients buying your work, you must think of it as them wanting to purchase a a piece of YOU along with that purchase. The purchasing experience and connection they get with you is a part of the benefit of owning a piece of your work. Reflect back to the last time you spent a fair amount of money on a piece of artwork (i.e., not art from a "big box" store) --- did you know the artist or do research on the artist? Or did you purchase it without knowing the artist or anything about them? What did you want to know about the artist? What did you learn in the process? These questions will help you develop your story as an artist. There is much more to it, but that's a great start. Magazines are becoming fewer and fewer---and for photographers submitting to them--very competitive. They also don't pay much and you can spend months--even years--creating and submitting proposals/images to them before the Editor decides to publish you. For example, the article I wrote for Outdoor Photographer in June 2020 had a 5 page spread, the cover, and numerous images. It paid a total of $1500 pre-tax. That's nice, but unless that happens on a weekly basis, it's not going to pay your bills! It takes a LOT of article-writing, proposing, and submitting before you find magazines willing to print your article and work! Granted, beyond the pay, the article can have marketing/publicity/credibility and even "access-related" benefits beyond the money, but if you are looking at article writing to pay the bills, it should be a part of your business plan, but not THE business plan. Here is a great article on what Magazines tend to pay: https://www.format.com/magazine/resources/photography/who-pays-photographers-jobs 5. The myriad non-photography skills you'll need: Think seriously about how comfortable you feel as an entrepreneur. Do you get excited about the business-end of your business? If so, this is GREAT news and will put you in much better footing than the competition. I probably spend 85% of my time in the office, handling business-related "stuff." I love business, but I would like to photograph WAY more than I have the time to do so. I would love to take off for days at a time and play, regularly! But running the business is tough work. Gradually you can build up your business and have more time for photography if you can ultimately allocate funds to hire and train assistants, or secure services, to support the demands of the business. I have done a lot of that already and still have a ton of office work that needs to be done. I understand that my clients don't usually accept an abundance of "out of office" emails that regularly that say "Sorry--I'm gone shooting photos again!" when they're trying to contact you about a workshop, an image they want, a contract, to schedule a meeting, or to discuss an event you're doing for them. There are a lot of great photographers out there who are terrible business people. I hear stories from camera stores, vendors, and sponsors with whom I regularly work that they constantly struggle working with other photographers who have poor business acumen and organizational skills. For example, they don't turn things in on time, don't do what they say they are going to do, don't pay their bills, don't submit invoices in a timely manner, can't write well, don't have a business-minded sense of things, don't present themselves professionally, and on and on it goes. If you have those skills, you're a step above a ton of others who do not. 6. Let's talk money! If you're in business, it truly needs to operate as such. That means making money. Otherwise you've just laid out a TON of expense to get the business started only to have it lose money. Short-term, that's understandable, but long-term it needs to work for you. As far as income goes, plan on it being a gradual build. You will need $6,000-$8,000 to get started. Why? You need these things: Website ($350 to do it yourself using a service like Wix, SmugMug, Zenfolio, etc.) or $4000-$8000+ to have someone design a site for you like Wordpress or code it using other software. Plan on budgeting for regular maintenance/updates as well, unless you learn to do it all yourself. If you want to do that, budget accordingly for classes to learn to do so. Legal: Getting the business created can be costly. If you're saavy, you can try sites like Legal Zoom for <$1000. But you have tremendous risk in not receiving advice about how your business should be set up in your state, how to do your articles of operation, filing it in your state (or another state that may have tax benefits), and more. I strongly recommend obtaining a proper business attorney with whom you feel comfortable. You may be looking at $4000-$7000 to start, but you will be tailoring it to your needs. This individual will also walk you through things you'll need on your site today such as a Privacy Policy, Waivers, Contracts, Intellectual Property and more. You want to be protected to the best extent possible. Some law office will also serve as your statutory agent-- a nice thing that can save you a few hundred dollars per year. But, if you do business in other states, too (i.e., for workshops, classes, or other reasons), you will need a statutory agent in every state (and potentially a business license in certain states) in which you conduct business. Ask your lawyer for details. Insurance: You will need to obtain business insurance. This includes not only insurance for your office (even home office), materials and equipment--but you will need a liability, errors and omissions policy. If you plan to do more than sell prints remotely (no storefront), you may have different insurance needs than if you are selling (or consigning) with a gallery or storefront. You don't want your gallery-consigned pieces to be damaged without them being insured. If you are planning to offer classes or workshops, you will need to find insurance that will cover you and your attendees on-location. This can be VERY difficult to obtain. (Trust me!) Additionally, most parks and properties you rent/use for your event will require you to add them as an additional insured on your policy for every permit you are required to obtain. Permitting is a painful process--and can also be costly. But most require a 1-million / 2-million dollar policy for your insurance before they'll even consider issuing a permit. Accounting services: Get a GOOD CPA. One who understands business and who knows how to maneuver you well through the world of business taxes. A good one can save you more than you spend on them. A bad one will cost you a ton. Again, trust me on this one. Get a good bookkeeper as well. They can often be found at the same business you go through for your taxes. You will also need a subscription to Quickbooks (or similar). Plan on $40/month or so, maybe less if your accountant can issue you a discounted rate on QB. Other essentials: You will need to set up a separate bank account, credit card (you establish business credit the same way you establish personal credit), and merchant accounts to handle credit card payments, such as your bank, Square, Paypal, Stripe, etc. You may need seed money to get these established. You need a means of maintaining client contact lists and a database to do so. There are myriad resources out there to do so--but again, it's an expense. Branding: You will need to have a logo and related collateral designed for your company that fits your brand. This can cost anywhere from $100-$3000 or more depending on your source and what you need. Typically places like Fiverr.com or 99designs.com charge less than a few hundred bucks for a basic logo, but there is also risk that they use that same logo for other businesses as well. You get what you pay for and you don't want to have the same or similar branding as your competitor. You will also eventually need other types of marketing collateral. Are you a good designer? Do you have graphic design or Photoshop skills that you can create your own marketing content? If so, you'll save a lot, but it also takes time to create.... so you'll have to balance that out as your business grows. What I have learned: Nothing happens overnight. I started my photography business in 2010, but I had been taking photos since I was 8 years old. It took a lot of hard work and long hours in addition to my full-time job before I felt I could quit my full-time job in 2015. Even then, it was a huge risk and there were major unanticipated hurdles. After making a comfortable living as a psychologist, I made a plan to step into full-time photography. I quit being a psychologist and took two part-time jobs plus worked on my business to make the transition. I had hardly any seed money to fund what I did. Sadly, I had those jobs BOTH fall through when one company broke apart and another laid off massive numbers of people and froze all contract work. So suddenly my stepping-stone toward full-time photography tanked! I ultimately made it work, but it was SO HARD at first! I vowed to never take on debt for my business, and to never dip into savings...but boy there were tough times after earning a comfy living in psychology!! I am relieved to say that those days are (for now) behind me, but one never knows when they could come again, given COVID or who knows what else! You learn quickly to "eat what you kill" when you are self-employed. A few other things I have learned so far (and you never stop learning!): Putting images for sale on a website alone will rarely ever result in print sales. Yet I find that's the first thing most photographers want to focus on when starting a business. Get a few images up to prove your worth/skill, but quickly focus on everything ELSE that's going to drive revenue for you. This is especially true for photographers who do not have incredibly wide name recognition. The general public will rarely "discover" your images (unless you pour a ton of effort and time into keywording, marketing, blogging, brand-building, and other means of making it so people can't help but stumble upon them on the web). I cannot emphasize this enough. Art/craft shows are really expensive to start--- and you print tons of stuff that may not sell, and it gets damaged over time due to the hauling, handling, etc. Most photographers and artists I know, who run their own businesses and who generate enough money to realistically be self-sustaining have a lot of income streams. They may sell work, but a lot of income results from speaking engagements, sponsorships, affiliate relationships, work for hire, writing, consultative and/or instructional services, trades, and more. Friends and family told me "I love your work -- you should sell it!" But you can probably guess who rarely put their money where their mouth was! They were genuinely being supportive, but were not very well versed in the photography market. So get information and input from people who actually know your market. Do the legwork and research. It will pay off. Even if all you learn is that you need to go in a different direction. You still learned--and adjusted your business plan accordingly. You will spend AT LEAST as much time on marketing and branding your business as you will on anything else you do. Plan on 50% of your time (20+ hours per week) dedicated directly or indirectly to this process, if not more. You have to learn that few will sell yourself better than you. You know YOU. You know what you have to offer and why it will help others. Be honest. Be sincere. Be respectful. Be fun. Be trustworthy. Be humble. And be careful. There is always someone who will see naivete in a new business owner and try to take advantage of you. I've had it happen several times---and always by Professional photographers in our industry. Probably some you have followed over time, too! KNOW YOUR WORTH. Charge accordingly. It's a hard lesson--especially as a woman--I find. We are nurturing beings! Charging to cover your expense, time, and have a little extra can feel awkward. It took me a long time to personally work through that. But I finally realized that time and skills are valuable and thus worth a price. Just like every other thing in this world---it has a value and a price. My goals is to always deliver a high value, quality product, and thus the fee is a fair exchange for what I offer to a client. Every time. If we don't both genuinely feel good about the exchange--if it isn't a "win-win" situation, then something (or someone) was amiss. Remember this: "If you never say no, your Yes means nothing." People will ask and ask and ask for freebies, favors, etc. as you start your business---and even when you develop your business well over time. It doesn't mean you never agree to doing them, or never support a cause....but just remember there is a balance. Understand your worth. No one is an overnight sensation. I worked at my business HARD since 2010. Realistically, I wasn't where I wanted to be, income-wise, until about 2 years ago. It just simply takes time to build the business, build your reputation, network, and keep all of the plates spinning while you hustle every single day to keep it all going and put money in the bank. If your business isn't growing, it's dying. Every day there are goals to meet and a million priorities. I love it! But it's not easy! You must be so much more than a photographer. Having an assortment of skills such as fluent technology skills, a true business-mind where you can see opportunities and potential in myriad places, you can troubleshoot when needed, write well, speak well, know your brand, network well, and on and on. You will find that everything you want to do has to be done from scratch when it's your own business. For example: Need an ad? It's up to you to write it/make graphics. Need to write a proposal? Yep... you need to do it from scratch. Need a newsletter? You bet.. you again. And on and on. It simply takes time to do all of these things. You'll get better as it goes along, but self-reliance and being resourceful are great skill-sets to have in any business. Photography included. Treat people well. Be honest. Be kind. Be respectful. Be fair. Always. You may or may not succeed at the business of photography, but how you dealt with people (clients, business-to-business, vendors, even your competition) will be remembered forever. There is SO much more to say, but hope this information for starters will help inform your decision-making. I don't regret, for a single day, being a photographer or building my own business. I have wanted to do that since I was a kid. I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit! I had a roadside stand when I was eight years of age selling vegetables out of a little garden I tended in my back yard. I helped start two startups that had under $200,000 in sales when I started working for them (I was employee #3 and #10, respectively). They both sold for around $35-60 million. I also worked for a huge corporation (35k employees) in my lifetime. I certainly do not know it all... but I learned a lot. Those skills helped me do well in my own business, in addition to knowing how to photograph. I couldn't do this today without those experiences. So, if you think you have that entrepreneurial spirit, lots of drive, and have a lot of skills to build your business, join in! It's never the same day twice and it always brings new challenges. The satisfaction of knowing you are self-sustaining is incredible. But never easy. Rarely anything worth it is, though, right? I recommend my advice as one aspect of your research in starting your business. You will want to get feedback from several sources. Lastly, I intentionally did not include questions or comments about your skills as a photographer. That's up to you. I have seen INCREDIBLE photographers who are terrible at business. And vice versa! You can be an incredible photographer, but it won't pay the bills unless you can build an incredible business around it. Better to be a "really good" photographer and an incredible business person.... those are the ones I've seen who are truly successful at this.
  25. The system is set to automatically have your profile picture "icon" be the first letter of your user name. But I imagine you're like most of us and would like to upload your own photo as your icon. To do this, click on your name at the top of the screen and select "Profile." You should see a little icon at the lower lefthand corner of your current profile picture. Click on that. Note: If you do not see this little icon, that means you have reached your upload limit for the site (upload limit is 50MB). If you've uploaded a cover photo, this may be where you've hit your limit. Clicking on that little icon will bring you to where you can upload your photo. It does not have to already be a square photo. The system will allow you to crop it in the next stop. Note: There is a file size limit, so if your file is too big, resize the original photo and save it as a smaller file. Upload your photo and click "Continue." On the next page, you can adjust the crop of your photo to pick the section you want. Once you drag the handles around to get it to look like you want it, hit save, and your profile picture will be updated.
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