Sometimes There’s Just No Figuring

Like most photographers I have a Flickr account.  There’s some 388 images in my galleries.  More than some.  Less than others.  I really only like to post my best work up there.  I don’t think of it like Instagram or Facebook for pictures.  There’s really no need for everyone to know about every image I take.  But something interesting has happened over the past month and I really don’t have any reason for it.  I shattered my one day views.  My previous high was 147.  But three weeks ago I had 583 views in one day! Then 400 and some the next!  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not complaining.  But I did nothing to prompt this.  I hadn’t even posted any new images.  It just happened out of the blue.  To top it off the image that got the most hits was one that I had taken more than 9 years ago.  I have to admit it is still one of my favorite images and have had multiple requests for copies.


It was taken at Joshua Tree National Park in California during a workshop.  I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember the instructor’s name.  But it was a lot of fun and I did learn a lot.  This isn’t the only great shot I got that weekend.  Here’s one more.  Taken in the early, early morning on the last day.


I’m trying to remember but I think it was all done in PS3.  Long before I really knew anything about Photoshop or Plug-ins or anything else really.


And have a safe and happy New Years.

Please don’t drink and drive!  I know it gets said ALOT at this time of year but don’t let your fun end on a bad note.


‘Twas the Day/Night Before

Haven’t blogged in a couple of days.  Not a whole log going on.  Finalizing accounting for the year.  Trying to get some sort of game plan together for 2014.  I really need to step-up my game next year.  I fully realize that I’m going to have to be much more aggressive in my marketing and try even harder to separate myself from the masses.  Not quite sure how but it has to happen.  Next year marks 3 years I’ve been doing this as my sole income.  While not quite unsuccessful, I really need to be more successful.  The real estate market is doing much better and I really hope to increase the number of shoots I do 2014.  But I do need to find other sources of income.  I am really going to push the architectural aspect.  I’m sure there is a little confusion when I say that.  Most people would be asking, “Aren’t real estate and architecture the same thing?”  Well not really.  Over the past year or so I’ve come to some really profound realizations regarding the delineation between the two.  First is to understand that for realtors the images are just another tool.  One that they aren’t going to care about after the property is sold.  Secondly realtors don’t really care about how good your images are.  As long as they are better than they can take with their point and shoot that’s all that matters.  Thirdly because the initial cost comes out of their pocket, they don’t want to spend a lot of money.  I’ve done some research on this and the national average price for a real estate shoot is $300.  That is for 20-25 images.  When you break this down to a per image price it is $12-$15.  Remember that’s for unlimited usage.  Which usually includes, MLS, Realtors website, print brochures, and God knows what else.  As for architectural.  These are typically for portfolios, advertising, magazine spreads.  These images will be used for years by the architect, builder, or designer.  A much different area.  As a photographer you get to spread your creative wings a little and can really craft an image.  These clients are considerably more discerning when it comes to the quality of image they want.  This is where you can really show off your talents as a photographer and create that special image.  These clients are also willing to pay for that creativity.  I would really love the opportunity to spend several days photographing a property.  Waiting for the light to be just right in each room.  With real estate you never get that opportunity.  Because of the cost limitations you can’t afford to scout the property and wait for the right time of day to shoot each room and spend all day at the property.  Personally I like to limit my on-site time to no more than 3 hours when doing a real estate shoot.  This way I can get  two done in a day when I have to.

Well here’s to a great 2014.  Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!!

Westtown Demo_V2I’ll leave you with the Holiday ad I did for Westtown Township.

It’s Been A While

It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten on my soapbox.  A recent email has set me off.  A little bit of the back story first. Earlier this year Kim and I had to replace the gable vents on our house.  The original ones had rotted and one was leaking significantly.  So we purchased new ones on-line from a company by the name of Architectural Depot.  The product we received was great and installed fairly easily.  That brings us up to speed.  On Monday Kim forwarded an email from their marketing department asking for images of their product as it was used in our project.  Here is a copy of that email:

Hi there. We are doing a series of photo spreads in our new catalog, on our website, in our blog, and in magazine advertisements. We still need a few more photos of the exact product you purchased from us earlier this year. 

Would you be willing to snap a few photographs of how you used and installed our product? I would really appreciate it. 

Just reply to this email with your photos (my email only accepts files smaller than 2MB). If your picture is larger than 2MB, just click the link below and load it directly onto our website.

The more pictures you can send, the better. You will be able to see your project on one of our websites or even in our printed catalog.
There will be a winning picture selected and that person will receive a full page spread in one of our upcoming brochures! 

We look forward to seeing your project and thank you very much for your help. 

James | Marketing Department | xt. 7105



So the basic gist is send us your photos so we can use them to advertise our company both on the web and in print.  Your compensation will be nothing unless we like it enough then we’ll use as a two page spread.  OOOOOOOO!  And oh yeah.  We won’t even give you credit for the image.  The sad and unfortunate part of this is there will undoubtedly be hundreds of people who will oblige them.  Once again taking work from photographers and providing (free of charge and licensing) countless images for this company to grow their business.  Maybe I’m alone on this but it strikes me that these companies should be paying for these images.   This type of corporate glad-handing sickens me.  As professional photographers we scrape and scrounge for every client we get.  To have these companies discount our work by basically saying “We don’t need professional images.  We can grow our business using Johnny Client’s images free of charge.”  Makes me seriously wonder what path the commercial photography business is heading.  The saddest part of this is that once started down the path of cheap photography, there is no turning back.  These companies are single handedly destroying a portion of the photography business.  How long before other major corporations like Bank of America, Gucci, Macy’s start down this path?  Just to save a few dollars.  Dollars that make up an infinitesimal percentage of the annual income generated by those images.  I saw this happen in the music industry and then the film industry.  All it did was generate a lot of crappy music and crappy films.  It lead me to coin a phrase.  “Shove crap down people’s throats long enough, they acquire a taste for it.”                                                                                              Sorry for the rant.  I promise it will be the last one for the year.

A Little Something for Myself (and my Family)

It’s only been 6 months since my girlfriend’s daughter Emily graduated high school.  And No this isn’t a calendar update. (But there is only 9 days left before Christmas).  What it is is more of a statement as to how busy I’ve been this past summer.  Things just kind of exploded after Emily graduated.  Both professionally and personally.  The thing is I’ve finally gotten caught up on a bunch of personal work including Emily’s graduation pictures.  These were both taken in natural light with my 7D and my 70-200 f2.8IS and finished in LR5 and PS CC.   I think they turned out great.  Now the grandparents will be happy.



The Final Count (For the Year that is)

Yesterday I did what will undoubtedly be the last real estate shoot of the year.  Nothing huge.  Just a 1000 square foot condo in the beautiful Wireworks building in downtown Philly.  With that it brought my total to 108 real estate shoots in 2013.  Not too bad.  But my goal is to increase this number by a 15-20%.  I also want to continue branching out into doing weddings.  I know.  I know.  My About page and previous comments would lead you to believe that weddings were the last thing I’d be branching out into.  But I found myself enjoying the experience of the few that I’ve done over last 2 years.  It’s a lot of hard work.  A LOT.  And I’m not just talking about the actual event.  There are sooooo many people out there calling themselves wedding photographers.  Trying to compete with other professionals, the part-timers and the mom’s with cameras can be daunting.  It has become an especially competitive arena.  The other thing that has happened as a direct result of all this competition is a market full of potential clients that have become VERY price conscious.  But I’m going to give it a shot.  Hopefully with the help of Corey and his company Faymus Media, it will be a successful foray.  Keep your fingers crossed.  I’ll keep you posted

Reyes Wedding

A Snowy Tuesday

Well here in the Philly area we woke to a beautiful blanket of snow.  After growing up on the East Coast then living in Phoenix and Los Angeles for almost 30 years, I relocated back to the East Coast about 3 years ago.  This is the first real snowfall I’ve encountered since my return.  I loved California and especially the Central Coast area.  Absolutely beautiful area of the country.  If you ever get the chance this area of California is highly recommended.  The one thing that I did miss was the change of seasons.  I found it difficult to get into the Holiday Season without that snap in the air and maybe a dusting of snow.  The snow we woke up to (about 4″ and still snowing) just makes it seem that much more like the Holidays.  So kind of being home/studio bound today I’m working on my Holiday card that I’m going to send out to clients, friends and family.  Here’s the final result.  The background shot is from Longwood Gardens here in SEPA.


Monday. Monday.

Got a late start this morning.  So just trying to get caught up on the events of the day.  Not much going on though.  So i guess it’s not too bad of a start of the week.  I’ve been busy getting some computer/file maintenance done.  Including getting my girl’s pictures taken off of an old computer and getting them migrated to new hard drive.  While I’ve been doing this I’ve been watching a Creative Live webinar with master photographer Tony Corbell.  Once again it’s an awesome webinar and Tony is an absolute lighting genius.  I thought I had a lot of the lighting theories down but Tony has just reinforced that knowledge.  He has made me start thinking about lighting techniques and how different modifiers effect the quality of light and the quality of shadow.  I really can’t understate how awesome it’s been and I can’t wait to dive into the next two days with him.  Even if you think you’ve got lighting down, WATCH THIS WEBINAR!  If nothing else hopefully it will get the creative juices flowing.  I know it has for me.

Here’s the link to Tony’s Website;