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Pro Photo Podcast #89 – Christmas 2012 & The 33 Tips of Christmas

Gavin is hitting the road again for an early 2013 tour. Visit his website for details. More travel talk in the after show.

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Today’s Panel... Gavin Seim Nina BeheimKerry GarrisonBrady DillsworthMark TeskeyJohn Cornforth

We wrap up 2012 with our annual Christmas roundtable featuring loads of photography tips and gear favorite gear and gadgets of the season. Join the discussion on the PPS forums.

Brought to you by the Seim Effects. And the EXposed Photography Workshop.

Use code: PPSCHRISTMAS to save $30.00 on EXposed before Dec 31st.

PPS #89 Forum Discussion HERE. Share Your Opinions.

Main Time Indexes:

  • 000:00 Introductions.
  • 005:30 – News Highlights
  • 023:45 – The 33 Tips of Christmas
  • 01:12:05 – A Visit with John Cornforth
  • 1:23:55 –  Picks of the Year
  • 1:59:30 – After Show. Sailing & More.

LINKS…

Nikon D5200 looks good. Also the Nikon D600.

The wall portrait article.

Gavin’s LIGHT LETTER

Lytro Light Field Camera

Sony NEX Series

Sigmas 35mm 1.4.

Zone System
Gavin’s articleFree videos.
Crash Plan Backup

Film is Coming Back.

Gavin’s article on signature and branding usage.

Picks…

Kerry
NEX 6
Sticky Filters Lighting Gels
Tripad Laptop Tripod Tether TableDojo Review

Continue reading ‘Pro Photo Podcast #89 – Christmas 2012 & The 33 Tips of Christmas’

Facebook is Charging – What’s Next for Your Page + Five REAL Tips for Traffic.

by Gavin Seim: Now here’s the reality of your Facebook page: If you want the majority of your connections to see your posts you have to PAY – Love it or hate it (mostly hate it), that’s how it is. We can complain about how people subscribed to our posts, how Facebook is using bait and switch on us. That’s is probably true. But they own the space and it’s a business. Many of us saw this coming. And yet we may not have been as prepared as we should have.

There’s some good news though. Facebook pages themselves are still free. That’s good. And if you post something really, really, REALLY engaging more people will see it than average. That’s cool. Though still not everyone who likes your page. That’s not cool. From what I’m seeing on pages, (and I have quite a few of them,) a post generally gets seen by 10-25% of your fans. Sometimes less. That’s bad.

So if you want to get seen, you PAY to promote the post. For example on my photography page which has around 2500 fans, I’ll pay about $10 for most of them to see it. For my Seim Effects page that has closer to 8k fans. It might cost $30. This can work, but it’s too costly for every post. We’ll come back to that.

First I think we’ve come to rely too much on social networks. Even those of us that make blog posts have come to rely solely pages, tweets and the like for the traffic to our sites. Higher content saturation and low interaction reduce the value of our space. But the problem with social network reliance it goes beyond that. Facebook censorship is bad. In fact recently I was BLOCKED from Facebook for 24 hours for posting this portrait on my page, titled The Bath.

I can’t operate a business like a two year old, wondering if I’m going to get a Facebook Spanking every time I post something or open my mouth. I can’t rely on a system like that. At least not entirely. So all this has made me evaluate how I use social networks. How we can be more independent and build Content Freedom.

There’s always everyday social network tips like posting good content. How images get more interaction than plain posts. How you need to be interesting and visually appealing. These are basic rules of engagement. But lets go deeper. Here’s what I’ve learned. Tips on not only how to maximize what’s left of Pages, but to step further away from reliance on social networks while maximizing how we use them to gain the valuable traffic.

 

5. Cross Planning Your Content.

Regardless of where you post you need to engage your viewers and make sure you’re not posting crud. If you post photos they should shine. If you make products, make them look good. If you’re monologuing like me, make it worth it. As Captain Picard once said – “Engage.” Take the time to refine your brand and showcase things the best way you can. Use all this to get traffic to your own site.

Always make it easy to share, subscribe and engage. People won’t generally go out of their way for it. Keep it classy, but easy to click. In this share bar for my new EXposed workshop, I used a direct call to action here. This is not always necessary bit can be nice on static pages.

Next, cross promote using your site in ways that get people to engage further. Get them on email lists and or following your other networks. On your own website make people want to share content, Like, +1 and Re-tweet, Pin and the like. And don’t just use any share tool. Find one that looks and works good. Note the share bar I use at the top of this post. It makes it easy and fast to share. Don’t use tools that people have to work to make function. The one I use right now is called Social Sharing Toolkit for WordPress. Continue reading ‘Facebook is Charging – What’s Next for Your Page + Five REAL Tips for Traffic.’

A Facebook Spanking – And How it Feels on Your Business.

The Bath – A Portrait that got Gavin banned form Facebook. Read more here.

by Gavin Seim: We all should to consider how social media effects us in the long term. I recently released a new portrait called The Bath. I posted this portrait on my Facebook page and the next morning I logged it to find it had not only been removed, but I had been banned from Facebook for 24 hours as PUNISHMENT for supposedly violating an “unnamed” responsibility of using Facebook. I assume they placed this under nudity, even though it contains none.

There’s is nothing inappropriate about the photo and did not even consider that it would get taken down. These are my kids and I intentionally made sure nothing showed that could be taken wrong in the slightest. So here I am, a business on Facebook, being treated like a three year old, slapped on the hand for being naughty. And that’s it. No appeal, no recourse. I call it a Facebook Spanking!

Even as a paying advertiser who has spent thousands of dollars with FB, I don’t have a real contact or way to get help. Just a black mark on my record, meaning that in the future, the punishments get worse. Some random thing could even get the PERMANENTLY REMOVED from Facebook. What happens to the years of work and thousands of dollars building my network and pages? Who knows. The thing is, they can do whatever they want. It’s their network. Just like every private network.

This got me thinking about how reliant we’ve become on social networks. Even someone like me who blogs actively on his own sites, relies on Facebook, Twitter and others to let people know about those articles and get traffic flowing. There’s nothing wrong with using those tools, but when we rely on them all our eggs start rolling into one basket. What happens if we get cut off. How many of us have maintained traffic sources that “we control”? Things like newsletters. Why? because I don’t like my business being under the thumb of corporate management that won’t even talk to me.

Personally this prompted me to start a fresh email list called the Light Letter. I want to make sure I can connect with those interested in my work on “my terms”. That’s not to say I won’t use Facebook, Google +, Twitter and other professional networks. But this experience really showed me that we as people and professionals need to become less reliant and start controlling our own content and traffic. I hope others will follow and start thinking about Content Freedom. As people who rely on content communication as part of our business, it’s time we make sure we can keep it flowing.

What are the solutions? I think a well made engaging newsletter is one. The list is not dead. Organic SEO traffic is good too. Maybe even traditional mail. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m thinking. What ideas do you have for controlling our content on our terms rather than on the whims some corporate management who couldn’t care less?

I’ll be going into more in depth on this soon as we look at how we can keep our content ours. You can also join my Light Letter below if you’re interested. Either way I encourage to check out LightLetter.com to see how I set it up. It’s been converting quite well.

Gav

Pro Photo Podcast #87 – Flare To The MAX or The Disaster Effect

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Today’s Panel... Gavin SeimBarry HowellDennis Zerwas

This classic roundtable features the endless banter of The Three. But we actually talk about a lot of cool things as we look at the latest gear, talk about tough realities of the industry and even kick into some Facebook and marketing tips in our very long after show. If you listen to the entire after show, you get a +2.

Brought to you by the Seim Effects and the Amazing EXposed workshop – seimeffects.com

PPS #87 Forum Discussions. Share Your Opinions.

Main Time Indexes:

  • 00:00 Introductions.
  • 03:33 Canon 6D, Nikon D600.
  • 12:10 Forced wedding photography?
  • 19:00 Bride drowns during session.
  • 23:10 Adobe photo contest
  • 28:20 More news, mirrorless chat.
  • 42:40 Barry moderates – How to make it.
  • 50:00 Barry Moderates – iPhoneography.
  • 1:04:00 Realities of the business.
  • 1:25:01 Picks of the month.
  • 1:41:55 The LONG After show.

Links…

Bride downs during session. Be careful…

Google Acquires Nik Software.

Canon 6D, Nikon D600.

New Mexico case forcing people to photograph homosexual weddings. An artist is not, nor should ever be obligated to produce art they morally disagree with. SHAME on New Mexico courts – Article 1, Article2

The Adobe photo contest situation.

Why So Many “Professional” Photos Look So Bad!

Portrait of an Instagram Artist.Former Olympus Executives Plead Guilty to Carrying Out Massive Financial Fraud.

Photographs of Vacuum-Wrapped Tokyo Couples – Definitely a different way to have your portrait done.

..

PICKS…

Gavin – Olympus 35RC

Gavin – Capresso Frothpro

Gavin – 500 Cameras

DZ – Woodstock Percussion Kid’s Accordion

 

Pro Photo Podcast #85 – Photos Are Not Free

No not even this photo is free – King of the Valley – Valley of the gods Utah

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Today’s Panel... Gavin SeimBarry HowellNina BeheimScott & Adina Hayne

This month the panel looks at a few news bits, understands that photos have value, reviews Photoshop CS6, our favorite lenses and more.

PPS #85 Forum Discussions Here. Share Your Opinions.

Main Time Indexes:

  • 00:00 Introductions.
  • 04:50 News and Chat.
  • 10:10 Free Photos for Alter Bridge?
  • 27:45 Photoshop CS6 Group Review.
  • 49:00 A larger format future.
  • 1:09:55 Lenses Lightning Round.
  • 1:32:55 Picks of the show.
  • 2:04:08 The After Show. Business and beyond.

Links…

LIghtroom 4.

Creative Suite CS6.

5DMK III is good. So is the Nikon D800. You decide. And check out the value of the D3200.

A pack of free LR develop presets for video.

Glif iPhone tripod mount.

The Brenizer Method. An stitched approach to the large format look (thanks to Vincent P for the link)

Bands don’t need to pay for your photos?

PICKS…

 

 

Photography – Learn What the Nail Does Before You Start to Hammer.

“Many think they’re ready to build a skyscraper by nature of the fact that they own a hammer. I submit that they should learn what a nail is first”

by Gavin Seim: I have a true story to tell. The other day while traveling, I saw a woman at a rest area on the Salt Flats of Utah taking photos of a family, the sun gleaming overhead.

There were no strobes to compensate for the intense light, the shadows on the faces or that glaring sun. Just a person with a camera moving bodies and working in seeming blind confidence that she was in control. Not a single flash in sight. Not that that would have been enough. No consideration given for the fact that the light, the way it was being used, was completely wrong.

I felt kinda bad for the family who probably thinks they’re getting good portraits. I felt annoyance for the would be photographer who took on something she was unprepared for, while in reality she seemed to have no idea what she was doing. Perhaps she was honest with them about her experience. But from what I saw, it struck me that she was posing in more ways than one.

It was clearly a planned session were this lovely family came to meet their photographer. I felt tempted to let them know that they were getting little more than they could have by handing their iPhone to a passer by. But I setup my 4×5 for a stark desert landscape and tried not to think about it as they bustled around in the corner of my eye doing cheesy poses in what “could” have been an amazing setting for a portrait.

When my son asked what they were doing, I explained ruefully that they “thought” they were making portraits.

Some of you may feel I’m being mean. But I’m not and if this offends I suggest you read it again. My job here is to challenge. I want people to learn, I love to share expediences. But I won’t offer them a pretense. I’ll tell my fellow photographers the truth so we can all grow. I don’t know this person first hand. In fact I’m glad the faces are not distinguishable. My story is not just about this person, or about naming names. It’s a reminder of the fact that this is happening too often.

I don’t know exactly how these photos will turn out, but I have a good idea. I can say with certainly that the portraits were not being done well. Both the client and the would be photographer are getting the short end of the stick. The family will get poor images for whatever they paid. The would be photographer will probably go on in digital bliss rather than actually learning the trade she wants to be a part of. Eventually she will likely tire and give up. All because she has the pretense that you can be a good photographer simply because you own a camera. No experience required.

Some will say “You have to start somewhere”. There is truth in that, but we still need to learn before we leap. We need to learn what the brake is before we drive a car. There was a day when “starting somewhere” meant learning how do something reasonably well before working for pay and selling yourself as a pro.

There’s are surely some new photographers reading this. Don’t be offended at my frankness. It’s OK to be new. But don’t be the person that takes on something you’re not prepared for while acting as if you are. If you don’t know how to light, pose or plan your project, then go learn about those things before you jump in and start charging. It’s a science. Not something you just make up as you go.

I’m absolutely for sharing knowledge and yes, I imagine most of us are guilty of having someone who was a bit of a lab rat on the journey to skill. That’s fine as long as we were honest with them. But increasingly we see people who don’t desire knowledge and think they’re artistic masters right our of the gate. Experience matters. It’s not wrong to be inexperienced, but it’s wrong to pretend you are, when in truth you are not. Take your time, learn the skills, the marketing, the sales, the presentation, the science. Because if you don’t, your journey will likely end in frustration.

Some think they’re ready to build a skyscraper by simple nature of the fact that they own a hammer. I submit that they should learn what a nail is first.

Thanks for reading… Gav