Tag Archive for 'Portrait'

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.


50+ Twitter Length Photography Tips.

by Gavin Seim. Updated 05/2012:
I enjoy quick bursts of information and chat frequently as @gavinseim on twitter.  I’ve made this list of my favorite tips that I plan to update it going forward. You can add your favorite and tips in the comments with your twitter name. I might even RT them myself.

I give credit to the speaker when I can, using names in parenthesis. Many of these are my own musings from Twitter and I’ve indicated myself with an (S). If there’s no name then I probably don’t know the source. These are not always exact quotes, but ideas I’ve re-formed to fit in under 140 characters on Twitter

Random Things:

  • Every image needs a subject. Just one. If it has less or more, than that it’s probably time to reboot. (S)
  • Presentation is as much part of a photo as the image itself. An image on a disk means little to the world. A well presented wall piece does. (S)
  • Don’t wait for the photo establishment to show you how to stand out. Because if you do, you won’t (S)
  • The line between a snapshot and a quality photograph are lost when everyone is a “photographer” but have not actually learned to be one! (S)
  • I’m not afraid to change my opinion, but I am afraid of not having one. (S)
  • Competition. A powerful tool that makes you stronger. Complaints about it are often cop outs from photographers not motivated enough to excel (S)
  • In photography rules mean conformity, and to conform is the opposite of creativity. (Whitmire)
  • Be Positive. It’s not just a blood type. (S)
  • Each time I think I’m really good, I learn that I’m not as great as I thought. Then I actually start getting really good (S)
  • Always do the best you can with what you have, but always push yourself to the next level. (S)
  • As photographers we often overlook the power of just practicing. It’s like giving ourselves our own workshop for free. (S)
  • Photography is painting with light. So if light is paint, why do we spend more time pressing buttons than mixing our paint? (S)
  • It’s not the location you take your photos in. It’s the photos you take in your location. Anything can be a good background. (S)
  • Being edgy is cool until everyone is doing it. Then it’s not edgy. It’s just boring and usually annoying. (S)
  • Every really good photograph I manage to make is a class in making the next one. (S)

Posing n more:

  • Portraits. Guys tilt the head towards the low shoulder = macho. Girls tilt head towards high shoulder = pretty (Celentano)
  • Bridal Portraits, Hold that bouquet on the hip to look thinner. Hands (and bouquets) held in front from make the bride look bigger. (Celentano)
  • Group portrait. Just before the shot have everyone lift up their shoulders and lean towards the center. (Celentano)
  • Portrait Tip: Look for triangles in your group poses. Use bodies, sitting, head position etc to form triangles. (Celentano)
  • If posture pose and light is correct it does not matter where the camera sits. The pose is still set. (Gardener)
  • Posing tip: If it bends, bend it. Play around with joints, elbows, fingers, everything.
  • Posing tip: Leave some open space between those bent elbows and the waist. Helps make your subject slim n trim. (S)
  • Don’t over pose the subjects in your groups. Their not solders, their free people. (Whitmire)


Continue reading ’50+ Twitter Length Photography Tips.’

Cool New Goodies At Seim Effects

I want to take a moment to plug a few new products over at my Seim Effects store, since these are what help keep this all going. I just released Hollywood Effects 2, the follow up to my first special effects actions for Photoshop. Also in a separate collection a brand new set of cool actions called Portraitist.

HE2 is filled with some pretty amazing effects. I love Lightroom, but it’s not a solo runner. These are the effects that simply can’t be done in LR and really make my best images shine. When you get HE2, it includes the Portraitist actions, which are my new skin retouching tools that perform tasks similar to expensive plugins, but right from an action and for a lot less money. They even include skin smoothing that retains detail in critical areas like eyes.

Anyways I’m stoked about how good they work. It’s the best actions I’ve ever made and has been a very successful release thanks to many of you. Of course I  still love Lightroom. You can find my presets there as well. If you want to learn more head over to Seim Effects. Other than that, have a great weekend… Gavin Seim

Attend Some Workshops In 2009

I’ve been making a point to attend more workshops and sessions this year. There’s just so much to learn and I owe it to my business, my clients (and you readers) to absorb information. We should all take the time to learn expand and share. Speaking of which I twitter favorite tips while I’m at sessions. You find my twitter feed here. In person workshops just have something more than you can get online.


Last night I attended David Ziser’s Digital WakeUp Call. David is the legendary photographer who writes Digital Pro Talk. He’s also a great salesman and presenter and seeing him in person was a real treat. He talked marketing, workflow, lighting and more. Wow, it was a load of information and tips a short time. Not to mention that the extras you get make the low cost of admission more than worth it and that  there were loads of great door prizes.

I also met some of you listeners there which was super cool. Afterwords David, myself and a few others who had  helped David and his wife LeDawn (what a hard worker she was) with setup lounged around and talked shop for awhile. It was a fun evening.

If you can get to the WakeUp Call don’t miss it. You can get in for $59 if you sign up with promo code ZGSDWC09


Then last week I also attended the legendary Wall Portrait Conference lead by Ken Whitmire. It’s more spendy, but a six day INTENSE workshop focusing on taking your portraits and sales to the next level.

All I can say is WOW. Ken was such a neat old guy, and all week we had great speakers Like Bruce & Josh Husdon, Sam Gardener, and many more, filling our professional quiver with more arrows. Any photographer who’s not selling large portraits from their sessions as a norm needs to attend this conference.

The WP Conference is only once a year. I’m going to try and work out a discount for PPS’ers with Ken, so stay tuned.

I’ll be talking about workshops and all I’m learning more on the podcast, but the bottom line is get out there. Their worth the time and money. There’s even my own 3 day HDR workshop coming this fall where you’ll learn how to use HDR properly, avoid overuse and take images to the next level. Check it out here.

Gavin Seim

Free Wedding, Portrait, Commercial, Contract Samples: UPDATED

Updated 08/2012. by Gavin Seim: People are often looking for a starting point to build their photography contracts. Sometimes photographers take the I’m not sharing stance. I however do not and rather than manually emailing them each time people ask, I decided to share them here. I’ve included a folder with  both PDF and DOC formats. You can start here, insert your own name and alter the text to suit your needs.

Disclaimer. I am NOT a lawyer: These are contracts I have used and I am making available free of charge. They are in no way guaranteed. I’ve written them in plain English, while still trying to cover my bases. I have not had them reviewed by a lawyer, so if you feel the need to have them checked, you’ll have to handle that on your own. OK disclaimer finished.

On a side note, if you are a lawyer and would like to help review the legal side of these contracts so we can post more official versions please contact me. Also if you have links to your own contracts (available for free) post them up so people can look at more ideas.

Enjoy… Gav

UPDATE 08.2012. Version 1.5.

Now includes…

  • Sample Wedding Contract – Updated
  • Sample Portrait Contract – Updated
  • Sample Commercial Contract – New
  • Sample Second Shooter Contract – New

Download Sample Contracts v1.5 Zip