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Portions of this column were originally written for the August 2011 edition of News Photographer Magazine.

Mark Loundy is a media producer and consultant based in San Jose, California. Full bio.

The opinions in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Press Photographers Association.

September 2011, Volume 105
By Mark Loundy

"Friends show me what I can do, foes teach me what I should do."

— Friedrich von Schiller

After putting it off for months, I finally made it to my optometrist's for a check-up. While waiting in the exam room, I overheard him talking to one of his office staff about patient no-shows. When he came in, I asked him about what sort of preparation optometry school gave him for running the business of an optometric practice.

Focus On Business"None," he said. When he went to school there were no business practice classes available. Graduates were just dumped into the business world to sink or swim on their own.

It's a bit better for current optometry students who are offered a few electives such as Private Practice Management, but business practices are not emphasized. Joey Rothman, a student at a Chicago optometry school went outside of formal academia for his street knowledge. He is interning with my San Jose-based eye doctor. "I knew, said Rothman, "that when went into my fourth year I would be seeing different types of practices in my internships."

So it's not just photographers who are not being taught what they need to know to survive after school. But like budding eye docs, they can seek out what they need from a generous professional by interning and assisting.

The Good
BulletStandard and Poor's downgraded The Good this month.

The Bad
Bullet If you've seen Sports Illustrated's "Leading Off" feature of full-bleed double-truck images you know how impressive they are and how important the magazine clearly considers them. Just not in the iPad version of the magazine, for which they pay a whopping $50.
Bullet The Prince William (VA) County Government and its ASHA public relations agency for demanding, "...six (6) of my best photos (digital images: high & low res of each photo formatted on a CD and/or three (3) minutes of event video footage... without charge..." in exchange for freelance media credentials for the 150th commemoration of the battle of Manassas/Bull Run.
Well, that's certainly bull something all right.

The Ugly
Bullet Britney Spears photo shoot agreement that designates all images as being shot as "Work For Hire." This means that Britney owns what you shoot.
Bullet Snoweast magazine for their solicitation for images: "...no charge for publishing your photo should we use it." Mighty nice of 'em.

Please let me know of any particularly good, bad or ugly dealings that you have had with clients recently. I will use the client's name, but I won't use your name if you don't want me to. Anonymous submissions will not be considered. Please include contact information for yourself and for the client.

Leftovers
  • Cold calling is a sales call when you have no previous contact or relationship with the potential client. Most of us detest it. Rob Haggart has a great article in his July 20th APhotoEditor blog. The best things about it are the personal examples in comments section.
  • From the "you get back more than you give" department, the folks at Photoshelter have created a free "Online Marketing Blueprint For Freelancers." Over the years, PS has offered-up 13 free marketing or business guides for photographers.
  • Photo marketing consultant Carolyn Potts evokes Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" in ASMP's Strictly Business blog by way of counseling photographers not to freak out over the current economic upheavals. In other words, don't let the worst of times sap your creative strength.

    A personal note...

    It was about 5:50 a.m. when I walked into the Yahoo FinanceVision newsroom. I had just finished setting up the studio and control room for the day's webcasts. Producer Jerry Day was the only other person there and he had the newsroom TV tuned to CNN.

    When I saw the burning World Trade Center tower, I immediately thought of the 1945 crash of a B-25 into a fog-shrouded Empire State Building. Since it was a beautiful clear late-summer morning, I figured some poor soul had committed suicide by flying a small plane into the tower. But there was too much flame...

    "Jerry," I said, "you might want to call (Executive Producer) Eric, this is going to be the biggest story of the day."

    Our usual eight-hour broadcast would stretch to 36 continuous hours and, for some of us, it would be the biggest story of our lives.

    God bless those lost on that day. And God bless those who survived.