“There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.”

On Creativity:

“Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating. Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation. The common thread that links creators is how they spend their time. No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.

Creative people say No. On Medium.

More Information on the Licensing of Photographers


Breaking News:

The Governors of New Jersey, North Carolina, Nebraska and Arizona have issued a joint statement (In Colorado and Washington this means something different) on the licensing of Photographers.

A spokesman for the governors just released this statement:

“We, the governors of the aforementioned states agree that the pain, suffering and humiliation of people getting bad photography has become an epidemic. Tens of millions of people are no longer able to function because of this virulent strain of unprofessionalism.

We have been advised by a group of professional wedding photographers and some photographers with awesome Model Mayhem accounts that in order to maintain the public safety we must adopt new and stringent guidelines for the taking and making of pictures.

We have decided the following:

1. All photographers must be licensed, and that license will include private instruction in the proper use and maintenance of the modern capture device.

2. All photographers must pass a stringent test to prove without a shadow of a doubt that they are indeed capable of a Bat Mitzvah shoot and the occasional Wedding event.

3. In order to make this as painless as possible we have decided to administer and manage the licensing of photographers at our state DMV’s. It only make sense. They have cool testing stuff, and they have cameras there already with many of the DMV workers shooting hundreds of portraits a day. We feel these public servants are sufficiently aware of great photography and will be fair and balanced in their licensing management.

4. The Arizona Photographers Certified Liaison will be Candy Barre, a former model on One Model Place and the winner of the Hooter’s Hotbuns 2001 contest in Tucson, AZ. She has issued this statement: “I am very glad to be chosen to represent the state of Arizona in its crackdown on the illicit photography trade. I have asked for Sheriff Joe (Arpaio) and his deputies to take classes in photography on YouTube and be sufficiently aware of the Inverse Square Law to make quick, on the spot decisions on whether a photographer needs or does not need a license.”

Ms Barre added that she wanted photographers “to know this has nothing to do with any personal vendetta against the stupid wedding photographers who did not sufficiently photoshop my big ass out of my second wedding shots, and caused the image to become viral on Facebook. I will administer my duties to make sure that crap never happens to some other adorable bride with all the power and firepower invested in me by the STATE.”

At the impromptu press conference, a professional photographer in the audience asked how the state could tell what good photography was. Ms Barre had him removed from the room for creating and disturbance and being, in her words, ‘argumentative and too inquisitive.”

“I am sure there are many perverts out there with cameras who may not like the fact that we are checking up on them. If you know a photographer who is against this legislation, he or she is probably a child molester worried about losing access to the most vulnerable among us.” Miss Barre then had the Sheriffs there do a demonstration of the enforcement techniques that they had planned to use.

A 6’ male mannequin was rolled out on stage holding a Nikon D7000. “You can tell he is a predator just by looking at the way he is holding that camera,” Ms Barre explained.

At that point, five Arizona Sheriff’s deputies opened fire from a distance of about 10 feet. Firing nearly 130 rounds, the mannequin was hit 21 times with hollow tipped bullets that tore its predatory plastic ass a new one.

More when the smoke clears.

On Creative Certification…


I have a buddy who works for the Licensing and Certification Board of Licenses and Certifications and he has slipped me a working paper on the upcoming change to the way Photographers and “TOGS” will be licensed and certified.

I will be sharing more as we comb through the 1456 page certification of photographers study and proposed bill to hit the House sometime in April.

Ten Questions Sure To Be On The “Professional License Certification For Licensed and Certified Professional Photographers Test for Certified Licensing”

1. What is the correct exposure for a bride facing west on a late summer day? (Note that the bride is younger than 30, and the dress was an off-the-rack sale item.)

a. f4
b. f11
c. f6.3

2. You need to take an environmental portrait of a family in the woods. Which lens is appropriate?
a. 35mm
b. 85mm
c. 135mm

3. True or False: Corporate Headshots should always be done with a speedlight and a shoot thru umbrella.

4. Explain the inverse square law and how it affects the exposure when shooting above the 40th parallel with a flash made before 1987. Be brief, give examples.

5. Explain the difference between “off camera flash” and the older, less popular term “lighting”. Please be exact.

6. Nikon or Canon? (Circle the correct answer)

7. How many images does a professional photographer make at a wedding?
a. 300-500
b. 500 – 1000
c. 1000 – 2000
d. Spray and pray, cards are cheap!

8. When photographing drunk partiers doing the Macarena for the fifteenth time, is it best to;
a. Shoot from a low angle
b. Stand on a chair in the middle of the dancers and shoot a couple hundred frames
c. Sit silently on the sidelines complaining about sore feet and wishing for a quick and silent death
d. None of the above, they’re drunk and no one gives a rats ass about you anyway

9. Scenario 1 (Essay Question)
You are called by a close friend with a request to shoot his sister’s wedding. The sister, a neuro-surgeon is marrying a very successful Wall Street Investment Banker in a small, intimate wedding (less than 1200 guests). There will be 14 Bridesmaids, and a special chariot being designed by Boeing that will fly the couple in to the Caribbean Island venue. Your friend has three questions for you:

a. What lens would you use for the landing of the “Chariot of Love”?
b. Would it be better in black and white?
c. Can you keep your fee under $578 as the couple is on a budget?

10. Scenario 2 (Essay Question)
You have completed a small wedding in NYC. It was a simple affair with wonderful natural light spilling in from large windows and a white dance floor. Explain in detail which Photoshop actions you will use to “enhance” the feeling of “mellow” light while keeping an overall tone of modernity with a touch of elegance? Explain why you chose that action and discuss any changes you would make to the final image to bring it more panache, charm and neo-classical affectation. )Please include a step by step processing flow and indicate new layers in blue.)

More to come.

[EDIT: This just in:

27. When caught cutting and pasting other people’s images into your website or blog post is it best to:
a. Fess up. Honesty is always the best policy AFTER you are caught being, well, dishonest.
b. Blame it on your “web guy”, intern, admin assistant who are expendable little people who are not ‘creatives’ sort of smell bad anyway.
c. Ignore it and tweet that stealing images makes your heart hurt really a lot.
d. Fk ’em, it was in the internet, so it’s free.

We feel that number 27 is a trick question.

Facebook Fraud?

Facebook information for those of you who are considering using FB as a marketing tool.

Short answer: Don’t.

Or at least, certainly be aware of what you are getting into.

Getting Paid…

I am so excited.

Just pulled out my ’57 “Lady Head” Conn Tenor Saxophone. I have always wanted to be a sax player, and now I am going to get my chance.

I can play most of the notes except the really high ones and the really low ones… but, I rock in the middle ones.

As long as the music is not too fast or has any, you know, sixteenth notes. Or is in the key of B.

Or A.

Or Eflat, Aflat, Dflat, E, D, A, and Gflat.

I am good in Bflat and G and C… except for that really low couple of notes we discussed earlier.

But I have purchased a fantastic mouthpiece (metal/jazz) and some awesome reeds. I have a very cool ‘jazzman’ soft case for it and even picked up a saxophone stand that holds the Lady Head when I am not using it.

The strap I got is top of the line. Absolutely top of the line strap.

So I am ready to be a pro now.

I am looking for a band who needs a saxophone player. It must be a paying gig, and I am looking to be well compensated. I have spent a fortune on this sax and all the cool things that go with it and I am demanding that I get respected for it.

I want to be a sax player really bad, and if I get a gig with a top band, I promise to practice more than I do now. Actually I don’t practice at all now, but then no one is paying me to practice so screw that crap.

I have the sax.
I have the cool strap.
I have the jazz bag, jazz mouthpiece, some reeds and – well, I think I have it covered.

Please have your request for me to play in your band sent by FED EX, and my attorneys will check with your attorneys to make sure we are a good ‘fit’ for each other.

(Oh, I forgot Gsharp and Csharp… I don’t do very well in those either.)

Again, I DO NOT PLAY FOR FREE. My investment in sax gear means I get compensated.


(Imagine if musicians approached being a professional the way that photographers, writers and designers seem to think it works… sigh…)

The “Business” of Being a Creative

Here’s a minor pet peeve of mine. (I know, I know.. who the hell cares, but bear with me for a moment).

I often hear people say something along these lines.

“Photography is a business. You have to treat it like any other business.”

With all due respect, while it is indeed a business, it is far different than ‘any other business’ in more ways than we can count.

Typical “Business Plans” are rubbish. The world of the photographer cannot be broken down into how many hours you have to work to become profitable based on some list of facts and figures.

Typical “Business School” information is, in many cases, useless. The rigors of spreadsheets and margins and profitability based on output/inventory blah blah…


Being a photographer, a working commercial photographer, is part marketing department, part HR department, part product development department, and a big production department.

We make photographs… not cans of peas. We have only the value we place on that photograph, not cost of materials + markup. We don’t discount our ‘inventory’ or create a glut of product that necessitates a ‘sale’ or reduction of price.

Photography IS a business. A damned hard business to be in. Damned hard.

The goal posts move seemingly every year, and the competition is fierce. There are not established routes to success, no ‘credential’ to open doors for crony participation. We don’t have a set of pricing guidelines set by the market. A can of peas costs between a buck and two bucks… pick a range for your peas offering.

Photographs can be free to tens of thousands… taking the same amount of skill, time, effort and excellence… but with vastly differing price points.

Plug that into your fkn “CODB” calculator…

Photographers who keep the doors open learn to navigate the most murkiest of business waters. Nothing is nailed down, nothing is carved in stone, nothing – I repeat NOTHING, is like “most other businesses”.

(And yeah, that guy over there with the guitar… he is shaking his head in agreement.)

Now… explain why you are going into a hundred thousand fkn dollars in debt for a “degree’?