Category Archives: Uncategorized

Changes At Going Pro

Skip and I have really enjoyed working on the GoingPro project. For more than two years we’ve put our hearts and souls into trying to help each of you improve your photography business. We’ve had a great deal of help from our sponsors and guest photographers who made sure you got a variety of perspectives, but now it’s time for a change – even the TV show Friends went off the air eventually.

We find ourselves at a crossroads. The GoingPro project has helped so many aspiring photographers, but in its current form it’s pretty much run its course. You should start by reading our book GoingPro – available at Amazon and other major booksellers).  We will continue to maintain the GoingPro2010 Twitter site.  There we’ll continue to offer free daily advice and answer your questions as best we can in 140 characters or less 🙂 – follow us @GoingPro2010.

In addition, you’ll find plenty of help at and, Skip’s new expanded site – going live within the next week or so. Even though we’re ceasing the podcast and daily updates to this particular blog, we will continue to be there to help you. Just an FYI – The GoingPro website goes into storage on May 14, 2012.

Why the change? The market is constantly changing and we want to develop a set of new tools to help build your business and strengthen your marketing efforts. We’re not disappearing, just working on new ideas that we think will help emerging professional photographers. We may use Twitter instead of a podcast but that doesn’t in any way impede our goal of helping you go from an aspiring pro to a profitable professional. We’ll continue to develop projects along those lines.

In the meantime, part of the new direction is toward individual consulting and training. We have spent a lot of gratifying time on the phone, in person at various conventions and via email with many of you, helping to solve your professional photography business challenges.

After May 14, 2012, we will also be available as consultants to help you any way we can. Our services extend from help building Twitter followers, designing a logo, picking a studio name, advice on pricing, help with sales, insurance, HR, PR or anything else. We’re available on a retainer basis and we’ve got an incredible staff of experts in every area of business and marketing. If you think you need help, read our book “GoingPro” first. There are so many of the typical questions we receive that are already answered there. If you still need help, then consulting services are available on an hourly basis.

If you need either Skip or me, you’ll always find us at our respective email addresses: or

For those of you who have participated in the project we extend our most sincere thanks. With your support, we’ve taken this concept further and faster than we ever dreamed. Hundreds of you have contacted us to say we’ve helped. We’re happiest about that above all. We wish you the best and will continue to be available to help you take your photography business from surviving to thriving.

Thanks again,

Scott & Skip

GoingPro Podcast Episode #71

Welcome to the GoingPro podcast.

You can direct-download the MP3 here.

Or get the entire GoingPro stream here –

Skip and Scott answer audience questions about the business of photography.

This post sponsored by Adorama – More than a camera store

More on Photographers’ Websites

I wrote this post for my personal blog last week, but I’ve since reviewed another half dozen sites and this is so important. Here’s the challenge with your website…

I’ve written this before, but if any of you were building your own dream studio you’d pay attention to every single detail. You’d spend hours deciding on window placement, ceiling height, wall textures and flooring. You’d pay attention to every dimension, right down to where the light switches would be. Yet, when it comes to building your website, which is your storefront today, you’ve loaded it with mediocre images, rarely proofed your text on the site and in most cases you’ve made it a nightmare for consumers to even find their way through the maze.  You loaded everything in because you knew you needed a website, but you spent so little time thinking through how it would really look.

That’s one of the reasons I enjoy working with SmugMugPro so much. This is their business – and their entire platform is based on a goal to make you look good. Plus, they’re so photo-centric – a company for photographers built by photographers.

I’ve talked with a dozen attendees so far (This is part of a Summer School benefit this year – a free review of your about section and galleries.) Each one has some terrific work and there’s no question they have the passion, but like all of us, they’ve gotten caught up in the day to day challenges and don’t realize they’ve missed some of the key opportunities and buzz-words.  Here are some of the things I’m finding:

There seems to be a lot of unfinished ideas out there. It’s almost as if you started writing a letter and sent it before you finished some of the paragraphs. That would be fine, but you sent the letter! You opened your website before it was finished.

Often the design of a site has been dictated by the web designer and NOT the photographer. This leads to a variance of priorities that too often the potential client isn’t going to care about. For example, they want to see images and don’t care if a wedding is broken out into “detail”, “ceremony”, “reception” etc.  They just want to see the story. Don’t add extra clicks to the process.

Everybody’s “About” section to date needs work and here’s the problem. We’re all too close to our own businesses and we’re uncomfortable talking about ourselves. Your About Section needs to show your passion for being a photographer. Remember, clients don’t hire you because of what you provide, but why you love what you do. This is about building trust.

Last on the list for this morning’s post is about the images in your galleries. Look at each one and ask the question, “If this was the only image I could show, would I hire me?” Don’t compromise on the quality of your images – make every image a “wow” print!

This year’s Summer School is called Hands-on Intensive for a reason! We’ve got a goal to give more photographers the tools they need to build a stronger presence and it starts when you register!  See you at Summer School!

This Post Sponsored by: Smug Mug PETE

Photographers: Learn To Be Flexible

It’s one thing to be new to professional photography, but it’s another altogether to be a new business owner and that’s exactly what you are. With that very first dollar in the income column, photography was no longer just a hobby.

I meet and speak with new photographers just about every day. Everyone has the same challenges. All that changes is the perceived degree of difficulty in achieving your goals. One challenge I was thinking about this morning is the art of being flexible and yes, I really see it as an art form.

Years ago I assisted Denis Reggie on a Kennedy wedding. During the evening virtually everything that could go wrong with his flash, did go wrong. He never blinked, just changed the way he was shooting and continued to cover the wedding. He couldn’t have been smoother or more flexible in adapting to the challenges that night.

This morning I’m working on a new project and to get it off the ground, I’m going to have to give up some other projects. It’s just not a big deal as long as I stay focused on my long term goals with both assignments, being flexible isn’t an option it’s required.

Every day as a business owner you’re going to be faced with the need to adapt and change. Some changes will be simple, requiring nothing more than a move in your schedule, others will be more complex. Some might require a complete change of your position on a particular technique or procedure.

Here’s my point…

Flexibility is truly an art form. Your ability to grow as an artist and business owner is dependent on your ability to keep an open mind, to adapt while staying focused on your goals, both short and long term. And, by the way, don’t be surprised at your goals changing along the way as well.

Change is never easy, but being flexible and learning to “just roll with the punches”, as my Dad likes to say, will help you grow and your business to thrive.

“Being flexible and versatile is an advantage if you have the desire to succeed at anything you do. You will experience day to day difficulties, delays and frustrations in your demanding work and life and when dealing with people.”


This Post Sponsored by: Smug Mug

Errors & Omissions Insurance

If you’re engaging in the profession of photography for profit, and you charge people money for your services, then you could be taken to court by a disgruntled client who was unhappy with your service. If you somehow lose your client’s files, or fail to get the one shot he/she asked for, you might end up owing your client instead of them owing you.

To help prevent getting caught on the wrong side of that scenario – you might want to call your business insurance agent and ask about errors-and-omissions insurance. At least one of the major professional photo associations offers this as either part of a paid membership or as an adjunct you can add on to your membership.

Depending on who you get the coverage from, and what it entails, your agent may offer money to the client or other solutions designed to mitigate the problem.

In some cases, Errors & Omissions coverage will pay to completely re-stage an event, complete with tuxedos and fresh flowers, if necessary. The coverage can protect you in court, covering attorney’s fees and other legal expenses.

In most cases, this type of insurance kicks in even if no legal action ever begins.

Errors & Omissions covers a variety of mistakes – but not all mistakes. Here are the types of things covered by one popular package:

*Making a mistake with scheduling
*Arriving at the wrong venue with no time to correct the error
*Personal injury to clients or models in the studio or on location (i.e., tripping over a *piece of photographer’s equipment, slipping as they arrive to your home or studio)
*Losing or damaging memory cards or film after completing a job
*Clients who decide they are unhappy with the work and sue to recover damages
*Images lost through shipping
*Images released to incorrect party
*Taking “compromising” photographs
*Invasion, infringement with rights of privacy or publicity
*Infringement of copyright, plagiarism or piracy

If you have a business insurance ask your agent about adding E&O. If you don’t have business insurance you should look into it as soon as possible. It’s better to avoid a problem now than deal with it later. The coverage is relatively inexpensive and certainly so when compared with the cost of going to court if you make a mistake.

This post sponsored by Album Epoca

Your Website: Part 2 – Your About Section

We’re going to cover a lot of different aspects of your site, but I always like to start with the About section because so many people go in the wrong direction.

Your About section is the one location you have on your site to just talk about why you’re a photographer. It’s a waste of space to talk about what you’ve done. People aren’t interested in what awards you’ve won in print completion, what degrees you have or what conventions or events you’ve attended.

This is your opportunity to open your heart about why you love photography, working with clients, documenting the human spirit and capturing memories. This is about who you are as a person.

Stay away from an endless stream of testimonials. They’re nice, but ineffective. Seriously, when you see a series of testimonials on any product or service you’re buying for yourself do you honestly believe they’re legitimate? If you have a quote from a celebrity, a well-known magazine in which your work was featured that’s fine, but the repetitive stream of clients who are thanking you for your past work is a waste of valuable real-estate on your site.

Your About section should relate your passion for the craft. It’s an opportunity for you to reach out to your potential client and really show them who you are.

Show your sense of humor. Play off of words like “trust” and “integrity”. Share your belief in the importance of being unique.

Don’t let your ego drive your About section and NEVER talk about your competitors. Negative selling doesn’t do anything except create a curiosity for clients to go look at what you’re complaining about!

Today, thanks to video, you’ve got a chance to take your About section one step further. Justin and Mary Marantz, photographers in Connecticut did it on their site and created one of the finest About pieces I’ve ever seen. Here’s the link and as you watch it, pretend you’re looking through the eyes of a future bride!

You’re About Section of your website together with your galleries are the two most important components of your website. In the next post we’ll wander intp your galleries with some great suggestions on how to make your website an effective marketing tool, not just a place to list your phone number and show a few pictures!

This post sponsored by Album Epoca

Traits of Photographers We Admire

It’s time for a new series on GoingPro. The other day I ran across an old copy of Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Well, that got me thinking about the personality traits of highly effective photographers.

Think about the photographers you admire the most. From the icons on the speaking circuit to images you look at and just say “wow”, every artist seems to have a series of qualities that make them different. They’re qualities that help to elevate them above the norm, often above how we perceive ourselves. The truth is virtually all of these traits are qualities everyone can have, but some take more work and focus than others.

So, welcome to Traits of Photographers We Admire.

There are easily a hundred different traits I could start with, but there’s one that just seems to stand out the most when you think about your favorite photographers. They’re all happy. Talking about being happy at first seems so trite – just too simplistic for a post topic, but think about so many of the trend-setters in our industry.

While they might have days when they’re frustrated has anybody ever seen Tony Corbell, Jerry Ghionis, Scott Bourne or Roberto Valenzuela NOT happy? All of these guys smile a lot – not to put up a front, but because deep down they’re really happy. Spend five minutes with any of them and you’ll walk away smiling.

This isn’t a post meant to just pick out a trait, talk about it and walk away. Let’s take it a step further and ask the question, “Are you a happy person?”

Tony, Jerry, Scott and Roberto all love what they’re doing. Happiness is about passion for the craft. There’s nothing these guys could be doing for careers that would put a bigger smile on their faces.

Photography is one of those careers that you have to love in order to be good at. It’s not just a job. It’s a lifestyle. Obviously you can’t be running around with a camera in your hand all the time, but great photographers never really shut off visualizing and the way they look at the world and can isolate the most minute of scenes simply makes them happy.

If you’re not happy, then you need to isolate what’s holding you back. What’s in the way of waking up every morning with a smile on your face? Even better, figure out why that smile is gone at the end of the day…who or what did you allow to steal your smile!

Author Wayne Dyer wrote, “When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.”

Tony, Jerry, Roberto and Scott definitely enjoy every step of every journey!

This post sponsored by Adorama – More than a camera store