Professional Photography For Business

I wrote this as a post a year ago on an internet business forum I’m a member of. I got a question about it today and thought it would make a good post for this blog. Interestingly a photography post NOT suitable for my photography blog.

Written Aug 20, 2008

Was trying to cram Book Yourself Solid into my head last night until it exploded. But one thing he talks related to credibility was having a professional photograph.

Given I’ve done a lot of people photography I thought I’d give a few tips and thoughts.

There are different kinds of photographers. Unfortunately most are what I refer to as PPA photographers. They are stuck a couple of decades back on the curve of photography. If you are looking for a headshot and they put you in front of a mottled blue background, you are in the wrong place.

TIP 1: The best people to have do your head shot are photographers who specialize in actors headshots.

Your images should reflect a feel or emotion. Just like copy isn’t just about what you are selling, your image isn’t just about what you look like. It should make the viewer feel something.

Your expression is going to have a lot to do with the feeling. So think about the feeling you want and then what expression causes that feeling.

TIP 2: Just like I tell my models, practice in front of a mirror. Try different expressions and poses.

Feeling will also be influenced by lighting and depth of field. This is why you need to get the right photographer. There is technically right lighting and there is artistically right lighting. You want artistically right lighting. I’m not even going to try and explain that right now, but you’ll know it when you see it.

TIP 3: Pick a photographer based almost solely on their portfolio.

The biggest problem when trying to commission any kind of art is knowing what you are going to get in the end for something that hasn’t been created yet. Fact is you won’t know 100%. The best indicator you can get is the images they have already taken. This tells you something about their “style”. A style is made up of the things an artist is comfortable creating and the elements they use over and over.

TIP 4: Use a modeling site to find a photographer.

The yellow pages or local newspaper rarely will help you find the kind of photographer you are looking for. You need to go where you can look at a photographers work when they are most expressing their style. Since you want them in your area, a modeling site lets you search by zip code.

Here are a couple:

http://www.modelmayhem.com/
http://www.onemodelplace.com/
http://www.deviantart.com/ < - not really modeling, but artistic photography You also may find what I call a professional amateur on these sites. They are photographers who love it as a hobby and have gotten really, really good, but they don't do it for the money. They will if it comes along, but aren't really marketing for it. Offer these guys some money and you'll get a quality product for good price. I'd consider myself one of these guys. TIP 5: Not every photographer is good at everything, but style does come through.

There are two areas of photography where you see the high quality artistic photographers excelling. Wedding and High School Senior photography. These also happen to be the biggest money makers. So if you are looking for a good portrait, look at who the best of these guys are in your area.

Lastly I’d just like to say photography matters. It tells people if you are serious or not. It’s like good webdesign.

Business Interview With Me

An associate of mine from the Internet Business Mastery Academy recently did an interview with me about my businesses (Glamour Apprentice, and Distinctions For Life).

Personally I think he gushes a little about me, but you might find it interesting. Sadly, I wrote my responses in a hurry and included a number of typos, please forgive me.

MasterMind Ron Davis – The Adagio Blog

One thing I might have mentioned is how hard it is to deal with distractions like starting new businesses. I’ve got a new one in my head and can’t think about the one I have now. Arrgh. I’m not sure if working on the new one would clear my head, or just take me further away from the one I have.

Amazon Screwed Me, Should I Keep Working For Them?

Let me tell you a story and get your opinion.

In December I got excited about the Kindle. During the same time I was learning about PPC advertising. In February, Amazon announced the Kindle 2 and I wrote a post on why you should buy a Kindle. Since I’d learned about PPC I thought I’d try using it to drive some traffic.

Worked pretty well. Given natural organic traffic that my blog gets and the PPC traffic, I was able to help Amazon sell 20 Kindles and numerous accessories.

$7,362.99 in revenue for Amazon when I got this email.

Greetings from the Associates Program.

We recently noticed your Associate links are appearing as sponsored links on search engines under the term “kindle” and variations of this term. Please note, per the Operating Agreement:

4. Referral Fees
In addition, you may not: … (j) seek to purchase or register any keywords, search terms or other identifiers that include the words “amazon”, “endless”, “kindle”, or any other trademark of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates, or variations or misspellings thereof (for example “ammazon”, “amaozn”, “kindel”, “endlss”, “enldess”, etc.) (“Proprietary Terms”) for use in any search engine, portal, sponsored advertising service or other search or referral service. From time to time we may request that you cause any applicable Web search provider to exclude Proprietary Terms from keywords used to display your advertising content in association with search results, assuming the provider of such Web search engine offers such exclusion capabilities. If we determine, in our sole discretion, that you have engaged in any of the foregoing activities or, as the case may be, refused promptly to comply with a request from us to exclude Proprietary Terms from any keyword as mentioned above, we may (without limiting any other rights or remedies available to us) withhold any referral fees otherwise payable to you under this Agreement and/or terminate this Agreement.

In an effort to protect our trademark, we request that Associates refrain from this activity and will be enforcing this policy. Please note that some sponsored advertising services allow advertisers to indicate that their ads should surface when the user’s search is somewhat related to specified keywords; for example, an ad placed against the keyword “books” would surface in a search for “Amazon books.” To prevent your links from appearing as a sponsored link, we also ask that you take preventative measures, such as adding Amazon’s Proprietary Terms to your negative keywords. In addition, you will not receive payment for referral fees earned through the use of these keywords.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and your cooperation. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or concerns.

Best regards,

Thomas – Associates Account Specialist
http://www.amazon.com
=============================

Guess I should have read the terms of service closer.

When I received this email I immediately stopped my PPC campaigns.

Personally I don’t see how there trademark could possibly be damaged by my buying a “kindle” keyword from Google. In reality I expect they just don’t want competition from associates.

I didn’t send traffic directly to Amazon from Google, as “We recently noticed your Associate links are appearing as sponsored links on search engines” implies. The sponsored links in my ads were to my blog post. I could see how they wouldn’t want that to happen…well I can understand how they would think that was too easy.

I felt they were missing some obvious benefits of the product and so I wrote an impassioned and informative blog post about how great their product was. I have to think it was persuasive to people who chose to buy after reading it.

They debited my associates account $502.05. I’m not sure how they came up with that number. I asked them how they determined the difference between organic and PPC traffic. I also asked why they do this.

They haven’t answered either query.

Amazon is a big heartless corporation. I understand that, even if I don’t like it. They aren’t going fix this and give me my commissions back. They found a way to keep them, and they will. It’s legal, and I might have avoided it if I had read the terms closer.

But to me it is bad business. I helped them sell their product. I evangelized their technology. I wrote a persuasive blog post. I wrote ads that caught people’s attention and got them to read about why they should get a Kindle.

I doubt anyone came to my site before going to Amazon’s. Think about it. You search for Kindle. The #1 result is Amazon’s page. The top of the page sponsored link is Amazon. If someone was just looking for information, wouldn’t they go straight to Amazon’s Kindle page?

They are looking for a reason to buy. They are looking for someone who isn’t associated with Amazon to tell them why a Kindle is good for real. I provided that. And as a result Amazon made $359. Of which they gave me $35.90 for helping them out.

Then Thomas comes along and notices that my ads are showing up on their keywords. So he does what corporate policy #456 says to do, and takes my commission away and sends me an email telling me I broke the rules. Then he moves on to the next ad.

Now I’m left split. On one hand Amazon just cost me money. Not just lost commissions, but the fact I paid for ads that have to be paid for and they took the money those ads earned. Now I’m in the hole.

More than costing me money, I feel they did me wrong. I’m hurt. I know I should be emotional about it, but it hard when you are excited about something like the Kindle – it is a serious drain on my time now that I have one, I can’t stop reading.

I’m excited. So excited I did my unboxing video and showed more benefits of the Kindle. I’ve got an idea for another video on how to get free books for the Kindle and how to get them onto the device.

But should I do it? On one hand it seems a matter of principle if they screw me I should stop helping them. But I can keep making money – unless they find another way to take what I earned – by selling the Kindle. Money I now need to make up my losses for the month of work I’ve already done for them.

BTW when I did the unboxing video I didn’t realize they had already taken my commissions. I thought it was still open to discussion.

What do you think? Should I keep promoting the Kindle or stop?

My One Thing

I got the Four Hour Work Week audio book and have been going back through it. As a result I’m really focused in a number of ways. One means I’m not reading much in the way of blogs, but that had been going on for awhile now. So if I haven’t read your blog I’m sorry.

I don’t remember which came first, this post on Tim Ferris’ blog about The Power of Less, or the audio book. But I know I wasn’t very far into the audio book when I decided I could actually accomplish a mini-retirement.

A mini-retirement is where you go and live somewhere on an extended basis, like a month to a year, and it is taught in 4HWW. Since I’ve read the book I’ve always known what I wanted my first mini-retirement to be. I want to go to Nevada for a month and go to FrontSight every weekend to train.

I just realized I could actually make that happen. All it takes is getting permission from my wife and my boss. My wife has said yes, already. She is the bestest wife ever, in case I haven’t said that lots of times.

Haven’t talked to the boss yet, but I do think it is doable. Probably can’t get him to pay me for it, but maybe for some of it. I also have to figure out exactly how I’m going to approach it my persuasively.

But what about the one thing Ron?

After reading that post by Ferris, I knew I had to think of the one thing I needed to work on for the next month or so. But I honestly could find one. I knew I need to lose weight. My waist has expanded enough it is too uncomfortable to wear my gun in my IWB holster. So being fat is lowering my ability to defend myself.

But I don’t have the drive to diet and exercise.

Then my decision to do the mini-retirement required me to look at my finances and I realized what my one thing should be. I’m going to stay on a budget. Actually it is less about a budget that it is cutting back my spending. I decided that and can now tell I’ve got a reluctance to spend I’ve never had before.

It has also helped me get my butt in gear about a couple of business projects. I’ve set up 2 test sites as an affiliate marketer. I did them based on the Infomillionaire system, but it is funny to see how much that is like Ferris’ system in 4HWW. They are about the market, and not about my interests. One is about World of Warcraft Gold, and the other is about stopping a break up or getting your love back. If they don’t test out in the next week, I’ll look for something else.

I’m also putting the finishing touches on my own product teaching Pinup Photography. That should be in something like a final form by next week and I’m going to invite some beta testers this weekend. Hopefully it will be on the market by the end of the month.

And I’m going to be releasing a new version of Suck It Down, my MacOS program. I have done nothing on it for over 3 years and it doesn’t even work on the Intel chip. All I’m doing is making it work and updating my registration code. The crazy thing is it still sells about one copy a month. So I figure I do an update and that should cause a spike in sales and then double the monthly sales for a few months.

I am in serious motion and it will lead to big things. Now I’m off to edit.

New Photography Site

I’m not sure who reads my blog or why. I think it is an eclectic crowd. I think some of them are here for the photography, so I’ll let them know about something new I’m doing.

It is called Glamour Apprentice and I need to know what people want to know. So if you are interested in learning about photographing models, please fill out my one question survey.

Internet Business

Internet Business

Went to lunch today with a coworker and we talked internet business and marketing. See I’m getting ready to launch a new business/web site real soon. It will take my passion for glamour photography and turn it into something I can hopefully make a living at. More details to come. Soon.

There were three main things that influenced and inspired me, and I thought they deserved a little blog time.

The first was Tim Ferris’ book The Four Hour Work Week. I realized just recently I read that book, and gave it to two of my co-workers, a YEAR ago. It did not seem that long ago. But it changed my way of thinking. I no longer thought success was having a multi-million dollar bank account to live off. Success was having enough income to let me live where I wanted, control my schedule, and do my dreams.

But like I said I read it a year ago and was no closer to achieving anything in the book.

Then there was SXSW and my discovery of Twitter. Me seeing the concept of micro celebrity and followings that I talked about before. Those peculated in the back of my head until I stumbled across Teaching Sells[aff].

Teaching Sells is the brain child of CopyBlogger.com’s Brian Clark. I’ve got great respect for CopyBlogger it is where I learned a lot about blog writing. So when Brian said he knew what the problems were trying to make money blogging and depending on Google, I believed him. I believed him so much I signed up for the course’s free trial with out even reading the free report.

He gives a $1 one week trial for the site. Before my second day I knew I was staying at least a month, and I knew I was going to do this. The material is really good, if a little PC centric.

Teaching Sells Free Report

Since I was going to be starting an internet business, I decided it was time to reread Four Hour Work Week. While doing so I decided to take to heart one of principles in it. (Sorry forgot the name and I don’t have the book with me.) That principle said the work expands to fill the time you give it, so do give it any time.

I decided I’d focus and get this website read to go in a month. Even though I had no idea how to do that.

The only reason I decided on a month was because I discovered I needed to build up a demand via marketing before the site went live and started charging money.

So I decided to do a survey and drive traffic to the survey via friends in the market.

I also decided I needed a partner and approached one of my studio partners about being part of it. He was on board from the get go and assumes I know everything. Even though he has extensive experience in direct marketing in the real world, and is a great salesman.

Internet Business Mastery

Now I needed to learn internet marketing. But where? Well back when I was doing my Apologetics course I needed to learn podcasting and discovered Jan Van Orden’s website How To Podcast and subscribed to it in iTunes. In one of his podcast’s he mentioned two things.

One, he was living the FHWW dream by moving to Argentina for 6 months. He wasn’t doing a literal 4 hour work week, but he did have a business that didn’t require him to be in the states. So why not live in Argentina?

That was a epiphany for me. I don’t need to have a business that only takes 4 hours a week. I just need one that lets me live anywhere.

Second, Jason mentioned he had another podcast on internet business. So I subscribed to it. After the first episode, I was clicking the get button in iTunes like crazy to get back episodes. There is a ton of great information in this podcast.

I just forwarded my friend from lunch the URL for Internet Business Mastery not 10 minutes after he asked me what got me motivated to actually do, and not just talk about doing it. Low and behold they had a new post up titled What is the Tipping Point Between Thinking & Learning About Internet Business and Actual Success in Internet Business?. I haven’t even read or listened to it, but my friend went “Wow. How strange is that. I just asked you about this. Weird. I appreciate you sharing all this, man.”

I want to convey the same sentiment to the people mentioned in this post. Thanks for sharing this with me.