5 Steps to Rescuing a Death Valley Image

Death Valley is one of my favorite places to photograph. I was teaching a workshop with my good friend Brenda Tharp and we spent the morning with our group photographing the golf course. When we were about to wrap up our morning, I was in the parking lot with a few students when I spied this view about a mile away. I call them the Neapolitan Hills because they remind me of a bowl of different flavor ice cream with some various syrups poured on top.

I attached my 300mm to my Canon 5D and aimed it the hills. I shot various sections of the scene and then also made sure I overlapped a few frames to make a panoramic image.

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Walking Away When the Negotiations Fail

Pricing, negotiating, and licensing a stock photo is an integral part of many outdoor photographers business. Being successful at negotiating is a skill that some photographers have and others do not. We all want to make a sale and get top dollar for our photos.

If you think about it, clients use our images to help them make money so we should make money as well. If a client licenses the use of one of my images and makes $50 million as a result, I should be paid for helping them get there. This is why we try our best to establish a price that’s fair up front.

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isle royale national park michingan lake forest wilderness photograph photography

Is Becoming Friends with Clients Good for Business?

Common business thinking suggests that you should become friends with clients because it is good for your business. You know, like talking biz over a game of golf, taking clients fishing, or the two martini lunch.

The goal of the self employed is to find clients that like them and want to work with them. If you have a strong relationship with a client, they send their projects your way and hopefully give you all their business that is suited for you.

If your client base is nearby you can then invite a few for lunch or more formally, dinner. As an outdoor photographer you can invite them to go skiing or in my case years ago, a rafting trip. (This client was in the outdoor apparel business and did all adventure activities.)

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10 Tips for Creating Successful Outdoor Stock Photos

Many aspects of the stock photography business have changed over the last several years and will continue to change. Photographers will still shoot the same subjects but in many cases and depending on those subjects, they will just be shot in a new way.

Marketable stock photography is no longer the outtakes from an assignment or the result of a lackluster romp through the woods. It is now a standalone part of the photography business where photographers must work hard on concept and storytelling images. Less than stellar images have little chance of succeeding.

Here are a few things that are present in good selling images:

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The Photo Recession, Non-profits, and Requests for Free Photography

We have all been asked to donate our photography for ‘the cause’ or a non-profit NGO. And in this economy there seems to be an increase in those requests.

I received this email last week:

Charlie,
Hope this finds all going well for you.  I am working on a new visitor guide for the XXXXX County Chamber of Commerce.  They received a grant from Travel XXXXX to put it together so it does not have a huge budget.  You have a number of beautiful images of the XXXX both summer and winter and I was hoping to get permission from you to use a few of them.  We have been working with a few other photographers including Brian XXXXX and they have given the chamber permission to use their images in exchange for photo credit.  Let me know if something like that is possible.
Wishing you and your family the best in 2010!

Thanks,
XXXXXX

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How to Increase Your Image Sales by Using People

Self portrait taken on backpack trip and shot with wireless trigger on camera.

Photography of people in nature has a larger market than nature photography without people!  The sales figures support that.

I am referring to general interest outdoor publications that cover a wide range of topics and are many of the magazines we all wish to be published in.

For some photographers, photographing people is challenging if not a difficult area to get into. Many outdoor photographers specialize in the natural world because the draw is nature itself and other people around is a distraction. Others prefer to shoot to the demands of the market and the market demands people.

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portrait photography in forest with battery powered strobe and umbrella

On Assignment: The Portrait in the Forest

Last week I had a photography assignment to shoot a portrait in the woods. Knowing I was going into the dark forest on an overcast day, I took my Norman 400B battery powered strobe and an umbrella and light stand, and of course camera and tripod.

The scenario was to visit a new forest park and photograph the man who was instrumental in getting the park created. The forest area was originally scheduled to be clear cut, but a team led by my subject, organized and was able to procure the area and save it from the saws.

My client is an editorial style travel magazine that’s main goal is to promote tourism in the county so this story was perfect for that publications purpose.

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Interview with Pro Photographer Charlie Borland

Charlie Borland is a veteran photographer who has been in the business for close to 30 years. He has photographed a wide range of subjects for stock and assignment and has also started two stock agencies. His work has appeared extensively in many publications including National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Backpacker, Women’s Sport & Fitness, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated for Women, and many more. His clients include Camelbak, Columbia Sportswear, Early Winters, Nike, among others and he talks about his long career.

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Do You Need to Be an Extreme Athlete to Photograph Extreme Sports?

We’ve seen the photographs of extreme sports action in the various magazines and books and often think “wow” how did they get there? Depending how extreme the sport is may require the photographer to be an extreme athlete.

The best rock climbing photography comes from rock climbers. Same with alpine climbing! The photographer usually cannot photograph those activities without being a participant in that sport.

Rock and ice climbing, hang gliding, mountain climbing, base jumping, and so many other extreme sports are best illustrated with point-of-view (POV) photography, taken in the midst of the action will bring the viewer right in close.

A photograph of a rock climber taken from the ground looking up does not have near the impact of an in-your-face shot taken by a photographer on the wall, right next to the climbing subject.

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