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Photographer's Survival Manual

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I don’t know anyone who knows more about artist’s copyright than Reznicki and Greenberg. That makes this a must read must have resource for all visual artists.
“Written by the president of the Professional Photographers of America, and a leading New York copyright attorney, this book provides photographers and visual artists with the most authoritative legal advice available. Everything is covered, from contracts, subcontracts, releases, and permissions to the copyright laws and all the steps artists should take to register and protect their work. Find out how to use copyright to protect your work from infringement, insure you are properly paid for your work, and how to proceed if your rights are infringed upon.”
Catch their seminars at Photoshop World and Kelby Training videos online.
Learn more on their blog The Copyright Zone.
Find more of the best photography business books here.

What's The Ideal Orientation For Your Book?

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Horizontal, vertical, or square? It can be challenging to decide what orientation is ideal for your photo book.
In cases where all images share the same orientation, choose the same orientation for your book; a horizontal book for horizontal images, a vertical book for vertical images, a square book for square images. (If you’re concerned about how a book fits on shelves at book stores, use square formats cautiously and choose size accordingly.)
If the orientation of the images in a book is mixed, consider two approaches.
If a majority of the images in a book share a common orientation, choose that orientation.
Or, if you want to give all images equal opportunity for size and surrounding space, choose square for the most orientation neutral format.
When in doubt, remember that vertical books generally fit in people’s hands more easily.
Find more Bookmaking resources here.
Learn more in my Fine Art Digital Printing workshops.
Catch my Making Your Own Photo Book seminar today at 12 at Photoshop World Las Vegas.

Doing It For The Love Of Doing It

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The word amateur comes from the Latin word amator (lover). Amateurs simply do things for the love of doing them. Over time the word amateur has come to mean doing things with less education, discipline, and craft. Amateurs rarely create great works of art. Yet, we’d all be wise to reconsider the original meaning of the word amateur and do more things for the love of doing them – even if we have to learn or relearn to love the things we have to do. No great work of art was ever made without this kind of passion. Passion is a prerequisite for excellence.
One danger professionals face is losing the spark of passion and the thrill of discovery along the way to achieving proficiency. I often recommend that creative people who have developed a significant proficiency in one creative discipline become amateurs in another creative discipline. It can be extremely challenging to engage in a creative discipline you know well to be spontaneous and to give yourself license to experiment within it. But that’s exactly what you need to do to do your best work and to make break throughs.
When we experiment we tend to be less results oriented and more process oriented. When we experiment we don’t expect perfect results the first time we try something; instead we hope to find new insights that can later be perfected. When we experiment we don’t fear failure; in fact we consider it part of the process. When did we forget that learning from failures is how we make discoveries and improve? When does our fear of failure keep us from succeeding in new ways?
Working in a secondary creative discipline can give you a fresh perspective on your primary creative discipline and the creative process in general. How are the two similar? What creative strategies are most useful in both? How are the two different? Is there a way that practices in one could be applied to the other? You can find ways to hybridize the two and energize your primary creative outlet. You may even find that your enjoyment of the creative process is higher in your secondary discipline, even thought the results you achieve within it aren’t as polished. This may lead you to the most important question of all, “Why do you do what you do?”
So dare to be an amateur. Do things simply for the love of doing them. Enjoy yourself. Experiment. Become more aware of your process. Do some soul searching. Make these things you do regularly.
Learn more about the word amateur at Podictionary.
Find more inspiration in my Creativity Lessons.
Learn more in my Digital Photography Workshops.

Listen to the Words You Use

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You can learn a lot just by listening to yourself. When you speak about yourself, your creative life, and the works you produce, the words you use can be very telling. Do the words you use share common themes?
When I review someone’s work I listen carefully to the words they use to describe themselves and their work. One person was particularly concerned with mortality, his family’s and his own, and he kept using words that had to do with time, often in a limiting way. These concerns were reflected in the images he was making but he wasn’t consciously aware that any of this was taking place. Often it’s best if these kinds of observations are simply stated, without any evaluation or judgement attached. With nothing more than one important observation, he gained new insight into and control of his life and his life’s work. Becoming more aware of how pervading his concerns were allowed him to consider his choices more clearly – actions, reactions, emotional responses, self-image, and the images he made. He felt energized.
I’ve had many similar encounters.
I know that I can learn a lot about myself, simply by listening to how I speak.
Find more inspiration in my Creativity Lessons.
Learn more in my Digital Photography Workshops.

Get Physical With Your Subjects

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To truly touch your viewers you may have to touch someone or something else first.
We have many intelligences (intellectual, emotional, physical, etc), but when it comes to making images we often leave many of them out of the mix. Try energizing your creative process by using all of your intelligences.
Get physical. The power of touch can reveal volumes. Imagine how much and how quickly an extended hand or a pat on the back can say. This doesn’t only apply to interacting with people and animals. If you physically make contact with any subject, even inanimate objects, you’ll come to understand it better; its scale, texture, density and much more. You may even decide to make contact with more than your hands. Press your face up against a window. Step into the currents of swift flowing waters. Lay down in shifting sands. Experience your subjects from many perspectives. As your understanding of your subjects grows, your images will take on new dimensions and new depths.
Find more inspiration in my Creativity Lessons.
Learn more in my Digital Photography Workshops.