A while ago I wrote a blog about having my equipment stolen and one way to obtain insurance was to join one of several professional photography associations.  One of the organizations listed for those in the photography business listed that I joined was: American Society of Media PhotographersASMP.  Well I did follow my advice and I joined all the organizations listed in that blog.

Since joining ASMP, I have gotten a few emails here and there but I received an email about a happy hour with Sid Hoeltzell to celebrate his victory in his fight against copyright infringement.  Here is the image included in the invite email:

To be honest, I never really thought much about the photographers that would be in attendance, I just thought it would be a good opportunity to get to know some of the other ASMP members and figured there would be successful photographers that I could ask questions about being in the photography business.  Well I got to meet Brian Smith, his wife Fazia Ali, Paul Morris, Mathew Pace, Louis Jay and Kate Benson along with Sid Hoeltzell.  WOW!   Lou ask me if I was a photographer.  I gave him my typical answer: “I’m trying to be more than just a guy with a camera”.  Boy that was the right answer given the successful photographers sitting at the table!  These are not just some guys with cameras, these are individuals that are truly in the photography business.  I was in the midst of great successful photographers that knew the photography business and had been in the business for decades.  They offered many bits of advice I will try to repeat but since I was totally overwhelmed with their knowledge, openness and willingness to share their wisdom and experiences comprising of well over 150 years between them all, I’m certain I will miss a few things.

Ten Bits of Advice From Top Successful Photographers:

1. Practice.

2. Your images are not for sale!  They are available to be licensed.  Just take a look at Paul’s website, the language he uses shows a very good example of how he truly practices what he preaches.

3. Practice.

4. If you require some funds to reserve your services for a specific client and date, call it a retainer, not a deposit.  A deposit is refundable if they change their mind.  A retainer is not. As a new member of ASMP, I received a book, Professional Business Practices in Photography, that explains all of the ins and outs of the photography business, its very dry reading but provides very valuable information that could be the difference between success and failure.  Mathew, Paul and Sid all recommended reading it thoroughly.

5. Practice.

6. Backup your images.

7. Practice.

8. Copyright your images.  Information about copyrighting your images is contained in the book: Professional Business Practices in Photography.  Join the ASMP and get your copy!

9. Practice.

10. Look at other photographers images.  Look online, go to the library and check out books, go to photography or book stores and just browse the books they have for sale, and buy books to look at.  Study the light, composition, and technique.

Lastly, did I say practice?  These masters of photography said to study light and practice.  Practice to the point you don’t even need to think about anything, its second nature and you know exactly how to set your camera and equipment, how to take the idea you have in your mind and compose, capture the image and carve out the light without any thought, just action.

So my advice to get out join organizations that have successful photographers as members and meet them.  These photographers are successful, they will share advice just be sure your ready to receive and absorb it all.

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