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Vision

Vision Vision starts with personal taste. It starts with a conscious awareness of what you like and don’t like. One of the first exercises you can do is make a list of what you like and don’t like in photography and which photographers you like and dislike. Vision is about …

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The most important aspect of photography is not the gear you own or the techniques you use. The most important aspect of photography is light.

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One on One Consulting and Mentoring Program

February 7, 2017 Marketing, Success No Comments

My Consulting & Mentoring Programs

I offer two options for Consulting and Mentoring:

First, One on One Consulting over the phone:
http://beautiful-landscape.com/Workshop-1-on-1-details.html

Second, One on 1One Consulting In my studio:
http://beautiful-landscape.com/Workshop-1-on-1.html

After the first consulting call with a student I always pause and ask myself if I want to continue working with each student.  My decision to continue or not is based on the student’s motivation, on the quality of their work and on whether their work is marketable or not. I know you are committed, that you strive for high quality, and that your work is sellable. This is why I am making this recommendation.

Let me know if you want to join the consulting program.  The money you spend on consulting will be more than recouped through sales that would otherwise not happen and with the satisfaction of selling your work to people who appreciate it and are willing to pay adequate prices for it.

I must also point out that just revising your price list, which is what we did during the first session, is not enough to guarantee success.  While important, a price list is not a marketing vehicle and will not, by itself, generate sales, as I mentioned during our call.

We can go session by session if you want to focus on printing, processing or have specific questions about selling your work that I can answer quickly.  However, if you want me to prepare a marketing plan for you, you need to enroll in the 7 sessions program.  The reason being that we need to do follow up calls to implement and fine tune the program.  It’s not something that can be done in 1 session.  If you enroll within a month, then we can count the session we just did as part of the 7, leaving 6 to be billed.  After 30 days too much time has gone by and it is best to start all over again.

Needless to say, I strongly recommend the Marketing Plan approach.  It’s what you need and what will give you the most return both in terms of income and of personal satisfaction.  The other approach is ‘touch and go’ and not as effective because it goes from one thing to another without having a pre-defined goal.  The marketing plan on the other hand starts with a specific goal then charts the way to reach this goal.  This is why we need 7 sessions.  If you go that way we will focus on setting specific goals during the next session, work out a marketing plan, set deadlines, then use the remaining 5 sessions to implement and fine tune this plan.

Alain Briot

About Alain Briot

I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
928-252-2466

Four categories of photographers selling their work

February 6, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

Four categories of photographers selling their work

Selling your photographs is a serious decision. How you approach this decision depends on your personal goals.  I have been studying and teaching he sale of fine art photography for a long time.  One thing I found is that most photographers fit in one of four different categories. Below is a description of these categories.

The goal of this essay is to help you chart your path in regards to selling your photography.

1 – You are considering selling your photographs
If you are considering selling your images I strongly encourage you to attend the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar even if you are not selling right now.  The reason is that acquiring the knowledge necessary to sell your work professionally and profitably is needed before you start selling, not after.  After you can only try to fix problems.  Before you can save yourself many mistakes, headaches and frustrations and be profitable much faster.  The discount package for the workshop + the seminar is also a good reason.  We have many students who do both so attending the seminar will allow you to make friend with workshop participants right away.

2 – You are starting to sell your photographs
You may have been selling for a few months, a year or two years, and you are trying to ‘learn the ropes’ and figure out how to build your business.  The main question at this point is to realistically assess your level of success.  Are you making a profit or not?  Is your income justifying the hard work and long hours you are spending to sell your work? Are you happy with your present situation or are you frustrated, or worse angry, because of what you have to go through?  If the answer to these questions is yes the answer is to attend the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar because you will get solid answers and solutions right away instead of trying to find the answers by yourself which can take years, if you find them at all.

3 – You have been selling your work for a number of years
You have been selling for a number of years and you have your system.  It may not work as well as you’d like, but it works well enough to continue.  You would not mind finding a way to make it truly worthwhile though, more profitable, so that you reach the next step, make more money and kick butt.

Again the important thing here is to realistically asses your level of success in regards to your original goals.  However this is not enough.  Another important step is to take a good look at your dreams.  Most photographers dream of achieving more than they have but settle for less because they do not believe they can do better.  Fact is you can do better, but you have to know how. There is a much higher potential for success than you believe, you just need to know how to get there.

4 – You have stopped selling your work
Photographers rarely stop selling because they reached their financial goals.  Just about all those who quit do so because of problems.  You may have quit because selling your work was frustrating, or you did not have enough sales, or problems piled up, or adversity of one kind or another overwhelmed you.  However you have this longing feeling that somehow you did not give it your all and that there may be a way to make it work.   In other words, you would give it a second try if you knew how to make it work.  You still want to achieve your dreams.  You know that there is only one way to do so.

I designed the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar to help you regardless of which of these four main areas you are in.  Success is possible, but you have to know what to do to be successful.  Quite simply, the goal of the seminar is to teach you what that is.

Take a look at the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Seminar description to find out how this will be done.

Alain Briot
Arizona

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
928-252-2466

My Philosophy

February 5, 2017 Art, Workshops No Comments

My Philosophy

1 – Introduction
This essay focuses on my approach to fine art photography. In order to explain how I do what I do I thought it was important to describe my philosophy in regards to art and photography.  As such this essay describes the aspects of art and landscape photography that are essential to my work and therefore particularly important to me.

2 – Gear
I like great gear but I am aware that improving gear means getting better gear, not creating better art. Quite simply better gear equals better resolution, sharpness, dynamic range, stability, functions and other technical qualities. Better gear does not equal better art or more interesting photographs. Better knowledge of art and photography equals better art and more interesting photographs.

My artistic skills are not defined by my gear any more than a painter’s skills are defined by the brushes, the paint or the canvas that he uses. Interestingly enough, unlike photographers painters don’t sit around talking about the quality of their gear, be it paint, brushes, canvas, easels or other. Neither is there a DxO Mark equivalent for the various dynamic range combination of paint, brushes and canvas. In fact there is no such thing as paint dynamic range, paint clipping or out of gamut color palette. Painters simply do not have to worry about color balance or any of the other technical concerns that many photographers seem obsessed with. Rather, they are concerned with expressing their vision and their emotional response to the subject, something they arrive at rather quickly not being bothered by the countless technical considerations that photographers concern themselves with.

Neither does there seem to be a hierarchy among painters based on the gear they use, at least not the way photographers approach the relationship between gear and skill level or even self worth. To return to DxO mark, this time from a photographer’s point of view, for most of us visiting this site is a humbling experience because we seek to find how high we are on the sensor-rating scale, from rock bottom to top of the line. However, what seems lost on most photographers is that this evaluation is based not on their skill level but on their ownership of a specific camera. While on the one hand having a low rating camera can generate low self esteem, having the top-ranked camera can generates insecurity for no one knows for sure how long it will be until a bigger, better and unfortunately often more expensive camera will supersede the current ‘champ.’ For those in between the highest and the lowest ranked camera, the level of self esteem drops proportionally to the relative ranking of one’s camera. This is often accompanied with the feeling that we are has-beens if our camera is anything past a year or two old, or 5 to 6 cameras below the top ranked model of the day, if that much.

3 – Field photography
Creating images in the field is where everything starts. There is simply no substitute for being inspired by nature itself. While there can be inspiration before field work, regarding where to go, what to do, how to approach the subject and so on, it is when I witness the beauty of nature in all its grandeur and glory that my heart and soul become filled with the desire to create a work of art.

I like to take a lot of captures when I work in the field. I don’t subscribe to the idea that a photograph has to be captured with a single frame. I find no glory in getting the shot in a single exposure. For me this a film based concept that is no longer relevant today. This concept was based on the fact that film and processing were expensive and that we could only carry a limited quantity of film. This was particularly true with large format, say 4×5 and larger, but it was also true with smaller formats. With digital capture there is no cost after the first $20,000 (adjust to fit your budget), and I have no limit as to how much storage I can carry because even if I fill all the storage cards I can carry I can always download them to a computer and start again. Therefore, limiting how much I shoot means bypassing one of the most advantageous aspects of digital photography which is that the number of captures I can make is unlimited and that capturing images carries no real cost due to the ridiculously low price of storage devices. It is therefore to my advantage to put the numbers on my side and to return home with as much data as I can, knowing that the cost of returning to the location is what is expensive, both in terms of travel expenses and in terms of time.

Collage-1-FS-layersLes Sentinelles Eternelles
One of my most recent images as of the writing of this essay.
The creation of this image follows the approach outlined in this essay.

I also do not make a call in the field in regards to what are my best captures. I can do that at my leisure in my studio when I return home. The purpose of field work is to gather data, of the finest quality I can and in as large a quantity as I feel. From this data the final images will emerge and no one needs to know how many images led to the final ones unless I decide to share this information.

In the field I also shoot wide and later crop as needed because high resolution cameras free me from having to figure out the perfect crop in the field. The difference in resolution is unnoticeable because the lack of image data is insignificant. However the final cropping is far more accurate than I could ever do it on location.

I also like to shoot both horizontal and verticals, try different compositions of the same scene, and intentionally capture wider views than I intend to use. Approximately 50 % of my work is composed of collages done not for the purpose of increasing pixel density but instead to increase field of view beyond what my widest lenses can capture. I also like the look of collaged images better than the look of wide angle photographs, even if they show the same field of view.

Once back in the studio I look at the different images I captured and progressively narrow the number of keepers based on technical and aesthetic considerations. I make a pre-selection in Lightroom then a second and narrower selection in Photoshop. I make the third selection after the images have been optimized to the technical layers stage, and the fourth selection after the image has been optimized all the way to the artistic layers stage (see below). The fifth and final selection is made after all the images have been optimized to their final state, and after I have had time to study them and reflect upon them.

4 – Image processing
It is in the studio that the second part of my work takes place. Inspired by my emotional response to the scenes I photographed, I enhance and manipulate my photographs at my heart’s content to express what I truly saw and felt. In Lightroom and Photoshop I do what I like to call ‘unspeakable things’ to my photographs and if you ask me, yes sir, I manipulate my work and I am proud of it. In fact, let me add that it feels great, carries not risk of heart disease, and some even say that it enhances life longevity through stress reduction induced by the liberation of all concerns for what others might think.

I don’t see anything that can be done with digital processing as being inappropriate when creating art. If I was doing forensic or documentation photography I certainly would rule many things as inappropriate. However, art is the domain of imagination and personal expression and digital processing opens the doors to possibilities that film photography never offered. This to me is a dream come true and I embrace all the possibilities that the medium offers. Nothing is out of bounds, taboo, illegal, or whatever term you may want to use to tell me that I should not do it.

In other words I do not limit myself to darkroom processes enhanced by digital imaging. Rather than restrict myself to dodging, burning, density, color adjustments and cropping, all done with more control and perfect repeatability from print to print that I could ever have in the darkroom, I use all the functions available in Lightroom and Photoshop to enhance and optimize my photographs and make them conform to my vision. I warp, collage, HDR, reformat, clone, stretch and otherwise manipulate my images at will. Instead of feeling guilty about doing this I embrace the possibilities offered by digital photography and I welcome whatever functions will become available next. These functions make life easier for me by alleviating many of the unnecessarily tough aspects of film photography and by bringing possibilities I could only dream of before.

5 – Fine art printing
The outcome of all this work is a fine art print. Not an image on screen, regardless of impressive the quality of today’s monitors might be, but a fine art print on paper (or other substrate), because paper requires no technology to be seen. I don’t need electricity, I don’t have to plug-in hard drives, connect USB cards to monitors, download and update software, or worry about forward and backward compatibility. I also don’t have to wonder if my descendants will be able to make sense of my file structure, or if later software and hardware will be able to read my files, or if someone will be kind enough to continue updating my entire computer storage and display system to guarantee access to my work ‘forever’. While they may not last ‘forever,’ my prints are accessible to all, requiring only eyes and the desire to look at them to be seen.

6 – Print quality
Print quality is of the upmost importance to me. Fine art landscape photography it a low drama medium. While I may depict a dramatic sunset, rainbow or storm, not much happens in the way of action, unlike in reportage, street, or sports photography for example. Therefore, while in reportage photography the content creates the interest and print quality is secondary, in fine art landscape photography the print quality is just as important as the content. In fact, it is often more important than the content. This is because natural locations being accessible to all, the same locations are photographed by many photographers. In this situation the difference between a good photograph and a stunning one of the same location is often the difference in print quality. In a head to head contest it is the print quality that separates a good photograph from an outstanding one.

I spare no efforts in creating the finest prints I can create. In doing so it is the processing of the image that matters most because it is during processing that print quality takes place, or not, as the case might be. While printer, ink, paper, printer profile and system calibration are important, they are variables that can be controlled through technique and experience. They can also be purchased with anyone with the necessary funds. In many ways printers are default devices. What varies is the image file.

File preparation therefore is just as much an art form as a technical exercise. In fact, once the technique has been learned to the point of becoming second nature, it is all art. So much so that my image optimization workflow is separated in two primary parts: technical and artistic. I work in Lightroom and Photoshop, doing basic file preparation in Lightroom then continuing the optimization in Photoshop using adjustment layers. I start by creating a set of technical layers whose goal is to create the technical foundation of the image. If I was doing documentation I could stop there because at that stage the image is perfect in regards to being a documentary record of the scene. However, it has no artistic qualities besides the composition of the image in the field, the choice of subject and light, and the decisions I made regarding lens and angle of view. It is the second set of layers, the artistic layers, that give the image the artistic qualities I seek to share with my audience. This second set of artistic layers include all sort of manipulations, from color changes to contrast adjustment, to cloning, to transformation of the image geometry using warp, distort or other transform functions, to reformatting of the image, for example making a vertical image an horizontal through stretching either the entire image or part of it, and more. As I said earlier on I enjoy doing ‘unspeakable’ things to my images and this is where this part of the process takes place.

While the set of technical layers usually takes me only minutes to complete, the set of artistic layers takes me much longer, anywhere from several hours to several weeks or months. Of course I do not remain chained to my desk for weeks on end, but it does takes me that long to work on the image on and off as inspiration strikes, trying to find the correct combination of colors and contrast needed to make a specific image work.

_DSF4588-FS-Flat-900 - copieCloud Filled Dawn

7 – Instruction
Teaching is important to me because I want to pass the torch so to speak and share my knowledge and my passion for fine art photography with other like-minded artists and photographers. To this end I teach a small number of workshops per year. I keep the number small because by limiting the number of workshops I can focus on the needs of my students 100% instead of being pulled in every directions by an overwhelmingly busy schedule. In practice I teach only six workshops per year on average, interspaced with one on one work with dedicated students who want to go beyond what can be learned in a group setting. My workshops are small, consisting of 12 students in my regular field workshops and 6 in my little known workshops series. I offer one on one mentoring because when studying fine art there comes a time when specific challenges can only be met one on one. Creating a personal style for example, or expressing a personal vision throughout a body of work, or working on a focused project, or again putting together a successful marketing plan are aspects of fine art that require a one on one environment.

I separate my courses in three categories: field work, studio work and marketing instruction. While there is no substitute for field work, as I explained in section one above, studio and marketing courses are offered both as live events and as Mastery Workshops on DVD/USB. I offer these two options to meet the needs of students who like to study in person and by themselves. While there is a value in studying in person, there is also a value in studying by yourself with a master tutorial that you can carry everywhere, refer to at will, and study at your leisure instead of having to learn and remember everything in 2 days. My mastery tutorials also saves time and travel expenses, and they remove the risk of not remembering essential information because note-taking failed you.

Collage-2-FS-Flat-900 - copieAfternoon in Canyon de Chelly

8 – Art
Art is my goal. In working towards this goal I am fully aware of the distinction between fine art photography and commercial photography. Doing commercial photography means being hired by a client on the basis that I can successfully create the photographs that this client wants. I am paid if I fulfill this contract. Fine art photography means creating images that please me, images that express my vision of the world in my personal style. People buy my work if they like my style and can relate to my vision of the world.

I also know that art is a matter of personal taste. What people like depends on people’s taste. Plus, when it comes to art opinions are polarized. Therefore, creating art means that some will love my work while others will dislike it. As such I am not surprised to have both fans and foes. In fact I consider this normal. The fact that I do means that I am creating art and not just documenting the world.

9 – Exhibiting
Showing my work starts with finding an audience who likes my work. While there is a difference between fine art and commercial photography, as I explained above, I still have to somehow manage to communicate successfully with my audience.

There are limits however to how far one can communicate successfully when it comes to exhibiting art. I learned a long time ago not to try to convince the inconvincible. Too many photographers waste valuable time trying to change the mind of people who don’t like their work. This is futile. My time is better spent looking for an audience who likes me and my work and helping this audience like my work even more.

It took me a long time to understand this but doing so saved me a lot of time and worries and helped me live a happier and longer life. Today I seek an audience who likes me and my work and I refuse to waste my time on those who don’t like what I do. I never lose sight of the fact that my goal is to create images that allow me to successfully share my vision and my emotional response to the subject with people who share my vision of the world, not with those who despise it.

10 – Conclusion
My goal is to to create images that expresses and share beauty. In doing so I am often amazed at how many people have misconceived ideas about art. Certainly I understand that art is not a mainstream concept. We live in a technically oriented society in which art and art instruction have taken a backseat. However this is not a reason for art to be dismissed altogether. We need it as much as we need technology. As Picasso said, art washes away the dust of everyday life, and we certainly have a lot of dust to wash away, wherever this dust may come from.

In thinking about this I consider several things in no particular order. First, art does not have to be perfect. As Dali put it: do not seek perfection for you will never reach it. Art is different from engineering in that respect because it does not need to be functional. Art only needs to look good. It does not have to perform a mechanical function, or any function for that matter, except aesthetic. Art does not have to work the way a machine works for example. If you design a machine and it does not work, you are fired at best and sued at worse. With art, if you create an unsatisfying work of art there is no penalty. At worse no one likes it. You won’t get fired over it and you won’t go to jail or be sued for having failed to express your vision successfully. I find this aspect of art freeing, refreshing and stress reducing and it is one of the reasons why art is an activity I enjoy.

I am always surprised by people who find that in order to be ‘good’ art must be hard to create. For me the quality of a work of art is not measured by how long it took to create it any more than good food it defined by how long it took to cook it. Good is good, that’s all. I pay attention to how much beauty, enjoyment and insights the work brings to me, not to how long it took to make it. For me a sketch by Picasso that took only a minute to complete is just as valuable and enjoyable as a painting by Picasso that took weeks or months to complete.

I am equally surprised by people who want to impose their view of what is ‘good’ art onto me. Surprised because I made the decisions that led to the the work I exhibit deliberately and with complete awareness of what I was doing. Therefore when someone tells me, for example, that the noise in the image bothers them, or that the colors are not to their liking, I always answer by saying that these do not bother me one bit, and that in fact I like them otherwise I would have made different aesthetic choices. They, as well as everyone else, have a choice when it comes to art and that is to not look at art that they do not like. I personally love my work and I have no desire to change it because someone does not like this or that. It is after all the nature of art that someone will dislike it, therefore by saying so those who do confirm that this aspect of art is alive and well.

Art is measured by how much emotion and pleasure it brings to us and to the viewer. I often say that if I do photography seriously and I am not having fun, something is wrong. I mean it. What is the point of doing something for fun if I am not having fun doing it? After all, no one forces me to do this. I do it because I want to, not because I have to. I do it because creating and sharing beautiful art makes life richer and more enjoyable.

Alain Briot
Arizona

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
928-252-2466

You dont need a larger audience, you need a more qualified audience.

February 4, 2017 Marketing, Success No Comments

You dont need a larger audience,
you need a more qualified audience

1 – Introduction
In recently received this question about my Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success SeminarI don’t see a lot of materials about how to reach a broad audience  in the seminar contents.”

Fact is, there is a lot of information on reaching your audience in the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar.  The teaching materials are designed to help you reach as broad of an audience as possible.  For example, I have a lot of new information on how to use social media, how to build  an email list, how to stay in touch with new and previous customers and more.  Also keep in mind that if there is an aspect of marketing that is not addressed in the seminar, or not addressed in enough detail, you can ask questions during the seminar and I’ll give you detailed answers.

You can see the contents for the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar at this link.

2 – Size does not always matter
However, and this is really the most important part of my answer, keep in mind that it is not the size of your audience that matters most but instead the quality of your audience that is most important.  Social media is interesting in that respect because it provides fantastic examples to prove this point. Recently a photographer (I won’t give names for privacy reasons except that it is not me) had over 1 million views on one of his photographs posted on Google+ : a stunning panoramic photograph of Iceland.  The same photographer had to cancel his Summer 2013 Iceland workshop because he did not get enough participants to reach the break even point financially.  In other words not enough participants registered to make the workshop profitable . This says a lot about audience size and profitability.  1 million views on Google + but that person couldn’t fill 6 workshop seats …

The lesson here is that audience size is not the most important thing.  This is why in the new Advanced Marketing DVD I focus on ways of creating a qualified audience, an audience that is fascinated by you and who is going to buy from you over and over again.  This is the correct way to do it.  None of my photos have 1 million views, but I have no problem filling out my workshops, regardless of where I go.  As with many aspects of fine art, what matters most is quality, not quantity !

3 – The Advanced Marketing Mastery Workshop on DVD
To go back to the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar, a lot of new and important information will be shared during the Seminar that I did not make available previously.  In fact, that information did not exist until now because Natalie and I developed it after spending the past two years doing research for this Seminar.  We visited many galleries and shows, talked to artists, gallery owners, show organizers and studied the fine art market as a whole.  The result is the creation of a vast amount of new material which is now featured in the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar. During our research we learned of several significant changes to the fine art market over the past 2 years. One of the most important is that selling fine art is even more challenging today than it was before we started our research.

I will talk about this issue in the Seminar and I will give you solutions.  For example, for the first time I cover limited edition prints, explain why they have become important.  I also show three different ways of editioning your photographs.  Offering limited editions has become very important and the main issue is what is the best way to do it? Just putting a number on a print is not enough. This is not an effective way to convince customers to buy your work.  So I go over efficient and lucrative ways of editioning prints, ways that will generate sales if done the way I recommend. This is a very important aspect of fine art marketing today, one that can make a huge difference between selling and not selling prints, as well as between selling  prints for low prices and selling prints for high prices.

4 – Knowing how to handle objections is the key to closing more sales
Also, for the first time there will be a section on how to respond to objections. Customers have more objections today than they ever did because money is tighter than it’s ever been.  That doesn’t mean they don’t want to buy.  What it means is you must know how to answer their objections quickly and effectively.  Most of my sales are made to people whose first answer is ‘No’.  Yet, they do buy, just not immediately, only after I answer their objections.

I show you exactly how to do that by providing you first with an exhaustive list of every possible objection and second with the exact answers you need to give to close the sale.  And if I forgot or overlooked some objections, just email me and I’ll post the objection and the correct answer in the updates area.

Knowing how to answer objections effectively has magical consequences.  You will make sales you never thought possible and you will make these sales with answers so simple you’ll literally laugh all the way to the bank!  I had a customer just the other day who told me ‘I simply don’t need this.’   I asked him a single question, listened to his answer, then gave him the answer required for his specific objection.  When he hear my answer he turned around, looked at me and said: ‘In that case I’ll get it.  Here’s my credit card.’  I’m still laughing at how effective this technique is and at how much money those who don’t know it are losing!

5 – Conclusion
You don’t needs a large audience when you know how to maximize sales to the audience you currently have.  It’s a whole lot easier — and fun– that way.  In fact one of the biggest mistakes most businesses make is trying to find new customers instead of selling more to their existing customers. Looking for new customers is expensive and difficult while selling to existing customers is cheap and easy. The only challenge is knowing how to do it. I teach you how to do this in the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar

So, in closing, I  recommend attending the 2017 Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar.  I am very proud of it and I know it will help you make more sales and take you to the next step.  The goal is to make you a winner and a profitable business owner.

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website.

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
928-252-2466

The power of marketing

The reason why most photographers can’t make a living from their work is because huge efforts are necesary to convince them to spend money on marketing but no efforts are required to get them to spend their money on cameras and gear.  The problem is that just about any camera can take a sellable photograph, but no photograph will be sold unless they are marketed in a convincing manner.

What made me successful selling my work is I decided to reverse this process: I stopped spending my money on cameras and started spending it on marketing instruction instead. ”
Alain Briot

A best seller
The quote above sums up what I often say when I talk about the importance of learning marketing when you want to make a living selling your work.

In 2007 I published my 3rd book on photography.  Titled Marketing Fine Art Photography, it focused on teaching readers how to market their fine art photographs. The book was, and continues to be, a huge success with photographers and entrepreneurs.  It sold tens of thousands of copies, received rave reviews, has a 5 star out of 5 stars ranking on Amazon, and is regularly featured as best-selling photography business and marketing book.

What is most interesting is I could not predict how successful this book was going to be.  The two photography books I published previously focused on the art of photography: composition, light, cameras, etc.  When I told  my publisher that I wanted to write a book on marketing, their response was negative. They believed that no one would be interested in learning how to market fine art photographs.

Today everyone is a photographer and everyone want to sell their work
2007 is a long time ago.  However the publishers were obviously wrong.  Today ‘everyone’ is a photographer and many want to know how to make money from their photography.  For most the goal is to recoup the cost of their equipment, software and consumable.  However this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Many have a more powerful and personal reason: to learn how to make a living from their art.  For these photographers, making a living from their artwork is a dream they want to make come true.  This is why they buy my book.

This is great but there is a caveat to that situation.  The fine art market is a small market and when tens of thousands of photographers try to make a living in that market they create a bottleneck situation.  Quite simply there are too many photographers trying to make a living from too small of an audience.   In other words, while the number of photographers trying to sell their fine art photography has exploded, the audience interested in buying fine art photography has not grown any larger.  In fact, the audience has actually shrunk.  It has been significantly reduced by the economic recession we just went through and out of which we have not totally emerged yet. Quite simply: people don’t have as much disposable income as they used to.  Because it is disposable income that is used to buy fine art for the most part, the sale of fine art has decreased significantly.

The consequences brought by this economic situation are simple: only a very small number of photographers actually succeed in making a living selling their work.  For all the other photographers, sales are just too few and far in between to justify their efforts and their financial investment.  As a result, many photographers quit after a couple of months or a couple of years at the most.  In the process of trying to sell their work unsuccessfully, they usually waste a huge amount of time and money.

Back to my book
Going back to my book, this means that if you want to learn how to sell your fine art photography in today’s economy, you need to be realistic regarding how much my book can do for you.  You must know exactly what it can and cannot do for you.  What it can do is give you a  foundation on which to build your business.  This is because my  book contains solid marketing advice and can be used as a manual.

What it won’t do is teach you how to be successful selling your work in today’s economy.  This is because my book was written in 2006, before the recession started.  As I mentioned, many things have changed since 2006.  Today everyone is a photographer and many want to sell their work.  Today money is tigher because customers think more about what they buy. Before the recession people bought freely.  Today people are more careful about what they buy.  They also have less disposable income as I mentioned. Because artwork is usually purchased with disposable income, artwork purchases have declined.

These are very important changes that directly affect how successful you can be  selling your fine art photography today.  However, it is still possible to make a living, even a very good living, selling fine art photography today.  But, to do so one needs to use a new approach to marketing, one different from before, one that I call a post-recession approach.

Introducting The Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar
I describe this approach in my new Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar.  The goal of the Seminar is to go beyond my  marketing books.  None of the materials featured in the Seminar are featured in my books.

When considering the cost of the seminar what I often learn from photographers who contact me looking for help with their marketing is that ‘this is a lot of money for a starving artist.’  Fact is, you are only starving if you cannot eat.  This is the true meaning of the term.  If you can buy food, or can afford to purchase camera gear and travel to exotic locations for photography, what we are talking about in regards to ‘starving’ is a matter of resource allocation.

In other words you prefer to spend your money on cameras and on photographing exotic locations than on learning how to market your work with a professional who made millions selling fine art photographs for over 15 years.   As I always say, this is a free country do I don’t see a problem with this choice.  However, I do see a problem with expecting to be successful selling your work on the basis that you use  fancy cameras and photograph exotic locations. You need to do a lot more than that to sell your work!  Beautiful photographs simply don’t sell themselves.  You need to be actively involved and you need to use the latest marketing techniques to be successful.

You may say ‘that’s easy for you to say because you’re the one selling it but I’m the one buying your materials. At the end of the day you’re the one making money here.’  That’s true and I won’t argue with that.  However, what I will argue with is that what made me a successful photographer selling my work and living my dream of making a living from my photography, is that I did invest a huge amount of money in learning how to market my work.  In fact I  invested more money than you ever will! To this day I invested over 25 thousand dollars in consulting fees (I did the math),  paid to professional marketing experts who helped me get to where I am now.  What would have happened if I did not do that?  Simple: I wouldn’t be where I am.  When asked ‘what is the one thing that made you successful’, a question I get very frequently, my answer is always the same: what made me successful was learning how to market my work.

You may also ask: where did you find the money?” That’s an excellent question because as I was learning marketing I was actually a ‘starving’ artist.  But starving is an expression, not a fact.  As I pointed out earlier on, unless you have nothing to eat, you are not starving.  I had something to eat, and I had credit cards, so what we were talking about was resource allocation, not unavailability of funds.  What I did was quite simple:  I decided to spend my money, whatever amount I had, on paying people to teach me marketing rather than on buying new cameras, lenses, software, etc.  I also decided not to spend my money on  photography trips to exotic locations.

Instead of going to Namibia to photograph, for example, I stayed home and photographed locations that were nearby.  Instead of buying new cameras, I continued using the ones I had.  My cameras worked just fine and they made photographs that were just as pleasing to my customers.  The locations I photographed locally were just as beautiful as far away ones and sold just as well once I learned how to market them.  In other words, not having new  cameras, and not having access to exotic locations , was not the problem.  The problem was not having marketing knowledge.  Without that knowledge I couldn’t sell my work because photographs can’t sell themselves, no matter how good the cameras you used might be, and not matter how great the locations you photographed actually are.

Holding on to financial resources is not always wise
Another response I get is ” I am trying to hold on to all of my financial  resources at the moment  in order to pay for printing, new business cards, art cards etc. ”  To which I usually answer: ‘which may all be for nothing if you don’t know what you are doing!’

Fact is, it is common for beginners to waste their money on things they believe they need to sell their work such as business cards, art cards, etc.  Furthermore, they often order high quality prints, four-color offset or better, to make their materials more impressive.
But impressive materials don’t sell artwork.  They get you compliments but they don’t get you sales.
Fact is, the best marketing is inexpensive or simply free. If this sounds counter-intuitive that’s because it is.  In fact,  most aspects of successful marketing are counter intuitive.  This is why this marketing is so difficult to figure out.  As an example my most profitable marketing material, the one that brought me millions in sales, is a black and white xerox copy.  Even today, now that I can afford the finest marketing materials, I continue to use it because it works so well.  It’s not how it is printed that matters.  It’s what is printed on the page.  Knowing what to write is the million dollar secret!

Boosting your self confidence is not marketing your work
Most photographers’ idea of marketing comes from having low self-confidence when it comes to selling their work.  They do all sorts of costly things to boost their level of confidence in their work.   For the most part, these things are aimed at making their work appear legitimate.  As I just mentioned, they include costly-looking business cards, four color brochures and art-cards, expensive displays, sophisticated framing and print presentation.  By making their work look like a million bucks they expect people to fork over their hard earned money.  Unfortunately, this is not how marketing works.  In fact, this is not how any of this works.

The other problem is that these  marketing materials cost a lost of money, money that is no longer available for real marketing.  If done well these materials can certainly look impressive. However,  by themselves these things  do nothing to make fine art photographs  sellable.  Just because something is impressive does not make it sell. There are many impressive products out there, but it is not the fact they are impressive that makes them sell. It is the marketing used by the companies who own these products that makes them sell.  Ferraris are impressive and so are Rolex watches, Versace clothing, Dior beauty products, Vuitton bags and many more luxury products.  However, the reasons why these products sell goes way beyond their impressive presentation.The impressive presentation and marketing materials are only the tip of the iceberg.
What makes these products sell is the complex marketing strategies used by these companies.  These strategies are not visible to us.  They are hidden by the impressive presentation.  The presentation is where most people stop looking.   What lies behind the impressive presentation is where I start to look.  The presentation doesn’t really matter.  Anyone can do that if they have enough money.  The marketing machine that lies behind this presentation is all I care about because this is hard to do.  It is this machine what I teach.  It  how to construct it and make it run that I teach.  I do this because that is what will make you successful.

Learn what Real marketing is
There is a lot to marketing and as I said much of it is counter-intuitive.  The best approach is to start by learning the correct approach right away.  This is because it is much more difficult to correct mistakes than to do the right thing immediately.  In fact, in some instances it is impossible to correct mistakes.  The goal of the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar is to prevent you from making mistakes.  Never forget that there are thousands of new photographers trying to sell their work every month.  There are your competitors. They come in  huge numbers and they are hungry.  Most of them read my books, but because I sell so many books, the books are no longer enough to make you or them successful.

This is why I created the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar.  Because of its cost, this seminar is attended only by a small number of photographers.  Attending it therefore gives you a huge advantage.  Think of the Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar as being the access point to privileged knowledge that gives you the edge you need to compete successfully in the fine art market and outdo other photographers.

Don’t get it wrong: your competition is using my services and I make sure they are successful!  That’s bad news. However, I can do the same for you and make you just as successful. That’s the very good news!

The power of marketing comes from doing something that others are not doing.  The purpose of attending the Seminar is to give you this power by giving you access to knowledge that, first, is not widely disseminated and second is tailored specifically for you with the goal of giving you the power to master the market, take control of your own destiny and make your dream a reality.

Here are the link to  The Fine Art Photography Marketing and Business Success Seminar

Be good at marketing what you do, not just good at what you do!

February 2, 2017 Marketing, Success, Technique No Comments

Be good at marketing what you do,
not just good at creating photographs !

1 – Introduction
To make a living in photography, or in any business, you must be good at marketing and selling what you do, not just good at what you do.

When I started doing photography full time, hoping to make a living from it, all the other photographers were telling me that if I did great work sales would follow.  I heard that in school, I heard it from other professionals and I heard it fom competitors.  Problem is that wasn’t true and the people who were telling me that were not being successful selling their work. In fact, some were not even selling their work at all, they were just telling me what they thought I should do without having done it themselves!

To be successful selling my work I needed to change from being a creator of photographs to being a marketer and seller of photographs.

2 – Have an effective lead generation system
This means you have to find customers regularly.  This is achieved by having an effective lead generation system.

Just like a plant needs a source of food and water, a business needs a source of customers and buyers.  This is because customers are the lifeblood of a business.  The question is, where do you find customers?  The answer is simple: you find customers by having an effective and constant lead-generation system.  This system is to your business what food and water is to a plant, or to any living organism.  Without it you will not have a business for very long, if you have one at all!

3 – Don’t get confused by superficial ‘success’
Many photographers who claim being successsful selling their work do not actually make money. What they consider success is being accepted in a gallery (wihout any promise of sales), or receiving an award (without financial compensation),  or having their work included in a museum collection (through a donation, not a purchase) or something similar.    I recently read a photographer’s post on Facebook in which the person mentions having his work accepted for representation by a significant institution, then continues by explaining that he ‘just finished framing the door between the wine cellar and woodworking workshop.’  While both are interesting news, the second part indicates that money is not the reason why this person is selling his work.  Therefore, the marketing approach used by this person is not necessarily money-oriented.  In fact, in this specific instance, the goal is more about prestige than about income. Today I spend hardly any money marketing my work but I spent over 25k in consulting fees over the year to learn how to do it.   Spending my money paying experts to reveal their knowledge to me privately is what made me successful.

Something  I recommend  is your 1 on 1 consulting and your Advanced Marketing Mastery Workshop on DVD.  I have included the link below.  The reason being that the books won’t give you answers specific to your personal situation because they address a very large audience.  In order to figure out how to price your own work the best is to do consulting.

In regards to limited editions, I don’t cover that in my books.  I cover it only in the Fine art Photography Business and Marketing Success Seminar and in the Advanced Marketing Mastery Workshop on DVD.

Alain Briot

http://www.beautiful-landscape.com

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
Arizona

How to reach your full potential

February 1, 2017 Art, Success, Technique, Workshops No Comments

How to Reach your Full Potential

Our focus for all our instructional materials is to help you realize your full potential by showing you how to raise your standards.  There is always another level to reach and we all need help finding out what that next level is and what we need to do to get there.

There’s only so far we can get on our own. There comes a time when we need a mentor.  All successful people have a personal mentor, or mentors. I have several and without them I would not be where I am.  I would have continued to follow the process of making ‘expensive mistakes’ and follow the route of ‘expensive learning’.  My mentors saved me money by preventing me from doing the same mistakes over and over again.  I could not see these mistakes on my own because I did not see them as mistakes at all.  I believed that doing these things was helping me move ahead!

What we do during workshops is what we cannot do in my books: help you personally by reviewing your work, reviewing your workflow, improving your specific way of doing things, and pointing out the areas where you can make the greatest change right here right now.  Books can’t do that because they address a multitude of readers.  Only personal teaching can achieve this goal.

About Alain Briot

I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot


http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
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Fourteen Commandments for Fine Art Photography Marketing

The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.
David Ogilvy

Introduction
Marketing is a challenge for most photographers. This is because it has very little to do with creating art. Many artists abhor marketing their work. Most have never studied marketing. I know. I was one of those artists. When I started selling my work I believed that marketing was putting a price tag on my work. No, cross that, because at first I did not even use price tags! Just deciding what price to charge for my work was was I considered to be marketing.

My early attempts at selling my work were rather disappointing to say the least. The lack of sales forced me to change my mind. I realized I had to study marketing or die trying to make a living as an artist. I did, and to make a long story short I became financially successful selling my work, making a six figure income only two years after taking the decision to embrace marketing.

In 2011 I published a book titled Marketing Fine Art Photography in which I detail how to market your fine art photography successfully and profitably. I wrote this book to save you from having to go through the tribulations I went through early in my career. The goal was to save you from having to attend the school of hard knocks, an institution whose door is better left unopened.

About this essay
The goal of this essay is not to repeat what I say in my book. The book is over 300 pages long and has 23 chapters so doing so would not be doable in a web essay anyways. Instead, the goal of this essay is to introduce you to some of the fundamental concepts of marketing. I selected 14 that I consider to be the most important. There are more, but those are a good start. The goal is also to get you interested in reading my book. The money you will spend buying it will be a minor expense compared to how much more money you will make if you do what I say in the book. Does this sound like a sales pitch?  You bet it does!  I am asking for the sale and if you wonder why you need to go directly to paragraph number 7.

About the 14 commandments below
Each of the 14 paragraphs below consist of a title followed by a short statement, usually one or two sentences long. The reason for these brief statements is to keep this essay interesting and to the point. If the information I am presenting here is not for you, then reading these will not have taken much of your time. If, on the other hand, you like the materials presented here and want to learn more about each of the 14 aspects of marketing listed below, then you need to purchase and read my book. Each of these points, and much more, are addressed in detail in my book, together with examples, photographs and more.

1 – Sell quality, not quantity
Art is a luxury, not a commodity. Luxury items are sold on the basis of quality, not on the basis of quantity.

2 – Don’t sell on the basis of price, sell on the basis of uniqueness
To achieve this you will need to work hard at developing a personal style that is unique to you.

3 – Don’t be faceless: show yourself
At shows, be present in your booth. On the web, show a shoulder-up portrait of yourself on your website, on your artist statement, on your Facebook page and everywhere else you have a presence and sell your work.

4 – Increase your prices regularly
Everything increases in price and therefore so do your expenses. If you don’t increase your prices you eventually reduce your income.

5 – Don’t be passive:  take charge of your business
Enforce your policies and don’t try to be all things to all people.

6 – Think like a business owner
Think like a business owner, not like an employee. Business owners are responsible risk takers.

7 – Ask for the Sale
Don’t let potential customers walk away without trying to close the sale. The least often asked question in sales is ‘do you want to purchase this product or service?’ Make it your most often asked question!

8 – Know your audience
You are not selling to a faceless crowd, you are selling to people who like you and your work. Learn who they are and know why they like what you do.

9 – Sell emotion
Sell emotions, not gear and technique. People purchase photographs for emotional reasons, not logical reasons. Print size, camera used, printer, ink paper, etc. do not sell photographs. Beauty, emotional impact, meaningfulness and other emotional reasons do.

10 – Never stop marketing
Market when business is great and market when business is poor!

11 – Believe in Yourself
Believe that you can. Whether you believe you can do it, or whether you believe you cannot do it, you are correct!

12 – Show what you want to sell
You sell what you show. Therefore show what you want to sell. You can’t show all the photographs you have taken, so you will need to make a selection!

13 – Offer packages
Packages always outsell a la carte. This means that a package price for 3 or more photographs, for example, will sell better than 3 single photographs. You can offer packages of photographs in any quantity from 2 to 10 or more.

14 – Attend my Marketing and Business success seminar
You can’t re-invent the wheel.  Well, let me restate that: you can try to reinvent the wheel, but what’s the point?  It has already been invented and it is best to use the one that’s already there.  Can you improve on it?  Sure, but you must have one first!

The ‘wheel’ in this instance are the techniques used to sell fine art photography successfully.  These are techniques I use (I am successful in case you don’t know me).  Not the techniques unsuccessful photographers use.

There a lot more unsuccessful fine art photographers than successful fine art photographers.  A lot more!

How do you know who is successful and who isn’t?  Look at prices and regularity of sales.  I sell fine art photographs at high prices and I do so on a constant basis, meaning I have regular, high-priced sales.

Why is that the key to success?  Because in fine art you make more money by charging more for your artwork.  You don’t make more money by charging low prices and making up the loss on volume.  That’s what unsuccessful photographers believe and try to do.  It does not work because there is no volume.

Selling art is a low volume business!  What happens if you lower your prices is you make less money, that’s all.  And because prices define how good you are (meaning people decide how good you are based on your prices), you lose most of the interested buyers.  They want quality and you don’t have it in their eyes.  Even though your work may be great, your prices say that it is not good.

So how do you ask high prices, get people to pay them, and get people tobuy from you regularly?  Not easy heh?  You may have tried so you know how hard it is.  The answer fits in 3 words: attend my seminar.  I’ll teach you how.  Here is the link to the description and registration information:

http://www.beautiful-landscape.com/Workshop-Marketing-2017.html

I even have a special offer to entice you to attend. Just keep in mind that by attending you are doing yourself a favor by giving yourself the keys to success. Of course I appreciate your business, but I will continue to do great whether you attend or not.  What matters is your well-being, not mine.  Do yourself a favor, make yourself a gift, and join me in learning how to outdo all the unsuccessful photographers out there.

15 – Buy my book

If you can’t make it to the seminar buy my book Marketing Fine Art Photography  because it expands on the concepts presented here. It is totally outdated compared to the seminar, and it won’t give you the techniques that work today, but it is a best seller and it will teach you the basics of success in selling art.  To be truly competitive in today’s economic environment you will need to attend the Seminar, but if you can’t attend for whatever reason this is a start:

Marketing Fine Art Photography by Alain Briot
eBook link
Physical book link

About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
Get 40 Free eBooks when you sign up for my newsletter on my site

White Sands Sand Storm: How it was done

January 26, 2017 Art, Technique No Comments

White Sands Sand Storm: How it was done

This photograph was created during a blowing sandstorm at White Sands National Monument during the workshop Natalie and I lead there.  We are leading this workshop this year by the way, here is the link to the description page.

The challenge was being able to photograph during a blowing sandstorm. The photograph does not show the fierceness of the storm, it only shows its beauty. However, it was fierce.  The sand was blowing everywhere and we could barely see in front of us.  On the photo this translates as a slight beige hue which comes from the light being tinted by the sand color.

The advantage of photographing during the storm was that all the footprints had been erased and the sand ripples were constantly changing.  They were in motion in fact. If I had done a video instead of a photograph you would have seen the sand ripples moving in front of my feet.

This photograph was originally captured as an horizontal image. It was just easier to hold the camera horizontally than vertically.  A tripod was unthinkable because it would not have stood up to the force of the wind.

However I wanted a vertical image so I stretched the original capture vertically to achieve this goal. This elongated the sand ripples in the foreground, producing an effect much closer to what I experienced.  The image now makes me feel the way I felt when I saw the sand ripples move in front of me, the blowing sand whipping my legs and covering my clothing with a fine mist.  The camera captured the scene, the change in image format made a photograph express what I saw and felt.

Alain Briot

MG_1747-2-600

 

About Alain Briot

I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style and Marketing Fine Art Photography. All 3 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
Arizona
January 2017

Reaching your goals in 2017

Whether you think you can or think you cannot you are correct.
Henry Ford

Our Start the Year in Style Special offer

is LIVE
 click here now to read the details

Save Money on our workshops and consulting registrations !

 

1 – Introduction – New Year Resolutions

We all make resolutions at the start of the year.  However, for many these resolutions disappear into the ether around the end of January.  Quite often, thirty days is what it takes for old habits to return, for resolutions to be forgotten and for goals not to be achieved.  This is in part why I am publishing this essay at the end of January.  This is the time when many of us need help achieving the goals we set for the year.

So how do you do it?  How do you achieve your goals? How do you stick to your resolutions for the long-term, the whole year, and not just for a month?  Here are a few tips that have work for me and I believe will work for you as well.

2 – Focus on your vision

Vision is your guiding light.  Vision is what you see that others cannot see.  Only you know what your vision is and why it matters to you.  When setting your new year resolutions, let your vision guide you.  By doing so you will set goals that are meaningful in the context of your entire life, not just in the context of this year alone.  These will be goals that matter to you and that are worth committing to.  They will be goals that make the hard work needed to reach them worth it.  They may be new goals or they may be goals you have been meaning to achieve for a long time.  Either way reaching these goals will help make your life meaningful and build your self-worth.

3 – Set specific goals

Setting specific goals is half the battle because a goal set is a goal that is already partially reached.  This is because setting a specific goal forces you to define the path you will follow to reach this goal.  Once that path is set, all you have to do is follow it.

4 – Set specific deadlines

Setting goals is important but without deadlines nothing gets done.  Deadlines set a line in the sand, so to speak, a time by which things must get done.  Again, be specific when setting your deadlines.  For example say: I will have 12 fine art prints matted and framed by June 30th.  Or, I will have my folio project that includes 12 prints, an artist statement, a biography printed, packaged and ready to show by July 1st, 2017.

5 – Start with what is hard, reward yourself with what is easy

Make a list of what you have to do each day, then give a letter to each task.  A for the most important and difficult tasks, B for the second most important tasks, C for the less important tasks and D for the easiest tasks.  Start your day by working on the A tasks, the most important and difficult ones.  When those are all done, move to the B tasks.  Don’t move to the B tasks until all A tasks are done.  Do this for all the tasks on your list.  By the time you get to the Ds you will find them so easy that they will feel more like rewards than actual tasks.

6 – Define success in your own terms

Success is different for all of us.  Therefore you need to define what success is for you.  Don’t define success as others see it.  Define it as you see it.

What constitutes success for you is most likely different from what constitutes success for others. Your goals, your desires and overall what you consider to be success in a specific endeavor is unique to you.  Don’t worry about it.  Whether what you want is more or less or different from what other people want is irrelevant because you and them are different people in different situations focused on different goals.

7 – Be realistic

Only realistic goals get done.  Overly ambitious goals are discouraging because they are so lofty that we feel we will never reach them.  Unrealistic deadlines have the same effect.  When deadlines are set too far in the future they make us feel we have all the time in the world so we never get started.  When deadlines are too short they make us feel we wont’ have time to get things done.  Either way we get discouraged before we even begin working on our goals.

A realistic goal is a goal you know you can achieve with the time and resources you have available to you.  Only you know what is realistic.  Just like success is individually defined, what is realistic is individually defined as well.  What is realistic for you is different from what is realistic for others.  When you set realistic goals you give yourself the opportunity to succeed.  When you set unrealistic goals you set yourself up for failure.

To be effective deadlines also have to be realistic.  For example, a good rule of thumb for finishing a photography folio project is 6 months until completion. This time frame works well for me and for my students.

8 – Set Mini-Goals

An effective technique if you tend to put things off or if you feel overwhelmed is to set mini goals.  A mini goal is a goal that is so easy to reach that there is no doubt we will reach it.  Mini goals can be set for any activity.  If your goal is to exercise you can set a mini goal to do one push up, or do one ab crunch, or run for one minute, and so on.

Applied to photography examples a mini goal can be going out to take one photograph, or completing a project that features three photos of the same tree near your house, or reading one page of that book on photography you bought but never opened.  If you show or sell your work a mini goal can be to select one photo for your next show, or mat one print, or put a price tag on one photo, or find one show you can do this year, or apply for one show or even sell one photo.

Because these goals are so low they are not frightening and getting started is easy.  They are so minimal that success is guaranteed.  In fact they are so easy that once you get started you cannot help but exceed the goal.  The result is that you become an overachiever right away!

9 – Quantify

Even though you defined success in your own terms, it is challenging to achieve a goal that is not quantified.  To achieve your goals you need to define them precisely.  The first step is to quantify these goals.  This means putting numbers on what you want to achieve.  How many fine art photographs that you will be proud to show to everyone do you want to create this year?  How many projects do you want to complete?  How many locations do you want to photograph? How many workshops do you want to attend?  The list goes on; these are just examples.

10 – Check your progress regularly (daily, weekly or monthly)

Mark Twain said that bad habits must be pushed out of the house one step at a time.  They cannot be kicked out because if you do that they will return. Instead, they have to be persuaded to leave, making it clear that they are unwelcome so they do not come back.  This is done little by little by making sure at regular intervals that we are on our way to betterment, whatever the endeavor might be.

Whatever resolutions you took, whatever goals you set, make it a habit to ask yourself regularly what you did so far to reach these goals and resolutions.  Do this each day for daily goals.  Do it each week for weekly goals.  Then at the end of the month do a monthly check during which you list all that you did this month in regard to reaching a specific goal or following through on a specific resolution.

Doing so makes you accountable for following through.  The goals you set are no longer abstract ideas.  They are now live actions that you are working on daily and for which you must show weekly and monthly progress.  Accountability is the keyword here.  Making ourselves accountable for the goals we set means we feel responsible to achieve these goals.  Goals and resolutions are no longer a ‘maybe’ proposition.  Instead they become a ‘must,’ something we have to get done.

11 – Be creative, not competitive

Competition means trying to outdo someone else.  Creativity means finding unique ways of reaching our personal goals.  When you operate on the basis of competition you focus on others.  When you operate on the basis of creativity you focus on yourself.  Eventually what matters most is you.  Reaching your personal goals has nothing to do with how well, or poorly as the case might be, others are doing.  Reaching your goals is not a matter of outdoing others.  Reaching your goals is a matter of outdoing yourself.  The way to achieve this is through creative thinking, by making the necessary breakthrough, the leap of faith that will allow you to make the changes you need in order to reach the goals you set for this year.

12 – Don’t worry

There will be obstacles along the way but those can be dealt with in due time, whenever they show up.  The problem with worrying about things that have not happened yet is that it means worrying about things that are vague and undefined.  Most of our fears never materialize. However, in the process of worrying about what would happen if they did, we waste our time and damage our health.  Nobody dies of hard work but many die of worry.  The expression ‘worried to death’ attests to this.  Don’t join the list by worrying unnecessarily about things that might happen.  Just move forward by working on your goals and deal with problems when, and if, they show up.

13 – Focus on the positive

Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.  The mind finds ways of obtaining what we think about.  Therefore think about what you want and you will get what you want.  If you think about what you don’t want, you will get what you don’t want. In other words, as Henry Ford put it, whether you think you can or think you cannot, you are correct.  Therefore think that you can.  Think of concrete ways of reaching your goals and you will be on your way to making things happen.

14 – Get help from people who are where you want to be

Don’t reinvent the wheel. The wheel has been invented and all you need to do is learn how to use it. To do this get advice from those who have been there themselves.  Only those who have been where you want to go can help you get there in a practical, efficient and successful manner.  They are realistic about it and they know exactly what it takes to get there.  Their advice will get you there faster than you ever will on your own.

15 – Don’t do trial and error

The trial and error process is wasteful of both time and money.  If you are like me, your time is precious.  Certainly, money is important as well.  However, for many of us time is more valuable than money because we can make more money but we can’t make more time.  Therefore, if we can afford to, using money to reach our goals is the most efficient approach.

16 – Focus on both soft skills and hard skills

Both set of skills are important and necessary for success.  Don’t focus on one or the other exclusively.  Instead, set goals that foster the acquisition and the development of both.  If you are not familiar with these two skills, read my essay titled Soft Skills and Hard Skills because it describes what they are in detail.

17 – Conclusion

Nobody is perfect, myself included.  However, we can all improve our success by following the simple steps listed in this essay. If we do so we will be on our way to keep our 2017 resolutions. Eventually, it boils down to a simple approach: focusing on our vision, defining success in our own terms, quantifying what represents success, not letting negativity get in our way and going for it.

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About Alain Briot
I create fine art photographs, teach workshops and offer DVD tutorials on composition, image conversion, optimization, printing and marketing. I am the author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity and Personal Style, How Photographs are Sold and Marketing Fine Art Photography.  All 4 books are available as printed books on Amazon.com and as eBooks on my website at this link: http://beautiful-landscape.com/Ebooks-Books-1-2-3.html

You can find more information about my work, writings and tutorials as well as subscribe to my Free Monthly Newsletter on my website. To subscribe simply go to http://www.beautiful-landscape.com and click on the Subscribe link at the top of the page. You will receive 40 free essays in eBook format immediately after subscribing.

I welcome your comments on this essay as well as on my other essays. You can reach me directly by emailing me at alain@beautiful-landscape.com.

Alain Briot
Arizona
January 2017

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