Brighten the Day and Get Motivated by Making a List of Things You Do That Already Makes You Happy

Motivate Yourself by Listing the Stuff You’re Already Doing Right
You’re a determined person who can get stuff done, and your list is proof.
By admin

When we focus on improving our daily life, we often do a list of things to remember things we are missing out on, things we fail to do like: I should exercise, I should play tennis. I should drink more water and eat fruits, I should eat a vegetable sometimes. But what about the healthy habits you’re already doing? There are probably more than zero and things that make life more worthwhile every day.

This isn’t some nerdy idea, like writing a “make a to-do list” besides the calendar update and thus forgetting about it. (Although, honestly)? There’s nothing like breaking into laughter and joy with self-irony if you fail to perform. There’s a well-accepted psychological theory that underpins it. We’re building our self-esteem.

Self-efficacy is your belief that you can do the thing. (Whatever that thing might be.) Think about how you feel when you do something you’re good at and that you’ve done countless times before: you’re confident, you’re probably in a good mood just thinking about it, and you know you’re going to succeed.

If you’re a tennis player, you probably feel like this way when you head out to the courts for your Saturday tennis game to get a sweet victory.. But if you don’t think of yourself as a professional player, it’s all new and fresh, isn’t it? Forget the repetitive competitiveness, go out there, have fun and play your best game! You don’t know if you can make it through the game without losing and much less about the whole new positive habit you’re hoping to start from spiking your new motivation.

#Motivations YouTube

Upgrade Your Brain: Learn Anything with Jim Kwik

I’ve always found the brain fascinating and a major key to unlock so much in our lives. That’s why I’m super excited to welcome Jim Kwik on the show. Jim is a brain + memory coach, international speaker, memory and speed-reading expert, and bestselling author. As a young child, Jim experienced a traumatic brain injury which greatly affected his ability to learn. He struggled in school and life. How then did he upgrade his memory to become the world’s #1 brain coach and learning master? Jim not only shares his story, but helps us upgrade our brain too.

In this episode, Jim teaches the 10 keys for a limitless brain, diving deep into the science behind his techniques. When we learn how to learn, anything is possible.

Some topics we get into:

  • Life is the C between B and D. Between Birth and Death lies Choice — Jim shares his learnings from a French philosopher who taught that choices create the life you’re in.
  • In just 60 days, Jim could flip his mindset to create the remarkable life he’s now a part of. Learn how he mastered the art of reading and what it was that happened in the 60-day window that helped him unlock his superpower
  • The essence of limitless learning is the 3 M’s — Mindset, Motivation, and Methods. That your head, heart, and hands need to all come together to take you down the path of success is a bonus talking point of the conversation.
  • The 10 invaluable tips to unfolding your brain’s potential — As Jim shares the keys to a limitless brain, rate yourself from 0-10 to learn how much energy and effort you are putting into every one of those.

Our brain has the power to open the doors to that life we have always wanted to live. This episode explores strategies to help us tap into the true potential of our brain. Jim’s wisdom comes with boundless research and commendable expertise – tune in to learn how practice unleashing your brain’s capabilities.

Enjoy!

MORE FROM JIM:
instagram | twitter | website

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This podcast is brought to you by CreativeLive. CreativeLive is the world’s largest hub for online creative education in photo/video, art/design, music/audio, craft/maker, money/life and the ability to make a living in any of those disciplines. They are high quality, highly curated classes taught by the world’s top experts — Pulitzer, Oscar, Grammy Award winners, New York Times best selling authors and the best entrepreneurs of our times.

Escalate & Evolve : A blueprint for career + life with Ben Uyeda


Ben Uyeda stepped away from the award-winning architecture firm he co-founded, as well as an Ivy League teaching position, to develop media companies that deliver affordable designs to the masses.

In the last four years, Ben’s design ideas have reached more than 50 million people and the free designs he gives away are being built on six different continents. Despite the populist and affordable nature of his work, Ben’s designs have been featured in an exhibition and workshop at the Vitra Furniture Museum in Germany. He shares many of his designs on his popular youtube channel, the Modern Maker, as well as his growing collaborations with brands to explore sustainable designs. This episode ranks as one of my my top 5 ever conversation. Why? Ben’s articulation of the creative process, including:

  • How and why to start with what you have?
  • Building your career through a process of creating larger and more complex projects over time
  • The difference between mastery and competency, and how sometimes competency is all you need
  • The challenges of scaling creativity
  • and much more.

If you’ve either struggled with your hyphenated creative identity or simply need a boost of inspiration, this episode is going to bring you a ton of value. Please give Ben a shoutout on social and check out his work at the links below.

Enjoy!

FOLLOW BEN:
instagram | twitter | website | youtube | podcast

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This podcast is brought to you by CreativeLive. CreativeLive is the world’s largest hub for online creative education in photo/video, art/design, music/audio, craft/maker, money/life and the ability to make a living in any of those disciplines. They are high quality, highly curated classes taught by the world’s top experts — Pulitzer, Oscar, Grammy Award winners, New York Times best selling authors and the best entrepreneurs of our times.

Fine Art Photographer Jennifer McClure on a Photographer’s Nightmare

“I had some big issues in my life that I needed to process, and photography was a way for me to do that,” explains fine art photographer Jennifer McClure. “I didn’t set out to work in fine art, but I am happy that I landed here.” Jennifer is based in NYC and has profound advice on getting out of a photographer’s worst nightmare: the creative rut. We’ve all spoken to photographers who hit this obstacle and don’t know where to go. Typically, we treat ourselves harshly and beat ourselves up. But Jennifer used a completely different approach. Her words and teachings are bound to get someone experiencing a rut very interested in her process.

All images by photographer Jennifer McClure. Used with permission. Be sure to check out her website, book, and Instagram. This is a sponsored blog post by Leica. Jennifer’s  Upcoming online  Workshop with the Leica Akademie starts September 12th, 2021

The Essential Photo Gear of Jennifer McClure

My go-to camera these days is the Leica CL with the Leica Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Lens. It’s the one I throw in my bag and the one I keep in the living room for easy access. I have it set so that all I need to do is turn it on and start shooting. I bring the Leica Q for a lot of our outdoor trips. And for portraits, I use the Leica SL2 with the Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4. It’s incredibly crisp and the colors are perfect. And it’s fast enough that I almost always get my active toddler in focus. While I try to stick to natural light, I use the Leica Sf-40 when we’re on the go and I need a little pop. I use the Profoto B10 for indoor shoots when I do staged work. 

Jennifer McClure

The Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you first got into photography.

Jennifer McClure: I started taking pictures with my father’s camera when I was young. We moved frequently, and photographs helped me hold on to the people and places I once knew. I worked a bit for the local paper in college but didn’t really begin studying until 2001. I took continuing education classes at SVA and ICP as I needed them and as I could afford them. The visual vocabulary of photography made sense to me in a way that not much else did.

What made you want to get into fine art? To be candid, that’s a great genre to classify your work, which seems to be a mix.

I thought when I started that I would do documentary work. But I felt myself wanting to be more than a fly on the wall. I wanted to talk to people and create something together. And at a certain point, due to circumstances and availability, I turned to self-portraits. I had some big issues in my life that I needed to process, and photography was a way for me to do that. I didn’t set out to work in fine art, but I am happy that I landed here. I was only able to pursue this path because I had another job that paid the bills.

Your upcoming class at the Leica Akademie focuses on finding inspiration from various things in your life. Would you say this is more of an emotional process or a mental process?

I think it’s both. I always look to emotional issues and personal stories for the subject matter. I usually start with a question, something that keeps me up at night. And then, I try to come up with a way to make the photograph, the tangible object. That’s the mentally creative process, how to represent an emotion in two dimensions. I look for symbols, light, color, and mood. There’s a lot of trial and error mixed with happy accidents. Eventually, the process and the photos show me things about my own experiences and feelings that I might never have seen. 

“I usually start with a question, something that keeps me up at night. And then I try to come up with a way to make the photograph, the tangible object.”

Jennifer McClure

Your photo series, Single, follows single folks. And it was born from folks asking you why you were single. When you went about doing this project, what were some key elements you had in mind?

I wanted to show both the positive and negative aspects of being single. And, of course, these are different for every individual. I felt like I was focused on the negative, and I wanted to turn it around. My goal was to be open and receptive, to learn. And to collaborate. I asked everyone where they felt the most single, and we went from there. I also wanted all of the photos to look like film stills, like there was much more to the story than what was shown in the frame. I needed to light and the setting to match each individual story.

“I don’t expect people to make complete projects within the course of a workshop, but I hope they leave with an action plan for doing so. I love helping people generate ideas, especially about subject matter that’s close to their hearts.”

Jennifer McClure

Do you consider yourself more of a documenter or a creator? Your images look and feel like they’ve got a documentary aesthetic about them.

These days, I do both. Most earlier projects were all conceived or staged. Now, as I photograph my daughter and my husband, I frequently do candid, found moments. I tend to shoot those in the same style as I do my constructed pictures.  This is the first time I’ve mixed the two styles, and I’m still figuring that part out. 

In the past year with the pandemic, we’ve gone through a ton of emotions. How have they affected you as a creative? Some folks became super introverted/introspective and worked on personal projects like macro stuff. But your work involves colaborating with lots of folks. 

My subject matter has certainly narrowed. I started photographing my daughter daily at the beginning of the pandemic as a way to stay sane and keep busy. I needed to find joy. There were many days that I didn’t want to get out of bed, and photography helped me feel productive. The big change for me was the switch to remote learning. I was able to teach more classes and work with many other photographers. I didn’t have to figure out an entire week of childcare or travel. I’ve loved that part.

You’ve been a photographer for a while. How do you get out of creative ruts?

I keep making pictures. I give myself permission to make a lot of photos that might never be seen by anyone else. And sometimes I wait. I give myself permission to take a break. I’ll watch a lot of movies when I do that. They help me think about color and narrative and composition, 

I looked really deeply through your images. And I think one of your defining elements is color (besides people and emotions, of course). Do you actively think about color when you’re creating?

I do. I like the color to be rich and luscious without being oversaturated. I think about light first, but color is crucial. It greatly affects my editing choices. I learned the color wheel pretty thoroughly when printing in the darkroom years ago, and I still love to check the wheel in Photoshop to evaluate images. I’m also reading “The Secret Life of Colors” by Kassia St. Clair, and I can’t wait to use some of those ideas.

“I keep making pictures. I give myself permission to make a lot of photos that might never be seen by anyone else. And sometimes I wait. I give myself permission to take a break.”

Jennifer McClure

Where do you typically turn for inspiration besides your every day life?

Usually, Instagram is the first place I go. I follow a lot of fellow photographers. Lenscratch is a great resource for discovering new work. And I always look at the winners of photography-related grants and competitions, especially the ones I applied for but didn’t get. That’s where I’ve found some amazing and innovative projects.

What should someone taking your class expect to learn?

I don’t expect people to make complete projects within the course of a workshop, but I hope they leave with an action plan for doing so. I love helping people generate ideas, especially about subject matter that’s close to their hearts.  I love showing people how to start a process of discovery. I try to make sure everyone has an idea for a project and the confidence to try new things along the way.

All images by photographer Jennifer McClure. Used with permission. Be sure to check out her website, book, and Instagram. This is a sponsored blog post by Leica. Jennifer’s  Upcoming online  Workshop with the Leica Akademie starts September 12th, 2021

Graphics & Illustrations by Konstantin Reshetnikov from 2020/2021

Check out these beautifully executed graphics and illustrations by Konstantin Reshetnikov from 2020 and 2021.

Konstantin Reshetnikov is a Russian graphic designer and illustrator who lives and works in Saint Petersburg. He recently published this fine selection of outstanding graphics and illustrations that he created in 2020 and 2021. All based on simple graphic shapes in a clean, flat design, the collection includes both graphics and illustrations made for personal and commercial projects. Just have a look below. For more of Konstantin Reshetnikov’s creative work, feel free to take a look at his portfolio on Behance. You can also follow this talented designer on Dribbble and Instagram.

Graphics and illustrations by Konstantin Reshetnikov from 2020 and 2021
Graphics and illustrations by Konstantin Reshetnikov from 2020 and 2021
Graphics and illustrations by Konstantin Reshetnikov from 2020 and 2021
Graphics and illustrations by Konstantin Reshetnikov from 2020 and 2021
Graphics and illustrations by Konstantin Reshetnikov from 2020 and 2021
Graphics and illustrations by Konstantin Reshetnikov from 2020 and 2021
Graphics and illustrations by Konstantin Reshetnikov from 2020 and 2021
Graphics and illustrations by Konstantin Reshetnikov from 2020 and 2021
Graphics and illustrations by Konstantin Reshetnikov from 2020 and 2021

All images © by Konstantin Reshetnikov. Check out more inspiring projects in our Graphic Design and Illustration categories.

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Maybe Sammy Cocktails: Brand & Packaging Design by The Bar Brand People

The creative people at The Bar Brand People created a sophisticated brand and packaging design for Maybe Sammy Cocktails.

The Bar Brand People were asked by award-winning Sydney bar Maybe Sammy to design the packaging for their suite of bespoke bottled cocktails.

“The Maybe Sammy mixologists have perfected the craft of the ready-to-pour cocktail, and the packaging design needed to reflect the premium product. The labels are minimal and refined, with the custom debossed gold foil providing visual impact against the deep green of the box. The foil detail extends to the front and neck label, complimenting the gold lid.

The series features a trio of elegant 500ml bottles, with miniature 100ml versions of each cocktail. Every detail on the bottles and boxes has been carefully considered, ensuring the experience extends beyond the drink inside.”

Maybe Sammy Cocktails - brand and packaging design by The Bar Brand People
Maybe Sammy Cocktails - brand and packaging design by The Bar Brand People
Maybe Sammy Cocktails - brand and packaging design by The Bar Brand People
Maybe Sammy Cocktails - brand and packaging design by The Bar Brand People
Maybe Sammy Cocktails - brand and packaging design by The Bar Brand People

All images © by The Bar Brand People. You can find more inspiring projects in our Graphic Design, Branding, and Packaging Design categories.

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This Week in Photography: Thoughts & Prayers

 

 

It’s been a crazy week.

 

Out here in Taos, we hosted a Bar Mitzvah for my son, (on the second attempt,) and people flew in from around the US.

I was apprehensive, as the Delta variant has brought America back to its knees, and we were terrified our daughter might get Covid. (She’s too young to qualify for the vaccine.)

But cancelling wasn’t an option this time around, so we soldiered on, kept things outside as much as possible, and hoped for the best.


 

I catered a dinner for 30 people, the first night of the event, and after years of running our Antidote photo retreats, I got it done without too much stress.

Sure, one of my pans caught fire while I was making teriyaki chicken, but luckily, I put it out, and no drama ensued.

It was a tremendous amount of work, but we wanted to honor Theo’s commitment.

Because that’s what we do for our kids, right?

We sacrifice, and give our all to the endeavor, as raising human beings in such a complex world is the biggest job a parent has.

Thankfully, it all worked out in the end, and everyone had a good time.

It was challenging, but pales in comparison to what others have dealt with this very same week.

(I think you know what I’m talking about.)

 

 

Back in college, when I studied Political Science as a freshman, it was conventional wisdom the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan brought down their Empire.

(That was the word on the street.)

Just like Wallace Shawn gave us the famous quote, “Never get involved in a land war in Asia,” everyone knew Afghanistan was an unconquerable country; a quagmire where great powers went to die.

 

 

And yet…

When Osama Bin Laden and his asshole buddies attacked the US on 9/11, we backed the proxy army of the Northern Alliance, and then basically took over Afghanistan.

That was twenty years ago.

It’s hard not to imagine how those trillions of $$$$ might have been spent here: universal health care, free college, homes for the unhoused, a Green New Deal.

Who’s to say what might have happened, if things had gone another way?

 

 

But they didn’t, and this week, America’s failure to build a stable government in Afghanistan was all over our screens, in every form imaginable.

Twitter, FB, TV, IG.

It was a cluster-fuck of epic proportions, and avoiding the news was impossible.

Such travails we have over here, as we worry about ingesting too much “traumatic imagery” for our mental health.

If only the Afghans had problems like ours.

(But they don’t.)

The Afghan people, or many of them anyway, are too busy running for their lives.

They don’t have the luxury of worrying about the negative ramifications of traumatic imagery, as the misery they see is in front of their ACTUAL eyes, without the mediation of an iPhone screen.

It’s nasty business, what they’re living through, and honestly, I hope to never endure something like that.

The people of Afghanistan have my empathy, and all the “thoughts and prayers.”

To face the realistic fear my family might be annihilated by bullets, bombs, swords or stones does not compare to worrying whether I’ll overcook the lasagne.

(I didn’t, though. It was delicious.)

 

 

The world we inhabit is insanely unfair, and the place you’re born ultimately has more to do with what your life will look like than any other indicator.

Here in the US, the difference in neighborhoods in the same city can have a massive impact on life expectancy, health outcomes, and income.

Still, almost everyone in America has a safer environment than those living in impoverished, war-torn societies.

People in places like Afghanistan, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Syria, and Yemen face obstacles we simply can’t comprehend.

It’s not possible.

(And notice I wrote “almost” two sentences ago, as there are some US residents living in very dangerous situations.)

 

 

At times like these, Art is most helpful, as it allows experiential information to be transmitted from one life to another.

Artists can share their POV, and viewers benefit from receiving the stories we read, see and hear.

That’s how it works.

Hell, just two weeks ago, I wrote about the necessity of those photographers who “bear witness” in the chaos of the 21C, as there are now phones with video cameras to capture everything that happens.

Frankly, that’s my only hope for Afghanistan, small though it may be.

Short of shutting off the internet, the Taliban will face a wave of recording technology this time around that didn’t exist at the turn of the century.

 

Courtesy of AP News

 

It’s at least possible the Taliban will be somewhat restrained by images and videos of their atrocities reaching the global pubic.

(It’s not much of a hope, but more than nothing.)

 

 

Again, it’s easy to for me to sit on my chair, put my feet up, and write this column for you.

I have the privilege of safety.

And all the smartest people are telling us a global refugee crisis is just getting started, as Climate Change will render some places uninhabitable, (where people currently live,) and then a lack of vital resources, like water, should kick off more drama.

It seems the refugee phenomenon will overwhelm our current system of borders, paperwork, passports, and institutional infrastructure.

(Come for the photography review, stay for the futurism.)

 

 

That being said, you can’t have a book review column without a book, and you might guess where we’re going today.

It just so happens I had the PERFECT thing in my book stack for a week like this.

Earlier this year, I received an email from Thana Faroq, a Yemeni refugee living in the Netherlands, who asked if she could send me a book, “I Don’t Recognize Me in the Shadows,” published by Lecturis, with support from the Open Society Foundations.

I was flattered, and happily accepted her offer, so let’s dig in, shall we?

 

 

It took a minute to figure out how to open the book, and then how to make it work.

The cover wraps around, and you have to open it a few times to get a sense of the object, but then it functions like a traditional publication.

(Turn the page, see something new.)

Certainly, I hadn’t considered how much the interminable periods of not-knowing-what-comes-next would be so maddening.

As we flip through, we learn about the constant waiting on paperwork, on status updates, on hearing from some bureaucrat whether you can stay safe, or if they’re planning on sending you back to Hell.

Can you imagine?

That’s why books like this are so helpful, as empathy differs from sympathy in its requirement that we put ourselves in others’ shoes.

 

 

The book is experiential, as after the opening text, we see a set of color photos made in a refugee camp in Djibouti, but then it goes Black and White, until another set of color photos at the end.

We see page after page of people in apartment block windows, standing around.

At first, I was confused, and then realized, as they built upon each other, it was a metaphor for standing around, waiting, looking out the window because you have nothing else to do.

We see photos out bus windows, walking down institutional corridors, and little moments that give a sense of the banality of fear.

(These people are safe, temporarily, but until the permits come through, it’s purgatory.)

Then, in the book’s middle section, we have portraits of refugees, taken through blurry glass, perhaps to protect their identities.

And those are paired with their hand-written-type statements on pieces of paper that have been glued to the page.

As I wrote when I reviewed Katherine Longly’s “Hernie & Plume,” or Maja Daniels’ “Elf Dalia,”  it seems the European-based book artists have a great sense on how to break up structures to prevent boredom, these days.

When I turned the last page, I felt grateful as much as empathetic.

I appreciate the bravery it takes to stay present in such difficult circumstances, and offer evidence to the rest of us.

So, thank you, Thana!

I hope you stay safe over there.

And when you get a chance, make sure to check out the pan-fried noodles at Kam Yin in Amsterdam.

The best!

To purchase a copy of Thana Faroq’s book, click here

 

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Round #1: Q&A from Olympic Coverage

Once again, big thanks all around for the enthusiasm, support and comments on the posts during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic coverage! Shared as often as I could, and it triggered a lot of questions, and hopefully, in the next few blogs, I can get to a few I zeroed in on, and then anymore that this might trigger. Send them over!

Trust me, I had questions as well. Like, when trundling 40 pounds of gear up stadium steps for an elevated view, like, “Why am I doing this?” And, at the Family Mart down the block from my hotel: “What variety of egg sandwich for breakfast? And then, for lunch? And, hmmm, for dinner?

Question (And most predominant one:): How’s the Nikon Z9 performing?

Answer: I don’t know. Haven’t shot it! The Olympics for me were an almost exclusively Nikon D6 event. They are flagship, workhorse cameras, super fast and tight to a fault for AF response. It was the go-to camera of the day. Got banged around at venues and on buses and they just kept performing. Thank you Nikon Professional Services! They loaned me D6’s to use, along with long glass.

Phot of Ukraine's Maryna Kylypko in the women's pole vault qualifications during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.
Ukraine’s Maryna Kylypko in the women’s pole vault qualifications during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.

Question: What was your autofocus mode?

Answer: It varied. I was always obviously on dynamic, tracking action. Depending on the nature of the action, I would use single point dynamic, and/or small groups of points, such as a9, which has face recognition. Occasionally full blown auto-area, with face detection. Worked extremely well. I shot the Rio Olympics with D5’s, which were excellent, and the D6 is a substantial improvement.

Photograph of Joana Heidrich from Team Switzerland at the bronze medal match for the women's beach volleyball competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Joana Heidrich from Team Switzerland at the bronze medal match for the women’s beach volleyball competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Question: Did I have an assistant?

Answer: No. Made for a long day. Planning, shooting, selecting, toning quickly via Capture One Pro, and then delivering as quickly as possible to Zuma Press. It was a total effort on the part of the studio, as Annie Cahill, back home, was managing and distributing images for social media as I edited, often times via PhotoShelter.

Question: How did the lack of fans and empty seats and stadiums affect your shooting strategy and coverage?

Answer: Good question. You can usually count on the multi-colored garb of fans holding flags and signs to provide a rich tapestry of out of focus color splash for a background. Instead, photographers had to rely on the graphics, often lacking in pop, of out-of-focus seats. I sometimes would respond by seeking a slightly higher angle and eliminating the upward glance of the camera into the emptiness, and keep the graphics of the track, for instance, at the Olympic Stadium, as my background. Or go to a larger lens than normal and isolate a uniform background. Or resort to motion, either of the athletes, or the camera itself to create a bit of a dynamic. It was an unusual thing to be sure, photographing these world-class performances being executed in front of….no one.

Photograph of Columbia's Caterine Ibarguen in the women's triple jump final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.
Columbia’s Caterine Ibarguen in the women’s triple jump final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.

Or, almost no one. Sometimes, you could angle into an area of stands where there would be Olympic family, or coaches and staff.

Photograph of Woo Sanghyeok of the Republic of Korea in the men's high jump final during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.
Woo Sanghyeok of the Republic of Korea in the men’s high jump final during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.

Question: Could I choose my sports to cover?

Answer: Yes, I was operating with a pretty free hand, and tried to go where I thought I could see great action, build some different sports into the overall block of coverage I was creating, and just plain have some fun, or cover a sport I had never covered, like skateboarding and surfing.

Photograph of Ella Williams of New Zealand during the women's surfing competition at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Ella Williams of New Zealand during the women’s surfing competition at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Question: Where’d you eat?

Question: How’d you get around?

Answer: The Olympic approved bus system. They were excellent, and frequent. And monitored, right from the moment of you stepping out of the elevator and into your hotel lobby.

A tough but amazing job. Many thanks again to the Japanese people, and especially the Olympic staff and volunteers. They pulled off a monumental task at a stressful time in the world.

More tk….

Photo Clients & Jerky Ex-Boyfriends: Teach People How to Treat You

Stop letting clients (and exes!) break your heart. Teach people how to treat you! (We’ll show you how.)


We teach people how to treat us through our actions AND our inactions.

Back in my late twenties, I dated a guy that I really liked. He was nice, fun, funny, and we had a great time on dates. Then all of a sudden: he ghosted me. It was baffling!

A few weeks later, he resurfaced, with major apologies. What did I do? I said it was okay, and I let him back into my life. We repeated this unhealthy, infuriating cycle three or four times. 

I hate admitting this now, but he was treating me like a doormat because I was acting like a doormat. And I was the only one who could stop it.

Like jerky ex-boyfriends, we also teach our clients how to treat us every time we interact with them.

Do you want clients to treat you with respect, value your time, and honor your talent? Then keep reading!

edgy couple

Ashlee Crowden

What does it mean to teach clients how to treat you?

Even if you have the best clients in the world, you will eventually have one that pushes your buttons. She may try to negotiate a lower price, fit two sessions into one to save money, push you to do additional edits, arrive late then complain they felt rushed.  

When you encounter these clients you have two choices: silently acquiesce and fume later OR take ownership of the situation and teach your clients how to treat you correctly.

You teach clients how to treat you by:  

  • Communicating in firm, clear, language
  • Laying out clear expectations about your session and policies
  • Not comprising your needs and values, even if it means disappointing a client
  • Following through with your expectations
wedding couple

Ashlee Crowden

Let’s look at some examples of a client interaction that pushes ALL the buttons:

Teaching Opportunity #1: The two-for-one seeker

Situation: You’re hosting 15-minute Easter mini-sessions for up to three children. A client calls and wants to book a mini-session. She also asks if you could take a few quick pictures of her family at the very end of the session.

Typical response: “My background doesn’t really fit families.”

Teaching response: “These are child-only sessions.  I will not be photographing any families during my mini-sessions.  I will send you my family welcome guide if you’d like to book a family portrait session another day.”

wedding couple

Ashlee Crowden

Teaching Opportunity #2: The late arrival

Situation: Your client shows up 5 minutes late to the 15-minute session.

Typical response: “It’s okay, we can make it work. You’re the last client of the day.  I can stay a little later.”

Teaching response: “I understand that things happen!  We have 10 minutes left in our session, so let’s make the most of the time remaining.”

wedding couple

Ashlee Crowden

Teaching Opportunity #3: The instant gratification seeker

Situation:  After the session, your client asks if she really has to wait two weeks for her images because she’s just so excited.

Typical response: You laugh and say “I’ll see what I can do.”

Teaching response: “I know it’s hard to wait!  That’s why I provide sneak peeks in 24 hours.  Your full gallery will be ready within two weeks, so look for my e-mail with viewing instructions on March 31.”

cute wedding couple

Ashlee Crowden

Teaching Opportunity #4: The “I just need a few images!”

Situation: The day following your session, the client calls.  “We can’t wait to see the pictures. I know you said two weeks, but we’re headed to my mom’s for the holidays. Can you please give me two real quick so I can gift them to her for her birthday?”

Typical response: “Sure.”  Then you grumble, edit two favorites, and send them to her because you want to be accommodating.

Teaching response: “I can provide rush services for you.  It will be an additional $50 per image for me to edit those today.  Would you like me to invoice you for the $100?”

wedding couple

Ashlee Crowden

Teaching Opportunity #5: The rules don’t apply to me

Situation: Your client is unhappy with the images you’ve delivered and wants to see them all and/or make edits. 

“Did you get any better ones with the family? Can you Photoshop a different background into the family ones so they look better?  I don’t like the six you picked. Can I pick different images?”  

Typical response: “WHAT?!? The nerve of this client!  I already gave her family pictures, provided two full edits in 24 hours, and finished her gallery in three days. I can’t believe how rude and demanding she is.”

Teaching response: “I’ve picked the best photos from your session to deliver to fill your gallery.  I’m happy to provide additional edits for you that exceed the scope of our original contract.  Changing the background you selected is possible, but will be a fee of $25 per image.  How many would you like edited?  I’ll prepare an invoice for payment immediately.”

sweet wedding couple

Ashlee Crowden

Do clients get pushy?  Absolutely.  But your actions, from the beginning, can reinforce bad behavior OR teach how to treat you.

When you take control of client interactions, sessions, and communications, your response dictates future behavior. 

Communicate your needs and expectations clearly

Clients don’t know all the things you know about photography. They don’t understand lighting, posing, backgrounds, or how much time goes into editing. They don’t realize that a background that fits a three-year-old can’t accommodate a family of five.  

You must educate and communicate the rules of engagement. Here are some tips for assertive and clear communication AND great customer service:

DO:

  • Use a contract and review the parameters of the contract with each client.
  • Send clients questionnaires to ferret out additional details on what the client expects. 
  • Speak and write in clear, simple language that tells the client exactly what you expect. “Please arrive five minutes early for your session, dressed and ready to begin shooting promptly at 6:15.”
  • Send follow-up, written communication to reiterate expectations or rules. 
  • Praise good behavior when it happens. “You look like a page of my ‘What to Wear’ guide! These pictures will be extra beautiful because you put so much time into your outfits.”
  • Pick up the phone and speak directly to your client when needed.
  • Reiterate key concepts or important deadlines verbally, and with written reminders.
  • Say no repeatedly if necessary. “As I explained on the phone during booking, this mini-session is for children only. I’m happy to book a family session for you later this month, but today we will only be photographing the children.” 
couple in street

Ashlee Crowden

DON’T

  • Don’t equivocate.  Don’t say things like well, not really or we will play it by ear when what you really need to say is a big fat NO“This mini-session is for children only.  I will not be shooting any family pictures as part of these sessions.”
  • Don’t allude to things you may not deliver.
  • Don’t bring up a reshoot or mini-session to hedge your bets then be angry when the client requests it for free later.

#ShootProofPRO Tip:

Don’t start negotiating before the client does!

When you send pricing information, stick to it! Don’t include something like “if these don’t work for you, let me know and I can create a custom package.” That language immediately tells your clients your prices are negotiable and they’ll start trying to work them to their advantage. Send your pricing with confidence and let the client make the next move. 

couple in street

Ashlee Crowden

Model your expectations

Demonstrate to your clients how you want to be treated by following your own rules. That means you should:

  • Establish boundaries of when you will deal with business situations.  Establish hours and list them on your website, social media accounts, and voicemail.  Let clients know when they can expect to hear back from you.
  • Stop texting or messaging after business hours if you don’t plan to be available to answer back those hours.
  • Use professional language and grammar in your communications.
  • Be positive in your interactions.  
  • Call clients on the phone to deal with tough situations instead of texting back and forth.
  • Arrive on time for sessions and provide deliverables when you say you will.
  • Never gossip with clients or gossip about clients with friends.

#ShootProofPRO Tip:

Ask clients to contact you in writing.

After three weeks straight of being stopped in the grocery store or while dining out with my family to discuss photo orders, I realized I needed a better system. I now carry a stack of business cards with me that I hand to the client.

I tell them “I forget things so easily these days. Please text or e-mail me at your convenience. That way, I have it written down and have your contact information. Then I can make sure I don’t overlook getting you what you need.”

It puts the ownership of their problem back in their hands.  It gives me a paper trail.  And it teaches them how I preferred to be contacted: in writing, not in line at the gas station.

wedding couple

Ashlee Crowden

Learn to say yes but charge for it

There may be times where you are asked to provide a service above and beyond your normal session. Teach clients the value of that service by quoting them a price for it.  

For example, if your client asks you to edit out the black bra strap in every photo in her gallery, tell her yes, then quote how much you would charge to do that per image.  

“I’m happy to make those edits for you! It will require additional editing time above what is included in your gallery. The price per image will be $25.”

wedding couple

Ashlee Crowden

Or perhaps your client wants her full gallery delivered in three days instead of your normal three weeks. Place a value on that service and share that value with the client.  

“I do offer a rush delivery service for galleries. There will be an additional $250 charge to deliver your gallery in that time frame.”

Again, clients aren’t photographers. They don’t understand how much work a seemingly simple request can be unless you educate them.

By placing a monetary value on services, you demonstrate to your client that you value your time and efforts. They can choose to pay for those services or they can live with the original terms of the session.

wedding couple

Ashlee Crowden

Learn to walk away

Sometimes the best way to teach people how to treat you is by simply walking away from the job entirely.   

You DO NOT have to tolerate any form of harassment or slurs against your gender, sexual identity, age, race, or religious beliefs.

No amount of money is worth enduring a toxic relationship.

It’s also okay to walk away from people who don’t value your time and work, or from people you simply don’t click with. You don’t have to work for free or for pennies on the dollar for someone else’s cause!

You can say no to a job, refer a client to another photographer, or simply tell the client you aren’t a good fit for them.

Just be sure to act professionally and firmly decline the job.  

wedding couple in doorway

Ashlee Crowden

Here are a few ideas on what to say to walk away gracefully:

  • I’m not the right photographer for this job. Below are the names and phone numbers of other professional photographers in the area I know and trust. They might be a better fit for your needs.
  • I’m unable to offer any discounted sessions at this time. But if you follow me on social media, you can find out when I run specials or offer contests to win sessions.
  • I’m not taking any additional volunteer opportunities at this time. I appreciate your cause and wish you success with your event. Please send me the details of your event, and I’m happy to share it with my followers on social media.
wedding couple

Ashlee Crowden

BUT REMEMBER:

Taking charge of the relationship and fear are two separate issues. Canceling on a client because you’ve let the situation get out of control isn’t taking charge of the situation, it’s avoidance. So is the silent treatment. 

Remember, the key is to take command of the situation from the beginning.  

wedding couple

Ashlee Crowden

Teaching clients how to treat us isn’t about controlling them. Rather, it’s about creating an environment where solid relationships can grow. Take ownership of your role in the photographer-client relationship and start setting boundaries.

When you begin to understand how what you say or do sets the stage for how a client responds, you’ll be able to start paving the way for great client relationships and be ready to live your best life, professionally speaking!  


Written by TERESA MILNER | Photos by ASHLEE CROWDEN via Two Bright Lights