Summer freedom

Summer time is supposed to be about relaxing and freedom from school/work. With that in mind, this post is going to be a bit more relaxed than some recent entries. I will mostly talk about the free things I have been taking advantage of recently.

In no particular order:

The site, is an established on-line provider of educational materials. They have recently posted a page titled “Final Cut Studio Overview.” Of course, they hope you will pay for some of their more advanced lessons, which I have done in the post and I can say the lessons are good.

The cool thing is that these new introductory pieces are free. I learned a lot just by watching them, starting at: Scroll down a bit to see the various chapters/segments in the table of contents.

I just entered the Viewbook PhotoStory 2009 competition. Entering is free. Read more about it starting at:

As they say on their site

“… the competition challenges conceptual and documentary photographers around the world to create compelling stories with a linear series of photographs in an online gallery. The annual online competition aims to discover inspiring, high-quality photo stories within the photography community and bring them to a broad audience. The competition is all about the art of shooting a strong series, making a critical selection, determining the right order, writing captions and an appealing title. And it’s about the impact that a photo story has on the audience.”

Yes, they are trying to get you to buy their service. I have to say setting the site up was easy. Beyond that, all I can say is “sign-up, submit and then decide for yourself.” My entry is at:

I also just entered the Sony World Photography Awards. Entering is also free. Read more about it at: My entry is at:

When business gets slow, like during the summer some photographers panic. The wise ones think about marketing. I recently came across some great free information on marketing. Interesting audio interviews with experts from various parts of the creative industries can be found at: and The former interviews are with image buyers while the latter are with agents, reps and consultants. Written articles along the same lines can also be found at:

As they say on the site:

“Our library is the place to go when you’re looking for information on the creative industry. Find all the resources you need to take your business to the next level.”

To get to that next level, you need good marketing material, which they are talking about in the articles and interviews. Then you will need an actual set of people to target. That’s where comes in. They are selling you information, as they say on their site:

“…North America’s largest and most advanced database of creative buyers used by photographers, illustrators, artist representatives, stock agencies, and TV production companies.”

The last bit of free information I read was about web sites, specifically what simple features and design elements make a visiting buyer happy. It also explores commonly used web-site features that annoy potential buyers! The information provider is trying to sell their web-site services. (No surprise there.)

The annual “PhotoShelter Image Buyer Survey – Photography Websites: What Buyers Want Now” surveyed over 550 commercial and editorial photo buyers. I was thrilled to read that my own site avoids 90% of the pitfalls that annoy potential buyers.

You can read (and download a copy of that) at:

After you read it, you will never look at web sites the same. You will see what drives buyers to sites (or away from them.) If you have not built a site, but are thinking about, it is an important read. If you have a site that is not doing what you want, it may be a lifesaver.

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