Thursday, April 17, 2008

ASMP's Strictly Business 2 - WOW!

I’ve just returned from Chicago where I attended ASMP’s Strictly Business 2 seminars. I can’t imagine that one could be an ASMP member and not know what the Strictly Business 2 seminars encompassed, but for those readers who managed to avoid the deluge of nearly daily e-mail invitations to SB2, the curriculum included: Business Basics; Copyright, Paperwork and Releases; Digital Essentials; Pricing & Negotiating; Managing Change; Negotiating Training (and more Negotiating Training); Marketing To Move Your Business Forward; Digital Workflow; Business Workflow To Bring You Profits; Taking Control Of Your Career; Is Your Website Doing All It Can To Get You Work?

I’ve always thought I had a pretty good handle on how to conduct my business, but I came home with so much new information, so many good ideas to implement, that I don’t know where to start. I’m hoping that by sharing some of what I learned with you now, I might just clarify things in my own mind so I can get going.

Now that I think about it, I realize that perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is the importance of using PLUS Packs in my Estimating/Invoicing routine. Even though I was a beta-tester/commenter for PLUS (Picture Licensing Universal System) I must confess to being too lazy to fully implement it properly in my workflow. After attending John Harrington's seminar, Business Workflow To Bring You Profits, I’ve learned a better way, and I'm now hooked on PLUS.

While I’m speaking in acronyms, let me throw out another one that’s sure to be of increasing importance in our careers: UPDIG. There is such increased liability for photographers shooting digital images, compared to when we were all using film, that failure to learn proper digital imaging technique can actually ruin your business, especially if you’re sued by your client(s) for negligence (yes, it’s happened more than once).

In fact, the problems due to a lack of digital savvy among photographers are so widespread that many ad agencies and magazines are requesting film again. This backlash against digital imaging is largely due to the failure of photographers to understand how to use digital imaging properly. Enter UPDIG: Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines. UPDIG is an industry coalition led by ASMP in cooperation with all of the other major photographic trade organizations worldwide. In addition to the usual suspects such as ACMP, AOP, APA, ASPP, CAPIC, EP, NPPA, PACA, PPA & SAA... UPDIG is also supported by PLUS.

Are you making the connection? The use of best practices in your technical and business affairs is becoming more and more important in the digital age. I strongly encourage all of you to learn, adopt and blend these knowledge bases into your day-to-day business operations.

No discussion of the implementation of best practices in our businesses would be complete without stressing the importance of learning highly effective marketing techniques. Utilization of best practices adds value to your services, and learning to communicate that value to your prospective clients is increasingly paramount today.

Another of the priceless seminars at Strictly Business 2 was Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua’s, Marketing To Move Your Business Forward. I believe that Leslie’s program was the most helpful, the most precious, 90 minutes I’ve ever spent in a classroom. Leslie taught each of us how to define our unique visual voice and verbalize it. Even more useful, we learned how to get the most bang for our marketing buck, whatever our budget. A virtual synopsis of Leslie’s extensive experience and expertise, and other pearls of wisdom, is available through her web site,

One of the things I heard, repeatedly, from SB2 Chicago attendees was this: "If I learn one more thing my brain's going to explode." ...and that was lunch time on Saturday, we still had another day and a half to go.

If/when ASMP stages Strictly Business again, we're going to need a bigger hotel. The ballroom was packed, every seat filled, standees were lining the wall in the back. And you know it's a great program when the hotel employees, like the guy who ran the projector near my seat, are paying attention to the presentation. You should have seen the look on that guy's face... he was thrilled, wonderstruck, awed and amazed. Me too!

The Strictly Business 2 programs were immensely valuable, the presenters were insanely great, but the big deal of the day was behind door number three: meeting everyone in-person!! You're just not going to get that cruising Internet blogs and web sites. Please don’t pass-up the opportunity to attend seminars like these, it’s really too important to your careers.

ASMP’s It’s Your Business seminar series, mini SB2s, are touring the Chapters constantly. You owe it to yourself to attend as many of these seminars as possible, even if you think you know well the subject being taught. You’ll be amazed at what you don’t know you don’t know, and even more amazed when you learn it.
All above: Leica D-LUX 3, 28~112/2.8~4.9 Leitz DC Vario-Elmarit lens, ISO 100


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! I didn't sign a model release!

Thanks for the marvelous write up and the plug, Joe. I have to say that you were one of the audience "stars" of the weekend. I've heard so many people talking about all you shared as well. It was incredibly helpful--thanks for coming and offering up your opinion.

Of course, I don't think you could ever not offer your opinion, and that is (to quote Ms. Stewart) a very good thing. :-)

2:25 PM  
Blogger Joe P. said...

Hi Leslie,

Hey! I don't need a release (it's news)!

You're welcome, you deserve it. Thank you. You're kidding, no complainers (that's a change!)??? Thank you again and you're welcome.

Me, keep my opinion to myself? Who's Ms. Stewart?

Finally: what are you doing reading *my* blog? I'm still trying to finish reading yours!!

THAT is a very good thing. =:-0

2:40 PM  

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