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Shutterbug Life podcast

Shutterbug Life is a weekly podcast that celebrates the creative photographer's lifestyle. Through a series of discussions, expert interviews, and photo challenges, the podcast examines everything you need to be, do, or have to reach your full photographic potential. Episodes are designed to be helpful no matter where you are on your learning path. Shutterbug Life podcast is hosted by Lynford Morton, a second-generation photographer who build one of Washington, DC’s fastest growing photography Meetup communities, Shutterbug Excursions. He has also trained thousands of photographers to take great pictures in Washington, DC and New Orleans from the business he founded, PhotoTour Excursions. Now he recreates the community of enthusiast photographers with Shutterbug Life.
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Mar 27, 2017

Several months ago, I got a call from a potential client. She worked in the marketing department of a camera manufacturer and wanted help creating a marketing plan for them. We talked about a coaching program that would help her conduct the market research for her plan.

"Have you done this kind of thing before," she asked?

Of course. I gave her some highlights of my resume and pointed her to some links. One of the links was to the work we have done together on Shutterbug Life.

On her next call to me, she was so excited. "I looked at your work, and you seem perfect for this!"

I had another situation with a big camera retailer. They were struggling to create an educational program for their customers. After a reviewing some of my ideas and links, they invited me in to talk about how I could help them. They were excited to get started, they said.

You all know how this one ends. I saw that Canon was looking for someone to lead their workshop and learning program. Canon must already know who they want for this, I thought. I sent them my stuff anyway.

I recount these three experiences for one reason. They could never have happened six years ago. These opportunities were available to me because I created and worked the marketing system I want to explain today. If you use it properly, it will help you show, share, or sell your images more efficiently. If you are are an emerging photography enthusiast, entrepreneur, or freelance photographer, it can help you cut through the clutter and attract the right people to your work. 

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Mar 19, 2017

Sitting on the floor in a room full of pictures, I let out a heavy sigh and began the tedious job of sorting the image packages into envelopes.

My Dad and I had just picked up the prints from a high school prom shoot we completed, and now we had to prepare them for our clients. There was no simple way of doing this. Fill each envelope, cross reference it against the names, and make sure they had paid. Then Dad would deliver the photos to the parents.

I wish we had today's solutions back then. Today, I've completed much more complex jobs without ever touching a print or wading through envelopes.

How? The technical part of selling your photography has never been easier than it is these days. You have a range of solutions to help you promote, sell, and collect for your images. None of them require any technical knowledge or ability.

Mar 14, 2017

I've got some more advice for you that doesn't have anything to do with f-stops or apertures. I'm not weighing in on DSLRs vs mirrorless or Canon vs Nikon. Today we are ignoring all the typical photography topics yet sharing some timeless advice.

Here are three decision points that all photographers face. If we can choose right at each intersection, I think we can improve our work considerably.

Mar 5, 2017

With all due respect, we know that churches and cathedrals are places of worship, but they also are incredible structures to photograph. The architecture, light, and history all provide opportunities for you to photograph. Those same characteristics also create challenges for many photographers. 

If you want to create memorable images in your cathedral or church, follow these tips.

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Feb 23, 2017

Several years ago, I followed up on what I thought was a great lead for my photography business. I crafted a warm introductory email and requested that we schedule a phone conversation.

Then came the response that totally deflated me.

"Just send your prices."

Like many photographers, that was the very last thing I wanted to do. I didn't want to talk about prices before I had an opportunity to have a conversation. I didn't want to quote a price before I had a chance to understand the full scope of their needs. After all, once he knew my prices, he could just leave. 

After going back and forth a few times by email, I sent some prices. As I suspected, he disappeared.

The moral of the story is not what you might expect. Just show your prices on your website.

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Feb 20, 2017

He had a different reason for asking, but we were looking for the same result.  

"How do you keep photographers motivated to keep shooting?" asked a camera industry salesperson. "It seems photographers aren't shooting as much. "How do we address that?"

This got me thinking about a problem we are all encounter. There is so much noise, so much distraction. It's tough for even the most dedicated photographers to find the motivation to keep shooting.

Here are a half dozen ideas, from easy to hard.

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Feb 5, 2017

In the Squarespace Super Bowl ad, John Malkovich is screaming into the phone at his namesake.

John wants to launch a website, but the hard part is not in creating a website. It is in getting his name. You know the message coming will be this...The easy part in creating a website will be creating a website.

If you are a photographer, by now you know you should have a website. The easy part in creating a website is in creating a website. The difficult part is in creating a website - that works.

Jan 28, 2017

It doesn't matter if you have been shooting for two weeks or 20 years, most photographers are constantly mulling the question, 'which lens should I buy next?'

Your frustration only gets worse when you find that there seems to be an endless supply of options. Even within the same brand, you can get lost in a sea of f-stops and millimeters. 

Here is an approach to help you understand and simplify the lens selection process.

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Jan 26, 2017

When do you need a model release? That's the latest question I received from one of our listeners:

"What guidance can you give us regarding releases? Both for people (for instance, if they are potentially identifiable) and locations (for instance, trademarked property, federal property)? I seem to recall this gets complicated. What if it’s a crowd such as demonstrators in DC? Assuming a release is required, as a practical matter do you obtain it during the shoot?"

Jan 20, 2017

If you are learning photography now, I have good news and bad news. The good news is…you have a wealth of information availability to your in just about every form. Here’s the bad news. You have a wealth of information available to you in just about every form. 

How do you sort through it all? When do you seek formal training? And how do you know what workshop to take next? I discuss all these topics with Joe Edelman. 

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Jan 15, 2017

Peering out the window of a coffee shop, I saw a very familiar process unfolding. People were arriving with big signs. I saw what looked like costumes, and over time a small crowd started assembling. In Washington, DC, that usually means a protest is about to start. It also means prime photography opportunities. 

No time to finish my coffee, I grabbed my DSLR and headed out to the park to start my shoot.

Whether you happen upon a protest demonstration or even a parade, you have a perfect opportunity to practice street photography that tells stories.

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Jan 7, 2017

It’s always cool seeing your best images on your blog or social media, but for a real rush, imagine seeing them in the glossy pages of a national travel publication. Even better, imagine getting paid to place them there.

I'll tell you how your can publish your travel photos in this episode.

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Dec 30, 2016

If there was ever such a thing as a photography impresario, Heather Goss would be it. 

She curates images.
She creates photo gallery shows.
She runs an online photography community.
She just celebrated 10 years organizing a citywide photo contest.
She edits a major photography blog.
She organizes monthly photography Meetups.

All this from someone who doesn't even consider herself a photographer. Why?

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Dec 28, 2016

Did Santa bring you a new camera body for Christmas? Maybe you want to take advantage of some down time to reacquaint yourself with your existing camera. You’ll want to listen to this episode and take some notes. We are setting up your new camera or resetting your old one.

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Dec 23, 2016

I was struggling through Christmas portraits, but I did not have the Christmas spirit. My boys were young then, between 2 to 10 years old. I thought I would have them take Christmas portraits, but just as I was getting started, one of them got a giggle fit. Then just like a virus it spread. Before I knew it, we had spent way too much time shooting, and I had not one good portrait to show for it.

They continued taking turns giggling and being serious until I decided to get over myself and photograph them in all their goofiness. 

Maybe your holiday photography challenges are much simpler than mine. Whatever they are, you will want to capture the best of your holiday traditions and decorations. Here are some tips to help you this season.

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Dec 17, 2016

What's it like to be on the first and only photography reality show? There are only five people who can answer that question, and today I am talking with one of them.

Roxy Rodgriguez made a splash on Top Photographer with her unique point of view and signature shooting style. In fact, by the end of the show both the host, Nigel Barker, and guest judges were gushing about the "Roxy photo."

If you watched any of the Top Photographer episodes, you might wonder what really went on before the camera started and after it stopped. Roxy gives us a peek into the creation of Top Photographer.

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Dec 12, 2016

The world is overflowing with boring pictures, and if you don't want to contribute another one to the pile, ask one more question. So what?

You took another picture. So what? Why should we care? Why should we stop what we are doing to look at it? Is it just another boring collection of pixels?

Today's question is the last one you ask before you release your photo to the wild. Use it to decide if your photo goes or stays. "I created another photo. So what?"

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Dec 5, 2016

Top Photographer wrapped up their first season and crowned a winner last week, and it wasn't who I would have expected.

In the final episodes, the photographers got to go anywhere they wanted and shoot anything they wanted. Even better, they got to load up a backpack with their dream Canon gear for the shoot. 

With all this freedom and flexibility, what did they choose? Let's review the final episodes and look at nine ways they can improve season 2.

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Nov 20, 2016

In episode 3, Top Photographer challenged contestants to create a landscape photograph from the tip top of the Empire State Building. The photographers started at sunrise with this charge - how do you make your photo stand out from the masses -- and each other.

That's a challenge you can probably relate to if you have ever done a photo walk. How do you make your photos stand out from everyone else.

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Nov 18, 2016

Dave didn't want to hear what I had to say.

He struck up a conversation at the PhotoPlus Expo that ended with him asking me which camera he should buy.

"How much do you want to spend?" I asked.

"Maybe a few hundred dollars," he responded.

"You need to move a decimal point over. For what you just told me about yourself Dave, you should plan to spend at least $2,000."

His mouth almost hit the floor. That's not what he wanted to hear.

In many instances, I might tell you that you don't need the most expensive camera to create great photos. But not in all instances. There are times when you really should plan to buy the more expensive camera.

Here's why and when.

Nov 17, 2016

In episode 2, Top Photographer challenged contestants to create a fashion photography image. How did they do?

Let's talk about how each photographer interpreted the challenge and what we might learn from this episode.

Nov 7, 2016

Photographers have officially arrived. Photographers join cops, lawyers, and doctors as professions who can see themselves on the big screen. With Top Photographer, we have our own glitzy reality TV show, even if it isn’t technically on TV.

I watched the first episode a few times to dissect it for you. Is it worth your time? And if so, what will you learn?

Oct 20, 2016
In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends embark on a magical journey to the Wizard of Oz, searching for qualities they thought they lacked. As it turns out, they had them all along.
 
This weekend, photographers will journey to a big camera show in New York City and camera stores all around the world, searching for abilities they think the lack. Just like the crew searching for Oz, many of the photographers already have the potential they seek.
 
If you want to improve your images, you don't need the magical powers of new cameras or lenses. Here are 10 ways to improve your photography with the gear you already own.
 
 
Oct 1, 2016

When I ambled onto the Tidal Basin one fall day, I faced what many photographers confront every day — a view that millions of people will recognize immediately and the challenge of how I could make it look interesting.

In photography, as in life, the results we get are often a result of the decisions we make. At the Tidal Basin, or wherever you happen to be shooting, your decisions make the difference. Try these 12 composition decisions can help you improve your odds of capturing more interesting photos.

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Sep 26, 2016

What will you really see, photograph and learn at the Fall Photography Weekend in the Big Apple? How is it different from the photo tours and Meetups we have been doing in New York City?

Steve Rosenbach and I recently chatted by Skype call to talk about the workshops in detail. If you have been wondering about the details of this weekend workshop, just listen in.

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