Posts by Larry

Think You Know Ana Hoffman?

Ten Questions:  Ana Hoffman This week, I’m continuing my “Ten Questions” series with internet traffic diva Ana Hoffman.  Ana’s Traffic Generation Cafe is an incredible website with lots of great content.  She was kind enough to answer my ten questions – so enjoy the post! 1. What made you choose traffic generation as a theme for your site?  Is it something you struggled with yourself? Yes, I started Traffic Generation Cafe out of necessity.  I needed to learn how to drive traffic to my then primary business site and had a hard time finding simple actionable information to help me with it. 2.  You went from modeling to blogging.  Which one is tougher? Modeling is by far one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life. Even though it’s always nice to see your face on the cover of a magazine, there are many rejections that line the way. Blogging is not easy, but my success is entirely under my control. If I fail along the way, there’s no one else to blame. 3.  You’ve obviously been photographed many times.  Which image best shows “the real Ana” ??? Out of all the question, this is the one that
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Are You Running AWAY From Business

The Story A while back, I was at a school auction and won a certificate for four music lessons at an area music school.  One of my boys has been wanting to take some music lessons, so it seemed like a good match.  Then I called them… The Concept When most businesses donate something to a school auction, they aren’t generally doing it to help the school.  Unless you have kids at that school, you are usually just doing it to get your name out there.  In other words, it is a form of self-promotion.  It is important to keep this in mind, because you need to stick with that strategy. Mistake 1 When I called the studio to setup his lessons, we ran into our first problem.  They couldn’t find their copy of the certificate.  I tried to explain that I had the certificate with me and would bring it to the first lesson – but they said they needed to find their copy of it.  The puzzling question is….. Why? Mistake 2 The next issue was the expiration date on the certificate.  It was due to expire at the end of February.  Since I knew we had a
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Why You Gotta Give

You Have To Start Somewhere About a year and half ago, I started a YouTube Channel.  It was actually just one video, explaining exposure.  I posted it so people in a photography class would have a reference to remind themselves what they had learned in my beginner photography class.  From there, it just kind of grew.   It now has almost 40 videos and has amassed over 133,000 views. But Why? I actually get asked that a bunch.  Why put all these video tutorials online for free?   Doesn’t it devalue them by just giving them away? To be honest, it hasn’t really been an issue for me.  When I was learning about photography, I asked a LOT of people a LOT of questions.  I couldn’t help it… I had a bunch of questions.  Giving back to the photography world just seems like the right thing to do. The Perks There are a few minor perks, I guess.  First off, the YouTube ads contribute a little bit of money – at least in theory.  Last time I checked, I hadn’t made the minimum commission for Google to even send me a check.  That is after a year and a half of making
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The Shocking Truth About Sales

The Art Of The Sale Selling our work seems to be one of the toughest jobs a photographer has to do.  It is can be stressful, difficult and ultimately lead to the demise of your business if you don’t know what you are doing. When I speak at photography conventions, the topic always comes up – in one form or another.  It seems to really baffle people.  The truth is that is is actually pretty simple- if you break it down.  Just remember the Four P’s. The Product Would you rather try and sell water to hikers or sell ice to Eskimos?  If you have a product that people really want, it is a LOT easier to sell it.  That is why improving your photography will actually help your sales.  If you are creating images that people fall in love with, then the selling will generally take care of itself.  Sure, people will always be limited by what they can afford – but if they want something bad enough, they can generally figure out a way to make it happen. Also the images need to be different (in a good way) from what others are offering.  Otherwise, you will be
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Put Some WOW In Your Portraits

If you are a Corel Painter user like I am, you certainly know about Cher Threinen-Pendarvis and her series of Painter Wow books. I met Cher several years ago, when I was first starting to learn Painter. We have kept in touch over the years and I was honored to have some of my paintings featured in her latest book- the tenth edition of Painter Wow. In addition to having a few of my images featured in the gallery, she actually used my Polo painting as an example of expressive photo-painting – with a step-by-step guide to how I created the piece. It is pretty cool to see how the pieces come together to create the final painting. Of course, it was also a very humbling experience. I’ve always thought I had a pretty good grasp on Painter, but when I saw some of the other artists featured in the book – I was blown away.  These are not no-name artists, but folks like John Derry!  You just don’t get much more “painter” than John. It was very eye-opening.  Like most things – the more you learn, the more you realize how much more you have to learn. Now having
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Imaging USA – New Orleans

Well, I’ve been away from the blog for a few days – did you miss me? I just got back from ImagingUSA in New Orleans. If you aren’t familiar with ImagingUSA, it is the big national convention for the Professional Photographers of America. Photographers from all over the world gather to talk shop and learn more about the craft. Of course, just visiting New Orleans is quite a photographic experience. SOOOO much to photograph. We spent some time walking around the French Quarter and I got this shot in Jackson Square – right as some rain was about to move in. One of the highlights of the convention is the print exhibit – where the top competition prints from the previous year are displayed. I love going through and seeing images that I remember from judging a state convention. They even have mentor booths where you can sit down for a one-on-one consultation with a PPA juror to get all your print competition questions answered. Of course, if you have a few extra dollars to spend, you could probably find a few items at the trade show. It was massive. It took a couple of hours to walk through the
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How To Age Gracefully

A New Twist On Old I hope your 2012 is off to a very creative start.  If one of your New Years Resolutions is to add some new looks to your image portfolio, then you are in luck! This week, I was working on a video tutorial on how to get a cool antique effect in Photoshop.  I’ve tried several different ways over the years, but I liked the look I got from this technique- so I thought I’d share it. BEFORE Here is the portrait I started out with.  I find the technique works best if you start with an image that has fairly dramatic lighting.     I basically added a texture layer on top of the image, then adjusted the blending mode.  If you’d like to see the step-by-step Photoshop tutorial, you can view it on my YouTube Channel.   AFTER Here is the final image: The image has taken on a rich, golden tone – along with some vignetting.  We’ve also applied some grit and texture to add to the effect. Want to give it a try yourself?  No problem! Just use the “SHARE TO GET” button below.  You basically give a shout-out on Facebook or
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Chillin’ In Minnesota

I just got back from a great weekend, teaching in Minnesota.  I was in Monticello, just outside of the Twin Cities area,  doing two programs on Saturday – Home Studio in the morning and Print Competition in the afternoon.  I covered everything from elevating your image to tightening up your business and marketing plan.  We had a great time talking about photography and the 5:00 end time got stretched back to 8:00.  The time just kind of got away from us! It was a LONG day.  I feel bad for those people having to listen to me talk for 9 hours straight! Local Flavor Although I didn’t get to check one out from the inside, I got to see a few “fish houses” and got the scoop on ice fishing.  Next time I’m up that way, I’ll have to add that to the “To-Do” list. I also managed to dodge the cold January weather.  Sure, it was 22 degrees Sunday morning – which is pretty cold for a Texan- but I’m told it could be as cold as 20 below that time of year!  Not sure if I’m happy or disappointed about missing that! Minnesota Hospitality Big thanks to Chris
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Kicking Butt in 2012

A Fresh Start The first of January is always such a great time.  You have the whole year ahead of you- with big plans to improve on everything that went wrong the year before.  Its like moving into a new house – it looks so big and spacious before you have a chance to clutter it up! Of course, it is the time you make those New Years Resolutions and hope you can follow through on them.  I thought I’d share my resolutions for a Kick Butt 2012 with you for two reasons.  First off, I want to have them in writing somewhere – in case I get side-tracked and can’t remember what I’m supposed to be doing.  Secondly, I think I’ll be more inclined to follow through if I have you guys holding me accountable. I think it is important to have concrete, measurable goals -so I will try and provide a specific goal for each resolution.  The easier it is to track, the more likely you are to follow through! So without any further delay, here are my 2012 Goals.  Feel free to follow along at home! Blog Consistency This was one of my 2011 goals that kind
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Where My 2011 Went Wrong

For the most part, I’m a “look forward” guy- as opposed to a “look back” kind of guy.  I don’t tend to dwell on the past very much.  However, as you start to plan out your goals for the year, I think it is important to review where last year’s goals fell short.  I’ll be posting my 2012 goals this week, so I wanted to review 2011 first. I really had three big things I took on during 2011. Run A 5K Sometime this summer, Heather and I decided we would take on the Couch To 5K training program and run in a 5k.  It took a while to build up to that, but I finally made it.  In early December, I ran in my first 5k – the Frosty 5k. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED Survive The Blog The next big challenge was competing in a blogging competition – Survive The Blog.  As many of you are painfully aware, it was a pretty big project.  Basically, I was placed on a team with four strangers and tasked to create a blog from scratch.  Our team had to promote the blog and outperform a group who was building a blog of their own. 
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