Business essentials: Educational resources for photographers (Part III - Websites)

5 more educational resources I’ve used over the years to help me learn as a photographer and grow my business. (Read Part I - Business books and Part II - Instruction Manuals here). This time I'm focusing on companies or photographers whose websites contain a wealth of material that I’ve found very useful. They’ve either inspired me or informed my thinking as to how I apply myself as a photographer.

  • Wonderful Machine - One of the hardest things about photography, I find, is pricing jobs. Fellow photographers appear to be remarkably reticent to share or discuss their rates, which I think is very valuable. Wonderful Machine are a production company based in Philadelphia, USA. They have a very engaging blog that promotes their photographers but what I find most valuable is where they share their insight into how they’ve arrived at an estimate for a photographer on a particular job. The information is US-centric and the costs generally applicable to those markets but it is very detailed and it gives you the knowledge of what others have charged for work. Crucially, for me, it also details the thought process behind the figures that they've produced. (At a more basic level, I also valued this series about pricing jobs by Peter House).
     
  • A Photo Editor - Rob Haggart is a former Director of Photography for Men's Journal and Outside Magazine who hosts the long-standing website, aPhotoEditor. As well as occasional blog posts from Wonderful Machine (see above), there’s a wealth of information on the site that I find really useful (such as Brad Smith’s expert opinion on how to approach Photo Editors).
     
  • Chase Jarvis - Chase Jarvis is a US commercial photographer, entrepreneur and the founder of Creative Live who regularly provides advice on running a creative business and excelling at what you do. I especially valued Chase's blog outlining three clear reasons Chase recommends considering before accepting new work. It’s tempting to take every job that comes your way so it's good for me to remind myself of these every time I consider taking on a new opportunity. 
     
  • Creative Live - Creative Live is a comprehensive library of learning material for photographers and filmmakers (and anyone else creative). You can watch the tutorials live (or occasionally on catch-up) or purchase the tutorials to download for your own use. I've studied business tutorials plus learnt new skills from luminary photographers such as Joel Grimes, Joe McNally, Joey L, Zack Arias and Michael Clark.
     
  • ISO1200 - If a picture paints a thousand words, then film must be the next step up. The ISO1200 magazine, curated by Matt Palace (the 'BTS Search Guru'), is home to a wealth of 'behind the scenes' videos that provides an incredible level of insight into how people have produced their images. I've found it invaluable over the years, both as a source of knowledge as well as inspiration.

Recommended also;

Dave Black
Joe McNally
Corey Rich

The Bigger Picture: Kayaking with dolphins on the Strait of Magellan

'The Bigger Picture' is an occasional series where I share the story behind some of the images in my portfolio.

sea-kayaking-patagonia-dolphins.jpg

A Peale’s dolphin leads team East Wind as they kayak an unusually calm Strait of Magellan during the 2013 Patagonian Expedition Race.

The Patagonian Expedition Race is an adventure race par excellence held in the wilderness of southern Chilean Patagonia. Teams of four are challenged to navigate a remote 700km+ course, with minimal support, that demands advanced skills in the disciplines of mountain biking, trekking, mountaineering and sea kayaking.

Team East Wind are a professional adventure race team from Japan who compete in expedition races around the world. They are led by team captain Masato Tanaka, a venerable adventure racer who continually proves that the best way to lead is by example (Masato continued competing in the 2016 Patagonian Expedition Race even after a mountain bike accident on stage 4 of the race fractured his nose and forced him to wear an immobilising neck brace). Masato is an experienced captain who skilfully picks his team according to their strengths and, most likely, their appetite for suffering.

I captured the photo above on stage 17 of the 2013 Patagonian Expedition Race, as Team East Wind kayaked the Strait of Magellan ahead of their final 100km mountain bike into Punta Arenas. I was aware dolphins swam in the Strait of Magellan, having researched the history, flora and fauna of Patagonia thoroughly for a book I’d written on trekking in Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park. I also had a feeling they would follow boats on the water, based on my understanding that dolphins are naturally inquisitive. It was a combination of this knowledge and, likely, some luck that led me to drive down a dirt road in a 4x4 along the shore as I followed the kayakers and waited for a dolphin to emerge. Every time one did, and sometimes there was more than one, a cheer arose from Team East Wind, their enthusiasm buoyed as they battled their way to a second place finish.

Published in: Patagon Journal

The Bigger Picture: Crevasses on the Tour Glacier

'The Bigger Picture' is an occasional series where I share the story behind some of the images in my portfolio.

File reference: chenderson_aiguille_du_tour_1011-166.jpg

UK climber, Alex Haken, peers inside a crevasse during a descent of the Tour Glacier near Chamonix in the French Alps.

The Aiguille du Tour is a 3542m high peak in the European Alps, north of Chamonix, that borders France and Switzerland. It is generally regarded as a simple peak, its normal route graded Facile, or Easy.

A friend and I had chosen Aiguille du Tour as our first attempt at an Alpine summit. We'd asked along another friend, Alex, who was much more competent than us at the time (and still is). When we arrived in Chamonix, the valley residents were experiencing a heatwave and it was a joy to gain height into the cooling air as we took the gondola from Le Tour and followed the trail up to the Albert Premier Refuge at 2706m. This was my first visit to the Chamonix valley and the domed summit of Mont Blanc, which glistened high above the valley, dominated my attention.

The following morning, we left the Albert Premier refuge before sunrise (my first true alpine start) and roped up as we ascended the Tour Glacier. Above our heads we could see the prominent rock table on the Couloir de la Table route. We were headed for Col Superior du Tour, following the first part of the famous Haute Route. At the col, we looked down onto the Trient Glacier in Switzerland. We had seen photos of terrible crevasses on the Trient Glacier but it was early in the season and thankfully the crevasses were full of snow (although breaking through a snow bridge and falling into a hidden crevasse would still be a risk).

I struggled to climb Aiguille du Tour on this occasion, mainly due to illness, and I chose not to continue to the summit. Which disappointed me but we continued with our plan and trekked over the Trient Glacier, with its spectacular views of Aiguilles Dorées, to spend the night at the Trient Hut in Switzerland. In the morning we retraced our steps back to France and took the time to check out the more broken parts of the glacier. In terms of climbing, it was an unsuccessful trip but I’ve learnt not to measure Alpine adventures simply in terms of summits I’ve reached. A lot of the joy I find is in the journey and, especially so, in the moments I can capture.