One Great Idea – How To Spend Two Years On A Motorcycle

Who says you can’t use your photography to live life anyway you choose?

Meet Serdar Sunny Unal

A few years ago, this professional photographer decided to leave Los Angeles for a five month expedition down to Latin America. His epic adventure – now nicknamed “LA2BA” covered over 40,000 miles through 15 countries, and gave him the opportunity to photograph like never before. From the moment I read one of his quotes, I was hooked into his story:

“By the time I found myself on a sailboat heading to Colombia, I’d already realized that a new chapter in my life had begun, and things would never be the same.”

Right now, the world is all about change. The concept of a job doesn’t mean what it used to. Security doesn’t mean what it used to. Nor does the concept of risk.

And some professions just seem to be more flexible to change things up and do something completely out of the ordinary.

When Serdar was pressed with the question “why?”, he answered:

“I suddenly got terrified by the speed of time, and decided not to wait for tomorrow to live my dreams. And once I managed to get out the door, there was no reason to ever go back”.

A concept we should all take to heart.

So what did his epic adventure turn into?

The largest travel book ever put to an iPad app.

You can purchase Los Angeles to Buenos Aires, over 1200 pages of journals and images in the iTunes store.

Or on February 28, the first 500 people to his site will be able to download a short cut – a condensed 380 page excerpt covering the Central America legs of the expedition for free. Just to see what its like … and to give you your own ideas for an epic journey.

Of course once you get the sneak peek, the full version will be a click away, and be your own blueprint to the future you’ve been dreaming about.

One Great Idea – Meet Mick Buston

If you have a blog, you know the routine. Create a new post, approve and answer questions in your comments, add new features. A while back as I read through my comments, I came across one that really captured my attention to a post I had created, Are You An Artist Or Just Another Photographer? So being the Internet surfer I am, I clicked over to his site and started following the trail. And again, I was enthralled in what I saw. So…

I would like to introduce you to Mick Buston.

Even though Mick is fairly new to photography, its his journey that captured my attention. He didn’t want to become a traditional photographer, jumping at the portrait and wedding markets. He didn’t want to do what thousands of other photographers are doing – and struggling to some extent. So he set out on a new path. Rather than telling you about his journey, let me show you instead.

As you can see from his photographs, he’s a great storyteller. And his goal is to  “Create  photo story books based on my own creations, my visions, my interpretations. Kind of like a visual writer.” I love that concept – a visual writer.

Mick also recognizes the fact that “Digital photography has many pluses but one negative is that too many images remain on a hard drive somewhere, lost, buried, forgotten, essentially abandoned.” Yep, I couldn’t agree more. And with many photographers simply handing over CD/DVD’s of the images, and people storing them that way without every printing things, we’re producing a generation that will eventually have no memories from the most important events in their lives. So Mick’s idea of becoming a “visual writer” is right on, and I feel in the future one he is going to do very well with.

So I sent over a variety of questions, to dig deeper into his photography goals.

Mick provided such great responses to my questions, I want to provide his answers in their entirety. I enjoyed reading through his progression to where he is today, and I know you’ll get  caught up in the story too.


My name is Mick Buston and I am a UK-based photographer predominantly working on self-assigned music and editorial photography projects.

LORI: What was the process for finding what you are truly passionate about?
MICK: I left school with pretty much no qualifications and went straight to work in the construction industry as a plasterer.  My father was a plasterer and so it was a natural progression for me to do this.  In total I spent around 14 years in construction, including  18 months working in Germany, before finally deciding to try something else.

I applied for a job as a sales administrator in ’96, more for interview practice than anything else, and to my surprise I got it.  This started in place another 14 year period of work with various employers in a series of sales, marketing and management roles.

In between this I also set up my own business marketing a product I designed to help people to stop smoking.  The reality of launching a new product into such a competitive market meant that I did not have sufficient funds to carry on so after 18 months I made the difficult decision in February 2009 to close the company.

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One Great Idea – Meet Christina Morassi

I always spend my early mornings surfing, finding new things, answering email and visiting social sites. Today I came across a great article on a woman who is combining two passions – photography and healing arts – and has made a terrific business out of combining both of her passions.

Meet Christina Morassi

When I read Christina’s bio, I could completely relate to her journey. She fell in love with photography at an early age, and found a ton of success at an early age. After a life changing moment, she changed courses for 10 years, and found herself studying healing arts. Now she’s back stronger than ever, and has combined both of her passions into one strong business model.

I hear again and again from photographers that you simply can’t make a full time business out of photography any more. So when I find people like Christina, I have to share and say that it just isn’t true.

The key is finding a niche you are passionate about. A niche that is so different from what everyone else is doing, people have to stop and take notice.

Instead of focusing on a large volume, stand on the X and take the picture kind of studio, Christine has focused on a way to make her portraits into a two day event. A woman can have not just a portrait, but an entire life changing experience by going through her 2 day Jolt program. Christine isn’t looking for volume – she’s looking for the perfect client that wants to completely change her life around.

Because she’s focused, she isn’t limited to geography. If this type of portraiture and experience attracts you, you’ll gladly hop on a plane and get to her location. And are people lining up? With her background, and her current publicity campaign, I would imagine Christine is as busy as she wants to be.

One Great Idea – Meet Lauren Victoria Burke with WDCPIX Photoservice

Who says you can’t beat the system and make a healthy profit doing it.

I ran across an article today, talking about the change in photography. It seems the most common thing talked about in the photography industry right now is the difference between amateurs and professionals, and whether you can truly make money as a full time photographer.

For a long time, I’ve been saying YES. You just have to change and play by the new rules. And Lauren Victoria Burke has taken this completely in stride, and has made her own rules in an increasingly difficult marketplace.

Burke created WDCPIX Photoservice, a political photography wire service that provides political photography to the media. She designed her company to compete with the Associated Press, and with staff photographers working on the hill (all who have had their own problems of late).
WDCPIX one great idea
Instead of charging by the picture or by the job, Burke attends most congressional hearings and major public events, and places her images on her membership site. She doesn’t take requests, but will listen to her regular clients if they have input.
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One Great Idea – Meet Karma Hill

At the beginning of the year, I ran across a website that made me say WOW. I’ve been a destination wedding photographer since the mid 90’s. And I’ve written and promoted ideas to help you understand destination a little bit more, and how you can apply it to your business AND make a healthy living at it to.

That’s why I loved it when I found someone who is actually doing it.

Meet Karma Hill

Karma runs Good Karma Photography Inc in Maui, Hawaii, and fills her days with portraits and weddings. But she doesn’t promote herself as a photographer to local clientele – look at her website and you’ll see she focuses on the tourists, and markets her business as a vacation photographer.

Good Karma Photography

So if you are spending thousands of dollars to leave your snowy home in January, and head to Hawaii to take in some sun and fun, you probably have spending money in your pocket. Why not get a family portrait on the beach?

The more I researched, the more excited I became. Not only is Karma having such success with her portrait business, she started a sister site to cover the full spectrum of portrait clients. A client can come to her for a memorable beach vacation portrait and spend whatever is in their budget.

Not only is she having a ton of success with her photography business, she’s also started off into a new direction – helping photographers understand how to become destination photographers too. Her newest release is an ebook, Destination Photography Business: How To Tap In To The Multi-Billion Dollar Travel Industry.

Every state in the U.S. has millions of visitors annually, and has billions of dollars in spending. And this isn’t unique to the U.S. People love to travel; that isn’t going to change. So why not combine what you love – photography – with what people love to do – travel – and create a business that easily brings in Six Figures per year.

I’ve been chatting with Karma quite a bit since I found her site, and asked her a few questions.
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One Great Idea – Meet Mandie Haberman

There are two things that make a great online marketing campaign:

1. Make it seasonal – something that attracts people because of its timeliness

2. Gives you a reason to come back to your site again and again

Yesterday I found a photographer out of Wisconsin that is meeting both of those requirements with her newly released 25 Days of Christmas.

Mandie Haberman with Red Gecko Studio started the campaign on December 1st, and will run it through Christmas. Each day she offers her readers one great deal that they can use anytime from the purchase date through the end of 2010. Each deal comes with a few simple rules:

You must pay immediately through her site – a simple buy now button connects up with PayPal.

And quantities are limited. In order to get the deal, you have to act fast as she’s only offering a few certificates for each deal.

red gecko studio

And in the first two days alone, the savings is adding up to be pretty substantial for her clients. A $225 portrait session for only $25. And a $200 gift certificate for only $100 – to use any way you choose.

As a client or potential client in the Wisconsin area, these two special value items would be reason enough to check back every day, and invest in something you know you’ll use during 2010.

Even though Mandie is fairly new to being a full time photographer, with promotions like this, I know 2010 is going to be a very good year for her.

Takeaway Idea:
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One Great Idea – Meet Jonathan Worth

What if you decided to use new media to change your business, instead of doing business the way you always had?

That’s what led me to Jonathan Worth, and why I decided to use him as one of my “One Great Idea” posts.

I found Jonathon through the site of a writer, Cory Doctorow. The title of his post caught my eye, Jonathan Worth’s copy-friendly photography business experiment. And as I read further, one statement really made me take notice:

… he’s also experimenting with new business-models for photography that leverage, rather than fight, the Internet.

So of course I had to read further, and find out all about this experiment.
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One Great Idea – Meet Brian Kliewer

If you follow me on Twitter, chances are you saw this come through as a re-tweet a couple of days ago. I was so impressed with this idea, I decided to include it in my One Great Idea area to share it with everyone, whether you are on Twitter or not.

To read the whole story, you can start here by reading Clint Watson’s blog.

Let me just sum it up for you, and then give you my take.

Brian Kliewer is not a photographer. But he used a great idea that could easily be implemented by any photographer in business today.

He’s a fine art painter. He has a small website where his clients can go and view his work, and purchase his paintings. He started this campaign with a small email list of 84 people.

Nothing big. Nothing fancy.

Yet he followed in the footsteps of a mentor, and came up with a great idea called “100 paintings in 100 days for $100 each”.

brian kliewer

Brian didn’t start out with the paintings in hand. He created the idea, then spent every day painting, photographing it, putting it up online, and hopefully selling it.

How well did he do?

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One Great Idea – Meet Neil Creek

As many of you know, Andrew and I are a little obsessed with Twitter (@LoriOsterberg and @photoshoptips). I run Twhirl on my desktop all day long to track the conversations going on. If I’m on my computer, I’m pretty much on Twitter as well. While I don’t post dozens of things every day, I do enjoy posting great resources, and connecting up with people here and there. It’s a great tool that we’ve both found to be very successful.

I’m always finding new ways of using Twitter to promote your business. Which is why I absolutely loved the idea I found this week using Twitter to promote your photography business.

Meet Neil Creek

neil creek

If you’re not familiar with Twitter, you may not know much about TweetUp’s either. A TweetUp is a networking group that meets in a local location – and they find the information out by following others on Twitter. We have local TweetUp’s all over Denver, and I’ve met some amazing people this way too.

Anyway, Neil also attends TweetUp’s in his local area of Melbourne, Australia. And came up with a great way of promoting his business.

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