It's Parent's Weekend Here on My Blog

My Dad, Robert M. Sammon, Sr. in 2001 with his trusty Linhof.
As far as learning goes, I think we all learn from our parents. Here's just some of what my dad and mother taught me . . . stuff that has helped me, and can help you, in your business.

Check it out, starting with my dad's advice.
1) It takes a lot of peanuts to feed an elephant. My dad, who lived through the depression, encouraged me to make, and save, as many pennies as possible. This is sound business advice. Pennies add up, quicker than you might imagine.

Want to feed the elephant? Sign up for as many affiliate and associate programs as possible. Get into as many on-line sales opportunities as possible. Get into apps! With apps, potential sales are worldwide, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

After writing 36 books, I am done with books. It's only apps (and DVDs and on-line training) for me.

2) Even the President of the United States puts his pants on one leg at a time. My dad was telling me that we are basically all the same. He was offering me encouragement: If one man can do it, so can you.

Want some more encouragement? Read Real Magic by Dr. Wayne Dyer:

3) Hard work pays off. My dad never really said that, but he was a great example of that philosophy. 

I vividly remember one snow holiday in the early 1950s, when it used to snow heavily in New York, when he put on his hat, coat and buckle boots (which I don't think they make any more) and walked a few miles to the train station – while it was still snowing. He had an important meeting in New York City that he could not miss. He always wanted to do the best job possible. His hard work paid off. He died last year at age 92 in his own home, and could still afford to live comfortably. What more could you ask for?

So my friends: work hard and save those peanuts.

Me in the early 1950s working hard on homework. Photo by my dad.
My son Marco in the early 1990s, who is now at Tufts University.
• • • • • 

Josephine T. Sammon and my son, Marco.
Okay. Now it's my mother's turn:

1) Someone is always watching.
This is great advice to keep in mind in designing and posting stuff on your web site/blog. You never know who is watching. Someone may be watching who needs exactly what you have to offer. He or she may be a millionaire and may have a few bucks to spend on you! 

Keep your site/blog up to date with the best you can offer. 

Also: know your audience. Post, write and design for your specific audience.

2) Always sandwich a criticism with compliments. 
If you feel as though you need to criticize another photographer's work, don't just jump in with criticism. Rather, try to encourage the person to do better - before and after you get to your point.

3) Never give up.
Every time I got a rejection letter or email, I thought about this quote. Sooooo glad I followed my mother's advice. 

I know it sounds easy, especially when you are down. However, don't let others get you down. Also remember that timing is everything. A "no" today could be a "yes" tomorrow.

4) To thine own self be true.
Ya know, I really did not like it when my mother used this quote. However, it's really good advice for photographers. Be true to yourself. Follow your heart. Photograph what you love. 

5) Sticks and stones can break your bones, but names can never hurt you.
Today, it's easy to hide behind fake names on the internet and post bad book, app and photo reviews. Ask my buddy Trey Ratcliff about it. And, check out his dramatic reading of his negative books reviews. 

Don't listen to what others say while hiding. In fact, don't listen to negative comments from folks who just set out to be mean. Their comments often say more about themselves than you!

6) Don't curse.
I vividly remember my mother washing out my mouth with a new, big and white bar of IVORY soap after I used a curse word. Well, I am not saying that today I am a saint, but I never use an inappropriate word on the web. I have dropped people from facebook and twitter for doing just that. I don't want to be associated with 'em. So, keep it clean and you will not offend anyone.

7) Be a good listener.
When I went on my first date, my mother told me to be a good listener. This was good advice, as I got a second date. :-)  

Today, we must be good listeners on Google+, twitter, facebook and in the comments section on our blogs. You can't just talk - you must listen. Get to know your audience.

Along the lines of being a good listener, remember this: There is always room for improvement.

• • • • • 
I'll end with something one of my guides said to my son: "Your best friends are your parents."

Explore the light,

P.S. If you want to post some tips from your parents, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear.

Texas Wildlife Workshop at Fossil Rim

Photograph © Rick Sammon
I hope you can join me and 10 photographers for my 2012 Texas Wildlife Workshop: April 13 - 15, 2012. I have been to Fossil Rim four times, and each time I have come back with nice photographs and wonderful memories. It's almost like being in Africa - tent and all.

If you can't get to Africa, or if you are planning a trip to Africa, Fossil Rim, which is about two hours south of Dallas, Texas, is a great place to shoot. 

Here are the details:

Arrive at Foothills Safari Camp Pavilion by 3PM
4-6 PM Game Drive (our cars)
7 PM Dinner in Safari Camp
8 – 9 PM Rick’s Slide Show in Safari Camp
Overnight in Safari Camp Tents

Photographs © Rick Sammon
7:30 AM Breakfast at Safari Camp
9 AM Game Drive
11 AM Jason’s talk on cheetahs
12:30 PM Lunch at Fossil Rim Cafe
2 –4 PM Download/Photoshop work in Safari Camp
5 – 6 PM Game Drive
7 PM Dinner out (at local BBQ restaurant)
Overnight in Safari Camp

Photograph © Rick Sammon
7:30 AM Breakfast
8 –10AM Rick’s Photoshop Session
10 – 12 Noon – Group slide show
Noon – Checkout and depart (or do a final game drive on your own)

Photograph © Rick Sammon
Workshop fee:
            $    800 per person -- double occupancy
            $ 1,000 per person -- single occupancy

Space is limited – there are seven tents – we will take a maximum of 10 participants

Cost includes:
            2 nights lodging in safari-like tents
            Dinner Friday night
            Breakfast Saturday and Sunday
            Meetings in Safari Lodge  
            Guided Game Drives and Tours on Saturday
            Rick’s presentations and on site photo guidance

Not included in Cost:
            Lunch Saturday
            Dinner Saturday
            Bar bill at Safari Lodge
Fossil Rim Web site:

Here’s a video from one of my previous visits to Fossil Rim.

Photograph © Jeff Kane
Here's a review by Jeff Kane, one of my past Fossil Rim participants. 

Space is limited. Email Susan Sammon for an application.

Explore the light,

P.S. To see all my workshops, click here.

What's Your #1 Priority When You Take A Portrait?

Portraits by Rick Sammon
Someone recently sent me a picture of yours truly that he wanted me to post on my web site. The photographer caught me with a very silly-looking (actually stupid) expression. Hey, that's not the first or last time that will happen. :-)

I told that photographer that I looked silly in the picture and did not want to share the photo. He blew his top, as my dad used to say.

I can't tell you what he wrote in the nasty series of emails late last night, but he blasted me for not helping him further his career.

I can tell you that my mother washed out my mouth with a bar of Ivory soap for using that word.

He asked for a list of the folks I have helped. I did not answer any more of his emails, but the Comments at the bottom of my Tough Love post list a few folks that I have helped with my honesty. The post and comments also illustrates that some folks actually want a honest critique of their work. This cranky photographer did not want to hear of it.

When I take a portrait, I feel my #1 priority is to the subject. I want the subject to be pleased with the picture.

I would like to hear your thoughts. What is your #1 priority when you take a portrait?

Please leave your comment in the Comments section here - rather than on facebook, Google+ and twitter.

Thank you,

Explore the light,

Save Some Bucks and Make Some Bucks with SmugMug

Wanna save some bucks and make some bucks?

Set up a SmugMug account and start selling your prints. You can save 20% on a SmugMug Pro account by using this code: RICKSMUG20.

While you are on the SmugMug Pro site, be sure to watch the movie, Why SmugMug Pro?

Keep in mind that you don't have to be a full-time pro to have Pro account - it just makes you look more professional.

Good luck with your new venture.

Here is a link to my SmugMug galleries. I am in the process of setting up more galleries!

For now, all my prints are on sale for the holidays.

Explore the light,

Social Media Marketing for Photographers & The Business Side of Photography: April 10th Webinar

When I started out in the photo biz in 1979 as editor of Studio Photography, the buzz phrase for photographers was, "Publish or Perish." If a photographer did not get his or her name out there, they had a good chance of disappearing from the photo scene. I saw that happen more than a few times.

Today, the same philosophy holds true. A photographer must get his or her name out there or run the risk of falling by the wayside. I see that happening more and more . . . and more.

The photographers who are hurting - or not growing - have one thing in common: they have not embraced social media, using free tools like Google+ (the best social media tool), facebook and twitter to gain a following.

So my friends, you need to "Socialize or Succumb."

I'm doing a live webinar (a narrated Keynote show) on Social Media Marketing for Photographers on April 10th at 5 PM Eastern time. Cost for the one-hour webinar is $29.95. The download after the event is also $29.95. Durning the webinar, I will discuss the social media tools and techniques I use. I'll also give some business advice.

This webinar is designed for those just getting started in social media. Shoot me an email to get on the info list. Space is limited.

Until the webinar (and after the event), set aside some time each day to socialize your photography. The more you put in, the more you'll get out.

Sure, you can spend a lot of time with social media, but... never mistake motion for action.

Explore the light,