Saturday's Business Session: Follow Your Heart - and not the number of someone's twitter followers

Want to impress your friends/sponsors/associates with your number of twitter followers? That's easy!

Do a Web search on "Buy Twitter Followers." You'll find many sites that let you buy thousands of twitter followers for a few bucks. In a flash, you can have thousands of followers!

I'm not making this stuff up. Getting fake twitter followers happens all the time. For example, check out this link. 

Of course, there are other techniques to get "followers." I'll address those in a future post.

So my friends, follow your heart - and don't get sucked into the numbers game of followers on twitter. Follow photographers you know are up front 100 percent.

If you want some solid business advice, especially when it comes to social media marketing, tune into my creativeLive three-day class in Oct. You'll be able to tweet in questions and comments not only about your business, but about your photography. The class is mostly about photography. The business session is about one hour long.

Speaking of social media, you gotta get into Google+. Why? Well, as illustrated by the above screen grab of the Referring Site section of my blog stats, it's way more powerful than twitter in sending folks to my blog. Get on the G+ band wagon.

Explore the light,

P.S. Speaking of business, I suggest to photographers to look at their business as they should look at their investment: diversify. Apply your photo skills to different types of photography. For example, if you specialize in portraits, you would also be good at pet portraits and even "portraits" of food.

Speaking of food and business.....

Get a Free Gourmet Meal In Your Neighborhood

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 50mm Macro Lens, Canon MR-14 EX Ringlite.

I am the first to admit it: I am not a professional food photographer, as any food photographer reading this post will quickly realize. :-)

However, I can take a good enough food photo for a local restaurant's web site and menu.

That's what I did this afternoon. I took a few food photos at the local Japanese restaurant, Samurai, here in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. Best of all, the meal was free: I traded the owner my photographs for 10 great - and beautiful – dishes!

Previously, the owner, knowing that I'm a photographer, asked about the trade off. I said, "Sure!" I was on my way to a great sushi meal, and he was on his way to some fresh photos.

So here's the message of this short homily: Why not ask the local restaurants in your area if you can do a trade-off: your photos for their best dishes? It never hurts to ask , you know. What's more, the next time they need some photos they may contact your and actually pay you... in cash, rather than in sushi.

Here are a few quick tips for very basic food photography:

• You'll need a macro lens for close-up shots. However, bring your wide-angle lens for wider shots.

• Carefully watch your aperture. Although pro food photographers often like to use shallow depth-of-field, the restaurant owner may like a more traditional shot, with everything in focus.

• A ring light is helpful for even lighting.

• Try to work with natural light; bring a reflector to fill in shadows, which is what I did for this photograph.

• Bring a tripod for low-light, natural light photographs.

• Shoot each dish from different angles: from the side, top, etc.

• Use digital darkroom techniques (such as vignetting and selective sharpening) to enhance your pictures.

• Be sure to ask the owner if he/she is happy with your pictures before you leave the restaurant.

• When you are all done, post your pictures on your blog in the hope of other local restaurants finding you. Note the labels for this post :-)

Hey, let me know if you plan to try this idea. And, let me know how your shoot (and food) turns out.

P.S. Sake (hot and cold) was included, in case you were wondering. :-)