DIY Beauty Dish, Awwww Jeahhhhh!!

By tangentpath in diy beauty dish fun times photography wisdom

Hey Peeps,

A lot of you know how tempting it is to spend money you don't have on gear you desperately want right?  

That's why I LOVE DIY's!!

So what I did was make my own Beauty Dish - and it rocks!

For a fraction of the cost of your high-end dish, I have made one that looks and works just as well and of course, I have documented it for you!

First off, I got all of my materials together and went to my step-father's shop(thank the gods for his love of power tools).
as you can see, I am VERY organized

ring bracket, 9" pizza plate, 20qt bowl

These were the first things I needed, I wanted to design the dish to attach to my Canon 580EX II flash.  The ring bracket didn't have holes big enough for the bolts that I purchased, so we drilled some new ones.
don't cry, it didn't feel a thing...

Using the bracket, we measured where they would go in the bowl, hammered the spots and drilled those holes.

marking where we will drill, see me in the reflection?

a nice spike to mark the holes
holes drilled in dish

same thing with pizza dish

After the holes were drilled, we marked off a hole to cut out of the bottom of the dish that would fit the head of my flash.

would it be considered overkill cutting this out to get rid of the sticker?

We used a grinder to cut out the bottom.

I so enjoyed shooting these sparks

Next, we assembled the parts to make sure everything fit correctly.

three long bolts with nuts to hold them in place

these same bolts hold the bracket on the back of the dish

two more sets of nuts/bolt hold the pizza dish in place out from the main dish
I fell in love with this dish already.

Now it was time to get painting!!

We took everything apart, sanded down both dishes to make the paint stick, and painted the pizza dish and inside of the bowl with white aerosol paint.

yes, we used my childhood Dukes of Hazard bedsheet to catch drippings

tremclad paint, great stuff, dried within minutes, put several coats on

taped the back side of dish to keep paint from going through holes
After the white was finished drying, we flipped the main dish over and sprayed the back side with black paint.

so shiny and nice!

we used 6 small nails to keep the dish off the table so it wouldn't stick
 We then applied a polycrylic protective sealer to protect the dish from dings(at least as much as possible) on both dish and bowl and sanded down the first few coatings.

Great stuff, nice shine

nice finish, but look out for using too much and getting drippings on the surfaces

protected the white side first

love the seamless edge!!

after the black side was coated, I used the bolts and nuts to keep the dish off the table to dry
After several coats, we then put it back together and tested it out.

I don't have images here yet of the dish in action, but I will in one of my upcoming shoots and I KNOW you will all be pleasantly surprised.

So how much did this set me back?

Well, a Profoto beauty dish from B&H is $373US(the Broncolor is $496.62US).

But this project - which also took a lot less time than shipping, cost just under $130.00 CANADIAN.

Yes.  YES.  YES!!!

I can't wait for my next project, I'm feeling a softbox/octobox in my future.  Anyone have a suggestion on the size?(Go big or go home!)

Hope you enjoyed this one!  Let me know what you think!


Michael Carty
My Facebook Page

Discounts Will Kill Your Business; Gifts Will Make You Money

By tangentpath in business clients discounts gifts photography wisdom

Hey Peeps,

Yep, that's right, we're looking at the business side of photography(or ANY BUSINESS really) again, but I feel it is an important aspect that most businesses and industries ignore - at their own peril.

First off, let me just say, I love shooting images.  LOVE IT.  But I have found - originally to my dismay, that I also love the marketing/business side of photography.  

Don't get me wrong - I hate running numbers, I hate discussing profit margins, I hate keeping tabs on expenses and revenues and etc etc etc, so thank God or the gods or Buddha or the great vast emptiness of oblivion that I have an accountant to keep me both sane from such drudgery and out of prison.

But I LOVE discussing the human element in business, because without knowing your clients - or better yet, the clients you WANT to have - you will do very poor in business.

Now what I want to get out here today is a look at an old model of increasing sales compared to a new model.

You know the old story - especially if you run your own business,"Hmmm, business is slow this time of year, maybe I should put on a sale, yeah, how about 20% off?  That should drum up some clients."  I've been there, believe me.


Sounds wonderful.  

It may work.  

It may increase your current client list.

Let's say you normally have 5 clients a week(these numbers are completely fictitious, it doesn't matter if it's 5 or 5000), and you drop your prices by 20% like the situation above.

You may increase your number of clients, let's say by one person.  Doesn't sound like a lot, but a single person is a 20% increase in your client list.  Which would be a huge jump in new clients for any business.

But guess what?

You didn't make anymore money. Actually you lost money.

Really.  You did.
But you did work 20% more than you normally would have.

Let me elaborate with more numbers - forgive me.

You normally have 5 clients a week at $100 a pop, this would give you $500/week in revenues.  

You give a sale of 20%, making your clients sale cost $80.

Your client list increases by one person or 20% - which seems like the sale was successful. 

So let's take a look at the new sales numbers.

Six clients at $80/client is $480.

Wait what?

But you worked 20% more!(remember?  That 6th client that you brought in with the sale?)

How could you have lost money?

Simple, the gains in clients wasn't enough to upset the loss in revenue from the sale.  In other words, you brought more clients in, you spent more time working for and with your clients and you made less money overall/per client - even with 20% more "sales".

Jeez, having a sale sounds dangerous if you don't make some really significant increases in new clients.

So my question is: why have them at all?

"Well Michael, how am I supposed to compete?  My competition is undercutting me, having specials and deals and etc..."

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but you know what?  Your competition feels the same way about you and they are stressed with having to cut their prices so much to get clients in the door.
I say that client numbers are irrelevant, who needs 1000 clients at $1 each when you can have one client at $1000?  Know what that is?  It's called scalability.  But we'll touch on that another day.

The NEW model is something great and wonderful, with no risk and generates money.

I'm talking about gifts.

This needs a little explanation I think.

I want to drum up more clients, but I don't want to cut my prices.

No "2-for-1 deals".

No "n% off now"s.

No "2nd or 3rd purchase free"s. 

You know your clients.  You know which ones need/want your business more than others and you know which ones fit your ideal clientbase.

So reward them.  Indefinitely.

You do what's similar to an affiliate program. 

I will use myself in this example.

My main clients are corporates, brides, models, fashion and lifestyle for all intents and purposes.

So if I want to increase my bride sales, I approach a client that fits in the range of my ideal bride.  Twenty-something, career, well-to-do family(they do need to have the money to pay me right?).  Just to name a few characteristics.  Most likely, she will have friends of the same make up that are primed to becoming brides soon.

The real kicker is this:  the client that I approach should want work from me on an ongoing basis.  She has to love to work with me and get new material whenever she can.  Why?  You'll see.

I say to her,"Hey there "Suzie", I know that we have a lot of fun working together and come up with some great shots of you when we do.  Because you have been such a treat I wanted to see if you were interested in becoming one of my exclusive affiliates."

She may not know what I'm talking about yet - I wouldn't at first glance.  But I have already established our great work history and am introducing something "exclusive" to her that speaks of rewards.

"We've worked a lot together and I want to make it more affordable for you to get what you want out of our shoots.  So for any and every potential that you send to me that becomes a client, I will give you a $25 credit any prints or products from a future shoot this year."

"Hey Mike, this sounds like a discount/sale, you told me not to do this!  What gives?"

I know, I'm getting to that.  But before I do, let me explain that my prices are more than just a number/client, that's just the baseline, then we get into orders that can differ greatly depending on the client.

Let's go back to the numbers. *sigh*

I have 5 clients/week @ $100/client.  Makes $500/week(again these numbers are simplified for the math)

I make one of my clients an affiliate, and they bring in one extra client(same 20% increase in clientbase as the previous "sale" scenario)

With NO sale pricing, my numbers register at 6 clients @ $100, making $600 in sales(a 20% increase in $$$)

But remember, I have a new cost now.  My affiliate gets $25 of credit for bringing me that new client.  

So my REAL sales is $575.   

Still over 13% increase in sales as apposed to the -4% decrease from the "sales" scenario at top.

And yes, I am still working 20% more for that 6th client, but the difference from the old model to the new model is an increase of 17%!

But wait again. 

What if my affiliate doesn't bring in any new clients?

Then I make what I normally make and lose NOTHING.

Okay, but what if my affiliate doesn't use their credit before it expires?  Remember, the shoot using these credits has to be used "this year".  Then I get that $25 back.  Another increase in revenue.

What if a client builds up $1000 of credit and wants work done?  You will be out $900 after your $100 charge.

No I won't.

I take the affiliate credit out of the money I make from the clients that they send me.  I put this money in an account especially made for affiliate credits and track individual credits with Excel to know when they expire so that I can transfer those funds back to my business.
This way I NEVER pay affiliate credits out of pocket.

The money for credits is ALWAYS there for use.  Plus, the credits are not even close to being the same amount as the money made from the clients brought in to generate them.  Basically, a $25 credit is taken from a $100 sale.  The more credits really means more revenue.  And revenue from the clients I WANT to have, that pay what I want to get paid and make the work I want to make.

Another good part of this is that the credits only go towards the orders, the prints/products.  

Never the baseline price off shooting.  That's my bread and butter, orders are the gravy in my pricing.

So in the end, here are the major differences in these models:

Old "Sales" Model

- lose revenue immediately from baseline
- unoriginal tactic - everyone does sales
- undercutting competition, really hurting your own business
- stress of loss in sales only adds to apparent desperation when interacting with clients
- more time and work for less money
- lost sales
-worse shape than before the sale

New "Gift" Model

- baseline revenue stays stable
- unique tactic - unavailable from competition
- NO undercutting competition(because there's no need to)
- no stress of loss in sales, able to be more receptive and patient with clients, creates better environment
- time & work/money ratio is minimilized
- more sales/client and overall
- better shape than before, this system is not restricted by a limited time, it's indefinite remember?
- no possible risk of lost sales due to model
- rewards loyal clients, rewards new clients, builds loyalty with ideal clients
- empowers loyal clients, gives altruistic feeling
- creates "ideal client generators" for your business without cost or time on your part

So can you translate this into your own business?  Or maybe you can use it for a non-profit?  Fundraising? 

Tell me how this model can help YOU in your endeavors, I want to hear from you, even if you are having trouble grasping how to utilize this.  Let me know what you're missing and I can help.

Anywho, I think this is a long enough and mind-numbing post as is, so I will cut it off here.  Sorry no pics.


Michael Carty
Michael Carty Photography Email

Model Alert!! Brad Gouthro Answers Your Nutrition/Fitness Questions

By tangentpath in brad gouthro fitness fun times interview interviews model nutrition photography wisdom

Hey Peeps,

Late last year I had the privilege of working with Brad Gouthro of Brad Gouthro Fitness in Bedford, just outside of Halifax, NS.

We both have an interest in fitness(Brad moreso than I, of course) and had spoke of shooting together.  Luckily he just published a new book, Release The Abs Within, and needed some new shots of what else?  


We had a great time(see this in a past post), and I realized that it would be really informative for those readers out there to glean some insight into the healthier nutrition/fitness aspect of modeling from a pro at it all.

So below is an interview I had with Brad, and I can guarantee that more than just models can appreciate the advice he dishes out like so much sweet, chocolate ice cream... oh crap, well anyways here it is - enjoy!!

Michael:  Hey Brad, I'm glad we get to work together again even if we're not shooting.  I'll get right to the questions here.  Some of the biggest issues that I have heard from my models relate to nutrition, toning and healthy complexion.  They want to be healthy and not hungry, they want to be thin but toned and they want clear and healthy skin.  What would be your best basic advice towards these issues?

Brad:  Every time I'm out with friends or family they are shocked at how much food I eat. How can I get away with this and still maintain a lean physique? 

Well, first of all I'm busting my ass in the gym for an hour every day. The majority of your workouts should be focused on lifting weights and not just cardio. 

Ladies…please lift weights to get lean, toned and sexy. Excessive cardio is doing you more harm than good! But that one hour in the gym doesn't give you the ability to eat anything you want at anytime.

In my book, Awaken The Abs Within, I created a simple and easy to implement nutrition principle that I follow everyday. I've branded it the TQT principle. It simply means to eat the right TYPES of food, in the right QUANTITIES, at the right TIMES. 

I focus on consuming foods that are natural/unprocessed (contain one ingredient) and high in protein. Foods high in protein not only build lean sexy muscle and burn fat, they also keep you feeling full so you don't crave sugar. 

I consume very little (if any) sugary, packaged, or processed foods (I may treat myself one meal a week if I feel like I it). One mistake people often make (especially women) is they focus on counting calories. Ditch the calorie counting and focus on eating 5-6 small balanced meals a day that all contain protein. Your first 3-4 meals can contain carbs, but then cut them out later in the day. By following this meal plan and focusing most of your time in the gym lifting weights, you will stay satiated and will be burning fat all day long due to an increase in your metabolism.  
Remember, consuming natural foods is nature's medicine. Eating processed crap (soda, diet soda, crackers, cookies, etc) is foreign to your body's digestive and genetic structure. By putting this crap in your body it creates a metabolic and hormonal mess. This mess causes fat storage, skin problems, etc.  

Michael:  That's some pretty great advice Brad, I'm very interested(and I'm sure most models are too) in the ability to eat and not be hungry and doing it in a healthy way.  Now regarding the low cardio exercise you mentioned, what do people like me who train for half and full marathons do?  We obviously need to get in a good amount of cardio, right?

Brad:  Yes, you're right - if you're training for something sport specific…then yes…you should be focusing more time on movements/exercises that are functional to your goals (in this case endurance training). 

However, if you're a model and are just looking to get or stay "lean and sexy", then your specific/functional training should be focused on building lean muscle and burning body fat which lifting weights does. EXCESSIVE cardio (hours everyday) is not the functional way to build a lean and sexy look.  

When it comes to cardio, I always put it this way:  if you're training specifically for physique…which athlete do you want to look more like…a 100 meter sprinter (lean, toned and ripped) or a marathon runner (skinnier with less muscle tone)? 

I'm not saying one is better than the other…but for my physique goals (and probably most models), it's to look more like a 100m sprinter. This is why I focus on high intensity interval training (HIIT) via quick intense sprints followed by low intensity cool down intervals. 

Michael:  Having a history of modeling yourself, I'm sure that you have a preshoot plan when a job is coming up.  What would you advise other models out there to do in preparation of a shoot to help them look their best?

Brad:  If it's a athletic/fitness shoot, I assume you must already be in pretty decent shape. But there is a way to manipulate your body even more to look as lean and ripped as possible. I'm talking about getting rid of most of the water that is stored between your muscles and skin. If you do this correctly, you can really achieve the "photoshoot ripped effect" where your skin is literally sucked against your muscles, which shows all your cuts and striations.  I blogged about my 7 day preparation plan in detail on my website: http://www.bradgouthro.com.

However, everyone's bodies are different. I've found my body reacts best to water loading for the first 3-4 days (8 liters a day) and essentially cutting out all carbs (except veggies) for all 7 days before the shot. My calories drop a little bit, but not a lot, since I replace a lot of the lost calories from carbs with healthy forms of fat and a little more protein. Three days before the shoot I cut water consumption in half, and steadily decrease it everyday until the shoot. This plan hasn't failed me yet!

Of course plenty of sleep is also VERY IMPORTANT!

Michael:  What’s your opinion of popular fitness regimens like yoga, zumba and kettlebell workouts?

Brad:  To be honest, I'm a fan of anything that gets you moving (unless this includes you running away from the police)!

I am a huge fan of kettlebell workouts though. It's a great way to build muscle and get a cardio workout at the same time. I throw in a kettlebell workout at least once a week to work on any potential muscle imbalances and to keep things fresh and free of the dreaded plateau effect.

I also think everyone should incorporate yoga (especially the fellaz) although I'm pretty slack on this one. It is one of my goals this year to increase flexibility, so I do foresee a lot more yoga in my future. 

Zumba…it's good…if you're into that kind of thing. Not my style though. I love to dance, but I love dancing in the club scene. Not at the gym! 

The only thing that kind of bugs me is these gimmick infomercial gadgets like the "shake weight" and "ab machines". I say save your money and get your sweat on the old fashioned way.

Michael:  You mentioned earlier that your healthy physique is because of –besides a nutritious diet, that you exercise 1 hour a day.  Only one hour?  I won’t ask IF this is possible because you are obviously living proof, but I will ask HOW this is possible.

Brad:  It's very simple. The body grows outside of the gym, not inside. When you're in the gym, you're actually breaking down and tearing apart your muscle cells. It's the rest and recovery that actually allows you to grow. 

Proper sleep and recovery is key to a lean physique.

Also, cortisol (the stress hormone) elevates when you train at a high intensity for too long. This hormone eats away at muscle tissue, thus burning muscle and lowering your metabolism. That's the opposite effects that I want to be accomplishing for all my hard work in the gym.

Michael:  Well that should make it a lot easier for people with busy lives to squeeze in a workout into their day.  My last question comes from a student who wants to know if it is better to eat before or after a workout and which kinds of foods would be best for which times?

Brad:  Yeah. Just make sure when you're in the gym, you're making the most of your time. Don't be one of those chronic "texter's" or "gym socialites". 

Trust me you look lame.

Now, to your last question. Without a doubt, your post-workout meal is very important regardless of your situation or goals. It should be comprised of a quick absorbing high quality protein source (whey protein powder) and a fast digesting carb source (the one time of day that a quick rush of sugar is good for you). 

The reason? Your muscles are like a sponge after a solid workout. 

They require an instant surge of protein to help re-build and repair the torn muscles as well as a delivery source and energy to replenish the lost energy from your body (carbs). Carbs act as a delivery source to get the protein to your muscles quickly, and will help re-fuel your muscles to ensure the breaking down of muscle stops and the building of muscle outside the gym commences. 

I usually bring a protein shake with me to the gym to drink as soon as I'm done. It usually is comprised of protein powder, banana, natural maple syrup, water, and almond milk all blended together.

Now pre-workout is a little more customized. It depends on you. 

I eat a slow digesting complex carb (oats) and protein source 1 hour before the gym to ensure I have energy to work hard. 

Try not to go to the gym with a full stomach though. When you work out, all the blood is going to the muscle which will just leave the food sitting in your gut. Some people also work best on an empty stomach (last meal 2-3 before workout). 

You have to find what works best for you.

Michael:  That's a terrific amount of knowledge that I think a lot of people - not just models, can use to help with their image/health needs and wants.  Thanks again for the back and forth with me and congrats on the publication.

Brad:  Thanks Michael.  Glad to help.  If people want all my secrets to living a healthy/lean lifestyle, they should check out my website: http://www.awakentheabswithin.com or my social media sites. 

I also really enjoyed working with you and was truly impressed with the photos from our last project. Lets do it again sometime soon!

Michael:  Word.  Take care buddy.

Did this interview answer your questions or did you have others?

I hope you get a chance to check out Brad's book and site http://www.bradgouthrofitness.com/,
it is full of incredible information for everyone - not just models.

My thanks again to Brad for his participation and to the models that sent me input for my questions - you know who you are...


Michael Carty

Sometimes The Best Advice Is Your Own

By tangentpath in advice belief business photography self-confidence trust vision wisdom

Hey Peeps,

Ever have that friend who wants to start a business or make things easier in their current business and for some reason you have this great insight into what they need in order to succeed?

For example, I have a buddy that is working on starting up a brewing company this year.  He knows what he wants to do but he doesn't know what he wants to do.

I have been there - most times I live there.

One night he was explaining some of the things he needed to get nailed down regarding design, marketing, business structure, etc, etc.

For some reason or another, I started spouting the most interesting ideas to help his business and make work easier for him.  I don't know where it came from, creativity + challenge?  

I know nothing of the beer industry except that I can get the stuff in can, bottle or glass and even though I have certain preferences, I don't usually turn down a brand offered me if it is all there is.

After some back-and-forth, my buddy told me the ideas that I was suggesting were great, but he found it funny that they were also pretty common sense and that he just couldn't think them up himself.

I understood.  

I told him that for most people, it is easier to give advise then to take it.  That's probably why it is so hard for people to come up with "common sense" when it comes to their own work.  Maybe it's because it's personal to them.  Maybe it is hard to be objective when dealing with a passion or a dream.

I know for a fact that I normally couldn't come up with as many great ideas for my own business - a business that I've learned a great deal about over the years - as I did with his brewing business.

So whenever I write or message or blog or speak with someone about their work, I make sure that I take notes of my own advice.  The businesses may be different - whole worlds different - but I find that you can translate almost anything that works for one bizz into another.

The idea here is translate - not copy.  There is a HUGE difference between the two.

Let me explain.

Copying an idea or business aspect doesn't always work, and if it does, it won't work as well as translating.  Like using a puzzle piece for a different puzzle that looks like the piece you need; it may do the job - but not very well.

Translating an idea or business aspect works best for your business because it is the right piece for your puzzle.  It fits perfectly, being custom made for your work.

So when you find yourself helping a friend with a work issue - jot that gold down son!  

Look it over later and see what you can do to translate it for your own. Throw out what you don't want or can't use or are already implementing and go from there

Don't let your creative business mind(creativity + challenge, remember?) go to waste or work for free for someone else when it could work for you because... well, Sometimes The Best Advice Is Your Own.(Yeah, cheesy - whatever, get to the task below in red!!)

What's your best business advice?  Did someone take it?  Did YOU?
If I were to ask you what marketing advice you would have for a business, what would it be?  
Now tell me how you would translate it to yours!!



Michael Carty

My Sage-Like Advice to Aspiring Photographers

By tangentpath in advice aspiring interviews photography vision wisdom

Hey Peeps,

I'm excited over the number of you who enjoyed my NYE post, and I was overjoyed with the talented panel that I had to interview.  

Then, I realized that I should reflect on the questions posed to these wonderful artists and see what MY take on them are based on my own experience.  

So here we go:

1. What is the single biggest mistake made by beginning photographers?

I really tried to think of the "single biggest mistake" that an aspiring photographer in the bizz could make, there are just sooooo many of them that not one truly popped out from the rest in my mind.

So after careful thought, I came to the conclusion that the BIGGEST mistake would be not learning from all of the mistakes that you WILL make.  

There is no foolproof escape from f-ing up in any business or venture.  But the best advice would be to continually learn from those moments and find what works best for you in order not to repeat them in the future.

2. What should be your top priorities in the photography business?

Man, these were so easy when I didn't have to answer them myself, lol.  

Okay, number one is what I stated above - learn from your mistakes.  

Number two is to keep it simple; but keep it specific.  This is something that I learned later on in my work(sadly).  It is way too easy to drown in minutiae.  So when you plan things out, just keep it in a simple structure - but have each piece of that structure as specific as possible.  

Just as an example:  I wanted to Q&A a panel of photographers for my NYE blog.  That was my objective.  So I quickly write up the measurable steps that would get me from here to there.(Measurable steps are crucial but specific moments through the workflow of any project that are small enough not to get overwhelming or tedious, but exact enough that you don't lose direction.)

So my steps would be something like: 

  • make a list of questions
  • create an email/FB message that would explain what my request is to the photogs in question
  • create a list of potential photogs to approach with the idea
  • send email/FB message
  • start preliminary blog write-up while waiting for responses
  • collect/proof-read/organize answers from photogs
  • complete blog draft
  • send each contributor link to blog for advertising/promotion
  • promote blog until post
  • post blog
Now this list seems simple(it was actually simpler the first time around that I wrote it), but you can also see the steps are very specific - they can't be vague or it doesn't give you a direction to go.  These steps must be actionable or they are useless.  

Of course, there are other - more specific things that you pick up on the way as you are moving through the workflow - like include your questions in the request email/FB message to save yourself(and the contributor) some extra messaging - it is easier for the other person to respond in one single email instead of saying they will do it, then they have to wait for your response.

The third thing I would say is work smarter - not harder.  There are so many ways to do this it almost creates MORE work.  

You can outsource work that isn't your thing, like accounting, post production, administrative duties, etc.  

You can watch at how many things you have on the go;  if you plan out your next year - that's great, but don't focus on October right now if it is January.  Focus on the current 3 months at most, and when January is over - forget it.  Focus on February, March & April now.  

Like I said, there are so many things you can do - it almost seems like more work to create them.

3.  What is your best advice for dealing with the stresses that come with running your own photography business?

I would have to refer to the previous answers for this one, plus additionally - get rest.  

No matter what.  I know, I know, there are "big and busy things" going on that you need to be on top of.  Sure, do that - and only that.  Don't come home from your "big and busy things" at 2am and stay up until 5am surfing online for things that truly won't help you on your next "big and busy thing".  If it can wait for tomorrow, then let it.   Also spend time with family and friends.  I don't think you got into this business to burn yourself out into a drooling mass in a rubber room; so cut it out, stop being such a moron and rest.

4.  How do you know what to charge for work?

I hate this question.  But what can I do eh?  It's valid, in fact, it is a crucial aspect to your businesses success.

First, what costs you money that your bizz uses?  Cell phone?  Work space?  Car?  Internet? Webpage?  Prints?  CD's?  Gas?  Insurance?  Gear?  Time?

Well let's put together the monthly expenses first: cell, work space(or rent), internet, webpage, car, insurance to start.  There's your business monthly expenses.  These are merely the cost/month to keep your business running.  

Then there are momentary costs(things that cost money not on a scheduled basis, but on a moment-to-moment one): gas, prints, CD's, gear, time.  These costs are based on each and every gig you get; the more gigs, the more each of these increases.  

So now that the business is taken care of, what about you?  Are YOU going to make a living now that your business is such a well-oiled machine?  Well how much do you want to make per month?  per year?  You might want to make it rich in a year(good luck to you) or you may just want to keep the bill collectors at bay and have a little left over for some new gear.  Throw that in there as well. 

Now before you start calculating anything else, you have to figure out WHAT you want to work.  How many days a week?  How many gigs a month?  This is needed to figure out how much to charge for each job you get.  

Relate this number to the previous costs and there you go.  Hopefully it is a reasonable number - hopefully it is really reasonable.  That way, you have room to increase your profits with higher prices as you grow.

5. How do you balance home and work life?

I really have to agree with some of my panel that there is no such thing as life/work balance.  

No matter how hard you try, you will always be in the middle of the conflict between those two if you try to work both at the same time.  

Be present for each one independently of the other.  Focus on work when working, focus on family/friends when living. 

Also remember that you do this for a living.  Work to live;  don't live to work(although this job can be invigorating at times).  But keeping work and life separated with clear and defined boundaries will make all the difference in the world, keeping your mind focused on what you need to do in the moment and your blood pressure within a healthy level.

6. If you could write a message to yourself to when you first started out, what would you tell yourself?

Hahahah!  I would tell myself the same things that I just told you, PLUS I would send myself the advice from the panel of my NYE blog, maybe some cash to help out with purchasing gear and tell him to enjoy the ride - it won't be boring.


Michael Carty
Michael Carty Photography Email