Photo Notes A place to talk about making images.

September 8, 2011

Now In Indianapolis!

Filed under: Indianapolis,Marketing — John Siskin @ 1:13 pm

Here are some plugs for my books and classes: you can get the books from Amazon: Understanding and Controlling Strobe Lighting: A Guide for Digital Photographers and the class is at Here is a sample chapter from the book. There has been nothing but good feedback on this book, so I would guess that you’ll like it. Of course I still hope that you will please consider purchasing my fine art book B Four: pictures of beach, beauty, beings and buildings. Purchases of B Four mean a lot to me, and it is also a fine gift for any occasion. I lowered the price a couple of weeks ago, and that has helped. As you know I teach for I really hope you’ll sign up my class: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting. Remember that the books and the class keep me updating this blog. My new book, Lighting For Architectural Photography will be out in February.


I am now in Indianapolis. The transition from Los Angeles has been very difficult. Our dog, Dodie, an old English sheep dog, passed away on our trip. I still find myself turning around to look for her. I keep hearing her. She was a very good dog.

I had hoped to be further along with marketing and networking by now. And so it goes. I have been to a few photo related events, including a club out in Carmel. Also I have made some connections with instructors at Ivy Tech College. The most important thing I’ve done is to set up my office. I know that many people work well in a sort of chaotic state, but that leads to chaotic work habits for me. So, while much of our stuff is in boxes, my office is pretty nice. I have a local phone number: (417)473-0406. I though about leaving it off the blog, but I spent hours updating all the pages of my web site with the number, so it’s not hard to find. If you haven’t checked out my web site you can see it at I hope you’ll take a look, after all this blog is about promoting what I do.

I am going to get more serious about marketing this week. I have already sent out an e-mail introduction to some local advertising agencies. This week I started contacting people involved in construction businesses. I wish that businesses would find me in some magical fashion, but that isn’t likely. One of the biggest problems is how to let people who might need your services know about them without being too annoying. I’ve tried a lot of things over the years: mail pieces, cold calling and so on, but e-mail is basically free and you can contact a lot of businesses at one time. I’m attaching a screen capture of one of my e-mails. Keep in mind that all of the pictures are linked to the web site when you get the actual message.

Photography is more than just a fine art. Just like English is more than just poetry. It is a language that communicates directly with almost any viewer. It makes sense to use visual skills to communicate with potential clients. In the piece I’m sending out I’m SHOWING people that I make images for their kind of business. I’m not going to tell them I make great pictures of saxophones, odds are they don’t care. If I can’t communicate with potential clients, how can I help them to communicate?

I’m going to a camera club this evening. I hope to find out more about photography classes and about suppliers locally. I am also wondering about rental studios and labs. All of this is sort of fun, but it’s also a little intimidating.

I spent some time reviewing and editing the version of my second book the publisher sent. I think it’s working quite well. There is now going to be some material about shooting exteriors of buildings. This should make the book more useful. I did a shot of the exterior of the Indianapolis library at several different time of the day to show how the light changes. The book will be published in February now, rather than November. I hope you’ll get a copy.


When I teach a class I ask people to practice. I suggest that they work with a Styrofoam wig head and cheap flood lights. The wig head is all white, which makes it easy to see the shadows. The flood lights are easy to see and to manipulate. This gives you a sort of a lighting lab where you can practice and experiment. I still use the wig head when I get a new piece of lighting gear. I know I’ve said this before: musicians practice so they can play, why shouldn’t we? If you can only practice with a live model you won’t be able to take the same risks you can with a hunk of Styrofoam. Most models don’t have the patience of the wig head. So, if you’re thinking about a lighting class why not mine?, The better way to learn photography

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