10 Creative Tips To Breaking Into The Photography Industry As A Newbie

Bethany ClegBethany Cleg is a small business owner at Bethany Cleg Photography. She is an avid writer, photographer, and tech geek. When she’s not writing or taking pictures, you’ll find her hiking with her family.

Find Bethany on Twitter.

The photography industry is a very rewarding but competitive world. There are photographers who grow quicker than others on landing jobs and attaining high paydays. Getting into this industry can be very tough considering that almost anybody can purchase a DSLR and consider themselves a photographer. Depending on what kind of photography career you want to attain, these tips will help you to separate yourself from everybody else.

10 Creative Tips To Breaking Into The
Photography Industry As A Newbie

– Building A Portfolio With Quality Images

As a photographer, you’re only as good as your last photo. The key to making money in this industry is a good resume and portfolio to convince people what you can do for them. You can ask friends to model for you and allow for you to take photos for them to be a part of your portfolio. If you’re a good photographer, you should be able to capture the essence of their beauty.

– Stick To A Career Based Off Of Your Location and Highlight its Events

If you’re living in Los Angeles, it may be worth the investment to focus specifically on headshots. If you live in a location where weddings take place very often, providing wedding photography can be your next best bet. After you have found out what is most profitable in your area, you’ll make more money and land more clients by focusing on providing photography for that niche.

Uinta National Forest

Uinta National Forest

– Work Off Of Referrals

All you need is one client to make money, and from that one person, you can achieve referrals through that one person. When you have somebody who has huge connections with people in need of professional photos, you’ll be able to get a huge amount of referrals.

– Free Discounts

When you’re starting out, try giving away free photographs for FREE. When you give clients free services, you’ll be using them as your next source for gaining clients since they can give you referrals.

The Rockies

The Rockies

– Headshots And Family Portraits Are Huge

Family portraits are always going to be very profitable. There is big money in this industry because there are always people in need of these types of photos. However, you do need to understand that this is best as one of your current services. Headshots are huge if you are in a prime location for actors. Los Angeles, Atlanta, Orlando, and any other city with tons of acting opportunities will make a headshot photographer plenty of cash in this industry.

– Market Your Services Online

The way to marketing your services online is by simply creating a quality website. You want to have all of your top notch photos shown on your main website. Participate in forums for photographers. Using classified ads may seem redundant, but it’s still worth it to finding more potential clients.



– Ranking Your Site on Google

When somebody types in to Google, “your location + Photography” you’ll have more clients if your site is on there. Hire a search engine optimization professional who can rank your website for those top keywords. Photographers can get a lot of exposure for highlighting events specific to their town. For example, during the local Music Festival in Indio, CA, people are asking what is Coachella? This interest sheds a lot of light on the local area during its two week run, and people are more likely to find your local photography.

– Working With Other People In The Industry

There are some companies whom you can work with to get a head start on getting clients. For example, there are wedding planners who will always need photographers for the weddings that they work on. You can connect with other videographers who may have clientele for any events that they do, and you can probably do the photography for them. With a bit of creativity, you’ll be making strong connections and building relationships that can network you to future clients.

Uinta National Forest

Uinta National Forest

– Sell Photography Online

You should consider selling your photographs online. While this doesn’t involve working with clients, it’s a great way to get started. There are many open marketplaces online that allow you to put your photography up for sale. If you’re looking to make money both for short and long term growth, selling photographs via stock photography is worth trying. This involves selling the same photos over and over again. People will pay you several cents or even a couple dollars for every time they use your photo.

– Invest In Quality Equipment

As a photographer, you need to have quality equipment that your readers will enjoy. You’ll make more money when you can showcase to your clients that you have the equipment to get them the best photos possible.

Standing out as a photographer is all about properly promoting yourself. Give out business cards, network, attend art shows, and attend as many parties as you can. Attending different parties allows for you to network and meet people who may have a party down the road very soon. There is still room for a new photographer to join the industry. You just need to work a bit harder than everybody else to get started.

Silver Lake Timpanogos

Silver Lake Timpanogos

Book Review: Proof Positive by Archer Mayor

Proof PositiveProof Positive
A Joe Gunther Novel #25
Archer Mayor
Minotaur Books, September 2014
ISBN:  978-1-250-07473-7

A typical Joe Gunther novel has him and his team slogging along attempting to put a picture together to solve whatever crime they’re investigating.  In this novel, the Vermont Bureau of Investigation team Joe heads is involved in looking deeply into the death of a semi-recluse, Ben Kendall, who served as a photographer in Vietnam.  Joe is asked to look into the death, which does not appear to be suspicious, by his girlfriend, Beverly Hillstrom, the state’s medical examiner, who is a cousin to the dead man, who was a hoarder very much like the storied Collyer brothers who gained fame many decades earlier in New York City.

Almost as soon as Joe starts looking into the situation, Ben’s ex-wife is murdered in Philadelphia, where Ben originally came from.  From that point, a full investigation proceeds, complicated by additional deaths and kidnappings and the fact that Beverly’s daughter is cataloguing and photographing Ben’s photos and junk and might be the next victim.  The problem is that no one knows what Ben may have brought back from Vietnam or what the instigator of all the crimes is looking for.

Like the previous novels in the series, the police procedural descriptions are straightforward and logical, and the characters play their accustomed roles, especially Joe’s colleague, Willy.  One quibble:  The conclusion strikes a manufactured false note affecting the usual high quality of a novel in this series.  ‘Tis a pity, because the Joe Gunther novels are as good a series as there is today.

Reviewed by Ted Feit, April 2015.

Spotlight on Peerless Detective by Michael Raleigh

Peerless Detective


Title: Peerless Detective
Author: Michael Raleigh
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Noir



Once Billy Fox starts looking for trouble, he discovers
that—in Chicago—trouble’s under every footstep.

Home from the war, Billy Fox leaves Michigan for Chicago,
hoping to find his ex-girlfriend, Rita—now another man’s
wife. Chicago isn’t a town that takes kindly to strangers, and
Billy finds himself barely scraping by, working odd jobs
and living in squalor among convicts and other
men that the city hasn’t spit out just yet.

A chance encounter lands him a job with Harry Strummer,
the streetwise owner of the Peerless Detective Agency. At
Harry’s oddball agency, Billy hones his skills, learning how
to stake out a mark, find a bug, and spot a tail. Odd life
lessons and unexpected romance come his way. But as he
searches for Rita, an even bigger mystery comes along,
one that puts Harry, and Billy with him, in the crosshairs.

This punchy, spellbinding noir spins a web that will
catch readers and hold them captive to the final page,
when we learn that Billy’s Chicago is a town
where nothing is ever truly left up to chance.



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An Excerpt from Peerless Detective

Billy Fox stood on the corner of Division and Clark waiting for a sign, at the end of his second endless week in Chicago,. Not from God, necessarily, for he was not yet convinced there was one. Just a sign that this was where he was supposed to be. And if not here, then where? He was beginning to believe the answer to that question might be nowhere. More than once in the past year he’d woken in a strange place, unable to remember for a moment where he was – just one more hot dark room on a street he didn’t know. Different rooms but the same smells of sweaty sheets and cigarettes, same panic squeezing his heart in a cold fist.

A cop car went by and the red-faced one riding shotgun gave him the look.

Yeah, you made me for a drifter.

What was the word now? A transient. The cop squinted his way and Billy met his eyes. If they spoke, Billy knew exactly how the conversation would play out.

I’m looking for work, Officer, he’d say.

But the cop lost interest, bored and hot, and they drove on.

Up the street he saw a hot dog joint. He’d told himself he wouldn’t eat until he knew where his next buck was going to come from – he was down to just a few bucks – but here was food, hot food, and he could smell the onions and the dogs and Polish sweating on the grill, and he shook his head. Almost time to stand on corners again. Hardest thing of all, you were either cut out for it or not, the ability to buttonhole strangers and feed them a line of crap: Hey, buddy, help a guy get back on his feet? Hey, man, I’m trying to get to (fill in the blank here but first you needed to know the names of places a guy on foot might be trying to get to). Hey, Miss, I just need to get a sandwich.

No, I don’t want to do that again, Billy thought. I’ll shovel shit somewhere in this place first.

Billy looked at the hotdog stand and began moving that way. He was just a few feet from the doorway of the hotdog stand when he saw the man in the suit – a white suit, an ice cream suit, his mother would have said, rumpled but a white suit nonetheless, and then the hat, a porkpie with the brim turned up all the way around, like something out of a gangster movie. A small man, but this man in the white suit moved up Division Street toward Billy in a rolling walk, what might have been his tough-guy strut, deep in thought, so deep, Billy thought, that he was nearly talking to himself. He could see the man’s jaw moving. The man looked up, seemed for the first time to notice the hot dog stand and stopped, jingling his change in his pockets in that way that Billy’s father had, as though reminding himself he wasn’t broke yet.

The man in the suit never saw the two kids step out from a doorway behind him. Two of them, one white and one black and Billy knew the look and what was about to go down. The white kid bumped the man off balance and the black one gave him a push and he went down. The white kid reached down with a practiced move and came up with a wallet. Then they were off. They’d gone only a few steps when a cab driver in a turban came running toward them, a big brown-skinned man with a black beard, and the kids took one look, stopped on a dime and went back the other way. The man in the suit was still on the sidewalk, he seemed stunned or injured. Then, as the kids ran past him, Billy saw a bony leg shoot out and the white kid went down, dropping the wallet as he hit the pavement. He scrambled for the wallet but the man in the white suit was on him like a cat. For a moment they were both reaching for it, even as they grappled with each other, and then Billy saw the wallet go flying off the curb. A passing pickup truck rolled over it. Billy walked over and picked it up. Then he turned in time to see the kid get to his feet.

They faced each other, a wiry middle-aged man in a white suit and a tall, thin street kid in a sleeveless t-shirt, and if asked Billy would have said the kid had already made his second mistake – there was no reason to turn this into a fight with witnesses – no, an audience. A few yards up the street, the second thief had stopped at the corner, started to come back and then had second thoughts: the small street action had drawn a crowd – four or five passersby, three of the cabdrivers parked beside the hotdog stand, a woman with a dog. The second kid shook his head in irritation and took off.

Billy hefted the wallet in his hand and told himself he was probably quick enough to take off without fear of pursuit, he’d have money. As though he’d heard the thought, the man in the white suit looked his way for the briefest moment in time, then turned his attention to the problem at hand.

The fighters circled in that old minuet of the street, the kid with his hands hung low, they all fought that way now – Muhammad Ali had ruined an entire generation of street fighters who all thought they could box with their hands down around their waists while they bounced and boogied. And as Billy watched, the kid began dancing and bobbing and moving his head, and looked startled when the man in the suit cracked him in the mouth with a stiff left. The kid licked his lip, glared and waded in throwing wild punches, and one grazed the small man along the side of his face but the others caught nothing but the air. The man in the suit moved steadily to his left, and just when the kid adjusted his stance to this movement, the man shifted his feet and began circling to the right. He threw the jab again, and another one, and then the right hand, which caught the kid on the cheek. The kid threw another roundhouse and took a punch in his eye, a perfect straight right, and the eye starting swelling immediately. The kid shook his head as though this might make the swelling go away. The man came inside then, moved inside the kid’s reach, the kid threw a half-hearted punch at the air, took a fist in the mouth and then bolted. A heavy-set bystander gave chase but stopped after a few paces, panting and grinning.

Billy waited as the short man patted and smoothed his now-abused costume, put the hat back on and gave it a little pat. He straightened his tie, tucked at his shirt cuffs, brushed dirt from his white trousers. He missed the place where his knee had hit the pavement.

The turbaned cabdriver said, “Are you all right, sir?” and the man in the suit held up a hand and nodded.

“No problem. And thanks.”

“You did good,” the cabdriver said, and the man shrugged.

The man in the suit looked around for the wallet – no, he knew exactly where the wallet was. He looked for Billy. Billy held up the wallet and stepped forward.

“Here you go.”

The man glanced at his wallet and then looked Billy in the eye. Then he grinned but Billy had caught the look that preceded the grin. It had passed in the merest fragment of a second but Billy knew this one, a measuring look, as though by looking Billy in the eye this man in the unlikely suit could tell if he’d taken anything out of the wallet.

“Thanks.” He took the wallet and made a show of wiping it off.

“A truck rolled over it. If you got credit cards in there…”

“Nah, no plastic for me. I’m a guy that pays cash.” Now he looked in the wallet, held it up. “Doesn’t look like they got anything.”

“Good,” Billy said and turned to leave.

“Hey,” the man called to him. “Thanks.”

He was holding out his hand. Billy shook it and the man came up with a small vinyl packet from which he extracted a business card.

“Here, take this. I’m just around the corner on Wells. My, ah, place of business, I mean. I’m Harry Strummer. If I can do anything for you – ” He squinted as though to get a better look at Billy. “You looking for work? If you’re looking for work I could make some calls.”

For the first time Billy Fox was embarrassed.

To hide his embarrassment he looked at the card. It said “H.A. Strummer, President.” Below this was the name “Peerless Detective Services,” and just below, as though it explained the name of the firm, the card promised “Discretion, Professionalism, Persistence. Licensed in three states.”

Billy bit back a sudden impulse to ask which three states. Instead he just nodded and said, “Okay. Thanks. I’ve got a couple things going right now –”

“Oh, sure, sure. Maybe sometime down the road, you’re looking for something, give me a jingle, I’ll get on the horn. Smart guy like you, there’s a lot out there.”

Billy heard that note in the voice, that Good-time-Charlie salesman’s note that said he was bullshitting and they both knew it, and the question came out as if of its own volition, “How do you know I’m smart?”

“Your eyes,” Harry Strummer said, as though this was obvious, and Harry Strummer’s own eyes said he was serious.

Billy stopped himself from asking what else Harry Strummer could see there.

“Okay, thanks,” he said, and left. At the next corner he stopped to wait for the light and shot a quick glance over his shoulder. The short fellow in the ice cream suit was walking toward Wells Street, hands in his pockets, looking at the traffic. But he hadn’t gone very far. He’d stood for a while and watched Billy.


About the Author

Michael RaleighMichael Raleigh is the author of five mysteries set in Chicago and featuring detective Paul Whelan, as well as three other novels. He is Professor Emeritus of the City Colleges, where he taught Composition, Literature, and Chicago History. He currently teaches in the First Year Writing and Honors Programs at DePaul University. His novel THE RIVERVIEW MURDERS won the Eugene Izzi Award for best crime novel by a Chicago Writer, and he has been the recipient of four Illinois Arts Council awards for fiction. He is married with three children, and lives not far from the setting of the five Paul Whelan novels.

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Book Review: Nobody’s Child by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Nobody's ChildNobody’s Child
A Georgia Davis Novel of Suspense #4
Libby Fischer Hellmann
The Red Herrings Press, August 2014
ISBN:  978-1-938733-46-8
Trade Paperback

This newest book by Libby Fischer Hellmann, the author of a number of standalones as well her acclaimed Ellie Foreman and Georgia Davis mystery series, features the latter, who was a cop for ten years and now and for the past five years a Chicago PI. There are parallel story lines, one dealing with her sudden awareness of the existence of a half-sister about whom she knew nothing, the other a new case where she is hired by an Evanston store manager to get to the bottom of a “flash rob” – a term new to me but apparently referencing a robbery combined with a flash mob – which had gone viral on YouTube – and prove that one of his employees was behind it.

The whole “flash rob” thing was very interesting:  “a powerful warning of what could happen to a society where envy, a sense of entitlement, and electronic toys converged.”  Georgia’s back-story includes the fact that her father was a cop, and that her mother had left when Georgia was ten.  The theme of feeling that she is “nobody’s child” is well-established.

Both story lines are very intriguing, and chapters are interspersed with flashbacks of the half-sister, Savannah (“Vanna”), going back one year in time, in Littleton, Colorado, a Denver suburb, when she was introduced to drugs that initially cost no more than sexual favors, but soon came to cost a lot more. Savannah had not known of Georgia’s existence until ten months ago. Ultimately the tale involves sex trafficking and other criminal acts that are a whole lot worse.

In the more personal story line, a note is delivered to Georgia saying “Georgia, I am your half sister, Savannah. I’m in Chicago and I’m pregnant. I need your help. Please find me.” In the professional plot line, Georgia’s job becomes threatening when she realizes she is being followed, immediately after which there is a drive-by shooting and the man following Georgia is murdered.

Georgia has trust/relationship/ communication issues, a theme repeated throughout.  But it becomes clear that she does appreciate a specific physical aspect of the men she meets.  I loved the way Ellie Foreman, video producer and equally wonderful protagonist in Ms. Hellmann’s other series, has an off-page presence in the novel, as well as the sly reference to author Michael Connelly and his own Lincoln Lawyer protag.  The book is well-written and very enjoyable, and is recommended.

Reviewed by Gloria Feit, April 2015.

Book Review: The Jerusalem Connection by Janis Susan May

The Jerusalem ConnectionThe Jerusalem Connection
Janis Susan May
Sefkhat-Awbi Books, July 2014
ISBN 978-1-941520-06-2
Trade paperback

Choir director Robin Sabine herds (I use the term advisedly) a group of teenagers to a singing competition in Jerusalem when their regular director is unable to attend. Wow! Do things ever go wrong from there. The little group is housed in a terrible hotel, there’s a prestigious competing musical director who wants the Americans thrown out and, worst of all, Robin meets up with a former lover who dumped her.

What else could go wrong?

Well, her group is made up of soloists, and are a long way from cooperating as a team, let alone being competitive. That doesn’t bode well for placing in the competition. When she goes to the old city pick up a gift for a friend, the item seems to draw an inordinate amount of interest. Her room at the creepy hotel is searched–not once but several times, and people turn up dead.

The only good thing is the British attache who seems to have fallen for her. But can she trust him?

Then, when the teens are kidnapped and Robin’s life is threatened, the situation really goes wrong.

I truly enjoyed this romantic suspense, even though one character and Robin’s continued interest in him really grated on me. Otherwise, the characters were well-depicted. Greystoke Hamilton-ffoulkes (I have a hard time even typing that name, but I love it) is a hero in disguise. Robin herself–who carries around a purse rather like my own–is a heroine to root for, and the kids each have his/her own personality when s/he could easily have become a clone of one another.

The depiction of Jerusalem held my interest, as did the author’s portrayal of Jews and Arabs going about their daily life. Plenty of action will keep the reader turning the pages, a mystery will tantalize your curiosity, and there’s just enough romance to engage your emotions. All-in-all, an entertaining story.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, July 2015.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder.

Book Review: Forgiving Maximo Rothman by A.J. Sidransky

Forgiving Maximo RothmanForgiving Maximo Rothman              
A.J. Sidransky
Berwick Court Publishing, April 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9889540-0-7
Trade Paperback

Wow. What an undertaking. What an accomplishment. This intense detailed examination of several lives on three continents that spans six decades grabs and holds one’s interest immediately. It is in part a tale of the Jewish diaspora in the Twentieth Century, an obscure Jewish colony in the Dominican Republic, the sundering of families, and the support and damage the slavish observance of ancient tradition can bring. It is a tale of resolution of old wounds and new loves. And it is a tale of murder.

Max Redmond is bludgeoned to death in his apartment in Washington Heights. The New York detective assigned to the case is Tolya Kurchenko, whose family left the USSR. In the course of his investigation, he discovers diaries and records that resonate closely with his own estrangement from his father. Tolya’s father wanted him to attend Princeton, not become a cop.

Pursuit of the killer involves racial, religious, political and cultural dimensions. The novel is very well written, the characters are fascinating and the emotions and motivations are real. The story is not a slam bang action pumped thriller. Rather it is a meticulously and carefully detailed examination of several lives, multiple generations and the long-tailed consequences of their random and fateful interactions. This is a marvelous crime novel well illustrating it’s central theme that “Life is indeed too short to make enemies of those we love.”

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, July 2015.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
The Case of the Purloined Painting, The Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky.

Book Review: Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh

Confessions Of A Queen B Tour Banner


Title: Confessions of a Queen B*
Series: The Queen B* #1
Author: Crista McHugh
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, General Fiction, Young Adult



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Confessions of a Queen BConfessions of a Queen B*
The Queen B* #1
Crista McHugh
Crista McHugh, July 2015
ISBN 978-1940559629
Trade Paperback

From the author—

Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B—the Queen Bitch.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she’s carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now.

Before I get into what I liked about this book, I should probably mention the things I didn’t like so…

Um, well…hmm.  It seems I can’t think of anything. So, does that mean I really, really liked Confessions of a Queen B*? Why, yes, I did.

Alexis aka Lexi is a girl I admire even with her shortcomings. She’s prickly as can be but, because of her own experiences, she’s determined to protect the underdog and expose the wrongdoings that go on in the hell known as high school. As mentioned, she does have shortcomings, especially her inability to believe that she has much to offer of herself and her need to keep her distance from all but her two best friends, Morgan and Richard, and her mom and sister. Lexi’s relationship with her mother is the most poignant because it’s so weak, sort of the “ships passing in the night” kind.

Of all the boys in the fictional world, I think Brett may just be the most perfect. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you why because that would just spoil your own opportunity to peel back all the layers of this young man but, suffice it to say, he kept surprising me all the way through the book.

Solving the mystery of who’s filming the girls in the locker room never really takes first place in the storyline but what both Lexi and Brett believe what must be done with the information is critical and shows us who these two kids are at heart. We like to think that high school seniors have a certain level of maturity but actually seeing it on the page is really nice.

Finally, the romance. Ms. McHugh earned my undying gratitude in the way she handled this aspect of the story, so much so that I can’t wait to see how things will unfold in future books and that is a true rarity for me. Essentially, Confessions of a Queen B* is a book that should not have drawn me in because I’m not usually attracted to romance or teenaged angst but Crista McHugh surprised me into thinking I just might like such things every now and then.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2015.

About the Author

Crista McHughGrowing up in small town Alabama, Crista relied on story-telling as a natural way for her to pass the time and keep her two younger sisters entertained.

She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.

Just for laughs, here are some of the jobs she’s had in the past to pay the bills: barista, bartender, sommelier, stagehand, actress, morgue attendant, and autopsy assistant.

And she’s also a recovering LARPer. (She blames it on her crazy college days)

For the latest updates, deleted scenes, and answers to any burning questions you have, please check out her webpage, www.CristaMcHugh.com.

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