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The social media landscape has changed so much since I began this blog in 2007. Though this site is the center of my communications for Kathryn Wagner Photography I felt it only fair to reach out and connect directly to you, dear reader via the social media channel of your choice. A full range of options to suit your social media preferences is available by clicking on my about.me profile below; I look forward to connecting with you!

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Rambling along Virginia’s Route 6

 (Kathryn Wagner)

The sun filters through an overgrown field along Virginia’s Route 6.

If there ever were a highway that held a special place in my visual heart it would be Virginia’s Route 6. Stretching along the James River from the Blue Ridge to Richmond, it was the scenic route most often taken to and fro, from college in Richmond to home in Charlottesville. I have always been fascinated by this stretch of highway, for in many ways it has remained the same as it was when the town of Columbia was a strategic outpost during the Revolutionary War. Stretching through much of the state and many historic towns in Virginia, Route 6 is a premium choice for a weekend drive.  View a map of this intriguing highway, and go for a ride!

Go on vacation to be more productive.

 (©2011 Kathryn Wagner Photography and Wagner Media Works LLC)

I have taken a break from blogging over the past two weeks to recharge and refresh. During this time I got to thinking how important time off is for an individual’s productivity level. When you work as a freelancer  it is easy to fall into the trap of constantly working on projects which not only create a living for oneself, but you are also passionate about. Work/Life balance is equally as critical for the professional creative as it is for the corporate employee. The biggest difference in these perspectives is that the professional creative can take time off at their discretion – a luxury which few creatives take advantage of.  Time off is not only essential, it can be instrumental in the creative process as you give your brain and body space to come up with ideas and inspiration.

When is the last time you took time off? If you are thinking ‘that’s impossible, my business stops when I stop!’ you might want to consider the following questions regarding how you manage your business and personal productivity:

Do you have professionals in place to help you with certain aspects of you business? Lawyers, accountants, marketing managers, are all at the heart of what can save a professional creative time and money, not to mention allow oneself to play to their individual strengths. I chose to take a break during the U.S. national tax deadline. This did not affect my business in the least because I recognize the importance of having this done by a professional at the earliest possible convenience.

Do you manage your correspondence, social media streams and telephone contact at regular intervals? This not only aids in the ease which one might get away from work, but also is conducive to effective time management on a daily basis within the workplace.

Do you set goals regularly, and then strive to meet them? Goal setting probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind when one thinks of time off, but proper goal setting is integral in measuring the personal progression you strive for in your creative career. If you do not feel as though you are progressing in your career how would you feel at liberty to get away and relax? Use tools to set yearly, quarterly, and weekly goals to hold yourself accountable and measure progress in your path to professional creative fulfillment.

On the Origin of Branding

“A brand name is more than a word. It is the beginning of a conversation.” Lexicon

“The word “brand” is derived from the Old Norse brandr meaning ‘to burn.’ It refers to the practice of producers burning their mark (brand) onto their products.” A good example of this is the practice of burning one’s brand into cattle as an identifier. This mark made on each animal created a distinction in product from one rancher’s stock to the next. The better a rancher did on the cattle in meat markets the more important his mark, or his branding is to the consumer and in turn to the rancher. A wonderful example of a photograph which depicts this, is the iconic image created by Sam Abell of Montana cowboys branding cattle.

I have recently gone through a “re-branding” myself, in partnership with the wonderful people at Agency Access. We have revised the colors and font used in all of my correspondence and revised the mark which accompanies my photographic work. I have enjoyed the process and it has caused me to think deeply about how I wish to graphically represent the effort, time and expense that goes into my business. (For more on Agency Access please see the wonderful interview of Keith Gentile written by Rob Haggart on his blog A Photo Editor.)

Branding has become key to me because I wish to visually stand behind the creative work which I do.  I am grateful that I now communicate that stance clearly with a graphic that helps clients easily recognize my business as one of quality and professionalism.

RESOURCEFUL RESOURCES: Black Star Rising – Five tips for a successful travel photography shoot

So this is part of a consolidated list of my resourceful resources. Colleagues, as well as myself are always hungry for more information and I love to exchange with others where I go to learn more. I feel that one of the best things about being a photographer is that there is always more to learn. This series of posts will be my personal, curated resource of resourcefulness, services and information which have helped my creative business, and will hopefully help yours as well.


Five steps to a successful travel photography shoot from BlackStar on Vimeo.

I am excited and enthusiastic about contributing to the wonderful Black Star Rising photography blog. Black Star is one of the oldest photographic agencies in the U.S. and they count publications such as Time as thier clients. Above is my first contribution to Black Star Rising, detailing five tips for a successful travel photography assignment. Enjoy!

RESOURCEFUL RESOURCES: Heather Morton Art Buyer

So this is part of a consolidated list of my resourceful resources. Colleagues, as well as myself are always hungry for more information and I love to exchange with others where I go to learn more.  I feel that one of the best things about being a photographer is that there is always more to learn. This series of posts will be my personal, curated resource of resourcefulness, services and information which have helped my creative business, and will hopefully help yours as well.

I first became aware of Heather Morton through a link on A Photo Editor. I was very interested in Ms. Morton’s perspective as an art buyer and she has proved to provide insightful and sound insight into the creative industry.

My favorite posts have definitely been following two promising young shooters, Jamie Hogge and Grant Harder on their pursuit of a full time photographic career. The series is titled A Year in the Life Project, and I have really enjoyed relating to both image makers on the challenges of the industry.

The second reason I highly recommend subscribing to HMAB’s RSS feed (or adding to your google page) is the new Ask an Art Buyer series. Heather and her team have compiled a list of poignant questions regarding the nuances of the creative world and are asking guest art buyers to answer them. From branching out in photographic genres to dealing with trashed portfolios these conversations are well worth reading.

Overall, I highly recommend professional creatives check out Heather Morton’s blog and the lively conversation facilitated on http://www.heathermorton.ca/blog

RESOURCEFUL RESOURCES: iGoogle – the new front page news for Creatives.

So this is part of a consolidated list of my resourceful resources. Colleagues, as well as aspiring photographers have all asked me in the past about where to go to learn more. And I feel that one of the best things about being a photographer is that there is always more to learn. This series of posts will be my personal, curated resource of resourcefulness. Feel free to pay it forward by linking back to the blog….

 

I have been a fan of iGoogle since it’s inception in May 2005. Fresh from my BFA at the time, and looking for information on how to be the best creative business person I could be, I was hungry for information on the creative industry and found iGoogle to be the ultimate personalized newspaper. I still use it daily to keep track of over 50 different sources of information that update on a regular basis. I can tell you as a member of Generation Y that I do not read the newspaper every morning, but I do read this – and it is completely customized and geared toward my professional photography.

The symbol for an RSS feed. Click to subscribe to the latest from this blog.

The real beauty in iGoogle and other types of personalized homepages is that they accept any stream of information that has an RSS feed. RSS is the heart that keeps personalized homepages pumping and allows for anything from your favorite blogs to another creative’s portfolio to be updated and in one place. I do have guidelines that I follow to help a site stay on my homepage and stay relevant to my buisness. A resource a)Must be updated frequently, and if updated less than once a week I am looking for very high quality content and b) Must be insightful and relevant to the creative industry.

Do you use these personalized homepages? What are some of your favorite industry resources? Feel free to respond in the comments below.

RESOURCEFUL RESOURCES: American Society of Media Photographers

So this is part of a consolidated list of my resourceful resources. Colleagues, as well as aspiring photographers have all asked me in the past about where to go to learn more. And I feel that one of the best things about being a photographer is that there is always more to learn. So this series of posts will be my personal, curated resource of resourcefulness. If you benefit, feel free to pay it forward by linking back to the blog….

 American Society of Media Photographers is ‘the premier agency dedicated to the advocacy of professional photographers’ and to a creative professional nearly indispensible. Whether you are an Art Buyer looking for new photographers to work with utilizing the free “Find a Photographer” service, a  photographer who wants to refresh their perspective on the industry with educational events, or a fresh faced graduate straight out of photo school looking to be an assistant – ASMP has it all. I love their Strictly Business blog and am still friends with many of the photographers I worked with as a member of my home chapter ASMPCV in Richmond, Virginia. I highly recommend joining whether you are a photographer or creative professional who works with photographers.

RESOURCEFUL RESOURCES: Wise Elephant

So this is the beginning of a consolidated list of my resourceful resources. Friends and colleagues, as well as aspiring photographers have all asked me in the past about learning more. And I feel that one of the best things about being a photographer is that there is always more to learn. So this series of posts will be my personal, curated resource of resourcefulness. If you benefit, feel free to pay it forward by linking back to the blog….

I first heard  about Jason Morbier and Wise Elephant through Ms. Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua’s buisness book Business Basics for the Successful Commercial Photographer. It was the end of the year and I felt as though my buisness could use a jump start with a fresh perspective on the rapidly changing market and new social media tools now available to creatives. Jason is great in his advice getting to the heart of the matter with the buisness very quickly, and was wonderful in suggesting how to best use tools such as Twitter and Facebook. I also found the team’s blog to be a great insight for today’s creative economy. Jason offers up great bits of info in his twitter feed, defiately a recommended follow.