Friday, April 30, 2010

Exploit Personal Tragedy, Good For Business

Photographers try to connect with their website visitors in some intimate ways to garner their attention and stand out in the client's memory. Some use simple descriptions of who they are and what they like. Some share how many kids they have, how many dogs, or what their favorite foods are even.

Then there are some that think it's okay to let people know that they were a victim of a sex crime. Quite a ways from the nice happy relevant things brides are looking when looking for their photographer. How many wedding photographer's feel this is appropriate is something PZN can't decide. However, Photogzilla had his own thoughts to share.

"I can't tell you how bad I feel for anyone that's a victim of anything as traumatic. If something like this happened to you, I feel awful for you. But, what else comes to mind right away is that you're sharing this tragedy only to gain sympathy from anyone who reads it. And lord baby jezuz forgive me, but dare I say, I almost get this feeling you're doing this to win over clients by making them feel sorry for you. Why would you exploit such a thing? If you were naive, I could understand that, but if you're a successful wedding photographer, working along with your husband, you both know what information is being posted on your site. This information, in my sincerest opinion, just does not belong. It's inappropriate and just feels almost unethical in some weird-strange dimented kinda way. As photographers, what you share about you as a person is great for the people business we are in and almost a necessity. Go ahead and tell things about you that reflect your style, education, experience, awards, and anything pertaining to your PHOTOGRAPHY. However, you are not Oprah and trying to get better ratings.......Or, are you?"

PZN would like to hear what you think by taking our poll.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Escalate LIVE Gravy Train Diverted, Speakers May Seek Real Work

New development: PZN has been keeping a close eye on ticket sales, and with only 26 days left to sell tickets priced at $256.22, the organizers of Escalate Live have sold ONLY 220 tickets. This is a far reach from the 600 seats of cash flow Dane Sanders & company were looking forward to pocket. With numerous attendees jumping off after realizing this train was taking them and their wallets for a ride, they are looking to sell their prematurely purchased tickets to someone who doesn't mind lining the pockets of people that rely on taking advantage of those too naive or blinded by savvy marketing. Many more have lost interest in the event and more so, have lost respect for the speakers of this event.

PZN may have already taken out all the hot air that part time photographers Dane Sanders, Chris Becker, Jasmine Star, David Jay, and the rest of the company were planning on using to float across beautiful California blue skies with wads of cash in their pockets. Dreams of starting a seminar that would could someday become a lucrative cash flow for the speakers who could use a controlled platform to promote their own products, services, and workshops to an unsuspecting audience, assuring an annual pay day for giving inspiration speeches without much substance. A private little WPPI if you will. Only this time, a handful of part-time wedding photographers/full-time motivational speakers & bloggers would be collecting bags of booty as they made their way to the banks.

PZN asked Photogzilla for a comment on the pathetic ticket sales for an event with less then 26 days away.

"This is a clear sign that professional photographers everywhere are far more intelligent then these speakers give them credit for. Hard working people don't want to waste their money on fluff, and they're sending these 'self-proclaimed leaders' a clear message that they cannot be taken advantage of anymore. This gravy train on biscuit wheels, thinly disguised as some kind of educational seminar, is now coming to a slow grind before it has even left the station. My objective from the beginning was to educate the masses about these unethical and veiled techniques these people are using to make money. This is a big step in helping our industry realize it needs to realign back to the thinking that hard work and dedication based on a solid foundation is what is required to be successful as a photographer."

PZN will continue to keep a close eye on any new updates and whether the organizers will cancel the event. We do know for a fact that the speakers have had numerous discussions on how Photogzilla has thrown off their entire plans and have been redoing their speeches and presentations in an attempt to salvage their reputation. However, what is worse is that none of the speakers have responded to Photogzilla's numerous attempts to get even a comment. No one from Escalate Live seems to really care what people have to say and simply block anyone from following them on their Twitter page that they don't agree with. We feel that if you are a person has who has chosen to lead a public figure life, you cannot ignore the public that questions you and be selective to keep as an audience only those that you are able to fool. Photogzilla commented, "Not only did most of the speakers block me on Twitter, even @EscalateLive blocked me for asking some tough questions. David Jay even called two people 'clueless' for asking why doesn't he respond to questions. These people have some really huge egos and history teaches us this is the downfall of many."

PZN knows all of the speakers have been keeping a close eye on Photogzilla, because the organizers have even changed the iStock micro stock images they were using on a...wait for it....photographer's conference! One of them went out and took a few snaps to change around things on the Escalate Live website. PZN broke this news to our readers in an earlier report how EscalateLive had used a selective coloring image. What's really sad is that the images being used now are actually far worse in quality then the iStock photos. Photogzilla fell out of his chair when he saw the new images, "And these are professional photographers?? Can't even take high quality images themselves? What is wrong with these people?!? The humanity! If you DON'T know how to take professional quality images, what are you doing teaching a conference about photography? I guess, when your best is just not good enough as a wedding photographer, you become a motivational speaker for other wedding photographers. This is such a train wreck."

Now, the PR minds at Escalate LIVE have decided to offer a live stream for free. The speakers are trying utilize any method they can to salvage their reputation, so they'll do anything to save their public image. Here is Photogzilla again.

"This is another clear sign that Dane and company are desperate to save themselves. They are going to try to play this giveaway free seminar to gain points from sympathizers. It's just so sad. What's even more moronic is what they will have to do with the 220 people that HAVE bought a ticket already to attend what is now a FREE seminar. Who's the moron running this train wreck?? Oh yeah. The speakers. I think they need to focus on their wedding photography business. They apparently aren't making enough money on that, so their wasting everyone's time and money on this recycled and regurgitated garbage. I can tell you right now, they have changed their entire presentation to NOT plug their products and are going to try to look like angels by trying to give away a free presentation. They should just cancel the event and go home. Cut your losses. Focus on becoming better photographers or seek another line of work. Don't try to be the next Tony Robbins, who I might add is who Dane & company have been ripping off and plagiarizing. Oh, and did you know that line Jasmine always says 'I'd rather fail at something I love then succeed at something I hated' that you hear at every seminar she speaks at...She says her husband JD said it to her. Turns out, it's also ripped straight from the Cameron Diaz movie "What Happens In Vegas," where Cameron's character turns down her promotion in the board room scene. Go check it out for yourself. Unoriginal. Fluff. Empty motivations. Just full pockets with money from deceived photographers who trusted these people. Very sad."

If you would like for the speakers to respond, ask them on Twitter by pasting the following: @DaneSanders @_DavidJay @JasmineStar @JessicaClaire @theBecker Why are u ignoring legit questions from @Photogzilla -

We also invite our PZN readers & Photogzilla followers from Twitter to take our poll to see what should happen next.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Photographers Be Brutal: Grade Yourself

Do you remember elementary school?

Do you remember how you got a report card about all the subjects you were taking?

Math. Science. English. Social Studies. Music. Even gym.

Now it's time to grade yourself as a photographer. First, you're going to do this on your own. And you're gonna like it whether you hate it or not. Sit your ass down and let's start with just the basics. Leave a comment. If you're man/woman enough, put your name next to it. Otherwise, be anonymous, but just be honest.

In the information age we live in, its so easy to pick up a camera, read a few blogs of inspiration, pay for some silly forum membership, and bang, you're now a professional photographer.

Camera Knowledge - ? - How well do you know your camera body inside and out? How quickly can you change any setting within split seconds? How do megapixels truly affect the quality of an image? What's metering? What's the difference between a CCD and CMOS? 

Flash Knowledge - ? - You get my drift so far. Think about ratios. Think about channels. Think about master. Think about slaves. Think about setups. Think bounce. Think power. Think it all.

Lighting - ? - What do you know about measuring light? What do you know about harsh and soft shadows? Think about softboxes. Think about light stands. Think about power sources. Think about triggers. How well do you know these and more? If you say 'but I'm a natural light shooter so this really doesn't apply to me' give yourself a 'D' automatically for effort.

Lenses - ? - Sounds easy, but how well do you know what your lenses do. If someone told you to just shoot wide open cause they do it, give yourself an automatic 'D.' When do you think you should use or not use AF? Do you even know what AF stands for? What's barrel distortion? What apertures do you use at any given time? What are advantages of a prime lenses? Disadvantages? How about zoom lenses? When should you use a lens hood and shouldn't? If you leave the lens cap on ever, give yourself a 'D' for effort.

History - ? - Surprised? Shouldn't be. How much history do you know about photography? Who are were the pioneers and artists that defined the craft through the past 170 years? What methods and technology gave way to where we are today?

These are just the basics. Things all pros should know.  We haven't even scratched the surface of taking photos, composition, rules, rendering, metering, AF points, industry laws, and the ever popular summation of all of the above to arrive to a great photo IN CAMERA.

This was just a quick thought provoking memo for my readers during my 15 minute lunch break. Something to think about and help you reflect on what's important when you call yourself a pro. Many 'pros' in today's industry don't even know the above the basics.  

For now, I have to get back to work. I've got bathroom cleaning duties. The new high school cheerleader is really cute, so the manager gave her my drive-thru duties today. What a punk.

By the way, if you can get any of your rockstar friends to take this 'grade yourself' exercise and publicly display it, I'll be impressed. If they don't, demand it before you pay them a dime to buy their 50% off Workshop on a DVD specials on Twitter or the how to schedule a client meeting book for slow people, or attend one of their workshops in Paris. 

It's your money. It's your industry.

Keep stalking Photogzilla Rockstar!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Escalate Live Sitting Down or Walking Out

Dear Escalate Live Speakers: PZN has received numerous requests from concerned photographers who have either bought a ticket to Escalate LIVE or were thinking about going but have now changed their mind. Some are even trying to get a refund or sell their ticket to some other poor chap. They are really worried and would like to know exactly what are they getting for letting each one of you make over $10,000+ to just talk about yourself for 2 to 4 hours.

Chris Becker - Besides the blow me pose and how to throw network parties, what else will you talk about?
David Jay - Can't remember the last time you shot a wedding. But you're great at quoting others. Do you plan to just plug Showit Sites?
Jasmine Star - You sound pretty busy most of the time. With the blog, JD, and the dog. Besides ghetto fabulous marketing, what else do you have planned to discuss?
Jessica Claire - We have a pool going to guess how many times you will say Shootsac during your speech, mention your own wedding, and talk about Jose Villa.
Dane Sanders - Will you plug your book, your ownership of OSP forum, investment in Showitfast, or even when is the last time you shot an actual wedding. Now you're just an 'author' of 'Fast Track Photograher?' 
Jerry Ghionis - Really? What are you doing at this thing with some of these people? We're slightly confused. What do you plan on talking about?
Jeremy Cowart - You spent a lot of time with Britney Spears. That must have been fun. Everyone else is a wedding photographer. You're like the third wheel. It almost feels like you're supposed be the different dish on the table for the sake of being different.

One other simple simple question for the speakers of Escalate LIVE:

In 2009, how much did you gross for shooting weddings and how many did you shoot?

We know all of the speakers are very nice people. We just don't know how honest some of them are, exactly how justified this money making seminar really is, and most importantly, how much value is it for a paying attendee? As seasoned photographers are professing, they would NEVER recommend this seminar to any photographer, newbie or not. Why do you think professionals who have been in this business for years not supporting this cash cow seminar?

After all, many people used to think Tiger Woods was as good as they come. Boy, were they wrong. Image & branding can really fool many people. Unfortunately, the photography industry has more flocking sheep then actual professional photographers. And sadly, there are some 'self-proclaimed leaders' that are clearly taking advantage of many of these people.

We would also like to know why with over 10 hours and 43 minutes still left in Tier 1 ticket discount pricing did you have a 'Sold Out' status marked on the following purchase page? The reason we ask is because we know, and you well know, that you still have not sold 300 seats at the stated time or even now, as 300 is the exact number of seats that were made available at Tier 1 pricing. Was this done to create a sense of urgency? Is this part of some strategy to sell more tickets by creating false demand? 

This above example just shows us ticket buyers have a justifiable reason to question the organizers about this event.

So, if you're one of the speakers, go ahead comment to this post.

If you have a detailed syllabus for topics to be discussed, please share. We know you wouldn't take people's money without giving them something to value. So share the details.

Photographers, newbie or not, don't need to pay for inspiration. That's like cans of hope; all you get is hot air.

For all you photographers out there: know someone who's thinking about going to this event? Spread the word by Tweeting the following: 

RT @photogzilla Why z @escalatelive refusing 2answer HARD questions: Creating FALSE DEMAND? Ask WHY, leave comment:

Keep stalking Photogzilla Rockstar!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Escalate LIVE & Dane Sanders, An Exclusive Interview With Photogzilla

Photogzilla Rockstar has been thoroughly confused since the inception of EscalateLIVE went public just as we at PZN have been, along with many wedding photographers deciding whether they should even flush down the money to go. It was only a few weeks ago that Colonel Sanders (aka @DaneSanders) began promoting the baajesus out of @escalateLIVE. Along with his co-speakers, who have garnered an army of Twitter 'followers' (yes, that word should make you really go into some deep thought as well...followers, sheep, flock, herd, the list goes on), they started to tweet that people should get excited about and follow @escalateLIVE, a two day speaking event targeted at wedding photographers.

Our interest was certainly piqued and we knew for sure the same was true for our resident chief, Mr. Photogzilla Rockstar. So PZN decided to track down Photogzilla and get his thoughts on the event.

PZN: Mr. Rockstar, could you share with our readers what your first reaction was upon seeing all of the speakers begin their online promotion marketing campaign through Twitter and other social networking avenues?

PHOTOGZILLA: My first reaction you ask? (laughs) I was like, 'Holy shit!' Are these people [Colonel Sanders & Company] really that stupid? Everyone has just come back from spending close to a thousand dollars, leaving their families for a week, and going to Vegas to listen to all of these same people at WPPI. What moron would schedule this event in their right mind, right after WPPI?

PZN: But Mr. Rockstar, scheduling aside, isn't their some value to this event?

PHOTOGZILLA: To be honest, I really can't seem to find it. Besides the words 'inspire' and 'inspiration' constantly being thrown around, there isn't much to go on. For blessed baby Jesus' sake, there isn't even a syllabus or subject matter even detailed on their site. How do you sell $250 tickets to an event without knowing what you're even getting?? Just take a look at this [slips us a the following image]

PZN: Okay, what are we looking at here? It just looks like a simple schedule for two days. Speaker 1, 2, 3, etc, some lunch, and there's a countdown thing on the right, which kind of tells us like we better jump on the bandwagon so we don't miss out. Kind of like when we're buying concert tickets at TicketMaster for our favorite rockstar's show. Mr. Rockstar, we are a little confused by this page.

PHOTOGZILLA: Exactly. It's promoted like its some rock concert to Lady Gaga or something. It's part of creative marketing and PR. Dane Sanders has been famous for his subliminal marketing techniques, along with some of the other speakers involved in this event. Quite confusing schedule isn't it? This is the schedule details from's own website. There's no concise outline about what exactly is being taught. From what I gather with the motivational name and escalator taking a person to the next level in a mall, it's just a make you feel good conference. There is no earth shattering knowledge you'll gain by going to this. Period.

PZN: So what is the value of going to this conference?

PHOTOGZILLA: None. There is absolutely nothing that makes me want to spend hundreds of dollars to go listen to people tell me their life stories or motivate me. My motivation comes in the form of a mortgage bill every month. I need to make the benjamins so I can live. These speakers will be sharing the same stories that are on their blogs and online videos that will be simply rehashed for a paying audience. The only difference will be it's live. Kind of like going to church for inspiration when the manual [bible] is sitting at home gathering dust. Sorta like, most photographers that are trying to find out the secrets to taking great photos, when all they have to do is start with picking up their manual and knowing their equipment inside and out. Then just go out and practice like crazy everyday. And if you want to become a wedding photographer, lower your ego and go 2nd shoot for a year or two to really refine your skills and build up a solid REAL portfolio of REAL brides. Not paid models at a workshop that is staged.

PZN: That's an interesting point you bring up Mr. Rockstar, about photographers needing to focus on the actually photography and not motivational talks. Why do you feel so strongly about this?

PHOTOGZILLA: Isn't it the photos that matter to our clients at the end of the day? If you produce shit, you better correct that first. I don't give a shit how ghetto fabulous your marketing is, the only people that are really paying attention to your Twitters and blogs are OTHER photographers looking on in envy. By the way, isn't envy one of the seven deadly sins? Hmmm...ironic statement since so many of these self-proclaimed leaders are supposed to be Jesus abiding followers yet try very hard to make sure they're in the limelight, but I digress. As I was saying about fab-type marketing, just look at Scarlett Lillian. Her ghetto fabulous marketing is just sad. Any self respecting photographer that knows the craft will look at her work and immediately say she does not know enough to qualify her as a professional photographer. And there are many imitating to be just like her, just as she was imitating other self-proclaimed leaders in the industry. This industry has just become a constant pool of imitators and not creators of anything original or uniquely their own.

My point is that people, not real photographers, don't truly know their craft and are not seriously learning the basics of photography. You can't go out there and call yourself a pro photographer when you don't even know the dynamics of the technology you're utilizing in your hands. You can't go out there and say, 'Oh, I don't know Photoshop cause I just use actions' or pop on a 50 1.2 and say 'go shoot wide open for awesome blurry effects' & call it a day. They don't know why they are doing what they're doing. They are just imitating what they read and use it all day. That's not photography. And that's not art. Kinda like baking a Betty Crocker cake mix and then saying 'I made this cake.' No you didn't make the cake, you just opened up a box and cracked two eggs. Photography is just like becoming a real cook. You need to be able to bake a cake from scratch, understanding what and how the ingredients play into the sum of the whole.You need to understand the chemistry before you can call yourself a professional.

PZN: So aren't today's workshops teaching the 'culinary' skills required to become a pro photographer?

PHOTOGZILLA: (Laughs so hard, he farts) No way! Most of these are just teaching people what isle the cake mix box is sitting in and which flavors they, the instructor are using. They are saying, 'Go to this store, pick up these actions, pick up these lenses, pick up this Shitsac, pick up a pack of these Shitdomain website, and follow all of my friends on Twitter who sell this prepackaged stuff.' Everyone wants to make the quick buck. What is there left then to differentiate you from those weekend warriors undercutting the real professionals? There is NO turnkey solution when it comes to learning ANY profession without sacrificing the time to learn the fundamentals.

PZN: We're confused Mr. Rockstar. Why are these so called self-proclaimed leaders promoting these types of workshops & seminars that won't really help a persons skill set?

PHOTOGZILLA: Greed. Make money anyway you can. Even if it means its at the cost of taking money from honest people that are a little lost in this industry because they are just new to the photography business world or even just business itself. You have to have a skill or product to sell. You don't go to an interview without the right credentials and say 'Hey, I can do this job cause I'm motivated & inspired.' You have to walk the walk. That's why I say, most of today's so called wedding photographers, including some these 'self-claimed leaders,' would fail if given a Photography 101 exam. Would you feel comfortable going to learn from a professor that couldn't take his own quiz?

PZN: That's very interesting and sad at the same time. You mentioned imitators earlier. What did you mean?

PHOTOGZILLA: Well, besides the obvious imitating of style and the actual photo another photographer took, you have these less known people across the country in every city having meetings with other photographers to imitate the jockstar lifestyle. The self-proclaimed leaders are doing a disservice because others are thinking that what they do is the same thing they have to do in order to become famous or popular in the industry. They want to be recognized, so they try to make a name for themselves by having a networking get together, and one guy or girl will get up and just regurgitate everything they heard from a workshop they wasted $99 on. In turn, everyone in attendance thinks this persons knows their stuff and begins to look up to them. In fact, this person is not even looked up to and respected for their actual photography skills. Just an organizer who knows how to invite people to a party and managed to fake it till he makes it. 

What's really disingenuous is all this person has done is make themselves more known to 20-30 people without contributing any original thought or ideas. It's a waterfall effect. Hear something from these so-called leaders. Repeat it downstream to others. Look important. Be popular. Where's the reminder, 'Hey, do you know your skill set as a photographer?' It's become a race to become popular so you can become a sponsored speaker or paid endorser of some camera bag or an album company. Even athletes spend years in order to prove themselves to be great at a sport before they gain fans or sponsorship. It's the reverse with the current state of our industry. Become popular first, then worry about being good at your sport later.

PZN: Wow. Never did look at it that way. You make a very solid point Mr. Rockstar. So do you think Colonel Sanders is qualified to be teaching this two day workshop?

PHOTOGZILLA: Like I said earlier, what are they even teaching? If inspiration is it, I say pick up a self help book or go to church. Don't waste your money. In regards to Dane Sanders teaching any kind of photography seminar, I honestly don't think so. The guy is a community college professor that took a few notes from his textbooks and plagiarized the stuff into his own book. It's funny that he even named it after a toll road in Orange County called Fastrack that he drives on. It just floors me how original this guy is.

PZN: But isn't he a professional wedding photographer who other wedding photographers can learn from?

PHOTOGZILLA: That's funny you call him that. Can you remember the last time Dane Sanders was referred to as a 'wedding photographer?' Or do you even remember one of his Twitter updates being about shooting a wedding? I certainly don't. No one even knows how many weddings he shot in 2009 alone. And if he did shoot any weddings, how much revenue did he make from his wedding photography business? I mean, if you're laying out all this inspiration and great model to follow, show me the motherfuckin money man. This applies to ALL of the speakers at this event, any workshop, or seminar. That's what tells me at the end of the day that your shit works and I need to listen to you. Money talks. Bullshit walks.

PZN: So are you saying Dane Sanders is one of the speakers that should not be teaching a seminar on wedding photography?

PHOTOGZILLA: You don't have to take it from me. Colonel Sanders KNOWS he's not good enough to teach a workshop. More so, the irony is Dane even tells people they shouldn't go to a workshop. It's just amazing the hypocrisy and the self evident ironies that come out of his own mouth. Take a look at these two videos for yourself. Dane does all the talking. 

Here's what Colonel Sanders says about going to seminars/workshops in his own words; don't go. Ironic because he stands to profit the most for organizing and promoting EscalateLIVE. Look at what he says between 1:05 and 1:20:

PHOTOGZILLA: If you missed it, Dane said, "Everything you need is already inside you. This is a true statement. It turns out you actually don't need to go to anymore workshops about photography ever. You don't...The point is, everything you need, you have." I couldn't have said it myself Dane Sanders.

PZN: Mr. Photogzilla Rockstar! He...he....he just said don't go to any workshops! That just turns the entire EscalateLIVE event on its head and goes against Colonel Sanders' philosophy. What is this?

PHOTOGZILLA: We call this flip-flopping for the sake of greed. But I'm not done yet. To answer your question is he good enough to teach a workshop, he himself admits he wouldn't have been able to be a speaker unless he organized this event himself. Good point indeed Colonel Sanders. Take a look for yourself from their sadly produced EscalateLIVE promo video with the Becker. Watch 5:12 to 5:23:

PHOTOGZILLA: Let me quote him again in case your eyes need to read the actual words. Dane said, "I figured that the only way I could ever really get on this ticket is if I created the event myself." What I really like is how The Becker responds with the most honest statement I've ever heard come out of his mouth, "Well, hey, you did it and that's good for you...And I think it's going to pay off." Just look at the Beckers face as he turns and takes in the view of the theater seats as he says "pay off." I'm fully convinced the Becker was doing the math in his head about what the actual pay off will be for filling all 600 seats. Oh, yeah. This event will definitely 'pay off' nicely for a few people for selling inspiration without much substance. And this pay off is for the Dane and the speakers. The facts can't be denied.

PZN: Wow. Just wow Mr. Rockstar. This is quite disconcerting. How much money are they going to make from this seminar alone?

PHOTOGZILLA: Yes, it is very upsetting isn't it? Confuses everyone that watches it, especially when it comes out of their own mouths. Well, I did some conservative calculations myself. The Lido Theatre is a one screen theatre that rents out its space often for private events and meetings. This one theater only holds 600 people. Here's my breakdown so far:

Lido Theatre rents out its space at $1000 per hour and includes all audio/visual/and staff support required to run a meeting. EscalateLIVE presale price per Tier 1 ticket to first 300 with fees is $184.47. If the first 300 physical seats sell out with Tier 1 pricing and then the remaining 300 at Tier 2 pricing, that's Tier 1 $55,341 + Tier 2 $78,866 = $132,207 dollars in gross sales. When you deduct the cost of the rent of the theatre, which will likely be negotiated a bit from their normal $1,000/hr rates, you're around $12-15,000 cost for the two day facility rent. This means your roughly around $115,000 after subtracting rent. Now, that's the bare minimum with the current data we have. They are also planning on selling it on 'Pay-Per-View' by streaming it online. How much revenue will be generated from these online sales is another factor to consider. More then likely, they will also be profiting from selling DVDs recordings of this event. 

There are minimal expenses like travel for some of the speakers, but that's a drop in the bucket, along with some turkey sandwiches, mini-bags of chips, and some cans of Diet Coke from The Becker's trip to Sam's Club.

I just also want to mention, there are people spending hundreds more, if not over a thousand dollars, flying in from other countries and states to go to this event. They are plunking down more money to attend, not to mention the money they've already spent in going to WPPI. These are not the economic times to be taking advantage of these strapped for cash business owners. Look at me, I have to work at my part time job at a drive-thru just to make ends meet. But I do eating free food at work, I won't lie [Grins].

From my calculations, each speaker stands to make a minimum of $10,000 for just inspiring photographers with their personal biographies and plugging the "tools" you will need to ahead. Dane Sanders could be profiting more as the producer of the event. Also, just watch what tools they'll be plugging. Products that the speakers are owners/producers of and/or belong to their close friends. David Jay & will plug Showit sites. Dane Sanders his lack luster plagiarized book. Becker will plug his silly B School. Jessica Claire will plug her sadly designed Shootsac. The list goes on. 

Should they make money? Sure, why not. It's capitalism. People sell crap all the time and poor suckers buy into it. But this is part of the underlying problem known as the fleecing of America. Is all this inspiration information free and available on their sites, blogs, in other forums, and in books? Of course. Are you learning to improve what's really required from your knowledge of photography to have a strong foundation for the service you provide? No.

So there you have it. 

I hate to cut this short guys, but I need to get back to work. The drive-thru is probably backed up by now.

PZN: Mr. Rockstar, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day and sharing your insights. We really appreciate it.

PHOTOGZILLA: You guys better appreciate it. This is the weirdest interview I've ever had to give. I mean, who follows a guy into a public bathroom stall and starts asking questions? You guys are just nuts and will do anything to get a story!

PZN: Yes, sir! We'll do whatever it takes to share the truth with all of the professional photographers we love and help them make a more informed decision to better the industry that belongs to them! We don't want anyone throwing away any of their hard earned money.

PHOTOGZILLA: Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Anyway, can you just throw over some toilet paper or even some newspaper. I'm all out over here.

PZN: On a final note, PZN wants to leave you, our readers, with the following image. We honestly assumed, as professional photographers would agree, that selective coloring was dead. Apparently not.

This image is from the home page of EscalateLIVE website. These pros are keeping the trend alive. Apparently, with at least 9 PROFESSIONAL photographers with a bunch of cameras on hand, not one of these 'pro' photographers had enough creativity to produce their own image for their own event. We are truly saddened and surprised, as you will be, to learn that this image is from iStock microstock photo services. Photozilla just yelled from behind the bathroom stall, "WTF? That's just pathetic!":

Keep stalking Photogzilla Rockstar!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lessons Scarlett Lillian Never Learned

How many of you have made a mistake and learned from it? Now, how many of you made 2, 3, or 10 mistakes, and still keep repeating it essentially making yourself to look like a buffoon? After someone goes through some revealing and introspective experiences, they begin to act & do things differently. Such as a drug addict that goes through an intervention & treatment. You would think a new path of redemption would begin. Yes, PZN does think of itself as the catalyst for intervention to the illness plaguing the photography industry. Not shy to say it, with all due humbleness and respect.

PZN would like to reintroduce self-promoted 'Don't-Call-Me-A-Rockstar-I'm-Like-Jesus-&-Picasso' wedding photographer Scarlett Lillian by giving our intelligent and business savvy readers an update on Scarlett Lillian. She seems to like getting attention from Mr. Rockstar. Not sure if she has a crush on him, but we would't be surprised. He's freakin' sexy!

Let's start with exhibit A. Mr. Photogzilla Rockstar has suggested many photographers to never use unethical or misleading methods to promote yourself as something you are not. For instance, if you don't know have a solid technical knowledge & history about photography, don't teach a workshop (i.e. Scarlett). If you don't have experience shooting numerous amounts of nude photography for clients, don't teach a workshop on it (i.e. Scott Bourne). And now, if you weren't commissioned to shoot some reality show celebrity Whitney Thompson, don't make your first splash image on your website sound like you were sought out to shoot America's Next Top Model winner, when in fact you PAID her to be at YOUR fraudulent workshop so you could have her on your WORKSHOP DVD that you were more worried about being filmed then your workshop paying attendees, of which majority of the attendees also later complained, saying you were essentially being inept and incompetent to teach (but sweet, thats about it)....and now BREATHE after that run-on sentence. Finally, here's Exhibit A:

Now for Exhibit B. Mr. Photogzilla Rockstar has also advised photographers to NEVER use a workshop photo on your website. Your portfolio is NEVER built at a workshop. You're there to learn. Your experience comes from true events where YOU set up the shot, YOU came up with idea, and you DIDN'T use a MODEL to make your images more attractive. Sure good looking people help, but for goodness sake, be real and honest! Your clients don't need to see your class project photos...They want to see YOUR real work at REAL weddings. Otherwise, you're essentially committing fraud and misrepresenting yourself. Now, Exhibit A also qualifies for this definition, but so does the following Exhibit B, a photo Ms Lillian took of models at a workshop as a student. We believe this to be at Mike Colon's workshop in Hawaii (please don't get Mr. Rockstar started on Destination workshops, that's a different post to come).

Well, boys and girls, what is the lesson from this post? First, Scarlett sweetie, if you're reading this, and Mr. Rockstar knows you and your 'I've-Only-Shot-One-Wedding-Which-Was-A-Relative' fiance Stephen Knuth are, stop misleading your clients with marketing trickery to promote yourself as someone more important to clients & other photographers. Remove these 'unreal' images from your website and post only your real work, even if it's badly composed or badly processed. Be proud of your poop. Own it!

Keep stalking Photogzilla Rockstar!

Like a good photographer should always do when using images for educational or news purposes, copyright for above images belongs to amateur photographer Scarlett Lillian.

Scott Bourne Says Screw Other Photographers

Sad is the word that comes to mind. Mr. Scott Bourne continues to deny his wrongdoing and still has not clarified his position with the facts regarding why he is advertising to be an instructor in a workshop for nude photography. He is not qualified for this position yet stands to profit from a $1500 per person workshop. It is also disappointing that Ms. Bambi Cantrell continues to support this irresponsible and unethical misleading of photographers whom expect to be taught by instructors that should have a long history of dealing with the subject matter. Mr. Bourne doesn't.

Mr. Bourne is a wildlife and landscape photographer. As it was reported in previous posts, he has only been commissioned for three nude sessions for paying clients. Don't be scared: Mr. Bourne was NOT the person nude, as far as we know.

It is ironic he's now going on other blog sites and trying to leave anonymous comments, but using the same language and verbage pattern to discredit anyone who does not agree with him. Though he is in the wrong, it is humourous he is now actually the one who is depicting a true troll. It would have been easier if he simply clarified himself and removed himself from the workshop in question.

He is accusing Mr. Photogzilla Rockstar of being a "troll," along with many others, who have voiced strong opinions on the photography industry. Mr. Rockstar has been vocal from the beginning of his 'arrival' for the need to change the industry for the better and reevaluating of certain persons manipulating professionals for their own personal agenda and greed.

Several days ago, Mr. Photogzilla Rockstar had sent a message to Mr. Jim Collins, the CEO of Pictage, requesting if he would mind sharing information about who his company sponsers in the interest of full disclosure. Mr. Collins was very kind with his time and responded by sending PZN an email with all of the information and his process of choosing sponsorship.

A few days later, Mr. Collins posted the same information to share with the general public in a blog post so more photographers could be made aware of Pictage's activites in light of the recent rumblings that have been going since Mr. Rockstar began his 'honesty rampage.'

In a response to Mr. Collins post, the efforts of which we at PZN appreciate, Mr. Bourne arrived to discredit the complaints put forth against by Mr. Rockstar. He feels strongly that no complaint is worth worrying about and everyone should just go on about their business. He also accuses Mr. Rockstar of living in his mom's basement. Upon reading this, Mr. Rockstar's mother was quite upset and asked Mr. Rockstar how could have Mr. Bourne known unless he was snooping around in her yard, essentially trespassing. PZN is not too sure whether Mr. Bourne actually did snoop around Mrs. Rockstar's lawn, thereby breaking the law. PZN is investigating, but please enjoy Mr. Bourne's comment for now:

Mr. Bourne posted the above comment anonymously, however, the buffoon of a mistake he made was he used his first name. We too scratched our heads as you are probably doing that and thinking, "WTF?" Mr. Bourne has basically said, 'Screw other photographers and their opinions don't matter.'

However, we had a nice person also follow up with a comment directed towards Mr. Bourne in response to his true 'trollish' style of a comment as you will see below.

Well said Mr. Lin. Mr. Bourne, you are a very very bad man for name-calling indeed. We should call you Mr. Meanie, per Photogzilla's mother Mrs. Rockstar.

Is this the kind of professional that our industry needs?

Is this the type of photographer other photographer's should look up to?

Is this the type of instructor workshop attendees need teaching when he just took a nude photography workshop himself only in November 2009?

Is this the type of photographer a respectable company like WHCC (White House Custom Color) should be sponsoring and associating their brand with?

Isn't Mr. Scott Bourne the real troll?

Sad Mr. Bourne. Just sad.

Keep stalking Photogzilla Rockstar!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wildlife Photographer Reads PR Is For Dummies

Backpedaling is something we at PZN have been seeing ever since Photogzilla Rockstar came on the scene and began exposing silly photographers trying to take advantage of the industry. Of course, they can try to blind others and dilly dally trying to put on their PR hats, but Photogzilla is keeping his monster eye out.

A few hours ago, PZN reported that wildlife photographer Scott Bourne was advertising a workshop to pocket $1500 from each attendee. This workshop was advertised as himself and Bambi Cantrell being the instructors for the course.

Here is the original advertisement (link):
Just a short while ago, as Photogzilla expected, Mr. Bourne felt the need to respond to the PZN report indirectly. Reportedly, he saw the PZN report and spoke to his co-instructor Bambi. After taking off his Panama Jack hat off for a few moments and putting on his Captain PR hat, he decided to 'clarify' on a new blog post that he is merely "helping out" now. Ironically, his post is now titled "Come Learn Fine Art Nude & Boudoir Photography From Bambi Cantrell." It's okay, Photogzilla chuckled too.

As you can clearly see on the original advertisement for the workshop, both photographers are "joining forces" to teach the workshop. Per Mr. Bourne's own words in his damage control posting, if he is only an assistant, PZN suggests Mr. Bourne allow Ms. Cantrell to headline the workshop alone and remove his name entirely from future advertisements. We can't remember the last time an assistant was headlining a workshop, unless the person is one of the actual instructors that specializes in the subject matter. Mr. Bourne needs to make up his mind about what his role is, and more importantly, if he is even fit for the role he is advertising.

We don't want backpedaling. We just want Mr. Bourne and any other photographer out there to consider skills come before marketing. Throwing your name behind a workshop may guarantee to fill seats, however, you are merely using fluff marketing.

Photogzilla commented on this story, "I'm not afraid to admit. I would call myself an 'assistant' too just so I could watch all the beautiful women. But of course, I'm not implying Panama Scott has the same dirty motives as I would. I'm just crazy enough to make that honest admission."

Suggested reading for all photographers out there worried about getting caught with their pants down (available at Amazon):

Keep stalking Photogzilla on Twitter!

Wildlife Photographer Teaching $1500 Nude Workshop

PZN News - April 5, 2010 - Wildlife photographer Scott Bourne is planning to teach a nude photography workshop and has just confirmed he has only shot 3 nude sessions that he was actually commissioned for by clients. Mr. Bourne is now soliciting photographers to pay him $1500 to teach a two day workshop on the subject.

In his Twitter comment, Mr. Bourne replied to a user, who retweeted our question, when asked how many nude sessions he had been commissioned for, to which he replied, "not relevant IMO since I'm teaching light, posing & biz." We are stumped at this response. Last we checked, nude photography requires its own lighting, posing, and business techniques. We are thoroughly confused by this ironic statement by Mr. Bourne who will be charging $1500 to teach attendees how to pose nudes, light nudes, and the business side of nude photography, all the while he has only been paid to do this three times. Yes, again, we said three. Uno. Dos. Tre!

PZN has also discovered that Mr. Bourne had just recently a workshop as a student himself, given by a veteran of nude photography, Carlos Baez. Mr. Bourne attended Mr. Baez's workshop in November of 2009 during the Partnercon conference period. According to Mr. Bourne's own blog posting on November 9, 2009, he does not claim to have normal day to day experience with nude photography, "I am not a regular nude shooter, but I have probably shot three or four projects in the past."

Mr. Bourne's own inexperience on the subject of nude photography can be best put in his own words he noted while working with one of the models at Mr. Baez's workshop, while reminding us he is best known for capturing the members of the animal kingdom, "I realized that as a wildlife photographer, I was going to have to use my imagination to get a shot that counted."

Finally, we were happy to hear Mr. Bourne was humble enough to confirm again what we had assumed from the beginning, "I am not very experienced at this type of photography..."

We had all of the supporting facts, including those by Mr. Bourne's own admission, to arrive to an educated conclusion regarding this report. However, we at PZN are never convinced that easily even with ourselves. So we went to our in-house PZN supercomputer; the Rockstar Commodore 64. We entered in all of the data we had collected and after 24 hours of calculating, blinking lights, and high rotations of cooling fans, our dot matrix printer output one of only two possible results. With 4 feet of banner paper, the output read "FAIL."
PZN has recently uncovered other similar photography workshops being given by photographers who have not actually had any commissioned work experience or even enough personal project experience in the subject matter being taught. The most recent was the embarrassing fiasco that exposed Scarlett Lillian, along with Stephen Knuth, who was irresponsibly given a title of "2009 Photographer of the Year" by even though Mr. Knuth had reportedly shot only one wedding in his entire career thus far and was only working at a Starbucks the previous year making fresh hot cappuccinos for coffee lovers. The damning news came when it was discovered this one wedding Mr. Knuth shot was for one of his own relatives. Mr. Knuth has been charging unsuspecting photographers to shoot with him at workshops hosted by him. He has recently removed the words "2009 Photographer of the Year" from one of his splash images on his blog just in the past couple of days, however we have received reports he is still touting this meritless title. He did remove the large title after PZN exposed his irresponsible & reckless attempts to mislead inexperienced photographers & defrauding clients of his true experience.

In regards to the nude workshop and his experience, PZN has attempted to reach Mr. Bourne for comment to this story multiple times but he has failed to respond. PZN suggests attendees interested in Mr. Bourne's nude workshop to determine if $1500 is worth paying to an instructor that lacks the experience in this particular field. Mr. Bourne, a wildlife photographer, is welcome to justify this high cost, which equal to one month's mortgage or rent for some photographers who are already struggling to make ends meet for their families. We at PZN don't want anyone to go to a workshop and not get your money's worth.

If you are interested in finding out more details about the nude photography workshop, please click here.

PZN would also like to share that our editor/author/your slave Photogzilla Rockstar is going to be taking a cooking class on the art of making nude toast. We have been told the instructor of the class has made nude toast 3 times in her entire life. We look forward to seeing the results, along with confirming if the instructor will be nude as well. Our editor has his fingers crossed.

Keep stalking Photogzilla on Twitter!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...