Archives for the month of: September, 2010

The success in commercial photography is not an impossible mission it is achievable task! The main question a lot of young photographers ask is – How to get started????

What are the steps to take?? I asked all of these this questions Photography Consultant and author of the book: “How to Succeed in Commercial Photography”, Selina Maitreya:

Tell me a little about your self. How did you get started as a consultant?

Selina Maitreya got hooked on photography when she saw the works of Weegee, Diane Arbus and Annie Leibovitz’s early work for the Rolling Stone Magazine. After taking a photography class and with the encouragement of her teacher, she started a two-year program at the New England School of Photography. She absolutely loved it!

While trying to save money for her next semester, she ran into a photographer, who asked her to be his agent. Starting out with a very small contact list. Selina realized quickly that it would take a lot of determination to start her career in the business of photography. Taking this new challenge seriously she gave it everything. Like she always says in her teaching: “Don’t settle for 100% give 120% or more! – Give every job your full attention and focus!”

Selina’s eager, vision and her thrive to succeed made her not just the first consultant in the photography industry; it made her also a brilliant live coach.

Only 2 years later she went back to NESOP not as a student but to teach her first business lecture! She helped build the Boston Graphic Artist Guild and educated artists in the new copyright law from 1978. In her career she has helped photographers in every discipline from portraiture to advertising. I Personally believe that Selina’s success has its basics in her kind and understanding personality and her devotion and passion towards the field of photography as well as to every aspect in her life.

Her lasted project a free video series on Positive attitude shows exactly how Selina approaches live and changeling tasks: The View From Here Video Challenge

What were your biggest challenges you had to over come? Especially since you started not just your own business, but a business that has been unheard of until then.

As the biggest challenges to overcome Selina names the following problems:
– letting people know that I was there.
– Being 21 and having no money to invest
– having enough information

Looking back on starting her carrier, Selina admits feely that she was scared to death. A feeling a lot of Artist can associate with.

This connection between Selina and Artists helps her to understand the fears, problems and worries a lot of Photographers have when she is working with them as a consultant.

In Maitreya’s own word’s: “Today’s world is not for the faint-hearted or for those who throw themselves into a business with little preparation or planning, and it is certainly no place for those who choose to approach their task with a negative ”I can’t win anyway” attitude.”


Like one of her favorite quotes from Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. – Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

The View From Here Video Challenge

and her latest lecture: Survive? Think Thrive!

What are your favorite aspects about your work?

1. The People!!! I love the people I have worked with in the past and my current clients.
2. The joy to work in the field of photography, she absolutely loves photography and is active in since the age of 14 teen.
3. Trying and seeing new things all the time
4. Her love of teaching

How do you work with your clients? What are the typical steps?

The main goal of Selinas work as a consultant is to – Help photographers to find their vision!

In order to find this vision in each of her clients, she has developed a work process, that is a combination of her working one on one with them and giving them exercises and homework.

Her first step is to set up a 20 to 30 min appointment. This first conversation is free of charge and helps Selina and her client figure out if they should work together. They then decide what needs to be done . She will advise her new client to look at other photographers or artists work and collect pictures that are appealing to them in order to find their own vision. The next step will be a meeting where she and the photographer will analyze what needs to be done to achieve a full body of work and edit the existing work to their approach.

A main Problem Selina sees a lot of Photographers makes is to go to market without a full product! –

Is doing work for free beneficial?

Selina warns photographers NOT to give work away . Even when the budget is low she suggests to ask either for covering the expenses of the shoot or a large copyright notice and photo credit. Although it seems to be a good way to accumulate portfolio pieces Selina advises to be conscious about it. Her advice is to NOT do it .

If you choose to however, once for a client only if the assignment will provide you a handsome tear sheet. Her concern is that if you work all the time for free you will be stuck there and you devalue yourself and the business as a whole.

What are the biggest mistakes Photographers make?

The biggest mistakes Selina has watched photographers making is not to understand what the buyers want. Understanding your clients is crucial for every business, but especially important for a creative business. Mis-understandings between clients and photographers will let to bad work experiences and not accomplishing your client’s needs. It also will not get you work clients want vision your vision and if it’s not in your body of work you are not giving them from the outset what they need and you wont get the work. Selina points out that photographers these days are not just making visions happen they, they are hired for their vision. Therefore it might be a good idea to verbalize your idea in a meeting with a client, if they don’t like your approach don’t be discouraged you might submit it as a second option, when possible.

The other big mistake Selina is pointing out concerns the business side. For a lot of photographers Marketing is just a website and not an active commitment. Photographers generally do not set enough time aside to do marketing. They also do not give their marketing strategies enough time to manifest. Selina says it will take an average off 3 to 4 years for your efforts to provide a flow of assignments that will sustain you.

Her series of MP3 recordings gives some amazing exercises and tips how to work towards this goal of developing a successful business: The View From Here

For more info check out Selinas’s webpage at

Selina’s Books Visit:

How to Succeed in Commercial Photography:
Insights from a Leading Consultant The new book, How To Succeed In Commercial Photography: Insights from a Leading Consultant (that’s a mouthful) is out … so let’s discuss.

Author/Consultant Selina Maitreya has filled the pages of this essay-driven volume with a lifetime of creative/
business insight and experience.

The book is divided into a half dozen vital topics: Vision, Value, Team, Tools, Persistence and Faith and designed to be easily read from cover to cover or from any page that fate points you to (it’s just that good). Each section contains 5-6 enlightening essays from Selina, with support from buyers, photographers, agents and other professionals. The book is about the spiritual and the practical aspects of developing and maintaining a thriving photo business, in addition to a flourishing self.

Portfolios That Sell Selina has been guiding photographers for over 28 years. She is Portfolio Princess/Founder of Port Authority and the author of Portfolios That Sell. Selina Maitreya of Port Authority exposes photographers to smart, effective ways of developing portfolios that work. After building hundreds of portfolios and leading thousands of seminar hours on the subject, Selina Maitreya built her own book on the subject of portfolios – Portfolios That Sell. This useful and enlightening piece is the next best thing to putting Port Authority to work for you. This is the flight manual for portfolios that take off and go. A step-by-step walk-through on building the much better book.


Why Fashion – Photographers are constantly discussing what is fashion and what is glamor. You also hear these question a great number of time: Is every model on drugs or on a horrible diet? What is the big mystery about Fashion?

I found in the new York times the following article: Admit it. You Love it. It Matters

For a fashion photographer, fashion comes down to selling the product. THE CLOTHES or the MAKEUP or what ever it is that the client is selling.

Spring Summer Collections at New York Fashion Week:

Ports 1961 Sprig Summer Collection

Guli Sprig Summer Collection

Fashion School Daily, School of Fashion Blog at Academy of Art University » Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2011

Jungah Lee, MFA in Fashion Design:
Jungah used the faded colors of antique books as inspiration for the hand dyeing and painting of her latex and silk fabrics. (source Media release of the Art institute)

Cara Chiappetta, MFA in Fashion Design:
Cara uses rubber, silk, mesh, wool and nylon influenced garment details, manipulations and bonding techniques. Bridget Fonda’s character Nina in the film “The Point of No Return” became her muse. (source Media release of the Art institute)

Louie Liewellyn, MFA in Men’s Wear Design and Xiang Zhang, MFA in Knitwear Design:
Louie used the theme of a disagreement between hard and soft men’s wear silhouette. He used one of his favorite paintings , Incision by Jay Defeo, for color inspiration and selected fabrics to evoke a feeling of strength and desire. Xiang designed the knitwear for the collection. Each piece took approximatly 50 hours to finish. (source Media release of the Art institute)

Print Collaboration:
A group of Technical Design, Fashion Design and Textile Design students.
Lindsey Gong, Jackie Nguyen, Anasa Greaves, Han Yoon, Emma Erickson, Ruby Guerra, Gabrielle Cols, Yi-Hui Wen, Amanda Carrillo, Chanchai Tanapornwattana, Jennifer Chen, Sarah Appiah, Jennifer Filo, Adriane Lauren Hueso and Leah Rossi (source Media release of the Art institute)

April Howard, MFA in Fashion Design:
April was inspired by the work of found objects sculptor Kathy Kelly, the decaying concrete and plastic of an urban wasteland, and Cormac Mc Carthy’s novel “The Road. (source Media release of the Art institute)

Camilla Olson, MFA in Fashion Design:
Inspired by the movie “Blade Runner” and samurai arts, Camilla’s collection represents women as rebels breaking the restriction of their historically constrained roles. The soft silk under-dresses represent a woman’s inner nature and outer ‘cage’ is her strength and armor. (source Media release of the Art institute)

Maria Korovilas, MFA in Fashion Design:

The starting point of Maria’s inspiration was the Jenny Lewis song “You Are What You Love” from which she pulled visual and conceptual references for her moody collection. The hand beading took over 600 hours to complete. (source Media release of the Art institute)

Fashion’s Night Out 2010 – The Show

Yes it is again the time!! Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is just a few days away!
Like every year it is the top event to observe the latest lifestyle and fashion trends. This Year the event will take place for the first time at a new location – The Lincoln Center.
For everybody who is not going the Academy off art has a webcast from the Lincoln Center!!!!!


Tell me a little about yourself. How did you get your started as a Designer? Did you have any formal training or are you a self taught?

My interest in making things really started when I was little boy. I always wanted to
create something out of materials that “weren’t supposed to go together”, and I always wanted to make ugly things beautiful. Needless to say I was the kid with the rock polisher. ☺ This grew into me wanting to learn how to sew, and my grandmother was there to help. She showed me some of the basics, and I also took some classes at a local Michael’s craft store. So, no formal training, but little did I know those classes were the beginning of it all. My launch into being a designer came with my first line that was shown at a spring runway event in Greenville in 2007. I made the clothes from a ton of vintage pieces that I had deconstructed and remade the way I wanted them, but the collection was not the most cohesive. However, this show did get me enough exposure to start receiving clients for styling.

Do you think going to Design school would be important to excel in the business later on?

I do think it is very important to have formal training. You just don’t learn some of the basics and some of the techniques by yourself that can be taught in the classroom. Also, I still to this day do not know how to use a pattern. Instead, I have to drape all of my looks. This not only makes my job harder, but also limits my style. Did you always want to be a Designer or did stumble into it? Did you begin working with a company? When did your freelance career begin? A3: I did not always want to be a designer, and to be honest I still do not ultimately want to be one. I stumbled into the art and love it, and I am also very passionate about it. However, I see myself in more of the styling field than any other. There is just something about creating a moment for someone that makes my world all the more bright! Also, I love the feeling of coordinating pieces rather than stressing about constructing them. I did not begin with a company, but instead I actually created my own styling firm. I have styled several radio personalities for award events, and multiple clients for philanthropy events and just everyday wardrobe. Now, I really want to move even farther, but I guess we will have to see what the next step in my business it.

Who or what inspired you to become a designer?

I can’t say that anyone inspired me to become a designer. I truly believe to succeed you need to hack your own path through the industry and not follow anyone else’s lead. However, what inspires me as a designer is always vintage clothing, and antiques. My saying is and always will be “Vintage is Life.”

What are your biggest challenges?

Financial help. It is always best to try and get support, or sponsors for events. I’ve learned the hard way that you can make good money from events, but you can also lose exponentially more.


There are always people out there that are either going to be jealous or try to steal your ideas. I have had many situations where both have been a problem, but you just have to move past it. If someone steals an idea of yours then you simply have to execute it better! You have to promote your original idea more, and you have to get it to the masses FIRST!

How do you work? What is your process?

I actually start with the music. I usually find a song that I connect with creatively and emotionally then use all other sources of inspiration to build on the idea that I have initially felt. From there I sketch, drape, cut and build the look.

For styling it’s a bit different. With photo shoots the process is similar, but instead of constructing the garment there is more research and time put into finding the best looks for the story. However, with clients it is really all about getting to know the person. You really need to know the personality before you can ever match it with a style.

What other projects are you working on?

I am working on several projects for this fall. I am currently working on starting a chapter of Campus Style for USC, which is a blog about the actual style that is in Columbia rather than your typical Greek Village nonsense. Some of my clothing line will be featured in the January issue of Mozelle Mozelle, and I preparing some garments to walk in their first ever fashion event.

I am also working on several shoots concepts including a video shoot that will be shown with launch of this fall.

Do you have any website(s) you would like me to link to from this interview?