Goals, Goals, Goals!!! What's 2012 going to be about for you?

Goals, Goals, Goals!!! What's 2012 going to be about for you!
Its that time of year when everyone is thinking about and setting goals for 2012.  Everyone is blogging about goals for 2012. We have the ultimate goal setting in my office at work, where we list 3 goals for each of the following categories

Spiritual Goals, 
Personal Goals, 
Work Goals, 
Health Goals, 
Family Goals, 
Social Goals,  
Finaincial Goals.

If that wasnt enough I told myself that I was going to create a 3 word theme like I did last year (see that post here) on what it is that I want to focus on for the year. 

Fast Company had a really great article on The One Resolution You Need to Make in 2012 that really stuck with me and I am going to make sure I do RIGHT NOW! So check that article out

Now is the time to brainstorm and think about wht you want 2012 to bring for you. So get to brainstorming because I certainly am about what I plan to accomplish and focus on for 2012 and post it somewhere where you can review it

Make Beautiful Things, even if nobody cares. Saul Bass: On Making Money vs. Quality

If you are not familiar with the work of Saul Bass, its all good. Saul Bass was a graphic designer and filmmaker. I'm not that familiar with his films but Saul is responsible for some of the most iconic logos in ever including one of my personal favorites, the Girl Scouts of America logo.
In the short clip Saul explains his ideals on money vs. quality.  and I love what he has to say!


Let me see what apps you got...

I get asked this question all the time in social situations from other fellow iPhone-ers. Its like by swiping through each of my screens you can quickly run down my personality or something.. so weird, but I get it, afterall this is the day of "sharing information" and something that I have on my iPhone might be useful for you. With that being said I wanted to post a few of my ultimate favorite iPhone Apps that I think everyone should use.

Evernote: I have Evernote installed on my phone, my desktop, and my laptop its the ultimate note taking, bookmarking, scrapbook app out there. All in one. For sure, I use to store qucik reference shots that I need for a meeting, i jot quick thoughts when I am reading articles, or see something, I copy and paste great quotes that I see on someones Twitter feed. Its really all that. Plus its FREE and it syncs on all my devices for one big happy place.

Wunderlist: Same as Evernote I have it synced on all my devices. Its a simple task list, and you can keep notes under each task . You can share it with others if you need to , but its not all that serious for me. I still use post its and random paper but then I think, Oh yeah! I have Wunderlist and then I just transfer everything to it or Evernote. Free App def worth it!

This app (yep! another Free one! All about the frugal life over here buddy!) Is Perfect! Just plug in your original price and the sale price and BAM!! You are a savvy shopper on the go and no more feeling stupid counting on your fingers in the middle of Urban Outfitters. You just look like your texting while you are trying to figure out if the 30% off Frye Boots get to come home with you or not.
*update*- this app now costs 99 cents but if you are numbers challenge which I can def be sometimes, its still worth it, and this app can also calculate buy one get one too! YES!!
My Fitness Pal: Forever on the road to the healthy kingdom I really like tracking my food and physiocal activity with the My Fitness Pal app, I have used a few others (Spark People and Lose It!) but MFP (My Fitness Pal) has a clean design, and the barcode scanner works perfectly each and every time for quick tracking!! Oh.. and you know its free!!

So I will stop there! Maybe add more at another time, and of course I would love to hear what your favorite iPhone apps are so chime in the comments section!

Im off to the APA/ASMP Bar Night!
Enjoy your evening and thank for reading


and now we wait.....

I recently submitted a grant proposal to the Annual CAAAP Grant, from the group Chicago Alliance of African American Photographers. I never applied for a grant before so I figured this would be good practice and also a great opportunity for me to work on a new body of work. Thankfully the executive board gave us some tips for writing grant proposals, but I also found a wonderful resource here that helped me complete my proposal. You can check it out here 

so now that I have my proposal in, I am sitting back praying and waiting.
Wish me luck!

"Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish"- Steve Jobs

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”- Steve Jobs
RIP Steve Jobs 1955-2011

I posted some thoughts on Steve Jobs on my Tumblr page. You can check it out here 

I was happy to hear that when Steve made his transistion he was surrounded by his family. This made me happy because as much as Apple products have been apart of my life, I never thought of his personal life. God Bless Steve and his family.

Where I'll Be....... Jonathan Chapman at the Apple Store

If you are in Chicago tonight, I would love for you to stop by the Apple Store in Lincoln park to listen to Jonathan Chapman discuss his body of work and working with Motion. Alot of photographers are becoming directors and working with video, so the amazing people on the board with me at APA Midwest thought a "Discussion on Motion" was needed NOW!!
So I hope you can make it!! I think this would be great for all creatives! So come on by and say hello!

The Brand Called You

I often look for inspiring articles, ACTIONABLE articles to share with my students. Things to piggy back on the lessons that I share with them. They listen, but you know how it is, its always better when someone else says it, thats when they will really listen.
I really enjoyed reading this article because it reminds me to keep my personal and professional goals into perspective and always check in with myself to see how everything is playing out. So of course I had to share it. Bookmark this article and read it again and again to help keep you accountable.

Check it out:

It's a new brand world.

That cross-trainer you're wearing -- one look at the distinctive swoosh on the side tells everyone who's got you branded. That coffee travel mug you're carrying -- ah, you're a Starbucks woman! Your T-shirt with the distinctive Champion "C" on the sleeve, the blue jeans with the prominent Levi's rivets, the watch with the hey-this-certifies-I-made-it icon on the face, your fountain pen with the maker's symbol crafted into the end ...

You're branded, branded, branded, branded.

It's time for me -- and you -- to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that's true for anyone who's interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work.

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

It's that simple -- and that hard. And that inescapable.

Read the rest of the article here

Where I'll Be....... Opening Reception of "balance"

If you find yourself in Evanston Saturday, I want to invite you to check out my collegue and friend Susannah Holmes, show "Balance" and Linz and Vail this weekend!! If you cant make it this Saturday, I will miss you but its all good because the show runs until August 15

Congrats on your show Susannah!

Opening Reception July 23


2012 central street
Evanston IL 60201

7 Savvy Career Tips Inspired by Oprah

Folks can hate on Oprah all they want but in the end, Oprah is the ish!

So check out these 7 Great Career Tips we can learn from God, I mean Oprah  :) I found these while skimming articles on another fav site of mine LearnVest

Have a great weekend!

A Conversation With Brian York

photo by Kristyna Archer

I am so lucky to know some of the most creative people ever on this planet!! One of those creative people is my good friend Brian York. We met last year at a APA/ASMP Bar night and have been like peas and carrots ever since. I talk to Brian a lot about personal, fun, living it up in the big city types of things, but I recently had the opportunity to speak with him about his business. Brian is a creative retoucher and he rocks! I wanted to share the interview with you. 

If you are interested in retouching as a career or  working with a creative retoucher then I think you will enjoy this interview.

Feel free to share your comments and thoughts!

Hey Brian!! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me!
            No problem! Happy to do it

I know you started out in photography and that is what your degree is in, how did you get into retouching?
I had always done some more extensive retouching work on my own imagery as well as for a few other photographers I knew personally. During my first year in Chicago I realized there were three things I enjoyed; photography, painting and working for myself. Then I had an epiphany; I could do retouching full time and enjoy all of these things at the same time. Turned out to be the right decision, it is so much fun to work with great photographers, art directors and creative directors to create work that just WOWs everyone.  

What is the future of retouching?
           That’s a difficult question for most anything these days. I feel the future of retouching and still post production will continue along the course it has been taking, going even further down the road of pushing the boundaries of compositing and integrating high end CGI work with photography. Retouching has allowed photography to push boundaries never possible before and allows CGI to blend in with photography. I see the years to come as retouching being more and more of a crucial aspect of photography and selection of the retoucher used being just as crucial as picking a photographer for a given campaign. 

What is your process when working with clients?

I do not really have a set process that I can write out and it sound good on paper. It’s really all in feeling out each situation. I work different with each person whether I’m working with an agency, photographer or in-house  and the process also comes down to the needs of the situation, job and client.
For any advertising jobs I prefer to be included in the project before estimates are even made from a creative side because my understanding of constructing imagery can have an impact on the course of the job. In the compositing world it is not just simply picking out five images and sticking them together, they need to be photographed with the intentions on fitting together. When I’m involved from the beginning the compositing process seamlessly comes together.

What do you think about the common used phrase heard on set “Oh we’ll just have the retoucher clean it up?”
I see zeros being put on the right side of the total cost! Haha, but seriously that statement needs to be considered in poor taste if it is easily fixed. If the landscape is perfect aside from a power line running through the middle … it can be taken out in post. A candy bar wrapper on the grass … go pick it up, or a string on some clothing, cut it off. If it is hair; stop and fix it regardless. Hair is much like a nest of hornets in regards to retouching, when you start messing with it you have to be prepared to go the whole mile! I think the general rule of thumb should be, if it will take less than 15 minutes to fix then do it on the shoot.

Where do you see the future of photography going?
I don’t see CGI taking over the photography industry as every photographer fears, but I do see a mix of photography, CGI and retouching all used equally for many years to come. They all have their strengths and weaknesses but combined there is no limit to what can be created.
Photographers would be better served to start thinking of themselves as image directors as opposed to the traditional photographer. Similar to video directors, create regardless of the means of getting there. 

How much of your business comes directly from photographers? Do you work with photographers on portfolio pieces and personal work or is most of your work coming from agencies?
It is about equal between photographers and agencies but I get a lot of referrals from the photographers I work with, so in the end most may indirectly come from those relationships with photographers, but not all.
I absolutely work with photographers on portfolio pieces, it’s necessary for the photographer and for myself. I especially like working with photographers on portfolio work, we can form a working and visual relationship.
What seems to work well about photographer / retoucher formed relationships, besides two creative minds coming together is that when the advertising work comes in we already have a repertoire for working together and understand how each other works. This helps things come together so we are both happy, the work gets done faster and better in the end as a bonus.

I use retouchers most of the time for my work, but what do you think about photographers that do their own retouching. What is the skillset that you have that makes folks want to come to you instead of doing it themselves?
Photographers should really spend more of their time shooting and running their business than sitting in front of a computer spending countless hours doing photoshop work, right? Aside from all the technical knowhow, speed and compositing skills, it really boils down to the creative collaboration that adds the value. I tend to be a pretty strong force in that way, usually before the camera is even taken out of the case. I have found that some photographers don’t handle another creative well and others thrive on it. I prefer the latter exclusively, the rewards always seem better.
I also feel that for a photographer seeking higher end advertising work needs to work with a retoucher consistently for portfolio, small and big jobs alike. The ongoing relationship will create a consistently higher quality and completeness to your work that will make a better impact and land better jobs.
May I also add … and this is a big one because it happens almost every time, I’m the one there to get the images finished when you have back to back shoots!

Awesome!! Thanks so much for taking the time Brian!
No problem, Thank You!!

Be sure to check out Brian's website at http://brnyrk.com/ and follow him on twitter

APA National- Copyright KNOW IT or BLOW IT

The APA Midwest has a free event coming up that I think all creatives should plan to attend. Check it out and RSVP today!


Understanding how to put copyright to work for you is crucial to your success as a photographer. Predatory image rights demands and widespread image theft can leave a photographer's business in jeopardy. Don't let this happen to you. Learn what you need to succeed.

Knowledge Is Power

Saturday, May 7, 2011
10 am – 1pm

Join Moderator Debra Weiss for a panel discussion with guests:
James Silverberg, Attorney
Glen Wexler,Photographer
Susan Hatten, Senior Art Buyer at Ogilvy & Mather

Topics to be discussed include:

• What To Do When Your Image Has Been Infringed
• How and When To Choose An Attorney
• Putting Copyright To Work For You

Lunch Provided
1 pm – 2 pm

2 pm – 4 pm

Photographer John Harrington will correctly teach you to register images with the United States Copyright Office.


email Stephanie Graham at apamidwest@gmail.com to register

7 Ways to Instantly Make Your Clients Happy

I am so blessed to be able to wake up every morning and do what I love, inspire and create, especially for clients.  I came across this blog post from one of my favorite blogs Guerilla Freelancing. There are some great tips here about how to INSTANTLY make your clients happy! INSTANTLY!! Now i didnt post this because I think that you are handling your clients horribly or anything like that so dont get offended. I have just found that its always great to read articles like that to keep yourself on track.. This artticle even inspited a few ideas that I can use in my business. So I posted a link to the article for you to check out youself! I would love to hear how you make your clients happy! So feel free to share below in the comments or with me on Facebook or Twitter.

7 Ways to Instantly Make Your Clients Happy

Photography Book Now 2011

Blurb Photography Book Now contest is open for entries! I missed this completely last year, but this year... if I miss it, at least I knew about it. We have plenty of time though. the closing date for entries is July 14. Grand Prize Winner takes home $25,000 and the category winner takes home $5,000 WOOT!!

Lets go and Good Luck!!!

Print Exchange with the SPE Multicultural Caucus

Back in January I was presented with the opportunity to participate in a print exchange with the members of the Society of Photographic Education Multicultural Caucus! Fun idea right! I thought so, a great way to share and collect work from others in the community, so I jumped right on it

If you are a heavy printer (which I am not) I don't have to tell you how much work it is to make 28 prints and sign them.. and cut them down..ALOT OF WORK!!  3 trips to Blick Art Supply and 2 trips to Calumet for ink. I printed an image from my Wal-Mart Project series on Calumet Brilliant Museum Satin Matte white paper and it worked out beautifully!! As much work as it was, it was actually sort of peaceful to be one with my work and loading my printer, adjusting levels, test strips watching it print, goofing on Twitter. I have a printer and small workspace at my parents house so my mom was bringing me snacks, and meals LOL, needless to say this whole experience was worth it.

Here is a picture I took with my iPhone of my images drying on the floor

and I stayed in this hat the entire weekend LOL (again from my iPhone) its a fine art image, the blur=fine art.. Just kidding but nice try right :)

Woo Hoo!!!

I FINALLY received my portfolio in the mail and I have yet to sit and go through it but once I get through it will post it for all of you too see!

In the meantime check out the work of all of those that participated in the print exchange

I Am a Professional

This weekend was the ASMP Strictly Business conference. It was a long, intense weekend where photographers from all over the country came together to talk about the state of the industry and how we can be better at our craft and how we service our clients. The weekend was so inspiring and I met tons of photographers doing some really great things!! It makes me happy because as tigh as the photography community is, we are also so seperated from one another, because we are often times 1-2 man shows.  So when I'm presented with the oppurtunity to meet other professional photographers from across the country I jump at the chance!

ASMP created this awesome video so check it out! It sums me up, I may be quirky and silly, but I am creative and most importantly I'm a Professional.

Thanks for reading

Where I'll Be... February Events

Happy February!!! 1 month down 11 more to go! Actually, I'm not going to think about it like that I have very open welcoming arms for 2011 and I am excited that all is to come with it. January was soo busy right? At least for me it was. APA had lots of great events that if you were involved in the photo community I hope you were able to check out. I didnt have time to post them here (Sorry!!! I know I said I would, Im trying to do better, hence this post!) You can always keep track of what that APA Midwest is doing by joinging us on Facebook here 

So anyway here we are February! The month of love, BLACK HISTORY MONTH! This month is a tease as it only lasts 28days. and there is a lot going on! 
Outside of hanging out with the photography community I ama regular girl that loves to hang out and chill with the sexy people of Chicago and have a good time.  Here are a few places that I will be stopping through this month and if you are around you should defeiunitly do the same!


Friday Feb 4, FIRST FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE!! presented by 80s Babies! Remeka and Jermaine some of the coolest kids I know and there parties are fun! I dont get to them as much as I would like but I def plan to be there tomorrow!! So you should come through too! FREE from 9-10 when you say 80s babies, after that $5

Friday, Feb 4 , THE MASHUP'S at Rodan with Kennedy Ashinze from Casa DeSoul & Josh Deep.Kennedy and I have worked together for his new editorial project and these mashups have been my first Friday home for the past 2 or 3 months. If you like deep house music this is  a great spot to be. Its at Rodan and there is NO COVER! I will be here too!

Wednesday, Feb 16, APA/ASMP BAR Night. This is a great place to come and kickback mix and mingle with photographers, producers, reps, makeup and  hairstylists..All the photo community comes out to have fun and chat it up. Its Free! ProGear buy appetizers and the Clutch bar give $1 off drinks! Good Times indeed!

Sunday February 13, ASMP Chicago/Midwest Brunch Meeting, Another great social event for the photo community!! This particular Sunday we are going to check out the Windy City Rollers after!! I've never been to the roller derby so I'm excited for this one. Brunch is free to ASMP Members. It all starts at 10am at the Stanleys on Racine

Thursday February 24, I'm most looking forward to seeing Deborah Willis at DuSable Museum as she Examines Race & Photography in African American Imagery. Check this out for sure!! Details Here

Okay I think that's a good start I know there is a hip hop show or two that I am missing in this list but I will add those soon enough!! 

Oh and check out my facebook pages! I am featuring black artists that you should definitely know about! See that here!

What types of things are you checking out this month?

Thanks for reading!!


I have been using Tumblr lately as a sounding board for inspiration. I have been having a lot of fun with it too.   What in the world is Tumblr you ask? Well my definition is that its basically a giant Twitter,  Allowing you to share content eiter your own content or great articles or whatever you find on online. There is more details here from Wikipedia. Are you on tumblr? If so follow me and I will follow back.

See you on Tumblr! 

Thanks for reading

New Work

I created another piece for my Walmart Series.. So Check it out and let me know what you think. Dave Holcombe was my awesome model this time! He did a great job!! No he did an AWESOME JOB!! I really love this one.  Stylists Remeka Sullivan and Adrian Galarza did an amazing job with getting Dave together I am soo excited about this work..

I hope you love it as much as I do.

3 Words for 2011

2011 WOW!! Can you believe it. It seemed like it just crept up on us right?  Chris Brogan has a cool approach to his New Years Resolutions that I wanted to share with you, and you can check it out here. He even listed my words on his blog today.

Here are my 3 words for 2011:

Faith-Let Go and Let God. You hear that phrase all the time and it is simple. A challenge but a simple challenge.. I want to work on not making that such a challenge and focus on building my spiritual relationship.

Family(Friends)-life is short and family is important. working on sets, with students, sitting in meetings, do all the cool things I am blessed to do you simply forget about your families, and friends. In the amazing world of photography and film you can get caught up in all of it and you simply loose your priorities. When the sets have been wrapped and events are broken down, what really matters is our relationships and memories you leave with those you love.  So you have to make sure that you are taking the time to create those memories.

Collaboration-I know some really great people, and meet more amazing people everyday, and I want to work with them ALL! Photographically, I am really looking forward to creating a new body of work with awesome artists, and building on a few of the personal projects I have been working on but this word means so much more.. To me its about building the support system I need to create the success that I want. I want to loose weight, so I have to build a collaboration around that, meeting with friends every other day to hit the gym, or go to dance class. I want to teach more programs and classes on business and entrepreneurship so I have to build a system for that, financial goals... that needs a support system too. 
This word is important because you can do everything yourself, and you know what, there are people out there that really want to help, and they have a lot to say.. so why not let them.

There you have it!!
What are your 3 words?
Feel free to share them with me or with Chris, whoever just share them with someone

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2011!

Stephanie Graham, Studio Blog. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.