May 11, 2004

talking the talk

Sometimes I have so much to say, thoughts bursting out of my stuffing all day long, barely waiting for the nightly computer time to jump out onto the screen and make themselves pixels and bits. Other times, thoughÖ other times thereís not a whole lot going on. Or if there is, itís not the kind of things I can easily shape into interesting material. Unless you want to hear about my search for the perfect photo management program, how fed up Iíve gotten with iPhoto, its deadly slowness, itís insistence on a proprietary filing system which buries your jpegs ten folders deep, its lack of real organizational features. How Iíve searched and read forums and finally found at least half of what I need. Photo Mechanic looks good for the sorting-through-the-pile part, now I just need a thumbnails-of-everything-I-have-on-CD database part, and I have three possible choices there. So the search continues.

Fascinating stuff, huh? Yeah. Thought so.

On the other hand, maybe thereís something hidden in this topic after all. Did I tell you about my photo sale? Tuesday night I got an email from a guy who had scoured the web from Google to Altavista searching for just the right image for an ad, looking for that perfect peach. He found it here. In my photoblog archives. He wanted to know if I held the rights. I did indeed.

I consulted with my photographer friend Otto. (Professional jargon for: ďOtto! Help!!!Ē) I emailed the ad guy with pertinent questions, secure in the fact that email serves as the ideal buffer Ė you can consult with twenty Ottos in the time between query and response.

ExceptÖ the next morning the guy emailed back. He told me his budget. Not huge but not peanuts. Itíd pay for a nice meal out for us, maybe even two depending in the restaurant. His deadline: this afternoon. Can we do business?

This was Wednesday. Damianís birthday. Complete with school party and presents and a last minute rush to gather goodie bags for his classmates. Not the ideal day for dealing with brand new business issues. But I talked to Otto (for his photo savvy), I talked to Toni (for her business savvy) and I talked to a local friend who runs a photography business with her husband and who said I could use her fax if necessary for the contract. Itís not exactly a complex deal. Iím just a complete neophyte in this arena. But I felt more or less prepared. Then I called the guy. It felt easy on the phone. We were thisclose to finalizing the deal when I said, ďSingle use rights, right?Ē ďUm, Iím not sure what you mean.Ē Turned out he wanted the rights for the summer, not the week. Back and forth and hemming and hawing and the price went up.

When I got off the phone, I gave myself a high five, which mustíve looked odd to the drivers in the cars flanking mine on La Cienega Boulevard. My first business negotiation without a net. It worked out just fine. I could get back to hyperventilating about toys and balloons and birthday cake.

Otto emailed the guy the hi-res jpeg and license thereof while I was somewhere between Culver City and Santa Monica, chatting with Damian about his morning and munching on a birthday cookie. Thanks again, Otto. Iím lucky in my friends. Iím also maybe perhaps tentatively a minor league not-quite-but-hey-why-not-a-professional photographer. Iíve now sold two pictures, one to Jill (hey, it counts!) and one to an ad agency. Cool.

The best part? I donít care if this goes any further, if I sell more pictures. I love taking them. I like showing them off. Thatís enough, that makes me happy. If it develops into something else, well, sure. But unlike my writing, I feel absolutely no pressure to make it grow into more.

But I still want better photo management software. Iím a professional, after all.


Funny thing: when I chose that image last year and posted it, I thought, "This looks like an ad." And now it is one.

Posted by Tamar at May 11, 2004 10:11 PM

That is intensely cool, Tamar. Congratulations!

Posted by: Tiny Coconut at May 12, 2004 09:11 AM