Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thoughts of Thanks

While I sit here at my in-law's house in Pueblo sipping coffee, eating potica (something that, unfortunately, has not seemed to migrate north towards Denver), and listening to some jazz, I have a few minutes of quiet to reflect on what I'm thankful for this year. In no particular order, I'm thankful for:

  • My wife, Belinda, for all of her support, encouragement and patience.
  • Coffee!
  • My wonderful clients who are so full of confidence, trust and love that sometimes I can hardly believe it.
  • Technology, for making things both infinitely easier yet, at the same time, infinitely more complicated.
  • My family, who always tell me they like my photos even when I don't.
  • Coffee shops with free wifi.
  • Professional print labs who make my work look amazing!
  • A reliable car.
  • The health of my family and myself.
  • My cat, Sweet Pea, who has very long hair but fortunately does not ever get hairballs (I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am about this one).
  • Did I mention coffee?
If I really wanted to start thanking individuals I'd be here all day.  There are so many wonderful people who I've met or worked with in the last year.  Hopefully, if I'm appreciative of your support, I've told you or you've received a thank you note from me at some point in the last year.  If not, then I'd like to extend a big Thank You to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today.  I can only imagine what next year holds in store for me and the wonderful people I'm going to get to know.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some pies to bake.  On the menu this year: Pumpkin Cream Pie (a new variation of the traditional pumpkin pie), Pecan Pie (maybe we'll add a little bourbon again this year), and Vinegar Pie (not very traditional, but if it turns out anything like the piece I ate in Arkansas this year, should be amazing!).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tech Tuesdays - ProDPI

It was a cold, rainy night. I was going to an event down in Englewood. My brother was in town from Boston and was borrowing my truck, so he dropped me off at the event. Unfortunately, due to our schedules not quite meshing, I was about 45 minutes early to the event. Since the weather was kind of miserable, I didn't really feel like hanging around outside, so I asked if I could come inside and wait. The answer was a friendly "Yes", and that was my first contact with ProDPI.

I was shown back to the area where the party was going to take place. One of the customer service reps was just leaving and she told me that I could sit at her desk if I wanted. How nice of her! After sitting for a while, a woman came into the room with her young boy. It turns out she was Caitlin, the CEO of ProDPI. We chatted while she fed her son and I couldn't have asked for a nicer person to talk to while I waited. I learned that the guy who I met when I walked in was Jeffrey, her husband and COO of ProDPI.

When Caitlin had to run off to take care of something, I took the opportunity to look around at the samples or their work that they had on display for the party. I should mention that ProDPI is a full service, pro lab. They offer everything from prints to albums, business cards to stickers. Every sample that I looked at, including albums, accordion books and mounted prints all looked amazing!

Once the party was underway and more people showed up, Jeffrey took us on a tour of the ProDPI facilities. He explained their print process, their philosophy and why they relocated from California to Colorado. He showed us their lab, their prep area and their packing facilities. Their commitment to being a green company shows in their use of shipping materials (cardboard made with post consumer waste), recycling of all recyclable materials, eco-friendly print packaging options and electronic invoicing. By the end of the tour I was thoroughly impressed.

The next day I decided to create an account with ProDPI and order some test prints. No matter how impressive a lab is in person, it doesn't mean much if their actual prints aren't any good. I downloaded their ROES software and, after a few minutes, had ordered my prints. I really wanted to get the prints ordered before noon, as I had another test for ProDPI. I wanted to see if I ordered my prints before noon if they'd be at my house the next day. I'm happy to say that they were waiting for me when I came home the next evening! I know this might not happen every time, but just knowing that it can happen is awesome.

So, let's do a quick recap. Friendly staff, family-owned, great quality press products, good selection, eco-friendly and fast! Sounds good so far, but what about those prints? I'm happy to say that they are better than I had expected! The actual quality of the print is outstanding. I have a standard test image that I print with every lab I've ever tried and ProDPI is at the top of the list. Their print showed more detail than most and the colors were excellent! What really makes their prints stand out, though, is their paper. Jeffrey mentioned that they are one of the few labs in the country who use Fuji paper and I must admit, I like it a lot better than the Kodak paper that I'm used to. It's a little heavier, so it feels more substantial, and it has a more appealing texture as well.

In case you didn't figure it out by now, I now have a new lab. ProDPI does amazing work and I'd suggest checking them out if you're a photographer. Not only are they awesome for all of the reasons I mentioned above, but their prices are very competitive with other national pro labs. If you're in Denver, they are a local business and I'll take almost any opportunity to support local businesses. Welcome to Colorado, ProDPI. I'm glad we met!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sherri and Justin II - Denver Couples Photos

I first photographed Sherri and Justin last year in Fort Collins. For that shoot, we shot in natural light and took things fairly seriously. This year, they were inspired by my Back To School photo shoot with Fashion Denver. Sherri and Justin are the type of couple who say that they want silly, awkward photos on their holiday cards. They don't just say it either, they mean it. So, we made awkward the theme for the shoot, headed into the studio and started shooting.

They looked quite nice for the shoot. Although Justin was sporting a jacket that could only have been improved with suede patches on the elbows, he still looked pretty sharp. Sherri always looks good and had on a great red turtleneck that complimented her hair. Since it's pretty easy to dive in and start shooting awkward photos, we didn't waste any time and got busy taking photos.

Justin is a goofy guy who can make Sherri laugh anytime, so he embraced the opportunity to let loose. Before long, both were laughing so much I had to tell them to get a little more serious for their awkward photos, which they gladly did (in an awkward way).

After we had some good silly photos in the bag, we decided to get a few nice photos as well. Fortunately, they were more than happy to get some cute couples photos. Again, they didn't have a hard time with it, as they're a super-cute couple.

It was soon time to call it a wrap. In less than an hour, we had gone from awkward to goofy to cute and had a great time doing it. We wrapped up the day with beers and Indian food, enjoying both the beautiful weather and each other's company. Thank you Sherri and Justin for being wonderful people and good friends!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shutter Priority Mode - Better Photos... Now!

If you want to freeze fast action or keep camera shake from appearing in your photos, you'll need to choose a shutter speed that's appropriate for your situation. Almost all DSLRs have a shutter priority mode (usually called S or TV) that you can use to choose a specific shutter speed. Your camera will then remain fixed at that shutter speed and adjust the aperture accordingly to give you a proper exposure.

Why would you want to fix your shutter speed and have a variable aperture instead of the other way around? If you're shooting a sporting event, you'll typically want to shoot with a shutter speed of at least 1/500 of a second. This will ensure you freeze the action, catching every single drop of sweat and blade of grass in mid-air. If, instead of freezing the action you want to introduce some motion into your photos, you can slow down the shutter speed. If you're photographing dancers and you want them to be slightly blurry as they move across the dance floor, you can set your shutter to 1/15 of a second or so and have a more artistic photograph that conveys the motion of dance.

No matter what you are photographing, having a constant shutter speed will help you achieve more control and a more consistent feel to your photos. Your camera does all of the hard work, calculating exposures, while you can focus on getting the shot. Just imagine an outdoor sporting event with players moving in and out of bright sun and shadow and you'll start to appreciate how difficult it would be to shoot in manual mode and constantly adjust your settings for good exposures.

One other great reason to fix your shutter speed is so that you do not use such a low shutter speed that you get camera shake in your photos. The rule of thumb is to not use a shutter speed any lower than 1/(your lens' focal length). This means that if you have a 50mm lens, you should not shoot with a shutter speed any lower than 1/50 of a second. If you shoot with a slower shutter speed you're likely to get blurry photos from camera shake, which is your inability to hold the camera steady. It's less noticeable with wider lenses, so with an 18mm lens you can usually get away with a shutter speed as low as 1/18 of a second (or whatever your camera's closest setting is). By shooting in shutter priority mode, you can ensure that your photos will be free of camera shake!

The next time you're shooting images that include motion, try shooting in shutter priority mode. Whether you want to freeze the action, get creative with motion or just make sure you have sharp photos, shutter priority mode gives you control to get the shots you want.

This image was shot at 1/2000 of a second in order to
freeze the liquid in mid-air.

This image was shot with a 5 second exposure in order to get
the entire action of striking the match.

Read all of my DSLR tips here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tech Tuesdays - First Look: Nikon D7000

There are some products that, once they're introduced, rewrite the rules for an entire industry. If you believe the hype, Nikon's new D7000 DSLR might just be one such product. It's been favorably compared to cameras that cost anywhere from twice as much to 4 times as much. No one can keep it in stock and rumors a swirling that, unless you have had one on preorder for a while, it will be months before you can get one.

Imagine my surprise when I decided to dig around a little and found one in my area that was available for sale! Honestly, I believe it was probably the only one available (at retail prices, at least) in the state of Colorado. Someone had a D7000 on hold but hadn't come in to pick it up, so the salesperson took that person's name off of it and put mine on it. I had until the close of business that day to pick it up. I didn't wait.

I got it, brought it home, charged the battery, read the manual, did some research and started playing around with it. So far I've only had a chance to do one shoot with it, but many more are on the horizon. What follows are my first impressions. I'll be sure to follow up with a more in-depth review in the near future.

Note: All comparisons are made to a Nikon D90.

Feel - The first thing I noticed about this camera was the feel of the body. I'm talking about the actual texture of the surface. It feels a bit more sticky, more grippy. I never really felt like I was going to drop my D90, but this camera really feels secure in my hands.

Look - It doesn't really look much different from my D90. There are a few more buttons and an extra dial for the shutter control. The menus and displays all look pretty much the same. Once I had it set up the way I like, it took about, oh, 2 seconds to feel comfortable with it.

Sound - This camera sounds awesome. Or should I say it doesn't sound awesome? It's quiet! The shutter sounds so fast, tight and slightly muffled, I think I'm in love. When you switch it to quiet mode, the shutter just makes the tiniest bit of noise. The first time I tried it I had to make sure I was using it right it was so quiet!

Other thoughts: With just one shoot to go on, I have to say that I'm very impressed.
- Having dual memory card slots was pretty sweet.
- Reviewing photos is a fast and easy experience, as you can scroll up/down, left/right and diagonally, and you can do it quickly!
- Exposures seemed to be dead on when shooting in manual mode and spot metering.
- Focus was pretty good, although I did have a few soft images. I'm going to blame it on the move from a 9-point to a 39-point focusing system. I think I might not be used to such a small focus point, so I was a little careless about being precise with my focus. Regardless, focusing was fast and I don't think I experienced any lens "hunting" in almost 3 hours of shooting with my 50mm f/1.4 AF-D and 135mm f/2 AF DC lenses.
- Did I mention how great this camera sounds?

I haven't really had a chance to test out the D7000's performance at higher ISOs, but everything I've read so far makes me think I'm in for a treat. I also plan on shooting quite a bit of video with it in the next few months. I can't wait to try out the autofocus while shooting some video!

One thing to mention is that in order to process the RAW files, I had to download Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.3 RC1. So far I haven't had any issues with it. If you're not running Lightroom and need to process your D7000 RAW files, a quick search should point you in the right direction.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a new camera that's just begging me to use it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Randomness - The Right Tool For The Right Job

The Right Tool For The Right Job

I've always been a big proponent of using the right tool for the right job. For example, sometimes you can get away with using a hacksaw, which is made for cutting metal, to saw through a piece of wood. It's going to take you longer and make you work harder, but you can do it. If you decide to cut a bunch of wood, though, you're going to be wishing you had the right saw to do it.

Recently, I was reminded of this phrase by not following it. I finally got around to painting our front door. I made a quick check of the supplies I had, figured out what I needed, headed to Home Depot and came home with a gallon of paint. I already had rollers, paint trays, drop cloths... pretty much everything else I needed. Unfortunately, painting a smooth fiberglass door is a lot different from painting a textured wall. The rollers I had gave the door an interesting texture. Unfortunately, we didn't want a textured door, so I grabbed a brush to smooth out the texture. That gave me some nice brush marks. Since I'd already started, I figured I'd finish the first coat and then go get the right tools for the next coat.

A few days later I picked up some foam rollers that are made specifically for doors. They lay down a nice smooth coat of paint, they fit all the little nooks and crannies of the door and they make the job so much easier. As I was painting, I wondered how much easier it would have been to start with one of those rollers. Instead of the 3-4 coats I'm looking at now (to get rid of the brush marks), I could have been done in two.

It's the same with photography. Photographing sports is a lot different from photographing a wedding which is a lot different from creating a portrait. They all need different lenses, different lighting and maybe even different camera bodies. They use different techniques and different skill sets. Who do you think is going to be a more successful football photographer: The person who has a knowledge of football, knows where the action is going to take place and brings just the necessary equipment or the person with the most expensive camera and 10 lenses who doesn't know much about football?

Every time I try something new, I'm painfully reminded of how much practice goes into mastering one particular area of photography. Whether it's sports, food, people or a wedding, every job is different. My toolbox is nowhere near full, which means that from time to time I have to do things the hard way. Just like cutting wood with a hacksaw, I get the job done, but I wouldn't want to do it that way every time. Fortunately, each new job seems to be getting a little easier. Anyone have a door that needs painted?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Aperture Priority Mode - Better Photos... Now!

While you can control the overall sharpness of your subject and photo by adjusting the shutter speed of your DSLR, you can control how much of your photo is in focus by adjusting the aperture. Most DSLRs have an aperture priority setting (usually called A or AV) that lets you select a constant aperture for your camera, while your camera adjusts the shutter speed to give you the correct exposure.

By adjusting the aperture of your camera, you can decide if you just want the subject to be in focus with an out of focus background, or if you'd like the subject and background to be in focus. For most portraits, a lower aperture setting is usually more desirable. How low you should set your aperture depends on your lens and your subject.

Let's say you've got a 50mm lens with an aperture of f/1.8. If you're just taking a photo of one person, you can use an aperture setting of f/2.8 which will give you a nice blurry background but a sharply focused subject. If, on the other hand, you're photographing 2 or 3 people, you might want to use an aperture of f/4 or f/5.6, which will give you a wider plane of focus and should ensure that no one is out of focus.

If you're using the same 50mm f/1.8 lens and are shooting a landscape instead of people, you'll probably want to make sure that everything in the photograph is in focus. To do this, you'll want to choose the highest aperture available on your lens, probably f/16 for this particular lens.

For either of these examples, once you choose the aperture you want to shoot at, your camera will choose a shutter speed that will give you the correct exposure. Be aware, though, that when shooting at your highest and lowest apertures, you may approach shutter speed limitations. For example, if you decide to shoot at f/1.8 in full sun, your camera might not be able to set a shutter speed high enough for a correct exposure and you'll end up with an overexposed image. If you decide to shoot a sunset at f/16, your camera might leave your shutter open for too long to shoot without a tripod. Imagine if you set your aperture, started shooting a bunch of photos, then later discovered that every photo was overexposed or blurry!

Shot at f/8 with a 12mm lens - notice how everything is in focus

Shot at f/1.4 with a 50mm lens - Notice how even her ears are out of focus.
 That's a brick wall  about 10 feet behind her.

Read all of my DSLR tips here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Randomness - Networking


I'm not sure why, but it seems like lately I've been getting a little better at networking. Yes, it was one of my 2010 resolutions, so I'd better be making some progress, right? Well, I finally feel like I'm getting there.

Take, for instance, last night. I've been working with CRAVE Denver, a guidebook and network for local women-owned businesses, doing photo shoots for their upcoming book. Because CRAVE isn't just about a book, but about building networks, there are occasional parties where all of the women in the book have a chance to meet each other. I was asked to take some photos at last night's event. It turns out the only other guy around was the DJ/dance instructor. Let me tell you, these events are amazing! No, I'm not just saying that because I'm the only guy in a room full of women. What's amazing is the way these women network.

As I made my way through the crowd last night taking photos and meeting local business owners, one thing kept coming up in conversation. The atmosphere and attitudes were all about helping each other. No one was snobby, no one was mean... everyone was so nice! If there were two people who did the same thing, they were talking to each other as friends, not as competitors. This couldn't have been more clear than with my fellow photographers.

I would guess that there were at least 10 different photographers at the event last night. What really struck me was how we all felt comfortable with each other. We weren't comparing how many shoots we'd done this year. We weren't seeing who had the cooler business cards. We weren't talking gear to see who had the biggest lens or most expensive camera. None of that. Instead, we talked about what we shoot, who we know and how we might be able to help each other. We actually networked!

As Belinda and I were driving home, I mentioned to her how nice it was to talk to other photographers and not get into a competition over who has the best gear. There was hardly even any mention of Canon vs. Nikon! Let me tell you, that's a minor miracle. With that many photographers in the same room I'm surprised we didn't break off into cliques based on camera manufacturer, secretly talking trash and giving the other groups dirty looks.

Of course, Belinda wasn't surprised. She says that's the way women's networking events work. It's not about who has the best, or the most, or the whatever. It's about "how can we help each other." I like it! It's so refreshing. I walked away from the event last night feeling very positive and energized. I made quite a few good connections that I hope will blossom into fruitful working relationships. I'm aware that meeting people is the easy part of networking. The hard part comes in maintaining contact and keeping the connections alive. Something tells me the people I met last night will be able to teach me a thing or two about doing that as well.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tech Tuesdays - Lowepro Exchange Messenger Bag

After working a few events where I needed to swap lenses often, I knew something had to change. Here's the situation: You're at an event, you plan on using 3 lenses, your bag is stored someplace that's inaccessible during the event and you're wearing slacks. What do you do? Sounds like you need a bag that's a lot smaller than your camera bag but still holds enough that you don't have to worry about not having something.

When faced with this situation, my first thought was to get a Shootsac. I saw Jasmine Star using one of these while working a wedding and thought it looked like the perfect solution. Unfortunately, I needed one on short notice and couldn't find anyone here in Denver who sold them. Thus began my quest for the non-intrusive-yet-highly-functional bag.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Julia and Jaden Part II - Denver Family Photos

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember me writing about Julia and Jaden last year. Well, I got a phone call from Stephanie, their mom, again this year asking for another photo shoot. Everyone was a year older, but no less full of energy. In fact, the dog had just been to the vet and was enjoying her freedom so much we couldn't even get her to sit still long enough for more than one or two photos!

We had another beautiful October day to shoot. This year, we went for something a little less green and more autumnal. The colors have been beautiful this year, so finding a good location was not hard. The girls were dressed in matching dresses from a wedding earlier in the year. They were both flower girls, but unfortunately did not get a good photo, so the goal of the day was to get a good photo for their holiday card.

Apparently, it's now a tradition to go a little crazy at the beginning of the photo shoot (it's happened two years in a row, so I'm calling it a tradition), so the girls didn't want to do anything serious at the beginning of the shoot. That was fine, as I don't mind some goofy photos. Kids should be kids once in a while!

After they got a little energy out of their systems, we changed locations and got some nice photos. We even got Stephanie and the dog in for a few photos! I knew I was pressing my luck with the reserved, nice photos and pretty soon they just couldn't sit still and got goofy again. That's when I knew the shoot was over. As we were walking back to the car, I asked the girls to skip ahead of me and got a few wonderful photos of them skipping along, hand in hand.

I had gotten the shots I had come to get, as well as a few extras. I'm sure Stephanie will look at them years from now and fondly remember a beautiful October day spent with her daughters before they were all grown up. I'm sure if we keep shooting every year, I will look back at them and recall sunny afternoons and silly girls, which will make me smile.

To see more photos from their shoot, click here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

How Not To Do Things - Cooks Source

There are certain people and organizations you don't want to mess with: The Mafia, North Korea, Dick Cheney... and NPR? Yes, don't mess with NPR. If you need an example as to why, look no further than the recent story concerning Cooks Source.

OK, so maybe NPR didn't break the story, but I still like to give them credit for helping to spread the word. That's where I heard about it. What's the story? Here's a quick summary: Cooks Source, an ad-supported magazine, has apparently been lifting content from the internet and publishing it. They have given the authors credit, but not the source publications like Martha Stewart, The Food Network and NPR. Cooks Source claims that since they were able to find the articles on the internet, they are considered "public domain" and are therefore not protected by copyright laws.

You might be wondering what this has to do with photography? Copyright is a huge issue with photographers who make their living with the photos they take. There are hundreds, if not thousands of stories about photographers who have found their images being used without permission. They might be used to illustrate a blog post or to advertise a product. Regardless, they are being used without permission and are typically violating the photographer's copyrights.

Copyright is a hot topic in the photography community. The combination of digital photography and the internet makes it too easy to copy and paste an image for whatever purpose you please. Most people are unaware that just because you have the ability to copy something doesn't mean that you have the right to copy it. This is exactly what happened with Cooks Source.

Cooks Source is certainly being made an example of and this is only the beginning. Right now, retribution is coming in the form of posts on their Facebook Page. In the time it's taken me to write this, another 200 people have already "Liked" the page. You can be sure that every single one of these people has done so to taunt or chastise Cooks Source.  What's in store?  Probably the end of the magazine and possible monetary compensation to anyone who had work stolen.

Unfortunately, copyright infringement happens every day to artists, writers, photographers, musicians and others who depend on their creativity to make a living. Hopefully, this Cooks Source debacle will generate some awareness about copyrights and make people think twice before stealing someone else's hard work and creativity for their own personal gain.

Oh yeah, since this is titled "How Not To Do Things", I guess I should make a quick list of how not to do things. Thanks to Cooks Source for the inspiration:

  • How not to get 3500 new Facebook fans in less than 24 hours: steal other people's work.
  • How not to get mentioned by NPR, Time, Boing Boing, CNET, CNN, The Guardian, etc...: steal other people's work.
  • How not to apologize: steal other people's work and then tell them they should thank you for editing it to make it better.
  • How not to stop the bleeding: create a new Facebook page for "the readers" and tell everyone that "untruthful posts will be considered libelous".
  • How not to publish a magazine: steal other people's work.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rebecca - Boulder Children's Photos

Good things come to those who wait, right? If that's the case, then the photos of Rebecca's daughters should be amazing! Rebecca let me know way back in April that she wanted some fall photos. At that time, her youngest daughter, Samira, was almost 1 year old and hadn't had a formal photo shoot yet. By the time we shot with the fall colors in October, she was almost 1.5 years old.

The original plan was to shoot up in a canyon outside of Boulder. The original plan was also to shoot a few weeks earlier than we ended up shooting to catch the colors when they were at their peak. When I went up into the canyon on the day of the shoot, the colors were pretty much gone, so, with an improvisational Hail Mary, we decided to shoot on the University of Colorado campus and hope for some color. Fortunately, there was lots of color and many more locations for photos than we would have had in the canyon.

Samira took a bit of time warming up to the camera. Her older sister, Stella, took advantage of the opportunity to get some extra photos while her sister was being shy. Pretty soon, though, they were both goofing around and hardly noticed I was there. This is one of my favorite times to photograph children. When they forget you're there and just act like kids, it's possible to capture some truly authentic images. Posed, smiling photos of children are always nice, but I love a good photo of a kid being a kid.

As is always the case, once the kids decide they're done with photos, the shoot is over. Samira lasted over an hour, which is excellent for a kid her age. We sat down, had a snack, then headed back to the car. Fortunately, she got a second-wind before we got to the car and I was able to take photos for a bit longer before we parted ways.

So, do good things come to those who wait? Let's see... The weather was gorgeous. The location was beautiful. The light was perfect. The girls were wonderful. And the photos? According to Rebecca, they're "amazing". Just what I was hoping for.

You can see more photos from the afternoon here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Randomness - Salad


Salad isn't something that you normally get really excited about. Sometimes, though, salads are fun.

Belinda and I always look forward to our salads. I don't think it's because we really love salad (OK, Belinda does but I don't... it wouldn't be my choice for my last meal), but we really love salad nights. A salad is something we make together. It represents teamwork. It's always different, depending on which veggies we got in our vegetable share. It's also one of the few things Belinda helps me prepare.

If I'm grilling meat or making soup, she's nowhere to be found. But, as soon as I pull out a head of lettuce and some carrots, she's in the kitchen, putting on an apron and kicking me out of the way! Never argue with a woman with a knife in one hand and a salad spinner in the other.

I love cooking, so it's no big deal that Belinda doesn't usually help me cook. Long ago, we determined our kitchen was a "one-butt kitchen". If there's more than one person in there trying to cook, that's one butt too many. Somehow, though, we make it work when it's time for salad, which is a good thing. I don't think a salad I made by myself would taste nearly as good.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tech Tuesdays - Book Review - "The E-Myth Revisited"

I had heard great things about Michael Gerber's book The E-Myth. Great things like "I stayed up all night reading it". Successful, young photographers like Chase Jarvis and Jasmine Star have endorsed it. So, I figured I'd give it a shot, but instead of reading the original version (which is from the 1980s), I decided to read The E-Myth Revisited, since it's supposed to be a "new and totally revised edition". Should be the same ideas but with more computers and less fax machines.

For some reason, I just could not get into the book. Usually, this is a bad sign. If I'm not into a book within the first 10-15 pages, I usually just cut my losses and move on, but with this book, I was determined to read it and see what the fuss was all about. As I read on, I started to get into it, which is why I can actually write a review. You didn't think I'd post a review of the first 15 pages that just said "boring", now did you?

The way the book is written is fairly unique for a business book. As you'd expect, the author discusses his techniques, methods and ideas, but each chapter is framed within a conversation with an exasperated business owner. The author meets a woman who bakes pies and just can't figure out why she's working so much and not growing her business. Their conversation carries you through the ideas the book presents and gives them a practical application so you, as the reader, get to see the concepts applied to an actual business instead of just discussed as hypothetical concepts. It's a clever concept that not only helped me to get an idea of what was being discussed, but also broke up the monotony of just reading a business book.

So what about the content of the book? I have to admit, I didn't find The E-Myth Revisited as groundbreaking as I'd hoped. There were times where I was very inspired by what I was reading. The ideas all seem sound and seem like they can be applied to any business. I'm not sure what was missing for me. Maybe it's that I don't feel ready to make the major changes suggested by the book. Maybe it's because there weren't many ideas I could immediately apply to my business. I can't quite put my finger on it. Something tells me that if I go back and read it again in a year, I'll be much more excited. Maybe I'll even stay up all night reading it!