October 26th, 2015

PhotoPlus Expo 2015: John Keatley on Thriving in Business, Marketing and Style

In his seminar, “Learning to Thrive as an Artist: Business, Marketing and Style for Photographers,” during PhotoPlus Expo this past week, Seattle-based commercial photographer John Keatley neatly summed up one of the themes of the 2015 PhotoPlus Expo conference: In a market in which technically proficient, beautiful photography can be and is created by the masses, professional photographers are “hired [by commercial clients] to create something scarce.” Personal style and vision are essential, in other words. “Anyone can learn to master technique,” Keatley says. “No one can replicate your decision-making process.” The talk was an abbreviated version of the three-day workshop Keatley puts on a few times each year.

On style

In his relationships with clients, Keatley defines his style through the work he chooses to show, and how he talks in meetings and during creative calls as he’s bidding on jobs. Keatley says his “goal in talking to a client is to show them that I think about photography in a different way.” He shared with seminar attendees the dictionary definition of style and said he believes style “is not something you choose, it’s who you are.” He made an analogy with acting style, sharing a video in which the actor Brian Cranston talks about a revelation in his career when he stopped worrying during auditions about getting a job and started concentrating on showing who he was as an actor.

Keatley urged his audience to contemplate who they are as photographers by coming up with 7 to 10 words that describe ideas, attitudes and other things they value, and thinking about how those values manifest themselves in their work. Keatley also urged his audience to understand that developing one’s style “is a journey,” and it’s something that a photographer develops and evolves throughout their career.


January 16th, 2015

Martyna Galla Makes Her Mark with a Format.com Online Portfolio

Sponsored by Format


At just 22 years old, fashion photographer Martyna Galla is a force to be reckoned with. She’s amassed a list of clients that includes Avon, Universal Music and Elle; success she credits to her insatiable enthusiasm for creating imagery. Raised in a small town near Warsaw, the burgeoning teen’s discovery of the medium began when she was given her first camera at 14. Galla began photographing her sister and “the prettiest girls at school,” and within just two years, landed her first paid job shooting model tests at Warsaw modeling agency D’vision Models.

The professional opportunity solidified Galla’s aspirations to build a career as a photographer and propelled her to enroll film school in Łódź, Poland, where she was further trained in photography.  Now out of school, constantly shooting tests, regularly investing in gear and studio space, and expanding her contacts to include a wider range of models, make-up artists and stylists have all contributed to her growth.

© Martyna Galla

Just as crucial to her development as a professional photographer, however, has been the ability to market her online portfolio. “People must see your work,” Galla says. “Potential clients, friends, agents, models—you never know who will like it and recommend your work.” But not all websites are created equal, as Galla has learned. Out of all the options available, Galla rates Format.com, a portfolio website platform for creative professionals, above the rest. “Format was not the first platform I used to share my photography, but it is the most professional. My work is available in high quality and is viewable on any browser or mobile device,” she says. “My Format.com portfolio is the one I continue to share with clients. Its professional design lets my work shine.”

© Martyna Galla

Format’s online portfolio website offer photographers all the advantages they desire when showcasing their work online. Its elegant, professionally-designed themes enable photographers to create a stunning presentation of their work in an instant—all without any knowledge of coding. Format’s websites are also fully customizable, including a custom domain: photographers can choose from a wide variety of specially-designed page templates or build their own from scratch using Format’s advanced code editor. In addition, Format’s websites are mobile- and tablet-ready, and include built-in, powerful, image-based blogging, seamless linking to social networks, unlimited bandwidth, automatic and fast image resizing, continual fast speed image loading, password-protected pages, search engine optimization, video capability, and 24/7 around-the-clock reliable service and support no matter the time zone.

Work as strong and as unique as Marytna Galla’s demands a presentation that only Format.com has been able to deliver—and quite effortlessly so. Interestingly, when asked to describe her photographic style, some of the words Galla uses are “easy,” “sensible,” and “calm,” adjectives that could also be used to describe the Format.com experience. “I like to keep things simple,” she continued. “When I find the person in front of my camera to be charismatic and interesting, I let them have the advantage while shooting. It always brings something new and unexpected.”

Visit Format.com and create your very own online portfolio.

See a short video on Galla and her work below.


October 29th, 2010

Elizabeth Messina, Jasmine Star at PhotoPlus Expo

Wedding photographers Elizabeth Messina and Jasmine Star, both based on the West Coast, flew East to PhotoPlus Expo to share the photographic techniques and branding tactics that keep them at the top  of what has, in the past several years, become a very competitive and lucrative genre of  photography.

In Messina’s seminar, “Getting to the Heart of Wedding Photography,” attendees were presented with several slide shows of her work (accompanied by upbeat Lauryn Hill musical tracks), free memo pads  (with an image by Messina on the cover), and giveaways from Big Folio and Graphis Studio.

At the heart of Messina’s seminar was the message that “wedding photography is a team sport and everything you as a photographer are there to capture, someone else had a hand in creating.” She advised photographers to urge subjects to always open up and give more. “Find a way into their space and create lasting memories.”

Messina also stressed to the packed seminar room that it is important to continuously nurture your creativity, and keep advancing your brand, both through personal projects and assignments as well as through blogging. A year ago she created the blog kissthegroom.com, which went on to win design awards as well as nab the attention of paying advertisers (see the article on her successful blogging endeavor in PDN’s November issue.).