Thursday, January 27, 2011

Business Day Thursday: 10,000 Photographers Paying It Forward

Good Morning Everybody,

Back To Normal Things are pretty much back to normal at Ziser Studio, thank goodness ;~)  We’re wrapping a few things up around here and looking forward to an exciting 2011. 

I’ve got a few new ideas in store for our DigitalProTalk readers. And to paraphrase George Zimmer CEO of Men’s Warehouse, “You’re going to like what you see.” Anyway, let’s get on with today’s post – I think it’s important.

Business Day Thursday: Pay It Forward

Making New Friends…

One of the cool things that happens at conventions are the new folks you meet and new friends you make.  That happened over and over at PhotoPro Expo last weekend.  We had nearly 300 photographers come by to see the 10 terrific programs and visit our vendor supporters.

Over the course of the four days, I had a chance to visit many old friends and made lots of new ones.  On the last day, at the end of the convention, I had the pleasant responsibility of any new president, shaking hands and thanking everyone for coming.  This too is where magic happens.  I was approached by John Michael Laney.

I had laid out my agenda and course direction for the new year, one of which was to brings tons of new video content to our KPPA website.  John Michael approaches me and tells me he has just the video experience we could use to make that happen. I was thrilled he offered.

…Can Lead To Magical Ideas

But that is only the beginning of the story.  John Michael Laney dropped me an email just to follow up on our short visit.  In his email he posted the link to his website [link] and as always, I checked it out.  That quick review of his site was the inspiration for today’s post.

One of the tabs on his home page was “Pay It Forward” [link]. Many of us have seen the movie by the same name [link].  It was a story about an 11 year old boy, young Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) who comes up with a plan to do good deeds for three people who then by way of payment each must do good turns for three other people.

…That Could Change The World

Jordan Light “So what?”, you say.  Well, I think John Michael has hit upon an idea that can surely not only help people in need, but also raise his studio’s profile in his community.  John Michael is supporting the Jordan Light Foundation [link]. Wouldn’t it be cool if each of us took the same initiative – seek out a deserving charity and set up a “Pay It Forward” tab on our own website or blog?

For years I have offered any of my clients FREE photographic services for any high profile charities they have been involved in.  For 4 years I have been photographing at no charge Cris Collinsworth’s Pink Ribbon Luncheon, a huge fundraiser which raises awareness for breast cancer and has benefitted over 14,000 women last year alone. I have photographed many similar events as well over the years.  I feel that photography and especially my clients have been good to me and volunteering my services is a good way to pay it forward.

I think John Michael's idea kicks it up a notch though.  I’ve always made the standing offer to my clients and sometimes my clients take me up on it but John Michael is pro-actively making the effort everyday through his blog.  But don’t stop there. By promoting your “Pay It Forward” endeavors on your website, blog, Facebook, newsletters, etc. - essentially anywhere they can to get the word out – will by default, raise your profile in your community and add an additional credibility and integrity to your studio and product and services. 

Helping You - Helping OthersDon’t get me wrong.  I’m not suggesting you do it for fame and fortune – do it because you want to do it and raise awareness for the charity you are involved with.  Fame and fortune may just be a nice side benefit. This idea is helping you AND helping others.

Two important results come from this “Pay It Forward” idea.  It certainly helps the cause for which it was intended.  And, it also shows the studio promoting the charity as concerned, caring, members of their community and pro-active in helping others.  Folks, does that sound like a studio you would like to do business with?  It sure does to me.

As my mind races with ideas on how to best make this work for other studios, I would sure like to hear your thoughts and get your ideas on how you have or plan to implement this “Pay It Forward” idea within your own business model.  Please, leave you ideas and suggestions in the Comments section below.  I’d love to see them and I’m sure our DPT readers would as well.

Think of the good that could come of this if all of us took that initiative!  We photographers – large or small, urban or rural, full time or part time – could begin to make a bigger difference in our communities, states, country, and who knows, maybe even in the world.

THANKS again to John Michael Laney for his outstanding contribution!

Food For Thought,  David


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  Just a quick note. I’m planning to take tomorrow off and work on a few new projects.  My new book has been on the back burner for the last few weeks and I want desperately to get back to writing.

On a personal level, it will be hard NOT to blog tomorrow.  I have not missed a posting since January 2008.  That’s quite a run and I feel like I’ll leave something behind by breaking that run. (I also had a perfect 4 year attendance record in high school I was quite proud of, missing only one day -  the day of my grandfather’s funeral.)

But it is time for me to not be concerned with blogging come “Heck or High Water”, or having perfect blogging attendance, etc.  It’s about re-aligning my priorities and as a result, bring even richer content to you.  Don’t worry though, you’ll still see me plenty of times each week, and who knows, I might just have a five day run now and then ;~)

Have a great one everybody!

See ya’ Monday,  David


  1. Thank you for the great idea. I belong to a BNI networking group and next week I am going to offer every member free photo work for any legitimate charity they are involved in.

    Thanks David

  2. You should take a break from blogging, you have a plate full and then some with all your projects. All us loyal fans surely understand. But please don't ever stop! Don't know what I would do without a least a bi-weekly dose of Mr. Z. So much great info, like no other. Thank You a hundred times over

  3. It's five in the morning and I'm wide awake so I decided to do a little surfing on the Web. I haven't checked out your blog in quite a while so I decided to stop by. It appears my timing couldn't be better. I have always wanted to add a "Pay It Forward" type element to my business scheme but have never gotten around to it. Your thoughts have inspired me. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  4. Break from blogging: First McNally's tri-grip, now this. What is going on here?! lol, joking, of course, enjoy your break!

  5. ...and by shooting the charitable events, we photographers have an opportunity to stretch our skills and improve our vision for current and future customers. It's a win-win-win situation.