What’s Blocking Your Success?

Ever feel like there’s an immovable object blocking your road to your success? Is it circumstance like the soft economy? Is it lack of confidence? Is it the flood of new competition? Sure, the market is full of talented photographers along with the droves of college students, moms, uncle Bobs and anyone else who can afford a DSLR. It seems nobody wants to pay for your hard earned photography skills when the economy is in the rut. When your phone doesn’t ring as often as it used to, you can easily start doubting yourself. Or, maybe you just need to dig a little deeper and fight for that extra yard.

I meet all kinds of photographers during a typical day of business here at the lab. Some are still doing well and some are not. Some just seem defeated and some are getting there. For those of you who are running low on inspiration and drive, I want you to read this story. You can easily replace the words, “ideas” and “writer” with “art” and “photographer.”  This story really stirred something in me, hopefully you’ll get something out of it as well. It’s written by Jonathan Morrow at Copyblogger. Here’s the link to original post, https://www.copyblogger.com/fight-for-your-ideas/


On Dying, Mothers, and Fighting for Your Ideas
by Jonathan Morrow

The doctor cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, but I have bad news.”

He paused, looking down at the floor. He looked back up at her. He started to say something and then stopped, looking back down at the floor.

That’s when Pat began to cry.

She’d argued with herself about even coming to the doctor’s office. Her baby was a year old, and he hadn’t started crawling yet. He tried, yes, dragging his legs behind him as he struggled to make it just a few feet on the floor, but it didn’t look right. Everyone told her that she was worrying over nothing, and maybe she was, but she told herself that she would take him to the doctor, just to be safe . . .

“Your son has a neuromuscular disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy,” the doctor said. “It’s a form of muscular dystrophy that primarily affects children.”

Pat was speechless. Everyone had told her she was silly. She had hoped she was wrong, prayed she was wrong, but still . . . she knew.

“What’s going to happen to him?” she managed to say.

“Where most children grow stronger as they get older, your son is going to get weaker. He’ll lose the ability to move. He’ll lose the ability to breathe on his own. And one day, he’ll catch an infection that will spread into his respiratory system, giving him severe pneumonia . . .”

She held up her hand to stop him. “You’re saying he is going to die?”

He nodded. “There are three types of SMA. Caught this early, your son almost certainly has Type I. Most children with Type I die of pneumonia before the age of two.” He paused. “I’m sorry.”

Pat looked up into his face and saw that he really was sorry. It made her angry. Not because of his pity, but because in this man’s eyes, her baby was already dead.

“Don’t be sorry,” Pat said, wiping tears away from her face. Her voice was suddenly very calm.”He isn’t going to die.”

“It’s important you understand the situation, Mrs. Morrow. The pneumonia . . . he won’t be able to fight it.”

“He won’t have to,” she said. “I’ll fight it for him.”

The miracle of mothers
Over the next 16 years, I had pneumonia 16 times. But I never died. It sounds strange to say it, but my mother wouldn’t let it happen.

She orchestrated a team of more than a dozen doctors. She slept in a chair beside me in the hospital, sometimes for as many as 30 days in a row. She pounded my chest and back every two hours to loosen the mucus, covering my chest and back with bruises.

Today, at 27 years old, I’m one of the oldest people in the world with my type of SMA, and people tell me it’s a miracle. And I agree, it is. But the miracle isn’t just me. It’s a mother who fought like only a mother can to keep me alive.

By “alive,” I don’t mean just “not dead,” either. You’d think my mother would have been satisfied for me to live at home, tucked away from the world where she could protect me, but for her, that wasn’t living. She insisted that I be great.

When my elementary school principal decided that disabled children didn’t have a place in her school, my mom appealed to the school board and turned every board member’s life into a living hell for two years.

She won.

When I wanted to play basketball, she forced an astounded coach to reinvent the rules of the game so that I could be the “ball carrier” for the team, and no one could take the ball away. Not surprisingly, everyone wanted me on their team.

When I could no longer pick up a pencil, she arranged for honors students at local colleges to help me with my homework after school. I graduated at the age of 16, not only near the top of my class, but with college credit.

If you’re a mother, none of these things surprise you. Some mothers are weak, sure, but the vast majority fight for their children, especially when those children are defenseless. It’s not because they’re trying to be heroes. It’s because that’s their job.

And I think we can learn something from them. Not to minimize what mothers do, but I’ve come to believe that our job as writers is not all that different.

Fighting for your ideas
Growing up, I always had to fight to get people to listen to me.

The worst part about being disabled isn’t the pain or the struggle but how the world tries to shove you into a corner and pretend that you don’t exist. After all, what could you possibly have to contribute? You’re going to die soon, poor thing. Here’s a nice, quiet room and some morphine to ease the pain.

They don’t proactively hold you back, no, but they don’t expect you to succeed either. I’ve spent my entire life fighting against the weight of those expectations.

Like when university professors were flabbergasted when, on the first day, I asked my attendant to raise his hand, so I could answer the question that no one else could.

Or the vaguely constipated look on the face of a venture capitalist when I asked for $500,000 of startup capital for my first software company.

Or the disbelieving stares of people at a real estate conference when I gave a talk about buying million-dollar homes without even being able to get up the stairs to see the inside of them.

Their disbelief has never stopped me, of course. It’s not a matter of persistence or strength or attitude, as some people think. It’s a matter of shame.

How could I possibly look my mother and father and all of the others who have sacrificed so much for me in the eye and tell them, “I can’t?” I couldn’t bear it. The shame of dishonoring their sacrifice by giving up would poison my soul.

And so I fight
If my mother could ignore a doctor who would condemn me to death, then I can ignore my inner demons who tell me I’ll never make it as a writer.

If my mother could demand that I achieve straight As in school, then I can demand greatness from every blog post I publish.

If my mother could lobby school administrators and government agencies to get me the help I needed, then I can lobby bloggers and social media power users to get my idea the attention it deserves.

Not to imply that I’m unique, because I’m not. Yes, I’ve had to overcome a lot of adversity, but so does every creative person who wants their ideas to see the light of day.

If you want to succeed, you can’t wait for the world to give you attention the way a cripple waits for food stamps to arrive in the mail. You have to be a warrior. You have to attack with the madness of a mother whose child is surrounded by an army of predators.

Because, let’s face it, your ideas are your children. Their future is as tender and delicate as that of any newborn.

You can’t just write them down and expect them to succeed. Writing isn’t about putting words on the page, any more than being a parent is about the act of conception. It’s about breathing life into something and then working to make sure that life becomes something beautiful.

That means spending ten hours on a post, instead of 30 minutes.

That means writing a guest post every week, instead of one every few months.

That means asking for links without any shame or reservation, not because you lack humility, but because you know down to the depths of your soul that what you’ve done is good.

You have to realize that your blog is more than just a collection of ones and zeros floating through cyberspace. It’s more than the words on the page. Your blog is a launchpad for your ideas, and you are the rocket fuel that lifts them off the ground.

So burn it up, baby.

Your ideas are counting on you.

Are You a Closet Costco Photographer?

maskAfraid that someone’s going to recognize you while you pick up your prints and hot dog combo?

If this is you, we got the solution. No, it’s not a pair of sunglasses and a trench coat. We got professional quality proofs for dirt cheap, almost Costco cheap. Our PRO Proofs now go as low as $0.25 each for 3.5×5, 4×5 and 4×6 size proof prints on Fuji Professional Lustre paper, not the cheap stuff.

Finish off those gorgeous proofs with our beautiful Chocolate Packaging and you got Louis Vuitton style at Kirkland prices! Who says bling had to be expensive? So pimp your proofs at Fotoworks PRO!

Need a Better Business?

Struggling to make your photography business profitable? Looking to increase your current business? Trying to make that leap to becoming a full time photographer?

If your looking for that silver bullet to miraculously turn your business into a multi-million dollar success story, give up already! There’s no such thing. But, there are some real steps you can take to make more money and even change your lifestyle. How about a no nonsense workshop that gives you the nuts and bolts to make real progress?

The Barnet Workshops will give you just that. If you know Joe and Mirta like I do, you know them as honest hard working people who give it to you straight without the BS. I’ve always known them as experienced professionals with a solid business acumen. You just don’t stay successful without solid fundamentals and a real business that provides a real value to your clients.

So if you’re sick of the over-hyped claims and outrageous prices of some of these fluffed up seminars, take a look at the Barnet Workshops. I seriously doubt you’ll find a better value. For the price of a small trendy tech lifestyle gift, you can take a home something that could change your lifestyle! So you choose, iPod or iSuccess.

Sam the Foto Man

Jan-2010-6x9 promo

Mammoth Men – Trip 5 – The Dirty South


The Mammoth Men. Bull riding, skeet shooting, fanboating, and Ron Burgandy dressing – what could be more fun than watching these 12 amazing photographers go on the road trip of a lifetime and getting to see the awe-inspiring images they collect on their way.

If you haven’t been a fan before, set aside an hour of your time to check out THE MAMMOTH MEN BLOG (do not under any circumstances check it out for the first time before any major event as you will be unable to tear your eyes away and will in turn be late for said major event).

We are proud to be one of their Most Radical Sponsors, and I am proud to be one smitten Mammoth Men fan.

What are you afraid of?


It’s Halloween & time to address fear again. I talked about fear a few months ago and how it can cripple us and completely prevent us from reaching our dreams. Today, there’s a different kind of fear I want to talk with you about: fear of your lab.

So many of our customers finally “brave up” enough to call and ask us their questions. Then they say, “wow, that wasn’t so bad.” And I can’t for the life of me figure out why they even hesitated in calling.

We are here as a resource to you. And we like you! We REALLY do!

At Fotoworks Pro, we are committed to your success and to being a partner of integrity as we help you towards success.

When you call and ask a question, we’ll give you the honest answer. Even if that means we end up recommending a competing company who can serve you better or we suggest a better way for you to order from us that will save you some money. We know that we’ll do far better as a company if our passion is centered on helping you succeed and not just on our own sales numbers.

There’s no question too stupid, too simple or too embarrassing to ask. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll help point you in the direction of someone who will. I promise, there’s a bright and cheery voice just a phone call away who’d be thrilled to help you with whatever they can… You just have to make the first move. ;-D

SoCal Photogs – Need Halloween Plans?


Ooh, yes yes yes!!! A sure to be fabulous party thrown on Halloween (in the afternoon so you can still go to all your crazy parties at night), in a fabulous location and with fabulous people! If you would like to be in front of the lens for a bit instead of behind one and end up with some awesome images of yourself in costume – drop by the Tosti Studio Halloween party!

You might even see me there! 😀

All the best,



There are so many words that float around in the photography industry that make me smile.

I shall now try to properly define (much thanks to Urban Dictionary) and credit 2 of my favorites — while they may not have been the first to use them, they certainly were the ones who in my opinion, made them what they are today.

EYEGASM – What happens when someone sees a sight so amazing their brain goes on overload. You may have to blink your eyes a few times to even comprehend the awesomeness that’s in front of you.

Many thanks to the many tweets from @imageisfound that solidified this as a term in my vocabulary – and to his images that constantly back up the definition by allowing me to experience the meaning. I can’t wait to know what the next word is that the awesome Nate Kaiser decides to grace our little industry with.

COMMANDIVE – A state of being in which the subject is telling people what to do instead of showing them – often causing a delay in a process and frustration for all involved.

I read the following on Jasmine Star’s Blog yesterday and it firmly placed “commandive” into my mental dictionary: “Of course I could tell her what to do, but this could take forever, become commandive (FYI, just made up that word), and frustrating for the subjects.”


Now, for me, my word of the day is RADITUDE: A rad or tubular state of demeanor or being. (Also the name of Weezer’s new album).

I think the best part about our Fotoworks Pro clients is their Raditude. I couldn’t possibly imagine having more appreciative and kindhearted clients – and their zeal for life, good humor and awesome outlook on situations makes me all the more happy to serve them.

I also liked one of The Urban Dictionary’s alternate definitions for Raditude: Having the right state of mind to be able to efficiently use the word “radical.”

Joe: Radical!!!

Matt: Joe, don’t use that word man. You don’t have the raditude for it.

What are your favorite words? Have a new one to teach me? Bring it on!

And in case you need a good laugh, click here to read The Urban Dictionary’s definition of Photographer. 😀




Dear Wonderful, Fabulous, Amazing PROs,

It’s RUSH week here at Fotoworks Pro. And while we, on occassion, do enjoy getting a little Neil Peart up in us, we’re not talking about the band.

It’s time for you to tell your fellow photographers about the lab you love – for them to enjoy an amazing new client credit – and for you to earn some rewards.

So we’re offering our very own RUSH WEEK special – without the sweaty frat boys, stained futons, midnight streaking and beer pong. Well, maybe we can keep the beer pong. I’ll see what I can do.


Once or twice a year Fotoworks Pro offers a special increased discount to new clients – a $25 free credit for them to sign up and try us out at no cost to them. The credit covers any prints or services they want to try. If their order comes under the $25 there’s no shipping charge – and there’s no minimum. They don’t have to spend $50 to get the $25 … it’s just $25 – no strings attached.

This year, we extended our special discount for 6 MONTHS! But now this credit, like all good things, must come to an end.

But there’s still time for you to either sign up yourself as a new client or tell your friends and let them enjoy this special credit. All New Client sign-ups done before Saturday October 31, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. are eligible to receive the credit.

AND NOW: THE BIG BONUS: If you have a photographer friend sign up with us and on their new client form they choose “Another Photographer” and type your name in the box below – you’ll receive a $5 credit of your own when they use their $25 credit.

We want you to spread the good word about Fotoworks – take a minute and share your love for the lab that loves you back. Call your second shooters, tweet your followers, facebook your friends – there’s no limit to how many $5 credits you can have.

We love our Fotoworks PROs and we’re sure to love your photographer friends too!

Thanks for sending them our way!



T. G. I. F. P.

Thank goodness it’s Fotoworks Pro! ;-D

Okay, okay… Thank goodness it’s Friday! The weekend is here – lots of shooting to do, which means lots of orders for us next week! You’ve all been keeping us really busy over here and we’re loving every second of it.

One of my favorite parts about this job is that I get to see the work of so many fabulous photographers – and I get to watch them get even better over time.

I don’t have much time to blog this morning, but I just wanted to throw this out there: not to dig on her or anything, but I was really disappointed in Annie Leibovitz’ new portrait of the Obama family.


I was expecting something so much more – more unique, more vibrant, more…. well, more like the work I see pass through our printers every day here at Fotoworks Pro. I know it was a “formal” portrait and it’s not really like you can easily take the President of the United States and his family into a random field to have them run around or to a rundown industrial area to get edgy portraits (although the political backlash of those would be interesting) – but I just really looked at it and though “Eh, I’ve seen better.”


In other news, I greatly enjoyed the Angels win last night against the Yankees – and I’m looking forward to seeing what my boys do against them this weekend. I’ll definitely be watching the game from my favorite Historic Downtown Fullerton sports bar Heroes – cheering my team on with a pitcher of beer while I dump peanut shells on the ground (I think that’s why I love that place – because they WANT you to make a mess). And because I get WIFI there. So I get to watch the game, eat peanuts, drink beer & follow what ya’ll are up to on Twitter while you’re shooting! WOO HOO! Hm… beer, messy peanuts and my laptop. Maybe I’ll just stick with the twitter following on my CrackBerry.

To all our FABULOUS Fotoworks PROs: this weekend, go out and shoot your weddings and portraits and know that here in beautiful Southern California, your lab loves you – and thinks you’re just a tiny bit better than Annie Leibovitz. ;-D

All the best,