Nov 14 2018

How To Make A Zine

Photo by Nick Jones

There are 100 ways to make a zine. This is the way I do it. 90% of this catalog was produced this way. And if you wanted to make a book, it just a matter of adding 1 or 2 more steps. I’ll write that up too in a future post.

Ok. This is how to make a black and white 40 page zine on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, folded in half, and stapled. You should know what you want the final outcome to look like. Look at other zines. In fact, grab some blank paper and fold it and play with page count and you can start to see it happening in your mind.

It is just a very simple 3 step process.

** If you don’t have a computer, then this way of making a zine will not work for you.

1. Photos.

I use Adobe Photoshop. You don’t have to though. Have all your photos at 300 dpi, at around 11″ on the long side. I like jpg better than tiff. It’s mainly because they preview quicker on my old ass computer. If you are doing 1 photo per page and you know you want 40 pages, I would actually get at least 50 photos ready so that I can have room to play with sequencing more.

2. Layout.

I use Adobe Indesign. I know people that use Word or any PDF editor as well. But for this we are going to use Adobe Indesign. If you need to, look up tutorials on the internet. I probably do this on almost every project because I forget things or am trying something different.

Open a new document and in the size area choose “8.5 x 11 – half”. This means you are making a stapled booklet on standard size paper which is what we are making. Enter “40” in the page count area. Your page count must be divisible by 4.

I only use 1 tool really when making a layout. I don’t even know what it is called. I think it is called the “frame tool”. Use that to draw boxes of where you want to drop your photos into. It helps to have some margins set up so the boxes will be easier to draw. I start with the cover and start drawing these boxes on every page. 1 by 1.

Now I wanna add photos to these boxes. I open Abode Bridge which is a separate program bundled with Adobe Indesign. I find the folder of where all my prepped photos are. From there I just drag and drop my photos, 1 by 1, into these boxes I just drew in my layout. Your photo might not look right in the box. There are different auto-resize tools in the control panel. In particular there is one for auto-horizontal fit and one for auto-vertical fit. Hit one of those depending what your doing.

** The reason I prepped all my photos at 11″ long is just in case I want to do a 2 page spread, then the resolution will be already all good to go.

3. Output.

After you have laid out all your pages, you are ready to print it. The easiest way from here is to output a PDF. You can just find “export” and then export a hi-res PDF. From that PDF, you can now upload to a website where they can print it and mail it to you. Or you can take it to any Kinkos or any local copy shop or print shop and have them make copies. It will be cheaper for you to staple it and fold it yourself, but it is convenient to have it all done and ready to go.

But for this we want to print it at home. Find a double sided laser printer. When shopping for one, look for a feature called “Duplex tray”. That means it can print on 2 sides of a piece of paper. It does this by printing on one side, then that print chills in the duplex while the machine prepares to print the second side. I use the HP P3015. It is a little older but you can find them for cheap. You can find ink for cheap on Amazon and Ebay.

So once you got your printer set up you can print from the PDF that you just made, or you can print it out directly from Adobe Indesign which is what I do. There is a print setting called “Print Booklet”. Hit that, chose landscape, chose double sided, hit print.

Once it is done printing, use a booklet stapler to reach the middle of the page. Put 2 in the middle, then fold the whole thing in half. Done.

That’s it!

You just made a zine. Print out a few more and give them away to friends and family. Maybe they will like it, maybe they won’t get it. Either way you are now a publisher.

Nov 07 2018

5 Phases of Photo

Photo by David Root

** This article is a re-edit and re-package of a previous article. **

I was thinking about how every photographer I know has a completely different path then the next. But what makes them similar? I was thinking about “modes” or “gears” that we shift into. But “phases” might be the appropriate word. “Phases” are stages of development. But you can refer to a “phase” as a “state” or “cycle” as well.

Here are 5 phases that we all shift into, cycle through, and/or embody simultaneously. Maybe there are more.

I. Learning.

Books, teachers, shutter speeds, apertures, etc.

II. Developing.

Experimenting, “developing” your style.

III. Working.

Productivity. Shooting and processing.

IV. Obsession.

There is nothing else. There is no back up plan.

V. Break.

Burnout. Brakes. Rest. Reflection.

When I say, “Working” I don’t necessarily mean being paid. I mean working on your craft. That goes for “Obsession” too. Some of the most obsessed guys I know have a regular day job and shoot after work and on the weekends.

What phase are you in today?

Nov 06 2018

Averages No. 2 : Quality Vs. Quantity

Photo by Zack Canepari

In the article AVERAGES, we talked about feeling average about your photos. We talked about getting your numbers up and thus becoming “above average” but I think we can go into those numbers and distinctions a little more.

The idea is let’s say you are averaging 1 good photo out of 10 photos, then you are hitting at 10%. My suggestion to get those numbers up was to edit better, develop better skills and technique, and have more purpose. But I left out an obvious and crucial one, that is to shoot more.

If you want 1 good photo per day, then going by your averages, you need to shoot 10 photos per day. We know some days are better than others. Bad weather, bad attitude, boring scenario and many factors can lead to a boring day shooting. So if we bake those days into your average, then you need to up your shooting number on those days where everything is flowing properly. I say shoot 20.

Well what if you just shot 1000 photos and they all suck? I say shoot 19,000 more. This is about “clarity through action.” A quote I heard somewhere that applies here. If you want clarity, you have to take action. You have to learn photography. You have to shoot.

You have to hunt for that quality of photo that resonates truth for yourself and all of mankind. If you didn’t know, this is the search for magic beans path that we are all on as photographers. If you are reading this, you are on this mission. If you are reading this, you are part of the resistance.

Nov 04 2018


Photo by Bill Burke

While we got over 500 hits on the site only 10 votes came it. I was surprised but I do know some people were having problems on some mobile browsers. I am actually going to leave the poll open and see if further analysis is required. But I don’t think that will be the case.

As I suspected, “All of the Above” got the most votes. Which means a good amount of you agree that there is not one most important ingredient to making a great photo. And since that was the purpose of this poll, then the results are inconclusive.

“Emotional Content” got the second place. This topic was also the majority of the commentary. While it is essential in a great photograph, we as a group have found that it is only 20% of the pie.

There was 1 vote for “None of the Above”. That means 10% of you believe that none of the candidates listed would make a great leader. That is just as valid and important to consider too. When I listed “None”, I didn’t mean “Nothing”. So from that we can infer 10% of a great photo could be a nameless magic ingredient. To keep it glass is half full I marked it in the pie chart as “Unknown”.

There are different ways to interpret the data. If we divided the “All of the Above” votes into mini votes for everything, then we would add a .4 % vote for each candidate. Therefore “Emotional Content” would win while other ones like “Timing” would make the scoreboard. Although “Unknown” would still be scoring higher.

But that wasn’t the goal of the poll. We wanted to find out your number 1 ingredient and a vote for “All of the Above” is not 1 ingredient. We could’ve left it off the poll but this gives us useful info too. According to a strong and united 40% of you, a combination of all these things is what makes a great photo.

On the other hand, 60% of you disagree. If we go by the numbers then “Emotional Content” is the leader, but the majority is not united. We cannot ignore the voices for “Mystery”, “Energy”, “Composition”, and the X factor of the “Unknown”.

Could it be impossible to create a formula for a “perfect” photograph? I think we need more data.

This was fun. More polls in the future.

Nov 02 2018


Photo by Troy Holden

Ok I downloaded a poll plugin. I’m a nerd’s nerd and I like DATA. After the discussion in the last article, the comments became about the magic ingredients for a masterpiece level photo. That’s what I was getting out of it anyways. If we at least know the ingredients, maybe we can figure out how to bake these cookies.

After thinking about it all night, I do not think there is a magic formula for a photo that can ring truth spanning across all generations and cultures. But, if you are looking at this website and you know what we are doing over here, then you know that we are all in the same general type of genre/category/aesthetic or whatever you want to call it. So maybe we can have a formula for our little section of the photo universe.

Also, I think there might exist 2 ways to look at a photograph. One as a photographer. And one as civilian. For instance I think I look at photo books as a photographer, but I view the newspapers and commercial magazines as a civilian. This might not be true in every case, but generally I think I operate this way. So I made this poll to contain aspects of both types of viewing.

Vote here for what you think is the most number 1 important aspect of a great photo. What connects you most? What engages you as a viewer? We know it is a combo of all of them, but if you had to choose just one. What would it be?

If you choose “None”, then leave in the comments what you think I might have left off. Thanks in advance.

** Poll not responding on some mobile browsers. Not sure why.

Best Ingredient For A Masterpiece Level Photo

View Results

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Nov 01 2018

New Questions

Photo by Elmo Tide

Getting awesome feedback! Thank you all for reading these things and glad my random thoughts and ideas are resonating. If you have any questions that you think I should write about, leave them in the comments section or feel free to email me :

This came in from regular photo contributor Reuben Radding:

Here’s what I’m having a hard time with: new questions. When I started grad school I dedicated myself to finding new questions to replace the outmoded and fully answered ones like, “Is it documentary or fine art?” “Why black & white vs color? digital vs film?”, etc etc etc… And the idea was that if we accept these issues as a waste of thought, what is next? What are the next big questions?

I have spent two years busting ass, growing, learning, questioning, and I’m not sure I know what the questions are other than, “What is the specific energy or quality or whatever that makes a photograph really sing out when it obviously doesn’t depend on “correctness” or “important content”?

We all know this quality when we see it. And we all chase it. And different photos are strong for different reasons, but what is this elusive aliveness that no one can put in a lens review or a guide to composition? I’m only scratching the surface to find an answer for this yet, and I’m still looking for more questions that aren’t “Canon vs Nikon” or “Wide angle vs Normal.” Maybe, “How can I put everything I am into a frame?” or “Who the hell is Elmo Tide?”

Thanks Reuben. Firstly, I think this might be the impossible question. Let’s try it. I have mentioned story telling in other posts. I say if you can tell a good story then your photos are “good”. But that involves multiple frames and editing much like making a feature film. And I think you’re saying, “What makes 1 particular frame really good?” To me that’s almost like saying, “What is art?” Let’s look it up.


1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
“the art of the Renaissance”
synonyms: fine art, artwork
“he studied art”

2. the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.

Ok we have some clues. Look at the first definition. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We know about beauty so let’s scratch that one off. “Emotional power”. That’s the nectar right there. You touched on it when you said “aliveness”. The viewer is feeling something looking at the photo. Maybe a “good” photo steers them in a particular emotional direction.

This is a list from Wikipedia :

Robert Plutchik’s theory says that the 8 basic emotions are:

  • Fear – Feeling of being afraid, frightened, scared.
  • Anger – Feeling angry. A stronger word for anger is rage.
  • Sadness – Feeling sad. Other words are sorrow, grief.
  • Joy – Feeling happy. Other words are happiness, gladness.
  • Disgust – Feeling something is wrong or nasty.
  • Surprise – Being unprepared for something.
  • Trust – A positive emotion; admiration is stronger; acceptance is weaker.
  • Anticipation – In the sense of looking forward positively to something which is going to happen. Expectation is more neutral.

Looking at this list it is no wonder why joy is favored as such a premium and why bad news dominates every tv channel. People need to get charged up emotionally in either direction.

This makes me think of Robert Frank’s “The Americans”. While 100s or 1000s of photographers have traveled across the country and made books about it, his became one of the most celebrated photo books of all time. And it’s because it had a darkness to it. A sadness. And in the 1950’s that kind of emotional exploration was new and sophisticated.

I don’t know if this is theee answer, but it’s an answer. Emotional content. Maybe if you can shoot something in a strong emotional state, and somehow that emotion transfers over to the viewer, then maybe you have just made a “good” photo.

Second. I don’t know who is Elmo Tide. But what a great example of no social media, no website, just Flickr and epic photos. I feel lucky that he somehow found Hamburger Eyes and decided to submit photos, a few rounds of photos actually. If you are reading this Elmo, we are huge fans and can’t wait to see more.

Oct 30 2018

Curiosity No. II

Photo by Jai Tanju

Lots of emails and DMs about that last one and I think I can go deeper on the topic. And thank you for your messages! I never know who is reading these things. If you like the posts, do me a huge favor. Leave a comment on the article. That way we can all discuss it together because I got multiple messages from multiple different voices. Secondly, Google will rank the site better with more “engagement”. That means people leaving comments. And that means I can keep doing this! I also made it so you can comment anonymously if you are feeling shy.

The truth is everyone who has been shooting for a long time goes through these waves of feeling stuck or stagnant vs flowing and charged up. It is partly a motivation problem but I think it is mostly a curiosity problem.

I looked it up.


noun: curiosity; plural noun: curiosities

1. a strong desire to know or learn something.
“filled with curiosity, she peered through the window”
synonyms: interest, spirit of inquiry, inquisitiveness
“his evasiveness roused my curiosity”

2. a strange or unusual object or fact.
“he showed them some of the curiosities of the house”

I like to look up definitions to figure out if I am using the word correctly since I ditched school all the time. Not only on paper or blog but also in my mind. Your mind plays tricks on you. Most of the time your mind is wrong. You might think your stuck because your lazy, but it’s not true. You are really busy. And really distracted.

So what do you have a strong desire to know or learn about? Easy examples are nature, humans, music, sports, current events, etc. But as an editor, publisher, and lover of a particular style of photography I’ll tell you what you should be more curious about. That is YOU.

YOU are the strange or unusual object that makes us, the viewer, want to see and learn about.

“All photographs are a self portrait.” That’s a quote I learned in school and I can’t remember who said it. Your photos are you showing yourself to the viewer. What’s your story? Who are the characters in your story? If you are living on some farm in Australia, I don’t really want to see your photos of Golden Gate Bridge when you were on visiting there once 5 years ago. That is unless you see it in a way only a farmer from Australia could see it. But, I wanna see the farm. I wanna see the weird goats and weird chickens.

I stole this joke off my brother. When I had a camera out and he had to introduce me to another person he would say, “This is my biographer.” I started saying that too when I had photographers around me. But it’s funny because it’s sorta true. I’m an “auto-biographer” and working on my own pictorial history.

When you are stuck, I say if you can stay curious and stay explorative about your own story, then I think you can stay on that wave of motivation longer if not forever. And when you get good at telling your story, maybe someone will buy a part of it in the form of print, zine, or book. Or maybe they will hire you to help tell theirs.

Oct 29 2018


Photo by Ray Potes

I used to think about “wonderment”, like maybe wonderful and beautiful things is what I was looking for to photograph. Or how can I make a certain scene or story wonderful and beautiful with the artistry of my photography or something egocentric like that. But as I get older, the idea of what motors my photography has changed.

I had friends that warned, “Your energy dropping is the biggest thing you’ll notice when you hit 40.” And while they are kind of right, they didn’t mention that your energy management naturally then evolves and thus your energy becomes more stabilized. You purposely want to eat better, you purposely want to walk or ride a bike for extra exercise vs sit in traffic and look for parking. You purposely don’t put yourself in energy draining scenarios.

Getting sidetracked. As you get older you evolve. Maybe you used to lay in gutters and shoot photos of your friends skateboarding. Maybe you traveled a lot and shot more back in the day. But you as a person are always changing and evolving and it is natural for your photos to change and evolve as well. I am not talking about changing up your aesthetic and trying ridiculous things to up your creativity levels. Unless you want to, that’s fine.

What I am getting at is that if your interests have changed while your photography has stayed the same then usually comes a phase of burnout. And I think to combat this burnout is to check your curiosity levels.

I have seen photographers go from 50 rolls a week straight to Netflix all day and being over it. Some say the driving force is energy levels, I say it is curiosity levels.

While at one point it was curious for me to see what someone can do a skateboard, today I am curious to see where a squirrel is hiding his nuts. (My sister is finding walnuts buried in her house plants on her balcony.)

I can admit though that it is possible to evolve out of photography. I have had photographer friends take up drawing or music or ceramics or screenprinting and finding other creative outlets that are at this point in their life more proper for them. And that is totally all good.

But this is a message to those photographers on the edge of feeling burnt. What are you curious about these days? What interests do you now have and how can you photograph it? Your environment has no doubt changed, what is this part of your story about? You need to share it because we need to see it.

Oct 27 2018

On Printing

Photo by Jason Roberts Dobrin

Not sure how many people are actually making prints in these modern times, but I thought I’d say something about it. I was blogging about how writing is helping me read better and vice versa, and it reminded me of how printing helps my shooting technique and vice versa.

The intended output for photography has always been for print. You would finalize your prints in the darkroom and then send it off for reproduction in a newspaper, magazine, or book. I was taught that the final print was everything. And to get that final print right, you had to expose and process your negs properly. In fact I had a lot of assignments in school where I had to turn in negs to prove that I was using my camera correctly and properly processing my film.

Eventually when you’re printing a lot and fixing things in the image, you start to realize you can fix certain things in camera when shooting. And when shooting a lot, you realize you can fix certain things when printing. And this is the ongoing cycle of life in photography.

Nowadays you would say “files” instead of negatives and “Photoshop” instead of darkroom. I process my edits in Adobe Camera Raw and finalize it in Photoshop and am constantly making zines and prints. Specifically, I will make some prints and get my stuff right before I drop them in Adobe Indesign to make a zine or book. And I guess this message is for those of you that don’t. I am trying to say if you want to level up consider making some 8×10 prints, hang them on the wall, and stare at them. Find out what went wrong and what went right. Your shooting will shape up and your photography will benefit.

Oct 25 2018

11 Reasons to Self Publish

Photo by Alex Martinez

After you are shooting for a while and you got some compliments and made some prints for people, you eventually want more. You want to be published. I think it’s a validation thing to see your photos in a printed publication. Something you can show your parents that you’re not wasting your time.

But what if no one wants your photos? It happened to me. I submitted photos to 100 magazines and newspapers. Maybe not 100. This was pre-internet so the only way was to send a box of prints. A “portfolio”. You would have to wait until the editors went through stacks of portfolios and hope they would send yours back in a timely manner so that you can send it somewhere else. Sometimes they were cool though and would mail it to other editors for you. I had at least 3 in rotation. I know some guys that had more.

I didn’t ever get any magazine gigs then, but while waiting I was making zines. And I started getting cool feedback about them. And I started showcasing my friends’ photos too. And once there was some momentum, suddenly I got some magazine assignments. The irony is by the time I am getting these offers, my zines had evolved into a magazine where I can shoot and print whatever I want, sell it and make more money then what those jobs would have paid.

Not saying this is a proper path to pursue, but there are a ton of reasons to consider publishing your own work if you haven’t already. Here is a quick list.

1. It’s easy.

With all the new software and all the uploading technology of print shops these days, it is super easy to publish your own books and zines. Why not?

2. It’s fast.

If you are working with another publisher, they might have a whole team of people working on your stuff along with 100 other projects. It could take months before you even see half of a layout. If you know the basics, you could get it done in an hour or so.

3. You’re the Boss.

Most publishers will edit the shit out of your photos and the idea for the book is at minimum half of their idea. It really is a collaboration. If you do it yourself, it is all you. You are in the driver seat. On the other hand if it sucks, then that is all you too. LOL.

4. Money

Most book deals are like record deals. You will get some royalties but only after the book starts profiting. That includes all the production costs like printing, designing, editing etc. It is expensive to make a book which is why you would go with a publisher in the first place. But if you can manage the costs and manage the production yourself, then you can make 100% of the profits.

5. Timelines.

I mentioned speed earlier, you can get the project out faster than anyone else could. But you can also work at your own pace. Working with other publishers there are a lot of starts and stops and eventually gnarly deadlines. It can be difficult at times but not if there are no deadlines.

6. It’s a good workout.

Putting together pages, editing, and sequencing is a lot of work but it will only make you stronger. It will feel like you might die but you will live and will be a better person for it. It will be good for your brain and heart.

7. Learning a new trade.

Maybe you didn’t know about page signatures and paper stocks and spine width calculators but now you do and now you are a publisher. You have entered a new industry and maybe you will love it.

8. You can be weird.

I say “weird” a lot. It may have a derogatory sound to it. It’s because what ever is not “normal” is considered “weird”. Really I mean “creative” and not “mainstream” and “boring”. This is probably the main point to self publishing. You can do whatever you want and share your epic visions.

9. Fulfillment.

Even if it is xeroxed at 7-11 it is fulfilling because you made it and you are sharing it. I am talking in terms of validation status as mentioned in the beginning. When someone wants to see your photos, now you can just hand them a printed book. No need to exchange websites, ig handles, etc. Your work is in print.

10. Opportunities.

Sometimes, seeing someone’s photos online or in an exhibition isn’t enough to hire them for a commission or offer them a big book deal. But if you already have some books and zines and magazines to show them, the gears might start turning and they have a vision of how you can work together on something.

11. It’s fun.

I get a kick out of making things. You do too, that’s why your reading this.

Oct 23 2018


Photo by Lele Saveri

This one is a message to those of you feeling blah about your photos. A common feeling to photographers near and far. A common email I get. The feeling usually comes in cycles or waves. You might be feeling yourself for a month or 2 and then all of a sudden you hate your photos every single one. I say it is you feeling average in your talent, skill, and technique. You want to feel above average. But what is average?

Average is the middle of the pack. So what’s at the front? What is “good”? If you are going by Instagram likes, then the Kardashians won. You might as well get surgery and shoot selfies all day. And what is “bad”? It really is subjective. Your Grandma’s favorite all time photo will not be your favorite all time photo.

I think 3 things make a “bad” photo. I think once we figure out what is “bad”, then it will be easier to get to “good”. Or at least get your numbers up because if we are talking averages then we are talking numbers. In baseball, if you are hitting the ball 3 out of 10 times, then you are killing it hall of fame status. That’s it. You can strike out 7 times. Instead of saying 30% though, they write it like this “.300” and verbalize that you are batting “300”. If we are going to use baseball references, then lets call them strikes.

Strike 1. Editing

Does this particular photo fit this particular thing I am working on? Am I trying to tell a story? Is this photo part of that story? As an editor of a black and white photo zine about living on Earth, it is so weird when someone submits full color still lifes shot in the studio. It happens all the time really. It’s not the right fit. Not “bad”, just the wrong application of these photos. Other editing examples: editing for a book vs editing for gallery exhibition or editing for an article vs editing for a portfolio.

Strike 2. Skill and Technique.

Sometimes seemingly talented photographers are just really skilled at photoshop. Some photographers might say post processing is more than 80% of the photo. I have said it before in other posts that skill and techniques comes with experience. Is your camera setup the proper setup for you? Are you using it in the correct way? What is your work flow? How are you processing? All this comes with experimenting and studying.

Strike 3. Purpose.

Do you have a sense of purpose with your photography? This teeters into a philosophical discussion. And I know some of you are like, “Man, all you shoot photos of is squirrels now. How can you sit up there and tell me what’s what?” I can’t, no one can. The squirrels are part of my latest chapter about living in surburbia. My story. What’s your story?

It may be opinion but I am saying if you are telling YOUR story, then really there are no “good” photos and no “bad” photos just details and scenarios as part of the bigger story. And the sooner you get better at telling your story, not someone else’s, along with editing and skill and technique, then the sooner your averages will go up. And the sooner your averages go up, then the sooner your photography will be above average. We are all a work in progress. Let’s just pay a little more attention to what we are doing and start hammering these stories out.

Oct 21 2018

How Blogs Make Money

Photo by Ray Potes

Ok full disclosure. Hamburger Eyes doesn’t earn enough to pay for itself. Sometimes it does, sometimes not. I know some people think we are living the rock star life over here. Not true. So, we have to experiment and try to add more income with commissions, exhibitions, prints, zines, books, tshirts, beach towels, etc. Also phone calls, emails, social media, and… website. I was thinking if I start writing articles, maybe it will draw more attention to what we are doing with photography and maybe that will lead to a few more books sold per month.

Today I was looking up some things about SEO and then I started coming across articles about how bloggers make money. I didn’t really know. How DO they do it? I thought I was going to find some exotic ideas and formulas I never heard of. But if you are in business for yourself, you could have guessed most of these. Here’s a list of some stuff I found.

1. Advertising.

Sell off different sections of your site in hopes of someone clicking on something. If they do, you get some money. I don’t think this is the route for Hamburger Eyes site. I have tried Google ads before and they look like shit.

2. Affliate Marketing.

This one I may try. I actually applied for it before with Amazon and I didn’t qualify. Basically you post links on your posts or pages to products and if people buy those products, you get a commission. No doubt you have seen a camera review site and at the end of the article they post a link to the camera listed on Amazon or B+H, when you hit that link and purchase, the blogger will get like $8.

This one would work here I think because we could post links to stuff you are already buying like film or batteries or make gear lists of what our favorite photographers are shooting with, etc etc. If I qualify this time around, I will experiment with this. Heads up.

3. Subscriptions. Donations.

Charge people monthly for secret content. Not sure about this. Or ask them to donate. We have Paypal. But not sure if either of these I am feeling. There’s is that Patreon service that is a combo of both of these, but still not sure if that is the right fit. I was thinking when we get on a regular production schedule with the zine, then we can start offering subscriptions again. It is hard to do manually since people move a lot and its a lot of staying organized because of people paying on different dates etc., but a system like Patreon could help facilitate that.

4. Products and Services.

We already do the products. We have all kinds of products in our online shop and we’ll be doing this one forever. I like my photos in print and I like to wear tshirts and hats.

We already do some services. Freelance photo, some workshops here and there. I think a lot of bloggers make their money here. Teaching webinars, live events, meetups, conferences, coaching, training, consulting, speaking.

Anyways, I have been writing articles for maybe 1 week and already it feels like I have crossed over from a “updating the website guy” to “blogger” and I like it. So get ready for more bloggings.

The other day my gf’s friend came over and he was like, “What do you do?” and as usual I got all weird. Because usually if I say “photographer” they will ask what kind of photography and I will have to explain that I just shoot what’s around me, so basically documenting my life. And after a whole conversation they would just be like, “Huh”.

And then if I say “publisher”, it will usually go through at least 2 rounds of “Wait, what is it called?” Not sure why it’s awkward. I have answered these questions 500 times. I usually say both photographer and publisher, but never sure which to say first because each will have another series of questions. I think it will be much easier now just saying, “Blogger.” And then they will go, “How do you make money?” and then I will send them a link to this article.

Oct 20 2018

Services vs. Products

Photo by Bill Burke

I’m on a roll today. I think it’s because I talk about this stuff all day all night with other photographers so it’s easy to regurgitate these conversations. If you quit your job and are trying to earn a living doing photography then there are some things to think about.

First off, now you are an entrepreneur. You are a business owner. You are an all-the-timer. Not part-timer or full-timer. You are trying to run a good business. Some people are lucky with talent and connections and Shark Tank. But most will have to grind it out and be smart.

Secondly, in most businesses you are offering either a service or a product. But in the case of a photographer, you are offering both. The service is your actions, the product is your eyes. This is where we run into crisis. The border between service and product is very undefined and if there is one, it is razor thin. It feels funny to sell your eyes.

The truth is Eugene Richards shot Starbucks ads. Mary Ellen Mark shot weddings. So on one hand, there is no way around commissions, but on the other hand these assignments could fund your projects and then you can sell those projects in the form of prints, zines, and books. But it is hard to sell that stuff. People don’t want to hang your weird stuff on their walls. Sometimes they will want it in a book on a shelf. It is random though and unpredictable.

Yes there are some lotto winners that get to do whatever they want and have all the money to do it and be comfy and all that. But I am talking to the 99% of you. I think the solution is to swarm the world with your mad visions. Overwhelm them and hopefully the right assignments come your way. The assignments that are easy and fun. You don’t have to shoot products in a studio or weddings if you play your cards right. Unless you want to.

Oct 20 2018

No One Cares About Your Photography Part 2 : How to Win Photography

Photo by Guido Gazzilli

Ok in the first part I talked about how no one cares but you can make them care once you start caring and taking it seriously. Not to be all serious about it because if you are not having fun and enjoying every bit of it, then maybe photography is not for you. I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Step 1 : What do you want?

This is going into the personal development department but really you have to define what success is for you. Do you want a book deal? Do you want to shoot a look book for Target? Do you want front page of New York Times? A1? I still always look at every photo credit in New York Times when I get the chance. At one point that is what I wanted. But things evolve too. That can happen.

Step 2 : How do you get it?

Strategy. Think about how to get from point A to point B. You don’t really have to invent anything here. The sooner you know what you want out of photography, then the sooner you will know how to get there because someone already did it before you. Sure everyone has their own path. But if you are paying attention, someone might have already blazed a trail for you and you just need to follow the tracks. Otherwise, get the machete and get to chopping.


I was just gonna write “Relentlessness” but then I remembered Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is always saying “Relentless Domination” on his Insta. He is right though. Figure out what you want and don’t stop till you get it. My vote is to shoot 100 photos everyday until you start a fire. I think opportunities will arise from the ashes.

I have been fortunate to work with a lot of awesome photographers but what always impresses me the most is how much these pros actually shoot. You would hear stories of how Garry Winogrand passed away with over 3000 unprocessed rolls of film. Ted Pushinsky went shooting with him a few times and confirmed the legend to be true: Garry Winogrand would shoot 12 rolls of film by noon everyday. Ted said after shooting, he would drop his rolls into a big garbage bag that was already filled with tons of rolls.

When I had a darkroom in SF I would get random printing gigs. I had made contact sheets for Jim Goldberg before and one day he mentioned that he will be going to Bangladesh for a few weeks and will have some work for me when he gets back. Ok he came back with 800 4×5 negatives that I had to make contacts for. That was just the black and white. He said he also shot over 500 rolls of film, both 120 and 35. And digital.

Oh my. Imagine how much these guys shot when they were young? I’m saying you’re still young. And you could be doing more. Me too. Maybe this message is more for me than for you but maybe you will get motivated and start shooting more. We need it.

Oct 20 2018

No One Cares About Your Photography

Photo by Jai Tanju

Maybe a few friends and family do, but in general no one cares about your photography. Which is why this: YOU CANNOT STOP. Do not stop until they see, feel, and understand your message. I think if you care then you can make them care. If you have not discovered your message aka purpose than you haven’t been shooting and experimenting enough. If you have been shooting a lot maybe it is time to switch it up, go outside more or travel somewhere else or try a different focal length, different format, different camera, etc.

My friend Stefan (who helped start Hamburger Eyes) is a painting contractor and I have been painting houses on and off with him for years. One time his Dad, also a painting contractor, was in town and he said to him, “Hey Dad, Ray has been painting with me, he’s getting good,” or something like that. Then Ratko goes,”Yeah right, see me in 20 years and we’ll see if your painting is good.” I think it’s the same with photography. Until you have gone over every type of problem with every type of paint in every type of weather on every type of surface 100 times, you really don’t know shit.

Most of these articles I am writing are the subjects of emails I get. There are a lot of young photographers wondering what is next for them and I’m like, “You haven’t even shot anything yet.” I think there is a Henri Cartier Bresson quote that goes, “Your first 10,000 photos are garbage.” The harsh truth is most photographers don’t live past age 30. I’m talking about your photography went from “passion” to “hobby” to “minor interest”. I get it, it’s not easy to make a living. But I’m saying you didn’t shoot enough to properly find out.

You work hard and good things start to happen. You hear it all the time. It sounds like a pipe dream but it’s true. Think of every successful photographer you know. They shot and still shoot 100 times more than anyone you know. I think you can get there sooner if you shoot 100 photos per day starting today. The idea is that you will see more, edit more, learn more, etc more.

I struggle with this too. Maybe this post is for self motivation. For the past 10 years I have been identifying myself as a “publisher” first, “photographer” second. But now I am realizing that is wrong, I am a photographer first. And the world needs my weird photos and your weird photos. And we all need to shoot 100 photos per day. Otherwise everything will look like an Iphone commercial. And we don’t want that world.

Continued in PART 2.

Oct 18 2018

What Is A Zine?

Photo by Alex Herzog

What is a zine? I don’t know. I guess I could’ve researched it and it’s origins and history but I don’t think it matters very much. It’s like researching and defining what is a mixtape. The various definitions might be generally the same, but generational-ly and genre-ly the definitions could be very different.

When I started making zines it was spelled like this: ‘zine. So I always thought it was like a baby magazine. A do it yourself junior magazine. People also called them “fanzines” because fans were making them to honor their favorites bands. If they were all drawings, you would just call it a “comic”. Lots of writing then maybe “booklet” would work or “pamphlet”, “brochure”, etc.

The gap between commercial publishing and independent publishing used to be so huge. You would see a magazine with Nike and Coca Cola ads, or your would see a magazine with no ads, hand drawings, and scissor cut photos. Nowadays the lines are blurred.

As I said before, if I had to describe it to let’s say my Mom, I would just say it is self published decorated pieces of paper folded and stapled for the purpose of reproduction for mass consumption. That’s it. And then she’d be like, “Oh you mean a pamphlet.”

There’s that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Jason Alexander has a book release party and Larry gets there and starts talking shit because it’s a stapled. He goes on and on saying it’s just a booklet. Awesome episode.

At one point, we were paying lots of money to have Hamburger Eyes offset printed which is how most photo books are printed. People were saying we need to call them “books”. That didn’t feel right since it was an ongoing series, so we upgraded “zine” to “magazine” and maybe for 10 years it was a “magazine”. We also had ads, which helped to call it that. But since we downgraded the print quality and are currently exploring newsprint styles, and have no ads, we brought it back down to “zine”. Today it is 120 pages with a perfect bind and we still call it a zine. And it feels way better.

Oct 16 2018

Crop Circles

Photo by Brandon Getty

You ever spazz out about crops? I do. Not all the time. Just sometimes. I have talked about it before. In this post I will try to describe the Rambo track my mind runs laps on.

It starts with Henri Cartier Bresson. He makes the composition with his eye in the viewfinder. He prints over the edge of the image so you get that black outline from the empty space of the negative. This is just extra emphasis that he framed it up when shooting and it is exactly how it is meant to be. He didn’t want any publishers to crop his photos ever.

And this is correct. This is the proper way to think of your shooting. I was taught this and this is also the proper way to honor your formats. For example if you are shooting square, you print it square.

But then 2 things happened to me simultaneously. The first thing was seeing an exhibition by Robert Frank. In this showing they displayed his regular exhibition prints but also his work prints and contact sheets. Some of his most famous photos were crazy cropped! In the contact sheets you can see that a photo was originally shot horizontal. In the work prints you can see different attempts at the crop. And in the book you can see the final version is a vertical image.

I was shocked but not that shocked. That’s because of the second thing that happened to me. I got into publishing. Well first I got into printing my photos a lot and then mass producing them for mass consumption. The problem is paper sizes don’t match photography format sizes, so when you want to go full bleed you’re gonna knock off a chunk of the photo. It is unavoidable.

So for me cropping is generally fine. If I can save a garbage photo by cropping or “re-framing” it a bit, then I will do it. If I have to move a photo around to avoid the gutter in a 2 page spread, so be it.

The problem is this: file preparation. Now that I am voicing this out loud, it doesn’t seem like much of a problem. LOL. Some photos will look good in all scenarios, but most won’t. Print form, zine form, in a frame, on a tshirt, blog or IG etc etc. Some photos do better in certain forms in certain crops. For instance, in a zine I might have a vertical photo at 2:3 but on the internet I have it in it’s native 4:3 and when I print it on an 8.5 x 11, it’ll probs go 5:7. I guess what I am saying is it’s weird having 3 versions of the same photo out there, so to combat that I have been hitting everything with 5:7 because I think that is my favorite ratio right now. BUT that crop doesn’t work for everything. And neither does a particular photo. See how we are just going round and round?

Anyways, I am overthinking it. Don’t be like me is the moral of the story.

Oct 15 2018

Raul Cañibano – The Cuban Wide Angle Bresson

We are opening up this site to regular contributing photographers and Chris Leskovsek came through with these videos. Visit his site and follow him on IG.


Lecture #1 @ Foothill College, California, USA – 2015

Lecture # 2 @ Nordic Light Festival, Kristiansund, Norway – 2013

Hey guys, I would like to start this series of photo docs, with a photographer that many of you might never heard before, and I think at this stage it might even be more interesting than me posting another ‘Frank/Bresson’ documentary.

Raul Cañibano – The Cuban Wide Angle Bresson

I honestly do not know how I came across Cuban photographer Raul Cañibano, I think someone, years ago (2011/12 ?) might’ve mentioned it to me or something. I know that as soon as I saw his work, I inmidiately went looking for more info about him, sadly, at the time there was nothing on google. Not even a Facebook page on him. Only this little – and still – only book about his work ( ) which I STRONGLY recommend getting.

Years has passed, and still very little is known about Raul outside Cuba, except that one University professor from the US (can’t remember his name right now) came across Raul’s work and has since helped him get his work out in the world.

Now, the reason I’m recommending Raul’s work, is because, I think for us photographers, Cuba has almost it’s own label or category within photography. We all know the thousand tourists photos of the old cars, buildings, and what have you about Havana. Raul on the other hand, is Cuban, and has an ‘insider’ look to the cuban lifestyle, customs, and culture of his country like no other. Now, if you top that, to the fact that his eye arguably is right up there with Bresson or any of the high praised eyes on mount olympus (Magnum) the end result is simply something I’m sure you have not seen before. Even in 2018.

I honestly do not know how or why his work hasn’t got out there or why he hasn’t been published by steidl or the likes. Perhaps, he does not belong to the elite of photo fairs in Paris, NY or London, or simply maybe is because he doesn’t speak english, loves cuba and refuses to leave the country. In any way, please enjoy these very few lectures about his work.

For all of us gear buffs, his work was very limited in the beginning, to the point of having a camera body (Nikon F) that did not match its camera lens mount and he would just hold the lens in front the camera body and shoot that way. But throughout his career one thing has remained constant, a 28mm lens. I believe he now shoots with an Fuji Xpro1 and a 18mm f2 lens (28mm).

Also, I recently noticed that FINALLY, Raul has put together an official website this year, please check it out here