Debra Weiss

15 01 2010

When Debra Weiss speaks, Photographers NEED to listen

Debra Weiss

It’s not very often that I will run out and attend a photography seminar anymore. It’s not that I feel I don’t need them, it’s just that over the years I’ve been to so many that most of them don’t really grab my attention to want to attend. But when I heard Debra Weiss was speaking last April on the business of photography, I sure as hell went. And I took notes on every thing she had to say. I’ve known about Debra for years. She is probably one of the most important figures in the photography business because she is actually out there insisting on fair treatment and payment to us photographers. She is knowledgeable in all areas of our business and is passionate about protecting photographers’ rights. I can easily say that she is part of the backbone of the photography business and it is people like her that keep our industry running fairly and competently.  I asked Debra if I could write about her on my blog because I believe she is someone my readers should know about. She very kindly agreed and sent me her bio. Read on….


Debra was fourteen years old when she stood mesmerized in front of an Edward Steichen print of Greta Garbo at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Steichen had just berated Garbo for showing up at his studio looking a mess. Garbo looked up pulling her hair back off her forehead. Steichen snapped. She didn’t know the story behind that moment in the picture yet, but she knew it was something special. Ever since that day, Debra has had a passion for photographic images that capture essence. She has relentlessly acquired a vast knowledge of photographers and their works and is now a widely recognized consultant working with photographers across the United States and far off places.

Debra has been an agent for some of the top names in the business, a consultant for Black Book and did a stint as CEO of APA (Advertising Photographers of America) National. Besides lecturing, seminars and moderating panels, she now primarily works with photographers one-on-one, helping to guide a photographer’s career as an artist and a business by creating an artistic marketable identity that will improve their opportunities for success

Debra presents seminars annually at PhotoPlus Expo, is a core speaker with PDN On The Road and is a frequent guest speaker at Art Center College of Design and Brooks Institute. She has served as curator for an internationally traveled exhibit of the Best of The International Photography Awards and HARAMBEE! (Come Together) at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles and most recently, an exhibit of images created for DO 1 THING  http://www.do1thing.org/ which will be seen at PhotoPlus Expo 2009 in NYC. She also serves as curator for the PLUS (Picture Licensing Universal System) Coalition Web site and additionally, is the PLUS Industry Committee Coordinator. She has contributed articles to PDN, SparK!, editorialphoto.com and her opinions and perspectives can be read frequently on the EP and APAnet forums. Debra also sits on the Advisory Council of PLUS and the Advisory Boards of JPG Images and the Art Institute of California.

This week Debra is in NYC speaking at PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo. You can find more information here on the PDN site. I love their tag line:  Arrive Curious…..Leave Inspired! I can tell you, after listening to Debra, you will definitely feel inspired. PhotoPlus Expo is offering some great events this year. A floor full of the latest technology in equipment, highly educational seminars and a big “bash” they’re throwing on one of the nights. Debra will be speaking at two of the seminars: On October 22, 2009 from 8:45 AM to 11:45 AM: How to Get Work from Ad Agencies. She will speak along with an art buyer, a creative director and an agent on what you need to make it as an advertising photographer. Learn how to get the attention of the art buyers and art directors and how they choose photographers. The next seminar she will be speaking at is:  Inside the White House: The Role of the President’s Official Photographer. If your dream job is become Chief White House photographer, then you should attend this seminar! In general, if you are serious about your career in fashion photography, or even photography in general, and live in the New York City area or near it, I really urge you to go and listen to Debra speak. She is mesmerizing! I, personally, was so motivated after hearing her that she really lit a fire in me to up my game and get more serious about the business side of my career.

Debra Weiss mainly does consulting work with photographers now and I am going to blog about that aspect of her work in a few weeks. Debra is based in LA but while she is in NYC, she is available for consultations. You can reach her at either 323.650.4300 or dw@debraweiss.com

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