A New Hope

The savvy sci-fan fan will recognize this blog title as the official title of George Lucas’ 4th episode (but, first release) of the “Star Wars” saga. So, it’s only fitting that I name this blog post after the aforementioned movie. First, because it’s the fourth blog post in a series that started April 2 when I encouraged the real YOU to stand out. Second, because I hope the information contained herein will bring a new hope to what’s possible in this industry.

In that original post I lamented the fact that in spite of all the education out there about the importance of having a unique brand, there seems to be a sort of homogenization going on in the photo industry where websites, blogs, and videos are all starting to look alike. I used as an example a promo video by Lauren Harris which looked very, very similar to a promo by Scarlett Lillian.  I had no idea what would follow.

The topic obviously touched a nerve, because a whole lotta folk came out to give their 2 cents. Most agreed with my lament. Others called me mean-spirited for “outting” Lauren’s video (I’m still trying to figure out how one can “out” a video that is already public. Hmmm?) Some attacked Lauren, calling her a copy cat. Some attacked Scarlett, calling her unoriginal, a knock off of Jessica Claire (congrats by the way JC on the engagement. BTW, Jessica also chimed in and cleared the air that she does not consider Scarlett a knock off.) Some defended Lauren. Some cowards left biting remarks but refused to post their real names. (That was the impetus for post #2). It was drama at its best…or shall I say worst.

Lately I’ve been reading the book of Proverbs. It’s a book about wisdom. I think it’s been having some affect on me because yesterday I had a crazy idea—let’s try to take this really bad, melodramatic situation and turn it into something positive. So I made Lauren an offer. I would re-do her promo video for FREE, and use the process as an educational opportunity by creating a behind the scenes “making of…” video.

I  called Lauren personally after making the post. First to apologize for any stress my blog post caused her (she said she’d gotten over 100 emails since this all started, some chiding her, some offering moral support. And just this morning I found out that the poor woman’s website went down due to over 200,000 hits. Note: I have never actually linked to Lauren’s website in any of my posts). I also called to explain my offer. She was amazed. I told her not to decide right then, but to think about it for a day.

So, as  my work day came near to an end yesterday, another wild and crazy idea came upon me. Lauren said she didn’t have a lot of experience in creative design, and as a relatively new comer in the industry, she did what she saw a lot of photographers do, get a popular template. So I thought, “Hmm, she doesn’t just need a new promo, she needs a new website. And while I’m at it, let’s get her some branding help too.” Then I just kept going. What resulted is what I’m calling Operation Brand Aid.


This year marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of Band Aid, a group of British musicians gathered by Bob Geldof to help raise money for AIDS in Africa. Now, I’m no Bob Geldof. And I’m certainly not even comparing this case to that of the plight of those in Africa. But as a play on words, I thought it apropos. And, like Bob did, I went to people in the industry to come and pitch in.

I sent an email to a few friends in the industry asking if they’d like to join me in this project. They all responded with an enthusiastic “yes.” I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a group of terrific companies and people to shine some light in an industry that lately has been beset with a lot of drama.

So, without further ado, the dream team.

My friend and co-WPPI presenter was the first person I thought of.  I was amazed that David Jay was actually the first person to reply, within less than 15 minutes I think. (If you’ve every sent DJ an email, you know how rare an occurrence it is to get a reply from him, not his auto-responder. 🙂 ) ShowIt Sites is going to offer Lauren website hosting…forever! PLUS, consultation to make it look unique. Thanks DJ. Rock on!  (This alone is worth over $2500!)

Kevin Swan is a marketing pro and someone who I think totally “gets” it. He has a new venture offering brand consultation to photographers in need. Even though they are at their client maximum right now, he agreed to participate and offer Lauren brand consultation to ensure the uniqueness of her brand. Thanks Sevin, er, I mean Kevin. 😉

One of the things I mildly criticized both Scralett and Lauren about was the use of a copyrighted song for their promo videos. I knew music was going to play a huge role in this project. Me and my friends at TSM go way back, lending songs for all the videos we’ve done for our many, many photography industry videos. Triple Scoop Music will be offering music for the promo, for the website, and for the the “making of..” video. Thanks Roy, Jen, and Ali!

One of the things that excited me most about my move to the Atlanta metro area was that  I’d be physically close to my good friends Rachel and Andrew Niesen, owners of LaCour and co-founders of the amazing studio management solution ShootQ. Every good business needs a great management system. So, ShootQ has agreed to offer Lauren at least a year subscription to their service. Thanks Rachel and Andrew. That’s a very generous offer. (BTW, I still want to have that “Last Star Fighter”/”Never Ending Story” double feature movie nite).

I would be remiss if I did not bring in the current evangelist for all things YOU-nique with regards to wedding photography branding. Author, inspirational speaker, coach, and a pretty darn good photographer to boot, Dane Sanders will offer a free consult with Lauren to help define who she is as a photographer. Naturally she’ll get a free copy of the book (assuming she doesn’t already have it), a free pDNA, and a year subscription to Dane’s monthly coaching program. (Note: I have to admit that I forget to ask Dane about the monthly subscription part. I’m hoping he’ll be okay with it. But, if it should magically disappear from this blog, then you know I goofed. 🙂

I’m particularly enthusiastic about the next two generous participants of Operation Brand Aid. Much of the drama that has surfaced as of late is centered around these next two companies. I really hope that  their participation and collaboration in this project will send a powerful message of unity and the hope to move on.

In the past year, SmugMug has exploded on the scene. From hosting Vincet Laforet’s videos to partnering with PhotographyMentor.com to provide an online HD school. Seems like wherever you turn, there’s that “mug.” They have graciously agreed to host the “making of…” TV show of Operation Brand Aid as well as the new promo video we’re producing for Lauren. Thanks Jeff Jochum for joining the party.

Last, and certainly not least, I had to hook up Lauren with my friends at Pictage. The undisputed leader in online lab processing and photo management for the wedding and portrait industry, Pictage has seen a lot of changes recently. Not the least of which is a new and visionary CEO, Jim Collins, who personally accepted my invitation to join this “dream team.” Pictage will be offering a year membership to their premium service. Thanks Jim. I look forward to what you have in store for your members.

Whew! That’s it for now. Put your hands together for your Operation Band Aid Dream Team.

Stay tuned to this blog, Twitter, or Facebook for further developments. I just may have 1 or 2 more friends join in.

After a lot of drama, negativity, and hoopla, let’s look at this as a shining example of all the GOOD that exists in this industry. I think it’s pretty cool I get to make this announcement on Good Friday. 🙂

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I called Lauren again yesterday evening and she formally accepted my offer.

35 thoughts on “A New Hope

  1. A big “thumbs up” to you and your dream team! It’s so good to hear about things like this when the rest of the world seem dark and dismal. You go, brother Ron!

    P.S. I follow you on Twitter.

  2. Wow. Is all I can say Ron. You do so much for everyone in this industry. I even received a few personal phone calls directly from you when I had some business and industry related questions. Thank you for putting so much of your time and effort forward in the hope of helping others.

  3. I don’t quite know what to say, thank you doesn’t seem like enough but it still has to be said. Thank you. Thank you Ron for taking a step back and seeing the possibility for good in this and thank you to all of the people who so very generously donated their products/talents/efforts to this. My hope is that this will not only be a learning experience for me but for so many others as well.

    I have definitely run the gamut of emotions through this whole process but now how I feel is hopeful. I not only feel hopeful for the future of my business but the future of the industry as well. Again, I just am eternally grateful that so many people are excited to create something very positive from this. I’m looking forward to it.

  4. I think this will show the world how powerful branding and exposure are to this industry. A relative beginner photographer gets the royal treatment, and catapults to the top of the industry, at least for the next 15min.
    Just goes to show that its not the photographs we are interested in anymore, just the person(ality).
    That is what it is going to take going forward, this will emphasize that tremendously.
    Anyone can be a star. Ron will show you how!
    Now, the interesting part is going to be, what is she going to do with it to move forward, now that the spotlight is on her.
    Good luck Lauren, we will all be watching each and every step you take.

  5. How cool! What a great new mission to start Ron! You are always so innovative. You rock and it’s awesome to see a positive change on the horizon. I’m a strong believer that God always creates something good out of bad situations and I’m excited for this gracious opportunity you and those on board are giving Lauren and the beautiful impact it will have on the industry as a whole! You’re fabulous Ron!

  6. We’re all-in on this great idea, Ron. Also, as we’re already partnered with DJ and others here, it’s a excellent way for us to explore the “U is for unity” part of SmugMug. Let’s make this an epic result.

  7. This is awesome, Ron. First, the Star Wars geek in me thanks you for the references to the original (and better) trilogy. Second, what you are doing is really great. It’s almost like Extreme Makeover: Photography Edition. Can’t wait for you to “MOVE! THAT! BUS!” Have a great Easter weekend!

  8. I thin it is great to turn a negative event to a positive one. Especially since this industry is so ompetitive and the way it has been going. I think it is great what you are doing, however I am a little confused…I have to say when I first read Scarlett’s blog (love you Scarlett, nothing against you personally) I was a litle concerned for posting people’s names etc, but after seeing how similar the videos were, and not just that, but the watermark and EVERYTHING I really understood. I was actually a painter long before I was a photographer and when I was in art school someone stole one of my paintings and turned it into their teacher and I remember the feeling. However my concern now is that I feel they are being rewarded for what they have done when they should be the one apologizing for knowing exactly what they were doing? I know we are all about good deeds and turning a bad situation positive, but now she is recieving all of this promotion, publicity, and free services for something she has done very wrong. That I am not sure that I agree with. Does anyone else agree? I love your blog Ron and think it is great what you do, but I am not sure if rewarding for something very wrong was entirely the way to go. It is almost encouraging it in a way. Saying “hey, copy someone else EXACTLY and you just might get some free design services”. This is just my two cents and I will own up to it =) I as well dislike whe people comment without owning up to it.
    Keep staying positive and helping the photography community. And Scarlett, just keep staying original and who you are, no one can take that from you!

  9. i think what ron and the dream team are doing is very generous. and using this as an opportunity to educate us, newbies, (and others that could benefit from fine tuning their brand) on how to uphold the value of what photographers do.

    needless to say, i’m totally jealous. BUT since this is all going to be public, i guess we’ll all be receiving coaching, too, as the onlooker/observer.

    it is very admirable that the photography community is stepping up to this. kind of like, practicing what they preach. helping others, in the hopes of others helping others, etc. and building this industry the way it should.

  10. @ Kristen – you make an extremely worthwhile point. In fact, it is something my wife also asked me about last night. Are we rewarding “bad behavior.” FWIW, here’s my take.

    I think the decision Lauren made to change her video to match Scarlett’s was a bad call and an unwise choice. I also believe after speaking with her that Lauren is not a manipulative person. She made a bad call (a lesson I’m sure she’s learned).

    But I also know she’s relatively new to business. Having been in the business world for over 20 years myself, I’ve made quite a few less than good choices in my time. And I’m sure anyone who has been in business for a while can attest to the same thing.

    Now, imagine if instead of being punished, someone came along and extended grace. The situation kind of reminds me of Les Miserable. One could say the “silverware” in this case was the mimicked promo. Lauren is given a second chance to do the right thing. My hope is that the tremendous offers of gratitude offered by the “dream team” will move Lauren to be a better photographer, a better business woman, and a better person all around. I believe that one day she’ll be given an opportunity to extend someone else the same kind of grace and she’ll remember this situation.

    Secondly, for good or bad, this whole thing has garnered a lot of attention. Now that a decent chunk of this industry is watching, why not use the opportunity to do something really grand that will instill hope and inspiration in people again? While at the same time create an amazing educational opportunity for everyone watching.

    Lastly, I think given the multitude of negative PR and attacks Lauren has received in the past two days (as well as the support), it’s safe to say she’s learned a lot.

    For me, whether or not Lauren “deserves” it is less important than what good can be made for everyone from what started as a bad melodrama.

  11. I guess this only shows that playing the victim in life can get you something for nothing..

  12. I’d love to have you total up the $$$ “donated” for this.

    That is the cost of being original.

    This is one of the reasons why starting out photographers who cannot afford this kind of, multi-thousand dollar I’m sure, venture at first.

    It is not realistic.

    If you can do this like “Trading Spaces” does, design in a REAL LIFE budget, then I will be impressed and that would be realistic.

  13. Awesome! As a newcomer in the business myself and in the often murky place of figuring out out style and branding I am excited to see what will become of this. I am particularly excited to see the behind the scenes and hoping it will shed some light on how to go about the process of branding, marketing, and finding the “you” in it all. I’m sure it will have some valuable application and give direction to those of us who are still trying to figure it all out. It is not just Lauren who will benefit form this, but all of us who are still struggling with these issues. Thanks dream team, lead the way!

  14. Whoooolee cow. This is amazing, and so makes me wish that it had been me who was the subject of that first post! lol. (no actually, no I don’t, I have my artistic integrity). In all seriousness, this is a great thing you are doing and I hope it’s just the beginning of a big educational movement on the artistic and ethical importance of being original. It’s so awesome that people like you and your marketing partners, you with the power to change the future of the industry, are taking this step to try and enact change in what truly is becoming in industry-wide homogenization and massive ‘watering-down’ of the creativity our clients think they are paying us for. Kudos!

    (p.s. Smugmug rules! I have been using them for client proofing for 5 years and don’t ever expect to cancel my subscription)

  15. I wrote Ron this personal email and was asked to post it so some points could be addressed. My email with minor edits:

    -I agree with Stephen, Kristen and Hank. I was extremely supportive of your initial blog post and bringing this serious ethical matter to everyone’s attention. I think we all learned a lot and went home and did a conscience check in our own sites and work, but this concept is just mind blowing to me and many others. I respect so many of the businesses that have stepped into this individually, but I am having a hard time accepting this kind of rewarding of bad behavior…your wife was dead on with that.

    I and many others support (pay $$) Pictage, Smugmug Pro (yes I have both :)), Dane Sanders, and DJ & Show It. It is really hard as someone that supports and pay these companies and works hard to be with them to have them go hand over the same goods we work day and night for, to someone that has done something ethically wrong. These brands really need to consider what they are supporting. You personally offering something and making amends and making something good out of this is one thing (I understand that).

    For the record I do not feel owed any of these things, nor expect it, nor feel jealous, it is 100% principal to me.

    Your ‘Dream Team’ would be better off finding some undiscovered talent with little to no means and helping them ‘Brand Aid’ (not to mention better PR for the corporations) than giving someone that has done something ethically wrong this kind of ‘royal treatment’. If you would like something grand find someone that has a grand vision and give them the hope and chance they deserve, but cannot afford. Let these companies show us the possibilities that way. Now that would get the industry talking on a positive note.

    I have no hate for Lauren, I do not believe she is a bad person, I wish her the best in her growth and she (and us) learned a valuable lesson through this. But I just can’t accept this. To many people have been hurt by similar situations. Too many people bust their tails to be unique, discover their own talent, style, identity, and constantly try hard not to be ‘too inspired’ by something they see, and then sit back and watch someone do all the things we were taught ‘not to do’, handed the very things we work hard to have. I understand she is new, a lot of us are new…I am only 2 years in myself and still learning daily, but I know what is ethically right and wrong…I was taught that way before I was a photographer.-

    I want to add that I still have no hate for any of these companies involved in this. I do enjoy the idea of helping people, I do it for newer photographers everyday (for free). It is not the concept of helping that gets me in this whole issue…it is the principal.

    Curious now to see where this leads.

  16. @marta – thank you for taking the time to share your comments.

    I wanted to promptly post this reply. For the record, I asked Marta to post her thoughts in case there were others out there who felt the same but were concerned about stating their opinion. It’s better to bring this all into the light rather than have it fester. I commend you Marta for putting your proverbial neck out there. You didn’t have to do that.

    I do have a response I’m writing that addresses these concerns. It may not necessarily appease those of you who feel this way, but I do believe it will give us all some food for thought.

    Stay tuned…

  17. Ron, sorry, but your wife is right. I’m sure it’s not the first time you have heard this;) Actually I think you are both right and here is why. In my earlier comment I applauded you and the dream team for leading out on this, What I think is right about what you are all doing is taking something that had turned into a negative situation and making something positive out of it. It will be a tremendous help to those of us who are starting out to see what goes on behind the scenes in a branding situation. Many of us newbies do not have the funds while we are setting ourselves up to be able to pay for this so actually seeing it happen and watching how you all go about doing it will shed some light on the process. For me I think the value will be that I will be better able to do it myself after I have seen it done. I may not be able to do it as well as a pro would do it, but I will be led in the right directions. Also, I think it will prove the point of your first post in a way more powerful way. Showing how you can turn someone who is actually copycatting into something unique and truly them will be inspiring for anyone who is thinking that they just can’t come up with something original and that it has all been done before. That will be the enormous value in this project. Since there is a lot of attention to this particular incident in the industry right now it is a perfect time and situation to show how it can be done and lead the way.

    However, I think that your wife and Marta and some of the others who have commented about the validity of using Lauren for this project are right as well. I would much rather see this done with someone who is struggling with these branding issues in a more ethical way. I do not mean any ill toward Lauren and I am sure she has learned a valuable lesson in all of this. I believe everyone who has said she is a nice person. Nor do I mean to set myself up as perfect. I have certainly done some dumb, stupid, and silly things in my life. I am all for giving people a second chance. However she did blatantly copy an original website layout (I know you did not comment about this and it was not your point, but it is still relevant to the issue of originality) and she copied a video way too closely. What bothers me still about the whole situation is not as much that she copied, or got caught for the copying (although I do not agree with the ethics in all of that) but more so in how she dealt with it afterward. I still have do not feel she has apologized at all, tried to undo what she has done, or rectify the situation in any way. She has just made excuses for why it was okay or that it should not have been a big deal, or that you and/or Scarlett should have handled it in a different way. I am willing to concede that the emotions in all of this may have made her feel defensive and so that is how she is responding, but I think it would go a long way for those of us who are watching this process to be on her side if she would/could say that what she did was not the best way to do it and she made some bad-possibly hurtful to those who have done the hard work of trying to be original-decisions.

    This may not bother some of the people who are watching this issue, but the issue of ethics is important to me and I think should be important to anyone who is going through the soul searching process of branding/re branding. Ethics is not so much about what you do and say as it is about what you do and say when no one is watching. It”s who you are, it’s your core. It’s part of what you have to get at with the whole issue of finding the “you” in your photography business or in anything. The decisions you make create the person you are becoming. Decisions determine destiny. In the end you have to ask yourself if the person you are creating is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. If not, there is always room for growth or change. But, you have to be willing to do the hard work and soul searching to find out what that change should be.

    So, yes, I also would rather see the Brand-Aid done with someone who is possibly more deserving only because then I think I would be better able to be their cheerleader and be on their side. It does seem a bit “not fair” to those of us struggling and those of us trying to do it the right way to see someone who did it the wrong way seemingly rewarded although I understand that that is not your intention. However, at this point it would be difficult to chose who would be the more deserving person. There are so many who I am sure would be awesome candidates for this that it would be too difficult to chose. Also, because the spotlight is on this particular issue at this time it may be the most powerful way to prove the point of the original post and show how it can be totally turned around.

    So I think a case can be made for understanding both sides of the issues of fairness verses moving this in a positive direction. At this point, I think the focus now should be what will come of this project and what we could all learn from it. If we let it, It will be a powerful impetus for change.

  18. I agree with your wife, Kristen and Marta on this topic as well. I was a little on the fence until I read your reply where you said “I think the decision Lauren made to change her video to match Scarlett’s was a bad call and an unwise choice.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but according to what you wrote, Lauren herself (not the video production company) made the conscious decision to copy Scarlett’s video. I don’t think this point was made clear in earlier posts– I was wondering whose idea it was to copy the video– which kept me on the fence about my opinions on all the “Brand Aid”.

    I think the offer from yourself personally to produce a new video for her is great and very appropriate considering the amount of controversy your blog created for her. That alone would have shown your generous nature. But to include all these other freebies seems a little over the top and almost a slap in the face to those of us who patronize these businesses and services and have real artistic integrity.

    And I think it goes beyond the rest of us being “jealous” that she’s getting all this stuff for free. It’s the principal of the matter and rewarding bad behavior far beyond what was necessary to rectify any bad press your blog may have given her.

    I agree the “Brand Aid” is a fabulous and generous idea, but I’d much rather see it go to up-and-coming talent. Ultimately, I’m glad for the discussion this topic has started in the industry and hope we can all take it to heart and learn from it.

  19. Ask yourself, do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?

    Helping Lauren in the way you are is you being part of the problem.

    Why? Because Lauren needs to stand on her own two feet in her business life, and learn her own lessons from her own mistakes. In other words, she needs to take some ownership for her actions.

    That is the only way she can grow and become a responsible businessperson and thrive in this community. She will not grow by having others offer her handouts and then accepting them. She will only be remembered as the person who gladly accepted an easy way out instead of someone who recognized what she messed up in and then put her feet to the pavement to get it resolved.

    If I was in her position, I would acknowledge that I was lazy and made some bad judgements and then do some soul searching and spend my own time and money to fix things. If I was offered anything like this deal, I would absolutely not accept it because doing so would mean I am not accountable to myself and I always want to be so in my business and in life.

    You’ve probably heard the saying “give someone a meal and you feed them for a day, teach them to cook you’ve fed them for life’. You are giving Lauren a meal but not teaching her something of value that she can carry with her the rest of her life.

    Lessons of honor, accountability, respect for other photographer’s businesses, self-worth, and self-empowerment are all take aways that she needs but is simply not getting here.

  20. @hank – all the things you mention about accountability, etc, I agree with. I also believe that given everything that’s happened, she has learned a lesson. I DON’T believe that the things she is being given is enabling her to NOT stand on her own two feet. She’s get a website, some consulting, a year subscription to some services, and a promo. Those will definitely all help her on her way, but in the end, SHE will still need to stand on her own two feet. It will be up to her to follow what she learns from the consulting, etc. Something that everyone watching will be able to learn from too.

    I wrote a blog post in response to yours and other people’s comments about “rewarding bad behavior.” I don’t think it will change your mind, and that’s okay. But I do hope you read it with an open mind and try to see a different perspective.

  21. Wow. Crazy. Hey, folks—I get all your principled arguments, but why disparage Ron (and the other vendors) for the gift they want to give?

    If we found some other photographer to do this for, I’m sure people would cry that there’s someone more deserving. And if we did it for that person, someone would find someone even more deserving.

    At that rate, we’d never help anyone. The big picture here is, Ron initiated a positive project to help someone out. Sure you have your opinions about who would be better to receive it, but who really cares?

    It’s a rare thing that Ron has done, and I applaud that. Lauren is as deserving as anyone to receive a gift. Quit poisoning the water with judgement, jealousy, and spite. This isn’t about principles, or rather, it’s a bout a bigger one than you all are bent out of shape about. You should all be happy that people are looking to help people—for free, in love—THAT’S the important principle to keep in focus.

  22. The point is that it will hurt Lauren more than help her and people don’t even realize it because they feel good about helping someone when in reality, they are enablers.

    It’s sorta like if you have a relative who has no job and you feel sorry for them. So you start supporting them by giving them money, so they can get on their fee. But then the person is happy and comfortable and doesn’t go out looking for any work.

  23. @hank – I appreciate your input, but I think your analogy is a bad one. We are not enabling Lauren to continue down a path of non-creativity.

    Using your poor relative example, I believe a better analogy is this. You have a relative who hits hard times, you give him/her a new suit for the job interview and work with them on how to do an interview and keep a job. And maybe you give them a little bit of money to get them on their feet.

    If, as you say, they get happy and refuse to look for work, it’s at that point where my help would stop. But that initial helping hand is not only a good thing, but I think it’s something a loved one would be OBLIGATED to do.

    This is a group of well-minded vendors looking to help someone who made a mistake and we’re saying, “okay, what you did was wrong. Let us show you the best way to go about it, and in doing so, educate a whole industry.” As Kevin said, no matter who we would’ve chosen for this project, one could make the argument someone else is more “deserving.”

  24. Hank,

    That doesn’t really work. We’re giving Lauren a foundation to succeed from; it’s up to her to succeed. Helping someone launch a brand for free can not be said, in any measurable way, to hurt them.

    You’ll have to come up with something different.

  25. I’m really sick of all of this.

    What I see now, and from the point of when all the other sponsor companies jumped on board, is greed.

    I thought what Ron originally agreed to do was quite generous, and a great idea. He realized that he made a big mistake and decided to fix it in a way that made him feel better, and I really felt that he wanted to help Lauren out. Getting all these other companies involved threw all of Rons credibility out the window.
    It comes across as a big marketing show for all involved, and they only stand to gain financially from this.

    Too far. All of this, just too far. Sorry Ron, you let your good intentions get the best of you.

  26. Stephen,

    Your logic doesn’t pan out, bro. Ron didn’t make a big mistake, Lauren did. Ron put some spotlight on it, and it took off. Ron didn’t intend for Lauren to get attacked by other photographers, but she did; and he wanted to do something to turn this around.

    I agreed to work on the project for 2 reasons. 1: I trust Ron and look for any opportunity to do something with him. He’s creative and a “do-er,” while most people are just “talk-ers.” 2: I am sick of this industry ripping itself apart and was excited by the idea of doing something — for free — to help bring us together.

    I don’t know about your business accounting skills, but when I’m offering a package for this project that is normally $3,000—when I have a waiting list of clients who are eager to pay, but I can’t take on yet—doesn’t really add up to “only standing to gain” to me. I’m sure the other companies can report similar situations, but I won’t speak for them.

    What’s too far are your presumptions, not Ron’s intentions.

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