Getting to Know Don Diaz

As a kid, Don Diaz grew up in Southern California and dreamt of one day becoming the next Alfred Hitchcock using his dad’s Super 8 movie camera. The vision shifted when he discovered photography in high school and fell in love with it.  His fashion/lifestyle photography brand is bright and clean with a dash of humor and a lot of emotion.  He’s been with Alyssa Pizer Management for nearly ten years now, as he travels across the U.S. working for advertising agencies, catalogs, celebrities, and department stores.

Words of Praise for Alyssa & Alyssa Pizer Management

This very sweet email was just sent to Alyssa!  Names have obviously been changed…
I don’t know if our Art Buyer, has reached out to you yet, but your photographer’s test was a smashing hit here. Words like: energy, movement, joy, authenticity and wow, were heard from many Creative Directors and Creative Managers. Job very well done. We are excited to get some time with your photographer and his crew.
On a personal level, this feels like a huge win for me. I genuinely adore you and him as people and believe that good people deserve good things. To have talent is one thing, but being a great person is another and I made it a point to make sure that others notice the difference. You both have touched my life in a positive way, inside and outside the studio.
In short, thank you.
A Happy Client

Disney Through the Eyes of Don Diaz

Shooting for Disney has got to be one of the most enjoyable experiences a photographer can have and Don Diaz gets to do it all the time! Disneyland has been a client of his for over seven years. In this photoshoot for the Soundsational Parade on location at Disneyland, the crew arrived at 4:00am to get everything shot and wrapped before the park opened at 8am. Even at that hour, it looks like everyone had a great time.
The comp for the shoot outlines people dancing and playing the drums on big parade floats. The actual shoot delivered just that and more. Disney princesses, MickeyMouse, MiniMouse, and Pluto all made appearances, a long with talented performers, a few extras, and some really great early morning lighting. No wonder it’s the happiest place on earth!

S’mores by Don Diaz

Look what we found!  A display featuring photographs from Don Diaz’ shoot for Honey Maid S’mores last year.  Just in time for summer campfires, his images definitely make me want to round up the troops with some graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows.


Diaz’ pictures are on the website, too, which is worth checking out.  Who knew you could make peanut butter s’mores?  Or s’more brownies?  I’m headed to the kitchen to try ‘em out!


Shannon Greer Takes Chalk to a New Level with Isabel Spahr

If you haven’t seen Shannon Greer’s chalk images on our website yet, go check them out now!  They’re too cute to miss.  So cute, in fact, that we decided to make a cross-country phone call to this creative photographer in his New York studio to find out more about these photos.


It turns out that this whimsical idea was a project Shannon did just to spruce up his portfolio.  I don’t know about you, but I want to see more!  Luckily, it sounds like Shannon does, too.


AP: How did you come up with this idea?  Did something specific inspire it?


SG: I’d seen something.  Something like a chalkboard at a restaurant.  Then I looked up chalk drawings online and found a few more things for inspiration.


AP: Who did the drawings?


SG: Aimee Cavenecia was the artist for the drawings.  I just put an ad on Craigslist and Aimee responded.  She had good experience and lived right in neighborhood, so she was familiar with the area where we’d be working.  We met for the first time the morning of the shoot, so it could have gone horribly, but everything worked out really well.


AP: What was the process for creating the images?


SG: I had to borrow the flats for the shoot and paint them myself.  The drawings are minimal because it took time to draw each set, and it keeps it childlike, which I liked.  It was a fun day.  The most crucial part was that Aimee worked out.  It all hinged on her.


AP: Is this for a particular client or is it just an idea for future use?


SG: Just an idea.  You always wants us to build our books and I needed more studio work in my portfolio.


AP: Do you have a favorite chalk image?


SG: The smoking one.


AP: That was my favorite, too!


SG: A lot of people have responded to that.  The clutch was added at the end.  The image was top heavy before, but the clutch really balanced it.  I was thinking of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  The little animals were fun to have on set, too.


AP: Hmm…the birds were fake, right?


SG: Yes.


AP:  Okay, but the dog’s real.  How did the dog end up there?


SG: That’s my assistant’s dog.  She just ends up in a lot of shoots.


AP: I’ve seen some of your other work and would say you tend to add an element of humor to your photos.  Is that something you consciously try to do?


SG: Yeah.  That makes it enjoyable for me.  Work should be fun.  Something I look forward to.  I try to have fun on set, so a lot of what you see is natural.


AP: Does the humor get amped up or taken out depending on the client?


SG: Sometimes shoots don’t call for humor, so I pull back for the job or genre.


AP: Do you have a favorite genre to work in?


SG: l love lifestyle and I’ve been doing a lot of portraits lately.  Travel photography used to be more fun when you could bring an assistant, but now they’ve cut budgets so much you have to go alone.  So you have dinner by yourself with honeymooners all around.  It’s very lonely.  An assistant makes it fun.  Someone to help you carry your bags or just bounce ideas off of.


AP: What photo shoots do you have coming up?  Anything more with these chalk images?


SG: I have an exterior shoot in Savannah, but that’s not related to these.  I definitely want to do more with this project, though, and would love to work with everyone again.


Find out more about Shannon here:


Find out more about Aimee here:

Here are some fun shots from behind the scenes 🙂


Deborah Keaton: Art Director

Alyssa Pizer Management wants to celebrate one of our biggest inspirations, art director Deborah Keaton.  She has worked with Don Diaz on Disney photo shoots for nearly ten years.  Such a long history means they’re extremely comfortable working together – and they’re both Scorpios, so they even match up astrologically!

Whatever it is that has created such a strong partnership, something’s definitely working right for this pair.  Don praises Deb’s ability to always have a clear vision, which makes his job a lot easier.  Deb loves that Don understands the look and feel of Disney, which she says can be hard to get just right.  Together, they consistently meet – and usually exceed – the client’s expectations.

Deb’s website says, “Some designers leave a stamp on their client’s work.  Deborah leaves a smile on their face.”  I think she should add that she also leaves a smile on the faces of people she has collaborated with.  APM is certainly smiling because of her!  Thank you, Deb, for your inspiration.

Ophelia Chong

Now that my new website is finally launched, I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of my thoughts about what I learned during this process.  Like
 any successful rep-photographer relationship, it would never have happened if I had not found the right person with whom to collaborate.  Sometimes, it
 takes seeing what you don’t want in order to figure what you do want.  In
 my case, I went through three rounds with different designers before I found
 Ophelia Chong.

From the moment I heard her speak at a seminar on social marketing, I understood that she had a grasp of what I was looking for.  If you’ve already read Ophelia’s post on this blog, you know that she was asked to do that speech only fifteen hours before it happened because the original speaker canceled.  What a lucky twist of fate for me.

Ophelia’s combination of creativity and quick thinking (how many people do you know who could wing an hour and forty-five minute speech?) have made her a joy to work with, especially throughout the ad hoc process of launching a website.  She’s the kind of person who tackles any challenge with grace and incredible smarts.  The results are Alyssa Pizer Management’s beautiful, easy-to-access online and offline marketing materials – all for which I have Ophelia to thank!

Learn more about Ophelia Chong and see some of her work in this recent interview for The 22 Magazine:


How To Succeed in Social Marketing Without Really Trying by Ophelia Chong

I fell into Social Marketing, I didn’t even know I was doing it until I started seeing the results of my playing around on Flickr and Twitter. I joined Flickr in 2006 and Twitter in  2007, both of which I used as an outlet for my art and writing during the time that I was creating my fourth career as a lay-about artist with internet access and caffeine.

Twitter opened the world to me and allowed me to meet people I would’ve never met offline, some of those online friendships went offline and into career opportunities. Flickr brought my illustration and letterpress work out into a virtual gallery that publishers and galleries could view; by keywording my work properly, they found my work easily through Flickr search. Since 2006, my artwork has been published in over 10 books and shown in nine galleries; and I have been writing commentary for KCET since 2009. All of this was done without any print promotion, eblasts or cold calls. It was done by learning how to keyword, how to interact with a virtual audience and how to use the tools available to anyone with an attention span.


Fifth Career


Now I teach the “Marketing and Self-Promotion” class at the Art Center College of Design to photography students. I have spoken to graduating students at USC, Spotlight Gifted Students at the Music Center, and also via virtual Skype seminars for the ASPP.  The most recent seminar was at the Palm Springs Photo Festival in March.


Opportunity Calling


The phone rang at 11:45 pm on Sunday night. Luckily for me (and them) I was up watching the 543rd rerun of my favorite Law and Order. It was a slightly panicked call asking me to fill in for the speaker who was supposed to lead the seminar in 15 hours. I said “yes, okay”, without really asking what I was supposed to talk about other than Social Marketing. I was going to wing it. The next morning I checked the website and looked at what I was supposed to actually do. “Oh oh”, was my first thought. I had to fill an hour and forty five minutes with great ideas on how to market your business via the internet. But then the other half of my brain kicked in and said “you love talking, you’ll be fine”.


And that is where I met Alyssa Pizer.


She sat up front, with pens, a pad of paper and her Blackberry. She reminded me of the eager student on the first day of school, she looked like she was going to either give me an apple or hurl it at me. She kept me on my toes by asking questions that made the time fly and before I knew it, it was 4:30pm. We talked after and found common ground in how we love a great deal and I loved her way of telling it the way it is.


And here we are.


That day, Alyssa hired me to help her with her marketing. Over six weeks we worked together on her online and offline marketing plan, with the help of her amazing assistant Haven.

While her talented website team launched, we worked on her blog, eblasts, twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.  With this interconnected constellation of links and keywording, anyone searching for Alyssa Pizer and her photographers will be able to find her. Simply put the internet works for you when you give people multiple ways to find you.


Tips / Ideas / Resourses
Google Tips
Add your URL to Google:
Google will add and update new sites to their index each time they crawl the web, and they invite you to submit your URL 

Add your business to Google Maps
You must have a Google account (gmail)

With your free Google Places account you can:

  • Be found
    Verify your information to make sure people can find you on Google
  • Stand out
    Engage customers with photos, coupons, public responses and more
  • Get insights
    Use info about your listing to make smarter business decisions

Marketing Resources:
Source Books and Web sites:
Alternative Pick

Template Websites for Photographers:
Other Peoples Pixels
Click Booq
Blue Domain
Site Design Works
Big Folio
Creative Motion Design
Pixel Post
Movable Type/
Wordpress (Big UP)

Statistics: google analytic 

Mailing Lists and Databases: Adbase (, Freshlists, Agency Access, Adweek list

Portfolio Supplies:
Brewer Cantelmo:
House of Portfolios:
Lost Luggage:
Kolo Books:
Light Impressions:
Kate’s Paperie:
Molly West Handbound Books: )
Pearl Paint:
Book Binder Alice Vaughan:

Alternative Promotion and Entrepreneur info:
Kick Start (pledged funding for start ups)
MINT Entrepreneurial Organization at ACCD
Caltech MIT Enterprise Forum
CMYK free student portfolio C(MY)K
Kriystina Castella

Print on Demand Books and Publishers:
Blurb :
Asuka Books :
My Publisher:
A&I lab:
Moo :
Modern Postcard:
magcloud: publish your own magazine

Twitter Tools to make it easier to use:
Seesmic is a powerful collection of social management tools that provide businesses and individuals
with everything they need to build their brand online. With applications on every platform,
Seesmic is the most comprehensive solution on the market.
TweetDeck is your personal browser for staying in touch with what’s happening now, connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace,
Follow me on Twitter: @ophelia

Photo Tips by Don Diaz

Ever wonder how to capture a child’s first step – without your finger blocking the lens?  In My Hometown magazine, Alyssa Pizer Management’s very own Don Diaz uncovers the secrets to taking great photos of kids.  From planning a wardrobe for children that won’t blend with the background to giving them a prop, like a toy, to play with, Diaz makes photographing those little rascals sound easy.  For anyone who has ever tried to get a kid still enough for a photo shoot, that’s got to be a relief.

Diaz includes some standard photo tricks, like shooting during the early morning or afternoon to get the best light, as well as some kid-centric tips, like crouching down to shoot at their eye level.  While you’re at it, Diaz also suggests focusing on the eyes, since they’re the first thing we tend to notice in a photo.  Try to capture all emotions, too, from giggles to tears.  This doesn’t mean steal the kid’s favorite toy just to get a reaction – on second thought, maybe it does…

My Hometown Magazine