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There are lots of tips that one could relay to young photographers who are looking to get started with their business.  And out of all of these nuggets, probably the single best thing I ever did when I got into this crazy lunatic race was to open up an American Express Platinum Card.

I wish that I could take credit for this nugget, but alas I can not.  Years ago, when I was working as an assistant, I worked for a photographer called Russ Schliepman.  (it was Russ that probably influenced me the most in terms of style and the use of color.  We traveled the world, shot lots of amazing images, and I learned a TON!  So thanks Russ.)

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Please don’t misunderstand now… I am NOT swinging a plug for AmEx.  I make it a point NOT to be commercial with my posts, but this really was an important step the building of my career and its worth its conveyance.

So…. First and foremost, the having an AmEx Platinum Card gave the business an unlimited line of credit from which I could draw to front jobs.  What this meant was I could suddenly buy airline tickets, pay for hotels, food, rental cars, gear rentals, etc… (I remember thinking that if I wanted, I could walk into the BMW dealership and lay it down for an M3……I didn’t of course…)

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Second, AmEx will go to bat for you as a small business owner.  If you ever have an issue with a vendor, or aren’t happy with the quality of service of a product, a quick call to AmEx and they will help you resolve your issue in a first rate manner.  Furthermore, their customer service is by far the best of any other credit card.  They have continually gone above and beyond the call of duty for me.

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Third, having that Platinum Card suddenly gave me legitimacy.  This is one is a bit hard to quantify, but once AmEx recognized me as a business owner and sent along that Platinum Card all those years ago, I somehow felt like I was the real deal and I was now in business.  Also, the vendors that I was dealing with seemingly  gave me more respect when I handed over that card with “Greg Hren Photography” on it.

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Fourth, with the Plat Card comes many benefits.  The coolest of which is the companion ticket.  Four times per year when I purchase a domestic airline ticket, I get a ticket for a companion to fly for free!  Hows that for cool!

And fifth, but really one of the best perks of all, is gaining access to most airline travel lounges, including AmEx’s very own Centurion Club!

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This came in great handy the other day when we were flying back from Buenos Aires.  I was exhausted after being on the road for the week, and needed to sit in a quite place for a bit and gather my thoughts.  I had also been out of touch for most of the trip, and needed to catch up on phone calls, eMails, and the blog.

Since  I had 3 or so hours to kill, I really needed a spot to kick it away from the cacophony of the airport.

It was right at this point that I saw that familiar sign on the wall.  Thank Christ I thought, and headed inside.

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I was greeted with smiling faces, free wireless, munchies, and best of all… a cooler filled with ice cold local beer!  What more can one ask?

I was able to catch up on my calls, do a little post production work, hit the blog for a post or two, all while putting a bit of the swerve on.  It was priceless.

Thanks AmEx!

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