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If you're not offering your clients professional fine art prints, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to separate your business from the competition. While things like canvases and framed prints used to be viewed as high-end items, their ubiquity has driven them to the bottom of the pile when it comes to creating value for your business. Just this week I was in a CVS to quickly print out a passport photo for my son and above the Kodak kiosks I noticed that there were some rather sad examples of prints that you could make with your digital files. Right next to the standard 4x6's and calendars was a 16x24 canvas, complete with unremarkable corner work and bad color density.
In the film heydays of wedding photography, a good piece of wall art was a matted and framed archival print produced from a reputable lab. Maybe you'd buy a nice frame for it to really set it apart, but in most regards there wasn't a lot of variety in terms of actual construction and the equation remained the same -- print + matte + frame = art. Along with the shift to digital photography, there was a parallel swell of innovation on the printing side, resulting in dozens of new categories for products that just didn't exist before.
At the beginning of the year, I realized that one of the places I needed to improve my business was to offer more exciting options for clients to showcase their wedding photos. I was offering the standard canvas print and a few other options, but from the client's perspective if they could order a canvas print from someone like CVS, why would they order it from me at a much higher price? Sure...I was producing mine from a professional lab that consumers didn't have access to, so the quality was definitely better. But that required a whole lot of education to make the client understand those differences, and a quality product shouldn't need any education. A client should see it and just know.
So after lots of research, I kept coming back to one company in particular -- White Wall. Based in Germany, they have an impeccable way of producing a quality product that really sets them apart from others that I considered. (There's good reason why "German engineering" carries the connotations it does.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjyUB_yu4cA
The first piece I produced with White Wall was a 16x24 acrylic "floater frame" of a portrait I took of Kathy & Nick, recent clients of mine that got married at New York's City Hall. We captured one of my favorite portraits of the year as we made our way down into the subway, and I was so excited to get this piece back and see it in person.
Everything about this piece is amazing, from the quality of materials used to the construction. There's even a seal of quality on the back stating how long the piece is guaranteed for. Nothing on this piece says "I was made as cheaply as possible, please don't value me."
I met up with Kathy & Nick after work at their favorite neighborhood bar and when I presented the piece to them, Kathy gasped as soon as it was unwrapped. It's now found a place in their home, and Kathy says "We had a chance to hang up the print this weekend in our bedroom and it looks amazing - we are SUPER in love with it."
So do yourself a favor and step up your product offerings with some of the many products White Wall offers. They've even made it easy and enticing by offering our readers a 20% discount on orders over $200 until the end of August. [post_title] => Impress Clients with Quality Wall Art from WhiteWall [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => impress-clients-with-quality-wall-art-from-whitewall [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-15 18:34:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-15 22:34:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=67846 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67044 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-05-27 11:39:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-27 15:39:37 [post_content] =>
Wedding photographer Aaro Keipi had one of his photos go viral recently, and the lessons he learned are an interesting case study in modern marketing. You might think that having one of your wedding photos go viral can directly lead to more business from all of the eyeballs that hit your image, but as Aaro discovered it's not that easy.
Creating the Image
Despite what the looming castle in background might suggest, the bridal party photo was captured at a wedding in Virginia. After the bride had mentioned that she had some swords to use for photos, Aaro concocted this battle scene and then used Photoshop to complete the "Game of Thrones" look.
The bride in the picture was an old friend of mine, and when she contacted me about shooting her wedding, she mentioned having a couple of swords that she wanted to use in some of the pictures. The wedding took place in Luray, Virginia, a place not really known for its medieval castles (I’m based in Finland but travel to the U.S. a few times a year for weddings). The wedding was fantastic, and we got this fun shot of the bridal party “fighting” the wedding couple. As a surprise to the couple, I added a royalty-free castle and dark sky into the background of one picture with the help of Photoshop. The edit was done quickly (in less than an hour) and I didn’t pay much attention to details, treating it as a bonus to the wedding couple, and they loved it.
This quick video breaks down Aaro's post production of the photo, where you can see the base image that was captured on site at the wedding. https://vimeo.com/167902703
Aaro's Path to Going Viral
How exactly do you get an image to go viral? While some images can certainly be found, unpromoted, and then shared on a popular outlet to get lots of visibility, Aaro's image took a more deliberate path. A few days after delivering the image to his couple, Aaro uploaded the image to imgur "figuring it would give a few people a laugh". Within a few hours the image had racked up over 100k views (it currently has over 353k). Within a few days it had been reposted on sites like 9gag, The Chive, and "a bunch of random Russian sites."
The rush came when UNILAD shared the photo on their Facebook page, which has over 14.4 million fans. At first the image was posted with no credit, but a link to his Facebook page was quickly added after Aaro sent them a Facebook message.
Going Viral Boosts Likes, but Strike While the Iron is Hot
Once UNILAD added the link to his Facebook page, Aaro got a huge spike in likes. After some of the initial excitement wore off and he started to do some digging, Aaro discovered that a lot of them were actually coming from parts of the world outside of his target market and probably wouldn't result in any new business. He also noticed that a lot of the profiles looked like fake ones set up for like farming, which are definitely useless likes. After clearing out the dross, he ended up with a few hundred likes that he judged to be legitimate.
To further boost his visibility with the image, Aaro prepared a summary and sent it out to local Helsinki news outlets. Within just a few days, every news agency he contacted had run the story, which included links to his website and Facebook page. The increased traffic spiked his daily website stats by 30x, peaking at 1,400 visitors.[caption id="attachment_542" align="aligncenter" width="997"] via Aarography (http://www.aarography.com/)[/caption]
Despite all of the new website traffic, Aaro didn't see a correlating increase in inquiries.
Using the Viral Image as Direct Marketing
To get an additional wave of marketing out of the image, Aaro had a large print produced and brought it to his first wedding expo a few months later, along with a laptop playing the post-production video. The effort paid off, because a lot of people at the expo already recognized the image and it served as an easy conversation starter.[caption id="attachment_545" align="aligncenter" width="960"] via Aarography (http://www.aarography.com/)[/caption]
The Actual Benefits of Going Viral
In terms of concrete benefits, Aaro calculated that he received "about 900 new legitimate Facebook likes on my page, with the majority coming from my geographic target market." Those are 900 potential clients (or client connectors) that have already seen and reacted to his photography in a positive way, and are highly likely to like, share, and comment on any future content.
The connection he was able to make at the expo with strangers who recognized his image resulted in a few weddings being booked. While it might be hard to say how many of those he would have booked without the viral image marketing, I think it certainly helped to have something that allowed wedding couples to easily connect with a potential vendor. Trust is a key factor in determining whom a couple books, and each couple that recognized Aaro's image already trusted him on a social level.
Aaro put a lot of work into managing the viral ride his photo took, and I think it definitely paid off despite its minimal immediate impact on his business's bottom line. He was able establish a larger, geographically-relevant fan base on his Facebook page and generate link trust with several local news agencies in Helsinki. Over time these two accomplishments alone easily make up for the lack of direct business generated from going viral.
You can see more of Aaro's wedding photography on his website, Aarography. [post_title] => What a Wedding Photographer Learned from Going Viral [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => what-a-wedding-photographer-learned-from-going-viral [to_ping] => [pinged] => https://vimeo.com/167902703 [post_modified] => 2017-01-31 16:40:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-31 21:40:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=67044 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 66858 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-05-20 10:54:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-20 14:54:15 [post_content] =>
One of the most time-consuming parts of your workflow is also one of the most important. But if someone said you never had to cull again, would you jump at the opportunity? Picturesqe is hoping everyone's answer is yes, because their software claims to select your best shots for you. That's a hefty promise to make, but to deliver on it could mean a turning point in the creative process we all go through. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib6P22S-HnY
This could be a fundamentally huge change in how we sift through the onslaught of data we now produce as digital artists. Wedding photographers in particular are used to returning from jobs with thousands of images to go through, and culling is a time-consuming but necessary process to undertake.
“The problem is that professional photographers take thousands of photos and have to spend countless hours to manually delete wrong shots and select the best ones,” Daniel Szollosi, founder and CEO of Picturesqe, told TechCrunch. “Speed to market is a crucial factor, such as in live sports. And in other fields (e.g. weddings, events) dozens of pictures are very similar, so that the final selection becomes an expensive, time-consuming task.”
Even if you have a solid culling process in place, it can take upwards of a few hours per gig depending on how many photos you average and how meticulous you are. I currently use Photo Mechanic and an Xbox controller to cull my images at a fairly good pace, but outsourcing that to an automated solution is very tempting. While you'll still be in control of what the final selection of photos is, Picturesqe's ultimate goal is to take the culling reigns completely after you've interacted with it enough to teach it what a good photo is, and what a good photo isn't.
Picturesqe supports over 600 RAW camera formats and automatically groups photos together that are visually similar, then ranks "them based on visual aesthetics." It will also flag for deletion any shots that fall short on sharpness or exposure, saving you the trouble of sifting out blurry or over/under-exposed photos. Selecting the sharpest photo is easy with the "intelligent zoom" feature, which zooms into the same area on all photos being compared. Picturesqe uses your feedback to get better and better at automatically ranking your photos, which means you should save more time the more you use it. In the end, you still get the final say as to which photo(s) from a set are selected.
I'm curious to see photographer's reactions to the announcement of this sort of technology. Is this something you've been secretly begging for? Or is this something that will kill an entire creative portion of our workflows? I'm currently using Picturesqe side-by-side with Photo Mechanic to see how it develops as time goes on.
Picturesqe is currently available for Windows as a stand alone application or Lightroom plugin, and is free for the first three months. After the trial period there are various subscription plans to choose from, from $9.99 monthly to $39.99 yearly. [post_title] => Picturesqe Aims to Eliminate Culling from Your Workflow [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => picturesqe-aims-to-eliminate-culling-from-your-workflow [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-20 10:54:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-20 14:54:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=66858 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 66674 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-05-16 19:24:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-16 23:24:10 [post_content] =>
When taking a photography workshop, it's important to perform some due diligence to ensure you're investing wisely. Whether you're a brand new or seasoned photographer, one things holds true -- if you belong to any website, photography Facebook group, or have photographer friends, you are likely to get bombarded on a weekly, maybe even daily, basis with educational opportunities and workshops. It's easy to get lost in the myriad of choices you have for both large organized conferences and the small, under 10 people "almost alone" types of workshops. While there are often great opportunities to learn from successful photographers through workshops, it's important to note that just because something is deemed a "workshop" doesn't mean that there aren't any precautions to take and research to be done.
There are a few points to realize before going any further. Just like the wedding and portrait photography industry itself, there are few regulations and anyone can decide they want to host a workshop. I personally think workshops are some of the best learning opportunities out there, but I've also been party to some that -- being blunt -- I was upset to waste my time on, let alone my money.
So here's a few tips and pointers to help you get the most for your money and help you grow as a photographer, while not getting ripped off.
- Look at the photographers work. This doesn't just mean their "highlight" photos, but their entire body of paid work. Also check to see if they are consistently posting new work, active in the community, and if their workshop topic jives with what they are posting. In other words, if you see a great business workshop but the person isn't posting a lot of work, or the work isn't of a high quality, you may want to think twice. There are several successful ways to run a photography business but taking business advice from a boutique photographer, if you are a bulk photographer, may not be worth it for you.
- Look at their workshop T&C (terms and conditions). Most professional photographers have very good contracts with their clients (or they should) because we are selling an intangible service. This is no different for workshop hosts. They are promising an intangible good and, as such, often their contracts are fairly specific with what you can and cannot expect as far as what you receive, substitutions of speakers, education, etc.
- If the workshop has a contract, pay particular attention to the cancellation clauses (whether it's them or you that cancel). Especially when traveling to take a workshop, if something comes up and you have to cancel make sure you can get at least a partial refund, transfer your ticket to someone else, or receive credit to take a future workshop. A great example I know of is a maternity workshop that was being held in an environment that is battling the zika virus (which is very harmful to pregnant mothers). Many of the students wanted to pull out and it caused serious issues because of the workshop T&C.
- Pay attention to any review clauses in the contract. This is the one that troubles me the most. I've seen more than one workshop host "ban" you from leaving anything but a positive review in public. This is a serious red flag to me and while the legality of it is a larger issue, you probably don't want to pay not only the money for the workshop that you didn't have a good experience with, but then the legal fees to fight a lawsuit should the workshop host decide to pursue legal action based on your accurate review based on your own personal experiences (which is the de facto defense against slander or libel claims).
- Research the photographer's background. Again, this comes down to knowing who you are giving money to. Check out their work, how long they've been in business, if they are still in business (yes, this happens), the level of your work, the level of the speaker's work, and the topics they are discussing. A workshop host should be an industry expert, and more specifically an expert in the scope of what they are teaching. In other words, you wouldn't ask a mechanic about removing a mole on your arm.
- Look at the workshop fee. The higher the fee, the less likely you'll be "sold" on anything. I take classes from both types of photographers but I know (and expect) when I go to a $100 workshop, I'm going to be given a hard sell on actions, forms, processes, etc. Alternatively when I go to a $2,000 workshop, I don't expect to be getting sold on anything except drooling over some of the gear they are using.
The workshop industry, as some would joke, is almost as large at the photography industry itself. I've seen photographers giving workshops in only their second year of business. Not to say they couldn't help you but its unlikely a 2nd year business has much in the way to offer a photographer with 10 years of experience. Photographers who offer workshops, most of the time, truly love educating and the workshop industry itself is not generally a "get rich quick" scheme. However, there are exceptions and it pays to do your research in advance. [post_title] => The Awful Truth About Some Photography Workshops [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-awful-truth-about-some-photography-workshops [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-16 19:24:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-16 23:24:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=66674 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 66352 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-05-06 13:23:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-05-06 17:23:26 [post_content] =>
Mother's Day is just around the corner, so I reached out to a few awesome wedding photographers to hear how they cater to moms during, before, and after the wedding day. Everyone has a different approach, but the common goal of all of these great tips is to be proactive to ensure the moms are being fully included in the photography experience and coverage. Remember that good customer service doesn't mean just providing that good service to your couple, but also their families -- and perhaps most especially the moms.
Jeremy Chou of Jeremy Chou Photography
I always make sure to include the mom in the getting ready portion of the day. Most of the times the moms would sit on the couch or be in another room while we are shooting bride getting ready. I would always invite the moms to get fully dressed first and come help their daughters with the final touches. It creates a special moment on the wedding day and my brides always cherish these little moments!
Bud Johnson of Common Spark Media
Maybe I’m traditional or antiquated, but I love and respect my elders. Not only do we owe so much of who we are to those who raised us, but one day we’re going to be raising others ourselves. Personally and professionally I seek the approval and guidance of those older and wiser than me, and think it’s so important the mothers of my couples are happy with their children’s wedding photography. I’m a huge proponent of same-day slide shows; I briefly edit 50-60 photos from my main camera’s card and transfer the files to an iPad. I first show the Bride and Groom their photos, but immediately make a bee-line for the moms right after. If I’m also hosting a Photo Booth I make a note of the mom’s favorite 10-15 photos from the slide show, print those photos out 4x6, and include a custom Nolia co. leather satchel exclusively for the moms. An album is great, but the leather satchel will 100% wind up at the mom’s work the following Monday, so she can show off all the amazing photos of her happy children to all of her co-workers. Not only making the mom your biggest fan, but also an excellent source for great word-of-mouth referrals. Respect your elders and it will return ten-fold.
Leaha Bourgeois of Popography
Telling the story of the bride and groom is ideally the most important story of the entire wedding day. But it is important to remember that the mom has also dreamt of this day. She is going through emotions, exhaustion, excitement all while hosting family and friends. This day is very important to her and she deserves to be celebrated for raising such a beautiful daughter and helping host a gorgeous event. Highlighting her time through out the day is valuable time and gorgeous photos. The mom will speak just as highly as the bride will about her relationship with you. It's worth taking the time to tell the Mother of the Bride's story, too. With all of this being said, it is very important to include both of the bride's and groom's moms. It is a very important day for them as they let their child go into marriage and at the same time welcome a new family member into their family. That is a LOT! Give them images to look back on and talk about for generations to come.
Kate Noelle of Kate Noelle Photography
Moms generally give so much of themselves to the planning and excitement of their child’s wedding day. To show them a little extra love and gratitude, I’ve been gifting them La Rousse antique glass boxes containing photo prints wrapped with a pretty silk ribbon along with a note saying “You did good, mom." I think so far, brides have reported happy tears every time.
Shannon Cronin of Shannon Cronin Photography
If time allows on a wedding day, I adore getting portraits of the bride's parents and groom's parents. It's an important day for them too and the moms especially have put a lot of time into picking the right dress, getting gorgeous and probably into planning as well -- they deserve a portrait with their love too! I'm usually met with surprise when I ask if I can borrow them for a minute but they always are happy with those images and it's a little moment of a wedding day that I love!
Ashley Fisher of Ashley Fisher Photography
As a mom and someone who didn't have her mother at her wedding, I always carve out time for the moms with their children and give them an opportunity to share their feelings. This mom bought a card the day the bride was born and gave it to her. They were both crying. I also make sure the makeup artist stays around so they can get touched up [...] before I do this.
Heather Richardson of Heather Richardson Photography
[post_title] => Mother's Day Roundup: Wedding Photographers Reveal How They Pay Special Attention To Moms [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => mothers-day-roundup-wedding-photographers-reveal-how-they-pay-special-attention-to-moms [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-06 13:23:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-06 17:23:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=66352 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 66230 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-04-29 18:06:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-29 22:06:14 [post_content] =>
I [...] always go up to [the mothers] and say "This must be a big day for you too, if you need something let me or my second shooter know" and the crazy thing is that when I do this they ask for less!!
It should go without saying that a solid image workflow and backup solution is key to any successful wedding photography business, yet every month I seem to hear of some data loss horror story. If you hop into any wedding photography forum, Facebook group, reddit conversation, or bar full of wedding photographers, there is no shortage of sad stories about a client's images being lost and never to be seen again.
By having a simple, fool-proof image workflow in place you'll never have to worry about that happening to you or your client's images. The workflow I'm going to present is fairly simple, and what I posit to be the minimal amount of security needed to prevent disaster. The most important aspect of any backup solution is redundancy, and you'll see it throughout each step of this workflow.
Step One: Shoot to a Backup Card In-Camera
A good image backup solution starts as soon as you press the shutter release on your camera. By using a professional camera that has dual card slots -- and most importantly, setting the second card slot as a backup -- you are saving two copies of your image directly onto two separate pieces of media at the time of capture. While the failure rate of SD cards, CF cards, and other in-camera media are relatively low, the risk is still there. If the risk of a single card failing is 10%, the risk of both of your cards failing is only 1%. Shooting onto two cards also allows you to physically separate the cards when heading home from a shoot, just in case something happens in transit.[caption id="attachment_434" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] The 'Secondary slot function' setting on my Nikon D4s.[/caption]
Something that goes in hand with this is to buy a lot of memory cards. Storage is so cheap these days, and there are always specials to catch them on sale. I shoot a lot of gigs back to back, and being able to grab a new card for the next gig (versus clearing the cards I just used) helps immensely in case there is any misstep you need to correct.[caption id="attachment_432" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] About half the cards I shoot with.[/caption]
Important side note - If you are shooting with a camera that only has one memory card slot, you just need to take a few extra precautions to ensure your images are safe. If possible, bring a laptop or portable backup drive and backup your cards on site as soon as you finish. If you ever run into a problem with a card stop shooting immediately. Get the card to a computer that has recovery software installed and try to recover the data; ideally, use the recovery software provided by the card manufacturer.
Step Two: Cloud Backup
This is putting the cart before the horse a little, but talking about cloud backup in general is important to set the stage for the next step in your data security workflow. If you don't currently have a cloud backup solution in place, it's the first thing you should implement after reading this article. There are a few solid solutions out there, with the two top dogs being Backblaze and CrashPlan (I personally use Backblaze and love it). Whatever you choose to use, the important feature you need to look for is something that automatically backups up all of your files (or even just a specific drive) in the background while you go on with your life. Just like Ron Popeil expounded upon, you want to "Set it, and forget it!"[caption id="attachment_429" align="aligncenter" width="572"] My Backblaze panel, telling me that I'm safe (for now).[/caption]
Having your files magically float up into the cloud means you always have a backup to recover from and more importantly, that it's in another physical location. This means your house could go up in flames, your hard drives melting down to putty, and you could still recover your data and keep on ticking. An important thing to note about any cloud backup solution is that they do take time to back up your files. This means that when you import new files into a drive you have being backed up, there will be a window in time where they are not yet in the cloud. Keep reading, because this is where step three comes in to close the gap.
"Set it, and forget it!" - Ron Popeil
Step Three: Import Two Copies Locally onto Separate Drives
In an ideal world, cloud backup would be instantaneous and we could just import our files to one location on our local machine and be good to go. But because of the lag discussed in step two, we need to have a temporary, second local copy of our import to close the gap in exposure until your cloud backup solution actually gets those particular files up into the cloud.[caption id="attachment_430" align="aligncenter" width="648"] My standard import settings in Photo Mechanic.[/caption]
I use Photo Mechanic to ingest all of my cards, which has the handy ability to create two copies directly upon import. I set my primary destination to be my primary working drive, a Drobo 5D, and my secondary destination to be a 1TB SSD external drive (aptly named "LOCALOHF*CK"). The 1TB drive is more than enough space to hold gigs until the cloud backup window has passed, and I just occasionally clear the oldest gigs from it manually as needed. To fully eliminate all risk of data loss, you should exchange this secondary drive with a friend, stash it in a fireproof box, or store it off-site.
Step Four: Lightroom Catalog
Once images have been copied onto my primary working drive, I then cull within Photo Mechanic to select the set I actually want to edit and deliver. The next step is to bring those images into Lightroom to perform my post production.[caption id="attachment_424" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Each gig gets its own Lightroom catalog.[/caption]
I create a separate catalog for each shoot that I do, and the important thing here is that I create each catalog within the folder of images from that gig. For instance, this particular gig is in a folder named "20160427 Elopement Jenine Paul" and I create a catalog named "20160427" within that same folder. This way everything related to a single gig is within a single folder and can be archived together. By creating separate catalogs for each gig, I'm also reducing the risk of a catalog becoming corrupt and ruining multiple gigs.
Step Five: Image Delivery
Once I've wrapped up post production, it's time to deliver those files to my clients. The first step I take with the final set of images, before exporting, is to rename all of them to a client-friendly format.[caption id="attachment_425" align="aligncenter" width="570"] A very simple file naming schema.[/caption]
This serves two purposes: 1) the filenames make sense to my clients, and 2) it allows me to trace back any image to my working catalog should they have any issues. For example, if my client says, "Hey Jon, in image 'Elopement-JeninePaul-20160427-0100.jpg' there's a weird fold in my dress, can you fix that?," then I can open up their catalog, search for that filename and go to work. If I simply renamed my files on export, my working catalog would have totally different filenames than what my client sees.[caption id="attachment_428" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Delivering final images to my client, and archiving the JPEGs at the same time.[/caption]
The final step is to upload all of my final files into my client's online gallery for delivery. I use Pixieset, and because this is a remote service, this basically serves as an archive of the final JPEGs. I don't archive JPEGs locally because I can always regenerate them from the RAW files within my archive, but it's nice to have them in a remote hosting service that has its own backup solution.
The most important lesson here is simple: redundancy. It's important to have multiple copies of your files at every stage in your workflow, and equally important to have them in separate locations. Space is so cheap these days that there is really no excuse to not have a great data security workflow in place, especially when dealing with something as important as the memories you capture on a wedding day. [post_title] => A Wedding Image Workflow to Keep You Sane (and Safe) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => a-wedding-image-workflow-to-keep-you-sane-and-safe [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-29 18:06:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-29 22:06:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=66230 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65460 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2016-04-14 10:54:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-14 14:54:23 [post_content] =>
Paul & Chareen Wheatley hired a wedding photographer for $850 to capture their special day, and they did not get what they paid for. Not a King's ransom but, at the same time, you'd expect a professional photographer at that price point to deliver images capturing their day that are technically sound and in focus. Unfortunately for the Wheatley's, that wasn't the case. As it turns out (more on this below), the photographer even has a few stolen images in their portfolio.
Wedding photographers have a tough job on even the best of days. Tight timelines, family politics, relying on other vendors to stay on schedule, weather considerations and unruly guests. If you can name it, I've probably seen it at a wedding. Or so I thought. A story that's been making the rounds from Leeds features a photographer who, let's be honest, literally bombed the wedding (you'll get the pun in a moment). Here's a few examples of what was delivered:
The story as it's told in other publications (New York Post & Daily Mail) was that the photographer, Chloe Johnston (C Johnston Photography), was hired by the couple after finding her through a Facebook ad. Up until the wedding day, the couple had difficulty getting in touch with her until Chloe sent a message at 10pm the evening before the wedding confirming she would be there. When she did arrive (45 minutes late), she came with a single camera. For the couples session, she had the bride (in a white dress) and groom (who had just had knee replacement surgery and therefore declined) walk down a muddy path (obviously damaging the dress and excluding the groom. At the reception, the couple didn't see the photographer much as well. After the wedding, the photographer delivered 15 images from the reception. Yes, 15. To top it all off, the couple reports that she hopped into the photo booth and took a few selfies (5 in total). For those that hate math, that's 1/3rd as many photographs as she delivered from the reception.
I've watched the story become sensationalized and it's easy to fire up the pitchforks at this point but let's really look at the problems here.
Not communicating with your clients is simply inexcusable. We all get busy, especially at certain times of the year, but it's not difficult to pick up the phone or simply email the client confirming all the details. Waiting until 10pm the night before is setting yourself up for an epic failure, even if you deliver beautiful photos. Clients hire wedding photographers having no idea what they actually will receive as far as photos go. It's a very unique aspect of the business where it's not a tangible product so any shortcoming or failed communications that happens before the wedding just makes it that much harder to have a happy client.
Arriving late to a wedding is also just inexcusable but at the same time, bad things do happen and I'd be willing to give the photographer a pass on this one if it was something truly out of her control. However, looking at the situation as a whole, it appears the photographer was ill-prepared to take on the primary photographer duties of a wedding.
Walking the clients down a muddy path with no care given to the well being of the clients or their clothing, is absolutely ridiculous. We, as photographers, all have visions but on a wedding day we must take care to weigh the repercussions of our decisions. Soiling a wedding dress, on the day of the wedding, is not something we should ever encourage unless the bride is planning on trashing the dress anyway (which was not the case here) and leaving the groom out of couples portraits is beyond words. It's called "couples portraits" for a reason.
The photographer taking photos of herself in the photo booth. Let's be honest, I really don't see this being an issue at all if we ignored all the other missteps by this photographer. I know I've hopped into the photo booth at several weddings for a quick shot. These were also weddings where the couple and I had a great relationship. Even if they were just normal clients, giving them a photo of their photographer is hardly an issue worthy of the New York Post or Daily Mail had the other issues not happened.
As I did research for this story, I came across an article posted by the great folks over at Photo Stealers. Turns out the portfolio C Johnston Photography has on their website has photos not taken by her. Out of all of the above transgressions, this is the most egregious. When clients hire a wedding photographer the examples of their previous work is all they have to go on. When a photographer steals another photographer's work and not only displays it on their website, but uses it to book clients, it's criminal. The price the newly married couple is paying for this unethical and illegal behavior is far greater then the monetary amount they paid. While it wasn't a huge sum of money, it also wasn't cheap or free and no couple deserves to have their wedding photos ruined because the photographer stole images and represented themselves as something they are not. [post_title] => Wedding Photographer Bombs Wedding, Twice [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => wedding-photographer-bombs-wedding-twice [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-14 11:01:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-14 15:01:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=65460 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65442 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-04-13 11:25:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-13 15:25:14 [post_content] =>
The Wedding School is hosting their first live stream learning event April 19-21, and it will include some amazing speakers and topics - and it's all free. Dubbed "The Wedding School Summit", the three days will cover a variety of wedding photography topics with each day having an overall theme - Business, Craft, and Purpose.
The panel of speakers includes Susan Stripling, Cliff Mautner, Parker Pfister, Jacklyn Greenberg, Rachel Brenke, Rob Greer, Scott Robert Lim, Julia Kelleher, and Sidecar Post. With six individual topics each day, the entire event will cover everything ranging from posing to copyright and image credit issues. Having all of these educators speaking together under one roof as a free live stream for a solid three days of teaching is definitely something not to miss out on. And if you're already a student at The Wedding School, there is a bonus hour of material at the end of each day exclusively for you!
Head over to The Wedding School website to see the full schedule of speakers and topics and to register for the live stream. If you can't watch the event live, there will be a rebroadcast each evening and all of the material will also be rolled up into the growing Learning Library of The Wedding School.
In conjunction with The Wedding School Summit, the next enrollment period for The Wedding School is set to open on April 18th, the day before the live event starts. So if you've been waiting to sign up for awesome wedding photography education, now's your chance! [post_title] => The Wedding School Announces First Live Learning Event [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-wedding-school-announces-first-live-learning-event [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-13 11:25:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-13 15:25:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=65442 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64954 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-04-04 13:05:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-04 17:05:35 [post_content] =>
Shooting weddings typically requires a fair amount of gear, but when photographing intimate urban weddings it's essential to travel light. Having shot over 200 elopements in New York City in the past four years, the most important lesson I've learned is that less is definitely more. Leave the light stands, the flashes, and even the macro lens at home. Having the bare essentials not only saves your back as you trek around the city, but also saves your brain from getting fried as you debate which lens to use.
This is the gear that I use to photograph every single elopement I have in NYC, and is also the same kit that I grab when shooting an engagement session. It's something that organically grew out of my shooting style and has been dwindled down over the years until arriving at this minimalist set. I should also mention that when I do shoot full, traditional weddings that I use this same set of gear to photograph about 80% of the day.
What you chose to haul your gear in is a very personal, and important decision. I live in far Queens, which means to get to Manhattan I have to take a bus and then at least one subway. With all of the stairs, sidewalks, cobblestone streets, and crowds I have to navigate throughout the city, roller bags are not an option.
I've previously used a ThinkTank Streetwalker Harddrive backpack - which was great - but I found myself trying to stuff a lot of gear in there that I never ended up using. My ideal urban bag finally came along when the Peak Design Everyday Messenger was released last year. This bag perfectly holds my essential set of gear and also my 15" Macbook Pro if I'm going to stay out and get some work done while I'm in the city. You'll notice I also have a climbing carabiner hooked onto one side of it, as most of my couples usually have a bag I need to hold while we shoot and this makes it super easy to get it off everyone's hands.
While there are a lot of messengers out there that can hold the amount of gear I need, Peak Design's Everyday Messenger really won out because of its smart design. I can crank down on the strap to pull it super close to my body, and even link up a stabilizer strap to hold it close to my back like a bike messenger would. This really helps distribute the load and keep my back happy. It also has a weatherproof waxed 500D Kodra shell and DWR undercoat, along with weatherproof zippers, so I don't even need to drag a separate rain shield out. The quick access point also lets me swap out a lens without fully opening the bag.
The minimum amount of gear I will ever take out on a shoot is two camera bodies and two lenses. There's always a chance that a piece of gear will fail, so having a backup for both my camera body and my lens is essential. With those in place, three pieces of gear would have to fail simultaneously for me to be up sh*t creek, which would be highly unlikely.
While the exact camera models you use are not very important, I think it is important that they both have backup memory card slots. I'm a Nikon shooter, and my two cameras of choice are the Nikon D4s and the Nikon D750. I actually shoot 100% of my photos on the D4s and just carry the D750 as a backup camera. Because the body of the D4s is square and just a little bit wider than the Everyday Messenger, I pack the bag with a lens mounted on the D750 and not on the D4s, and then switch them when I get to where I'm shooting.
I use a Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 for about 90% of my work. It is definitely my favorite lens, not only for how sharp it is wide open but for its versatility. I shoot all of my candids with it, along with most of my portraits. I tend to shoot way more environmental portraits not only due to my own style, but because most couples getting married in NYC want to show off the city itself, which a 35mm focal length is perfectly suited for.
I used to carry a macro lens for ring shots, but it seemed silly to carry a whole other lens for just a few photos. I found that my 35mm actually had the perfect balance of scenery and ring detail when used very close to its minimum focus distance, and at f/1.4 you could achieve a pretty unique look. You definitely have to be more deliberate with your stacking of the rings in order to showcase them well, and another piece of gear I detail later helps with this.
The other lens I use is Nikon's 85mm f/1.4, which is a fantastic portrait lens. It's super sharp wide open and is great for the headshot-style portraits I capture. It's also great when I just want some more compression in a scene. NYC can become a visual mess at times, so being able to slice out a nice section of background is sometimes only achieved with a longer lens. Between the 35mm and 85mm focal lengths, I can shoot anything.
There are also a few accessories that I find are essential to complete this list of gear. The first is a combination of Peak Design's Anchors and their Slide strap. Both cameras I shoot with have a set of the anchors, which just sit on the camera and can be clipped into a variety of places.
I clip mine into the Slide strap, which is wide and comfy (they also sell a SlideLITE, which is thinner if that's more up your alley). If I ever need to use the backup camera, I can quickly unclip the strap from my main body and clip it into the backup. This system saves me a little room by only needing to pack one strap, and also lets me use my camera strap-free if I wanted to.
The last few accessories I bring along is an assortment of smaller items. The first of them is a pack of Elmer's adhesive putty, which is my secret weapon for hard-to-stack rings. You just roll up a small piece, use it to anchor a stubborn ring, and then touch it out if needed. I also bring along a lens cleaning cloth, a pair of headphones for listening to music on my commute, and a pen (someone always needs a pen).
The last item I bring is also one of the most important, because it helps ensure that my client's images stay safe. I mentioned that both of my camera bodies have a backup memory card slot, and I am indeed shooting in backup mode so that both memory cards contain copies of the images. After we're done shooting, I take the backup cards and put them in my ThinkTank Photo Pixel Pocket Rocket (which has my business card in it) and clip it to the front belt loop of my pants. The primary cards stay in my cameras and go back in my bag for the commute home. NYC is an incredibly safe city, but people still get robbed. This way I'll at least still have my client's images after I hand over my bag full of gear.
What pieces of gear do you find essential to bring on your gigs? [post_title] => Essential Gear for Photographing Intimate Urban Weddings [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => essential-gear-for-photographing-intimate-urban-weddings [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-04-04 13:05:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-04-04 17:05:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=64954 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 74033 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-03-29 17:31:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-29 21:31:43 [post_content] =>
A sun-drenched engagement session with a dreamy, long(er) drive contained a reminder we could all benefit from, perhaps. I was driving through the outskirts of some North Carolina suburbs recently – borderline rural…into rural farmland – for an engagement session. Maybe I was still a little physically tired, coming off of days at WPPI and a weekend of personal travel immediately following it. I had a lot to accomplish that day and my mind was racing with the usual never-ending to-do list.
A part of me was annoyed that I agreed to drive 45 minutes from my home for this session. Why didn’t I charge for this type of travel for a simple engagement session for a couple whose out of town wedding I wasn’t hired for? The angel and devil on my shoulders started to battle it out as I kept my hands on the steering wheel. Had I become so jaded over the years I lost my appreciation for shoots like this?
That’s when I gave myself a proverbial smack in the face. Perhaps you’re just starting out or you’re like me and have been at this wonderful profession going on eight years. Or maybe you can double that and say you’re pushing twenty years in the industry! That fire inside me is still there. So why did I let the flame diminish some that day? We all have our moments of reduced inspiration or motivation and I had hit that point…and was ashamed of myself.
The moral of this article is simple: don’t let the years or your racked up experience in photography jade you or lessen a fire you had within you at any point. When I arrived at the location – a wonderful horse farm with dreamy wooden fences and rolling hills – I smiled and silently said to myself, “Next time you will remember this and leave EARLY. You’ll be more grateful and go the extra distance. Next time you’ll drive even more miles and leave at least an hour earlier than you have to for exploration.” Isn’t it worth it if I’m driving anyway?
My punishment was a little tinge of regret I rarely feel. I passed some beautiful trees in full blossom with delicate white flowers covering every last branch and twig on my drive to the farm. On my way back to the highway it was already dark outside; I couldn’t stop to photograph them as I could have if I had just left home a bit earlier. I should have stopped editing or emailing for the day just awhile before I planned to grab my keys, hit the road and left time for happy inspirational stops along the way doing what I love: taking pictures. I should have gone the extra mile and left early for it. [post_title] => Go the Extra Mile, and Leave Early for it [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => go-the-extra-mile-and-leave-early-for-it-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-19 17:32:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-19 22:32:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=74033 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 74030 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-03-25 17:29:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-25 21:29:36 [post_content] =>
Postable, the service that makes sending stylish snail mail easy, has released a new feature that makes staying on a client's radar even easier -- automated birthday cards.
Nothing beats getting a nice greeting card in the mail from someone you know, but sending out cards in mass (to all of your clients, for instance) is a huge pain in the...well, you know. The amount of time it takes to accomplish this seemingly simple task is almost prohibitive on a large scale. You have to assemble your recipient list or at least update it from last year, add or update everyone's addresses, buy all of the cards/envelopes/stamps, write everything out, lick (ew) a ton of glue, and then finally mail everything out.
At the end of the day, I want to use snail mail to stay in the front of clients' minds, but I also don't want to waste an entire day on the process. That's where Postable shines, and I've been using their service for the past few years to easily send all of my client holiday cards (and all of my personal holiday cards, too!). Since mailing out holiday cards on the regular, I've found that clients are more likely to send me a word-of-mouth referral.
With the introduction of the new automated birthday cards feature, I can now be in front of a couple's mind three times a year. That's three times more awesome, and potentially more word-of-mouth referrals! Postable made it super simple to set up, so let's take a look at how that's done.
Step 1 - Log in to Postable and go to the Automated Birthday Cards page, then select the card you'd like to use. You can also set up a completely customized birthday card with your own branding by emailing in a design.
Step 2 - Select your recipients from your Postable address book.
Step 3 - Write a birthday message that will go out to everyone (each person's first name will be substituted in).
Step 4 - Crack open a beer and thank the guys at Postable who now licks all of your envelopes (and stamps) for you. [post_title] => Impress Clients with Automated Birthday Cards [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => impress-clients-with-automated-birthday-cards [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-19 17:31:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-19 22:31:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=74030 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 74027 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-03-22 17:22:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-22 21:22:38 [post_content] =>
Legally protecting your copyright currently requires deep pockets and free time to sit in federal court for months. Legislative changes are currently on the horizon to provide those with less means a more viable alternative for legal protection.
The conversation about a small claims option for copyright cases has been going on since at least 2006, when the U.S. Copyright Office gave a statement in front of a United States House of Representatives subcommittee on the matter. Since that time, the U.S. Copyright Office has been studying the challenges the current system presents to small claims disputes and how to repair current legislation to remedy them. Some public inquiries were made in 2012 and 2013, public hearings were held in New York and Los Angeles in 2012, and a full report was issued in late 2013. For the past year, the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and other groups have been advocating for a small claims bill as the House Judiciary Committee reviews current copyright law. As that bill grows closer to reality, they are currently expanding their efforts and are back on Capitol Hill to widen their scope to other representatives and to the Senate, hoping to give the bill enough attention to pass quickly once it’s introduced.
Why is this so important?
Why is a small claims option for copyright infringement important to you? Maybe it hasn't happened to you yet, but I’m sure every one of us can recount a story of copyright infringement told to us by a friend or someone in a Facebook group. You’re walking down the street and see one of your headshots being used on a bus ad for dental floss; or your product shots end up being photoshopped into website materials; or your wedding portfolio is being used by another photographer two states over. There’s certainly no shortage of copyright infringement cases in the wedding and portrait world; there’s even a website dedicated to exposing people who steal photos! And as most wedding and portrait photography business are small businesses - not large corporations - we’re extremely limited in our resources when it comes time to pursue full legal actions against these infringements.
Once you've had your copyright violated and you're ready to take action, you quickly realize how limited the options are. You can lawyer up and write a very formal letter to advise the infringing party that you are owed money as the copyright holder and if you’re lucky, they’ll settle and pay. But most of the time they'll tell you to take them to court - which as it currently stands with copyright legislation, means filing a lawsuit in a federal court - knowing that the long and expensive process will likely discourage you in the first place.
"In a typical civil case, after pleadings, discovery, motion practice and trial (as well as possible appeals), attorney's fees can run to tens of thousands of dollars or more, and other costs can run to thousands of dollars or more.” - U.S. Copyright Office, Remedies for Small Copyright Claims, March 2006
A survey with the American Bar Association revealed that the total is actually around $350,000 and that most attorneys won’t take on a case without an estimated settlement of at least $30,000. So if your claim is for $10,000 (which isn't a small sum for a small business owner!), you'll be facing the huge up-front legal fees to recuperate relatively little perhaps years down the line, if you can even convince an attorney to take the case on at all.
Real evidence that the current system is flawed
When the Copyright Office issued Notices of Inquiry for public feedback on the state of copyright law, numerous first hand accounts were received as to the difficulty small business owners face when pursuing copyright protection.
"I am writing today in regards to the difficulty in making a copyright claim. I am a photographer and often find people who are infringing on my copyrights. There are few copyright lawyers in my area and it has been difficult finding an attorney willing to take on my copyright cases because they feel the revenue gained would not be worth their effort. That leaves me holding the bag, sort of speak, with no legal recourse even though the law is in my favor. I would like to see the process made easier for people like me who have the occasional small claim. Without any means to prosecute infringers, they will only continue to think it is acceptable to steal the work of others." - Robert Byron"Allowing copyright infringement cases in small claims court would be beneficial to small business owners. As a photographer, my photographs are my business. I have had several issues with unlicensed use of my work. The best I can do is to ask that the person to cease use and hope for the best. I am not able to financially afford an expensive federal case against unlicensed use. Please allow copyright infringement cases to be brought to small claims court." - Julie Magers Soulen"As a freelance writer, photographer, and musician, I am keenly aware of the steep odds against the individual when a copyright is infringed. Considering the minimal income I earn from my copyrighted creative output, the cost of merely retaining a lawyer to look over the evidence could be prohibitive. The burden of pressing a lawsuit would be out of the question – especially since many violators are online entities whose principals may not even be located in the United States. We need a system for prosecuting copyright small claims that relieves individual copyright owners of the high costs of taking an infringement case to court." - Elsa Peterson
One thing that has become clear from a small business perspective is that currently the most viable option is to issue a DMCA takedown notice. While this doesn't provide any monetary compensation, it at least puts out the fire of unauthorized use..until it pops up again.
Help copyright law become more accessible
As the House Judiciary Committee currently reviews copyright law, the PPA and other groups are working hard to keep the issue of a small claims bill at the front of elected official's minds. Give them a hand and take some time to research this important issue in more depth by visiting the U.S. Copyright Office's policy report, then contact your representatives and senators to let them know that this is an important issue to you as a creative professional.
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Title photo from Reizigerin on Flickr used under the Creative Commons license.
It’s Friday and we all want to get to the weekend without going crazy, so here are 5 ways to improve your productivity in 5 minutes. Because brunch is important too.
Use an app to track your to-do items
Everyone has a to-do list, but not everyone writes it out. I used to be a pen and paper sort of guy, but that just resulted in a huge stack of post-it notes with no idea where anything ended up. Start using one of the many great to-do list apps out there like Wunderlist or Any.do, and get yourself organized. Set priorities, share tasks with other people, and set reminders so that you really do remember to order more kraft paper envelopes for your client welcome packets.
Install a text expander application
We all spend a large portion of our day emailing, and we usually spend way more time composing an email than we think we do. One rule I set for myself last year was to spend no more than two minutes on composing any email, and it help cut down my time spent on this every day task immensely.
The easiest way to save yourself time when emailing? Install a text expander app like TextExpander and throw your common email responses into it. With a few keystrokes, you can type out a full email and then change a few things manually to get a personalized response, then it’s on to the next one.
Use a Pomodoro timer
The Pomodoro Technique is a way of managing time to give yourself more mental agility, and the basic idea is to break up your workday into 25 minute intervals with short breaks of 5 minutes. For 25 minutes you work your butt off, then take 5 minutes off. There are quite a few apps out there to run a Pomodoro timer, from browser extensions such as Chrome's Simple Pomodoro to stand-alone apps like Pomodoro Timer.
Segmenting your non-business activities like checking Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and other distractions into a dedicated 5 minute interval does an amazing job of keeping you on task for the other 25 minutes. And if you’re like me, those 5 “reward” minutes help keep me focused during the 25 work minutes in anticipation of the next break. I also find myself being more deliberate with my non-work time, spending less time dawdling on Facebook and more time checking in on groups I care about.
Sign up for Trello
Trello is an amazing, free, web-based app that helps you organize any information in a whiteboard/list layout. Its power lies in its simplicity - with a few key functionalities and components, it can be configured to organize ANYTHING. Checklists and other action items go into cards, cards go into lists, and lists go into boards. Before I had studio management software, I was using Trello to manage everything from my client interactions to tracking post production workflow.
This page gives a great breakdown of everything it can do, and they even curate a set of boards to inspire you with all its possibilities.
Sign up for Unroll.me
Coming back to emails, digging through the fodder can waste a LOT of time. So sign up for Unroll.me, a service that “rolls up” your emails that you don’t want to see in your inbox. Your cleaner inbox will thank you, and you’ll only have to check your once-a-day email to see if you missed anything important. I put all my subscription emails in my roll-up, so if something hits my inbox it's a personal email that someone actually wrote, like a client inquiry or business contact.
Use one or all of these tips to reclaim some time for more important things, like booking more clients or just having more time to play with your kids.
Have your own productivity tip? Let us know in the comments how you save time during your day! [post_title] => 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity In 5 Minutes [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-ways-to-improve-your-productivity-in-5-minutes-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-19 17:21:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-19 22:21:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=74024 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 74021 [post_author] => 47196 [post_date] => 2016-03-14 17:15:16 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-14 21:15:16 [post_content] =>
So the smoke has cleared, I've (kind of) caught up on my sleep and I've returned to "reality" since getting back from the WPPI 2016 Convention in Las Vegas. As I'm sorting out my thoughts from the past week, I'm having trouble finding the perfect phrase to describe my feelings after being immersed in such a creative, supportive and "safe" environment. I suppose blissful exhaustion will do for now but that doesn't quite describe it. WPPI has a very special meaning to me and I've tried for a couple of years to put my experience into words and never been able to do it until now.
I've been going to conventions, both large and small, in some shape or form for 8 years now. That's more than some photographers, less than others, but something really stands out to me - this year more than all others. Every convention I've been to (whether its 100 people or 10,000) offers far more than what can be quantified on the speaking schedule. It's something that is absolutely different for every photographer yet it seems to fulfill each person's unique needs. For me, it's the ability to meet new friends, talk with existing ones and, more important than anything, be inspired by EVERYONE! From the trade show vendors offering new products that allow us to become more creative, viewing the amazing work at the print competition, speakers teaching different ways to do things, the after-class chats with friends, the social events or seeing longtime (or new) friends reach new levels of success. You can't really put this type of experience on a spec sheet.
As I'm speaking from personal experience, I wanted to share some of my highlights this year. I implore you - if you attended, or are wanting to attend - to come up with a similar list for yourself. WPPI offers so much that you simply cannot do it all, so knowing what you want and what you need is very important for your continued growth as a photographer. The Community
WPPI is a HUGE melting pot of photographers from across the globe. We all come for different reasons and, hopefully, we all leave having filled the gap we as creative people seem to have as most of us work solo. The feeling of family, belonging and knowing every year we get to immerse ourselves again makes this time of year so vitally important to me. Seeing the sheer amount of diversity and creativity emanating from our industry is truly humbling and makes me not only proud to be a photographer, but makes me want to push my boundaries further than ever before. I think this is at the core of every convention. It's such an amazing experience if you let yourself take it all in. My own personal needs have changed since my first convention. I went to every educational component I could, went to bed early, and studiously took notes. As my business and I found our place in my local market, the educational need neatly balanced itself with the need for inspiration and community. That's what's truly amazing about most conferences and specifically WPPI - the diversity and planning that allows us all to make our own way and fulfill our own needs. The Print Competition
The past two years I have learned more about photography from sitting in on the print judging than any class (not that the classes are bad, they just focus on one thing where the print judging covers all aspects). It makes me realize that I should constantly be striving for perfection and to never make an "excuse" for why I didn't tweak this, or move that, in any photograph I take. There were literally hundreds of photos that made my jaw drop and one that, quite honestly, gave me pause enough to hang up my camera thinking I could never be that good. Funny thing is though, I realized that I would never be able to make that specific photo as good as the original creator, nor should I try. I should do my own photo in my own style and push for perfection in THAT photo, not try to mimic someone else's. I think that message is the most powerful one from this year. To push my own boundaries and try to create something never seen by anyone else. The Social Aspect
This was the first year I attended "alone" and it was absolutely the best year I've ever had at WPPI. It forced me to put myself out there, shake hands first with someone I never met and get out of my comfort zone of hanging out with the same group of friends every day. I genuinely met some truly amazing people and am so humbled to have spent time with them. Whether it was at a WPPI social event (like the opening night party or awards show), simply by walking around the hotel, grabbing food or stopping by and saying hi to an acquaintance, this experience led to so many other wonderful moments that it's absolutely worth mentioning. The Trade Show
For the uninitiated, the trade show is an overwhelming experience which can quickly lead to sensory overload and confusion on what you should be doing in your business. It's important to keep an open mind and instead of "looking" for a specific solution to a problem in your business, look around at the possibilities. The larger companies will often have world class speakers at their booth giving lectures or demonstrations and these should not be missed. Even though it's a "sales" floor, I've never witnessed any vendor demonstrate anything but a genuine desire to help you and your business either solve a problem or grow. It's a very powerful aspect of the entire experience and an absolute must to dedicate a few hours to see what's new on the market or how you can change your own work to grow personally and professionally. The classes
The scheduled classes are an obvious reason many people go to WPPI. Education is vital - especially with so many amazing photographers pushing the boundaries each year. You can only take so many classes (as so many happen at the same time) but both the platform and master classes feature truly gifted and giving photographers sharing practical experience and knowledge. The WPPI speakers are some of the most passionate ones in the industry and they openly share their knowledge with everyone who attends their classes. Outside of having a mentor early in my career, hearing these talks and understanding there's more than one way to run a business is absolutely key to your continued success. Besides taking classes you "want" to learn, I implore you to take something outside of your comfort zone. You'd be surprised what you can learn when you get your "brain" out of the way and just open yourself up to a new concept. The "unscheduled" classes
I thought about listing this under "classes" or "social" but it doesn't fit neatly under either. Being able to sit down at lunch, or over a drink, with 4, 5 or more photographers and talk about your experiences, challenges or funny stories is simply one of those aspects that can't be missed. This year I had a chance meeting with a very well known photographer and sat down to lunch with him and his marketing person. Then we were joined by other vendors and before you know it, pictures of him with politicians came out and we were having discussions about photographing presidents, lighting up arenas and taking landscape photos. I cannot stress how important this aspect is to me personally and how that has helped me grow as a photographer and person. Trading these tips, stories and knowledge is almost better than a focused class because we all assimilate information into our own business in such way that it changes how we view our work.
Now that I've got my thoughts down on the page, I want to change the phrase in which I described the feelings I have two days after returning. Blissful exhaustion simply isn't accurate. Prodigiously inspired is a far better phrase. I am so absolutely excited for the year to come and cannot wait for 2016. Thanks WPPI - can't wait until next year! [post_title] => Thoughts from the 2016 WPPI Floor [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => thoughts-from-the-2016-wppi-floor [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-19 17:19:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-19 22:19:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=74021 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 74018 [post_author] => 47226 [post_date] => 2016-03-11 17:11:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-11 22:11:48 [post_content] =>
Another year has come and gone at WPPI in Las Vegas, and the lessons learned were just as important as those in years past. A countless amount of walking was done, a lot of hydrating took place, and numerous friends were reunited or met for the first time. Here are the top six things I learned this year through four days of meeting, greeting, walking, talking, and shooting. Lesson 1 - Carve out time to attend every year
This may seem obvious, but it's the most important lesson of all - always invest the time to attend WPPI each year. Whether you're there to learn, attend parties, or network, there's something at WPPI for every wedding photographer at every level. I go for a little of everything, but I always get way more out of it than I originally plan. Because of the number of attendees and the fact that you're always running into random people at every turn, WPPI has an organic quality that is hard to match compared to other conventions. This was the show's last year at MGM, and I'm hoping the move to the Las Vegas Convention Center doesn't diminish the random encounters you have when wandering around.[caption id="attachment_156" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Zach & Jody Gray teaching "How to Become a Six-Figure Wedding Photographer"[/caption]
On top of that, new faces are always attending every year, and the person who couldn't make it last year might be there this year. So do yourself a favor and try to make it every year. Lesson 2 - Attend the 16x20 print competition
This was my first year that I was in Las Vegas early enough to sit in on the 16x20 print competition, and it was easily the most valuable education I received in terms of becoming a better technical photographer. The judging goes for two days and is broken into a few different categories, so you can hop into different panels to get some insight into things like Wedding Couple Together - Wedding Day, Newborns, Landscapes, etc. Whatever panel you end up sitting in on, spend at least an hour there because as they go through the various prints, you learn from the good and the bad.[caption id="attachment_153" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Roberto Valenzuela leading a panel of judges at the 16x20 print competition[/caption]
No stone is left unturned as everything is nitpicked, from the handling of tones to the expression on a couple's face to the matting choice of the physical print itself. In an industry that sometimes focuses too much on the digital result of a shoot, this is one place where the physical print is held sacred. Lesson 3 - Take a class for business knowledge
The best class I attended that will help me grow my business over the next year was Kenny Kim's "Unconventional Yet Effective Marketing Strategies for Wedding Photographers". In this two hour class, Kenny covered so much information that my head exploded. While solid, technical photography is a foundation of any successful wedding photography business, other things become way more important for your business to truly achieve sustainable success.[caption id="attachment_162" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Kenny Kim teaching "Unconventional Yet Effective Marketing Strategies for Wedding Photographers"[/caption]
Kenny did a great job of reminding us to focus on the customer service side of the business, and to also know how a client thinks and views your product. Top tip from the class? If you want to shoot more destination weddings, stop thinking about your local market as local, because a destination wedding is considered any wedding in which the couple traveled more than two hours to get there. Lesson 4 - Take a class for human knowledge
There are a number of classes every year that talk about the things that tug at your heartstrings. While I'm not usually a crier, if you start talking about the right subject I will find myself feeling like the Hoover Dam holding back Lake Mead. That's exactly what Mike Allebach and Jaleel King's class "How to Build a Storytelling Marketing Strategy" did; and I wasn't the only one effected, because a lot of people had to excuse themselves to shed a tear outside the classroom.[caption id="attachment_154" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Mike Allebach & Jaleel King teaching "How to Build a Storytelling Marketing Strategy"[/caption]
Both Mike and Jaleel talked about very personal experiences that, however difficult at the time, helped make them better photographers and storytellers. The ability to be more human and connect more with your clients led Jaleel on an unimaginable journey to Australia, and led Mike to building his brand as the Tatooed Bride Photographer. Biggest lesson learned? Pay attention to your individual client's story and use it to guide your photography. Lesson 5 - Network effectively
Networking with other photographers at WPPI is one of the easiest and most rewarding parts of attending, but the trick is to do it effectively because you can quickly become overwhelmed with everything going on. You will constantly be running into people you already know and you can easily end up not meeting anyone you set out to meet. I suggest making a top ten list of new people you want to meet and have a game plan in place before arriving in Las Vegas. If they're a speaker, take their class and thank them afterwards for what you learned; if they're someone you've been stalking on Instagram, set up a time to grab a coffee. Remember to be respectful of everyone's time and to keep it short and sweet -- I think it's better to have a fifteen minute meeting and follow up by email than to exhaust someone on-site. Also, remember to keep your networking organic. Say hi to the person next to you on that photo walk you're taking![caption id="attachment_157" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Students on Jason & Joanne Marino's "How to Create Killer Wedding Portraits on a Budget Using Off-Camera Flash" photo walk[/caption]
You should also know the hot spot for grabbing a drink, as this is the best opportunity to organically meet new people. This year it was Lobby Bar in MGM (we all shed a tear for losing Rouge), because you could easily spot people walking by and grab them for a quick drink. Just make sure to know when to say good night and to still get enough sleep (at least one of the nights)! Lesson 6 - Walk the whole expo floor
With over 200 exhibitors at the expo, walking the entire floor is always a lot of time on the clock, but is worth it to really see what's new and interesting as far as gear, software, and products are concerned. Be sure to visit the booths of all of the vendors you currently use and introduce yourself to their team. Actually spend a few minutes to give them some honest feedback. Leaving a review online is one thing, but hearing directly from a customer on how a product is being used (or can be improved) is invaluable feedback for them. Maybe you just want to give them a high five! That's cool too.
Also spend time checking out vendors you've never heard of, what they're offering, and speak with them about how you might use it to better your business. Sometimes you hear about things online and it's hard to get a sense of how it will fit into your workflow, so talking with reps and getting a walkthrough can sometimes take something from a "meh" to an "a-ha!". And be sure to wear appropriate shoes; all that walking on thinly carpeted concrete can take a toll on your body after a day or two. Conclusion
Go. Walk. Talk. Learn. And see you there next year! [post_title] => The Six Important Lessons I Learned from WPPI 2016 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-six-important-lessons-i-learned-from-wppi-2016 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-19 17:13:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-19 22:13:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://resourcemagonline.com/?p=74018 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ))