Category Archives: Business Tips

Want to Specialize in Wedding Photography?

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It is wedding season once again and if you are thinking about specializing in wedding photography now is the time to start. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

When putting together your portfolio, only include weddings, yes you might have some other amazing shots but they won’t interest your prospective clients, and it reinforces the point that you specialize in weddings.

As a specialist, your prices will/can increase, to decide on your price have a look around at what other specialist wedding photographers charge and also what you think you are worth.

Going the extra mile – As a specialist you should really go that extra mile and make them feel special. Gifting the couple a free extra (such as a photo book or big canvas/print) when handing over their photos, makes their experience with you that much better. This will mean they will keep you in mind for anniversary photos and recommend you to people. Obviously this will be reflected in your pricing if you feel you an charge enough in your local area.

Creative shots  – Think/do a few creative shots that will really work and show the couples personality, the more you do the more knowledge you will get and knowing what will and won’t work. A little different from the usual wedding photos.

Marketing – This is key to growing your business, try to set aside some time every week to work on marketing.

Plan out – Plan ahead what shots you want to take, keep an eye on the weather forecast, know where you are shooting, visit before the wedding or if you can’t look online at photos and see what is around, bear in might what the couple want, they might have some clear ideas of what they want, do theirs but also some of your own.

Candid photographs – Only show the couple the good ones. Naturally happy and smiley, don’t just shot the ceremony, shot the bride getting ready, waiting at the altar, literally everything you think will give the couple that little bit extra and make it that more special when they get their photos.

Turn over time – When telling them how long until the photos are ready for them, don’t underestimate, there is nothing more annoying, give yourself plenty of time so you will be done early and they will see it as a nice surprise and feel valued.

Back Up your photos – I’m sure this goes without saying but back up your photos on the wedding day and on your finished images.

Post processing – Do not show any photos until you have edited them, this might seem like an easy one but the couple will be eagerly awaiting the images they might ask to see the unedited so they know what there is. It is best to make them wait for the perfect images.

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PortraitPro and PortraitPro Body is a perfect companion for you, try out a free trial now to make the Bride and Groom look their very best.

How to Get Your Photographs Noticed When You’re Getting Started

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Thinking of the best way to get yourself noticed as a photographer can be scary, and a bit daunting, where to upload your photos, should you try and approach galleries right away??

If you have to think whether it is a good idea to approach galleries, then you aren’t quite ready for that, you aren’t confident enough in your work just yet and that’s fine.

Here are some good first steps to take to make it seem more manageable and less daunting:

  • Create your own style, don’t try and copy photographers work you admire. By all means look at them for inspiration, but be yourself and it makes your work more memorable.
  • A first good step is setting up an Instagram and/or Facebook page for your photos; this is a good way to get people to see your work and doesn’t cost you a penny. If you feel nervous about this set the page to private until you feel confident enough to make it public and invite your friends to like your account/page. There are also a lot of forums out there, where you can upload your images and connect with people doing the same thing as you.
  • The next step is to set up your own website or blog (this step can be done with the previous step). You can have a blog for free or if you want a more professional feel, you should go straight for the .com. This will cost you a little but it looks a lot more professional, and depending on your budget you could sell prints of your work on your site. There are also websites out there were you can sell your prints and the company prints and sends them for you, this could be a good thing but you can’t rely purely on them for your work to sell. You still need to market yourself.
  • By this point, you will look a lot more professional and established when you approach galleries about your work, another good step if you are planning approaching them in person is to get some business cards printed.

 

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.”

Irving Penn

Good luck and don’t forget to check out any of our photo editing software (PortraitPro, LandscapePro, PortraitPro Body and Smart Photo Editor), that will help your photos be their very best, and all are currently on offer with 50% off.

new years resolutions goal setting

Happy New Year!

At the beginning of the New Year it’s easy to have lots of good intentions for the coming year, and it’s easy to allow them to slide pretty quickly.

As a professional photographer, running your own business, it’s important to take the time to refocus on where you’re going and what you want to achieve in the coming year.

Here are some top tips for staying focused in the year to come.

  • Set goals.

Thinking about what you want to achieve in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, even 10 year’s time can help you figure out what you need to do now in order to get there.

  • Add milestones.

Having achievable milestones can help you feel that you are working towards achieving your bigger goal.  Set yourself small markers that will help you know that you’re on the way to achieving what you want.  Perhaps it’s a number of clients, or having a number of weddings booked for the year ahead that will help you know that you’re on your way.

  • Take Action

Take Massive Action – Make a Massive Action Plan. Like writing a business plan, writing a Massive Action Plan can help you stay focused on what you’re doing, on what you need to achieve, by when; and unlike a Business Plan, can give you that emotional connection and drive to achieve what it is that you want to achieve.

  • Don’t give up

Get used to the fact that the process of carrying out the day to day tasks may be boring.  You’re a photographer, maybe you don’t love doing your accounts, or advertising yourself, but in order to make your business work, you need to get used to, and learn to enjoy the tasks that keep everything else going.

  • Start now

The sooner you start doing something, even the smallest start means that you’re a little bit closer to achieving your goal.

Download the trial for PortraitPro now, and see how much time you can save on your photo editing.

photographer retouching portraits

7 tips to improve your portrait editing with PortraitPro

The beauty of PortraitPro is that you can make fine edits and can achieve a professional standard of portrait retouching with very little effort.

Although PortraitPro contains a number of presets that can offer a very quick portrait touch up, it is also possible to entirely customize the portrait retouching through the huge range of sliders and controls. You can even create your own; but first, spend some time getting to know the incredible range of portrait retouching controls available to you:

  • The re-lighting feature allows a great deal of adjustment on the lighting that was in the original image. Perhaps you have an image that was shot with only the available light and you want make it a little more flattering to your subject. With PortraitPro you have a huge range of lighting options available to you.
  • The facial outlines can be adjusted to ensure that the software has the outlines exactly where you want them by clicking the Back button in the top right of the editing screen
  • You can achieve incredible accuracy by zooming into the image to see a very fine level of detail.
  • When editing the area specified as skin, the intensity of the mask can be adjusted using the number keys on your keyboard. 1 = very subtle, and 9 = very strong.
  • The makeup can be edited as much or as little as you want; you can restore the original makeup, or you can edit over the top of the existing makeup, or if your model has no makeup, you can create a look entirely from scratch.
  • You can adjust the controls on the whole picture too, by using the Picture Controls, keeping the rest of the image in balance with the face.
  • Don’t forget the Reset to Original Image button that means you can turn everything off and start from no editing at all, and tweak each slider exactly as you want.

PortraitPro allows your portrait editing to be as subtle or as magazine-perfect as you wish.  You can give your clients the level of portrait retouching that they want and that you’re comfortable with doing. You don’t have to compromise your creativity in any way; PortraitPro allows you full freedom to express your vision as you wish.

Download the free trial today, and see how finely detailed, fully customizable your portrait editing can be.

How to survive making a living with Travel Photography.

Travel photography is not always going to make you a lot of money, but the freedom of the lifestyle can be particularly attractive.  Living life on your own terms and being your own boss can be a great motivator.  You have the flexibility to take on any project you want, and reject the ones you don’t.

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You don’t have to take the plunge immediately; you can start by doing things in your vacation time, and spending weekends photographing in your own town.  Wherever you live, it’s exotic to someone else.

Here’s what else to do before you go:

  • Get all the education you possibly can while you can. Acquiring skills in writing, in technical photography knowledge, in geography, human interest and art is all going to be useful when you have only your skills and ideas to live by.
  • Build up a portfolio and put in the images that you want to be paid to shoot. Don’t use things that you don’t enjoy doing or you’ll end up doing more of them, because people will think you like them.
  • Set up a photography website to host and license your images. Choose one that links through to purchasing prints. This can save you time and makes it easier for the client to purchase your products.  It can be automated throughout the site, and the customer will have very little interaction with you. It’s very time effective for you.
  • If you have no obligations, mortgage contracts, loans, or people to take care of, then you can reduce your expenditure considerably. If you give up paying rent, you also don’t need to pay the gas and electricity bills either.  You can choose where to live, in hostels, hotels, camping, in any country you like.  ( Within visa restrictions etc.)
  • It may be helpful if you’re located somewhere that the exchange rate is favorable to your salary currency. This effectively makes your hotel bill cheaper, and you can afford a higher standard than you would elsewhere.
  • Be prepared to take any assignments. Be flexible and open minded on what jobs you take.
  • Set up accounts with micro stock sites. It may not make you a lot of money, but it should become a steady income. Think about the unusual images you could take for these sites, because the usual angle has already been done so many times.
  • Set up your laptop with all of your photo editing software. Have everything you could need ready, PortraitPro and LandscapePro will save you time on editing in Photoshop, and they can both be used as plugins to Photoshop.
  • Be prepared for anything you might find. Have an app for model releases; you don’t want to not be able to use the image because you missed getting the stranger to sign a release.
  • Look for apps that will save carrying extra things.  In fact, anything you can carry in an app effectively weighs nothing.  Maps, editing tools, ebooks, you can carry all kinds in an app and you’d have your smartphone with you anyway.
  • Keep your kit lightweight. Remember not to take everything you could possibly need. It weighs a lot and you’ll regret carrying that spare lens when you are so tired you can’t make it up the next staircase or mountain peak or down the next road to get the shot. The best camera is the one that you have with you, and having to make do with the reasonable camera you have with you can make you more creative to get the shot you want.

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When you do leave on your travels, there are some things you need to remember while you’re away to help you stay organized and productive:

  • Keep regular hours when you can. Do what you should to avoid jet lag; don’t work through the night because you’ve just left somewhere where you’d normally be awake at that time. Sometimes that means staying up a little longer, sometimes it means going to bed before you’re ready.
  • Stay focused every day. You need to stay focused on the 2 or 3 things that you need to achieve each day to continue making a living. Set achievable goals, and make sure you do them. Don’t get overloaded by trying to do too much in one day, just take each day at a time and make each day productive.
  • Make room for down-time. Every day that you take a break, is a day that you don’t make any income. This is tough when you’re your own boss. You still need to have the discipline to put in a day’s work, and also to give yourself a day’s break.  There’s no one to throw you out of the office if you’re still working at midnight.
  • Don’t underestimate the people you meet. You never know who you might meet when you’re traveling.  Travel is a great opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise have bumped into.  Step out of your comfort zone and go somewhere you wouldn’t usually think about going. You might be surprised, and you might find your next project.
  • Do your photo editing as you go. If you’re taking lots of images every day, then will need to back up your photos and should do your editing regularly. Discard the images that won’t make the cut often too, so you’re not storing images that you’ll really delete when you get home.
  • Doing your basic photo editing in PortraitPro or LandscapePro. Doing it while the original is still fresh in your mind, and while you still remember what you wanted to portray in your image is useful.

 

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Great portrait editing can help repeat business

People who have previously bought from you, and already had a session with you, are more likely to return.  There’s already a relationship established, they know they will get something they will like, because they liked it before.

And yes, it validates their original purchase decision that might even have been several years before. If the decision to use you again for their portraits is the correct decision, then it was the correct one back then too.

There are benefits for you in the customer in returning. You already know their story; you’ve met most of them before. If you did the engagement and wedding shoots for a couple, it’s nice for them to return to celebrate a new baby.  There’s continuity, and they know that the images that they get to keep around their home will have a similar artistic style.

Perhaps this session is to celebrate the arrival of a new addition. You’ve already succeeded in keeping the kids entertained, or managed to squeeze in the family pet, and keep them happy too!

Make sure that your studio is warm and welcoming, especially if you’re dealing with small children and babies. There’s nothing so grumpy as a chilly child. Have some entertaining toys and books and make them feel a part of the whole experience.  If the child also has a good experience, the parents will be happy to return to you too, as you made their life much more pleasant too!

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Great customer service is invaluable to your business, when people have a great time, they will tell their friends what a good experience they had with you.  If you can make them feel special, and feel that you went the extra mile just for them, then they will feel that they got a great service.

Your portrait editing software can give you the edge on great portrait retouching. You can tailor the preset to suit your style, and you can customize this for each client.

If the client likes you enough to want to return, they’re sure to want to tell their friends about you too, and the great experience that they had with you. Offering a reward for returning customers can help you create a loyal customer who won’t go anywhere else for their family portraits.

Happy families make for great portraits, and for returning customers.

Try out PortraitPro for yourself today.

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Top tips on batch processing

One of the most important things for a professional photographer is the time it takes to process the hundreds of images you take at each and every photo shoot.

This is where PortraitPro Studio Max can really save you hours of portrait retouching time.

The batch processing feature  ( available when you run the software as a standalone) can save you so much time you’ll have plenty of time to spend on other things.

  • When you run the batch processing, you still have full control over all your changes. You can set presets to be used, but you can still go in to each image and make individual changes too.
  • You can set your own presets, so you can make them as subtle, or as dramatic as you want. Each client is individual, so you might want to create a different preset for each client’s set.  Then you can use that particular preset for that client.
  • Your changes are all saved automatically, so whatever changes you do make are not lost, and you can always return to the summary to see all of your images together again.
  • You can choose where your images are saved, so it’s advisable to keep your edited images somewhere separate to your originals. Then you’ll always have your originals intact and your edited images too.

With the end of the semester in sight, you will probably have lots of high school senior sessions booked, not to mention senior prom, and graduation too!  Batch processing your images from your high school senior portraits can save you so much time, you can book even more seniors’ sessions.

Try out PortraitPro today and see how you can save time with new portrait editing software.

 

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9 tips for photographers on how to book more high-end weddings

Wedding season is nearly upon us, and as a wedding photographer, you know that weddings come in all shapes and sizes. To be successful, you need to focus on the type of wedding that you want to book regularly.

Would you rather book more, low budget, affordable wedding photography, or would you rather book a few higher end, higher budget weddings, that you can put all of your energy and creativity into, and deliver a really high quality product that you’re proud to show off?   If the answer is higher budget weddings, then you need to do what you can to position yourself as the best quality, most trust-worthy product in the market. People with lots of money have it because they’re very careful about what they do spend it on. Make sure your product is the thing that they value and are willing to pay for.

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  • You need to make sure that you’re found in the best places, so think about where these people might go to, and then be there. Country clubs, golf clubs, country houses. Find a way to work with the top venues in your area, and make sure people know who did the photography for them.
  • If you live in a small town, you may need to cast your net wider if you want to attract really high end clients. Think about the cost of getting to the big city, against the cost of not attracting these clients.
  • Be prepared to travel. Highest end clients may actually want a destination wedding. Check out our tips on being a destination wedding photographer.
  • Advertise in the media that your anticipated clients will read. You need to be in the luxury wedding magazine, or travel magazine, not so much in the local paper, though it’s always good to have a good local reputation too.
  • Make sure your high end clients will talk about what a great person you were to work with. Often discretion is the key, so you may be disappointed, but you won’t be able to advertise your work with your highest end clients, but hopefully, they will pass on your details to their friends.
  • Offer only high quality, high cost packages, but be sure the cost represents the very highest quality work and materials.
  • Position yourself as an authority on quality. Perhaps writing about other high quality vendors, wedding planners, venues, caterers, complimentary high end products that your clients will also want to use, on your blog.
  • Don’t forget the power of networking, getting to know all these other vendors is well worth it so that they might recommend you to their clients too.
  • Use the best quality photo editing software you can buy, which doesn’t have to mean the most expensive. PortraitPro portrait editing software has a huge range of photo editing tools to help you achieve the best possible portrait photo.

Try out PortraitPro today and see how great quality portrait editing software can help you achieve a look your higher end clients will want to see.

 

 

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People who buy often buy more

When booking a studio session with you, your standard deal will include the client receiving some images, but it’s a good idea to start with just a basic package, and allow for additional purchases.

It’s easier to get people to make more purchases, once they’ve decided to make one. People have a need to justify their original decision. Making more purchases makes it better, makes it more valuable, and it validates the original decision. If it is wise to buy more, then it is wise to buy in the first place.

So if they book a studio portrait, you may want to offer them one standard image from the session, and then a series of upgrades they can add on after:

  • The services of a makeup artist and stylist during the shoot, so they look their very best.
  • The portrait retouching with PortraitPro you do with their images after the shoot. You can now adjust the makeup in PortraitPro too, meaning they can get even more looks with just one session.
  • The digital copies of their edited images. – You don’t want to put out anything less than your best work, so only give them the edited images.
  • A range of different prints offers, a variety of sizes for different purposes, but it helps to define (for yourself) what purpose they would serve for the customer. (A wedding package, a senior’s package, graduation package, large families, small families, etc.)

You can start the process of turning people in to repeat customers by thanking them with a small gift, or extra.

A small handwritten thank you note after the customer has made their purchase will help to keep their purchase valuable, reminding them of what a great person you were to work with, and that their time with you was well spent.

You can offer special extra items to your service for repeat customers, or those you’d like to become repeat customers.

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For instance, the portrait retouching could be the thing that you decide to “throw in for free”, because although it’s valuable to them to have retouched portraits, and you’d never want to give your clients a completely unretouched image,  your portrait editing can now be so easy and fast, that you can afford to offer it as a “free” extra.

PortraitPro will pay for itself in just a few sessions. Try it out today, and see how easy your portrait editing can be. 

Father and Son photo shoot potrait

People don’t buy what you sell.

You’re a great photographer, you have your own clear sense of style, you get regular bookings and plenty of referrals. And you sell lots of studio portraits, book several weddings per year, and always sell an album or 2. Sounds great right?

So how can it be better? Maybe you don’t realize that people don’t buy what you sell. They don’t come to you for a canvas to fill their wall space, they come to you for that warm fuzzy feeling when they see their whole family having a great time, and it’s there to greet them when they walk through the door after a tough day.

They don’t buy the album from you to have it gather dust in a drawer for 20 years, they’re buying something that will stand the test of time, and remind them how they felt on that special day. And it will be there for their children and grandchildren too. It will be a reminder of all the people who cared for them and wanted to be a part of that special day in their lives.

People who come to you for a family photoshoot don’t just want the images you provide. They’re coming to you for a great time, to enjoy some quality family time, doing something all together. It’s up to you to deliver them a fantastic experience as well as great quality images.

You’re not just a photographer, you’re a problem solver. Their problem is how they will record the moments in their life that they want to remember forever.

You are the solution to their problems. Sure they’re hiring you because they like your style, but you have to make sure that you’re answering their problems. How to portray their family in the best light, how to keep the kids entertained so they’ll sit still and smile for the photos. No one wants a grumpy child in a photo forever, or a long term reminder of a fractious teenager.

You need to be organized and know what you’re doing, be focused and clear in your instructions.

Not that there’s no time for messing around, having fun is what it’s all about, but as the professional, you need to know what you’re doing, and keep your mind on the end product. If it’s a wedding day, your time is very limited, so you have to make sure you’re capturing every necessary shot. Part of what they’re paying for is your professionalism.

Mother and Daughters portrait

When they come back to view your images, remind them that it’s not just a canvas for their living room wall, it’s a reminder of the great memories they made that day together, whether it was in the studio with you, or on their wedding day, or other special event.

It’s that warm and fuzzy feeling over and over again. It’s worth far more than what you’re charging, it’s priceless.

Your time is valuable too, and you also don’t want to spend hours locked in the editing room, you want to be out there photographing clients, or spending your own quality time with your family.

Portrait editing can now take you minutes not hours, leaving you plenty of time to spend making your own memories too.

PortraitPro Studio Max has the automatic tools needed to retouch lots of images at once, so you can let it do the hard work, and leave you more time to spend on other things.

Try PortraitPro for free today.