Category Archives: Earning a living from photography

Senior portraits, high school boy

Portrait editing for your senior portraits Class of 2017

It’s time to start thinking about your next year’s high school seniors now.

Over the summer, while it’s still fresh in your mind from this season, it’s best to sit down and think about all the things that you think you could improve on from this year, for next year.

How could you have attracted more seniors?  More deals for groups of friends, offers on taking both Prom and Graduation photos, or an indoor / outdoor shoot package deal?

  • Next year recruit your brand ambassadors.  Pick a few key seniors to be your ambassadors for great high school memories. Ask candidates to apply and offer them their own photos free if they can bring you a certain number of clients, or a percentage of their class.  Be realistic on the numbers. If you live in a small town, you will never have huge numbers, but if a high percentage of the graduating class will remember your name over the next few months, you’re doing well.  Choose seniors who use their social media to share their images, and perhaps are involved with other school activities.  They might be able to get you on to other school related projects too.
  • Plan a questionnaire for your seniors to find out what they really like to do. This will help you think of locations and props that might be helpful for your sessions. Whatever they say, they’re probably not the only one in their class who likes those things.
  • Offer them advice on what to wear for their shoot. Their clothing should be what they’re comfortable in, but nothing too fashionable that will look dated in 10 or 20 years’ time.  Makeup should be natural, and hair for both boys and girls should be styled.  The more information and help you can offer them, the happier and more confident they will feel.  It’s a once in a lifetime moment that stay with them forever.
  • High School Seniors are likely to be the most nervous and self-conscious of your clients, so they need a little more reassurance that you can ensure that they will receive images that they will be happy to share with the family. With PortraitPro you can give them exactly that reassurance.
  • Use both indoor and outdoor locations for your seniors’ sessions.  With LandscapePro, you can also make sure your outdoor images  will stand the test of time too.
  • Use your own social media to reach out to your potential clients, and keep in touch with them throughout the process. Having a social media following can help increase your base of new clients.  Younger students will check out what older students have done before.

Check out our Pinterest board for inspiration on your senior portraits today.

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.

working on the beach

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.

Girl with laptop and camera

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.

 

Declaration of Independence

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in photography.

There’s a holiday weekend ahead and it is a great chance to put some time in to your own personal projects, and personal development.   As a freelance or self employed professional photographer you have a great deal of freedom in your work.  You make choices every day that affect how you work, how you run your business  and how you choose to be perceived.

It is your choices that make your personal brand unique. It is what brings people to you, for your unique style and vision.  This allows you to stand out and be different in a world where the market is becoming ever more saturated with people trying to become photographers.

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. – Ben Franklin. 

Choosing to continue learning and developing yourself is an investment that will reward you time and again.

Taking the time out of your regular schedule to learn more about your software, perhaps PortraitPro or LandscapePro which will help you achieve more in your personal work and in your professional life.

There are many incredible, professional photographers who use PortraitPro in their everyday work, and you can read about some of them right here on the PortraitPro blog.

PortraitPro’s batch processing mode can help you speed up processing your images from a particular shoot.  Create a preset, and then set it as the default, and then do your batch processing and all your images from that particular batch, perhaps one shoot,  can be processed with exactly the same style of portrait editing you require.

Don’t miss out on the whole holiday weekend. Batch processing saves you so much time and effort, you have plenty of time to spend with your loved ones, and do what you love; taking more photos.

If you love what you do, then take the holiday weekend to spend some time on your own projects and create something wonderful, and unique to you.   You have the Liberty to pursue the Happiness you want in your Life.

Check out our 4th July Pinterest page for more ideas for this holiday weekend.

Photographer looking at the Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

Making an income from photography – Selling your photography from your own website

When you’re making a living as a professional photographer, there might be many ways in which you can use your photography to make an income.

We’ve talked previously about selling your photography to micro stock sites, keeping a travel blog, and selling your street photography, but it’s also important to maintain your own website.  Whether you sell through another site or not, it’s good to be found on your own page, and to have a direct way of contacting you and verifying who you are and what you do.

Your own website might be one of the main ways that your clients of any type will find you.  Perhaps you’re not a studio photographer in the traditional sense; perhaps you work entirely on location projects like weddings, or even travel photography.  If your clients are international, it will certainly be the best way to find you.

If you’re shooting landscape photography, travel photography, or street photography, one of the ways you might want to make money out of this is by selling your images online.  Photo editing software can greatly improve your images. It’s not always the case that you’re going to find the lighting and the landscape exactly how you want it, or that it will turn out in exactly the way you saw it.

There are several micro stock photo websites out there that you can use to sell your images, but the downside to this is that you lose a percentage of the sales to the website you use.

It may work out better for you to sell your own images through your own website. There are a number of ways to do this.  If you use a WordPress blog, there are plugins for the website that you can add to help you sell your images.

Another way to sell your own images is that you can set up a website that is already integrated to allow customers to order your photo print products from a print service.  There are a number of sites that will host your images and they each integrate with a different range of print labs. So it’s up to you to decide who works for you best, depending on the location of your customers, and your print lab preferences.

Whichever way you do it, you need to consider the costs involved. There’s the cost of setting up a WordPress page, and deciding whether you want your own domain name, and if you do, who is going to host it for you, and there’s a cost involved for that too. If you want something more bespoke, then you need to pay someone to do it for you, and you need a way of being able to update it yourself.

Photographer at Grand Canyon

If you’re keeping a lot of images on your site for customers to browse, then it’s going to need a lot of storage space to hold them all. Don’t forget to watermark your images if that’s your preference for dealing with image theft.

You can use your favorite photo editing software to enhance your images. Anthropics’ photo editing software PortraitPro, Smart Photo Editor and our recently launched, LandscapePro can all help you enhance your images in a professional way.

Download the free trials of each today.

cute family

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!

cute, happy baby portrait

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.

Photographer, camera computer, coffee

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.

 

Bride with gold chair

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.

bride wearing large gold dress

  • 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.

 

 

Wedding couple on the beach

PortraitPro Portrait Editing for Professional Photographers at Destination Weddings.

Portrait editing for destination wedding photography can be tricky. You need to be prepared for different situations and scenarios.  Photo editing can take a long time, but it doesn’t need to.

With a destination wedding you’ve got a much longer trip than usual. You need to think carefully about what equipment you will take with you. You might be travelling for a long time to get to the destination, and you will probably be away on the job for a much longer time than just the wedding. You can take PortraitPro with you anywhere you take your laptop.

People who are having a wedding weekend might want to have the professional photographer around for more than just the wedding day.  They might want the rehearsal dinner and perhaps also the day-before preparations to be covered by the official photographer.  They might also want have the post wedding brunch covered too.  Even with a very informal post wedding brunch, it can be nice to have some professional images too. People will be much more informal, but it can offer the chance for some great candid shots.

It’s important to remember that you might also pick up clients who are having their destination wedding in your city.

This will reduce your costs in traveling to the location, but you might again pick up a weekend long shoot.  As a professional photographer, you need your to be prepared for both types of destination wedding.

Speed up your professional portrait photography workflow

It’s important to get your images to your wedding clients reasonably quickly. If you can manage to get their wedding photos back to them by the time they get back from their honeymoon, then you’ll catch them while they’re still at their most excited about the big day.  You can greatly speed up your portrait editing process with PortraitPro Studio Max, and therefore get their wedding photos back to them quicker.

You can create presets and set the batch processing to use that preset in the batch you upload. For more information on creating your own presets check out our earlier blog post here.

Tell us about your recent destination wedding photo shoots on our Facebook page and check out some more ideas on our Pinterest page.

Try PortraitPro for yourself today!

Woman in red dress

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.

model  photo shoot

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.