Category Archives: Life Events

Becoming a Full-Time Photographer

smallBecoming a full time photographer is a big step to make, you aren’t just becoming a professional photographer but you are also running your own business, meaning your aim is to be profitable and make money.

Here are a few tips to keep your business moving:

Budgeting – This is so key, as if you don’t do this properly, your business won’t succeed. You need to know how much you have to make to meet your current living costs and set aside a little money every month to cover taxes, and also incase any of your equipment breaks and you need to replace.

Prioritizing your time – You are a lot more productive if you have even a rough schedule of what you want to have done each day.

Setting your rates – It can be hard trying to think of what you think you are worth, but it is important not to under sell yourself and you need to earn enough to live off of, also don’t calculate what to charge by assuming you will be fully booked. Base it on what you need, what you think you are worth and in comparison to other local photographers.

Setting aside time to keep your business finance side of things in order – This is the least interesting part of your business, but it is essential that it is not forgotten about. A few hours per week is better than nothing.

Keep building up your client base – you may be busy now but you still need to bring in more clients to make sure you are always busy.

Marketing/Networking – You need people to remember you, as well as bringing in new clients. Sending emails every now and then is helpful, every month or so it makes sure your past clients and people who were interested don’t just forget about you. Too many emails will annoy people and have the opposite effect.

Keep/ get an organiser – This is a great way to keep all the business side of things together in one place.

Appointments book – so you don’t double book, you might think that this is an easy one and it won’t happen to you but it’s easy to forget and write down on scraps of paper that are lying around.

Keep all your receipts for equipment you buy, as these are business expenses so will be taken off money made for the amount of tax you need to pay, try to keep them in date order, but just having them all in one place is enough. If you lose a receipt you can’t claim it.

Insurance – Make sure to insurance your equipment.

Post processing – editing your images to make them look their best is very important, but it can take an age, but with our software (PortraitPro, PortraitPro Body, LandscapePro and Smart Photo Editor) is it really cuts the time you spend editing your photographs.

Good Luck!

 

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.

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.

Young engaged couple on beach

Valentine’s day and engagement shoots.

Valentine’s Day: quite possibly the start of your busiest season. It could be the start of your engagement photoshoot season. There’s still time for a few winter weddings, possibly with snow, before the weather warms up, and wedding season gets underway, but in February, engagement shoots are the event on every pro photographers’ mind.

Posing engagement portraits can be tricky; there are lots of things to consider.

  • Think about your location: If you know your town well, there should be plenty of different locations and backdrops, so that each of your couples gets something unique to them.
  • If you’re travelling with a couple on a destination photoshoot, and you don’t know much about the town you’re going to, do your research. Ask them what they’d like; they’re probably familiar with the place if they picked it. Read the guide book, or just do a search for other engagement shoots in that place.
  • Before the shoot, advise your couple on what to wear. Choose complementary rather than clashing colors, unless it’s absolutely their personality to wear clashing outfits.
  • Choose classic pieces rather than current fashions, so that the images will stand the test of time. It’s better to have something that will still be pleasant in 30 years’ time, than something that was so much of its time.
  • Choose poses that suit the couple. Just as the locations should suit their style, the poses shouldn’t be too far from their natural ways. The key element for an engagement pose is closeness, and smiles! It’s a joyous occasion, so make sure you get images that capture that emotion.
  • Be prepared. If the couple want to use one or more of your images for their save the date cards, then take along a few props that could help you add the date element to your photo.
  • Have a collection of small items in your kit. Letter tiles, number tiles, marker pens and balloons, even some card to write a message. The couple’s personalities should help you decide what fits for them.

Young couple in the snow

It’s mostly about having lots of creative ideas, and allowing the couple the space to choose what works for them and their personalities. It’s about capturing a few memorable moments that the couple will want to share with their friends to celebrate now, and will want to keep for a lifetime.

PortraitPro saves you time in photo editing, so you can send them their precious memories as soon as possible. Check it out here. 

 

Seniors Class Photo, Graduating class of 2016.

When posing full class photos remember that it’s something that they will want to keep forever. Your design should be classic and timeless. It should be something that they will look at in the years to come, and think of it as a great photo with all their friends.

If you’re fortunate enough to have the contract for the official, whole class photo, it’s an ideal opportunity to tell the seniors that they can use you for their individual senior class photo too.

High school senior lying on grass

Photographing  teenagers can be challenging.

  • It’s a good idea to have a meeting with a senior where you sit down and explain how it’s all going to work. Giving them some idea how it will work in advance means that they’ll be much more comfortable when they come to you for the shoot.
  • It may be the first time they’ve ever had their portrait taken; they’ll be nervous and not sure what to do.  This is where you can set them at their ease; give them some tips on what they can do to get the best out of their session.
  • In the session, explain that they should bring appropriately coordinated outfits.  Talk about what their style usually is, and advise them on the benefits of coordinating colors. Get them to bring several outfits and maybe some props to the session.  3 or 4 changes of clothes should give you enough to get some good shots.   Props they might bring with them could include their musical instrument, sports kit / equipment, or anything associated with any other hobbies they may have. Allowing their personality to shine through your images is a key part of your job.
  • Discuss what locations you might want to use for their shoot too. Places in your town that they might like to go, to spend time with their friends, and places that look good. Fall’s a great time to be taking senior photos, but the changeable weather can be a problem, so make sure you have a rain plan.
  • In your session, you should also discuss what level of portrait retouching is acceptable. Teenagers will want to know that you can make them look good in your images. With PortraitPro, you can remove any unwanted acne, blemishes or marks, but still retain anything that might be a permanent part of the person’s features.  This can add to the teenager’s confidence level in having their photo taken for the first time, knowing that whatever issues they might have at the time, won’t be a lasting memory.  You can also remove stray hairs, remove red eye, and add catch lights. PortraitPro helps you get just the right amount of retouching. You can use the restore brush to bring back anything you wish to keep. You can keep everything as natural as possible, whilst eliminating what the person wants to remove.
  • You should discuss what they can expect to receive from you at the end of the session. This can create a sense of anticipation for the products they receive. Let them know that you’ll also share a few sneak peak images on Facebook.

Download your free trial of PortraitPro today, and see how it can help you create great senior portraits

Check out our Pinterest boards for more ideas.

Photo editing software and family scrapbooking

2 girls looking at photos

Before the kids go back to school, give them one last job to help you out this summer.

Get them to create a few pages for your family scrapbook, and record what you did this summer.

Whether you’ve been to a wonderful wedding, or have some great vacation memories, you can scrapbook it all and keep your memories in print for generations to come. Portrait editing software can enhance your vacation photos so that everyone gets an image of themselves that they would like to keep.

Use your photo editing software to touch up your photos. You can give them the extra enhancement they need. When you’re all having a great time, there’s a rush to see everything and do everything, and to still capture the moment on camera.

You can also use your photos to make craft items too. Why not get the kids to make customized bunting to hang in their bedroom?

You can also cover notebooks and give an old binder a new lease of life by covering it with photos.

Check out more ideas for using your favorite photos from this summer on our Photo Crafts board. 

Try out portrait editing software today and get creative effects here.

Young girl with Violin

8 Tips for successful ‘tween portrait shoots

Taking family portraits is a rewarding experience for any portrait photographer, but tweens can be a difficult phase to capture.

It’s a golden chance to capture a young person’s personality, and it’s a record of their interests now.  Maybe their senior portrait will show a completely new interest, or maybe they’ll stay the same, but it’s a great way to remember how they were right now.

Here are some tips to make the process much easier:

  • If you can photograph them on their own, they’ll be much less self-conscious.
  • Talk to them and explain what you’re doing. Get them involved and they’ll be interested.
  • They’ll also be much happier if you capture them doing something that they love, dancing, playing a musical instrument, painting etc.
  • Ask them if they have any ideas of what they’d like to showcase.
  • Be interested in them.
  • Show them the images that you’re taking, and reassure them that they’re going to get photos that they will like as well as Mom and Dad.
  • Use your portrait editing software to clean up any transient blemishes.
  • Use Smart Photo Editor to offer them some additional, creative and unusual images

Take the pressure off the actual session:

Schedule a planning session with the whole family to talk about what will happen, and what everyone should wear. There’ll be much less tension between parents and kids before the session if the kids know what to expect, and they’ve already agreed on what they’d like to wear. Everyone’s much happier when they’re comfortable in what they’re wearing and kids and tweens have their own ways of expressing themselves too.

Teen girl leaning against tree

Having several different ideas for locations, some indoors and some outdoors, can help; making sure that there’s some variety going on can stop the boredom setting in. It’s not just kids that get bored either!  No one likes getting stuck in the rain, so having a rain plan is essential.

PortraitPro is the best way to clear up any small blemishes, and it can give kids, tweens and teens the  confidence that any blemishes they don’t like can be cleared up, quickly and easily.

They might also like to tell you which effects they like best from the Smart Photo Editor Gallery.  Have some example images ready so they can see what they look like.

 

Summer with a camera

50 Ideas for Summer Photo Challenge

If a 365 day photo challenge seems too much, how about a project just for the summer?

Taking on a project can help to stimulate your creativity.  Just as having a business goal can keep you focused on where you want to get to with your business, having a goal for your creativity can keep you focused on being creative; helping you to think outside the box.

Check out our 50 ideas for summer photos:

  1. Ice cream
  2. Fireworks
  3. A full moon
  4. Colorful flowers
  5. A picnic
  6. Childhood friends
  7. Daydreaming
  8. On the beach
  9. At the park
  10. Grilling out
  11. Chilling out
  12. Fun in the sun
  13. Cool drinks
  14. Sunglasses and sun lotion
  15. A June wedding
  16. 4th July
  17. August vacation
  18. Labor Day
  19. Museum visit
  20. A silhouette
  21. Pets enjoying the sun
  22. Summer sports games
  23. Sunrise
  24. Black and white
  25. Something red
  26. After dark
  27. A special occasion
  28. Making waves
  29. Something that flies
  30. My favorite food
  31. Close-up
  32. A new friend
  33. Things that grow
  34. A treasured moment
  35. My favorite place
  36. Something tiny
  37. Laughter
  38. Shadows
  39. All dressed up
  40. Something exotic
  41. Movement
  42. Words
  43. A low angle
  44. Curves
  45. Leading lines
  46. On the street
  47. A kiss
  48. A self-portrait
  49. Reflections
  50. Happiness

Don’t forget to use PortraitPro on your people photos, and why not try out Smart Photo Editor for everything else?

Now why not share the results with us on our Facebook page?

Check out our Pinterest pages for more inspiration.

Download your free trial of PortraitPro here.

 

Goal Setting for Photographers

It’s important to write down your goals, and keep them somewhere you can look back on them regularly to see if you’re going in the right direction.

There is a suggestion that those who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. 

Focus on the positive, focus on the things that you do want, rather than the things you don’t want. There’s also a suggestion that thinking about the things that you don’t want to happen, will send you there anyway.

What do you want to achieve with your business?  Do you want to be the leading high school photographer in the area?  Which area? How do you define your success terms?

Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time Bound

Setting goals should be SMART.

There are many definitions to this acronym, but a good one to use here would be:

Specific – Make your goals specific; you need to know what it is that you are going to achieve.

Measurable – Have a method by which you will measure your success. It doesn’t have to be sales turnover, but it could be. How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?

Agreed – Agreeing it with your business partner will make sure you’re both on the same page, but if you’re your own boss, then writing it down will keep you focused too.

Realistic – You can’t offer all things to all people, so don’t stretch yourself too thin. It’s better to have smaller goals and achieve them, and set a new one, than to never reach something because it’s too ambitious.

Time Bound– Have a time frame in which to work. It’s also better to have set a goal and almost have got there by the deadline, than to have a deadline that’s so far away that you can put it off forever.

Taking action now is the key to successful goal setting. Knowing where you want to go is important as it gives you an idea of where you might begin to take action to get there.

If you want to increase your sales revenue as a portrait photographer, then one of the ways you might be able to achieve this is to spend less time in Photoshop. PortraitPro can help you spend less time in Photoshop by automatically retouching your portrait photographs. Having more time will mean that you can book more clients in the same working time, and generate more sales revenue from a wider customer base.

Take action now; download a free trial of PortraitPro today!

Graduation Image Screenshot in PortraitPro

Graduation Class of 2015

It’s finally here. Graduation time is just around the corner, and whether your child is graduating high school or college, you’ll want to capture some memories that will last a lifetime.

For a time that is an important landmark in anyone’s life, you want to have the best images that you can.  You can hire a professional photographer to capture some images, and you can also take some yourself.

ProtraitPro 12 Studio has a batch processing dialog that speeds up the processing of multiple images, meaning that you’re free to take as many photos as you like and the editing won’t keep you busy until Labor Day!

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to use professional-standard photography software, and PortraitPro is affordable too. Your own images can have that professional-quality to them, with relatively small time and effort cost.

You don’t need to be highly skilled in Photoshop, even those with very basic computer skills can use PortraitPro. With its easy –to-use and intuitive interface, even grandparents will be able to take lots of photos and do their own photo editing.

If you’ve got a DSLR camera and you take images in RAW format, you can edit them in PortraitPro Studio.  PortraitPro Studio edition functions as a plugin to Photoshop, Aperture, and Lightroom, so if you use these in your photo editing process, then you can still benefit from the speed and ease of using PortraitPro as a plugin to your other photography software.

Download the PortraitPro Studio free trial today, and put your mind at rest that your images will be ones that will last a lifetime.