Tag Archives: business

A Lovely Workshop 2012

27 Apr

If you love film, or beautiful, whimsical images, you’ve likely heard of Elizabeth Messina or her super sweet blog, Kiss the Groom. Her work is ethereal, adorned with lovely light and has a truly distinctive, feminine flair. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing her speak at WPPI, and her personality, kindness and down-to-earth nature match her work to a “t”.

Elizabeth just recently announced that registration for her “A Lovely Workshop” is open – and it’s coming to the East Coast, right in our backyard actually! The 800-acre farm is just outside of Philadelphia, where “we will explore the country side & the many acres of the beautiful farm, home to 100’s of horses.” The three-day event is being held on July 10-12th, with a welcome gathering on the 9th, and includes a long list of impressive collaborators, including Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty, Leah MacDonald of Waxworks (who you may remember from our meeting in 2011!), Shira Savada of Martha Stewart Weddings, Claire Pettibone of Twigs & Honey, Adrienne Page of Velvet Raptor and Wiley Valentine.

Shoots are scheduled each day where Elizabeth will educate and inspire attendees on light, branding, marketing and getting published, connecting with your clients, booking destination weddings, expanding your business and much more. There’s also tons of goodies, including a signed copy of her new book, The Luminous Portrait.

Check out the website for details, investment and specifics. And if you’re interested, don’t wait! Registration is limited to 20 students!

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Mobile Websites: Where it’s at

24 Jan

Even if you’re not tech-savvy, you’ve probably heard the buzz about Flash versus “Standards” based websites. If you own an iPad or iPhone, you know that Flash-based websites (or flash enabled components, like slideshows) don’t load since Apple doesn’t support Flash, which can be a real pain, both for the website owner and the user.

So how does this impact photographers specifically?

Well, to start off, statistics from early last year showed that nearly one-third of American adults owned a smartphone of some kind and preferred using it as their primary Internet connection. As these numbers are growing.

This instant access to the web lets them be quick and spontaneous – and in most cases is immediately gratifying. So if a potential client visits your site from their iPhone and can’t load your beautiful portfolio of images, they’ll move on to a site that does work. It’s possible that they’ll return to visit from a desktop computer, but is it worth the gamble?

The big question is: How important is having a website that works on a mobile device?

The nice folks over at Internet Marketing Grind recently released an infographic which has some pretty interesting data:

"Why You Should Have A Mobile Website" courtesy of http://www.imgrind.com

Not only do the numbers make a convincing point, but having a mobile friendly site says something about your brand, that you’re a skilled professional who’s up-to-date with technology and the web.

What options are out there?

Baby Steps

If you’re looking to make your current site more mobile friendly and don’t want an overhaul, there are small things you can do, some with the help of a Web Developer. Here’s 5 steps to get you on the right path.

Refresh

If you’ve been considering making a small-scale change and updating your site but don’t have the know-how, connections or money to spend, there are a few companies out there who specialize in customizable templates.

One place that’s ahead of the curve is iFolios, whose affordable, WordPress-driven, customizable sites are clean, smart and stylish, and work without flash. They also look as stunning on your desktop computer as they do on an iPhone screen. Check out the samples on their site.

Want to know how do they do it? Check out their handy dandy video:

What Is iFolios? from Site Admin on Vimeo.

Another cool company is Cliqbooq – which offers lower pricing through monthly installments rather than larger up-front payments. With a slew of benefits including SEO, unlimited design changes and a 14-day trial – it’s a worthwhile option.

Redesign

If you’re looking for more customization and can spend a bit more, companies like Livebooks offer mobile-friendly sites as well, and have the benefit of a larger pool of designers and years of experience in the wedding and portrait photography industry to lend. They offer a free trial too.

If you’re a comfortable with customizing a site yourself, you might like Squarespace, who boasts “Templates That Aren’t Templated” and hand over structured creative control, customization and data access. Worried you can’t handle it? They assure visitors that there’s “No experience necessary… You don’t need to be a professional to create a powerful website with Squarespace. We handle all the technical details, so you can focus on what matters most to you. With our easy-to-use controls, your site will be up and running in minutes.”

So, there’s the rundown of why we think mobile-friendly sites are beneficial and some useful ways to make yours mobile-compatible. What do you think? Are you hip to the movement or still have passion for sexy flash slideshows and effects? Don’t think it really makes a difference? Let us know!

Shoot the Shot Workshop

5 Dec

One of our fabulous Photo Betties, Isabel March, is hosting a workshop on January 26th at her studio in Perkasie, PA. She’ll be covering tons of great topics including business, getting started, client meetings, branding, marketing, social media, creating a signature style and more! Space is limited so act fast! Here’s the 411:

Sage Advice: Admitting Your Mistakes

23 Nov

To move forward, you have to be able to look back.

At times it can be difficult to find perspective, especially when you’re running your own business, shooting, marketing, wowing customers and balancing life amidst all the responsibilities. Today’s post was originally published last year but is still totally relevant and helpful today. It made me think more critically about things I could improve on and didn’t even realize; I hope it helps inspire all you Betties out there to continue growing, improving and striving to be better!

My 25 Biggest Mistakes

by Brandy Anderson of Fresh Sugar Photography

I’ve made many, many more than 25 mistakes in my 5 years in this industry, but these are some of the ones that affected my business the most. If anyone of them can help any of you from making the same mistake, I’m glad to share them. Some of them may be surprising, and some of them may be so obvious you are considering me an idiot right about now. I’m ok with that.

In no particular order:

1. Taking on too many “free” sessions.

This is a lesson that I most recently learned, and am still recovering from. I love to give to charities, and I love to expand my portfolio, and I love to give photography to my friends. However, all of this “love” has added up to a backlog that I am only now recovering from after taking some time off from shooting. I am still editing free sessions from November, and *just* finished one from September. So what, you ask? It was free! Yes, but now my reputation is suffering because I will be forever known to these people as the photographer that takes forever to get your images to you. They don’t care that it was free. They care that they actually HAVE the photographs.

2. Letting emails sit in my inbox.

My automatic email responder tells people who inquire about a session that I will respond within 24 hours. But for the longest time, I was taking 3-4 days to get back to people, and even (gasp!) sometimes forgetting about the email at all and not finding it for weeks afterwards. Whoa. Bad, bad business practices. After getting my 5th or 6th response from potential clients who had already booked with someone else, I smartened up. I try to email back immediately after getting the email. Clients like that. And I like having clients.

3. Not having confidence in my work.

If you haven’t really talked to me in about 3 years, you would be amazed with the change. When I was first starting out, I had very little confidence in my work. I put on a brave face with clients, but I was constantly comparing myself to other photographers, and falling short. Even when I had been in business for awhile, doubts plagued me. Now I’m not saying that today I think I’m a rockstar, but I believe in myself and I know that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I can be just as good as anybody else.

4. Buying too many actions/templates/etc.

I have about 20 different coffee table book templates. Guess what? I have not, nor will ever offer coffee table books. WHY on earth would I even buy one template, let alone 20? Obviously because I like throwing my money away. Now I think carefully about every single business purchase I make.

5. Hiding.

This is a personality flaw I’ve always had. When things got overwhelming, I hid. There’s a part in book Confessions of a Shopaholic where she just runs away from all her debt, etc and hides at her parents’ house. That’s me. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I would just stick my head in the sand and pretend things weren’t happening. As you can guess, things don’t get better on their own, and you can create some pretty upset tummies by hiding out from your problems. Now, as hard as it is to do – I know that it’s just so much better to confront everything head on.

6. Thinking Photoshop could save me.

When I started shooting RAW, I was in love with the fact that I didn’t need to custom white-balance anymore. I could just shoot and fix it later. Exposure problems? Oh well, fix it later! Except if you don’t get it right or nearly right in-camera, good luck getting a great image out of Photoshop. Oh, it can look ok . . . but do you really want to be sweating out your ordering appointment worried that they are going to choose something that was overly “fixed” in PS and might not be enlarged well? Which leads me to –

7. Showing clients less than awesome images.

Crap exposure, weird color, missed focus. You know the minute that you put ANY image with those problems in a gallery, a client will order it. Big. HUGE! And then you can either give them a substandard product, explain to them that they can’t have the image they want, or convince them to get a canvas (heh heh). I’ve learned to save myself the headache and get rid of those images right away. Now that’s not to say that I still won’t show something with more emotion than technical perfection. But any imperfections have to be pretty minor.

8. Laziness.

By nature, I am a lazy person. I work from my bed more than I really should admit. I love doing nothing – I love not working. It’s true! Thankfully, I love working at this particular job, so it counteracts my inherent laziness. But, I will leave things to the last minute and procrastinate and not get any work done and play Cafe World on Facebook and look at engagement rings at Costco.com. (I am already married and not likely to get engaged anytime soon.) Then I have a whole pile of work that has built up and I have to work really, really hard and I get stressed and it stinks. So I just try to plug through my to-do list everyday and schedule my laziness for appropriate times.

9. Laziness. Part Two.

Laziness on the job. Every so often, I slip into a rut, and I stop trying new things at sessions. I go through the motions, get the usual shots and try to get the heck out of there. The clients don’t really know any differently – it doesn’t show in my personality or anything, but I’m just not that into it. I don’t feel inspired and just hit my go-to shots and then pack it up. I try now to find little things to inspire me for every session. Either a new blanket for a newborn, and new trick to make older kids laugh, or a new location. It’s up to ME to put the creativity into my photography.

10. Pretending I’m not a business person.

If you are in business, you are a business person. I don’t care how creative you are – someone’s got to think of the biz side. If not you, then someone else. I used to only do the things I liked and let the other stuff slide. But it turns out that other stuff is kinda important, and can kill your business if you don’t take care of it. Like knowing if you are making any money. Again, leading me to:

11. Taxes.

I am going to admit something that hopefully won’t land me in federal prison. I didn’t do taxes for 2 years. 2 years. I did my usual procrastination, then hiding routine. For two whole stinkin’ years! Imagine the knot in my stomach, always having that in the back of my mind. I had no idea what I had made, no idea what I owed, and it was making me SICK. But one day I just honestly smacked myself upside the head and bought QuickTax. It took me about 2 hours to do everything, and it was DONE!
My challenge these days is getting my taxes in on time each year. I still owe a $23 penalty from last year. I will write the cheque after this post. I promise.

12. I put a baby in a tree. On purpose.

Against my better judgement, I had a parent suggest it, and I complied. The dad was behind the baby holding it and hiding behind the trunk. But it was still a stupid and dangerous thing to do. I completely and totally regret it. I did it because I wanted to impress other photographers. Now I don’t even SHOW that image to other people because I am so embarrassed by it.

13. Letting people take advantage of me.

I’m Canadian, therefore I am a nice, polite, person. Which means that sometimes people try to push me around. They can try.
Because after having a couple of people push me to bend policies and then getting severely burned by doing so, I don’t let myself get pushed around anymore. I still give great customer service, and almost always say yes – but sometimes those yes’es have price tags that I attach. If something is going to take me extra time to do and it’s outside the norm of what I offer, then I will charge for it accordingly. There’s a great saying about bending over backwards, not forwards.Also, for those of you involved in commercial photography – this is practically an epidemic. Because there are so many photographers willing to shoot for peanuts because they think it’s “exciting”, more and more companies will try to lowball you for jobs. DON’T LET THEM. Know what your rates should be, and if you don’t – get FotoQuote or get out of shooting commercial projects.

14. I used to pay A LOT of attention to my local competition.

So much so that I could tell you what hex code they used on the text on the footer of their blog. In other words, too much attention. I still think that a knowledge of your local market is smart for ANY business, I think photographers can get wrapped up in each other way too easily. When you look at another photographer’s site, there’s just no way to be objective. You are always going to find locations that are cooler, shots that are better, prices that are lower. It did me no good to get tied up in knots about stuff like that, and it didn’t inspire me to be a better photographer. More like a bitter photographer.

15. Studio Envy.

I will admit that I still get studio envy every so often, have you SEEN Danna’s? I’d love to be able to not have to drive all over creation to get to a session, I’d love to have that professionalism that comes with having a space. However, with money being important to me and the lease prices being crazy expensive in Calgary (about 3K a month for 1000sqft, not including insurance, electricity, utilities, parking, furnishings, etc) it just doesn’t make a lot of financial sense for me to do it. Yes, I could take more sessions, and yes, my sales would be higher with the in-person ordering. At the moment though, with my youngest daughter still two years away from school, I don’t have the time to devote to being there. It’s just a financial risk that I am not willing to take right now. I am more about keeping the money for awesome vacations than paying “the man” every month.

16. Overexposing in my processing.

I went through a phase for about a year, where everything I did was SO FREAKING BRIGHT. I have no idea why, except at the time I thought it was awesome. I took some shots of my Filipino friends, and after I processed them, they looked more caucasian than I do! Bright, light skin doesn’t look natural, and while it is a look, it’s not one that I am going for anymore.

17. Underexposing in my shooting.

What the heck was I doing for awhile there where all my images were so dark in-camera? Maybe that’s why I was over-processing them later. All my images for a period were underexposed by at least a stop, requiring me to adjust exposure later in RAW and introduce more noise to the image. Now I tend to overexpose slightly if anything, because an overexposed RAW file is much easier to recover and process than an underexposed one.

18. Message boards.

I still visit some photography forums, but I don’t devote the hours upon hours that I used to. Forums like ILP and Props can have a wealth of knowledge, but also a wealth of other stuff that will suck away your time. Maybe it’s because I don’t have as much to learn, but I don’t spend a lot of time on forums anymore, which makes me a lot more productive. If you can keep your participation to a level where it’s not damaging your overall time management, then have at ‘er. Just know what threads are worthwhile. And make sure you try to keep giving back what you get.

19. Believing the hype.

I used to get sucked into believing pretty much everything I heard. A photographer with an average sale of 13K. Someone who was traveling all over the world to shoot babies. Someone who is so freaking awesome that you pale in comparison. Just remember that we all try to make ourselves look great, it’s good PR. We all want to look cooler than we are, busier than we are, more successful than we are. So if you’re told that your “frenemy” just booked 15 NBA triplet sessions for next week, just smile and wink. Who knows? Your next blog post of the amazing home and kids with designer duds may just be of your sister-in-law that you begged to let you shoot her family for free so you could put it on your site. I won’t tell if you won’t.

20. Feeling guilty.

I actually feel that guilt is a pretty wasted emotion. You made a mistake, learn from it and move on. Your guilt isn’t helping anyone. For reals.

21. Not backing up properly.

“I’m not a wedding photographer” I said. “I can go back and do a reshoot” I thought. Fine, maybe you can. But do you WANT to? I’d much rather spend the extra 10 minutes making an extra backup than the hours of a reshoot and re-edit. Oh my gosh, the stress of trying to recover images. Now I back-up my computer with Time Machine, with BackBlaze online, with an external hard-drive AND with DVDs. Excessive? Maybe. Safe? Definitely.

22. Getting rid of files.

I tell my clients that I keep ordered files for one year. I had a client from 3 years prior want to purchase her digital files and I only had one copy of them, and it was on a busted hard drive. Bummer to lose out on that sale. But hurrah, I also had it on disc! If I had tossed those files to save “room” (and COME ON, how much room does it take to save the files?) I wouldn’t have that extra money in my pocket. Now I try to save everything. It’s like free money sometimes.

23. Being too much of a fluffier.

Tissue paper, fancy cards, expensive things sent to the clients before they pay me a dime. I know this works for other people and that is awesome. I get the whole “boutique” studio thing. I however, want money. Cold hard cash, and I want to keep my bottom line as low as possible. So I carefully research what products give me the best look to match my branding, and discard the rest. I still have a lot of cool packaging and products, but I’m also as green as possible – making killer .pdfs to send instead of fancy triple tri-folded welcome cards. I still have a case of tiny silver tins that I thought would be great for wallets, but they are actually too small because I didn’t bother to match the measurements. Any ideas?

24. Listening to my husband.

He’s a smart guy, maybe almost as smart as me. He owns a company. He runs a business. But he has no stinking idea about MY business. Don’t get me wrong, he gives me lots of good advice. Lots of common sense advice. But he never really can give me specific advice or ideas about this biz, because he’s #1 – not in it, and #2 – not a woman and not a mom. Before you yell at me for being sexist, think about who your clients are. If they are not overwhelmingly women, you are tricking me and not actually a baby photographer. Because the people we are targeting are moms, are women. And last I checked, my husband was neither. He just doesn’t think like women do, men tend to think with their heads while women think with their hearts. So while his advice and ideas are always practical, they are never emotional – and that’s what we need to tap into to succeed in this particular business.

25. Not sharing and not caring.

I am not a private person. I have a big blabbermouth and I love to talk. Back when I was still listening to him, my husband was constantly telling me to stop telling my photog friends (online and in real life) all the awesome things I was doing. That I needed to keep it to myself, or someone would come along and steal it. And guess what, people HAVE come along and stolen stuff. And I got bent out of shape, I got really mad, I even once yelled at someone on the phone. Gross. Being afraid of sharing, being afraid of friends and being afraid of people in general is not how I want to live my life. AT ALL. So now I share, and I share as much as I can. This blog, and the mentoring we’ve been doing has been such a gift to me. I love thinking up all the things I can share, and I love seeing other photographers grow. And now no one can steal anything from me. Because I give it all away and that’s MY choice.

Thank you Brandy for letting us share your honest wisdom, and Caitlin Domanico for sharing the original post on Facebook and making this one possible!

Marketing Mojo with Two Bright Lights

4 Nov

Images courtesy of Jessica Claire Photography

A few months ago a good friend and fellow Betty Susannah Gill, told me about Two Bright Lights, an online service which offers image sharing, networking and analytics to help wedding business’ improve their marketing. They offer a free 30-day trial, so I thought I’d give it a try – and I have to say, I was very happy with the results!

In just three weeks of submitting to a half dozen blogs, four were approved! You can submit weddings, engagement sessions, portraits and styled shoots – when you login you check out what their Editorial Partners are looking for and submit in a few quick and simple steps. There are blogs you’ll know well, others that are pleasant surprises; certainly something for everyone. Here’s a sampling:

FREE Bootcamp

For those of you in the Philadelphia area next Wednesday night, Two Bright Lights is offering a FREE Bootcamp hosted by one of their recent Philly transplants, Shalyn Hockey. Some details from their email invite:

What: A fantastic chance to learn about Two Bright Lights as well as mix and mingle with your fellow industry colleagues from the area.

When: November 9, 2011 | 7-9 pm

Where: Locust on the Park at 201 S. 25th St, Philadelphia, PA (In Center City a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square)

RSVP: The event is FREE, but space is limited so you must RSVP to attend.

Questions? Call Shalyn Hockey at 805-975-2932 or email shalyn@twobrightlights.com

Conferences, Tradeshows, Conventions, Oh My!

3 Oct

Unless you’re shooting in some deliciously warm and perpetually sunny locale, chances are the late autumn and winter months are when you rest, recharge and revamp. It’s also a perfect time to invest in a conference to get inspired, learn some new tricks and techniques, see what kinds of cool products and gadgets are out there, and meet other wonderful photogs like yourself! Here’s our abbreviated list of conferences coming up; some are geared towards wedding and portrait photographers, but we also threw in a few others for those who want to explore outside their comfort zone.

2011

PDN & WPPI PhotoPlus

October 27-29, 2011 | NY, NY
“Get ready for the hottest industry event for photographers and image-makers, PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo, brought to you by PDN. It’s the only place where you have infinite access to emerging technology, trends and talent while test driving new imaging tools, discovering creative solutions and expanding your network. And this year PDN and WPPI are joining forces in New York City to roll out WPPI NYC, an entire expo dedicated to wedding and portrait photography, making PhotoPlus Expo even better. Choose from over 115 educational seminars and hands-on labs to expand your expertise. Come be informed and entertained, leave inspired.” (c/o website)

Her Photography Conference

November 1-3, 2011 | Grand Rapids, MI

“Be a part of the ONLY boutique women’s photography conference! With a limited number of attendees, HER PHOTOGRAPHY CONFERENCE provides a boutique atmosphere that facilitates empowering relationships for female photographers as well as the opportunity to spend time with the photography industry’s elite professionals. If you are a woman, a photographer, and you have a strong desire to grow your business and build empowering relationships with other female business owners then this is the conference for you! Our hope is that you walk away from this conference inspired, motivated and ready to take your business to the next level!” (c/o website)

The Foundation Conference

November 7-8, 2011 | New Orleans, LA
“Foundation Conference 2009 was an incredible opportunity to connect with old friends, make new friends, and hear from some of the world’s best documentary style photographers in one place! Egos were left aside, as teaching and learning flowed from speaker to audience and back to the speaker. It was a wonderful environment to push the boundaries of creativity, to critique and be mentored, and to be introduced to new ways of seeing. It is safe to say that there is no other photography conference like FC, and I can’t wait to go to the next one!” – Kate (c/o website)

2012

Digital Wedding Forum

January 15-18, 2012 | New Orleans, LA

“It’s Friday afternoon and I’m still sitting at the hotel bar reminiscing about the weeks events. I had the best week at DWF to date! Not only were the speakers fabulous… but everyone really opened up and shared a bit about themselves and their passions…. usually at the bar at 2:30am. Looking forward to seeing you all in New Orleans! – buttermedia” (c/o website)

Imaging USA

January 15-17, 2012 | New Orleans, LA
“At Imaging USA, you’ll find just what you need to breathe life into your photographic dreams—no matter where you are in your business! Art and business education, inspiration and great trade show deals await both established professionals and newcomers to the professional photo industry. It’s the convention and expo that was created with your needs in mind, so what are you waiting for? Register Today.” (c/o website)

Senior Photographers International

January 24-27, 2012 | Buena Vista, FL
“Senior Photographers International Inc., is an organization of professional photographers specializing in High School Senior Portraits. We are dedicated to bringing the best in photography and business practices to our members. The organization was founded on the principle of photographers sharing information with one another. We remain committed to that philosophy. All newsletter articles and convention programs pertain specifically to the subject of senior photography.” (c/o website)

PhotoPro Network

February 2-5, 2012 | Covington, KY
“4 Full Days! 10 World Class Speakers! 1 Fantastic Opportunity! PhotoPro Expo 2012 is shaping up to be one of the top 2012 photography conventions nationwide! The anticipated speaker line up will blow you away!” (c/o website)

WPPI

February 16-23, 2012 | Las Vegas, NV

“Last year, WPPI attracted over 16,000 attendees. This year, we are expecting WPPI to be the biggest and best event in our history. With an all-star speaker lineup and a diverse and unparalleled menu of special events, WPPI 2012 is primed for another banner year. Winning programs like WPPI Plus, Photographers Ignite and the Awards Night extravaganza, as well as helpful features like Pre-Board, will make WPPI 2012 our best show ever. And don’t forget about the amazing WPPI Trade Show, where you’ll find the best deals anywhere. We’ll see you in February!” (c/o website)

Society for Photographic Education

March 22-25, 2012 | San Francisco, CA
Intimacy and Voyeurism: The Public / Private Divide in Photography
“Photography’s relationship with intimacy and voyeurism is as old as the medium itself. From its inception photographs have been used to sustain, affirm, or remember loved ones, expressing intimate and profound connections between people. At the same time photography has offered voyeuristic pleasure, allowing the viewer to see without being seen, to take visual pleasure without risk to oneself. Rarely can photographs themselves be clearly divided into one or the other of these categories. Images become voyeuristic or intimate based on context, societal expectations and interpretations.” (c/o website)

Photoshop World

March 24-26, 2012 | Washington DC

“Most photography conferences consist mainly of one huge photography Expo with some peripheral classes on the side that require pre-registration. Photoshop World is almost the opposite. Here’s you’ll find an enormous line-up of Photoshop and photography classes on subjects ranging from portrait to outdoor photography and more that require no pre-registration (you can come and go in between classes as you please) in addition to a huge expo floor with even more bonus classes. If there’s one thing Photoshop World can guarantee, it’s that you will come away reeling with knowledge and inspiration after three short days.” (c/o website)

Travel Writers & Photographers Conference

August 9-12, 2012 | Corte Madera, CA
“The Premier Conference in the World for Travel Writers and Photographers!

The Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference has an extraordinary, international reputation among publishers, editors, and writers. This four-day Conference offers an array of writing and photography workshops in the morning, a full afternoon of panels and discussions, and evening faculty presentations. There are optional, working field trips to explore the resources of the Bay Area. The faculty includes publishers, magazine editors, photographers, travel essayists, food writers, restauranteurs, guidebook writers, and more. There are hours of informal interaction between faculty and students during lunch and in discussions that often last late into the evening.” (c/o website)

FREE Online Business Workshop

6 Sep

This Friday and Saturday, September 9-10, Tamara Lackey will be holding an in-depth workshop that you can register for right here, at no cost! It’s a follow-up to her last course, The Business Whiteboard, and will cover a lot of ground. Here’s the schedule:

Day 1 – September 9th

Where We Left Off: The White Board
Why Doing it ALL Will Take You Down
Creating An Online Presence
Who Are You: Brand Culture
Marketing (That Works)
Strategy to Action: Doing the Work

Day 2 – September 10th

REAL Client Service
Money!!! Finance, Cash Flow and Profit
Get Legit: Legal Considerations
Small Shifts, Big Changes … Examine Your Attitude
Sales, Sales, Sales
Go Forth & Conquer!

Learn how to determine how potential clients currently view your business, how to subtly change these perceptions online and through word-of-mouth, marketing strategies that can help you go after the right goals, sage financial management tips – and so much more – in an easily digestible, step-by-step process. As Tamara puts it: “Turn ideas into plans, take action, and see results. This workshop is more than an overview about business. It’s how you can practically apply these principals to build a more effective and profitable company for yourself.”

Thank you fellow Photo Betty Susannah Gill for informing this post!

Review: The WPPI Road Trip

29 Aug

WPPI Road Trip

Who:  WPPI
What:  Road Trip
Where:  Philadelphia
When:  August 22, 2011

Why?  Couldn’t get to Vegas for the largest Portrait and Wedding Photography Convention? Well, WPPI decided to make a Road Trip to select cities bringing speakers and vendors right to your hometown.

Pros:

– Avoided Philadelphia International Airport – just had to take a train.

– One day commitment only, which meant no need for an overnight stay.

– The same impressive speaker lineup – right in your own backyard

Cons: A Fellow Photo Betty, Amanda Young, and I did not win any of the awesome prizes that were drawn. We think there was a serious conspiracy…

Speakers:

Susan Stripling

I am a big fan of her work. What I appreciated about her opening was the challenge she posed to the audience on never being satisfied. The challenge was to always challenge yourself. This is the competitive edge that will set you apart. She discussed composition techniques and working to search the room, to go beyond the obvious. Her work can be found at www.susanstriplingblog.com

Dawn Shields

Dawn was able to speak about the power of a personal project. She shared her “Legacy” Album, which won the Grand Album award at WPPI in 2010. As photographers, it is important to always be growing creatively. When you can find something that is truly your own project, from beginning to end, the creation in itself is both rewarding and fulfilling. Learn more about Dawn’s work at www.dawnshields.com

Damon Tucci

Very fun and engaging speaker. I loved the image examples shown and discussion of how he used lighting. He focused on the usage of speed lights, video lights and available light to enhance your photos while shooting in the field. Beyond just usage, we discussed how to use these tools to make images more dramatic. He had great examples for posing brides and grooms to relax them, giving them a completely natural appearance. To find out more about Damon, visit his site at www.damontucci.com.

Jared Platt

In just 90 minutes, we were given great solutions to reduce editing workflow by almost 50%. His discussion identified time wasters, and how to effectively eliminate them while focusing on true post-production efficiently. I loved his teaching style and was glad that he can be found on Vimeo with quick sessions, under Jared Platt. A sample is here http://vimeo.com/24735627 and his site is  www.jaredplatt.com.

Lindsay Adler

Lindsay covered the essential concepts of fashion photography and how these can apply to portrait and wedding photography for stunning imagery. She discussed key concepts such as simple location, utilizing unique props, posing, lighting and styling. Quite frankly, I am not sure what my opinion is on the usage of props for shoots, but Lindsey was able to show and demonstrate creative ways to set a scene to make the images vivid and inviting. There were truly some great learnings from this presentation. She will also be speaking at PDN in October on Social Media Marketing, which I think will be something worth attending. You can find out more about Lindsay’s work at www.lindsayadlerphotography.com.

Scatter Joy! One Photographer’s Journey of Giving Back and Discovering True Happiness

1 Jul

By: Amber Shader

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of
achievement, in the thrill of creative effort” – Franklin D Roosevelt

I held my first “real” camera in the eighth grade. It was a Nikon F2 that I used while taking a summer photography class with a grade school friend at a local community center. Photography quickly became my new passion. Every weekend I looked forward to going to the community center to learn new things. Our teacher was super cool too. He rode a motorcycle, played guitar and looked just like Jerry Garcia. Every weekend, he taught us new things like how to shoot manually, how to develop film and how to do cool things with negative transfers using anything we could find like lace, bows, and big 80‘s hooped earrings.

Once the class was over at the end of summer, my parents got me my very own camera, but it was the type you had to put flash cubes on top of. I couldn’t change lenses, I couldn’t shoot manually or develop my own film anymore, so needless to say, photography didn’t stay a strong passion for me with my little flashcube Kodak camera. I didn’t start shooting again until my freshman year in college. I saved up and bought the cheapest Pentax film SLR I could find and took as many photography electives I could squeeze in while getting my degree in Business Administration and Human Resource Management.

Getting back into photography during college was fun, but I never thought I could make a living as an artist. I think the character Charlotte from the movie Lost in Translation summed up the extent of my college photography experience when she said, “I tried taking pictures, but they were so mediocre. I guess every girl goes through a photography phase. You know, horses…taking dumb pictures of your feet.” Before I knew it, I was working full time, dating my soon-to-be husband and completing my MBA in Organizational Leadership on nights and weekends. I stopped shooting completely and spent 13 years working in Corporate America, climbing the rungs of the corporate ladder. I was a Vice President of Human Resources for a Fortune 100 company, I had a great husband, a great home and plenty of disposable income to buy all the clothes, handbags and jewelry I wanted, but what I did not know at the time was that I didn’t have true happiness and was merely surrounding myself with material things things that did not matter.

It wasn’t until 2010 when a sudden car accident of one of my colleagues at work put everything into perspective. She literally drove across the street from our building to grab a coffee and another vehicle ran a red light and broadsided her. She died instantly. It wasn’t her actual death that was the lightbulb moment for me. My lightbulb moment was during her actual eulogy when people said how much she gave to the company. It was truly then that I realized I wanted to reinvent myself so I could do something I loved with my life vs. being a corporate title on an org chart.

After the funeral, I started to slow down and enjoy the little things in life more like spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading etc vs. working 60 hour work weeks. I also stumbled across an Emerson quote to “Scatter Joy!” and it became my new mantra. To me it meant and still means keeping it simple, traveling the world, finding beauty in all things, caring deeply about people and leaving the world a better place. Around the same time I stumbled across the quote, my wonderful husband encouraged me to start shooting again and he bought me a new Nikon D40 for my birthday that year. I started to get the passion back and I knew photography was what I wanted to do with my life.

I started shooting as a part time photographer on weekends and I slowly built up a client base. I also created my business model around my mantra “Scatter Joy!” and included a minimum of 12 silent auctions or charitable events a year. I started to discover the true power of photography, not just through the images I was creating but through the fact that I could give my time, talent and heart to make the world a little better. I know it sounds cliché but through giving back to the local community I discovered my true happiness. Charitable giving as a photographer also has another upside and if you have ever had the opportunity to listen to Sarah Petty or read her Joy of Marketing blog, then you know that charitable giving is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to grow your business by creating buzz. I am living proof of that too because I was able to make the leap from part time weekend photographer to full time professional photographer largely because of my mantra to Scatter Joy!

So how can this mantra work for you and your business? Here is some advice (in no particular order) that worked for me:

• Decide what you can afford to give in terms of your time, resources, services, products etc. and build that into your business plan. Giving away your time and talent is still an important business decision to consider in terms of cost vs. benefit. I personally landed on a minimum of 12 events/auctions a year, but that may not work for everyone.

• Decide your philanthropic priorities. Are you passionate about charities for animals, the arts, children, the environment? My personal decision was to focus on philanthropic efforts for children and animals since I am passionate about both and love shooting both in my sessions.

• Decide if you want to work with designated national portrait charities supported by PPA or WPPI like Operation Smile, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Tiny Sparrow Foundation, etc. or create your own events and work with local groups. You can also do a hybrid of both. I personally decided to work with existing groups including The Moyer Foundation and The Real Charitable Housewives of Delaware.

• Maximize social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and blogs to highlight your charitable giving. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself and the good works you are doing. I actually had The Moyer Foundation find me via my tweets about another charitable giving event I worked on for the American Red Cross. If you don’t post it, write about it or share your beautiful images, you are not maximizing the great PR opportunity.

• I’m not promising you will be able to quit your full-time day job as soon as you start taking my advice and adding charitable events to your business model. However, what I can promise you is that you will feel more fulfilled and happy and your business will grow.

One of my most recent events was the Real Charitable Housewives of Delaware’s “Help Japan Bloom Again” event, benefiting the American Red Cross and The Moyer Foundation’s “Evening at the Ballpark” (which in turn, benefits Camp Erin and The Moyer Foundation).

We were able to raise almost $4,000 for the American Red Cross and $100,000 for Camp Erin/The Moyer Foundation! I was so proud and happy to have Amber Shader Photography contribute and be part of both of these special events.

Longer term, even though I don’t ride a motorcycle, play guitar or look like Jerry Garcia, I would love to start teaching photography classes to kids at the same local community center where my love for photography started. Hopefully I can help Scatter Joy! and share my passion for photography with the next generation of future photographers!

2011 WPPI Road Trip

16 Jun

If you weren’t able to attend WPPI in Las Vegas this year – fear not! The WPPI Road Trip is almost here – and tickets went on sale yesterday! Registration is $159 for the all-day event, and you can bring a guest for just $89. You’ll also receive FREE 2012 WPPI registration (which is a pretty amazing bonus!), lunch and access to the mini tradeshow.

They’ll be hitting 8 cities across the USA including our home base – Philly! Here’s the full list:

• Long Beach, CA – August 8
• San Jose, CA – August 10
• Columbus, OH – August 15
• Chicago, IL – August 17
• Philadelphia, PA – August 22
• Boston, MA – August 25
• Austin, TX – September 19
• New Orleans, LA – September 22

Right now the full list of events and classes hasn’t been posted, but we do know that it will be “jam-packed with informative and inspiring topics covering the ins and outs of photography, especially tailored for professional wedding and portrait photographers.”

Attendees will have access to a full day of educational classes featuring marketing, lighting, posing, shooting and postproduction. It’ll also be a great place for networking… Sponsors include Adobe, WHCC, Zenfolio, Adorama, Pictage, Black River Imaging, GraphiStudio, Simply Canvas, Animoto and more!

Take a break this summer and get inspired!