ZenBlog: Blog
2018-01-11T23:41:00Z (C) ZenBlog ZenBlog Video: How to Sell Your Photos Online


Have you set up your shop and created a price list in your Zenfolio account? This short video shows you how to easily create a price list and more in a few minutes.

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-11-22T20:07:03Z 2017-11-22T20:07:03Z Holiday 2017 Shipping Deadlines

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The busy shopping and shipping season is here! Following are a few tips and a list of shipping deadlines from our lab partners to help ensure timely delivery of your clients’ photos and gifts.


Requesting Changes and Cancellations

Our partner labs work extra hard during the holiday season—often printing, packaging, and shipping an order the same day it’s placed. This means that any request for changes needs to be sent within minutes of placing an order or it might not be caught in time.


Approving Orders

Although enabling “Pending Order Approval” in your price list allows you to review orders and make changes before the orders are sent for printing, it also delays sending the orders to the lab. Orders are not submitted for printing until you approve them, so we suggest reviewing and approving all orders as quickly as possible.


Shipping Deadlines

For your convenience, we’ve gathered a list of recommended deadline dates for each of our integrated vendors; most based on arriving before December 25th. Please keep in mind that orders must be placed and approved before the cutoff dates to be delivered in time for the holidays.


US Labs

Millers logoMillers logo mpixpro logompixpro logo mpix logompix logo

Mpix, a division of Miller’s Professional Imaging, delivers professional quality prints using only the best materials and packaging. MpixPro offers a variety of high-end products such as photo books, canvas gallery wraps, metal prints, and calendars. To add an elegant touch to your clients’ holiday orders, we recommend choosing MpixPro’s Boutique Packaging shipping method (available for Premium Business and Advanced users only).


Ordering past the Dec 8th deadline?

*IMPORTANT NOTICE* Need this order before December 25th? If so, we strongly encourage you to select Priority shipping. Priority shipping uses UPS for quick delivery and simple order tracking to offer peace of mind that your order will arrive in time for the holidays. It is not uncommon for Standard shipping to experience longer delivery times during the holiday season, sometimes up to 10 additional business days.


Ordering past the Dec 12th deadline?

*IMPORTANT NOTICE* Need this order before December 25th? If so, we strongly encourage you to select Overnight shipping. Overnight shipping uses UPS for quick delivery and simple order tracking to offer peace of mind that your order will arrive in time for the holidays.


Zenfolio Album Design Service offers high-quality, custom designed albums for your clients without the hard work. We work directly with your clients on your behalf and you receive a commission on each order.



The cut off for holiday orders is November 27th. All orders will need to be submitted to production no later than 11:59 PST on 11/27.

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Zenfolio Photo Products US delivers the highest-quality photo merchandising in partnership with vendors in the US who deliver the latest imaging and transfer technologies on a variety of surfaces such as T-shirts, mugs, and key chains.


Zenfolio Phone CasesZenfolio Phone Cases

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fotoflōt products are an elegant way to display photos without frames. Your clients are sure to be impressed by the innovative magnetic mounting system, which allows you to avoid glare and enables you to swap photos in seconds.  

Shipping via USPS Priority within the USA is included in product prices.


Canadian Labs


Pikto is the premier Canadian lab. It sources the best papers, inks, and printers to meet every photographer's high expectations. Pikto offers a wide variety of products, including photo prints, Giclée prints, canvas wraps, and plexi face mounts.



European Labs


Picto (France) After 65 years of enthusiasm and a close bond with creators and photographers, Picto is known for its experience, built on know-how passed down from generation to generation. This gives the company a certain advantage, particularly among photographers, galleries, museums and collectors.


  • We recommend placing orders 10 days before the delivery date (for a delivery in France).

  • As Dec. 24th is a Sunday, the last delivery day before Christmas is Friday Dec. 22nd.

  • The deadline to ensure on-time delivery is Dec. 12th.


One Vision Imaging, one of the largest professional labs in the UK, provides professional photographers with the highest standards of processing and finishing.


Zenfolio EuropeZenfolio Europe

Zenfolio Photo Products Europe delivers the highest quality photo merchandising in partnership with state of the art labs who deliver beautiful prints as well as the latest imaging and transfer technologies on a variety of surfaces including acrylic, canvas, and metals.




Australian Labs

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Nulab and NuShots offer Australia and New Zealand customers with high-quality prints, canvas wraps, wall clings, and acrylic prints.



  • Nulab Group will be closed Friday 22/12/2017 at 12pm and re-open at 8:30am on Monday, January 8, 2018.

  • Please plan accordingly for peak Holiday courier schedules and allow for plenty of time for parcel delivery.

  • Last recommended ship day for interstate and New Zealand clients is Wednesday 20/12/2017

  • Last recommended ship day for Victoria clients is Thursday 21/12/2015

  • Local pick-ups can be made until 12pm Friday 22/12/2017

  • The above dates are to be used as guides for ordering specific products & services.

  • Orders must be received by 12pm (midday) on the day listed. If your order requires retouching please allow three extra days.

  • Please note Nulab will continue to take your orders submitted via the internet during the Holiday Season. Orders will be printed on a first come – first serve basis once the lab re-opens.


*Please note that not all labs are available in all markets and at all plan levels.

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-11-17T17:10:37Z 2017-11-17T17:10:37Z Tips to Sleigh the Season


The holiday season is the best time of year to boost your business. With a little preplanning you can take advantage of the many products and services that Zenfolio has to offer—so that you can stress less and profit more.


✓ Rerelease Expired Galleries

Making your clients’ photos available again allows you to suggest photo products as holiday gifts. Once you’ve rereleased an expired gallery, send a gallery invitation via email to alert your clients. If their gallery will only be available during the holidays, use the built-in expiring galleries feature to communicate a sense of urgency to clients so that they place their orders in time for holiday delivery.


✓ Add Templated Products to Your Price Lists

Almost any photo session you had during the year has the potential to become a holiday gift. Ensure that your clients can order photo gifts from you and not someplace else by adding popular holiday items to your price lists. These items include holiday cards, calendars, photo books, and cell phone cases, as well as home decor items such as gallery wraps and aluminum prints. Additionally, small items like key chains, coasters, and playing cards make memorable stocking stuffers.


✓ Offer Product and Print Discounts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two biggest shopping events of the year. With Zenfolio’s built-in coupon feature, you can offer a percentage-off or dollars-off sale on orders placed during a specific time frame—make sure the offer end date allows your clients enough time to get their orders in for holiday delivery. Don't forget to set an order minimum and make sure that your price list markup can sustain the discount you're offering. Coupons are easy to create, and with a gallery invitation you can email your clients about the sale directly from your website. ​​Consider sending a reminder email the day before the coupon expires. The time pressure may bring in additional orders.

You can also provide your loyal clients with gift certificate that they can use to pay for photos and products sold through your site.


✓ Remind Clients About Shipping Deadlines

A friendly reminder email, sent at least a week before the deadline for standard shipping, ensures your clients know your deadlines for placing orders, and it can help drive additional sales. Shipping deadlines for all Zenfolio partner labs are listed for easy reference.


✓  Promote Sales with a Promotional Header and Banner

Custom headers and gallery banners are great ways to promote a sale, highlight a product, and remind your visitors to buy during the holiday shopping season.

When you run a promotion, you can use your website header to display the sale information. The size of the graphic depends on your page layout, but we've found a graphic that measures 1550 pixels wide x 240 pixels tall works well on most sites. A custom header is added in Customize Website view.


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A custom banner can appear on your homepage, group or gallery pages. This graphic will be displayed below your website header and can be between 200 to 800 pixels in height. Your banner can be added under the Page Elements tab in options in Customize Website view.


✓ Free Marketing Program

If you have a Pro or Advanced account, you can take advantage of Zenfolio’s Free Marketing program to  help you drive sales during special occasions and holidays. When you enroll in a free campaign, we do all the work for you to encourage your clients to purchase prints and product fom your galleries. We create a coupon code in your account and manage the email communications to your clients on your behalf as though you were sending the promotions yourself. To help you promote the sale, we also create social media graphics that you can instantly share on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts.

Our 2017 holiday program is quickly coming to a close, but you have until November 17 to enroll in the last Holiday Wrap Up campaign. Enrolling in this campaign will also auto-enroll you in the 2018 campaigns.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-11-17T15:59:16Z 2017-11-17T15:59:16Z The Lowdown on Photo Downloading


If you allow visitors and clients to download photos from your Zenfolio site, then we’ve got some great news. We’ve improved the way your clients download large numbers of photos, all at once, from your website.


When downloading multiple photos, they will be bundled together into one Zip file. When the download is ready, your client will receive an email with the link (or links) through which the images can be downloaded. Because of this, the system now requests an email address when the client initiates a download from your site for multiple photos. The email address is used only for sending them the requested images, and not for any other purposes.


With this improved process, your clients don’t need to wait by their computers during the download. This change is great for clients with slow or erratic internet connections and assures they receive their downloads with fewer chances of errors and failures.


These changes apply to multi-image downloads only— single image downloads are not changing. The improved download process currently applies to gallery downloads, and will be implemented for digital order downloads by the end of October.


This support article provides more information about the new download process.

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-10-03T19:04:10Z 2017-10-03T19:04:10Z NEW iPhone 8 Cases! Available Now


If you're a photographer in the US or Europe, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus phone cases are available to purchase from your Zenfolio account. Our high-quality, lifetime-guaranteed phone cases offer premium protection and are customizable, so you and your clients can personalize them with your favorite photos.

There are two different styles available for the iPhone 8 models—Folio and ToughCase—and all cases are made using the highest quality materials, inks, coatings, and decoration processes available. Backed by a lifetime warranty, these cases are created using processes that embed inks underneath coatings so they last longer, resist scratches, and don’t fade or rub off easily. A three-step quality control process ensures a consistently great product that you—and your clients—can show off to the world.


Folio Case


This case offers an inspired way to express individuality while providing full-frontal screen protection and interior storage pockets. Decorated with high-resolution artwork that seamlessly covers both the front and back, the Folio becomes your clients’ personal art canvas. Printed artwork is not only high quality and sharp, it’s also clear-coated with a dual-layer satin finish that resists damage, scuffs, fading, and transfer of ink. A clear shell case protects the phone and attaches to the folio with an adhesive strip on the interior. This solution locks the phone in place, provides cover around the edges of the phone, and does so without leaving residue on the device.


Tough Case




Vibrant hi-res imagery blends together with a clear, protective finish to prevent scratches, blurring, and fading. An interior layer helps protect devices against mild shocks and impacts to deliver a gorgeous and sturdy case that reflects your client’s style and personality.

Phone cases are big sellers, and with the holiday season right around the corner, now is the time to add cases to your price lists so they’re available for your clients to order as gifts for friends, family, or themselves.

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-09-28T16:08:00Z 2017-09-28T16:08:00Z 8 Tips to Improve Your Sports Photography

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By David Liam Kyle


Over the years I have photographed many professional sporting events. I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to photograph high school sports, especially during the state tournaments. I love the emotion of the athletes, the ability to creatively change photo positions, and the potential to capture the drama of the sport. For these tips I will use high school sports as the middle ground, although they apply to all levels from tee-ball to professionals.

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"Failure to Prepare is Preparing to Fail"

This famous quote by John Wooden is one I try to follow in my life, especially in my profession. I have all my equipment packed and ready to go the night before an assignment. I review the shoot process as soon as I receive an assignment, and I prep all the proper gear as early as possible. I pack extra, fully charged NiCads, the correct lenses for the shoot, camera bodies, high speed Lexar cards, Gitzo Monopod and a chamois cloth. If you are photographing youth league or high school sports, make sure you have permission from event organizers ahead of time and know your restrictions in terms of photo positions. This way you will avoid any game time issues that may prohibit you from shooting.


The Importance of Positioning

Be smart and considerate when choosing where you shoot. I arrive early to an event to evaluate the lighting conditions and check for the best photographic positions. Generally, I want to work with the sun, not against it. I prefer nice side or frontal light, and I make sure I have clean, dark backgrounds. Try to avoid having signs, trees, parking lots, garbage cans, etc. in your background. Darker backgrounds and wide apertures make the athletes pop in the image. It is important that you try to find shooting positions where your viewing angle will not get blocked by officials or umpires. At the same time, be polite and make sure you do not block the view of spectators.

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Exposure: The Wider the Better
I always try to shoot wide open. That means setting and shooting with your aperture set at F2.8, F/4 or F5.6 depending on your lens. I usually shoot in Manual or Aperture Priority Mode at the widest setting possible. The bigger the aperture opening, the less depth of field you will have, isolating your subject from the background. The wide-open aperture will also let more light into your camera, creating a faster shutter speed. You usually need to have your shutter speed at least at 1/1000 of a second to stop the action. It is recommended to shoot at 1/2000 or faster to stop extremely fast action, such as a pitcher’s throwing motion or a swinging bat. Adjust the ISO in your camera to accomplish the correct shutter speed. For the best image quality, you want to keep your ISO as low as possible. Take a couple of test exposures to double-check this, because the dark background or bright white uniforms can trick your meter and overexpose your main subject. Know how your camera works and set it accordingly. I also use the Continuous Focus setting and one center focus point in my camera. This way your camera focusing system is not jumping around, and you have more control of what's in focus.  

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Know the Game
Be knowledgeable about all the sports you plan on photographing. Some photographers, after viewing my Cavaliers photos, ask me if I know the plays. The truth is, I usually have the plays down within the first few games of the season.  Pay attention to the game and anticipate what play may happen next. For example, during a baseball game, is the runner on first going to steal second? Is there a chance for a double play? Will there be a play at the plate? Could this be the game-winning hit? I have seen photographers miss photos because they were chatting with the person next to them. Anticipate! Once a play happens, you better be ready, because it will not happen again.

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Silhouette Images
Silhouette images are fun and easy to shoot, providing the sun is out and you have a clean background. I took this low angle silhouette by focusing on the first hurdle, then set my camera on the ground and composed the image. I employed manual exposure to expose for the sky, and used a 17mm lens at f/14 at 1/1000 to stop the action. Test some exposures ahead of time to get the desired effect.
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Not Just Action
When the play is over, don’t put your head down and look at your images. There are a lot of great sports images that are not action shots. Keep an eye out for something different or unusual. Look for images that tell a story and capture the drama and emotions of the game.

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David Liam Kyle Lexar 006David Liam Kyle Lexar 006©DAVID LIAM KYLE 2015 - All Rights Reserved - -

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Try a Different Angle
Try shooting from the stands for a higher view with a long lens. From the upper position you can get cleaner backgrounds and more artistic images. Obviously, this only works if you are shooting in a larger stadium with an unobstructed view.

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A Fan of the Pan

Another artistic way to capture amazing sports action is by panning. When photographing a moving athlete, the panning technique is achieved by keeping your main subject in the frame for the entire time of the exposure. The slower your shutter speed, the more unusual and interesting the effect. Pre-focus on the runner’s lane and start following your subject before you press the shutter release button. I generally tuck my elbows into my chest and turn at my waist, following my main subject as I press the shutter release button.  Follow the runner all the way through, and do not jerk or stop your camera as you are shooting. Don't be afraid to use your motor drive if you have one. Generally, the faster your subject, the faster your shutter speed should be. This technique will take some practice and some experimenting with different shutter speeds to get your desired image.

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The above tips have worked for me. I hope you are able to benefit from them as well. And if you photograph recreation leagues or school sports teams, Zenfolio is a great platform for sharing your photographs with clients in private galleries or posting online to share or sell. I use Zenfolio to promote my work but I also love the private client access, which allows clients to download photographs easily and professionally. Use my code kyle20 at checkout for a 20% discount!

Let's go!

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-09-19T21:27:28Z 2017-09-19T21:27:28Z Enter The World We Live In Photography Contest!

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Canadian and U.S. photographers are invited to submit their best work to The World We Live In VII, a Photo Life and Photo Solution magazines contest. The 21 winners will be awarded more than $40,000 in prizes, including high-end photo equipment, gift certificates, and a grand-prize expedition cruise for two with Adventure Canada. A handful of winners will also receive a free year of Zenfolio Pro plan!


Photographers may submit images under four themes: Humanity, Environment, Interconnections or Series (open theme). The Series theme (new this year) allows photographers to share their exploration of a subject, theme or story in three images or more.


The contest is open to pros and amateurs. Participants may submit their images online through December 11, 2017. Winning images will be published in the April/May 2018 edition of Photo Life and Photo Solution magazines.


Complete rules and contest registration for The World We Live In are available at

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-09-13T23:04:10Z 2017-09-13T23:04:10Z Making the Leap to Full-Time Photography

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When photographers decide to do full-time photography, sometimes it is the culmination of many years of part-time work under their belt. Other times, they commit to being full time right off the bat. Here, 10 professional photographers share the events that prompted them to take the plunge to full time.


Erica Peerenboom

“I transitioned from part time to full time once my husband and I converted part of our house into a home studio. From that point forward, I was able to shoot whenever I wanted in the convenience of my own home. It was a total game changer for me.”


Sara Kauss

“I used to work 9-5 Monday through Friday brokering palm trees for a tree sales vendor and then photograph weddings on Saturdays and edit on Sundays. Finally, my husband got tired of not seeing me at all, and we made the decision together that if I devoted 100% of my time to wedding photography then my business would grow and the revenue would replace my palm tree sales job! After that, I booked enough weddings to sustain my photography business without the additional income of a corporate job.”


Jeff Cable

“It was a combination of too many years in the corporate world, a growing list of clients and the addition of teaching workshops all over the world. I really love traveling and seeing other countries, so having the opportunity to do that as part of the photography business was the final straw for me.”


Dennis Berti

"I started to work in the wedding industry as an employee of a huge hotel, so my destination weddings at the beginning of my career were small (2-30 guests) and short (1-4 hours), and I was a part time photographer. But when I became an independent professional photographer I started to work with my own clients and had my own rules. The difference between 1 and 8 hours and between 20 and 80 guests was huge for me."


John Baikie

“The transition to full time photography happened after entering my first photography competition and winning. That was in 2004 and the title Highlands and Islands Photographer of the Year changed things for me. It catapulted me into the public eye locally, and five months later I had resigned from my engineering job and set up as a full-time business.”


Laura Grier

"I forced myself to quit bartending after year one at age 21 and had confidence that I could make money on my own through photography. The more energy you put into your photography, the more reward you will have, and if you are only putting in part-time energy, then you will never have full-time rewards."


Amiee Stubbs

“Even though I’d had years of experience in a photography studio, going back to college and getting a degree in photography is what gave me the confidence to become a full-time photographer. Refining my technical competence and visual awareness through a formal education allowed me to achieve a new level of growth in my work.”


Steve Bridgwood

“For me there never really was a part time to this job. Once I started photographing weddings it really just snowballed—I guess people liked my style. Most people also take for granted that it's not just about photographing the wedding itself; there's also editing, social media, meeting clients and keeping your website up to date. To be successful in this business you have to give it your all.”


Kevin Mullins

“I went from an IT geek to wedding photographer without any in-between time. But the need for a much better way of family life was the driving force to becoming a full-time photographer.”


David Williams

“I went to school for photography first with a degree from De Anza College and then got a degree in photography from Art Center College of Design. So, I went in dead set on being a full-time professional from the get go. Still, I found the true rhythm as a professional after many hardships, times that made me take a hard look at what it meant to be a professional—lots of self reflection.


I do think there are benefits to starting out part time and getting your feet wet, both to find your visual voice and to get your bearings as a photographer. Working part time for a professional photographer part time will certainly do that. You will also get a contact high just being around the business and will know pretty soon whether you want to do it full time.”

Take the leap!

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-08-28T16:00:00Z 2017-08-28T16:00:00Z New Pre-Order Feature! Presell Fall Photos Today!


As a school, sports, dance, or event photographer you can now collect payment for prints and products before picture day. Starting today, you can set up pre-order packages and sell them to your clients before the shoot from within your Zenfolio account. Preselling packages online provides a simple and secure way to process payments, and can complement or replace paper order forms. It streamlines the process, saving you time and eliminating the need for your clients to wait in line to pay or send kids with money on picture day.


The new Pre-Order feature is available to Advanced accounts and includes tools to track and export order data. Even better, the shopping experience is completely mobile-friendly, allowing your busy clients to pre-order on the go.


Create Pre-Order Packages

  • To access this feature from within your account, navigate to the Dashboard, click on Selling, and select the Pre-Order button that appears at the bottom (If you don’t have an Advanced account, you won’t see this feature.).

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  • Click on Create a New Pre-Order and start building your packages by easily populating them with any items you sell. You can give the Pre-Order a name, such as Smith High School, and you can name each package (for example, “Platinum” or “Package A.”) You can list the items included in the package description such as one 8”x10”; two 5”x7”s; 16 wallets, etc., and then set the price for each package. You can also upload a thumbnail image to represent each product package.

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  • Once you have your first package set up, you can create additional packages by duplicating the first one and adjusting the names, descriptions, and prices for the others. There’s no limit on how many packages you can create!

  • If you want to arrange the packages in a different order, simply click on the arrows to the left and drag and drop the package in its new position.  


Include Add-On Items

  • Add-on items can provide you with an additional source of revenue. Include add-on items, which can be either products or services, in your packages (clients won’t be able to order add-on items a la carte.) Or you can use this feature to offer a free gift with the purchase of a package. The choice is yours.

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Build a Customer Information Form

  • Next, create a form to collect customer information including the school name, the customer’s first and last name, and other fields that you can customize, for example, jersey number or team name. Your clients will complete this form online when they place a pre-order.

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Client Ordering

  • After you have set up the packages, add-on items, and the customer information form, you can share a link with your clients and request that they place a pre-order before the session. You can also set an expiration date to encourage immediate action.

  • Once the client’s checkout process is completed, they will receive an automated confirmation message.  A new tab called Pre-Orders in the Sales Report dashboard allows you to see the order.

  • After the session, you can place and fulfill the order.

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Want to know more? This Support Article walks you through the steps of creating Pre-Order Packages.

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-08-04T05:00:00Z 2017-08-04T05:00:00Z Stunning New Templates for Fresh New Look


Pick one of three new presets–available now!


There’s no better time to freshen up your site with a new look & feel that’ll make your visitors say ‘WOW!’. Choose one of three new presets–Rosenvelt, Ezra, or Winston–to give your photography website a stunning refresh in minutes.



Rosenvelt exudes a classic and effortless feel with a thoughtfully placed floating navigation menu and full-screen horizontal gallery that features a super smooth slider experience. Keep your visitors engaged from the moment they land on your site by filling your homepage gallery with timeless B&W images, or curate a gorgeous set with complementary colors to make scrolling through your slideshow visually exciting.


Click to view sample site.



Ezra’s gallery slideshow let’s your photography be the star of the show with plenty of white space beautifully enveloping your image. Showcase your best work and give each of your photos their unique moment to shine. Set it up as an automatic slideshow or allow your visitors the option to scroll through your curated images one-by-one to reveal your photography style.


Click to view sample site.



Feeling social? Winston showcases an Instagram-esque grid layout on the homepage. Grid layouts are an effective way to showcase many images in a quick glance, getting your viewers familiar with your style in one go without relying on a slideshow. All you need to do is upload your curated photos in your homepage gallery after you apply the preset.


Click to view sample site.

Want more? Build a site you love with an additional 9 preset options available for you to pick from. Want a welcome message on your homepage, we’ve got a preset for you. Want a super clean, minimalist site, we’ve got a preset for you. You can easily access all 12 options in two clicks from your Dashboard. All presets have been refreshed to include new font and color combinations that reflect an overarching modern look with clean gallery layouts. Finally, don’t forget that you can set how you want your site to display on mobile devices by toggling back and forth between desktop and thumb-friendly mobile site views. If you sell, it is highly recommended to keep your Mobile Site enabled for the best client shopping experience.


Easy How-To: It only takes two clicks to access your Site Preset options: (1) click “Customize Site” from your Dashboard, and then (2) click “Site Preset” at the bottom left corner. It’s that easy!

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-08-02T21:18:53Z 2017-08-02T21:18:53Z How to Market Your Photography Business & Build Your Brand


By Jeff Cable


Being good at business is important for anyone who is self-employed, but it is a necessity for photographers. First and foremost, as photographers, we need to be able to capture amazing photos for our clients. After all, this is what we are being hired to do. But, even if you are the best photographer in the world, skill alone will not guarantee success. We also need to be able to market our business, find new customers, and maintain our brand. Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.


Marketing Your Business

Whether you are just starting your photo business, or you have been in business for a while, you need to market yourself to let people know you are out there. In this digital age, there are countless places for you to market yourself. You can promote yourself for very little money by using social media, such as Instagram and Facebook. Be proud of your work and show it off to the world. You can write a blog to let people know what you are photographing, and promote work this way.  


Finding New Customers

You have many options for advertising and have the big challenge of determining the best place to spend your hard-earned money. I find that purchasing Google AdWords is an inexpensive and effective way to drive people to my website. I don’t spend more than $75 a month for Adwords, but I am booked for most of the next three years, so I have throttled that back. I would highly recommend that any photographer starting out use Adwords to reach their potential clients. When I started my photo business many years ago, I relied heavily on this. I found this to be much more effective than advertising in local publications. With the small amount I was spending per month, I figured that getting one client would pay for the ad cost for the next four years. And I knew that acquiring that one new customer could lead to many more, from word of mouth. So effectively, that $75 a month could turn into tens of thousands of dollars of business.


Of course, the best advertising is word-of-mouth, and I believe that this ultimately is what makes or breaks a photography business. If your customers are happy with you and your product, they will tell other people about you. Notice that I said happy with you and your product. You are an essential piece of the equation. Every minute of every day, you are representing your business. Treat your customers like gold all the time, and make sure that they are happy.


You are Your Brand

When you think of brands, you probably think of big company brands like Coca Cola, Apple, and McDonald’s. But as a photographer, you are your own brand, and you need to build and maintain that brand. Determine what your brand is, and how you are going to portray that brand to potential clients.


Ask yourself these questions to see if you are on the right track:

  1. Does my website reflect who I am and the brand I want to portray?
  2. What is my style of photography, and how do I portray that to my customers and potential customers?
  3. Who is my target market, and will my brand match their desires?
  4. Is everything I am doing aligned to my brand (social media, email and phone communications; logo; blogging style; photo retouching; etc.)?


One of the best ways to show your brand is through your website; this is why I use Zenfolio. Simply put, they make me look good. Zenfolio has many design options, allowing me to pick the one that best fits my brand. And the site looks professional and clean. When people ask me what I consider my most important selling tool, I always refer to my website. For photographers, there is no better way to show off our photos than on our website!


My website reflects my brand. I am an informal person who likes to photograph all types of subjects. My site shows images of mitzvahs, weddings, sports, and so much more. And the text is written in my style: not too corporate, but also not too informal as to appear unprofessional.


Follow the Right Path

It is helpful for both aspiring and pro photographers to have a marketing plan. Zenfolio has a handy Photographer’s Guide to Creating a Marketing Plan to get you on the right path. Even better, the guide is free!


As a seasoned professional photographer, I have seen many people come and go in this business. Some of the people who didn’t make it took outstanding photos, but it was not enough. They failed to think about the other pieces that are so critical. When considering what it takes to thrive as a photographer, remember that the images you are capturing are not the only thing that will make you successful. You also need to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to promote yourself.

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-06-28T22:34:49Z 2017-06-28T22:34:49Z In Search of Bears: Behind the Lens with Will Nicholls

A huge male brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos), known as 'Brutus', captured with a wide-angle lens. Photographed in Finland.


The first time I ever saw a bear in the wild was when I was walking through a swamp in the ancient Taiga forest bordering Finland and Russia. About 200 metres away, a huge male bear swaggered through the meadow. I could hear his feet splashing in the marsh; his eyes were fixed on me.


I was in Finland for the bears. My journey through the swamp was actually on the way to a hide where I would be spending the next two weeks, for 15 hours a day, waiting for these bears. I was definitely not expecting to see one so soon!


A huge male brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos), known as 'Brutus', captured with a wide-angle lens. Photographed in Finland.


Waiting in the hide required constant concentration. The sun doesn’t set in Finland during the summer, so there is light throughout the night. I’d arrive at the hide at 5 p.m. and leave around 9 a.m. the next morning. In this time, I would see a bear for maybe 30 seconds. Some nights there was nothing.


I had envisaged a handful of images I wanted to capture, but the first week spent in the hide wasn’t very fruitful. The bears were not around, and when I had seen them, they had been far away. I changed hides occasionally, spending time in both a forest hide and one out in the swamp. The advantage of the swamp was that the sky was visible, making opportunities for interesting lighting possible. However, the forest hide offered exciting chances to use my remote camera trap for some wide-angle images of the bears.


There was a brilliant sunset one evening, with a very low sun and some immense golden light cast across the swamp. Luckily I’d chosen the swamp hide. But now, I needed a bear.


A huge male brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos), known as 'Brutus', captured with a wide-angle lens. Photographed in Finland.


I kept glancing at the forest perimeter, waiting for a bear to emerge. The chances of it choosing this precise moment to show up were slim; I knew that. To my great surprise, I heard the splash of a huge bear’s paw about 50 metres in front of me. It was coming toward me! This was Brutus, once known as the biggest bear in Finland, and a fearsome male. He swaggered over toward my hide...


Normally he would walk straight past, not stopping and heading back into the forest behind me. But this time he crossed straight in front of the hide. Now he was only 3 metres away and heading to the position between myself and the sun. This was my chance to achieve the backlit image I’d been dreaming of!


A huge male brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos), known as 'Brutus', captured with a wide-angle lens. Photographed in Finland.


The sun was so low now, and I couldn’t see through the viewfinder. I did my best to track the bear, and fired off a number of frames as he moved past. I had to be careful not to scare him with the shutter, as once they know you’re there they will run. I reviewed the images after he left. I had it! The backlit bear of my dreams, complete with a puff of breath and mosquitos lit up by the evening light. Mission accomplished.


A huge male brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos), known as 'Brutus', captured with a wide-angle lens. Photographed in Finland.



Will Nicholls is an award-winning wildlife photographer, Zenfolio Ambassador, and founder of the popular nature photography blog Nature TTL.

Enjoy more of Will's incredible images at

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-06-21T08:30:00Z 2017-06-21T08:30:00Z Top Marketing Tips from Pro Photographers

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By Rachel Brill


Achieving professional success in the increasingly competitive photography industry takes more than talent. It also requires a good dose of marketing savvy. We asked the Zenfolio Ambassadors to share their tips for marketing themselves and staying ahead of the competition. Having an amazing website, using social media effectively, and making your clients feel special top the list.


Get a Professional Website


Fashion and glamour photographer Lou Freeman says presenting her work in an impressive way on her website gives her a professional edge. “My website allows me to show the complexities of the style of work we create quickly and easily. It has become my storefront, my office and my assistant all rolled up into a nice tight package,” she said.


Having a mobile-optimized website that is accessible from multiple device types is also important. “It doesn’t matter if I am at a meeting, at dinner, or in an editorial office, I can easily access my site to deliver images, order prints or create a sale. I have streamlined my workflow process, which means I am more profitable and have the opportunity to meet more clients and gain new sales,” Lou said.


A professional website is also essential for sports and nature photographer David Liam Kyle. “Credibility, marketing and confidence are a few of the most important secrets to selling yourself to a potential client. A client must trust that you can handle the assignment before they will risk their reputation and money to hire you. A professional website that represents your talents and abilities is the first step to establishing that trust,” he said.


Use Social Media the Right Way


Being mindful of the tone, frequency, and length of social media communications is also important, according to wedding photographer Kevin Mullins. “I get a lot of my business through Instagram and other social channels, but I want each of my social media activities to be personal and speak directly as I would. To that end, I don’t use hundreds of hashtags (just three or four), and I get the impression my potential clients like that. I think in this day and age where everybody uses social media to market, it’s too easy to ‘spam’ your audience,” he said.


Documentary photographer and photojournalist Ginny Dixon schedules time for her social media posts. “Facebook has some interesting new knowledge in their blueprint series for being successful on their platform. It’s a must to put some time into social media every week. I find blocking off time in my calendar works as a structure to make sure I post a few times a week,” she said.


Ginny also recommends being mindful of how you communicate with your existing clients. “Social media certainly helps, but I find that most of my business comes from the fact that I have been at this for quite a while now so I have a solid base of clients. Since I shoot for magazines often, I try to keep my mailing list clean. Editors for magazines seem to change positions every four or five years, so keeping up with where they go is a must. Every six months I give them all a call to check in. I think this is important for keeping your name fresh in their heads and making sure all your info is right,” she said.


Show Off Your Unique Photography


Wedding photographer Steve Bridgwood says honing in on what sets your work apart from other pros is key. "I think the most important thing for a wedding photographer is identifying where you stand out in your work and keep pushing the boundaries."


Educate Clients on What Makes You a Pro


Senior portrait photographer Erica Peerenboom tries to educate clients about what is involved in professional portrait photography. “It's not just about taking a picture. It's professional equipment, posing and lighting. It’s also post production mixed with experience of how to compose a shot and handle any lighting challenge.” she said.


Stand Out and Overdeliver


Sports and event photographer Jeff Cable stays ahead of the competition by overdelivering to his clients. “I want to wow them every step of the way. Not only do I want to take great photos for them, but I also do the following to stand out: Build a same-day slideshow; print, matte and frame an image for them on their event day (if possible); post their gallery of images the next day before 3 p.m.; and send them retouched images to share on social media (same day or next day). I also make sure to have fun when I am shooting. I want people to see that I love what I do. This helps me to get referrals,” he said.


For more advice on how to market yourself effectively, download the free Zenfolio guide A Photographer’s Guide to Creating a Marketing Plan.


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Rachel Brill is a marketing editor at Zenfolio. She has been editing for 13 years and writing for six years. She has a BA in journalism and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-06-19T20:22:45Z 2017-06-19T20:22:45Z Pro Tips for Starting a Photography Business—Part 3: Create a Business Plan

Business Plan (Header)Business Plan (Header)

By Rachel Brill

Making the leap from photography as a hobby to a business is a rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. We're here to help, so we asked some of the top pros in the industry “What is the one thing every photographer needs to know when starting a photography business?” and divided their answers into three themes. Part 1 focuses on the importance of standing out: what makes you unique will make you successful. In Part 2, we offered key business strategies from the pros. Now, in Part 3, we share why you need a business plan.


Whenever you are going somewhere you’ve never been before, it’s a good idea to have a map. A business plan maps out your ideas and goals, and strategies for achieving them. But as an artist, you may not be wondering if all of this planning is really necessary. Here, eight pros discuss why having a business plan is a must.


Have a Game Plan

Every photographer should have a game plan before starting a business, according to sports and nature photographer David Liam Kyle. “It should be based upon knowing the type of photography you want to do, combined with business savvy. Coupled with this should be good communication skills in order to convey your intentions to your clients and the people who are helping with your creative process,” he said.


Adventure travel photographer Andrew Peacock discusses the need for a marketing strategy. "Know what your target market is, and have a clear understanding of how you will reach out to those who can use your services. That may mean a clear ongoing social media strategy and/or a more traditional advertising approach," he said.


Get the Right Skills and Training

Wedding and commercial photographer John Baikie recommends taking classes or studying online about developing and running a business before trying to go pro. “Get the right training in place first. I see far too many people start a business with no training or experience, and just feeling their way around, hoping it’ll come together. Having a business plan and understanding the financial side of things will take a lot of the pressure off and allow you to focus on photography, without constantly worrying,” he said.


Sports and event photographer Jeff Cable also emphasizes the need to be have a solid understanding of business and marketing in place. "Even if you can take amazing photos, do not start a photo business until your business and marketing skills match your photography skills. I see too many photographers who take great photos and think that this is enough to build a business. It isn’t! In order to be successful, you need to think of your photography as business. You will need to be savvy about marketing, advertising, accounting, social media, and so much more," he said.  


Don't Try to Do It All

Wedding and portait photographer Caroline Tran says it’s counterproductive to try to do it all. “Trying to do everything and please everyone will spread you too thin. Identify your style and target audience, then focus on that and do it well. Same goes for your workflow—do what you do best, then streamline/outsource the things that you don't enjoy. This way, you'll use your energy where it matters most, and keep enjoying what you do rather than being weighted down by less enjoyable task, she said.


Focus on the Numbers

When senior portrait photographer Erica Peerenboom was first starting out, she met with a small business advisor and put together her business plan. “They were able to guide me in all aspects of starting a business in my state and meeting all the requirements. Check with your state and find out how to register your business and pay your taxes. That is one of the most important steps. You also need to be able to effectively market and sell your products to actually make a profit. Figure out your cost of doing business and charge accordingly. Otherwise you are working for nothing, and no one loves photography that much. That's a quick way to burn out!” she said.


Music and portrait photographer Martin Hobby echoes the importance of crunching the numbers. “Before you start your business as a photographer, know exactly how much you need to earn each month to stay in business. I've seen too many great photographers go back to working for someone else, because they underestimate how important the business side of running a business is. It's not glamorous, but knowing how to write a simple business plan, cash flow forecast, and the basics about taxes will give you a fighting chance of being successful,” he said.


Pet photographer Amiee Stubbs wants photographers to know that even when you are building you portfolio, your time is valuable. “We love making our art, but this is also our livelihood. Be sure to charge your clients enough to cover your business expenses, and make some profit, as well. Don’t sell yourself short!” she said.


As the pros mentioned, having a marketing plan is an important component of a business plan. That’s why Zenfolio created A Photographer’s Guide to Creating a Marketing Plan! Download the free guide to learn how to create an effective marketing plan.


When putting together your business plan, consider it a work in progress that you update as needed based on what you learn along the way, and as your business grows and changes.

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Rachel Brill is a marketing editor at Zenfolio. She has been editing for 13 years and writing for six years. She has a BA in journalism and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-06-01T16:00:00Z 2017-06-01T16:00:00Z 6 Fashion Photography Pro Tips

Fashion (Header)Fashion (Header)

Zenfolio Ambassador Lou Freeman specializes in highly stylized conceptual fashion and glamour photography. She has practiced and shaped the art of fashion, glamour, fine interior, and lifestyle photography for more than three decades. Lou’s work has been featured in hundreds of editorial fashion magazines and fashion catalogs, and she is also renowned in publishing and advertising. Here, she shares her top six fashion photography tips.


  1. Stay on trend. Style trends are always changing, and in the world of fashion you need to stay current. Learn the trends ahead of each season, and stay on point with the current trends. You’ll also want to learn about the fashion designers and their preferred style of photography.

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  1. Relationships are everything. Get to know all of the stylists for clothing, sets, and hair and makeup. Forming great relationships with all of these people will help your business grow and your reputation to soar.

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  1. Learn all about light. Photographers must thoroughly understand seasonal fashion light and how to create it at the drop of a hat as the season changes. Learn all the styles of light and how to manipulate it well. Be able to balance it to ambient light to make the biggest impact and get the most out of the sources available. I highly suggest buying a great kit of lights that allows you to go on location and shoot with the same impact as in the studio. This will bring comfort and versatility to your work, and it will allow you to create almost anything you wish in terms of concept on any location.

Lou 6Lou 6

  1. Update your portfolio regularly. Shoot often, and update your portfolio with new images regularly. Keep your website design clean to allow your work to shine. My work is updated 3-5 months ahead of each season change so that my clients are looking at my most current work. We are never more excited about our own work as we are when we first create it. So this is the time to show it.

Lou 2Lou 2

  1. Focus on marketing. Ensure the maximum amount of people know about your work. Be sure to send out a newsletter, keep an up-to-date blog, and be active on social media to ensure your name is on the tip of the tongues of potential clients. Don’t hesitate to reach out to share the knowledge of the work and jobs you are creating.

Lou 3Lou 3

  1. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Do an assessment, and be honest with yourself about what you are great at and what isn’t your strong suit. If possible, hire someone else to do the tasks that you don’t excel at so you can focus your time on what you do best. Doing this will free up your time and improve the quality of your work.

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ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-05-15T20:00:00Z 2017-05-15T20:00:00Z New Product Details Page: Shopping Simplified

Product Details (Header)Product Details (Header)

Over the past several months our product team has been releasing features and improvements designed to make shopping on Zenfolio effortless for both you and your clients. We are pleased to announce the final major release of the New Shopping Experience with the introduction of the new Product Details Page.


When selecting a product to purchase, your client will now see all the information about that item on a single page. Previously, different product features—like size, price, and description— were shown in multiple pop-ups. This sometimes caused shoppers to get lost during the ever-important buying process, which increased the risk for lost sales. That risk is reduced with the new product page.  


You’ll also see product information organized in a modern, clean design that mirrors your site’s theme. Clients can still adjust the image crop from this page, and so much more. The photo your client has chosen is featured within the product they want to purchase. For example, if a client is buying a 20” x 30” Standout Display, the details page will show their photo in that product, with additional images showing other product views; in this case, an image showing the available colors and width of the trim.


Product DeetsProduct Deets


The Product Details Page is rich with useful information:


  • For items larger than 5” x 7,” the Product Details Page includes a sizing chart that gives a scaled representation of how large an item appears when shown next to a human silhouette.


  • A drop-down tab on the item allows shoppers to see additional product information,or choose another item within the product subcategory without being sent to another page.


  • The Product Details Page is shareable, allowing clients to send a link to another person for review before making the final purchase.


The only way for you and your clients to see the new Product Details Page during checkout is to turn on the New Shopping Experience. On June 22, the New Shopping Experience will be enabled for all accounts that have a price list assigned to a photo or gallery. On this date, the option to turn off the NSE will no longer be available, so we encourage you to turn it on today to familiarize yourself with the new features and functionality. You can enable the New Shopping Experience by logging in to your Zenfolio account: from the Dashboard, click Turn On in the Zenbar located at the top of your screen.

Learn More in the New Shopping Experience FAQ.

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-05-12T16:00:00Z 2017-05-12T16:00:00Z 50 Shades of SEO: The Secrets of Social Media



50 Shades of SEO – Part 4

The Secrets of Social Media

By Eugen Feygin

*This article was originally published in 2016. The content has been so helpful for Zenfolio users that we republished it!

SEO may not be the sexiest topic, but it’s crucial for a photographer today to know all about it. Why? Having SEO implemented will drive more traffic to your site so you can gain more clients and sell more. In the fourth installment of our SEO series, we talk about using social media to improve your business and website SEO.

Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 1: Link Your Way to the Top

Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 2: How Blogging Can Boost Your Business.

Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 3: Keywords are Your Best Friend


Which social media platform should I use?

There are many social media platforms to choose from, and it can be overwhelming to utilize more than one at a time, but that’s the world we live in. For photographers, the most impactful networks are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I highly recommend Instagram and Pinterest since those channels focus mainly on photographs. However, Facebook and Twitter are the largest social media networks, so you can’t disregard them. For some that is too many social media accounts to manage, but you can automate some of the tasks—make sure you have a consistent custom URL for each (for example,

When you post to Instagram (make sure your accounts are connected in Instagram) you can automatically post to Facebook and Twitter at the same time, so now all you have to do is figure out Pinterest and you’re set! Or you can go an alternative route and just post to Facebook and automate it to autopost to Twitter.


Why do I need so many social media channels?

By utilizing all the major social media channels that relate to your industry you are increasing your chance of being found by potential customers. You also want to make sure you are active and respond to people; don’t just post things and ignore your followers.

Why is no one liking or sharing my photo?

I had this dilemma and spoke to several social media experts about it. The answer was that I was posting content to show what I can do, but I was not engaging. An engaging conversation on a topic they care about is much more effective. 

Experiment with asking your followers questions—find ways to get them to react or engage with a post. For example, consider making a small video collage of some of the funniest wedding photos you have taken in the past month, and ask people about the funniest moment they have experienced.

I recommend sitting down and writing out all the ideas you have and questions you could ask, and scheduling everything. You may also want to do some Facebook advertising to get the ball rolling. If the post is doing well naturally it’s not be a bad idea to advertise it to get the ball rolling even faster!


How often should I post?

I recommend posting at least three times a week to ensure that you’re engaging with your audience. With Facebook, if you do not post enough over a certain period of time—and then decide to finally post—your existing followers might not even see what you posted. Even if you have 5K followers, if you don’t post for, say, a month or longer and then start to post, you will notice a huge drop in the amount of likes you will get. If you are in this situation, there are a couple of solutions.

Consider doing Facebook advertising and only target your followers to ensure that you get the engagement metrics back, and then branch out a little bit by targeting their friends. Just make sure you set budgets and specify exactly where and who you want to target. Facebook advertising can add up very quickly—do not expect a return based on the amount you invest into this. This is more about branding and engaging with your followers.

Consider doing email-marketing campaigns to target new followers, and retarget existing ones by offering a promotion, or try to converse about certain topics in your industry.

Try to be consistent with your marketing efforts. Make sure you have a predefined target market and try to understand that market as much as possible before you engage with them.


Latergramme: Schedule Instagram posts from mobile (Free option available)

Hootsuite: Schedule posts from a desktop computer to publish later (Free option available)

MailChimp: Email marketing software (Free option available)

How do social media channels affect my Google ranking?

This question has been evaluated a lot by the search community. It may not be a large signal in the overall metric over your rankings, but it does play a role in the decision.

Google AI

Google continues to invest a lot of time and money into AI research. It correlates with the fact that they are trying to index the world as much and as quickly as possible. They also want to better understand their customer and provide the best answer to any question. Because we post and interact on so many channels across the web, it would be reckless for them to disregard these channels as attributes that define who we are.

Google tracks users through the following free products that they insist you stay logged into to use (There are a lot more).

  • Gmail: Scans all your emails to understand context and saves all that information and provides a lot of capacity to ensure that you refrain from deleting data that can be utilized to identify you
  • YouTube: Tracks all videos you watch, how you interact with them, and what you upload and contribute to the platform
  • Google Maps: Tracks all your movements and keeps address search history
  • Google Search: Records time spent on a page when searched for a specific phrase, monitors what you click and if you like the result, and changes the results based on your previous behavior combined with the search algorithm
  • Google Chrome: A browser that tracks all your history and insists that you stay logged in to use it
  • Google Calendar: Provides you with notifications across all your platforms and saves all of them as well as all the information added

Google creates free products for people to use in order to gain access into our lives. If you consider that so many people now use social media, it would be reckless for them to disregard that information as another piece of data in learning your online behavior. They can use this information to draw a rough picture of who you are as a person, how big your following is, who you influence, and even shopping behavior.

Not all social media channels choose to share their data with search engines, but Google still finds ways to get to any public pages.


By ignoring social media channels for your photography business you are giving your competition an advantage over you. They may have a large following that they have developed over the years, and that following can be leveraged to expand their business even further. Once you get the ball rolling it is much easier to push it just a little, but that initial jump into the game does take time. Also keep in mind that Google can actually understand sentiment behind a brand and if a brand is perceived in a positive light based on reviews, followers, comments and so fourth, which can give catapult you to the top. 

*   *   *

EugeneFeyginEugeneFeygin Eugene Feygin is a Chicago-based SEO consultant with more than a decade of experience helping local photographers and small businesses around the country strategically utilize online marketing. He is also a fashion and corporate event photographer who produces high caliber work for event and production companies around the country. Check out his photography website as well as his SEO consulting website

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-05-12T16:00:00Z 2017-05-12T16:00:00Z 50 Shades of SEO: Keywords are Your Best Friend



50 Shades of SEO – Part 3

Keywords are Your Best Friend

By Eugen Feygin

*This article was originally published in 2015. It has been so helpful for Zenfolio users that we have republished it!

SEO may not be the sexiest topic, but it’s crucial for a photographer today to know all about it. Why? Having SEO implemented will drive more traffic to your site so you can gain more clients and sell more. In the third installment of our SEO series, we talk about keywords and how to implement them on your website.

Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 1: Link Your Way to the Top.
Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 2: How Blogging Can Boost Your Business.
Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 4: The Secrets of Social Media

How do I select and use keywords?

Keywords are select words or phrases that people type into search engines when they want to achieve a certain result. Keep in mind that there are thousands of new phrases being typed into searches that no one can plan for, but if you are strategic you can make sure you have your bases covered on every front.


How do I know what keywords my customers are using?

Since Google is one of the largest search engines in North America, it has a lot of data that it is constantly collecting to better understand what people are searching. Google provides this data to its advertisers through Google AdWords. In Google AdWords there is a tool called the Keyword Planner that you can experiment with to understand what people search for. In addition to looking at the keywords you also need to consider the intent behind every keyword—for example, when someone is searching for event photography versus an event photographer. Both phrases get a lot of traffic, but the intent is different with each one. Should you target one or both?

The Strategy

Let’s say I would like to rank in first position when a person enters the phrase “Chicago wedding photographer.” Before I do my research in the keyword planner, I first need to assess my competitors and see what keywords/phrases they are using and how. You can simply look at their website titles as well as the text on the page. You can then use services such as SEO Moz to do a more in-depth search to see what phrases they tend to rank. An alternative solution is to hire an SEO expert, as they often have access to a lot more of these in-depth, fairly expensive tools and have a different understanding as to how to utilize them more effectively.

Once you have this information, go into the keyword planner and put in as many combinations as you can think of. You will then get a list of phrases and data that shows you how much traffic the phrases get per month, what the cost per click is, and some additional ideas for phrases you may have not even considered. Let’s say you currently rank number 21 for “Chicago wedding photographer” and you see that phrase is searched a lot and there is way too much competition for you to ever really get to the top—that’s when you need to revisit the strategy.  

One idea is to go after customers in the social media arena, or you might discover that a lot of people search for a certain wedding venue in Chicago. In that case, you can create an amazing page on your site dedicated to that venue and weddings hosted that year. This tactic is basically going after long-tail keywords, which are phrases that are searched a lot less but might convert better. An interesting element to examine when you look at keywords is to consider how much people are paying for a certain keyword and ask yourself: why are they paying four to five times more for a certain phrase when it’s so long and has so little traffic? Maybe they discovered a trend and you just uncovered their secret!

11 How do I know what people are searching when they get to my site?

This used to be a fairly simply question to answer but unfortunately has become very difficult to determine. In the past you could log in to Google Analytics and the data was available, but Google has taken a large portion of that data away from us.

Google Webmaster Tools still tracks some of the keywords that result in traffic to your site. You can also go into Google Analytics and see what page a user lands on when they first interact with your site—and you can then assess the intent of their search.

Why did Google take away that information?

Manipulation is primarily the reason, I believe. When you can see that phrase X brought in so much traffic, you might only focus on that phrase and ignore the rest. Google doesn’t want you to just look at keywords and phrases but rather expand your content to focus on topics and ideas, as that is more natural.

Think about the last time you searched for something. Did you search “Chicago wedding photographer” or did you search “Chicago wedding photographers available in my area”? Which of the two is more natural for you? From a user perspective, Google would like for us to naturally interact with its search flagship instead of trying to figure out what phrases to search to get our intended result. Google even has Ok Google, a voice search option in its Chrome browser and Google mobile application. Because of this concept, it is trying to get online marketers to move away from keywords but not ignore them entirely. If you are targeting Chicago wedding photographer, you are still going to mention “Chicago,” “wedding” and “photographer” throughout your article, post or any of your content, and Google understands that. Its algorithm is learning intent slowly, and when the person who may not use the exact phrase “Chicago wedding photographer” it might rank higher than one that does because that first site is doing it naturally and the second one is trying to manipulate the outcome (of course, there are other metrics involved).


The goal is to provide as much variety as possible to cover your bases: yes, use the keyword(s) but also vary the phrases, talk about topics relating to the keyword, get links from other sites with similar ideas or topics that relate to the keyword and go from there. You need to make sure that there is enough variety so that you can infer what the page is about to help boost your rankings without being so direct. You could even join discussion threads across multiple wedding forums and jump in and assist with any questions and mention your site as a resource (do not use your targeted keyword to link back to your site!). 

Next, be sure to read part four of this series, The Secrets of Social Media

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EugeneFeyginEugeneFeygin Eugene Feygin is a Chicago-based SEO consultant with more than a decade of experience helping local photographers and small businesses around the country strategically utilize online marketing. He is also a fashion and corporate event photographer who produces high caliber work for event and production companies around the country. Check out his photography website as well as his SEO consulting website


ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-05-12T16:00:00Z 2017-05-12T16:00:00Z 50 Shades of SEO: How Blogging Can Boost Your Business

338928584256034.ki27U6SgzGIl0kYFsCZF_height640338928584256034.ki27U6SgzGIl0kYFsCZF_height640   image-01image-01 Fifty Shades of SEO – Part II

How Blogging Can Boost Your Business

By Eugene Feygin

*This article was originally published in 2015. The content has been so helpful to Zenfolio users that we have republished it!

SEO may not be the sexiest topic, but it’s crucial for a photographer today to know all about it. Why? Having SEO implemented will drive more traffic to your site so you can gain more clients and sell more. In the second installment of our SEO series, we talk about blogging and how it can benefit photographers. Read our Part 1 post on linking here

Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 1: Link Your Way to the Top.

Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 3: Keywords are Your Best Friend

Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 4: The Secrets of Social Media.

Why do I need to blog?

Many photographers I speak to dislike writing. However, they do not fully comprehend the potential that a blog has in their online marketing strategy. Blogging is the most common online marketing tool. A blog is used to create engaging content that your potential and existing customers may relate back to your photography. It’s also an easy way to add content to your site to help boost your search rankings.

What is engaging content?

This can be just about anything. Some common blog topics include: a written article, a video, amazing pictures that tell a story, etc. Keep in mind that the point of the blog is engagement. Engagement is defined as time spent by the visitor on the blog page, the number of clicks through the information, the number of likes the shared post gets on social media, whether the visitor scrolled down the page, etc. This type of engagement is measured by search engines and is used to determine your search engine rankings. In short, engaging content can directly benefit your search ranking. pull-quotepull-quote

How will a blog post help my rankings?

A blog post is a great way to show your current and new followers how your business is progressing and what you’re working on.

A typical example of a blog post with engaging content might be posting a photograph you shot during a recent wedding at a historical venue. Your post can include text about the day, photos, and even a video (hint: For an added SEO boost, provide a transcript for your video to help with adding additional text to the post). The blog post can then be leveraged as promotional marketing material for your business. The blog post will also be indexed by search engines, making your blog accessible to someone searching for photos of that historical venue for their own upcoming wedding. You can also share the post on social media where it may get likes and additional shares. This may result in new customers seeing the blog post and lead to greater brand awareness, which will more than likely translate to more bookings.

What guidelines should I keep in mind?

Ideally you should be writing at least 800-1500 words plus three to 10 original photos. You should also think about the keywords you utilize throughout the post and consider linking back to your site categories.

For example, if you have a portrait photography category on your site and your post is about photographing an artistic portrait, then consider linking some of the relevant phrases in the post back to a portrait photography gallery—this will add signals to search engines that the page is about portrait photography. This will also give your users an easy way to get to the relevant category on your site.

One big side note is to avoid using the same phrases over and over again as it can hurt the post’s SEO. Another tip is to sometimes link long phrases to create some variety in your search relevance. In essence, you are trying to tell Google that certain search phrases should return your website in the search results.

image-02image-02 How often should I post?

This really depends on how much quality content you can produce. Ideally you should have posts scheduled on a consistent basis. It is much better to produce one to two articles a month that are engaging and insightful, rather than producing four to eight articles a month that simply showcase what you do with little to no engagement.

The point of a blog is not to show your work—that is what your website portfolio is for. The point of a blog is to engage with your target market and keep them engaged for as long as possible. This engagement will keep your business at the front of your followers’ minds. That way, you’re the first business they think of, whether they need your service now, a year down the line or if they need a service to refer to their friends. 

One strategy is to prepare five blog posts and space them out when scheduling them to go live. You can schedule the posts to go live at different times of the day and days of the week. This helps to measure the level of interaction so you can select the best one for your audience’s engagement.

How do I get more readers to my blog?

Promoting your blog posts on strategic social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is crucial for getting the most out of every post you create. If you write an insightful post that can really impact your community, but you do not promote it, the chance that someone will engage with it is slim to none. You need to consider promoting these posts on all the marketing channels, and don’t forget about good old fashion email marketing!

Consider putting your first photo further down on the page so that when a viewer lands on that page they can still see the photo but it forces them to scroll down to see the rest. This engagement gets the readers’ attention and can be used to hook them as well as serve as a metric that you can utilize to increase your rankings (more engagement = higher rankings).

Think about the types of posts on social media you tend to click on the most and the types of titles they have. Use that information when writing your blog post titles as well as the excerpt information.

Don’t forget to also reach out to industry experts in your field and let them know about the post. Their followers may be interested in the content and their recommendation or Retweet could help with your rankings as well as bring in new customers.

Use your blog as a marketing tool that engages with your existing and potential customers on a consistent basis. Content that is relevant to your market audience will drive more engaged traffic to your site which will in turn boost your overall SEO and search ranking.

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Eugene Feygin is a Chicago-based SEO consultant with more than a decade of experience helping local photographers and small businesses around the country strategically utilize online marketing. He is also a fashion and corporate event photographer who produces high caliber work for event and production companies around the country. Check out his photography website as well as his SEO consulting website

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-05-12T16:00:00Z 2017-05-12T16:00:00Z 50 Shades of SEO: Link Your Way to the Top


blog-seo-googleblog-seo-google 50 Shades of SEO - Part 1

Link Your Way to the Top

By Eugene Feygin

*This article was first published in 2015. The content has been so helpful to Zenfolio users that we republished it!

SEO: it may not be the sexiest topic, but it’s crucial for a photographer today to know all about it. Why? Having SEO implemented will drive more traffic to your site so you can gain more clients and sell more. In the first installment of our SEO series, we talk about link building, a crucial element in gaining traction to your website.

Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 2: How Blogging Can Boost Your Business.

Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 3: Keywords are Your Best Friend

Read 50 Shades of SEO Part 4: The Secrets of Social Media.

Why are links such a dominant part of SEO?

The point of getting a link from another website is that search engines use this as one of the leading metrics in deciding who ranks at the top of the page.

Imagine that you are an expert at photographing corporate events, and your friend works at an industry-leading corporate company and tells his friends that you’re the best. Linking is basically the same concept, but when a site links to your site they are publicly endorsing you (kind of like LinkedIn). When they use certain phrases such as “best corporate photographer” to link back to your site from their corporate site, search engines see that as a signal that a website may be relevant to a user’s search for the best corporate photographer. If they are authoritative enough, that endorsement alone can boost you toward the top of search results.

You might read this and say, “Well then I am going to try to get a lot of links from all of my friends linking back to me with the phrase or keyword I am targeting.” Due to manipulation over the years, that is a bad idea.

Search engines have spotted this technique and have caught on that their algorithm simply needs to get better at sifting through those types of strategies. Regardless of this advancement, links are still a huge aspect of your rank or position on Google.

How do you get more links?

Here is where it gets a little dicey. Search engines do not want you to ask for links, and yet they are still important.

Since links are a critical piece to the game, asking for links needs to be a strategic process. For starters, it’s important to consider the text that makes up your link—not the destination link but the actual text that is clicked that links a visitors to your page. Sometime it’s a graphic that links to your page, but ideally it would be text so that a bit more information is provided when the site is indexed regarding what the link is directing to. This text that links to your page is called anchor text. Your best bet is not to specify the keyword(s) you want the website to use when linking back to you. This will ensure there is enough variety, and even if they just link back to you with your website address it is still a signal to search engines that an authoritative figure is linking back to your site as a qualitative resource (even if it’s a nofollow link).

What is a nofollow link?

When a site links to another site they are in essence saying that this is a great site and we are backing it 100 percent. A similar idea would be this: You work at a large company and your best friend wants a job. You go to HR and you put his/her resume on the table and tell them that you vouch for them. You are in essence increasing their chances of getting the job simply because you already have authority/importance at the company. In link building, this would be associated with a dofollow link (a typical link). In that same workplace example, if your best friend wants the job but you simply tell them where to apply, you are helping them get the job but you are not vouching for them in any way. We would call this a nofollow tag.

Typically, if you’re linking to any website outside of your own, you need to be careful who you link to. Otherwise, simply use a nofollow tag to not associate with the website. Most people use this tag if they are promoting a product or are being paid for advertising, or they simply want to provide a resource to their readers but not pass their authority onto the resource. By default most links are dofollow links. middle-graphicmiddle-graphic

What is an authoritative figure?

In the past, marketing experts relied on the page rank of a site to determine authority on the web, but that metric is slowly being phased out. Instead, think of authority in a different fashion. Some experts have mentioned that this metric may be removed completely as it has not been updated in more than a year. However, until that happens we are still stuck with this as our online yardstick.

Often an authoritative individual or company in an area will have a strong presence in the community as well as on the web. In the end, it depends on who you assess is your target market and where you can intersect that market utilizing the authority of several key players in your area. Don’t think of finding a person just to get a link to your site or a retweet. Think about how they can help your business as a whole. Maybe you can partner with other companies in your field to create a stronger brand that can offer multiple services and at the same time support one another. Photographer Central is a great example of a specific referring site with authority in the photography industry. In the end, it all boils down to your marketing strategy.

How do I get a recommendation from this authoritative figure?

Strategies vary greatly. You can guest author on blogs since blogs need content and will provide an attribution link at the bottom of the post. Another option would be to simply provide some kind of service that can benefit the followers in their industry. You need to understand that, as an industry leader, the industry looks at that individual or company constantly for insight and direction. If that leader is absent or not being proactive then they are downgraded from their status. Ideally the goal is to become an industry leader, but to become one is tougher than to stay one.


Additional link-building opportunities:

  • Sign up for authoritative directories in your industry such as
  • Create content or information that will be useful to your industry and promote it heavily. For example, tips on proper lighting techniques, types of lenses to use for different applications, or how to properly price prints as well as your service. People will link to this information (also known as link bait) and in return provide you with authority from their site.
  • Provide photography service for a charity or an event that could potentially link back to you when they post the photos with your credit link. Make sure to not specify the keyword for them to use.
  • Examine authoritative sites that already link to your competitors within your area as well as beyond and see if any of their links are broken (go to nonexistent pages). Then ask if they would be interested in linking to your company instead.
  • Examine what links your competitors have pointing to them and find out how you can be included.
  • Reach out to local universities and schools where your knowledge could benefit their students’ education—from teaching a class on lighting to showing the latest Photoshop editing techniques.
  • Try to get in the news by releasing case studies or controversial information (perhaps you have an opinion you would like to voice).
  • Sponsor a local organization or club.
  • Get on review sites, such as: Yelp, Google+, Facebook, Angie’s List, etc… This is crucial for brand perception and most photographers ignore these channels!

Not all links are created equal

Consider the relationship. If Annie Leibovitz recommended you to her friends for a photo gig versus your friend next door (who knows nothing about photography), think of the impact that recommendation or link can have on your business. If a link comes from a site that is not related to your field it may have less influence on your position in search—even more so if that link comes from an individual who has very little authority in the field.

Giving helps you grow

It’s important to examine how you can help other people and/or organizations in your community. This will help you establish your company in the offline and online world as an industry leader. Think about the last conference you went to and how many speakers presented on a variety of topics? These individuals/companies are not only educating but also promoting their business, and most likely the event has a website that will list links for each speaker and more information about them. Think about how you can help your community with your skill set and just maybe they will help you in return. Whether it’s a link or simply a recommendation, either one grows your business.

Want more? Read our Part 2 post on blogging here

*   *   *


Eugene Feygin is a Chicago-based SEO consultant with more than a decade of experience helping local photographers and small businesses around the country strategically utilize online marketing. He is also a fashion and corporate event photographer who produces high caliber work for event and production companies around the country. Check out his photography website as well as his SEO consulting website

ZenBlog (C) ZenBlog 2017-05-12T16:00:00Z 2017-05-12T16:00:00Z