ZenBlog: Blog http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) ZenBlog (ZenBlog) Wed, 04 May 2016 17:30:00 GMT Wed, 04 May 2016 17:30:00 GMT New! Enroll in Zenfolio-Run Client Sales http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/enroll-in-zenfolio-run-client-sales

Let Zenfolio market your business for major holidays. Enroll now and a few times per year we’ll promote your photography to your clients. We’ll send them enticing offers to help you sell more prints and products. Enroll today and watch your sales grow!


Learn how it works by visiting our Support Center.

(ZenBlog) Zenfolio marketing photographer photography product updates professional photographer professional photography selling http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/enroll-in-zenfolio-run-client-sales Mon, 11 Apr 2016 16:01:00 GMT
Optimize Your Photos for Social Media Marketing http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/optimize-your-photos-for-social-media-marketing

Social media is a must for marketing your photography these days, but how do you ensure your photos look their best? In order to get the most out of your marketing, it’s important to understand how different social media platforms compress and convert your images. Bookmark this handy guide, which gives you the optimal image sizes for each platform.

Facebook tends to compress images quite a bit, which may result in reduced image quality. Uploading PNG files to Facebook is a good workaround, since they can’t be compressed. If you’d rather post JPG images, convert them to sRGB and keep the size under 100KB to avoid compression. Here are the recommended image sizes.

  • The profile image is 180 x 180 pixels.

  • The ideal cover photo size to avoid compression is 851 x 315 pixels.

  • For images in links, 1200 x 627 pixels is the best size.

  • For timeline photos as well as albums, 2,048 pixels wide is the max size before images gets compressed. If you have large pictures (2,048 pixels wide), then select “high quality” when uploading.

You can also use your voicemail message to drive traffic to your Facebook page.

Compression is less of an issue with Twitter, but it does have uploading limitations. Here are some guidelines to follow.

  • The header image aspect ratio is 1:3, so 1,500 x 500 pixels.

  • The profile image is 400 x 400 pixels. You’ll want it to fill the frame so it still looks good when scaled down.

  • For photo sharing there is a 1:2 ratio, with 1024 x 512 pixels being ideal.

Compression doesn’t seem to be an issue with With Google+ and there are only a few dimensions to remember.

  • The profile photo is 250 x 250 pixels.

  • The cover photo is 2,120 x 1,192 pixels.

  • For sharing images, the minimum size is 250 x 250 pixels.

Based on the Light Stalking article How to Optimize Images for Social Media.

(ZenBlog) marketing photo size photographer professional photography social media http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/optimize-your-photos-for-social-media-marketing Wed, 06 Apr 2016 22:21:36 GMT
Effortless Professional Photo Albums Now Available http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/hassle-free-professional-photo-albums

Zenfolio has made it easier for you to sell more photo albums, while saving you valuable time. We can select the photos and design the album for you! See how it works.



Photo albums are a great way to get your work noticed by more people. These high-quality, effortless photo albums will delight your clients and result in more sales for you!



You can also get 30% off all subsequent sample orders with code ALBUMSAMPLE30.

One use of discount code ALBUMSAMPLE50 per Zenfolio account. ALBUMSAMPLE30 can be used multiple times per account. Cannot be combined with any other discounts. Orders must be placed through Edit View to qualify for the discount.

(ZenBlog) Zenfolio marketing photo album product updates selling http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/4/hassle-free-professional-photo-albums Fri, 01 Apr 2016 07:01:00 GMT
Celebrate With Us at The Photography Show http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/celebrate-with-us-at-the-photography-show

Now in its third year, The Photography Show has become one of the premier UK photography events.

The Photography Show, at Birmingham NEC Arena March 19-22, offers a lineup of world-class speakers, the latest equipment and gadgets, and a chance to meet face-to-face with the leading names in the industry. Not to mention all of the great photography on display.

This year, we’re especially excited to be returning because we’re celebrating our 10-year anniversary! Join in our celebration at stand C51, where in addition to our show special and giveaways, you’ll have a chance to win 10 free years of Zenfolio

We will also be hosting two happy hours during the show. Simply show up at C51 between 5pm and 6pm on Saturday or Monday, scan your badge, and enjoy a free glass of bubbly!

For current Zenfolians, we have something special for you this year too. Our tech guru will be flying all the way from San Francisco to host 20-minute Zen Bar appointments Sunday through Tuesday, where you can have all your questions answered to help take your website to the next level. Bookings will be taken at the stand from Saturday onwards, with the first appointment at doors-opening on Sunday. They are on a first come first served basis, so be sure to get there early!

Over the four days we will also be joining our partners Aspire and One Vision Imaging in a packed schedule of talks right at our stand, with business tips on everything ranging from websites, to printing, to training—and a whole lot more.

Elsewhere on the larger stages, Zenfolio Pro Team member Kevin Mullins will be sharing his valuable insights on the business of documentary wedding photography, and Aspire’s Catherine Connor will be imparting some inspiration on blogging, and finding your way out of your creative rut.

This year’s show promises to be another jam-packed event full of all things photography, and we look forward to seeing you there! Drop by and say hi to the team at booth C51.

(ZenBlog) Aspire Catherine Connor Kevin Mullins One Vision Imaging Zenfolio anniversary happy hour photography show photography website professional photography the photography show http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/celebrate-with-us-at-the-photography-show Fri, 19 Feb 2016 20:52:01 GMT
Zenfolio Wins Best Website Provider and Best Professional Product at SWPP Awards! http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/zenfolio-wins-swpp-2016-awards

With another great year at the biggest photographic convention in Europe all wrapped up, we are thrilled to announce that Zenfolio has won two awards at this year’s SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers) award ceremony.

Best Website Provider

Best Professional Product

To win these awards three years in a row is an honor. The Best Professional Product award is granted to the company with the highest number of votes in any single category, and we would like to thank every one of you who took the time to show your support. We couldn’t have done it without you!

We would also like to congratulate Aspire for winning Best Professional Training for the fourth year running, along with all the trade award winners for their well-deserved accolades.

To new acquaintances and old friends who stopped by our SWPP booth to join in our 10-year anniversary celebration, it was great to see you. Be sure to come say hello to the Zenfolio team at The Photography Show at the NEC in March. We’ll see you at booth C51!

(ZenBlog) SWPP SWPP awards Zenfolio best website provider photography professional photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/zenfolio-wins-swpp-2016-awards Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:43:01 GMT
Zenfolio Brings the Heat to WPPI http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/zenfolio-brings-the-heat-to-wppi ZenBlog: wppi 2016 &emdash; header

Zenfolio at WPPI

Zenfolio will be exhibiting at WPPI in Las Vegas, March 7-9 at booth #1213. Trade show hours are 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Come see us and take advantage of our show special: three months for $1. Zenfolio is also celebrating its 10-year anniversary.

Every attendee who scans their badge has a chance to win 10 free years of Zenfolio!

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Zenfolio is hosting two Photographer Battles on March 7 and 8 in the registration hall from 3:30-4:00 p.m. Come get a free glass of champagne and watch pro photographers debate over hot photography topics.

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Sexy, Saucy, and Searchable: Website Design Best Practices + Live Critique

Speakers: Lou FreemanLaura Grier and Evan Chung

March 6 from 12-1:30 p.m. in room 309/310.

Zenfolio is presenting a master class hosted by Evan Chung with pro photographers Laura Grier and Lou Freeman. Your online portfolio is your first impression to the world, but does it give the impression you were hoping for? We’ll discuss website design, online marketing, and SEO. This in-depth panel discussion will share best practices for your photography website and critique a few websites. 

Preboard for the class here

Professional vs. Profound

Speaker: Jerry Ghionis

March 7 from 8:30-10:00 a.m. in PC19

Jerry Ghionis will show you countless ways to rise up above your competition. Anyone can be a professional, but what makes you profound and noticed by your desired audience? With more than 22 years of experience as a photographer and more than 15 years teaching, Jerry has remained at the top of his game since he started and is a master of reinvention. Jerry will teach you how to see the world differently and complete your vision with incredible lighting, posing and techniques that will take you to the next level. He will also share some of his proven sales, branding and marketing ideas that will elevate you from a pro to profound!

Preboard for the class here

Let the Light Do the Talking

Speaker: Roberto Valenzuela

March 8 from 8:30-10:00 a.m. in PC45, Rooms 313-316

Roberto Valenzuela created the Picture Perfect Lighting System to help photographers better understand and achieve their lighting goals. Learn how to assess and understand your surroundings, then manipulate and beautify light with minimal equipment. This session is for photographers who are looking for a practical solution for controlling light and creating lighting that complements clients. Learn how to bring out their best features without having to lug heavy gear or spend thousands of dollars on equipment and modifiers.

Preboard for the class here

The Next Level with JP

Speaker: JP Elario

March 7 from 8:30-10:00 a.m. in PC20

JP will discuss tips and strategies, including booking new clients, managing timelines, coordinating the wedding day first look, and delivering an awesome final product. JP will share his favorite tactics such as knocking out formal family photos in a flash and making couples feel more comfortable in front of your lens. He will also discuss his social media practices.

Preboard for the class here

La Guerra de los clones

Speakers: Dennis Berti and Chio Garcia

March 6 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in PC15, Room 309/310

Zenfolio Pro team member Dennis Berti will be delivering the first ever Spanish WPPI presentation

Ser único, es una paradigma que todos buscamos alcanzar pero muchas veces la práctica cotidiana de la originalidad termina por convertirnos en imitadores de algo que no somos. El reflejo de nuestra propia arte se proyecta cuando nos mostramos como individuos, cuando nos replanteamos el camino y establecemos prioridades, es ahí cuando nos destacamos y dejamos de ser clones. En ésta platica compartiré mi visión sobre el mundo de la fotografía de bodas, y las experiencias que me han llevado a encontrar mi propia voz.

Be unique. It is a paradigm that we all seek to achieve but in the daily grind, the practice of originality ends up becoming stale and we start to become something that we are not. In this talk Dennis will share his view of the world of wedding photography, and the experiences that have led him to find his own unique voice.

Preboard for the class here

Como Ser un Mejor Fotógrafo Documental de Boda

Speaker: Dennis Berti and Chio Garcia

March 8 from 8:00-10:00 a.m. in PLUS21, Room 204

Al documentar gráficamente un suceso se busca contar una historia de los momentos tal y cómo sucedieron. La fotografía documental de bodas ha trascendido el estilo clásico al que estábamos acostumbrados y hoy va representado en un estilo fresco, natural y sin pretensiones. Es justo lo que vamos a analizar en ésta clase: Hablaremos sobre los fundamentos básicos de la fotografía documental de bodas. Como ganarse la confianza del cliente y cómo crear situaciones sin intervenir. En la clase práctica configuraremos nuestras cámaras para que sean muy reactivas, trabajaremos con nuestro mejor aliado: la luz natural. Haremos ejercicios de composición y práctica de fotografía callejera con modelos reales dónde aplicaremos lo aprendido durante la primer parte del día.

Documentary wedding photography today is represented in a fresh, natural and unpretentious style. In this class we’ll discuss the basics of documentary wedding photography. How to gain customer confidence and creating images without intervening. In the practice class, we will work with our closest ally: natural light. We will do exercises in composition and practice street photography with real models where we will apply the lessons learned during the first part of the day.

Preboard for the class here

(ZenBlog) 10 year anniversary Evan chung Zenfolio Zenfolio anniversary anniversary dennis berti jerry ghionis laura Grier lou freeman roberto valenzuela wppi zen is 10 zen is ten http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/zenfolio-brings-the-heat-to-wppi Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:00:00 GMT
The Zenfolio Guide to Selling in 5 Easy Steps http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/the-zenfolio-guide-to-selling-in-5-easy-steps

The Zenfolio Guide to Selling in 5 Easy Steps

One of the things our customers like best about having a Zenfolio website is that we make it easy to sell your work directly through site. For a detailed explanation about how to do this, check out our Definitive Selling Webinar. For those who prefer a quick summary, we have broken down the one-hour webinar into five easy steps and included the applicable portion of the webinar for your viewing pleasure. Plus, each section is linked to articles that you can read for more details. Get ready to sell and make more money!

1. Client Access and the Buying Experience

In this segment, we discuss how to create a gallery ID for clients to access their photos and select their Favorites. Once clients can access their images, be sure to add a Buy button to your photos so clients can easy add them to their cart. Then you can customize how your cart looks to customers on your website.

2. Creating Your Price List and Assigning It to a Gallery

In this video we show how to create a price list with products from our multiple labs, set your ordering settings, and define your prices. We also show how to assign your price list to a client’s gallery with some featured products as well as how to approve orders before they are printed by the lab.

3. Approving Orders and Selling Digital Products

If you have order approval turned on you’ll need to approve them when your orders come rolling in. You also have the option of making edits to ordered photos in Lightroom before the order is sent to the lab. This section also covers how to sell digital products with usage licenses.

4. Offering Packages and Self-Fulfilled Products

Learn how to customize and offer packages. We’ll also show how to create self-fulfilled products that you, the photographer, can fulfill instead of the lab.

5. How to Run a Sale on Your Site and Get Paid

This section shows how to use Zenfolio template designs to offer products like greeting cards, create gift certificates and coupons, collect sales tax or VAT, and request a payout.

(ZenBlog) Zenfolio marketing professional photography selling webinar http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/the-zenfolio-guide-to-selling-in-5-easy-steps Mon, 01 Feb 2016 15:00:00 GMT
How to Create Lifelong Clients http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/how-to-create-lifelong-clients

As a photographer, creating lifelong clients is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Pro Team member Sara Kauss exemplifies this process in her photography business, so we sat down to pick her brain.

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How often do you do wedding, family and newborn shoots? How many of these are new clients versus returning clients?

My business is comprised of about 50% wedding photography, 20% family portrait photography, 10% newborn photography and 20% commercial & musician photography. Seventy percent of my family and newborn photography are returning clients.

Describe the process of creating a lifelong client?

There is absolutely nothing more important to me than creating lifelong clients, mostly because lifelong clients often become lifelong friends. This story has happened so many times over the years. I will meet a couple who is getting married, photograph their engagement, and absolutely love getting to know them on their engagement shoot. Then, I’ll photograph their wedding, and typically we’ll meet for dinner or drinks the next time they’re in town or I’m in their town shooting a destination wedding or event. Then, they call and ask me to photograph their new little miracle—sometimes it’s a baby and sometimes it is a new furry friend!  

What strategies do you use to encourage wedding couples to come back as lifelong clients?

The strategy for encouraging lifelong clients has been to be myself—I love building relationships with people. And through that, organically a friendship is developed. I know the couple and their families so well that it simply makes sense that I am their photographer for all the most important moments of their lives. I recently photographed a birthday party for a previous groom. Jay’s wife, Kelly, called me and asked if I could be a part of the next milestone in their lives, Jay’s 40th birthday! I’ve been their photographer from their engagement session, to their wedding, to the birth of their two children, to now all future events. It’s something I do not take for granted and truly makes me elated when they call.

What kind of online tools do you use the most to reengage your clients?

Keeping up with previous clients on social media is a must. Facebook is such a fun way to catch up. I also send Miller’s lab Christmas cards to most of my clients who I still keep in touch with.

Do you use prints/wall art/gifts as part of your reengagement of clients?

Something fun that I’ve done is send little anniversary presents—prints and wall art from Miller’s are a personal touch to remind each person how important they are to me. I also give referral gifts of prints and folios.

How often do you reach out to old clients? How do you stay on their radar?

In 2016, I’ll be starting a newsletter to past clients, which will be a reminder to wedding clients that I would love to continue to be their portrait and event photographer for years to come. I also keep in touch with clients through social media.

How do you go about creating packages for your clients?

Our package structure is customized and yet simple. We charge an hourly photography rate that includes everything from the digital files to the Zenfolio online gallery for friends and family of the clients to purchase prints. We offer custom Miller’s albums as an add-on, and have a straightforward price list that features our album pricing, per page, gallery wrap pricing and prints.

What products seem to get the biggest reaction from your clients?

Archival wedding or portrait albums. We all are computer and digitally driven these days. However, the printed photograph album has withstood the test of time. No one can sit around the couch comfortably and hold a USB drive and show off their images. An album is a timeless, beautiful display of the art that we’ve created as photographers.

How do you use social media to promote your business?

Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest are all so vital in creating a great online presence. It’s important as a photographer to utilize these tools and also utilize the great SEO that Zenfolio has. I also frequently use Zenfolio to quickly share images from galleries I’ve created.

Which social channel works best for your brand? Is it important to use them all?

Each social media channel serves its own purpose. Facebook is great for tagging your clients and sharing blog posts with clients’ close group of friends. Instagram is great for communicating with vendors connected with an event you photographed, or hopping on the hashtag of your client’s wedding or event. Twitter can connect you with celebrities who you may not have access to otherwise. Pinterest is a must if you photograph weddings! Brides search Pinterest all day long, planning and sharing ideas for their big day. 

(ZenBlog) Sara Kauss Wedding photography Zenfolio lifelong clients portrait Photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/how-to-create-lifelong-clients Mon, 25 Jan 2016 16:52:12 GMT
50 Shades of SEO: The Secrets of Social Media http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/50-shades-of-seo-the-secrets-of-social-media

50 Shades of SEO – Part 4

The Secrets of Social Media

By Eugen Feygin

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, facebook.com/feyginfoto).

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 recently 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. 

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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) 50 shades of seo Zenfolio business marketing facebook instagram pinterest seo social media social media marketing twitter http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/50-shades-of-seo-the-secrets-of-social-media Mon, 11 Jan 2016 15:00:00 GMT
New Year Updates from Zenfolio http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/new-year-updates-from-zenfolio

Fellow Zenfolians, I wish you all the best for 2016.

The platform challenges we faced in 2015 are behind us, and I look forward to a successful 2016 together! Here are the updates from Zenfolio.

Platform Performance

We successfully upgraded the Zenfolio platform last week. The upgrade caused some unexpected side effects through January 1, which have all been resolved. As a result, your experience, and your customers’ experience, on Zenfolio will be faster and smoother. In the future, no downtime will be required when we release new features.

Product Feature Updates

Later this month triggered email functionality will be available, so that customizable emails can automatically be sent to a customer based on specific triggers that you set. Choose from a list of email templates and when to send them. Once you’ve set up a series, sit back and let us do the work for you.

Also, our Customize Visitor View is also getting revamped with an improved workflow. You’ll be able to organize and customize your site menu with fewer clicks and easier navigation. 

These new features will be released by the end of January:

  • Automated Customer Emails (Triggered Emails - Pro/Advanced accounts only). Customizable emails can automatically be sent to a customer based on specific triggers that you set. Choose from a list of email templates and decide when to send them. 
  • Inline toolbox editing for photo details. Make edits to your photos directly in the toolbox with full view of your photos. Change caption, title, keywords, categories, and other metadata. 
  • Customize Visitor View updates. You’ll be able to organize and customize your site menu with fewer clicks and easier navigation. 
  • HTML5 slideshows. Slideshows are the last thing on Zenfolio still using Flash. We’re now moving them all over to HTML5. HTML5 is the new web standard, loads faster, and is supported on more browsers on desktop and mobile.
  • Shared Favorites updates (Pro/Advanced accounts only). The name of the person who sent the Favorites set will now be linked to their contact details. This way, you can see if the client has ever placed an order, what galleries they’ve visited, or if they’ve shared any past Favorites sets. We also added our Compose Email editor to Favorites in Edit View.
  • Favorites for mobile apps (Photo Moments and Zenfolio)

Zenfolio has a new VP of Engineering

Nadav Vansover joins the team as VP of Engineering. With more than 20 years of software development and executive management experience, he will drive the continuous improvement of the Zenfolio platform.

Imaging USA 2016 Trade Show

Imaging USA is the longest running national photographic convention in the United States. Join us at booth #1626. We can’t wait to meet you on January 10-12, 2016.

Thank you for your continuous support. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me directly at askarnaud@zenfolio.com.


Arnaud Collin  |  General Manager  |  Zenfolio Inc.

(ZenBlog) Zenfolio new features, product updates http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/new-year-updates-from-zenfolio Tue, 05 Jan 2016 16:42:18 GMT
Wildlife Images from the Galápagos Islands http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/wildlife-images-from-the-galapagos-islands

Zenfolio Pro Team member Andrew Peacock recently visited the Galápagos Islands and was kind enough to share some of his images with us. Read about his experience, and don’t be surprised if you get inspired to book your ticket there.

Director of Photography for Lindblad Expeditions Ralph Lee Hopkins puts it well when he says "What makes Galápagos special for photographers and nature lovers is the full-frame, up close and personal experience. It’s like few places in the world."
I was delighted to find myself on a trip to the Galápagos in 2015 aboard Lindblad’s National Geographic Endeavour in my role as an educator for Expedition and Wilderness Medicine. It was a fabulous opportunity for me to shoot portraits of the unique endemic wildlife there.

Adding to the fun was a chance to test out the relatively new full-frame Canon 5DSR camera body. The exterior of the 5DSR is almost identical to my 5D Mark III with the bonus that it fits my current Aquatech water housing, so I was ready to shoot in and above the water from day one. The seven-day itinerary covered a lot of ground in this well-protected environmental habitat. Naturalists on the ship accompanied groups of passengers on daily shore walks and into the water snorkeling in relatively protected deep waters, so it was an educational experience.

There is no question that the best wildlife photos come from taking the time to slow down, watch, wait and really observe and understand the behavior of an animal. If you want to see a wonderful example of this approach, watch this video by French photographer Vincent Munier.

His unique photos of arctic animals really stand out. A long telephoto lens is also a good idea so you can get in close and capture interesting details, perhaps showing an aspect of the animal that is not usually obvious. The huge file size captured with the 5DSR meant that I also had the option to crop in tightly in post-processing and still have a decent size file to work with. The extreme close up of the marine iguana in this series is a good example of that.

Photographing in the water requires a new set of skills, which I am still working on acquiring. Testing everything before getting in the water and preplanning the camera settings is essential because only some camera functions are available once the camera is in the housing. I like to use a fisheye lens and a large dome port, which allows for the classic under/over photo, but it is still hit and miss much of the time—experimenting with angles and light direction is all part of the game. I was pleased with the photo you see here of a snorkeler interacting with one of the inquisitive sea lions.

I particularly enjoyed learning about Darwin's finches, the endemic birds of the Galápagos that were highly significant in the development of the theory of natural selection. The most important differences between species are in the size and shape of their beaks, and the beaks are highly adapted to different food sources such as cacti in the case of the cactus finch pictured in this series.

After visiting the Galápagos Islands, I see why that region is on many travelers’ bucket lists. Many more trips would be needed to bring back some really unique wildlife photos, and I hope to get the chance to go again in the future. I certainly recommend this brilliant travel destination, and a ship-based journey is the most efficient way to see the islands.

*    *    *

Andrew Peacock takes adventure travel to a new level. As a medical doctor who volunteers his time in far-reaching places like India and Nepal, he feeds his photo habit by capturing the beauty and grandeur of every place he visits. With a gift for helping people as well as creating breathtaking images, Andrew has found his calling as a traveling adventure shooter. You will find the Australia-based photographer all over the globe using medicine and photography to make the world a better place.

Check out Andrew's extensive portfolio here: http://www.footloosefotography.com/

(ZenBlog) Andrew Peacock Canon 5DS Galapagos Galapagos Islands Zenfolio marine iguana website portfolio http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/wildlife-images-from-the-galapagos-islands Tue, 05 Jan 2016 15:00:00 GMT
Pink Lady ® Food Photographer of the Year 2016 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/pink-lady-food-photographer-of-the-year-2016 Pink Lady ® Food Photographer of the Year 2016

Pink Lady ® Food Photographer of the Year is now in its fifth year as the world’s leading awards recognizing the art and diversity of food photography and film from around the globe. These prestigious awards saw almost 6,500 images from 56 countries in 2015, and more than 20,000 images have been submitted since 2011.

Pink Lady ® Food Photographer of the Year is fast becoming one of the world’s most well-respected and creative niche photo contests” says Advanced Photographer magazine. The finalists have their work displayed at the world-renowned Mall Galleries in London and are invited to the Champagne Taittinger reception where the winners are announced, building up to an overall winner who will receive £5000 GBP as well as global publicity.

More than just pretty pictures of food on a plate, the categories range from the Politics of Food to Food for Celebration, from Food for the Family to Bring Home the Harvest. The awards are open to both professional and amateur photographers. There is something for everyone, not just classic food photographers but also landscape photographers, travel photographers and garden photographers. Importantly, every image is judged anonymously.

The categories are devised to show the culture and production of food. They also include Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year and unearthed ® Food in Film categories for both documentary and non-documentary shorts.

The contest has evolved over the years—in year three Pink Lady presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to the legendary photographer Tessa Traeger. This year it has a new category: Marks & Spencer Food Adventures, vibrant images of people and food from across the Americas.

Pink Lady has an influential and respected judging panel, which includes Emily Luchetti, chair of the James Beard Foundation, USA; David Loftus, Jamie Oliver’s photographer; Curtis Stone, Australian chef, TV host and New York Times best-selling author; Dan Havlik, Editor-in-Chief of Shutterbug Magazine; and Chris Beetles of Beetles & Huxley, one of the world’s leading galleries specializing in photography.

Past winners include French photographer Jean Cazals, Laos-based UK photographer Tessa Bunney, Alexandrina Paduretu from Romania, and 2015 winner UK-based Australian photographer David Griffen for his shot of a street chef taken in Kuala Lumpur.

Go through your own archive and see if the winning image is already tucked away there. In just a few months, you could be rubbing shoulders with the VIP celebrities of the food and photography world in London!

(ZenBlog) Zenfolio photographer photography photography contests pink lady food photographer of the year professional photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/pink-lady-food-photographer-of-the-year-2016 Mon, 04 Jan 2016 17:00:00 GMT
Last Downtime for Zenfolio Scheduled Maintenance http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/12/last-downtime-for-zenfolio-scheduled-maintenance

Fellow Zenfolians,


I am excited to share with you a couple of updates regarding Zenfolio.


Platform Performance

As I announced before, Zenfolio is investing heavily to improve the platform performance. We will migrate to our new platform on Wednesday, December 30, and the Zenfolio site will be offline for six hours starting at 3 p.m. PST on December 30. As a result, your experience, and your customers’ experience, on Zenfolio will be faster. Also, no downtime will be required anymore when we release new features.


New Search

I am happy to let you know that we have rebuilt our search functionality. The new Search will be released on Wednesday, December 23, and will be much faster.


Photo Moments App

The app has been updated, and your clients can now select and share their favorites sets directly from the app. Check it out here.


Beta Testing Program

The Zenfolio Beta Testing program is up and running. A select group of photographers will be testing new features before they are released to help ensure the features match your needs. Interested to join? You can apply here.


Thank you for your continuous support.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me directly at askarnaud@zenfolio.com.



Arnaud Collin
General Manager
Zenfolio Inc.

(ZenBlog) downtime maintenance http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/12/last-downtime-for-zenfolio-scheduled-maintenance Wed, 23 Dec 2015 15:00:00 GMT
Vote Zenfolio for the Best Professional Website Provider http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/12/vote-zenfolio-for-the-best-professional-website-provider


Nataly Huff

Marketing Director, Zenfolio Inc.

“Over the past 10 years, Zenfolio has grown from humble beginnings (four friends in a coffee shop with a passion for photography) to becoming the greatest online business partner to more than 100,000 photographers worldwide. We are privileged and humbled to be in the position we are today, and couldn’t have done it without your support. From day one, the needs of photographers have been at the core of our values, and as photographers ourselves, we have always made it our number one goal to build a service we would want to use. In 2015, we are thrilled that so many of you feel the same way.

To win three years running, along with our fantastic partners (without them we wouldn’t be where we are today), would be simply be the best 10-year birthday present we could ever dream of!”

Derek Poulston

Managing Director, One Vision Imaging Ltd.

“Winning the Best Professional Photographic Laboratory for the third year running would be a dream come true. All of us at One Vision Imaging are extremely proud of what we do; we love the business of photography and we love the role we play in it. We will do whatever we can to ensure professional photography is recognised as a skilled and respected profession as it so well deserves. We accept and relish the challenge our photographers bestow upon us each year to become even better and to deliver exciting and innovative products to market. Being voted number one is the best way for photographers to tell us we’re on the right track, and it spurs us on to try even harder. “

Catherine Connor

Managing Director, Aspire Photography Training

“Winning Best Training Provider means a great deal to the team at Aspire Photography Training. We devote a great deal of time to showering photography businesses with our expertise and knowledge whilst influencing so many on the road to success. The SWPP annual trade awards are incredibly important to all that participate, and each year the benchmark gets higher and higher! If we win it will be our fourth successful year in a row, and like every year, we crave this award most of all. We love this award not just for the industry acknowledgement and accolade. It is a celebration of  the Aspire team, the trainers, and the photographers! It is a moment where the photography industry raises its glass to all those that give to the industry, continually, with passion, commitment, and belief in a bright and fruitful future.”


With voting now open, we’d love it if you took a moment to vote for Zenfolio, and our partners One Vision Imaging and Aspire in this year’s Societies’ Trade Awards.  



Best Professional Website Provider

Best Professional Software

Best Professional Customer Support


One Vision Imaging

Best Professional Lab

Best Professional Frame



Best Professional Training

(ZenBlog) Zenfolio awards best website provider swpp swpp awards http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/12/vote-zenfolio-for-the-best-professional-website-provider Mon, 14 Dec 2015 21:46:08 GMT
Animal Rescue with Amiee Stubbs http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/12/animal-rescue-with-amiee-stubbs

Zenfolio pro team member Amiee Stubbs sat down with us to chat about her adventures with Animal Rescue Corps. She discusses how she got involved with photographing shelter pets, and how it can saves animals’ lives.

What led you to get involved with pet rescue?

We had three dogs when I became a full-time professional photographer, so I’d already spent years photographing them just for myself. I went back to college for photography, and had to choose a subject for a semester-long project for one of my classes. I decided to follow a local dog rescue and document what they do to help the community’s animals, and get their pets adopted. Plus, I had always felt like I connected with animals, dogs especially. Understanding animal behavior is vital to photographing pets, for your safety and theirs. I had been doing rescue photography for two years when Animal Rescue Corps approached me; they asked if I could photograph a rescue operation in July 2012. I’ve been volunteering with them ever since.

HurricaneIsaacHurricane Isaac Response (natural disaster)

MaconCountyMacon County Horse Rescue (neglect/cruelty)

What do you do photography-wise for them?

Animal Rescue Corps is an international animal protection organization based out of Washington, DC. We work directly with law enforcement on large-scale rescue operations, such as natural disasters, puppy mills, dogfighting, and animal hoarding. I document the rescue operation and edit selected photos for real-time media updates, which are critical in engaging supporters and communicating needs for additional volunteers, supplies, and donations. After the rescue operation is over, we set up an emergency shelter, where I continue to document the animals as they improve. I also take official portraits of each animal once they’ve settled in, usually after their first grooming. I have a special gallery on my website that features all of these newly adoptable animals, and we share it with our placement partners across the country. Then those placement partners (rescue groups and shelters) bring the animals into their programs and find them forever homes. I also teach the photography portion of our animal rescue course that we offer around the country a few times each year.

Broken ChainOperation Broken Chain (dog fighting)

Tell us more about the organizations you’re in.

In addition to Animal Rescue Corps, I’m also a member of HeARTs Speak, a global network of artists & advocates that provide pro-bono services to animal welfare organizations. When area rescues or shelters need help, I volunteer to photograph their adoptable animals. Good photos help them get adopted more quickly.

image-1Operation Liberty Dogs (puppy mill)

New DayOperation New Day (hoarding)

What is your favorite part about working with these organizations?

The best part of my work with Animal Rescue Corps is watching the animals transform. I’ve seen some horrible things, such as dogs who were literally matted into rusty cages. We get to pull these dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, rabbits, chickens, parrots, etc. away from horrific conditions, and watch them make the journey into loving homes. To see a dog walk on grass for the first time—there’s nothing else like it.

With HeARTs Speak, artists come together for the worthy cause of getting more animals adopted from shelters/rescues. So many talented photographers are part of the HeARTs Speak team, and I’m honored to be included among them.

image-3Left to right: Operation Midnight Run (hoarding), Operation Delta Dogs (dog fighting)

What’s the biggest misconception people have about animal rescue organizations?

A major misconception about rescue animals is that the animals are a less safe choice for adoption than buying a pet from a breeder; nothing could be further from the truth. With the limited gene pool of many sought-after breeds, physical and behavioral issues can be quite common in certain purebreds.

With regard to organizations, the biggest misconception is that all large animal rescue groups are extremists that attack those that do not agree with them. While certain organizations have earned a reputation for extreme behavior in pursuit of media attention, it’s not true of all of them, and certainly not the groups I choose to work with. It is impossible to effect meaningful change without being inclusive and open to discussion with people of differing views.

Autumn Angels_01Operation Autumn Angels (puppy mill)

How does photography help animals get adopted?

Typically, shelters are overwhelmed with physical care of the animals, and pictures are frequently just taken with webcams when the animal first arrives, and it is usually terrified. When this is the only photo, it is difficult for a potential adopter to emotionally connect with that animal in the short time frame that many shelters have. Strong photos increase the odds of someone making this connection. You want people to look at the photo and immediately want to make that pet a part of their family. You want to capture the animal’s personality. To make the images more engaging, the photos need to be sharp, with the animal’s eyes in focus, and I recommend being at eye level, too. If you’re a photographer looking for a way to help animals, please reach out to a local rescue or shelter and offer your time. You’ll make a big difference, and you’ll help save lives.

CLICK HERE for examples of Amiee’s work in helping animals get adopted.

image-5Operation Unbridled Spirit (puppy mill)

What are you most passionate about in terms of initiatives people are making for animals? What can we do better?

Spaying and neutering is an initiative that needs to continue to be emphasized. Pet overpopulation is the major driver of so many animals dying in shelters every day, as evidenced by the ASPCA statistics that approximately 7.6 million pets enter shelters and 2.7 million are euthanized.

One way we can do better is to increase the legal penalties associated with owners profiting from animal cruelty. Outside of a few exceptions, people profiting from cruelty to animals often receive punishments that are not harsh enough to curb the behavior. This has begun to be addressed by treating dog fighting as a felony at the state and federal levels, but we need to similarly address deplorable conditions in large-scale breeding operations. Legal definitions of cruelty should also be updated, as they are often insufficient to prevent long-term suffering.

*   *   *

Amiee Stubbs specializes in contemporary pet portraits and commercial pet photography. She also photographs for several animal organizations. Amiee lives in Nashville with her husband and six dogs.

(ZenBlog) Zenfolio amiee stubbs animal cruelty animal rescue pet photographer pet photography saving animals http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/12/animal-rescue-with-amiee-stubbs Mon, 14 Dec 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Zenfolio Academy Wrap Up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/zenfolio-academy-wrap-up

That’s a wrap. Zenfolio Academy has come to a close. Through this workshop tour, we were able to educate and connect with photographers in the Zenny community. We laughed, we cried, we customized websites. Then we hopped on a plane to do it all over again in a new city. We had a blast! Thanks to all the attendees who were able to join us.

Where did we visit?

The Zenfolio team visited ten US cities and one UK city: Atlanta, Miami, Denver, Chicago, New York, Boston, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and London.

What topics were covered?

We started with the basics and moved to the more advanced topics over the course of the full day workshop. Our goal was to help folks who were just starting with Zenfolio to customize their website and sell from a gallery by the end of the afternoon session. The evening session covered marketing, custom pages, the apps – the more advanced topics.

And the verdict is…

Overwhelmingly positive. Thank you for all the feedback we received throughout the tour. The comments and feature requests have been noted and will be instrumental in future events and releases.

Attendees found the workshop to be helpful and inspiring. In fact, here is a quote from one awesome Zenny who attended the Seattle workshop.

I missed it! Is there a recording?

You bet! Each session is 30-45 minutes in length. You can watch all the different sessions listed below:

Thanks for helping to make the Zenfolio Academy a smashing success!

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(ZenBlog) Website training Zenfolio Zenfolio Academy evan chung justin miller photography workshop zoom zoom tour http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/zenfolio-academy-wrap-up Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Marketing Tips for the Holidays http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/simple-tips-to-make-more-during-the-holidays

Zenfolio photographers have all the tools to cash in on the holiday shopping rush. As part of our promise to be your greatest business partner, we’re here to show you how.

Ongoing Purchase Suggestions

Regular reminders of the products you have available will help nudge your customers toward that Buy button. Here are a few things your can do:

Custom Headers

Custom Gallery Banners

Holiday Gift Guide Custom Page

Holiday Gallery Rerelease

Rereleasing expired galleries during the holiday season is a great excuse to remind your clients that photo products make great holiday gifts.

Here's How

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are considered the biggest shopping days of the year. Make it work for you with:

Fixed Amount Discount

Percentage Discount

Discounted Package Offer

Last-Minute Shoppers Promos

Procrastinators can bring a lot of "last minute" orders, if you work with your holiday shipping deadlines. Here are some ideas:

Shipping Deadline Reminder

"It's not too late" Email

Upgraded Shipping Sale


We've tried to make it as simple as possible for you to make more money this holiday season. The tools, the recommendations and the how-tos are all here. All that's left is for you to set these in motion.

Happy Selling!

(ZenBlog) Holidays Zenfolio expired galleries holiday sale profit re-release sale rerelease sale http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/simple-tips-to-make-more-during-the-holidays Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:00:00 GMT
Three Basic Principles of Compositing http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/creating-the-wow-factor-the-principles-of-compositing Creating the Wow Factor: The Principles of Compositing

Everyone wants to push the envelope with his or her images. Photoshop has enabled us to create fantastic images way beyond what the camera can capture by adding enhancing elements and layers. But few are able to attain the amazing results Photoshop masters can. Some of it has to do with mastering a difficult application like Photoshop and some has to do with common sense. The president of LayerCake-StudioMagic, creators of compositing software, shares his insights on the three basic principles that every compositing artist should know when pursuing the elusive wow factor.

1. See the Light

Taking a moment to note where the light source is will help you make an informed decision when picking images/elements to fit your new composite. Below is a scene illustrating my point. If the bird watcher in the photo were lit from the left or from above, we would think, "something weird is going on" and we wouldn't believe the illusion for a second. We note the uniform effect the light has on both the background and the subject and, voilà, see perfect harmony and integration.



If the subject were lit, even slightly, from the wrong angle, our eye would detect it instantly. This may not be a conscious awareness but we would know that something isn’t quite right.

The model in the photo, which was cut out using our CutOut tool, was originally lit quite flatly and straight on, but I liked him so much that I relit him in post production, and used the LightBrush tool in StudioMagic-I to focus the light a bit. This is not something I'd recommend delving into because it takes a lot of hard work and observational skills that most of us don't have the time or desire to execute. However, in a pinch, I did it and it worked. It's better to know what you need beforehand and either get it right in camera or shop for the right stock images.

Here's a more subtle and realistic example of matching up direction of light. There is nearly perfect integration between the inserted model and the background. The athlete is standing close to the windows at camera right. That means I need the model lit from the right. See how nicely he blends in? Granted, I put an edge light on him and a strong light shaft from right window, which helps the overall look. These are all things that can be done in Photoshop, but I cheated and used the StudioMagic II compositing panel, which is easier and faster with all those features already built in.


Let’s jump to quality of light. Generally, standing near a big light source like windows produces a soft light. By soft, I mean that there are no harsh edges to the light, and it falls off or fades gradually as it wraps around an object. Using a model that was lit in hard noon daylight wouldn't work, and would make you think there was a hole in the roof or the wall and the sun was hitting him through that hole.

So scroll back up and let's take a second look at our bird watcher friend. Notice the quick fall off of light—it’s a very fast transition. He goes from being very bright on the right side to suddenly very dark on the left side. That's because the sun is a small source of light in relation to the subject. The rule here is the bigger the source of light in relation to your subject, the softer the light.

So in the case of the athlete and the lady below, a big, close light source equals softer light. In the case of the bird watcher, a small, distant light source equals a strong, hard light to dark transition. So think about the direction and quality of light when you're setting up your studio lighting to match your composite background. These two qualities will go a long way toward helping you create believable composites that please the eye.


2. Perspective’s Secret Code

Perspective refers to the angle and height of the viewer/camera as it looks toward the subject. All the different elements/photos in our composite must share the same angle/perspective to be believable.

Ever notice how when looking up at skyscrapers the bottom appears wide and the top appears narrow? We don't even need to know why this occurs. We just need to note it and recreate it when photographing our subjects. How extreme should the effect be? Experimentation is the key.

Try layering in the model into the background and testing whether it looks natural. Once it’s right, you’ll know it.What happens if you don't observe and respect this principle when shooting and creating your works of art? The building is odd looking and doesn’t match the perspective, making the photo appear fake.

Here's a quick composite using a couple of stock images, the StudioMagic CutOut tool, and the LightingEffex from the StudioMagic II compositing panel. Notice how we can see the underside of the chin, shoes, nose, etc. This is consistent with looking up at the building. He's bigger at the bottom and smaller at the top, just like the building is.

Another aspect of perspective is the camera’s height from the ground. We could shoot the model at eye level or down by the floor. To decide this, look at the background scene for clues. If your background image is a church like the one below and you can see the roof, you should be low when you shoot the bride and groom in order to match the background.

3. Size & Scale Matter

Size and scale are always the most obvious things overlooked. They can make a lizard look like Godzilla, an adult look like a child, or a grizzly bear look like a teddy bear. Unless that is the intent, here are a few tips to consider.

First, observe things in your image that are a known size. Everyone knows the normal size of a hammer, a surfboard, pencil or a suitcase. Use things you are familiar with as your point of reference to determine comparison or scale. This has to do with observing things next to each other (as opposed to in front of or behind).

Since shooting on railroad tracks isn’t recommended, we created virtual sets like this one, that you can “drag” people into. The artist used StudioMagic’s CutOut to remove this country singer from her original background and did a good job matching the direction of light using the ShadowCaster tool. But, holy smokes, is that a leprechaun on the left? Size and scale will tip off a bad composite every time. You know how big your foot is, right? Look down at it now. A railroad track rail is 6-8 inches high and a railroad tie is 10-12 inches wide. Now look at your foot. This is not rocket science, folks.

Let's try another scenario: the bride in a beautiful portico. Again, we used quick and easy CutOut and ShadowCaster tools. The light shaft was created with LightingEffex in StudioMagic II. In example number one, there are a number of visual clues. The statue in the distance is about 10’ high, the pillars are around 3’ wide, but the best clue is the Spanish tiles, which we know are 12” by 12”.  For relative size, I have the bride’s waist size, head and bouquet to compare to the pillar and the tile. I compare to what I imagine her shoe size to be. If you calculate the relative size of all the objects near the bride you can get a pretty good idea of the brides size in the image.

Example number two is when the artist throws out all that information and simply puts the bride in and makes a blind guess. Example number three is a great trick when you’re stuck or the subject just doesn't seem to fit—just move her forward in the image and crop off her feet. There’s an illusion created that she’s closer to the camera, and it makes it much easier to make relative size and perspective look more believable.  

If this sounds complex and a bit like brain surgery, the best way to practice is to simply be aware of what’s around you. The answers are everywhere in photos and in real life. Observation is the key to artistic knowledge and intuition. When I can't come up with the answer, I go research it. I look around to identify, compare and observe what distance and camera optics do to different objects. When all that fails, I simply look at the size of my foot.

*     *     *

Harry Kerker is the president and a founding partner of LayerCake Inc. and StudioMagic. He is an award-winning photographer and a creative director, who was a horrible Photoshop artist. He and his partner Alan Mayer had a personal goal of making Photoshop compositing easy enough for the rest of us. His company LayerCake-StudioMagic creates plug-ins for Photoshop that save time and simplify the most difficult tasks of photo compositing. 

(ZenBlog) Compositing LayerCake Zenfolio photography professional photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/creating-the-wow-factor-the-principles-of-compositing Mon, 16 Nov 2015 17:00:00 GMT
What to Get The Photographer in Your Life for the Holidays http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/what-to-get-the-photographer-in-your-life-for-the-holidays


Buying a holiday gift for a photographer can feel overwhelming for many people. There are endless straps, bags, tripods and doohickeys to choose from, and camera equipment often costs thousands of dollars. To put you at ease, we’ve put together some great shopping ideas for the photographer in your life, whether you’re on a budget or ready to splurge. Happy shopping!


For those who want the technology of today and the look of the past, DxO FilmPack fits the bill. It adds a beautiful element to photos with more than 80 legendary analog films, used with creative post-processing software. (Starting at $79)



The Stanley is the most striking way to display an image, using high-powered magnets and upcycled Western Walnut, making it perfect for any office or home. Plywerk is known for being green and uses only sustained local sources from their home base in Portland, Oregon. ($29-49)



With this special edition camera strap, Peak Design plays off of its two founding locations in California: Lake Tahoe and Lassen Peak. The strap, 45mm tubular seatbelt-styled webbing with an internal panel, works with any camera and you can wear it as a sling, shoulder or neck strap. ($64.95) 



Are you with someone who doesn’t want to commit or is in the process of trying new lenses? BorrowLenses is the perfect destination to rent out equipment for a short period of time. The Canon Wedding Essentials Package comes with all the lenses you’d need to shoot a wedding, including the Speedlite 600EX-RT, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM UII Lens, EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II Lens. Take it with you on vacation or upgrade the wedding kit for a week. Added bonus: Zenfolio users get 5% off. ($260 for seven days)



Jill-E bags are well known in the stylish photographic community. Why tote around a bulky, bland bag when you can have one that looks like your purse? This Hudson version has all the room for a DSLR and comes in tan or black. Added bonus: Zenfolio users get 20% off. ($170)


For a bag that’s’ a bit more functional than stylish, Think Tank camera bags run with the best. The Trifecta camera backpacks fit three workhorse lenses at any size. You’ll still have room to fit your accessories, tablet, phone and more. Plus, the sporty design allows for a comfortable, take-it-everywhere fit. (Starting at $140)


They say the best things in life aren’t things. What better way to show someone you care than to give them a gift that will help their photo business? Warren Creative Design was created specifically for Zenfolio users to provide one on one consultation services to set up galleries, pages, themes and layers in your Zenfolio account as well as marketing and business assistance. (Starting at $495)



If the photographer in your life has their website design and layout is in place but could use some help getting found online, there’s no place better to go than Raw SEO. Based in Chicago, founder Eugene Feygin leads a team of people that help businesses big and small get more traffic and sales on their website. (For pricing call 312-725-9818.)


If you’re a big spender or you really want to show someone you care, surprise them with the trip of a lifetime to Australia, the Antarctic or a safari in Africa. We’ve put together our top 10 photography workshops across the globe, here


(ZenBlog) Gift Guide Holiday Gifts Zenfolio photography professional photography gifts http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/11/what-to-get-the-photographer-in-your-life-for-the-holidays Mon, 02 Nov 2015 17:00:00 GMT
Aerial Photography: Drones vs. Helicopters http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/10/aerial-photography-drones-vs-helicopters

Whether you love the steady buzzing noise or you think it’s an invasion of your privacy, drones are becoming mainstream. And now, aerial photography isn’t just reserved for those willing to dish out a thousand dollars for a helicopter ride. We talked to Olympic photographer Jeff Cable and aerial photographer Jon Hope to get their views on the helicopter photography vs. drone photography debate.


Meet Jon Hope

Jon started doing aerial photography in high school, when a helicopter came to his school. His photo got published in the local paper, and that was the beginning of his aerial photography career. When he worked at a startup about a decade ago, he did aerial golf photography from a helicopter. Jon also has a pilot’s license and flies as a hobby.  

Meet Jeff Cable

Jeff was introduced to drones about a year and a half ago after seeing people post aerial footage online. “When you put a drone up there you get an entirely new perspective. It’s so cool to be able to push the boundaries and get images you couldn’t have gotten otherwise,” he says.

photo by Jeff Cable

Let’s talk about helicopters.

Jeff: I was shooting from the helicopter, doors off, by the Empire State Building. My mom was freaking out because we were going over NYC without the doors or being harnessed in, but I wasn’t nervous at all. I was shooting a picture of the photographer in the copter for an ad. I called my wife as soon as I landed and told her it was better than sex (laughs). That being said, you have all kinds of challenges stabilizing and with cameras, and you’re hearing the clock ticking and the dollars adding up—at 3,500 bucks an hour you better get it right! You can buy an entire drone for $1,299 (which is equivalent to one hour of jet ranger time).

photo by Jeff Cable

Jon: I was lucky because I did it in high school and once for a college project. I went on to do stuff for the military, and then worked for the startup, and they paid. I learned the ins and outs, which included learning by making mistakes at someone else’s expense—it’s very hard. It’s an expensive thing for the shots not to come out.

photo by Jon Hope

What are the regulations for helicopters and drones?

Jon: One of the big differences between helicopters and drones is that helicopters don’t have the same height restrictions. Drones can only fly out to 400 feet above the ground, and if you’re doing this as a photographer for commercial use you need a special exemption from the FAA, which is expensive. So I’ve been looking at it myself. I bought a little drone to try out at my house and in my backyard to learn how to do it, because there are plenty of times where I would love to be able to get something in that altitude range and not have to have the expense of a helicopter or have to go to an airport.


See full FAA regulations here and Unmanned Aircraft Systems regulations here.


Jon: I’ve paid anywhere from $600-2,000 or more an hour, and when you’re in New York, you probably have to have a twin engine helicopter, plus you need specialized equipment. I have a gyro stabilizer and that alone is $2.5K.  I have a specialized harness as well, and a bunch of safety equipment, so it gets pricey. Plus you’re still at the mercy of the weather and the skill of your pilot. I’ve had to interview the pilots, and I always get excellent pilots, but if I’m using a drone I’m likely to be reliant on myself, which may not be quite as good (laughs).

photo by Jon Hope

Jeff: I’ve flown drones enough times that I’ve gotten pretty confident, but it does mean that you’re having to fly and shoot at the same time vs. having someone who is going to be doing the flying for you.


Jon: Exactly. Helicopters are big, flying tripods. You know you can hopefully get it in the position you want, and then as long as it’s safe for the pilot to fly it then it’s pretty easy to maneuver around to get the shot you want. You can get closer or higher or lower easily and quickly, but there are definitely places that aren’t safe. When I used to shoot golf courses, some of the greens had lots of trees, and we were doing low-level photography. For those areas there is no way you could get a helicopter in it; it wouldn’t be safe because there’s too many trees. But you could do the same shot with a drone, so there are pros and cons to each.


Jeff: For the drone I do 20 minutes at a time. I’ve got three batteries, and I just throw it in the back of the car in case I go somewhere interesting. I remember one time I was driving up Highway 101 and I thought ‘I wonder if they’re tearing Candlestick Park down?’ Sure enough, they were halfway through the teardown. I went over there and flew the Phantom 3 over it. It was the coolest thing. I was in the car, threw it up, shot for about 15 minutes, and then got back in the car and kept driving. It’s not like a helicopter, where you’re planning way in advance and dependent on the weather, and all of that.


Jon: It gets stressful having to keep checking on the weather for helicopter photography, and if you go up when the weather’s not perfect. With a drone, bad weather is not the end of the world.


Do you strap your camera to the drone?

Jeff: I fly the Phantoms and the Inspire, which are different levels of drones. All have built-in cameras, so I don’t have to strap a camera to it. There are models where you can do everything, from a GoPro to a 5D Mark III or even big cameras, but the reason I like the built-in cameras is the quality is still really good (and getting better every month). God forbid, I dunk a Phantom into the ocean; that’s $1,300. If I have a big octocopter with a big DMark III and a good lens, then I’m dunking $10,000! A drone is like one hour of helicopter rental, right Jon?

photo by Jeff Cable

Jon: Yeah, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. You either pull the trigger on an expensive helicopter or you go the drone route. You need to consider quality and expense vs. convenience, and a lot of it depends on what your clients want.

photo by Jon Hope

Let’s talk a bit more about drones.

Jeff: The challenge is that the word drone has a negative connotation because of military use and all that. One way to combat that is to call it an aerial camera. Part of it is the people who are flying them. I’ve seen some pretty close calls. If a Phantom were to crash into someone, it would cut them. An Aspire or bigger drone could do some serious damage, so you want to be careful. I do fly in areas that are populated, but I’m careful about where I fly it, how I fly it, and when I bring it into land I bring it and hold it. A lot of it is common sense, just like with any tool.


Jon: The FAA and other giant government bodies are quite slow at understanding the use of drones and drone technology… other countries are further ahead.


Jeff: And that’s an issue. Right now, the FAA is so far behind. Just DJI alone is selling tens of thousands of drones. They’re going to have to legislate this and figure it out.


Jeff: I’ve flown in France, Switzerland and Niagara Falls, and it’s fun! They’re fun to fly.


Jon: It’s the same for the full-size helicopter. I’ve spent so much time in the backseat that I wanted to learn how to fly. I didn’t realize it would be time consuming and incredibly expensive. For me it was a big achievement to be able to get a license, and in some ways it makes me a better aerial photographer because it helps me understand the helicopter a lot better and what it can and cannot do.

photo by Jon Hope

Are there things you can in the helicopter that you can’t get in a drone? How should interested photographers try helicopters out?

Jon: If you’re a photographer who wants to try aerial photography, the best way is to go with one or two other friends who also want to try it and split the rental. Or you can go to Hawaii: There are a couple of companies that do doors-off tours. I took my wife on one when we were in Kauai—you can take a camera up in there and not have doors, which is a cool and easy intro.


Jeff: The great thing is if I want to take a drone to Hawaii and I want to pop it up for six hours, I just keep recharging my batteries and going out and shooting. You pick the time of day you want to go. I can wait depending on weather and enjoy the freedom of that.

photo by Jeff Cable

Do you do video?

Jeff: I’m a still photographer; I don’t do video. But when I fly the drones, I do YouTube videos. Some of them have 40,000 or 50,000 views, so I become a video guy… and I just use iMovie to do the editing. Because of the drones, I’ve been doing video.


Jon: I think that’s where drones excel, to get close to the quality of video that you could get with a helicopter plus using all the crazy mounts, which are super expensive to rent and attach to the helicopter. I’ll be excited and frightened at the same time when the picture quality catches up to the 5D Mark IIIs.

Jeff: And it’s going to. They keep improving the cameras on these drones. It’s going to conflict with what you’re doing, maybe not medium format for a while but clearly 4/3 and those types of cameras.


Jon: There’s one thing you don’t get with drones—you don’t get the smell of the jet fuel (laughs) and I miss that. And the turbine.


Jeff: And the wind and cold weather up there, and everything else… The experience of flying a drone is nerve-wracking, but there’s a rush doing it because you’re looking at the screen. It’s real time.



Jeff Cable is a Zenfolio Pro Team member and has been shooting the Olympics since 2008. As a sports and event shooter, Cable also photographs Bar Mitzvahs, weddings and portraits. He resides in Saratoga, CA. Read more about Jeff on his website: jeffcable.com.





 Jon Hope is an award-winning professional photographer with more than 25 years of experience in portrait, location and aerial photography. He has shot for Newsweek, The Times (London), The Telegraph (London),  Der Spiegel, Financial Times and countless other publications. Read more about Jon on his website: aerials.jonhope.com.

(ZenBlog) Jeff Cable Jon Hope aerial photography drone photography helicopter photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/10/aerial-photography-drones-vs-helicopters Mon, 19 Oct 2015 16:01:00 GMT