ZenBlog: Blog http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) ZenBlog (ZenBlog) Sat, 23 Jul 2016 07:39:00 GMT Sat, 23 Jul 2016 07:39:00 GMT Shopping Beta is Paused http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/7/shopping-beta-is-paused After three weeks of testing by thousands of intrepid photographers, we are putting the Shopping Beta on pause as of July 22, 2016 in order to make improvements.

 

Over the last few weeks, thousands of you have signed in and offered great feedback on the direction so far and how we can improve the shopping experience. We feel we have enough information to analyze all of the feedback, make improvements, and come back with an update that will move the experience forward.


We will be back with an update shortly. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write to us at shoppingbeta@zenfolio.com

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio photography professional photography shopping beta http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/7/shopping-beta-is-paused Sat, 23 Jul 2016 07:39:24 GMT
Top Zenfolio Site Design Examples http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/7/top-zenfolio-site-design-examples

This article is a follow up to our blog post Top Tips for Designing a Successful Website.

 

Your website is key to the success of your business, and having a good site design is essential. Website design expert and Zenfolio partner Shari Warren provides site design and training service through her company Warren Creative Design. We asked her how she approaches the design process and to share her top Zenfolio site design examples.

 

How do you approach designing a site for a customer? 

Since my design and business consultation services are tailored to the photographer’s goals and design esthetic, my first step is a phone consultation. I learn their specialty, such as portraits, weddings, fine art; who their customers are; and their perceived competition. This helps me determine what type of website design might be most successful for their business.  

 

I also ask them to make a list of the URLs of photography websites they like the look and feel of. We review those sites together and then brainstorm design, gallery and web page organization ideas for their own website. Sometimes, I will mock-up design options using some of their photos in Photoshop, so we can further determine the design direction that appeals to them the most, before designing a new theme in the Zenfolio theme designer.

 

What are your favorite Zenfolio sites you designed? 

Pam Jones of Paris Mountain Photography has a wedding photography site that really takes advantage of some of Zenfolio’s features. A clean, modern design shows off her stunning photos. Rather than her Contact page being just a solid color, I had Pam choose one of her photos to use as a background image for her Contact page. This gives the page a new dimension and continuity to her specialty as a wedding photographer. I also suggested using a custom page for her About page and to show a slideshow of Pam in action shooting. This gives customers a sense of Pam as a professional photographer and adds credibility to her already impressive portfolio.

 

 

Susie Talman of Susie Talman Photography wanted to have fun quotes as an overlay to her gallery thumbnails to add her personality to her portrait and lifestyle photos. She picked a fun font, and I created the overlays in Photoshop and then uploaded the images to her galleries and then selected those photos as the cover thumbnails 

 

 

Nancy Merrill of Nancy Merrill Photography desired a vintage, scrapbook design look for her family and newborn photography website. Using files of antique paper and elements from her logo to create a background pattern, I created a custom theme, giving her site a tasteful photo book look. Also, on her custom investment pages, we used a collaged banner image for each of her specialties.

 

David Hanson of Hanson-Carlen Architecture & Construction wanted their website to look like a beautiful luxury online magazine showcasing photography of their residential project photography. The website really takes advantage of the full-screen homepage layout with a centered logo. For their blog, I took advantage of the banner header layout and created a collage of photos showing their team in action with a text overlay naming their blog “Latest Musings” to give a sense of the company’s personality as a lead in to their stories.

 

Shari Warren of Warren Creative Design has provided design, training and business consultations to hundreds of Zenfolio photographers since 2011. With her background as an art director in the software and publishing industries, she brings a creative, objective eye and marketing savvy to help portrait, wedding and fine art photographers showcase their photography and set up their websites and shopping carts to help accomplish their business goals.

 

 

Taylor McGregor, a native of Silicon Valley, is a customer service representative at Zenfolio. She has a BFA in photography and graphic design. Her passions are photography, the great outdoors, and racking up frequent flier miles.

 

 

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(ZenBlog) Shari Warren Zenfolio professional photography website design http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/7/top-zenfolio-site-design-examples Sat, 16 Jul 2016 00:01:00 GMT
Try Our New Shopping Beta Experience http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/7/try-our-new-shopping-beta-experience

We are very excited to announce the beta launch of the start of a new shopping experience. Thanks to the feedback that many of you gave us over the past several months, we are redesigning the shopping experience to make it easier and more intuitive for your clients to shop for products and packages.  

 

Starting July 8, photographers will be able to opt in to the new shopping experience beta.

 

To access the beta shopping experience,

  • Log in to your Zenfolio account.
  • Click on the link in the header of your dashboard to Opt-into the new shopping experience.
  • The new shopping experience will be live to all of your clients.

 

 

The Zenfolio blog is the place for you to get the latest updates so you have the information you need to participate in the discussion. We will launch the new shopping beta experience periodically and incrementally. This means you will see the new shopping experience evolve over time, and this approach presents a great opportunity for us to interact through the process and get your feedback as we iterate.

 

You can also find additional information by reading our Shopping Beta FAQ.

 

If you find any bugs or issues, please contact support right away. We look forward to this journey together and thank you in advance for your participation and support.

 

Be sure to bookmark our Shopping Beta Updates blog post, where we will unveil the latest updates as they happen. 

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio professional photographer selling http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/7/try-our-new-shopping-beta-experience Fri, 08 Jul 2016 22:04:44 GMT
Shopping Beta Update http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/7/shopping-beta-update-what-launched-today-july-8

Hi Zenfolio photographers!

 

Here's what you can expect with the first phase of the new shopping beta that we just launched.

 

For the first phase of the project, we are launching

 

  • A redesigned homepage to shop for packages and products

  • Personalized photos from your client galleries appear on the products

  • Package contents are more prominently displayed than before

  • A shipping estimator in the cart page to help view order total quickly  

 

Please use the features above and tell us what you think about it. Please email us your feedback at shoppingbeta@zenfolio.com.

 

July 22 Update: Shopping beta is paused.

 

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio professional photographer selling http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/7/shopping-beta-update-what-launched-today-july-8 Fri, 08 Jul 2016 21:48:59 GMT
How to Build a Photo Gallery Wall http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/7/how-to-build-a-photo-gallery-wall

By Amanda Burse

 

Photo gallery walls are a big trend these days, but making your own can seem like an overwhelming task. As a professional photographer, I have helped many of my clients design photo walls but had never made my own until now. Being a mom of four, I have many family photos I wanted to put on display so I was eager to get started.

 

The first step was choosing a location, since that would determine how many photos I could feature and what size my gallery wall would be. In a perfect, Pinterest world I would have a photo wall in my hallway. In real life, the hallway was not ideal because I have toddlers, teenagers and a feline that is prone to sporadic and unpredictable jumping spasms. So I decided to put my gallery on this wall instead. 

The most difficult part for me was choosing the pictures. I combed over hard drives and years of documented memories—I wanted to hang them all. With sweat on my brow, I started grouping favorites in a folder. I would put one in, take two out, and stare at the folder on my desktop. After much deliberation, I was able to decide as to what images to feature on my wall.

 

The design part was easy, because I already had an idea in mind. I have a favorite photographer who featured her own photo wall project on her blog several years ago, and it has stuck with me. The general rule of thumb is to have a sense of order, whether you go with an asymmetrical or grid layout. I went with a grid. As far as the size of the pictures, I have always preferred large photographs. I made the mistake of buying the standard sizes when I first started photographing my children, and the pictures were lost in a sea of wall. The first time I bought a 20 x 30 print, I knew I was never going back!

 

There are so many printing options to choose from: canvas, prints with frames, acrylics, and more. After spending a great deal of money on canvas in the past, I didn’t want to go with that medium for this particular project. While I love canvas, I wanted to be able to change the photographs as the kids grew.

 

I finally decided on clip frames. I have a small house, so every inch matters. Clip frames are unobtrusive to the space and have clean lines. They are also inexpensive, so I was able to buy more photographs! A big thank you to Quadro Frames for helping me choose the best frames to fit my space.

The tools I used to complete the project were patience, cute kids, a small hammer, photographs printed by Mpix Pro, and a laser level. I am a terrible judge of levelness, so I cannot stress enough how much easier this project was with the laser level.

 

I just love how the finished project turned out, and I feel like it is something that the space has needed for a long time. My gallery wall has a lot of photographs, including a mix of black and whites and color. Initially, I was worried that it would be too busy and visually overwhelming. But my wall is 100% reflective of my family—chaotic and perfectly imperfect.  

If an overwhelmed, self-proclaimed photo commitment-phob like myself can put a photo gallery wall together, so can you. Don’t put it off another moment. Show off your work so you, your family and friends can see and enjoy it!

 

 

Amanda Burse is a devoted wife and mom to four children between the ages of three and 13. She is part of the Zenfolio Customer Support Team and has been a professional photographer for nine years. 

 

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(ZenBlog) Amanda Burse Zenfolio gallery wall photo wall photographer photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/7/how-to-build-a-photo-gallery-wall Fri, 08 Jul 2016 21:46:43 GMT
Pro Tips for Designing a Successful Website http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/top-tips-for-designing-a-successful-website

Designing your site can sometimes be a daunting task, but we are here to help. Website design expert and Zenfolio partner Shari Warren provides site design and training service through her company Warren Creative Design. We asked her for some insider tricks on how to create a stunning website or portfolio.

 

Getting Started

"The first task when designing a website is to determine the structure and organization of the web pages needed. This process can be done in many ways, such as a bulleted list with categories and subcategories, a rough pencil sketch on paper, or a diagram drawn in a graphics program with boxes and lines to represent the pages (referred to as a site map)," Shari said.

 

 

"A portrait or wedding photographer’s website will typically consist of the homepage, portfolio galleries, client galleries, about page, and contact page. It may also include additional pages such as testimonials, blog, investment and session prices, FAQs and what to wear."

 

"A fine art photographer’s website will have a homepage, portfolio galleries, about page, and contact page. It could also have pages for awards and achievements, show/exhibit schedule, classes and workshops."

 

Determining Your Site's Look and Feel

Another great tool to help you get started building your Zenfolio site is our Getting Started Guide. Some photographers can hit a roadblock when trying to accurately reflect their brand through the design. Here are Shari’s suggestions to achieve this.

 

"Any photos that are not their personal best should be edited out and left off the website. Then the task is to determine the right colors, fonts and layouts that truly best showcase their work. Once the site design is established, it is important to use the same design, colors and fonts for their other promotional materials so they are consistent in their brand identity."

 

There are several easy ways to edit the look of your Zenfolio site—presets, themes, layouts and page options. We recommend trying our presets if you’re looking for a quick way to apply a template. Once you have one in place you can customize it. Check out our help guide for more information on using presets. See below for two preset examples.

 

leto-preset

Selecting Images for the Homepage

Once you have decided how you want your site to be represented, the next step is is choosing the images to feature on your homepage. Here’s what Shari recommends.

 

"For portrait or wedding photographers, the homepage photos should represent a selection of their best work from each of their portfolio galleries. And for fine art photographers, the photos would also represent the specialties they shoot, which should include some of their best sellers to date. I recommend no more than 10-15 photos for the homepage. Visitors’ attention spans are extremely limited when web browsing (think of your own time spent when viewing websites), so you have to show your most stunning images in the first 3-5 photos on the homepage. This exercise forces the photographer to only select images they feel best represents their unique style."

 

Once you are ready to begin working on your homepage, this guide covers all the tools and options available to help you create an amazing first impression.

 

Choosing a Site Design

It’s important for photographers to stay up-to-date with design trends. Even if your photos are current, if the design looks old your visitors will wonder if the body of work on the site is old too. Below, Shari covers the popular current website design trends.

 

"Most of the photographers I have been working with are looking for a clean, modern, elegant website with either a light- or medium-toned neutral color theme. The full screen or photo strip layout is a popular trend for the homepage, and grid layouts, similar to the Instagram or Pinterest layouts, are popular for the galleries. That being said, there are opportunities to strategically add some graphics or textures in the header, footer and even backgrounds to further complement the photographer’s style."

 

Making your site user friendly is a great way to make a first impression and conveys a sense of professionalism. Shari has five tips on how to do this.

 

Easy Navigation

"Make sure your menu items are clear and that only important info is included. Too many menu items can confuse your visitors. If you have many galleries or custom pages, consider using drop down menus where appropriate."

 

Simplify Your Pages

"Only show photos and text that are important. Too much visual clutter looks unprofessional and disrupts the viewing experience."

 

Large, Readable Fonts

"Make sure your fonts are at least 13 pixels or larger so the text can be easily read by viewers of all ages. You should also view your website on a mobile phone to be sure your text is large enough to read. Limit your choice of fonts to three or less, and be consistent using those fonts on all pages, including custom pages. Use decorative fonts sparingly, and only use them as an accent or main headers."

 

Curate Your Photo Galleries

"It is more impressive to show 20 to 25 of your best images than 80 photos of varying quality. Visitors don’t have a large attention span and will not keep scrolling to view all your work. If you do need to show a lot of images, consider creating sub-galleries for a more streamlined viewing experience."

 

Backgrounds and Colors

"Limit your color scheme to neutrals, or if you want to use non-neutral colors, be sure the colors don’t clash with the colors shown in most of your photography. Using a graphic or textures, such as in a header, can add to the personality of your website. But again, be sure they work with your genre of photography and do not appear more important than your photography, which should be the focus of your website."

 

This article explains how to customize your site menu, which will improve site navigation for your visitors. If you’d like to edit the color scheme and font in your theme, we recommend editing your theme in Theme Designer. You can learn more about Theme Designer here.

 

 

Design Mistakes to Avoid

Now that we have covered best practices and elements of good design, let’s discuss what design mistakes to avoid. We asked Shari to share the common design mistakes she sees.

 

"Design Mistake #1. Using a dark or all-black color scheme on a portrait or wedding website. When you shoot portraits or weddings, you are capturing a joyous occasion and memories full of light, colors and emotion. Those dark colors overshadow those sensitive moments and don’t let your photography shine. Dark colors work well for more dramatic and moody fine art, architectural, industrial or sport event photography.

 

Design Mistake #2. Script or italic fonts for paragraphs of text. While these font choices can be fine for occasional headers or testimonials, they are generally difficult to read, especially on mobile phones.

 

Design Mistake #3. An ugly logo. Having a clean, professionally designed logo is necessary if you want people to trust that your work is professional. If you don’t have the graphic skills to design a nice logo for yourself, ask some of your colleagues to recommend a graphic designer that they trust. You can also find a designer online. Remember that your logo is an investment in your brand that you will use for all promotional materials and social media for years to come as you grow your business."

 

So what qualities does Shari think make a photography website great?

 

"A great website has beautiful and compelling photography that is showcased, organized and invites the viewer to see more and provides a call to action to contact the photographer for services or to purchase their photos."

 

 

Shari Warren of Warren Creative Design has provided design, training and business consultations to hundreds of Zenfolio photographers since 2011. With her background as an art director in the software and publishing industries, she brings a creative, objective eye and marketing savvy to help portrait, wedding and fine art photographers showcase their photography and set up their websites and shopping carts to help accomplish their business goals.

 

 

Taylor McGregor, a native of Silicon Valley, is a customer service representative at Zenfolio. She has a BFA in photography and graphic design. Her passions are photography, the great outdoors, and racking up frequent flier miles.

 

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(ZenBlog) Shari Warren Zenfolio photography portfolio professional photography website design http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/top-tips-for-designing-a-successful-website Thu, 30 Jun 2016 16:49:24 GMT
We’ve Added New Watermark Designs http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/we-ve-added-new-watermark-designs

We’ve added new watermark designs to give you even more design options for protecting your photos while ensuring optimum presentation. Try them out, and play with the opacity and placement to see which one works best for your brand.

 

 

Watermarks never affect your original photos. They are only applied to the resized versions that appear on your website. See the new watermarks and choose your favorite!

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio photography portfolio product updates professional photography watermarks http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/we-ve-added-new-watermark-designs Mon, 27 Jun 2016 16:00:00 GMT
Zenfolio Partners with the Royal Photographic Society http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/zenfolio-partners-with-royal-photographic-society

Zenfolio is excited to announce our latest partner, the Royal Photographic Society!

One of the most prestigious organisations for photographers in the UK, the RPS promotes all aspects of photography and image making while offering comprehensive support to help photographers achieve and maximise their potential.

The Royal Photographic Society, founded in 1853, has throughout its history played an important role in the photography industry, both in the UK and internationally. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, many of the great photographers and scientists were proud to call themselves RPS members, and this trend continues today.

Zenfolio is proud to be associated with such an established and prestigious organisation. In celebration of our new partnership, we are offering an exclusive 20% discount on membership with the RPS until the end of 2016! Simply use coupon code ZEN16 after confirming your chosen level of membership from this page.

We are looking forward to working with the RPS to continue to provide the essential tools and support that helps photographers grow their businesses.

To learn more, please visit the RPS website

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(ZenBlog) RPS Royal Photographic Society UK Zenfolio association partner partnership photography professional photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/zenfolio-partners-with-royal-photographic-society Sat, 25 Jun 2016 00:11:31 GMT
Mpix and MpixPro standard shipping is now faster! http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/mpix-and-mpixpro-economy-shipping-is-now-faster

Mpix and MpixPro have improved their delivery times so you and your clients can get your orders faster. Now you can expect packages that are shipped economy to be delivered in 4-8 days.

And don’t forget, MpixPro still offers free overnight shipping for orders where the base lab costs are $100 or more. For complete shipping information, check out our labs page.

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(ZenBlog) Mpix MpixPro Zenfolio photography product updates selling shipping time http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/mpix-and-mpixpro-economy-shipping-is-now-faster Mon, 20 Jun 2016 16:01:00 GMT
Zenfolio + Aurora Borealis = a Photographer’s Dream http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/zenfolio-aurora-borealis-a-photographer-s-dream

By Laura Grier

 

As an adventurer and travel photographer, I have always considered myself an explorer of light. I will go anywhere and do anything to get the shot. I don’t just travel in search of photos; sometimes a photo finds me and sparks an epic quest to go to an amazing place. This was how my adventure began to trek to the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Northern Finland to capture the Northern Lights, otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis.

 

One day I came across a photo online of a thermal-heated igloo hotel.  The photo looked so surreal to me that I couldn’t believe a place like this existed. Imagine sleeping in your warm hotel room that has a glass igloo ceiling where you can see the Northern Lights from your bed! I took one look at that photo and I knew that I had to go, so I started researching how to get there.

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The Science

 

The Northern Lights are particles from the sun hitting our magnetic field that protects our Earth from radiation and causing a disturbance. These electrons and protons flow along the Earth's magnetic field lines, like the vibrations of guitar strings, and collect in the polar regions where they interact with oxygen and nitrogen to produce the magical red, green and purple dancing light show in the night sky. This is why you have to travel north of the Arctic Circle to be able to have a better chance of seeing them.

 

Right now, the sun’s surface temperature is at its highest, called the solar maximum, which is when the lights are at their most intense. When the sun’s surface cools, there will be fewer particles to ride the solar wind toward Earth. So, the occurrence of the Northern Lights will become rarer and a lot less vivid. In other words, if you put off seeing them this winter, you will have to wait 11 years for another chance to set your eyes upon them!

 

The Destination

 

When my friends and I arrived, armed with our cameras, hand and toe warmers, many layers of thermal underwear, brightly colored ski suits, and passports, we knew we were well on our way to experiencing the trip of a lifetime. Everything in Kakslauttanen was covered underneath a thick blanket of snow. The land was pristine, white and frozen over.

 

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The Hunt

 

Northern Finland is considered Aurora-hunting country. It is the best place in Scandinavia to see the lights due to its northern location. Part of the challenge for hunters is to find the darkest locations possible so they can see the brightest skies. For us, that meant taking off in the middle of the night on snowmobiles in search of the Northern Lights.

 

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Within minutes of jumping on our snowmobiles through howling winds, we parked at the top of a hill and the sky started glowing green in one spot as if on cue. Then it grew and started spreading like veins across the sky in neon green, disappearing and reappearing in different places. It was a challenge to photograph, because by the time you got your frozen hands and camera set the way you wanted on your tripod, they had moved and started becoming more vibrant in another area.

 

They danced and moved in front of our eyes and looked like someone was blowing bright green sand around. Then they started dripping a hot pink color, like fireworks after they burst and start falling and disappearing to the ground. It is impossible to describe in words the powerful emotions I was feeling. It was spiritual, even though I knew the science behind what was causing it. I was in a state of awe and disbelief that something so beautiful and bewildering could be created in nature.

 

We were incredibly lucky to see the lights four nights in a row. No one wanted to go to sleep for fear of missing a moment of this dramatic display.

 

Serendipity, Zenfolio, and How We are All Connected

 

On the night of March 17, an even more magical moment happened. We woke up at 3 a.m., because it felt like someone was shining a flashlight in our faces. What we woke up to see was the entire sky dancing and swirling in the most intense green I have ever seen. We held hands and couldn’t believe what we were seeing was real. I grabbed my camera and held my breath with it resting on my chest, and took this photo through our igloo ceiling. 

 

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It was my life’s dream coming true and such an emotional moment for me. I felt like it was my own personal green display for St. Patrick’s Day, and I wanted to share it with my friends back home immediately.

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I was able to download and edit the above image and get internet in the main lodge, so I trudged through the snow from my igloo to the lodge in the middle of the night and posted that photo on my Facebook page. I got this response from a friend:

 

Molly Hauge:

Hi Laura! It's been awhile, but I love following your journeys. I have what might be a strange question for you. This morning my uncle passed away, and he was the ringleader of our Irish/Norwegian clan. It is a devastating loss to our family and when the time came, you posted the below image. For us crazy people who believe in timing/fate, it was exactly what I needed in that moment as the ongoing story is that my uncle would wait for St Patty's Day to say farewell. Well, he did and shortly after you posted. I shared the image with my family, and told them he had quite the send-off last night. They were all speechless. Now I'm wondering if there might be any way I could purchase a print or two of this image? It would really mean a lot, and with your permission I'd love to include it in his memorial slideshow. Thanks again for entertaining the idea, and I look forward to hearing back from you! I hope your travels are treating you well! xo

 

Laura Grier:

Hi Molly! I am so sorry for your loss! I think that the best method would be for me to create a gallery on my Zenfolio website of the Northern Lights where you could order prints from.

 

Molly Hauge:

Omg yes that would be fantastic! Thank you for understanding and for making the effort!

 

So here I am in the Arctic wilderness far from civilization having a celestial moment that I have waited my whole life to have, and I was able to share it with people back at home. I even touched a family and was able to give them solace during a time of grief.  It blows my mind that out in the wilderness of Lapland using my phone I was able to share that image, upload it to my Zenfolio website, list it for sale with different print choices, and have it arrive across the world in a couple of days to make it for the funeral of a man who always knew he would pass away in spectacular fashion on St. Patrick’s Day! Zenfolio is amazing—and it’s another reason that I love what I do. 

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It just was the finishing touch that made the journey even more awesome.  I feel so lucky that the heavens and conditions aligned for us to witness the most beautiful phenomenon that exists on Earth and that Zenfolio allowed me to touch other people’s hearts even from the most remote place on the planet.

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(ZenBlog) Laura Grier Northern Lights Zenfolio photographer photography professional photographer professional photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/zenfolio-aurora-borealis-a-photographer-s-dream Sat, 18 Jun 2016 04:00:00 GMT
Picking the Right Preset for Your Website http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/picking-the-right-preset-for-your-website

 

Zenfolio strives to make your life easier and your website setup quick and painless. If you are a new user, you might have already chosen a preset that was suggested to you based on your photography genre during when you first signed up. However, if you have yet to select a preset and don’t know which one to choose, here are some tips on how to pick one that will look great with your style of photography.

 

Stunning full screens | Circe, Aura, Hestia

Great for: Wedding, landscape, nature, fashion/editorial

 

These full-screen layouts are dynamic, striking, and let your photography be the star of the show. They are great for slideshows that showcase the best of your work and immerse the viewer without distractions. Circe is a minimal but bold preset that features a top menu, is incredibly versatile and would work for all genres. Aura features a dark bottom menu with a teal accent color that works great with fashion and editorial photography. Hestia is another minimal preset with a bottom menu that would beautifully feature nature, landscape, and travel photography. Full-screen presets are no fuss and easy to use, although they aren’t the best option for very close-up shots, like headshots or simple portraits.

 

Clean grids | Leto, Nox

Great for: Portrait, family/seniors, wedding

 

Grid presets 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. Grid layouts may look involved but all you need to do is create a special group of images that you’d like to feature on the homepage when you apply the preset. Leto is a new preset that features a square grid and a minimal top menu, which makes it quite versatile. Nox features a neutral color scheme, a left menu, and a dynamic vertical grid that works beautifully with portrait and wedding photography. This preset is preferable if you have images of varying sizes and don’t want any cropping to occur.

 

Striking layouts | Vesta, Concordia, Ares

Great for: Wedding, nature/landscape, portrait, pet

These presets have a layout that works well for displaying certain features like a Welcome Message, social media buttons, or playing with accent colors. Vesta is an elegant preset with mint and charcoal accents,a top menu and a right-side welcome message. It looks professional and is striking with wedding and portrait photography. You also have the ability to edit the accent colors. Concordia features a left-side welcome message and floating menu, which really pops against the backdrop of your photography. It has a neutral color scheme and is very versatile, but looks great with wedding and nature/landscape imagery. Ares features a distinctly feminine typeface and color accent, and has a large, square grid on the homepage. Although you can easily swap out the fonts and colors, this preset is quite playful and pairs nicely with portrait/family, pet, and newborn photography.


 

If you’d like to try a new look for your Zenfolio website, experiment with different presets to see which one you like best. The great thing about presets is that you can change them whenever you want!

 

For more information on how to change or apply a new preset to your website, view our video tutorial below.

 

 

 

 

 

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio design gallery genres layouts photo photography portfolio preset professional template website http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/picking-the-right-preset-for-your-website Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:24:36 GMT
Use Your Contact Page to Get More Info http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/use-your-contact-page-to-get-more-info

Having a contact page is essential to ensuring visitors can get in touch with you. But you can also use it to get information from them.

We’ve updated the contact page with the option to add additional question fields. Edit your contact page today! Need help? Here's how to edit your page

You can also set up automated email responses, such as a Thank You email, so visitors remember you and your website. 

 
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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio contact page marketing photographer photography product updates professional photographer professional photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/use-your-contact-page-to-get-more-info Mon, 13 Jun 2016 16:00:00 GMT
Jenny Heyworth Joins the Zenfolio Pro Team! http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/jenny-heyworth-joins-the-zenfolio-pro-team

What makes a professional photographer successful? It’s all about finding your niche. The Zenfolio Pro Team represents a wide variety of photographers, from photojournalists to wedding photographers and everything in between.

We’re pleased to introduce the newest addition to our growing UK Pro Team, Jenny Heyworth of Jenny Heyworth Photography and Aspire Photography Training! A multitalented photographer, trainer and mentor, Jenny joins our extended family with a focus on food photography. 

Growing up in the south of France immersed in the delightful colours and smells of the local food markets, food has forever been close to Jenny’s heart and a strong influence in her journey as a food photographer. A self-described foodie and hopeless romantic, Jen also happens to be engaged to a chef who runs a busy restaurant—so the art of food and food photography is sure to remain an integral part of Jenny’s life.

First published in Professional Photographer magazine in 2012, Jenny’s photography has been on a stratospheric rise ever since. Food photography is just one of the many styles of photography Jenny excels in. She also does commercial, weddings and portraiture and still finds time to inspire, train and mentor upcoming photographers in her role with award-winning Aspire Photography Training.

We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Jenny into our family and are looking forward to seeing more of her work! To learn more about Jenny visit her Pro Team page, and check out her impressive Zenfolio site here complete with drool-worthy images!

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(ZenBlog) Jenny Heyworth Pro Team Zenfolio food photographer food photography photography professional photographer professional photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/jenny-heyworth-joins-the-zenfolio-pro-team Tue, 07 Jun 2016 23:55:01 GMT
Announcing Two New Website Design Presets! http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/new-website-design-preset Looking to freshen up your website design? Presets let you update the look and feel of your site with only one click, and we are excited to announce our two newest ones—Circe and Leto!

Circe features a full-screen slideshow on the homepage with modern fonts and neutral colors.

Leto features a square photo grid on the homepage with a minimalistic menu and slate blue accent colors.

Learn more about presets and watch the informational video below. Then try one out today!

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio photographer photography preset product updates professional photographer professional photography website design http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/new-website-design-preset Mon, 06 Jun 2016 17:39:50 GMT
How to Avoid Getting Stuck in a Creative Rut http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/how-to-avoid-getting-stuck-in-a-creative-rut

by Tiree Dawson

As technology advances, the mastery of the mechanical and scientific side of photography is becoming increasingly easy to achieve. Because of this, our creativity is more important than ever. Sometimes, in a crowded marketplace, individual style is the only real differentiator.

If you identify as a creative then you may not see this as a worry. But what happens when creative ideas, well, just don’t happen? Maybe you’re faced with a blank frame and you can’t think of how to fill it. Maybe your clients book you for your bright ideas, but your mind is feeling a little less shiny than it was last week—what happens then?

Sometimes these moments pass quickly:  a few floundering attempts at composition or posing, some muttering under your breath, and you’re back on your way, clicking happily. Other times the lack of ideas becomes worrisome.

There’s no surefire way to avoid these darker moments, but here are a few suggestions that can minimise the chances of them happening.

“There is nothing more vulnerable than creativity.”  Brene Brown

Getting stuck in a creative rut is simply part of the process. Aiming to never to fall into a creative rut is as futile as claiming you’re going to drive a car all your life and never get stuck in traffic. You can take routes to avoid getting in a jam, but sometimes the odds aren’t in your favour, and through no fault of your own the journey you are on (creative or otherwise) may run a little slower than you hoped.

Pro Tip: Go easy on yourself, know that you’re doing the best that you can, and trust that things will soon get moving again.

“Art is the means we have of undoing the damage of haste.”   Theodore Roethke

Be aware of your own well-being and be sure to take time out. I find it helpful to take a break before I get stuck—when things are flowing well. It can be hard to take time out, but it certainly makes it easier to go back.

You may also find it useful to have several projects going at once. Try building flexibility into your workflow where possible. That way if you’re not feeling inspired to shoot at a certain time then editing or marketing can be another option.

If you are really struggling with something but have to get it done, then try to squeeze in a quick break or change of scenery. Even in a high-pressure environment like a wedding shoot it is usually possible to grab a few minutes to centre yourself and re-energise, whether that’s by having a strong coffee or doing a brisk lap of the gardens. When you feel under pressure on a shoot, be confident enough to know that you don’t have to be taking photos constantly to do a good job. Your clients should trust that you will do what is right for them—and this could mean taking breaks, pausing and thinking rather than running round at 100mph releasing the shutter at every opportunity.

Pro Tip: Know how you work best and gently communicate this to everyone in advance of the shoot.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t you’re right.”   Henry Ford

Facing a lack of creativity can be hugely demoralising. If you’re feeling disheartened, try writing down some of the things you’ve achieved with your photography in the past year. Perhaps you’ve been featured in some publications, been shortlisted for an award, taken more bookings than the year before, or simply met your clients’ expectations while keeping your family fed, watered and loved.

Pro Tip: Looking back through your past work can also provide an emotional lift when you’re feeling down. Track your progress and congratulate yourself on the new skills you have learned and the confidence you have gained.

“If you’re the smartest person in the room then you’re in the wrong room.”

Surround yourself with brilliant and funny people who are great at what they do. This brings endless inspiration and support. Join a local networking group, or if you can’t find one you fancy, then set one up yourself. It’s great to spend time with other photographers, but sharing challenges and best practice across industries can also be very valuable.

Pro Tip: To give a networking group focus and energy, try setting up a tangible project to work on together, like a styled shoot, or a co-written blog piece. 

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

Spending time with others is important, but so is making time for yourself. A personal photography project can really kick-start your creativity. Ironically, it’s often the imposed constraints of a finite project that help. By limiting yourself to a certain lens, a certain subject or a tightly restricted palette, you can give yourself the opposite of that overwhelmingly blank canvas. Be as strict as you like—you’ll be surprised at the ways your creativity will come out!

Pro Tip: Why not document a day in the life of someone close to you, commit to taking a shot at exactly the same time each day for a month, or visit a local not-for-profit organisation and work together to design a project that will allow you to be creative while helping others.

“Indulge your imagination in every possible flight.”   Jane Austen

Create a series of source books in a way that suits you. I find Pinterest the easiest, with different boards for clients, genres, ideas and plans. Take photos on your phone of anything and everything that inspires you—when you’re reading, travelling or just going about daily life. It could be a photo in a cookbook, a shadow across the path, a shop window, or someone’s outfit. Whatever it is, don’t rely on just mentally remembering it; get it captured in one form or another and file it away in a useful place. When your mind does go blank, you’ll be glad you kept a tidy library packed full of all those ideas!

Many people set up a Pinterest/mood board after they start a new project. Try to preempt this by gathering ideas before you even get the booking. Want to do more food photography? Then pin the kind of images what you want to shoot. Start getting together the right props and setups—the booking will come, and when it does land in your lap you’ll be ready.

Pro Tip: In addition to storing the images, take time to think about them critically. Why are you drawn to them? Is it the composition? The colours or textures? The subject? Make notes on these observations and aim to introduce similar elements into your own work.

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”   Pablo Picasso

Experiment constantly. I strongly believe that even in your most important client work—especially, in fact—you should be playing and experimenting. If you’re afraid of experimenting when working for clients, then you need to find a way to get over this.

Making sure that you have technically mastered all of your kit can help—that way you know you can get a few “safe” shots up front and still have time left to play. When it comes to the first dance at a wedding, I’ll shoot wide with a flash to make sure I have the standard shots covered, then I’ll allow myself to play around with wider apertures and more inventive lighting, reflections and angles.

Pro Tip: Always try to stay fresh. If things are working and you’re getting good feedback, it can be hard to be brave enough to change anything. Just remember, even if you’re doing well, if you’re not changing anything then you’re in a rut.

“Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.”   Frederick Buechner

When all else fails, this is the one that helps me. Remind yourself of why you’re a photographer. Spend time looking at old family photos. Dig out your wedding album and pour a glass of wine. Celebrate the fact that you have an honourable job: to communicate meaning, feeling and stories in a way that is internationally understood. Take pleasure from the capacity and responsibility you have to enlighten, influence and educate others.

Pro Tip: Contact some of your clients and ask them to share with you which of the images you took for them are the most important and why.

 

Remember, when your energy is low there’s no shame in feeding off the excitement of your clients. Whether you’re photographing a wedding, a handmade cushion, a plate of food or a tennis match, you’re documenting that scene because someone loves it. Somewhere along the line, at least one person has poured their passion, determination, energy and resilience into making that thing in front of your camera what it is at that very moment. What’s more, you can bet that at some point on their journey they felt tired, dejected and uninspired. But they did it. They made it happen, and so can you! 

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(ZenBlog) Tiree Dawson Zenfolio creativity photographer photography professional photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/how-to-avoid-getting-stuck-in-a-creative-rut Wed, 01 Jun 2016 19:12:18 GMT
Five Essential Tools to Help You Work Smarter http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/5/5-great-zenfolio-tools-you-should-be-using

by Kayla Capps

If you’re not using these five Zenfolio tools, you’re missing out! Use them to market your business, stay in contact with clients, work on the go, and increase your sales. These tools will help you work smarter, not harder.

1. Visitor Sign In

Visitor Sign In requires visitors to enter contact information before they can view a gallery, group, or collection.


Some photographers avoid setting this up because it is another thing that visitors have to click through before seeing their images, but this tool is quite beneficial to you.

You can set up Visitor Sign In so that once a visitor types in their contact information it is automatically added to your contact list, making it easier for you to communicate with your visitors in the future. You can require specific fields be filled in or you can choose to make these fields optional.

A great aspect of Visitor Sign In is when you set up a gallery as password-protected and enable the sign-in feature, the password field will be added right under all the other fields instead of displaying on a separate page, making this sign in less of an extra step and more of a security requirement.

The Visitor Sign In page is highly customizable, allowing you to type in any message you’d like to display or even add additional questions you would like your customers to answer.

Additional resources for setting up Visitor Sign In can be found here.

 

2. SEO Settings

Search engine optimization (SEO) can seem like a vast, complicated web of never-ending twists and turns. In truth, it’s not as complicated as you would think. Zenfolio offers excellent tools on the back end that you can use to make sure your website works its way to being shown at the top of search results.

Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo have their own algorithms for ranking web pages, based on the web page’s content. Depending on what a user types into the search field, search engines will try to pull the most relevant results based on these keywords. Zenfolio can help you set up your site with important and relevant information to boost your ranking.

First, we offer a tool to enable or disable the ability to have your site content be publicly searchable. In the photography world, there are just some photos you don’t want to have publicly searchable or found without a password on your site (for example, some boudoir photographs). Once you’ve uploaded a gallery, you can adjust the access control settings to not include photos and videos within the gallery in any search results. This setting can be applied and set for just your site or for search engines.

Now that you’ve determined which content you’d prefer to be publicly searchable or not publicly searchable, you’ll want to give your website a title and description. These fields are  most often used by search engines, so it is important to have a relevant and descriptive title. For example, you might set your homepage title to Jane Doe Photography and set the website description to “Portrait and Wedding Photography in and around the Menlo Park, California, area.” Descriptions like this will tell search engines exactly what your site is about.

We also offer an efficient way to use webmaster tools provided by search engines within your Zenfolio account. These webmaster tools allow you to see how search engines crawl and index your site. You’ll want to start here, add a property (your website), and grab the HTML tag that will be given to you so that you can go back to your Zenfolio settings and paste it in.

For more detailed instructions on setting this up and additional SEO tips, see this article

 

3. Triggered Emails

Triggered emails are one of our newer features, so some of our users may not be aware of this tool and how useful it is.

Triggered emails are pre-written emails that are automatically sent to a visitor after they take a specific action. One example would be to have an email sent to a visitor right after they’ve placed an order. You can set it up to have this triggered and you don’t have to do anything manually on your end. Here are additional examples of other types of trigger actions:

  • When clients sign in to a gallery via Visitor Sign In
  • When they create a Client Account under your site
  • When they create a new Favorites list
  • When they share a Favorites list with you
  • When they enter their email address on your Contact Page

 

One of the best aspects of this feature is that you can set up a time delay so that the emails are sent out X number of days after the actions are performed (you can send up to three emails in a series). This way it doesn’t feel so robotic to your site visitors.

Triggered emails can also use the same email variables when sending out invites and other email communications. So you can include links to a gallery, a contact page, etc.

We have additional resources to help you set up triggered emails here

 

4. Zenfolio Mobile App

Did you know that Zenfolio has an app for uploading and sharing?

Once you have downloaded the app and logged in you can perform all types of tasks. Take a photo, upload it and even share the photo with others. There are also additional back-end photo-related tasks you can perform to manage and edit your groups and galleries.

The app also let you create a To-Go List, which allows you to download images on to your phone to view them even when you’re not connected to the Internet.

Do you have images you want to post to social media? You can also perform this task within the app with the click of a button.

A help guide article for the iOS version of the app can be found here

You can also visit this link to download the app for Android. 

 

5. Photo Album Design Service

Our new photo album design service is quickly becoming a hit among our photographers and their clients. Photographers love this feature because it saves them time: All they have to do is take the photos and share them on Zenfolio. The client clicks a button to order, and we do the rest.

The first part of the album process is the Design phase. We start by going through all the images and making the selections for the client. We propose our selections to the client so they can either approve the images or request any revisions they want. Once the selections are approved, we design the cover and page layouts with all the selected images. When the design is complete, we then get final approval from the customer, or work out any last any final requested changes.  At this time, we collect payment, print the album, and ship it directly to the client, while you get to sit back and get paid a commission!

The albums are absolutely gorgeous, with professional print quality and stunning designs so your work is displayed beautifully.

In order to start offering this service to your clients, all you need to do is go to Selling > Photo Albums > and enable the photo album service for your clients (make sure it is marked and saved). As long as the gallery has at least 40 photos in it, this will display as an option for your clients to select and purchase.

For more details on setting this up and how things will work from the client’s perspective, see this link

Kayla Capps is a recent college graduate living and working in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is a Zenfolio Customer Support Representative and has been a professional photographer for four years. 

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio photographer professional photographer professional photography tools http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/5/5-great-zenfolio-tools-you-should-be-using Mon, 23 May 2016 19:22:27 GMT
"Flour Frenzy" Wins Pink Lady ® Food Photographer of The Year Award http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/5/pink-lady-food-photographer-of-the-year-awards-2016 The fifth annual Pink Lady ® Food Photographer of the Year awards, held at the Mall Galleries in London, has quickly become the highlight of the food photography calendar. Having been fortunate enough to attend this year, we can truly appreciate how the awards have earned their title as the Oscars of the food world!

The calm before the rush...

With more than 7,000 entries from 60+ countries, the diversity and quality of imagery submitted made for a tough job for the panel of judges, with the finalists' images setting the standard high for the food photography world. 

Hosted by celebrity food critic and TV personality Jay Rayner, the awards evening took place in front of an audience of 400 guests at a Champagne Taittinger reception, packed with celebrities from the food and photography worlds. The finalist images were showcased in finest printed form around the exhibition, with the printing being entrusted to our esteemed UK partners One Vision Imaging

A small selection of the fabulous photography on display. All prints produced by One Vision Imaging.

UK photographer Mark Benham picked up the prize for Overall Winner, with his stunning image "Flour Frenzy" (below). Benham was presented with the £5000 prize by Andy Macdonald, who heads up Pink Lady ® in the UKheadline sponsor of the Awards. 

The winning image "Flour Frenzy" by UK photographer Mark Benham.

About the image: Taken at the Thoughtful Bread Company in Bath—one of the country’s leading artisan bakeriesMark headed down on a warm day in June 2015 to take some shots of the master bakers at work, in particular to shadow owner Duncan Glendinning, pictured in Mark’s award-winning image. 

Says Mark of the image: “It was a hot working environment, and after several hours shooting I was exhausted. In fact, I was just about to pack up, but I asked Duncan if I could take some fun shots. This is how the shot titled "Flour Frenzy" came about: a big ball of dough, lots of flour, and lots and lots of fun!"

Mark Benham received his prize as overall winner from Jay Rayner, celebrity food critic (L), and Andy McDonald, head of Pink Lady® in the UK (R).

Zenfolio would like to congratulate all the finalists and award winners in this year's competition, and we are proud to sponsor such a prestigious event each year. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Pink Lady ® team over the coming year to help make the 2017 awards even more of a success!

The Pink Lady ® team got ready to welcome the crowds.

The Pink Lady ® girls were ready to rock! Each winner received one of these charming awards bags, complete with free Zenfolio account! Prints by One Vision Imaging. Wine by Errazuriz. As guests arrived, the champagne began to flow. The crowd gathers in anticipation. Pink Lady ® Food Photography Awards founder Caroline Kenyon was poised for action as the awards presentations began.

To learn more about the Pink Lady ® Food Photographer of The Year awards and view the full gallery of finalists and shortlisted images, please visit their website.

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(ZenBlog) Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Zenfolio food photography photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/5/pink-lady-food-photographer-of-the-year-awards-2016 Fri, 20 May 2016 08:00:00 GMT
The Dashboard is Now More Efficient! http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/5/the-dashboard-now-gets-you-where-you-want-to-go-faster

Zenfolio has updated the dashboard to help you get where you want to go faster. We added drop-downs for quicker access to key areas on the dashboard. Why go to the selling main page when you only want to see your price lists? Now with our drop-downs you can!

We also changed the options that appear when you log in. Customization and viewing your website are now front and center. You can also easily see data on shared favorites, pending orders, and posted comments. The things that matter most are right at your fingertips.

Thanks to all who gave us suggestions that helped us determine how to make Zenfolio even better! Also watch the video walk-through:

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio dashboard photographer photography product updates professional photographer professional photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/5/the-dashboard-now-gets-you-where-you-want-to-go-faster Mon, 16 May 2016 16:01:00 GMT
Yes! You are CAN-SPAM Compliant http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/5/yes-you-are-can-spam-compliant

Did you know the US government, in an effort to squash non-solicited marketing emails, says you need “a visible and operable unsubscribe mechanism” present in all emails? Fear not! Zenfolio is compliant with this policy: the unsubscribe option is at the footer of all the emails that you send to your customers, automated or otherwise.

When you get visitor information from your contact page, visitor sign-in, registration, or from a placed order, this information is added to your contact list and that person is now subscribed to your emails. You can feel confident marketing to your list of clients and visitors, knowing you are CAN-SPAM compliant. 

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(ZenBlog) CAN-SPAM Zenfolio emails marketing photographer photography product updates professional photography, http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/5/yes-you-are-can-spam-compliant Mon, 09 May 2016 16:00:00 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.

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(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