ZenBlog: Blog http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) ZenBlog (ZenBlog) Mon, 31 Aug 2015 04:37:00 GMT Mon, 31 Aug 2015 04:37:00 GMT 5 Tips from the Pros on Starting a Photography Business http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/5-tips-from-the-pros-on-starting-a-photography-business

You’re restless in your office cubicle, or maybe the number of friends’ compliments on your photos is increasing, or perhaps you’re just ready to dive in and do what you love for a living. Before you start your own photography business, you’ll need to do some serious research and planning. Here, five of our Pro Team members share their words of wisdom on what you should take note of before taking the plunge. 

Being a full or part-time photographer means more than clicking the shutter. You are running a moneymaking business, and it’s important to be financially wise and put together a business plan so you can set goals. Several Pro Team members agreed: It’s definitely more business than photography.

“Take as much interest in the business side of things,” says music and commercial photographer Martin Hobby.  “So many businesses don’t have a business plan, but without one you are wandering around in the dark. How do you know what you should be charging if you have no idea how much you need to earn to survive each month?” He recommends starting with a piece of paper, and asking yourself:

 

  1. How much do you need to earn to cover all your basic living expenses each year?
  2. How much is your basic business overhead? (Add up all your equipment costs, insurance costs, advertising, office rent, etc.)
  3. Add these two figures together
  4. Divide by the number of jobs you think you will do a year: this gives you the minimum you must charge per job to cover your basic lifestyle.

 

There are a lot of factors that go into starting a business that go beyond your vision. “Research general requirements in your area, such as licenses, taxes and insurance requirements,” says music and pet photographer Amiee Stubbs. “You should also research the competition! It’s surprising to me how many people start a photography business with little awareness of what is already being offered in the market.”

Erica Peerenboom, senior portrait and boudoir photographer, says it’s best to seek professional help. “Check with your state about the requirements and permits needed to start a business. If possible, I recommend having a professional help you set everything up. I did this, and I didn’t want anything left out that I could later get in trouble for, especially with taxes!”

“The photography business is one of the few professions where clients look at your actual work and not your resume first,” says sports and nature photographer, David Liam Kyle. Your website is everything these days: your billboard advertisement, your storefront, your portfolio and blog. Make sure your site not only beautifully showcases your work but also helps get you more clients and increase sales. “Zenfolio is my modern-day portfolio. I can refer clients to specific links and private client folders that they can view and download images from in a professional manner. This also gives them the opportunity to see more of my other photography while they are at my website.”

“Zenfolio is a huge time-saver: it’s so easy to use that I don’t have to devote much time to creating a fantastic-looking website,” says Amiee. “I stay so busy that I don’t have time for in-person sales, so it allows my clients to purchase directly through the site.”

And lastly: “What is that old saying? You only get one chance to make a first impression…” says Erica.

What’s the cheapest and easiest way to get your work out there? Using Facebook and Instagram to grow your following. Olympic photographer Jeff Cable has more than 40K fans on Facebook alone and gains new followers by posting live action Olympic shots during the season. “Social media is critical these days,” he says.

Some photographers, such as Jeff, use social media to communicate with other photographers; others use it to gain more clients; and others use it to showcase their personal lives. “I am different than many other photographers, because my social media is aimed more at photographers than potential clients. I teach photography all over the world and have a following from that.”

Martin lets his personality shine through not only on website but on social media as well. “The lines are blurred between me and my business. I don’t want to come across as too slick and corporate. I would sooner be regarded as slightly used, battered and eccentric,” he says.

Just because it’s your photography doesn’t mean you need to run the show alone. It can be wise to enlist the help of friends and family when starting out, and down the line even hiring an accountant, manager or team members to help keep you organized and sane. (Plus, how many creative people enjoy doing the booking and numbers?)

Help from a spouse is common among the Pro Team: Martin, Amiee and David all have spouses who help run their businesses.

“My business is run by my wife, Dawn, who is my boss,” says Martin. “She’s rock solid and handles all the admin and bookkeeping stuff that I absolutely hate. She’ll be taking over all the social media side once our little boy starts school.”

Martin also uses a freelance retoucher for editing jobs, and has stared working with a marketing agency to rebrand his website.

“A good accountant is also a must, they will save you more money than you pay them.”

Ready to take the plunge? Be sure to download our Marketing & Selling Guide, and read our Guide to Creating a Business Plan.

 

Meet the Experts:

ericaErica Peerenboom martinMartin Hobby aimeeAmiee Stubbs davidDavid Liam Kyle jeffJeff Cable

 

 

 

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(ZenBlog) Starting a photography business Zenfolio guide to starting a photography business how to start a photo business http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/5-tips-from-the-pros-on-starting-a-photography-business Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 8.28 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/friday-foto-favorites-8-28

  1. Tips for creating an ethereal effect in photos.
  2. Through the eyes of the homeless.
  3. An infrared camera documents Northern California.
  4. This photographer comes up with a unique way to call attention to how we’re treating our planet.
  5. Here’s some back to school inspiration. 
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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio best photos favorites featured photos weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/friday-foto-favorites-8-28 Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:01:00 GMT
50 Shades of SEO: Keywords are Your Best Friend http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/50-shades-of-seo-keywords-are-your-best-friend

50 Shades of SEO – Part 3

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 third installment of our SEO series, we talk about keywords and how to implement them on your website.

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

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

 

How do I select and use keywords?

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

How do I know what keywords my customers are using?

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

The Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did Google take away that information?

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

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

Recap

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

*   *   *

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

 

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(ZenBlog) 50 shades 50 shades of seo Zenfolio eugene feygin keywords seo http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/50-shades-of-seo-keywords-are-your-best-friend Mon, 24 Aug 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 8.21 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/friday-foto-favorites-8-21

 

  1. Into the Eye of the Tiger.
  2. Views from the sailboat.
  3. 100 portraits in 100 days.
  4. A Guide to buying camera gear on eBay.
  5. One woman, several ways.
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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio best photos favorites featured photos weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/friday-foto-favorites-8-21 Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:00:00 GMT
MpixPro Showcase Products http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/mpixpro-showcase-products Make Your Images Stand Out

By Amanda Burse

 

Check out the other posts in this series:

MpixPro Photographic Print Papers: A Closer Look

MpixPro Press Print Papers: These Luxurious Papers Are Sure to Impress

 

If there is one thing I really like to sell in my business, it’s showcase items. When I first started out as a photographer, Canvas was pretty much the only true showcase item other than framed prints—and I fell in love with it almost instantly. The printing industry has revolutionized these products, and now there are so many it is hard for photographers to keep up. Acrylics, metals, standouts, print wraps: all with a variety of finishes, widths, and mountings. Every time one of these items arrives, I wait anxiously by the door for the FedEx truck. When the delivery man arrives, he shoots me a little smile and hands me the package as if he is a bit nervous I might give him a hug or spontaneously explode with anticipation.

Acrylic Prints

acrylicAcrylic

One of our most impressive MpixPro showcase items is Acrylic Prints. They have such a sleek look. After the photo is printed directly to the acrylic, a layer of opaque white ink is screen printed on the back to create a product that highlights the bright colors and fine details of the image. When I am selling this item I like to mention that there is a reflective quality to it. You will want to take into consideration the light in the room and also the photo itself before offering this to your client.

Metal Prints

metalprint2Metal Prints

Metal Prints have become big in the industry in the past couple of years. These impressive showstoppers are distinct and modern. They won’t be right for all of your clients, but one thing is for sure, the finish and stylish quality of this item will impress the person you print it for. A coat of opaque white ink is added to the brushed aluminum metal surface and then the image is printed on top. Better yet, it comes ready to hang.

Vivid Metals

vivid-metalsVivid Metals

An offshoot to metal prints are Vivid Metals. As you can see, these have quite a bit of shine to them. It is important to look at your image carefully before choosing this type of wall art.  I love the two represented in these photos. The high gloss emphasizes the light in the photographs. I have taken care to show the reflective quality. Window light and artificial light will play a part in how these images look in a home collection. You can either order these with the metal base, which allows that metallic look to come through, or your can order it with a white base, which will allow all of your details to be seen. There are also a few choices for mounting. You can go with a magnet mount for pictures that are 8 x 10 or smaller. You can also choose the easel mount so that you are able to stand your images up, which is available for images that are 16 x 20 or smaller. Finally, you have the float mount option, which is for any image 6 x 6 and up.

Print Wraps

print-wrapsPrint Wraps

Print  Wraps are one of my favorite new showcase items. These are sturdy, they come ready to hang, and they are very affordable. They are also laminated, which is great for your daily cleaning routine, and they can be dusted easily with a dry, soft towel. The print itself is wrapped around a layer of foam with a block on the back pre-drilled for mounting. And just like prints, you have the choice of E-Surface or Metallic.

Standouts

stand-outStand Outs

I see a lot of Standouts in corporate offices and displays—they are lightweight, they come ready to hang, and they are affordable. A Standout display consists of a photographic print mounted on a 1.5" thick, lightweight foam board with a lightly textured black or white trim around the edges. You can order these in either the E-Surface, Metallic, or Black and White finishes and expect the same quality you would see with the regular prints MpixPro offers.

Fine Art Prints

fine-art-paperFine Art Paper

Fine Art Prints is similar in look and feel to watercolor paper and is a great alternative to fiber-based printing. It’s elegant and classic with a noticeable texture, so it won’t be right for every image. One additional note is that Fine Art paper is fragile. You will want to handle it with care and make sure not to have any grease or dirt on your hands when you touch it.

Canvas

canvasCanvas

Last but certainly not least is Canvas. About five years ago I switched to a package-based portrait business that included a set of canvases along with digital prints. This got my clients what they wanted—digital images. But it also introduced them to portraits as art. Nothing is more versatile than Canvas. It looks good in every style of home. Images are printed on premier art canvas and wrapped around a 1.5" or 2.5” thick wooden stretcher frame. They also arrive ready to hang. Again, this is a textured item, so not all images are suited for Canvas. It comes in Classic and Pearl finishes. Classic is more matte. It has very little reflection to it. Pearl has an iridescent glow that will make vibrant colors pop in certain light.

No matter what type of photographer you are, showcase items are sure to add something special to your images. And the best thing is your clients will see the perfect moments you captured in front of them every single day!

*     *     *

Amanda Burse is a devoted wife and mom to four children between the ages of 2 and 12. She is part of the Zenfolio Customer Support Team and has been a professional photographer for eight years. 

 

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio acrylic fine art paper gallery wrap metal metal prints mpixpro print wrap showcase showcase products stand out vivid metal http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/mpixpro-showcase-products Mon, 17 Aug 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Display your vacation photos and save 35% http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/display-your-vacation-photos-and-save-35

Hold on to those summer vacation memories all year long with beautiful photo prints and products. Now through August 20, save 35 percent on everything from Mpix, MpixPro, ivoke, IYP, One Vision Imaging, PhotoBox, Nulab and NuShots. Millers, fotoflot, and PictureItPostage products are not included in this promotion.

And now, you and your customers can shop from your mobile device. Make sure this feature is enabled by going to Customize Visitor View, clicking Site Settings, selecting the Mobile Site tab, and checking the box.

As always, no coupon code is necessary when you order through your Zenfolio account. This sale ends August 20 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, so be sure to place your orders today.


Important Details Regarding the Sale

  • This sale will be effective from 17-Aug-2015 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until 20-Aug-2015 at 11:59 p.m. PDT and cannot be extended outside of this time frame. The discount applies to everything from Mpix, MpixPro, ivoke, IYP, One Vision Imaging, PhotoBox, Nulab and NuShots only. Miller’s, fotoflot, and PictureItPostage products are not included in this promotion.
  • This discount cannot be combined with other promotions.
  • For photographers placing orders from Edit View , the promotion requires no coupon code.
  • The discount applies to base lab prices and will be reflected in the shopping cart only for orders placed from Edit View.
  • This Zenfolio promotion does not change any price lists that the photographer has created, and the discount will only be visible to photographers while logged in. Customers’ orders will not show a price discount. The discounted prices will be reflected as giving photographers a higher profit for each order.  
  • For more information, please read our Sales FAQ and blog post on how to run a sale on your site.
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(ZenBlog) 35% IYP Ivoke Mpix MpixPro Zenfolio nulab nushots one vision imaging photobox print sale professional photographer professional photography sale http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/display-your-vacation-photos-and-save-35 Mon, 17 Aug 2015 07:01:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 8.14 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/friday-foto-favorites-8-14

  1. LA, from above.
  2. Movie classics, reimagined on cool posters.
  3. Want to quit your day job? Here’s some inspiration.
  4. Chilling yet stunning celebrity photo composites.
  5. California wildfires
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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio best photos favorites featured photos weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/friday-foto-favorites-8-14 Fri, 14 Aug 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Top Travel Photography Workshops for 2015-2016 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/top-travel-photography-workshops-for-2015-2016

The first article in our travel series took readers on Safari in Africa. The second took us over to Nepal. And the third took us way across the pond to Australia. In this final installment of our summer travel series, we look at travel photography workshops across the globe. With all of the destination photography workshops available, the options can seem endless. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you and selected our favorites.

 Here’s our list of the top photography workshops throughout the world.

Canon EOS Destination Workshops

Canon’s two-day workshops will help you build your portfolio, improve your skills and get inspired in some of America's most stunning landscapes. Small classes limited to 16 attendees make it easy to get answers to your questions and to develop your skills alongside other photo enthusiasts that are just as dedicated as you.

Mountain Light: The Art of Dramatic Landscape and Action Photography, Aspen, Colorado

Yosemite in Autumn, Yosemite National Park, California 

 

Nikon Summit Series Photography Workshops

The Nature workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, focuses on capturing scenic and wildlife visuals from the Grand Tetons to brown bears in the wild, as well as portfolio reviews.

The weeklong Adventure workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has rock climbing, kayaking, camping and more.

 

Oceanwide Expeditions, Antarctic Peninsula

These workshops powered by Leica will help you enhance your photographic skills while traveling to the stunning polar regions of Antarctica. The ship will be your basecamp for daily complimentary activities such as snowshoeing, kayaking, camping, mountaineering, hiking and landings ashore, completed with a photo workshop.

 

Photo Workshop Adventures LLC

Experience beautiful locations, amazing food and great fun while learning how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image. These workshops offer a casual structure of discussions and inspiration without any boring classroom lectures.

Americas, Tulum, Mexico (Fine Art Nudes, Patagonia (Lansdcape, Seascape, Wildlife), and more

Africa: Morocco, Cape Town and more

Europe: Prague, Barcelona, Naples & Amalfi, Santorini, Amsterdam, and more

 

Within the Frame Photographic Adventures

Kyoto

Kyoto, with its ancient temples, imperial palaces, wooden houses, cobbled lanes, geishas, and tea ceremonies, represents the epitome of traditional Japanese culture. The workshop is at the peak of autumn foliage when the trees range from bright yellows to flaming reds. Bob Sacha will work with participants using still photography and/or video with an emphasis, for those who desire, on storytelling.

Paris

This workshop with Jeffrey Chapman & Winslow Lockhart is a perfect opportunity to study the master painters and photographers at some of the world’s preeminent museums and important photography fair. In November, the tourists have left, and Paris relaxes to her natural beauty. During these autumn mornings and late afternoons, the light in Paris becomes something incredible.

 

Nzicescapes

Petr Hlavacek leads these New Zealand photography workshops in four stunning locations: Glacier Country, Rainforest and Limestone, West Coast and South Island.

*   *   *

They say that people get the most satisfaction when they spend their money on experiences rather than things. So go ahead and select one of these exciting, educational adventures today! 

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio best workshops kyoto photo retreat retreat top workshops travel series travel workshop http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/top-travel-photography-workshops-for-2015-2016 Wed, 12 Aug 2015 16:00:00 GMT
MpixPro Press Print Papers http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/mpixpro-press-print-papers

These Luxurious Papers Are Sure to Impress

By Amanda Burse

 

Zenfolio offers fantastic photo paper and press print products, if I do say so myself. I recently took a closer look at our selection of MpixPro photographic print papers, and in this post, I examine the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G press paper offerings from MpixPro and Miller’s.

When I first started as a wedding photographer, I began the overwhelming task of looking for promotional postcards and other goodies to hand out to my clients. I wanted something that looked high end without the high cost. Also, as my family  portrait client base grew, people were asking more and more for cards that went above and beyond the discount store offerings. Cost was a huge factor—my family clients simply could not afford a set of 15 cards for $100. Finding that kind of product at a good price was tough 10 years ago, but that is not the case any more.

MpixPro and Miller’s press print products are both beautiful and affordable. All of these card products have their own color attributes, just like with the photo paper. But the feel of them… oh the feel… is so luxurious. The textures feel just as elegant as they look.

There are seven different press paper options available through your Zenfolio account. Let’s take a look at them.

Bamboo

MpixPro's Premium Bamboo paper has a warm tone and a matte finish. It’s perfect for high-end press cards. It has a unique watercolor appearance and texture, which adds subtle definition to the paper. It’s almost as if the paper’s pebbly texture hints at the sturdiness and rigidity of its original form— bamboo. As an added benefit, it is completely eco-friendly.

bambooBamboo

Cotton

These stunning 100% Premium Cotton cards are reminiscent of the old, fine, leather-bound book paper. With little to no gloss, this paper soaks up light, leaving vibrant colors and a muted matte finish. This lavish product is perfect to show to clients who want an boutique look and feel to their cards. I found that my future brides picked this most often for engagement announcements because of its unique look. Definitely bring along some samples to show your clients—it sells them every time!

cottonCotton

Recycled

Although most of MpixPro’s cards are eco-friendly, if you want to go the extra mile for Mother Earth, try the 100% Recycled press cards. These are made completely from recycled paper. This press paper has a bright white, matte finish and it really makes your colors pop!

recycledRecycled

Pearl

Do you like your images to not only pop but sparkle too? I like shiny things, which is why I love the Pearl cards. The luminous finish is what makes this product unique. Natural minerals and organic pigments combine to give this paper a glorious sheen. And, even though it is radiant and fabulously rich looking, it is environmentally friendly—perfect for the discerning, earth-conscious client.

pearlpressPearl

Felt

MpixPro’s Classic Felt Press Paper has an old world, fabric feel. Not only is it luxurious to touch but its smooth finish, creates a high quality, timeless option for press products. I just love its texture… you really have to feel it to appreciate it.

felt2Felt

Linen

The Linen finish has sumptuous and vivid color, as well as a rich texture in the form of ever-so-light lines going both vertically and horizontally across the paper. This subtle texture is barely felt to the touch but creates an extravagant appearance. Every single promotional item I have ever printed is on this paper. It has helped me sell my brand and has boosted my image as more of a boutique photographer.

linenLinen

Cover Stock

Do you need something heavy duty? What I love most about the 120# Cover Stock is how well it holds up. I have made a lot of kids’ birthday invites out of this paper! It really makes those colors pop. Its patented coated surface is acid free, providing superior archival quality for your client’s most treasured memories. Business cards, postcards, folded cards, books—I could go on for days. It is just a great all around paper!

cardstockpressCover Stock

Hands down, you cannot go wrong with any of these papers. As soon as I started showing my clients these gorgeous products, they fell in love with them just as much as I did, and my sales soared to new levels. Combining your images with these papers is a match made in photographic sales heaven!

*     *     *

Amanda Burse Amanda is a devoted wife and mom to four children between the ages of 2 and 12. She is part of the Zenfolio Customer Support Team and has been a professional photographer for eight years. 

 

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(ZenBlog) Amanda Burse Mpix Mpix Pro MpixPro Zenfolio bamboo linen paper paper paper types press paper press print http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/mpixpro-press-print-papers Mon, 10 Aug 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 8.07 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/friday-foto-favorites-8-07

  1. Feast your eyes on the 2015 National Geographic Travel Photo winning photos.
  2. We’re all just start dust anyway, right?
  3. Is Dr. Seuss the mastermind behind these cabins?
  4. Who would have thunk: motorcycles in the water.
  5. A rustic approach to food photography.
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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio best photos favorites featured photos weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/friday-foto-favorites-8-07 Fri, 07 Aug 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Travel Series: Australia, A Trip Down Under http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/travel-series-australia-a-trip-down-under

The first installment of our travel series took readers on Safari in Africa. The second installment took us over to Nepal. This third installment of our travel series takes us way across the pond to Australia. Travel photographer Jeremy Rasnic, based in Jackson, Tennessee, was lucky enough to be selected to go on a dream trip where he spent three weeks exploring and photographing the land down under.

**Added later: Take a look at our top travel workshops and plan your own photo adventure.**

What was your reason for going to Australia?

The trip was sponsored by Image Brief. They’re an image licensing company that I license my photos through. They offered me what they called a dream shoot: you had to be one of their agents who licenses their photos and uses their services and tell them where in the world you want to go and why. Adorama provided me with a new camera, and I chose Canon 5DS. I picked Australia because it’s a place I’ve always wanted to go. I’ve been to five of the seven continents, and now I have South America and Antarctica left. We went to Rock Hampton, all the way down to Sydney, a private Island, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and much more.

Tell us about your adventures there.

Image Brief had a videographer that followed me over portions of the trip: the rainforest, the Gulf Coast and Sydney. I went to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, which has a beautiful scenic drive on the way up with a nice lookout. I was doing a video interview right around the time the sunset started, and I  had to stop the interview, get my camera out, set it up and take a shot—it was a sunset shot looking over mountains with an orange flowering plant lighting the foregrounds with beautiful sunset you could see for miles.

I also spent between five and 14 miles per day hiking in different areas and got quite the workout. Three years ago, I ruptured a disk and had to have back surgery in the ER. I thought that was the end of my photography career, but here I am, three years later, hiking up to 14 miles a day and climbing over boulders with a heavy pack and camera gear. To my surprise, I feel great!

What was your favorite spot?

A little spot called Dorrigo, in New South Wales. There’s not much there there—they have a couple of pubs and no famous touristy areas. However, they have a phenomenal national park and an abandoned train museum with some neat shops in the area. I got a great photo of a waterfall during sunset, and the colors on the hill were various hues of red, orange and magenta. I found a nice silhouette of trees and the area seemed to have a lot of character to it.

How does Australia measure up to other places you’ve visited?

There’s more variety in Australia. It has small towns, waterfalls, rainforests, plenty of flowering plants, private islands, coral reefs, and sharks.

Plus, while I was in Australia, the Milky Way was probably the brightest I’ve ever seen and I was able to take some great photos of it.

What do you love about travel photography?

Being able to see what’s out there and enjoy nature. If you stay in your hometown you pass by the same things every day. But if you bring a friend who is new to the area, then everything will be novel to them. They will see and appreciate things you would usually take for granted, like architecture, beautiful lighting, nearby scenery and far off views.

My least favorite part is leaving my family behind. I love my kids and my wife, and sometimes it’s hard to pack up and go somewhere for a while, knowing that I am missing out on some aspects of their lives.

Through Image Brief, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to choose one place anywhere in the world and they’ll cover the cost. The only caveat is that I license my images through them, which I have no qualms doing. It has opened up doors for me: it’s not just locals selling prints; it’s also large corporations like Canon USA, Facebook, AutoZone, etc.

What is your next travel photography adventure?

Next summer, I’ll head to upstate New York and do some photography there, and probably go to Canada and then head to Missouri, Kansas City and north plains Kansas, Nebraska, etc. Next spring, I’ll take a trip out to the Grand Canyon with my family.

*   *   *

Jeremy is a full-time travel and landscape photographer based in Jackson, Tenn. Starting off as a videographer; he switched to the still-frame world, bringing his Canon on all of his travels.  He has three children and a loving wife who he often brings on his adventures. Learn more at jrazzcreations.com.

 

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(ZenBlog) Australia Zenfolio jeremy rasnic landscape travel photography travel series http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/travel-series-australia-a-trip-down-under Mon, 03 Aug 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 7.31 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/friday-foto-favorites-7-31

 

  1. Famous portraits, reimagined.
  2. Well, isn’t this just adorable?
  3. How to set up a photography business.
  4. The hidden surprises of wedding photography.
  5. The beautiful souls of gingers.
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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio best photos favorites featured photos weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/friday-foto-favorites-7-31 Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Product Spotlight: Perfectly Clear http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/product-spotlight-perfectly-clear By Phil Ritti

As a freelance photographer, I’m always looking for a Lightroom plug-in that can improve my workflow. Perfectly Clear can save you time in post production by enhancing images with the click of a button. There are eight powerful presets that can be adjusted further to achieve the desired look.

When you open an image, the plug-in performs an auto correction. This automatic fix did a great job with almost every photo I threw at it. Any photo that needed some extra fine-tuning was easily processed using one of the eight presets: Details, Vivid, Beautify, Beautify+, Fix Dark, Fix Noise, Fix Tint, and Landscapes. The nice thing about the presets is that you can adjust them in a toolbox with slider tools.

Perfectly Clear offers two presets that effectively enhance portraits. With the Beautify and Beautify+ presets, the plug-in can identify the face in a portrait to tune the correction specifically for the image. I found that this preset offers a realistic correction of skin tones and blemishes that looks very natural. When you apply the presets, you can click Adjust to really dive in and customize your image. In the Adjust toolbox, you can choose to select or deselect certain tools and then change the corrections further.

With this image of Sacred Falls in Hawaii, I applied the Landscape preset. With one click of a button, the Landscape preset bumped up the brightness and contrast, and added a perfect amount of sharpening to this image. The preset did an amazing job of automatically enhancing the image.

I spend a lot of time in my post-production workflow editing the white balance and tint of my photos. I shoot RAW files with my white balance set to auto. Perfectly Clear offers a Fix Tint preset that removes the tint from images to reveal what the photo should really look like when it was shot.

With many of the images I ran through the plug-In, further editing was not needed after the automatic fix. I was able to move through my workflow much faster than normal while the plug-in did the processing for me. I will definitely be using the Perfectly Clear plug-in as the first step in my post-production workflow from now on. The Beautify preset touches up the skin in portraits while keeping a realistic and natural look. With the automatic fix, eight wonderful presets and the fine-tuning adjustment tools, this plug-in is a workhorse and an easy to use post-production editing tool.

*   *   *

Phil Ritti is a freelance photographer with 10 years of experience in the photo industry. He is part of the Zenfolio Customer Support Team and a Product Specialist.

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio editing software perfectly clear phil ritti product spotlight http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/product-spotlight-perfectly-clear Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Back 2 School Sale http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/back-2-school-sale

Heading back to school doesn’t have to be a drag. It’s a great time to offer photo products for parents to buy of their kids! Starting today, get 35% off all specialty, collage and showcase items.

Take advantage of this special offer:

  1. Start a Free Trial
  2. Upload Photos
  3. Choose Your Products

This three-day sale ends this Wednesday, August 5, at 11:59 p.m. PDT, so be sure to place your orders today.

As always, no coupon code is necessary when you order through your Zenfolio account.

Important Details Regarding the Sale:

  • This sale will be effective from 03-Aug-2015 at 12:01 a.m. until 05-Aug-2015 at 11:59 p.m. PDT and cannot be extended to orders placed before or after this time frame.
  • The discount applies to showcase, collage and specialty items from Mpix, MpixPro, ivoke, One Vision Imaging, IYP, Nulab and NuShots only. Miller’s and fotoflot products are not included in the sale.
  • The discount applies to base lab prices and will be reflected in the shopping cart only for orders placed from Edit View.
  • This Zenfolio promotion does not change any price lists that the photographer has created, and the discount will only be visible to photographers while logged in. Customers’ orders will not show a price discount. The discounted prices will be reflected as giving photographers a higher profit for each order.
  • If you are looking to pass this sale on to your clients, please read our Sales F.A.Q..

 

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio back 2 school back to school collage sale sale showcase sale specialty products http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/back-2-school-sale Mon, 27 Jul 2015 07:01:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 7.24 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/friday-foto-favorites-7-24

  1. Did you have some ice cream this week?
  2. Speaking of ice cream, coffee goes with it quite nicely.
  3. Stuck in a creative rut? Try using a mirror.
  4.  A view you don’t see often: the fourth wall.
  5. Have you seen these powerful amputee portraits yet?
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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio best photos favorites featured photos weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/friday-foto-favorites-7-24 Fri, 24 Jul 2015 16:01:00 GMT
Product Spotlight: MagMod Flash Modifiers http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/product-spotlight-magmod-flash-modifiers By Shanna Doherty

 

Are you looking for a simple, elegant way to have light modifiers for your speedlites? Fed up with lugging big, complicated rigs around on location? Tired of MacGyvering fragile Frankenlights? Look no further, MagMod is here to save the day. 

 

What is MagMod?

If you have ever used external flashes, light diffusers, gels, Velcro, tape, or grids, you will want to keep reading. Until MagMod was launched as a Kickstarter in 2014, most photographers had to use messy, cumbersome flash accessories to get creative lighting effects. Many had to make their own setups using hair ties, Velcro and large pieces of flimsy colorful gels and diffusers attached to the end of their flash units. These improvised rigs tend to fall off your gear, get damaged in transit and make you look like an amateur to your clients. It was a time-consuming, ugly mess.

MagMod offers well designed, smart products to get the effects you need. With the use of magnets, silicon rubber durability, grids and gels, you can get the look and style in a quick and easy fashion on the go or in the studio. They've created an easier way to use your speedlight flashes like a studio strobe system anywhere you shoot.  

The silicone rubber used in all MagMod products is a thick, high quality, built to last material. The magnets are directly installed within the silicone casing. And don't worry: the magnets will not damage your flash or memory cards!

The strong magnets offer secure connection and stability you can rely on. No need to worry about things falling off or getting lost during a shoot. With the use of magnets in the grip and modifiers, they quickly and easily adhere to the flash head, so you can focus on photographing and the composition of your subjects.

MagMod’s compact, flexible, stackable, sleek, reliable, easy-to-use modular design system offers photographers more control over light when they are out shooting.
blog-image-1MagMod Grip

The MagGrip is universal for most external flashes. The base grip is silicon rubber that fits over the head of most flash units. You can stretch it over the end of the flash for a strong, reliable fit.
blog-image-2MagMod Grid and Gels

The MagGrid 2 and MagGel 2 modifiers can easily attach to the MagGrip. One major benefit of using the magnets system is how quickly you can change the gear around. You can get light where you want it with the MagGrid’s tight 40° beam pattern. The filters can be swapped out in the MagGel Slot and put back onto the flash head in no time. The gel sheets are made from a rigid polycarbonate—no flimsy gels here, folks. You can also stack them on top of each other for even more control over the light, density, color, or hue.

blog-image-3MagSphere

The MagSphere is a versatile flash diffuser. It is a soft, omni-directional bare-bulb light source that works perfectly as an on-camera diffuser or small bounce card. The MagSphere also has its very own integrated gel slot.
blog-image-4MagMod Bounce

The MagBounce has a simple, functional form that offers soft light, like a soft box. It efficiently diffuses light without decreasing output.

blog-image-5MagMod Snoot

Lastly, the MagSnoot offers even more control of the direction of the light you want to use. You can have a tight spotlight effect or squish the cone down to offer a wider range of light. It collapses into four different stages to give you four unique beam patterns and has a slot for the MagGels as well.

To show the variety the system has I’ve done some light tests using the gear in a few different ways.

I decided to try the system out during an event shoot at a nightclub. Could I really take this gear out into crowded San Francisco nightlife and use it efficiently? The answer is yes. Taking the MagMod system to the club for a night out on the town wasn’t a drag at all. Apparently, MagMod likes to party.

At first I just used the MagSphere and loved the results.

I wanted to push the system even further. The quickness and ease of changing the MagMod Creative Filters let me manipulate the club scene to put fun light where I wanted it. I was able to have creative lighting on the go. 

Using the MagSphere with one MagGel color filter installed in it and the other flash, off camera, with a different MagGel color, I was able to cast my own colors on the DJs and dancers. 

And while shooting through the night, I was able to fit all of the gear in a small bag.

At one of the events I had a fellow photographer pick a couple of filter colors out and asked her to play around with the MagGel with MagGel Slot. She switched out the colors in the MagSphere, too. She said the gear felt nice and secure on to the end of the flash.

For a more studio-like setup, I used both flashes off camera. I had one flash with a color filter and another flash using the Snoot with and without a filter. Again, I cast an overall color I wanted in the room and used the spotlight effect of the snoot to emphasize the subject.

By swapping out and changing the gear in different combos, you can easily create a dramatic overall look. 

To see the effects you can get by using the different combinations of the equipment, check out these images showing how the room changes with the use of the MagGels and MagShere.

As you can see from these examples, there is no end to the combos and uses for this product. The best part is this gear is multi-functional and be used in the studio and out on location shoots.

The only downside was that it made my flash, while on the camera body, a little top heavy. But when considering all the benefits, it’s not a big deal at all.

With everything I can use the MagMod system for, with all the types of photography I do, it is worth the price. It's very reasonable for such a useful product. High fives all around!

*   *   *

Shanna Doherty is a photographer with creative flare and an artistic eye. She has photographed weddings, portraits and events for more than 16 years. Shanna believes that displaying detail is crucial to portraying the feeling of the event to the viewer. She utilizes themed environments with the use of filters and props to create different layers for perception. Shanna’s mediums include digital and film, and her images embody humor, playfulness and spontaneity. See more of her work at her website, http://www.shannadoherty.com/.

 

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio lighting lights mag mod magmod modifier product spotlight shanna shanna doherty http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/product-spotlight-magmod-flash-modifiers Tue, 21 Jul 2015 16:04:54 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 7.17 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/friday-foto-favorites-7-17

  1. Fairy tale landscapes, in real life.
  2. The Death of Conversation” photographer presents a TEDx Talk.
  3. NYC rooftop.
  4. These engagement photos take a darker side.
  5. Winners of the 2015 Drone Ariel Photo Contest.
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(ZenBlog) Friday Foto Favorites Friday Photo Favorites Zenfolio best photos favorites featured photos weekly round up http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/friday-foto-favorites-7-17 Fri, 17 Jul 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Behind the Shot with Pro Team Member Sara Kauss http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/behind-the-shot-with-pro-team-member-sara-kauss Photographing country music artists is meta—you are an artist photographing an artist! Here, wedding and music photographer, and Zenfolio Pro Team member Sara Kauss pours over her favorite shots and talks about what it took to get that perfect frame. 

These images of recording artist Sarah Darling were many years in the making. Sarah and I started working together quite a few years ago in Nashville. With lots of help from Dezi, the amazing horse, Jessica Lindsay, the fabulous hair and makeup artists to the stars, and a team of awesome photographer assistants, we made our dream shoot a reality!  

These behind the scenes photos show the kind of photo shoot that we had been wanting to do for quite some time. It was a dream come true for Sarah and the team to be able to incorporate the elements that we thought we could only fantasize about in the most picture-perfect photo shoot scenario. We wanted to work with horses, and being able to get a horse on to the beach for this experience was incredible for everybody involved.

*    *    *

Sara Kauss Sara's passion for photography is impossible to miss. Her out-going and enthusiastic approach to her work is truly inspiring. A self-proclaimed people-person, Sara knows how to make her clients feel comfortable and relaxed in front of her lens. Her beautiful images balance an instinctual sense of composition and more importantly, her photos are always fun and original.

Check out Sara's extensive portfolio here: http://sarakauss.com/

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(ZenBlog) BTS behind the shot sara kauss sara kauss photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/behind-the-shot-with-pro-team-member-sara-kauss Wed, 15 Jul 2015 16:00:00 GMT
MpixPro Photographic Print Papers http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/a-detailed-look-at-mpixpro-photographic-prints A Closer Look

By Amanda Burse

When asked to review MpixPro’s photographic print papers, I looked around my home and was a bit surprised—you’d think that a photographer with four beautiful children would have photos on every wall. Nope. I have two photos circa 2008 in the living room and some in the kids’ rooms. I have a bazillion photos, but like most people, they just sit on the computer—a digital drawer of memories that go unseen.

I want to print all of them! But I wonder how to showcase them, how to frame them, and whether the twins will be able to reach them and put their peanut buttery fingerprints all over them.

My personal conundrum aside, everyone should print their photos. Zenfolio is partnered with MpixPro, so you can easily print high-quality photos through your website.

When it comes to photo paper, the finishes really do matter. It is up to you, the photographer, to educate your clients on what finishes are best for them on an image-by-image basis. Educating your clients puts you well on your way to a successful sale, and, most importantly, gets return customers every time.

Let’s break down what Zenfolio offers from MpixPro: E-Surface, Metallic, and Black and White.

E-Surface Photo Paper

E-Surface is your classic photographic print paper. The colors are amazing and true to your own processing style. That is what I love about it… I can edit an image and it will look how I intended. Another great distinction about this paper is its smooth, vibrant color in any light. There is very little reflection off of the image, and this makes it a great finish for rooms that may have a lot of high or crossing light coming in from windows. If you are looking to add a bit of a gloss to the print, you can go with lustre coating. This will not only kick up the shininess of your images, it will add longevity to your print and protect it from fingerprints. It isn’t just color prints that E-Surface is good with—it’s your own converted black and whites too! I have my own special black and white processing that I use, and I prefer to keep true to my style. So yes, you can print your black and white or Sepia-toned photos in E-Surface and it will be true to color for those as well.

mix-proe-color-2MpixPro E-Surface Color Photographic Paper mix-proe-color-2MpixPro E-Surface Color Photographic Paper mix-proe-color-2BW image printed on MpixPro E-Surface Color Photographic Paper mix-proe-color-2MpixPro E-Surface Color Photographic Paper

Metallic Photo Paper

Next is the Metallic finish. This is tricky. If you are a portrait or wedding photographer like myself, there are a select number of images that will fit this finish. When you take the photo, you will know it will look good in that finish before the processing stage even starts. There is a distinct “glow” that will make parts of your photo stand out. You will want to assess the light in a room before offering any advice to your client on where to hang the image in their home. I would not hang this image in my sunroom, for example, because the paths of light shining on the image cause too much reflection and the image itself loses a certain amount of integrity. Therefore, it will really help to ask your customer a bit about their space first. I even have clients send me pictures of their space in the morning, at noon, and early evening. Once you and your client find the right spot for their print, it will look truly stunning and will make a statement in its new home.

mpix-pro-metalicMpixPro's Kodak Metalic Photographic Paper

True Black & White Photo Paper

Finally, there is the True Black and White Photographic Paper, which is classic and beautiful. This photographic paper has a lovely finish and is less glossy than the E-Surface or Metallic papers. The paper has a more muted finish when compared directly with the E-Surface paper, although it’s still not a matte paper or fiber paper (which would absorb the light and have little to no gloss or reflection). The True Black and White photo paper is somewhere in between those. It is important to note, by allowing your customers to choose this option, you are comfortable with them turning any of your color prints into black and white. Additionally, if you are like me and prefer to process your black and whites in Photoshop and are fond of the particular tint you use—a little bit of brown… a little bit of blue, etc.—this choice will strip those away too.

black-and-whiteMpixPro True Black and White Photographic Paper black-and-whiteMpixPro True Black and White Photographic Paper black-and-whiteMpixPro True Black and White Photographic Paper  What I love about having a Zenfolio website more than anything is the ability to turn on Order Approval. That way, I can educate my clients and treat it as a learning experience. Even better, I can fix any finishing issues before the photos are printed. Perfection!

As photographers, it is up to us to show our clients what will work in their own space. Not every space is the same, not every image is the same, and not every client has the same style. Encourage them to print those photos and hang them up! Finally, from this digital photo hoarder, I hope this has inspired you to do the same.

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Amanda Burse Amanda is a devoted wife and mom to four children between the ages of 2 and 12. She is part of the Zenfolio Customer Support Team and has been a professional photographer for eight years. 

 

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(ZenBlog) Amanda Burse B&W Mpix Mpix Pro MpixPro Zenfolio e-surface metallic paper paper types photo paper photographic paper true BW true black and white http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/a-detailed-look-at-mpixpro-photographic-prints Mon, 13 Jul 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Showcase your talent. Display products are 30% off! http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/showcase-your-talent-display-products-are-30-off

Showcase your talent

Display products are 30% off!

Get ready to stand out! Now through July 19, save 30 percent on all showcase products from Mpix, MpixPro, ivoke, One Vision Imaging, PhotoBox, Nulab and NuShots. Give your home a refresh with unique photo products like acrylic, canvas, metal, glass, fine art prints, standout displays, wall clings, and more.

As always, no coupon code is necessary when you order through your Zenfolio account. This sale ends July 19 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, so be sure to place your orders today.

Important Details Regarding the Sale

  • This sale will be effective from 13-Jul-2015 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until 19-Jul-2015 at 11:59 p.m. PDT and cannot be extended outside of this time frame. The discount applies to showcase items from Mpix, MpixPro and ivoke, One Vision Imaging, PhotoBox, Nulab only.
  • This discount cannot be combined with other promotions.
  • For photographers placing orders from Edit View, the promotion requires no coupon code.
  • The discount applies to base lab prices and will be reflected in the shopping cart only for orders placed from Edit View.
  • This Zenfolio promotion does not change any price lists that the photographer has created, and the discount will only be visible to photographers while logged in. Customers’ orders will not show a price discount. The discounted prices will be reflected as giving photographers a higher profit for each order.  
  • For more information, please read our Sales FAQ and blog post on how to run a sale on your site.
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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio display products sale http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/showcase-your-talent-display-products-are-30-off Mon, 13 Jul 2015 07:01:00 GMT