ZenBlog: Blog http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) ZenBlog (ZenBlog) Mon, 27 Jul 2015 01:48:00 GMT Mon, 27 Jul 2015 01:48:00 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.

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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
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!

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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.

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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
Friday Foto Favorites 7.10 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/friday-foto-favorites-7-10

  1. A church wedding, or an outdoor wedding? How about both?
  2. This adorable pet family goes viral.
  3. The caves are alive.
  4. Sound advice from legendary artist and muse, Frida Kahlo.
  5. What is street photography, really?
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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-7-10 Fri, 10 Jul 2015 16:01:00 GMT
Self-employed or self-enslaved? http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/self-employed-or-self-enslaved How to work smarter, not harder, at your photo business

For many of us, being a self-employed photographer means that our goal is to grow our business without any limitations or boundaries between our clients and ourselves. We have trouble saying no, and we believe the busier we become, the more successful we are. At Fischink Photography, we too fell into this scenario. We started our senior picture business working out of our home with seven seniors and we’ve grown to two full-time studios and more than 200 seniors in just three years. We did whatever we needed to do to grow our brand—morning shoots, evening shoots and weekend shoots. If we scheduled a two-hour session, it might take two hours and 45 minutes because the light was amazing. We were bound to the button… the shutter button that is.

Eventually, Shannon, my wife and co-owner of Fischink Photography, questioned how we were running our business: When did we plan on spending time with our children and actually enjoying the fruits of our labor? Have we considered that our clients have something else to do with their day? That’s when it hit me: We needed to change our habits, our workflow and our goals so our business could blossom into a fun, enjoyable one.

Here is the step-by-step approach we took to our business:

1. Pricing

Pricing is probably the hardest area for a photographer to nail down in their business. When Shannon and I were starting out, we attended several pricing seminars, spoke with fellow photographers and came away with an information overload. Do I have packages or go a la carte? Do we have a session fee or no session fee? Finally, we came to the decision to price to our customers the way we would want to see prices if we were the customers—simple and easy to understand. So we put minimum order sessions in place in our studio and have never looked back. All prints and products are a la carte, and each session has a minimum order that our clients must meet or exceed. The beauty of minimum orders is no guessing games. We know the minimum our client is going to spend, and our client knows the minimum they are going to spend. Clients love the flexibility and variety—they never have to feel boxed into purchasing a package with prints they may not actually need.

Example: Two-hour model session. The cost is $799.00, which consists of a $199.00 session fee and a $600.00 minimum order. The client will see 25-30 edited images with four to six outfit changes. The session is 10 minutes in our studio for headshots and two outdoor locations within a 12-mile radius of our studio. The two locations must be within 10 minutes of each other.

2. Consultations

I believe this is the most overlooked aspect of running a photography studio, yet it is by far the most important. Client consultations set the tone for your entire workflow. We do our consultations in person and they run about 30 minutes. We provide the potential client with all our pricing information and have them fill out an application so we can get to know them better and find out what kind of look or style they would like for their senior pictures. We are also able to start setting quiet barriers with our clients by letting them know we photograph Monday through Friday only and our last session begins at 4 p.m. Believe it or not, parents will pull their kids out of school for senior pictures. We schedule our sessions at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. with a 4 p.m. option. By letting our clients know our hours up front it allows them to plan accordingly for this once in a lifetime investment, and it also allows us to begin the payment process. After going over our pricing, which includes three session options, a one-hour at $499, a two-hour at $799 and a three-hour at $1,199, we explain that we understand this is not a cheap investment but we can accommodate their budgets with an easy payment plan.

3. Session day

This is where it seems to go a bit haywire for many photographers. If there is one part of your workflow where it is critical to staying on time and task it is session day. We have prepped our client as much as possible so they know to be prepared. We owe it to our client to be just as prepared. Here are the key tips for keeping your sessions running smoothly.

  • Image and frame count. As stated prior, I only show 25-30 edited images in a two-hour session. More importantly, I only take 40-50 frames during that session. Keeping it loose and natural can wreck your time on a session. Also, while the client is changing into another outfit I cull and count my images, getting rid of bad frames and making sure I’m on pace for my image count.
  • Portable changing rooms. It is so important to have this with you. It keeps the client from straying back to the car or a public restroom to change, which eats up valuable time.
  • Showing the client the back of the camera. Always show your seniors the back of the camera. They will be most critical. If they like the image, move on. If not, find out why not, recompose and shoot. This will keep the excitement level at the order presentation high.
  • Shoot to sell. I shoot six types of photos during every session. For cropped photos, I shoot headshots, three-quarter and full length. And for perspective, I shoot from above straight on, and from below.  By having all six types, I provide enough variety in each session for my clients to want to purchase multiple prints and products from a variety of poses.
  • Collect payment promptly. Most importantly, when your session is complete be sure to collect the second payment. We collect two-thirds of the client’s money prior to their sales presentation.

4. Post-production

This is the easiest part of our entire workflow. Our post-production for retouching is two to three minutes per session and for album design it’s five to 10 minutes. Our entire post-production is outsourced. We use rebooku.com, which provides us free proofing with our retouch and album designs. Post-production is time consuming. This is valuable time you could be using to photograph more clients or spend time with your family and friends. If it doesn’t make you money, then don’t do it. Offset your outsource costs in your session or print fees.

5. Selling

Everything that occurs on this day should be based on emotional thinking and not rational thinking. You want this day to be a classy and personal experience for them. We use a very low-pressure sales structure by starting out with a slideshow of their pictures set to music (animoto.com) and move into selecting which images they like and don’t like. Two things always occur during our order presentation: our clients always get a book and they spend above their minimum order. Here is why: the client has already previewed their images on the back of the camera during session day, so they already like all or the majority of their images, which conveniently fit into a coffee table book. Our client has already paid two-thirds of their minimum order. They owe us a few hundred dollars at this point. Due to the emotional attachment to their images and the fact “money spent is money forgotten” our clients are more inclined to spend above their minimum order without being pressured. For us, the most important part of the sales presentation is getting the client to purchase the coffee table book.

6. Reward the client

Provide your client with a nice surprise at the end of your order presentation. We highly recommend a free two-week wesbsite gallery for your clients to share with friends and family. Zenfolio has amazing galleries with a shopping cart that can be viewed on mobile devices too. Not only is this a nice gesture of your gratitude, it will bring in some additional sales from family members who were not able to attend the presentation.

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Ty & Shannon Fischer are national award winning photographers based in Ohio. For years they have been teaching hundreds of photographers around the country on how to create profitable and efficient studios. They also run a professional post production services company and a volume sports photography company.

Fischink Photography  |  www.fischink.com

Rebookü  |  www.rebooku.com

Next Generation Sports Photography  |  www.nextgensportsphoto.com

 

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(ZenBlog) Ty Fischer Zenfolio best practices rebooku senior photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/self-employed-or-self-enslaved Mon, 06 Jul 2015 14:36:52 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 7.3 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/friday-foto-favorites-7-3

  1. It’s summer. Look at these pretty jellyfish.
  2. It’s not always about the ladies—gentlemen, take notes.
  3. Looking at the stars now has a whole new meaning.
  4. Here are the best places to watch fireworks tomorrow.
  5. Here’s how to get your precious gear covered.
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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-7-3 Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:01:00 GMT
50 Shades of SEO: How Blogging Can Boost Your Business http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/50-shades-of-seo-how-blogging-can-boost-your-business Fifty Shades of SEO – Part II

By Eugene 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 second installment of our SEO series, we talk about blogging and how it can benefit photographers.

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Why do I need to blog?

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

What is engaging content?

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

How will a blog post help my rankings?

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

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

What guidelines should I keep in mind?

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

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

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

How often should I post?

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

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

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

How do I get more readers to my blog?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(ZenBlog) Zenfolio authoritative figure eugene feygin fifty shades of SEO links marketing seo seo links seo marketing http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/50-shades-of-seo-how-blogging-can-boost-your-business Mon, 29 Jun 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 6.26 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/friday-foto-favorites-6-26

  1. Photo mash!
  2. A DSLR you can attach to your phone.
  3. Talk about a nasty breakup….
  4. Turn your living room into a psychedelic cave in an instant.
  5. The importance of having people skills in 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/2015/6/friday-foto-favorites-6-26 Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:00:00 GMT
The Zenfolio Academy is coming to a city near you! http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/the-zenfolio-academy-is-coming-to-a-city-near-you Sign up for the workshop that will transform your photography website.

You read our blog posts and guides, keep up with the newsletter and watch our tutorial videos of how to improve your website. How would you like to take your education one step further and meet us in person?

At the Zenfolio Academy, you’ll gain insightful information on the four most-requested topics: website and portfolio design, workflow and organization, online marketing and selling, and maximizing your website for your business.

Here’s why you should attend the Zenfolio Academy:

 

1. You’ll learn how to customize your website.

Get step-by-step instructions ad tips on how to make your website shine and reflect your unique brand.

2. You’ll get tips on marketing and sell your work.

Get tips on how to improve your workflow, market and sell your work online, and make a name for yourself.

3. Win Amazing Prizes

You’ll have the chance to win amazing prizes such as camera bags, gift certificates, and even free accounts from Zenfolio and our sponsors.

Register now before it sells out! Go to www.zenfolio.com/academy

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(ZenBlog) Atlanta Boston LA London NY SF UK Workshop Zenfolio Zenfolio Academy Zoom austin chicago denver events los angeles miami new york san francisco seattle tour http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/the-zenfolio-academy-is-coming-to-a-city-near-you Mon, 22 Jun 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Get Half off 4x6 Mpix Prints! http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/mpix-s-most-popular-print-size-is-half-off

Three Days Only

Whether it’s graduation photos, family portraits, or vacation pics, your photos deserve the best quality prints. Now through June 24, save 50 percent on 4x6 Mpix prints! This size print is perfect for mailing to loved ones or framing for yourself.

As always, no coupon code is necessary when you order through your Zenfolio account. This sale ends June 24 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 22-Jun-2015 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until 24-Jun-2015 at 11:59 p.m. PDT and cannot be extended outside of this time frame. The discount applies to 4x6 Mpix prints 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) 4x6 Zenfolio mpix mpix sale print sale http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/mpix-s-most-popular-print-size-is-half-off Mon, 22 Jun 2015 07:01:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 6.19 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/friday-foto-favorites-6-19

 

  1. Make gorgeous rainbow photos with film soaking.
  2. Ethereal women. Natural light.
  3. Avoiding wedding photo clichés.
  4. Cheat sheets for Photoshop and Lightroom. Save these to your desktop.
  5. Adopt these dogs
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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/2015/6/friday-foto-favorites-6-19 Fri, 19 Jun 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Never Enough Time? JPEGmini Pro Finds It for You http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/never-enough-time-jpegmini-pro-finds-it-for-you JPEGmini has a new discount for Zenfolio users. Take advantage of this exclusive benefit now! Learn more.

Time: How to get it back on your side 

Time is never on your side, especially if you are a wedding photographer. Luckily, there is a method that Paul McPherson, owner of Shutterfreek, uses that saves him three to five hours of editing time per wedding.

Imagine for a second what you would do with those extra hours—would you spend more time with your kids? Would you improve your craft? What about finally having time for that pro bono project you found so interesting?

Paul was able to save himself time by adding JPEGmini Pro to his photo editing workflow.

“Last year we shot approximately 30 weddings. We are shooting three to 5,000 photos per wedding, and from that we will edit anywhere from 900-1,500 of the best images,” says Paul.

“After we’ve shot a wedding, we’ll back it up and import the photos to our primary hard drives (Mac Pro) for post-processing. Before we import them to Lightroom, we are using JPEGmini Pro to compress those photos and reduce their weight in order to save space on the main machine and to speed up the editing workflow.”

Speed up the Editing Process

It’s painful to edit an original JPEG. It takes a long time to render because of the size. Granted it’s a matter of a few seconds, but every second adds up. Once the seconds start adding up, you are slowing your editing time down.

We consulted with Paul to hear a bit about how he handles this with his workflow. He spends the majority of his time getting everything fine-tuned with adjustments and presets on groups of images. Then he will start batch processing those images with JPEGmini (using the Adobe Lightroom plug-in). This is how he speeds the process up since the file sizes are significantly smaller. Even load time in Lightroom has sped up, which has enhanced his workflow.

JPEGmini Pro Under the Loupe

Save Not Just Time but Money

“I use 4GB flash drives to deliver the photos to our clients. Those 3,000 photos were down to 12GB on two or three USB drives when they previously would have taken six or seven USB drives,” says Paul.

“I’ve been using JPEGmini for the past two years and delivered more than 100 weddings and have never had a client complain about the quality of the photos. On average, JPEGmini saved me anywhere from three to five hours per wedding. Plus, it saved me a lot of money having to invest in hard drives.”

Lightroom Plugin Workflow

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JPEGmini has a new discount for Zenfolio users. Take advantage of this exclusive benefit now! Learn more.

 

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(ZenBlog) Jpegmini pro Zenfolio beneift jpeg jpegmini jpg jpgmini http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/never-enough-time-jpegmini-pro-finds-it-for-you Wed, 17 Jun 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Behind the Shot with Pro Team Member Blake Gardner http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/behind-the-shot-with-pro-team-member-blake-gardner

A picture is worth a thousand words, sure. But have you ever wondered what was reeling in the minds of the photographer as soon as they released the shutter? We asked Pro Team member Blake Gardner to share his personal favorite shots and the stories behind them. Here, Andrew recounts what it took to get that perfect shot.

Matt and Angie

Angie’s veil was simply gorgeous and her dream was to get a photo where it was blowing in the wind. Of course, when it came time to shoot it, there was absolutely no wind. Angie’s maid of honor, her sister, stepped in to help out by throwing the veil up in the air as high as she could and then running out of frame quick as possible. After repeating that a dozen times, the maid of honor surely won the title as most helpful member of the wedding party.

Matt&Angie001Matt and AngieBlake Gardner Photography

LA County Store

I met a local business owner, MaryAnne LoVerme shortly before she opened up her shop, The LA County Store. For many years, I have been adamant supporter of shopping locally made items and since everything in her store was made in LA, I wanted to help her on her venture, so I offered my services. I showed up around sundown and took a couple photos of the staff and the store. I particularly loved one I took of the shop from the parking lot because of the difference in color temperature between the outdoor and indoor lighting. I love how the coolness of the outside makes the inside seem very warm and inviting.

LACountyStore_001LA County StoreBlake Gardner Photography

LACountyStore_002LA County StoreBlake Gardner Photography

Bob and Jen

Jen was the kind of bride who made a Pinterest page of images she loved as inspiration for her wedding photos. I absolutely love brides who do this. I hear a lot of brides saying “I don’t want to pose for shots” or “I trust you to tell me what to do”, which is fine, but brides who give me inspiration make my job easier. She shared a couple shots of a bride in her gown jumping for joy on a bed. She found a house for the bridal party to get ready in that has several great beds to bounce on. We were discussing that shot as I was staging a detail shot of her beautiful dress near one of the beds. She was wearing a cute robe and one thing led to another (notice the wine glass in the lower right hand corner) and moments later she was in the air for one of my favorite shots of the day.

BobAndJen_002Bob and JenBlake Gardner Photography

I walked into the room when Jen’s videographers were lying on the floor getting some close-ups of her stylish red shoes. She was lifting the dress up so they could get a better shot and that’s when I took this photo. This photo reminds me how much I have drawn inspiration from the portraiture work of Arnold Newman. His use of the angles and shadows in the surrounding environment really caught my eye and I try to let it inspire my work at times.
BobAndJen_003Bob and JenBlake Gardner Photography

Bob and Jen are a fun loving couple who are also super stylish. She is a stylist and her choices of colors and retro décor made for some great photo opts. Since I knew that Bob, a Hollywood screenwriter, had met most of his groomsmen doing improv comedy, I knew this group would be more than willing to play around and be silly. This was my favorite because their “Getaway” shot had a sort of Bonnie & Clyde feel to it. BobAndJen_004Bob and JenBlake Gardner Photography

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Blake GarnerBlake Gardner Photography Blake has known that he wanted to be a photographer since 3rd grade. Growing up with a portrait and wedding shooter as a dad is a good place to start. Over his 9 years in the industry, Blake has created a large and diverse portfolio of stunning images. His ability to truly connect with his subjects comes through in his compelling and unique portraits.

Check out Blake's extensive portfolio here: http://www.blakegardner.net/‚Äč

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(ZenBlog) BTS Blake Gardner behind the shot blake gardner photography http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/behind-the-shot-with-pro-team-member-blake-gardner Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 6.12 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/friday-foto-favorites-6-12

  1. Some great interior design tips from pro photographers.
  2. What’s a beautiful way to express a mental illness? Make it art.
  3. Pizza Hut really got the dinner and a movie thing down right.
  4. These are truly beautiful arrangements.
  5. What kind of photographer are you? 
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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/2015/6/friday-foto-favorites-6-12 Fri, 12 Jun 2015 16:01:00 GMT
Mastin Labs Lightroom Presets Product Review http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/mastin-labs-lightroom-presets-product-review

Here at Zenfolio, we love doing product reviews, especially when the reviewer is matched up with the perfect product for them. Portrait photographer Amanda Burse reviews Mastin Labs Presets that make your digital photos look like film. Read on to see why it was such an exciting match.

I have a confession, I hope my husband never reads this:. I have spent, what I would call, a less then appropriate amount of money on Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets over the years. Okay, if I have to be really honest, I have spent a ridiculous amount on them. Let’s face it though; they are easier to hide than the shoes I bought on Zappos last week (that I also don’t plan on telling my husband about).

So, when I was asked to review these Lightroom Presets from Mastin Labs, I was pretty much as excited as a girl can be. There is so much hope in a preset or action. You see your favorite photographer selling their actions (finally!) and you can’t help but to empty your PayPal account of all those “hidden” funds you have been saving for a rainy day or, maybe even the electric bill.  Alas, after you click the buy button, install them, play with them for a few hours, almost desperate for a magical outcome, you may wind up on the disappointed side. Regret ensues as you contemplate your worth as an artist: you feel betrayed by your most favorite photographer. You vow to never buy another preset again, and then you decide to sell your own presets because clearly anyone can do it! It’s a cycle. You come back down to earth realizing that real art is in the photograph itself.

The look of film has really taken the photography industry by storm, and in the last three years or so, it seems as if everyone has their own film presets for sale. What I really liked about Kirk Mastin’s pledge in his product is that the presets themselves offer a subtle change to a digital photograph, but also an authentic film appearance. These presets are not going to make you Ansel Adams (darn it!), though. You have to have a good photograph first.

I am a natural light photographer shooting with a Canon 5D III. I most often use my 24-70 2.8L lens because I have four kids and who has time to change lenses when one of them is doing something cute? We are just getting over our winter here in Maine—not even kidding, there was snow in the yard up until last week, and it’s May)— therefore I shoot primarily inside in lower light conditions six to seven months out of the year. Luckily, my 3-year-old wouldn’t stop climbing my curtains and since I had to take them down for his own safety and my sanity, I have quite a fair amount of light.

beforewillow1BeforeWillow

afterwillow1AfterWillow

This image of my 2-year-old daughter Willow was shot in bilateral window light a couple of mornings ago. The before shot is out of camera with no editing and the after is after applying the Porta 400 preset in Mastin’s Porta Pack. It isn’t how I would usually edit a picture, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the overall feel of it.

beforewill1BeforeWill

afterwill1AfterWill

This photograph of my 3-year-old son William, was edited using Mastin’s Pan F Medium Format preset. I have to admit; I really struggled with Mastin’s black and white package at first. I am not a fan of heavy grain and even after dialing back the grain in the preset, I could never really get the graininess of the presets to work. This photograph was shot in extremely low light on a cloudy afternoon; it already had a texture to it anyway. This is my favorite preset of the bunch for these types of conditions and I have used it on a lot of images since.

BeforeandAfterWillow2(L) Before, (R) AfterWillow My favorite results of the presets were by far with any shots I took outside.  This photo was taken on a cloudy evening in our field and edited using Mastin’s HP5 Medium Format preset. Again, I tend to lean towards less grain and I really liked how this preset accentuated the natural shadows in the grass and in her face.

beforeandafterwill2(top) Before, (bottom) AfterWill This final image was on a beautiful summer night last year in July as the sun was just slipping behind the mountain. It was edited using the HP5 Medium Format preset again, but I added the Warmtone Paper, which is in Mastin’s black and white series.

So, what you really want to know is if this preset junkie finds these worth the money you have been stuffing in your sock drawer. My final verdit: don’t expect miracles, as with any preset or action. Expect it to be just what it promises—a subtle but authentic film look. In the end, there are very few presets out there (and yes, I have tried just about all of them) that will produce such a true-to-film look as the Mastin Series.

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Amanda BurseAmanda 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 Mastin labs lightroom presets product spotlight http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/mastin-labs-lightroom-presets-product-review Mon, 08 Jun 2015 16:00:00 GMT
Friday Foto Favorites 6.5 http://blog.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/friday-foto-favorites-6-5

  1. Jellyfish photography that just might sting you.
  2. Eight ways to improve your fine art photography.
  3. California’s recent oil spill will make you think.
  4. Read up if you’re a beginner with landscape photography.
  5. First steps on Mars imagined.
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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/2015/6/friday-foto-favorites-6-5 Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:00:00 GMT