#1 Way to Simplify Your Workflow- Shoot Less by Jason Aten

The more you shoot, the more you edit.  The more you edit, the less money you make.

Many of the photographers I know have a love/hate relationship with editing their work.  The truth is, for many photographers, editing and processing images is one of the most burdensome aspects of their photography.  It’s not uncommon for photographers to take 2-3 months, or more, to finish processing an average wedding.  In fact, a while back (when this blog first started), I posted some stats about how photographers spend their time.

I posted the following chart, and the results are pretty interesting to me:

On average, photographers are spending more than 15 hours a week on editing images.  That’s 50% more time than they even spend shooting.  Who wants to spend an hour and a half editing for every hour you shoot?!

Now, I realize that for some photographers, what happens in the digital darkroom is as important …

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Jay Goldman on Client Relationships

Tune in as Los Angeles photographer Jay Goldman walks you through the experience that his clients receive before, after and during the wedding.

WPPI Interview with Jay Goldman (Client Relationships) from Pictage Films on Vimeo.

We couldn’t resist adding some behind the scenes footage on this one.  Thank you Jay for the laugh! If you this doesn’t ring a bell check out the inspiration.

Jay Goldman Old Spice from Pictage Films on Vimeo.

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Tips and Tricks for Children’s Portrait Session by Kacie Jean

I have been photographing kids for close to 7 years now. With each year that passes, my love for photographing children grows stronger. Believe me, when I first started though, my photoshoots with children felt completely out of control and I felt totally worn out because the kiddos were literally running circles around me. I couldn’t even get them to sit still for one quick shot, let alone get them to have a sweet natural smile towards the camera.

Well… that all changed once I learned to work “with” the little ones and find techniques to get them to do what I wanted them to do without them even realizing it! Below are some things you can do to make your shoot go smoother.

First off, you need to love kids! You will learn extremely fast that you need to have a special place in your heart for kids to be able to get those perfect little smiles from them. If you have no tolerance for them running around screaming, you’re not going to last. They will pick up on your stress and frustration and make the shoot that much harder for you. Send out a questionnaire before the shoot to find out the children’s likes and dislikes. (ballet, soccer, teddy bears, kites etc…) You can incorporate these props to show what the kids are interested in at the time of the shoot, or if they have something there to play with, it will only make your job easier. Your goal should be to make friends with them before you even begin shooting. They need to feel safe with you and know that they can have a good time. Don’t just show up and start shooting them and begging them to smile for the camera. They will do the complete opposite! Try to keep your camera hidden for a few minutes. Get down on their level and play. Once you are ready to start shooting, show them your camera and ask if they want to take the first picture. If they are really young, be sure you help them hold the camera, but let them look through the viewfinder and click the shutter. Once you praise their amazing picture, they will get so excited and become puddy in your hands!

Here is a short list of quick tricks I have up my sleeve to get those cute little smiles from them…

You’ve got to play games with them! One of my best tricks is to play “red light – green light” with them. They get super excited running towards you (which makes for great smiles) then when you yell “red light!” They stop and laugh and it’s just enough time to snap a picture. Balance something on your head while you’re taking the picture and pretend like it’s going to fall off (be as dramatic as you can) and they will just stare right at you in amazement. Make loud noises! My favorites are pretending to sneeze (babies love this one) and pretending to be a monkey. I am actually quite proud of how real my monkey calls have become over the years! For small babies, bring some type of squeaky toy. Be sure there are no dogs around though – I have definitely been tackled by overly excited dogs running over to snatch up my rubber ducky in the middle of a shoot! Try to get the kids to help you with something. Ask them to try and search for a 4-leaf clover on the ground or to help you find the most beautiful flower, or to even smell the flowers and tell you what they smell like. Whisper a secret into their ear that only they can hear. A good one is to tell them to pick a bunch of flowers and bring them over to their Mom. They will be so excited to surprise Mommy and it makes for the cutest picture! For family shoots, some of the best smiles come from “tickle time!” Get the parents to tickle the kids or even switch it up and have the kids tickle Mom & Dad. Another great one is to have the Mom & Dad lay on the ground and have the kids tackle them.

Another piece of advice for baby shoots is to bring a bunch of your own props. I always remind my clients to bring along toys, props etc, and almost every time they show up empty handed. It’s best to be prepared and you will feel better knowing that you have a variety of things to photograph the baby in. (old wooden boxes, wagons, baskets, furry rugs etc.)

Lastly, be sure to keep your camera up and ready to shoot at ALL times. They may only smile once during your game playing and you want to be sure you capture it! I keep my camera in back button focus mode and on AI Servo at all times so I can just follow them around and keep my focus locked in on them.

I know I have only shared a few tips that you can use, but once you try them out on your own, I guarantee you will notice a difference on how you shoot and the wonderful, natural expressions you will get from the kids. Good luck!

Written by Kacie Jean

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Your Wedding Photography Business with The Youngrens

In this video shot at WPPI, San Diego PUG Leaders Jeff and Erin Youngren share their background as a photography business, their tips and tricks of a wedding day, and how their love for people has impacted their business and Pictage User Group.

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Photoshop Tutorial- Part 2 – White Point and More Levels! by Tim Edwards

Hey Pictagers!  I’m back again!  For those of you that didn’t get a chance to read my last post, Part 1 of this tutorial, we have been talking about levels, what they mean and how to use them. One thing I realized after writing Part 1 is that even though I talked about the white point of an image, I didn’t quite explain what it is, how to find it, and how it helps you regulate the levels of an image.

The simple definition is that the white point of an image is what is recognized as it’s brightest point.  Sometimes that’s your subject, but sometimes it is something else like the sky, a bright window or a light fixture.  With a well exposed image this won’t make of a difference, especially if you’re using flash…but if you aren’t using a flash or you have a misfire the white point can end up nowhere near the subject. What do we do then? Lets take a look at a histogram.

Now you’ll notice that the black point on the left is right up against the edge of the black side of the histogram, and the white point is right up against the edge of the white side of the histogram.  That’s the way it should be…unless you have a photo like the one below.

As you can see the histogram shows us that we have a good white point…but the problem is that the white point is in the skylights and not on any people and art in the room…which are the subjects of our photo.  We want the white point to be ON OUR SUBJECT!

In order to achieve this we will be moving our white point slider left, way beyond the edge until our room reaches the desired brightness. This will blow out the skylights, but not to worry! Just grab your history brush from the tool bar (it looks just like the icon above) set it to 25% opacity and paint your ceiling back in…along with anything else that may have blown out. The results speak for themselves!

There are other ways to achieve this effect, like masking, but this is by far the easiest…and I know you folks are often strapped for time.  I see a lot of work where the subject is shot in front of a really great scenic backdrop, but the exposure is for the scenery and not the subjects(s).  If you change the exposure for the subject, you’ll lose your background.  If you leave the background exposure as it is, you end up with dark subjects.  Using the above technique you’ll be able to get a great exposure for both!  Like this!

Questions, lesson ideas? Let me know in the comment section!

If you have a problem image that is giving you headaches, send the image and your issue to tedwards@pictage.com.

Be sure to let me know if it’s okay to use the image on our blog or not as I may want to use it as a teaching tool.

Written By Tim Edwards

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SEO with Wade Holloway

This next WPPI video features SEO expert Wade Holloway as he explains the basics of SEO. He also talks about some common misconceptions that photographers have when trying to implement SEO tactics on their blogs and websites.

Thank you Wade for being such a great guest!

SEO with Wade Holloway from Pictage Films on Vimeo.

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Have You Thought About Your Business Cards Lately? by Jared Bauman

So I wanted to take a quick moment to address something fundamental …. yet WPPI proved how many miss it, your business card. Your business card is an extension of your brand and should reflect your style and preferences.  But more importantly, it needs to give all of your contact information.  It needs to have your website, so people can look at your work.  It needs to have your phone number AND email, so they can contact you however they feel.  And, most importantly, it needs to have YOUR NAME.  Remember, you’re selling yourself as a professional photographer.

During my presentation and throughout WPPI, I collected business cards of the photographers I would meet.  And so, we did a little tally down here afterwards.

During WPPI, I collected 42 business cards.  The following are categories that should be on your business card, and the number of cards that actually had it on …

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How I am Making the Transition from Shoot and Burn by Olympia Flaherty

“That means I’m a photographer right?”

Let’s go through the check list…

Camera – check

Artistic flare – (so they tell me) check

Love of photography – check

Desire to capture memories, moments and freeze love in time so it can be revisited again and again – check and check

That means I’m a photographer right?

Sure, if by photographer you mean, a person that sometimes holds a camera and presses the button on the right.

But not necessarily in the business of being a photographer. And therein lies the difference. When you get to this point, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep going, nor does it mean that you haven’t got a chance, or that you are audacious for assuming you can start out. No, keep going, hold on to your hopes and push forward you will achieve success if you do. But if you’re starting at the bottom, like I did, you need to really like …

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Photography business chat with Mike Adrian

We’re so happy with and thankful for the video content that we got while at WPPI this past week and can’t wait to share them all with you! This first interview is with Mike Adrian, Hawaii based Wedding Photographer and Hawaii PUG Leader. In this interview he talks about how he has grown his business so fast and shares tips for new and developing photographers.

Please note: Some of our WPPI videos were recorded live and run from about 10-20 minutes, but have some great tips and tricks to help photographers.  We suggest you take a seat, relax, and enjoy!

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Your Clients Don’t Care About What You Care About by Jason Aten

They care about: their wedding, their future, their first home, their first child, paying for dinner for 200 people, whether their dress will fit, whether the cake will look like they imagined it would.  They care about whether people will like the centerpieces, if they’re going to cry when they see each other.  They care about how they will look in a bathing suit on the honeymoon.

They care about getting tan for the wedding.  They care about whether the escort cards look right, and who should sit with who at the wedding.  They care about how they can afford everything they want.  They care about what people will think of their wedding.  They care about themselves.

They don’t care about: your website, your blog, your twitter status, the award you won that really everyone won but you pretend like it’s a big deal anyway. They don’t care about the type of …

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