Three Essential Skills for Today’s Wedding Photographer

Photographer and Pictage & ShootQ Community Team Member Katie Humphreys

Times….they are a changin’.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard some of the doom and gloom that’s been rumbling in our industry. And although the photo industry is different than it used to be, this isn’t necessarily bad news. The photographers who are able to successfully navigate the changing industry landscape are still running successful businesses and have adapted to ensure that their business will still be around in the years to come. Whether you’re just jumping in and are new to the industry or you’re a seasoned pro, here are three essential skills that will help you succeed.

1. Choose your Words Wisely.

As you’ve built your photography business, at some point you probably were told about the exercise of choosing a few words to describe and characterize your brand so that you promote a consistent message. This is a great exercise and useful in helping you define …

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The Photo Life Podcast: An Interview with Kirstie Tweed

A Better Place to Be

In this week’s episode we speak with photographer Kirstie Tweed, owner of Orange Girl Photographs, about how a small town can surprise you with a turn of events you couldn’t have imagined. Kirstie shares the decisions that brought her to a small town in rural Canada and how following her heart and intuition has yielded far greater results than all the planning and logic in the world could have.

About Kirstie Tweed

I was given the name Orange Girl in high school for driving a 1973 orange superbeetle, dying my hair orange and wearing orange everyday, the name and my love of orange has stuck with me. I attended art school in Canada before moving to San Francisco to work in an art galley and exhibit my fine art work. I moved to New York for a brief year to work for a fashion photographer and photograph musicians before …

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Are You a Specialist or a Generalist?

Photo by Wedding Photographer Mike Larson

Are you a Specialist or Generalist? Today we’ll talk about what this means, why it matters & how to figure out which category you belong in. Specialization and generalization are two totally different approaches to doing business. Business owners tend to adopt a bit of both practices, but doing so actually ends up hurting their business.  I’ll admit that over the years I’ve done my share of this as well. That’s why I want to start this dialogue and share some of what I’ve learned about making intentional choices and clearly developing a purpose for a photography business.

Are you a Generalist? A generalist is a person (or business) whose skills, interests, and/or habits are evenly distributed and unspecialized.

A generalist has NOT chosen a single category or niche to operate their business within, but instead does a bit of everything. There are a lot of these businesses in the photography industry.

Wedding Photography …

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How to Design Folded Press Printed Cards

Introducing the latest addition to Pictage’s line of greeting cards – the Folded Press Printed Card

They’re easy to design, order and sell and are perfect holiday cards, save-the-date reminders, thank you notes, and announcements.

See them in action; watch this video!


Pro members: Get $30 off your first order. Premium members: Get $15 off! See details. If you’re a Pictage member, these cards have been added to your catalog. Adjust your retail price here. See wholesale pricing here. Not a member? Request a price list from our Sales team here, or email the team at Learn more about Pictage products and services and take a free test drive! …

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The Story Behind My I Heart New York Engagement Sessions

themed engagement session photo by Jason Groupp

I heart NY.

I’ve been putting off writing this blog post for quite a while now. Don’t get me wrong; I’m honored to be asked by The Photo Life to write about ANYTHING I do, I just don’t like to write. I mean I have the world’s most neglected blog on the planet.  That said, somehow I have been able to amass over 6,000 tweets.

So, when I sat down to write tonight, I wondered what I could say to tell the story of my I Heart New York sessions in a new and different way. Recently, I’ve been taking a new approach to things. I’ve been making the conscious decision to tell the honest truth – no sugar coating – just raw thoughts and feelings.

So, here’s the honest truth about I Heart New York (IHNY).

About 8 years ago made the decision to walk away from my commercial photo business and pursue …

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How I Built a Boudoir Portfolio for Less than $100

Manhattan Beach Los Angeles Boudoir Photographer

Like most wedding photographers I’m always looking for new ways to keep a steady income during the off-season. I’ve been especially inspired lately by the boudoir photographers in our community and realized it’s a genre that I really want to pursue.

Unfortunately, building a boudoir portfolio is a daunting task. After delaying the process for a while, a few weeks ago I finally put my foot down and decided I was going to build my boudoir portfolio in one day for under $100.

I did. Here’s what I learned in the process.

Getting the Team – I found a group of three local photographers that were also interested in expanding or building their boudoir portfolio. Having a group of other photographers not only helped with finding resources, models, and props, but as a group we were also able to learn from each other and get ideas for posing.  I suggest 3-4 photographers total …

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The Photo Life Podcast: An Interview with Eileen Gittins (part 2)

Eileen Gittins

King Harvest Will Surely Come

In this week’s episode, we continue our discussion with Founder and CEO of Blurb, Eileen Gittins about keeping a company forward-facing and embracing the future. We also examine why the printed page is far from obsolete and how the things that we move from the virtual to the tangible world matter more to us as a culture. About Eileen Gittins Eileen Gittins is the founder and CEO of Blurb, the creative publishing and marketing platform that enables anyone to design, publish, market and sell bookstore-quality books. She has been at the intersection of the Internet, consumer and enterprise software, imaging systems, search, and digital photography throughout her career.

Eileen wanted to create a beautifully designed and produced photo essay book – something that looked like a book you’d buy at the bookstore – but she only needed 40 copies. This turned out to be remarkably painful, expensive, and time-consuming– and she thought …

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Trovare la Voce – Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Creative Voice as a Photographer

Finding your voice. It sounds easy doesn’t it?

The reality is that it’s one of the most complicated tasks we face as photographers. To learn our equipment, we read the manuals, mostly. To learn composition, we study art. But your voice? You must know it to differentiate yourself in an increasingly crowded market. Your unique voice is the secret to joy and growth in your business.

So how do you find it?

Trovare la Voce

The good news is it’s already there. And we all have a path to it.

For me, it came into sharp relief in the Tuscan hills outside Florence. I was hired to shoot a wedding by a couple who I had yet to meet and was able to have one of my dearest friends (and an incredible photographer) there to work with me. I ended up in a fantastic situation where I had no preconceived notions and was completed supported. …

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Sculpting with Light

Sculpting with Light

When I first started photographing weddings (and for many years after that) I was always looking for ways to add more light to whatever I was shooting. More light, more light, there never seemed to be enough light. But, as the years pass and I’ve learned to have more control over my gear and my creative vision, I’ve found that it’s not always about adding more light, sometimes it’s actually better to remove some light. The trick is knowing the difference and when to do what. I found a prime example of this just last weekend as I was photographing a bride getting ready at her parents’ house. We hung her dress in the window of the dining room, backlit and flanked by the curtains her mother had sewn herself. I photographed this photo of the dress.

(SOOC, ISO 500 2.8 at 1/100 sec)

I took a glimpse on the back of the camera (yes, I chimp) and it was okay, just missing that …

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What Donald Draper Tells Us About Happiness

Photo by The Youngrens

Photo by The Youngrens

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And do you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of a road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK. You are OK.”

Donald Draper (Mad Men, 2007)

Even the old school ad guys got this one right.

My good friend Don (yes, the fictional character Donald Draper) knew that he was never just selling products, he was selling happiness.

In order to do this he had to figure out how what he was selling resonated with his ideal client’s unique idea of happiness.

Your products and services aren’t just products and services. They represent memories, legacy and happiness. And, they hold extreme value for your clients whether that’s a couple, a family or a business.

How are you painting a picture of happiness for prospective …

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