Harnessing The Power of Mobile Marketing With StickyAlbums

Ask yourself how many of your clients have smartphones, iPads or both?  Our answer was – A LOT! We’ve seen a steady increase in website traffic from mobile devices over the last two years and when I checked again today, it’s staggering that almost 20% of all our visitors were from mobile devices. That’s A LOT of people visiting us from mobile devices! Over 70% of them were on iPhones and iPads. So, that got my brain thinking about how our clients see and share their images digitally via mobile devices. As you’ll see in a personal story coming up, mobile albums improve word-of-mouth marketing like nothing else! Both of these experiences led me to seek out a company that specializes in mobile client albums – StickyAlbums.

What is StickyAlbums?

StickyAlbums let you create mobile photo albums – a branded mobile app – which your clients can save to their iPhones, …

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Coordinating a Team of Filmmakers

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” – John Ruskin

Whenever I hear of a filmmaker or wedding videographer documenting a wedding or special event alone, I scratch my head. Maybe I am worse at my job than most, but I can’t fathom being responsible for all the big, tiny, and fleeting moments that happen thousands of times at a wedding…by myself. Weddings are filled with “one-chance” events. Miss the first kiss and you are screwed. What if you miss the mother of the bride’s tearful reaction to the vows while you are busy filming the vows themselves? Won’t be the end of the world, but WHAT A GIFT to have that moment to give to the family! People’s memories are worth so much more than the effort I think some of us in the industry are giving. I’ve got a long way to go as a filmmaker, and …

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Big Lights: One Solution to a Midday Wedding

It’s the middle of the summer, you get your questionnaire back from your couple and it reads, “Ceremony 11:30-12, cocktail hour and group photos of our 16-person bridal party from 12-1.” Panic. Or at least that’s how I felt when I first saw this message a few years ago. Then, I started praying for clouds and shade.

Obviously, clouds and shade would make this an easier task, opening up infinite possibilities. Obviously the weather gods don’t always cooperate though, and as professionals we must be prepared to deal with the light we’re given. The excuse, “It was too sunny, that’s why your photos are ugly,” doesn’t make sense to non-photographer clients. And it’s just unacceptable.

This summer, though, when confronted with this exact situation, I had a solution. Big lights. Lots of power.

Let me preface this next paragraph with the following – this is what works for me, and it’s a look my clients …

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The Best Thing I Ever Learned

Sometimes the best lessons are simple, one-sentence thoughts that often seem trivial at the time but turn out to be monumental. I came across one some eight years ago; it forever changed not only my photography but also my business.

I was a student at the Foundation Workshop (FW2), an annual workshop held in Texas that shaped me not only as a photographer but also as a teacher. I was a student that year but have since been involved in every workshop since – all eight of them.

The Foundation Workshop is for wedding photojournalists who have no photojournalism experience or those who want to learn the art of visual storytelling; it is run by some of the best wedding photojournalists in world.

When I attended Foundation I had been in business for only about two years and was trying to find my sea legs in the world of wedding photography. Before then I …

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Backup Strategies: Cover Your Ass!

A few weeks back, Amazon’s web services had a major outage in their Virginia data center that took down some of the web’s heavyweights like Netflix and Instagram. People took to social media with pitchforks in hand immediately denouncing The Cloud and its ability to keep your data safe. One such pitchfork welding photographer stated how he has never trusted the cloud and he only backs up his data on site, but that was not the kicker. The kicker was one particular comment where someone stated that handing off your critical data to a cloud service for safe keeping was a kin to asking a complete stranger to watch your home and family for the weekend. I actually screamed at the computer when I read that; something to the tune of: “No! It’s more like asking the Secret Service to watch over your home and family for the weekend!”

Think about …

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Lighten Your Load: 4 Tips to Reduce Gear on a Shoot

How do I reduce gear on shoots?

I ask myself this question almost weekly. Since I shoot 100% out on location (most requiring travel), what’s in my bag can either cost extra baggage fees or save my keister on a shoot.

Just because I can lug a three-light setup, doesn’t mean I should.

My key: Be prepared not just as an artist, but as a Boy Scout.

Gear holds me back more often than I admit. This coming from a frugal Boy Scout who admires MacGyver. Give me a van full of photo-related gear to bring to Burning Man (see above photo) and I’m happy as a clam. Granted, I used about 55% of it, but glad I had it all.

It’s easy to say, “I’ll take quality over quantity.” But which tools get left behind? My answer:

1) Be creatively prepared. There’s a difference being prepared as an artist, versus Boy Scout prepared. You never want …

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Inspired by an Old Master: The Importance of Lighting

Sometimes you should stop looking at photographs. Look to other artists for inspiration, especially the old masters. Touring the Rembrandt exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art recently reminded me of the importance of three things:

His lighting style stands the test of time. No fad, here. Most people have heard of it. There’s something to be said about a technique that has stood the test of time by a few hundreds years. It’s good to know that wedding photography today won’t be shunned in 50 years. He shared as much as he created in painting schools. Like, he had ‘followers.’ His creative school shaped his vision. This blog shapes mine. I’m a proponent of the philosophy “Create. Share. Sustain.” He created portraits of people flattered in their best light. This benefits both painters and photographers. The human face responds best to specific types of light. Rembrandt’s trademark triangle of light on the cheek …

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Happy Clients Means Happy Holidays- Part 3

Create Your Promotion Plan

Now that we’ve covered how to choose the holiday promotions that fit for your clients, and made sure those promotions make sense for your business, it’s time to create your promotion plan. Once you’ve chosen the products and services that you’re going to offer this holiday season, you should start getting the word out to ideal clients. Since you’ve already done the legwork to understand your clients- who they are, what they want and what makes them happy- you’ll be able to strategically market your holiday promotions.

Choose the correct channels. Just as we explored in the Social Media Dispatch, different communication channels are effective at reaching different audiences. Because you’ve clearly identified your audience, you can focus on channels that are going to connect with them. Don’t spend your time on a Twitter campaign when your audience is best reached through Facebook, email, or even your …

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Is it Really the Clients’ Fault, or is it Yours?

Have you ever had a client who was upset because their images didn’t look as good as they expected?

You’re not alone. I see comments like these frequently on forums and I have had this discussion numerous times with other photographers, including photographers on my staff. Sometimes clients are challenging and are looking for ways to get a deal. More often, however, it may be your fault.

You may have fallen short of expectations in one or more of four categories:

The Creative Side of Photography: “The couple didn’t have any chemistry” or “those kids were so difficult to work with” may be true statements, but they are not excuses for why you didn’t deliver great images. If you are being paid as a professional photographer, it is your job to deliver professional images. Learn to pose people to look their best. Prompt people to react, even if it involves them laughing at your expense! …

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Dramatic Dusk Shots: How To Create Them

Shooting photos at dusk can be tricky, but understanding a few things about lighting will give your images depth and a 3-dimensional quality.

The main goal is to bring the brightness of your subjects in the foreground close to the brightness of the background. This is best accomplished by using a dedicated strobe, since they are able to output high-level light from a small, portable package.

Step 1: Set Your Background Exposure.

It’s best to use the manual exposure settings on your camera because any auto modes will attempt to balance the lightest and darkest areas of the image. Meter off the brighter part of the scene and leave the shutter set. Start with an ISO of 400.

Step 2: Add light to your subjects.

Today’s dedicated strobes deliver accurate exposures when using their E-TTL (through the lens) auto-metering mode. In this mode, dedicated strobes are designed to flash enough light for your given aperture …

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