Make More Money with Event Cards

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If you’re an event photographer, there’s no better opportunity to reach your target market than at an actual event. No matter what kind of event it is — a wedding, mitzvah or birthday party — most of your client’s guests are potential NEW clients for you! Traditionally, client communities consist of similar socioeconomic classes and aesthetic preferences. So, the guests at that event this weekend are prime examples of your target market! And if your client liked you enough to hire you, then many of their guests might too. Don’t pass up an opportunity to market directly to them.

Spread the word at the event – use event cards! Not only will you give them a take-away with your contact information, but you’ll also give them the keys to access the photos from the event.

Many companies, like Pictage, provide turnkey solutions for event cards. Or you can make them yourself. Here are some key tips:

• Book a pre-shoot with your clients (engagement session, portrait session) so you can create an image that people will want to save. Use this image on your card (the goal is to have guests save the card on their refrigerator!) • Tell your client that you will be providing event cards as a “way to help guests find their photos without bother the bride and groom.” • Place the event cards in a prominent location, such as nearby the guest book or at place settings (ask your client first!) • Include your logo (keep it small and simple), contact info and instructions for how to access the event photo gallery. • Include a clear “call to action” on the card. If guests need to pre-register for an event, make that super clear on the card. You want it to be easy to see the photos.

When used consistently, event cards can significantly boost post-event print sales and get you new clients at the same time! For more creative ways to use event cards and marketing techniques at events, check out these helpful articles:

Why Shooting Hugs & Mugs Can Be Fun and Profitable

To Sell More, Think More Like Your Customer

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What’s NEW with ShootQ for Photographers? by Katie Van Buren

What’s new with ShootQ? That’s right – there’s a new a batch of updates to ShootQ that will help you streamline your photography business. This release is the second part of a two-phaser. The first phase was especially popular with portrait photographers. Here’s what’s new with ShootQ in this second release…

1. Product Options Visible to Clients – This feature lets your clients choose product options from the “share pricing” pages and proposals. While this has been an awesome internal tool for photographers to keep their product options organized, it is now also available for clients to view and choose options. With this release, the feature now works for ShootQ accounts…and our January Nimbus release will update this feature there as well! Read More Here >>>

2. Calendar Filtering For Users – We’ve added a side panel on the calendar tab for easy navigation to see who is scheduled for a shoot or appointment …

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Preparing for PartnerCon — Tips & Techniques by The Youngrens

So you’re headed to PartnerCon this year and it’s coming up fast (seriously, I thought it was still September yesterday) – how can you prepare?

I know this time of year is crazy busy for a lot of us.  It’s either wedding high season or we’re buried in the mountain of post-processing from high season just ending.  For portrait peeps out there, Christmas is just around the corner – yikes.

Take a deep breath and five minutes for a coffee break.  Go pet your cat.  Watch the October rain outside.  And then remember to prepare for PartnerCon.

PartnerCon is meant to be a big influence in the life of your business, and if you let it, it can even be a game changer.  Here’s what Jeff and I do to prepare for another year of PartnerCon goodness.

Before You Leave:

1) Create a short list of specific goals. What do you most want to learn? …

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Are you taking full advantage of your guest list? by Emily E.

First, I’ll start off with a confession.  My name is Emily and sometimes I shoot and burn.  Anyone else out there with me on this one? I know, I know, its not easy to admit in this community, but I know a ton of photographers do it. Why do I sometimes shoot and burn? Honestly sometimes after dealing with all that comes along with selling and processing an Emily Photo wedding package, it’s nice to do a 2-hour shoot, burn a disk and be done.  Done in just a few hours, ahhh doesn’t that sound great? For me, this model doesn’t make sense for my wedding or portrait clients, but for a child’s birthday or anniversary party, it works great!

I’ve been booking more and more of these filler gigs and I began to wonder, is this worth my time?  I’m making $300 maybe $400 for a few hours on a Saturday.  That’s nice, but it is my Saturday after all. I wondered how could I maximize my benefit? I was at a two-year-old birthday party a few months ago when it came to me.  As I shot frosting covered faces, little toddlers making friends, and families enjoying each other, I realized I’m photographing some pretty important portraits of these people.  This could be the beginning of something great with these families.

At a typical birthday party I would pass out business cards to those who asked and I would post on Pictage, but no one was contacting me and no one was visiting my event.  I decided to make a change that made a big difference.  I started posting on Pictage a week or two before the clients get the disk.  Not only that, I made it clear to my client, why I was doing that.

Delaying the disk – This made a big difference because if the client is really excited about the photos, she wants to show them ASAP.   She (or he) is going to pass that Pictage link on to lots of people.  I try to release the event when the client’s at work so they can share with their co-workers too. Communicating about why – Just like I do with my wedding and portrait clients, I spend some time explaining why they’re going on Pictage and why there’s a delay in the disk.  Once they understand that you don’t want your name on Walgreens prints, they’re much less likely to post all the photos on a photo-sharing site.  I found a Usage Rights document on the Pictage forums that I now send them. Also, if you offer the pre-registration credit, let them know that everyone that views the event gets $5 or more off any print order.

Why is it so important to get them to my event on Pictage? First, the interface makes me look more professional, it fits by brand. Second, Pictage produces high quality prints for clients that meet my standards.

Some of these parties produce print sales and some don’t at all, but the key to getting any and all guests to visit the site is capturing their email addresses in the “guest list”.  Two days after my last birthday party was released I had 83 guests in that event, a week later it grew to 111 and still continues to grow!  I’ve been doing this from the beginning with weddings but from a shoot and burn one-year-old birthday party? I’ll take it.  Depending on how many events I shoot, I can get hundreds of email addresses for my mailing list each month, people pay a lot of money for these things!

There are many ways to use these contacts, here are a few things I do –

Give them all a $5 Pictage print credit to nudge them to get a print or two. Add them to my master email list for newsletters, mini session notifications, and seasonal offers. Send them a special offer like 20% off a sitting fee during a slower month. Send a simple thank you for viewing.

Whatever I do, I stay relevant.  I try to keep my name, my brand, and my photos in the back of their minds.

I encourage you to post all your events online, view the guest lists, and capture those emails.  If you’re not getting a ton of guests, think about why.  Try delaying a disk, or passing out event cards.

The new Pictage Interface makes it easy to dig deeper too.  You can sort by role type (mother, cousin, grandma, etc) and target market them for certain campaigns. You can also sort by who spent the most money and possibly offer them a thank you credit or special offer.  There are a ton of options so definitely check it out.

How do you best use your guest list?

Written By Emily Engle

Emily Engle is the Community Development Manager at Pictage and runs a Los Angeles area Wedding and Portrait Photography business, Emily Photo.

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How to Prep Your Clients to Use Pictage by Jim Collins Pictage CEO

One of the real benefits of my job is that I get to meet with successful photographers all the time.  One of the challenges is that I also get calls from folks who are struggling.  Some folks I can help.  When it comes to ideas for marketing your business, dealing with sticky situations or just the need for a quick pep talk, I’m your man.   (Just don’t ask me to help you take better pictures.  There are lots of people who can do that better than me).   With this said, there is one question I get asked all the time.  How can I sell more products?  My answer is simple … (and therefore probably counter-intuitive).  Use Pictage more.

Here’s what I mean.  When I ask photographers if they talk with their clients up front about Pictage many (most?) say no.  That’s a mistake, and I mean that in the empirical, this …

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Pictage Podcast – Simon Anderson

This week on the podcast Sara heads to the Pictage headquarters for a conversation with Chief Marketing Officer, Simon Anderson.

Simon shares tips on innovative ways for photographers to maximize their profits and provides specific ideas and suggestions on:

Creating customized pricing and packages Unique approaches to build business through referrals Maximizing the value and usage of your blog, slideshows and online marketing channels The nuances of up-selling and more….

Simon also shares details about new and upcoming Pictage products and services, including future integration with other online platforms.

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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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How to Use Pictage to Make More Money and Get More Web Sales!

At Pictage we are often asked the following question from Pictage members, “How can I use Pictage to make more money and get more web sales?” We have gathered the following tips and suggestions in order to answer this question in the best possible way. We are confident that you will find them helpful and effective!

How can I make more money and get more web sales?

-First check your catalog to see what you are charging for prints.

-Schedule events early and offer pre-registration credits to build your online guest list immediately after booking your event. This can increase your revenue by 30%!

-Continue to build your guest list and capture email addresses by handing out events cards. Any time is a good time to distribute event cards. Give them to your clients for showers, invitations, to include in thank you cards, at the event, etc. We have found event cards generate a …

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Photography Applications for Your iPhone/iPod Touch by Elizabeth Villa Ippolito

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If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, do you use applications for your photography, your business, for fun? I recently came across a bunch of photography app’s for my iPhone (some have been mentioned recently on the Pictage forums) and I can’t seem to decide which ones to use. I have gathered together the following applications that look fun and useful, they are listed along with their price and star rating according to iTunes. Which ones do you use and why or why not? I have started a thread on the forums like this, check it out and let the Community know what you think!

In no particular order…

ColorSplash $1.99…….. 4 Stars ColorSplash lets you quickly change any of your photos into a black and white, while allowing the details you choose to remain in it’s original color.

CameraBag $1.99………. 3 ½ Stars 10 different cameras in your camera bag or iPhone? Be able to use the following “cameras” on your iPhone all as a part of this popular app. The cameras included in the CameraBag are… Holga, Instant, Magazine, 1974, Lolo, 1962, Mono, Infrared, Fisheye, and Original.

Pano $2.99………….. 3 ½ Stars Take a panoramic picture with this app! Easy to follow steps that quickly merge into one seamless panoramic picture.

ToyCamera $1.99………. 3 ½ Stars This is a simple application that changes your iPhone’s camera into a fun toy camera.

DSLR Camera Remote Professional Edition $19.99………. 3 ½ Stars This app works for your Canon or Nikon DSLR camera. All you have to do is connect your camera to a Wi-Fi enabled computer and you can instantly adjust its settings, fire the shutter, review the images, even get a live viewfinder preview. Great for high or low angles, self-portraits and children.

DSLR Camera Remote Lite $1.99…………3 1/2 Stars The Lite version of this app lets your remotely trigger or fire the shutter of your supported DSLR camera.

PhotoCalc $2.99…………….. 3 ½ Stars This app was made for photographers to calculate exposure reciprocation, depth of field, and flash exposure. Good for in the studio or in the field.

Tattoo Shop $1.99…………….. 3 Stars Okay this one is just for fun. With this application you can ink your photos in 4 easy steps! Use previously designed tattoos from the application or create your own using iPhone/iPod Touch gestures to position, resize, and rotate your tattoo until it is right where you want it!

Photography apps for the iPhone are just the tip of the iceberg. What else do you think about iPhones, their applications, and more? Get on the forums and let us know what you think on the the thread “Photography Applications for Your iPhone/iPod Touch”!

Written By: Elizabeth Villa (Pictage Blog Team)

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Being New on the Pictage Forums by Erica May Short

Picture this: you’re a new photographer, just getting serious about weddings. You’ve done a handful of weddings – and loved it – but just don’t quite understand how to dive in to the world of wedding photography. You have a passion for creating images, but no clue how to run a successful business.

Sound familiar? That was me, just two years ago.

After trying to get my business off the ground for a year, I started thinking about how I could make my photography business stand out in the crowd – I just didn’t know where to start.

Then, I heard about Pictage. I joined mainly because of the ease of online viewing and print order fulfillment. I thought this was the key to growing my business. I was right – but what I didn’t know was that the biggest factor in my success wasn’t found in the client interface, but in the Pictage forums.

As a new photographer, I found (and still find) the Pictage forums to be one of the best sources of information – for everything from business practices and legal issues to lighting tips and creative engagement sessions. The forums allow an amazing community of photographers to interact and share their knowledge, provide candid opinions and offer encouragement and advice on absolutely any topic.

The Pictage forums helped me understand the wedding photography industry, which was extremely valuable to me as a new photographer on the scene. The Ask & Learn sessions encouraged me to think about topics I never would have considered on my own. I learned more than just tips and tricks of the trade. I learned how to transform my business into a wedding photography experience that values details, fosters relationships, and allows for creativity.

If you haven’t yet visited the Pictage forums, check it out at forums.pictage.com. Some of my favorite things to view include:

•    Ask & Learn: live chats with leading photographers. •    Opportunities and Referrals: posts about wedding and portrait opportunities all over the country. •    Share Your Images: see photographers’ favorite images and share your own for great feedback. •    PUGs: updates about local Pictage User Groups. •    Pictage Business & Products: special announcements about new Pictage services, and a way for you to provide suggestions and feedback – and get a response.

Apart from the products and services Pictage offers, the community of helpful and talented photographers is what really sets them apart from other providers. I always tell people that partnering with Pictage was one of the most important business decisions I have ever made – and I mean it. The Pictage forums helped transform me from a girl with a camera into a creative photographer with vision, passion and respect for the amazing community of photographers… waiting to meet you on the Pictage forums!

Thank you Erica for joining us on the Pictage Blog!

Check out some of Erica’s work below and on her blog!

Featured Blog Post: Written By Erica May Short of Erica May Photography (Pictage Member)

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