A Wedding Photographer Reviews the Leica Monochrom

“Be quick, but don’t hurry.” – John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach

I love this quote and I think it fits perfectly with photography.

I started out with Rangefinders in wedding photography. Partly because those are the tools I had but also because I loved the intimacy I could achieve with a Leica due to it’s small size.

I’ll probably get some flack for this from film lovers (hey, I’m one too) but with their new Monochrom  – black and white 18mp digital Rangefinder, Leica has put the “Tri-X” back into digital photography. Perhaps they’ve even put the tried-and-true love of black-and-white back into wedding photography.

I think there’s a different thought process with black-and-white photography versus color photography. With the Monochrom, I don’t have the mindset, “I’ll just convert to black-and-white during post processing,” which can sometimes be lazy. I find myself taking time to think about the image before creating it, just …

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Why Every Pro Photographer Should Have A Valued Business Advisor On Their Team

Professional photographers love having a camera in their hands. They also love the idea that they can make a living doing what they love. But most professional photographers do not have an accounting or law degree. That’s why photographers need a business pro on their team. Being a great photographer is challenging, but being a great photographer who’s running a profitable, healthy business can be daunting! And here’s how a business pro can help photographers:

What’s the Best Business Structure?

There are many items to consider when growing a business. The first to consider is what type of business entity should be set up. Should you be a sole-proprietor? What is a Limited Liability Company (LLC)? What are the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating? If you incorporate, should you file as a C-Corporation or an S- Corporation?

The right advisors can answer these questions and help it make sense to you.

A sole-proprietorship is …

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Are You Taking Care of Business?

We know that you’re doing business. The evidence is everywhere. You sign contracts, shoot jobs, process images and deliver products to customers. But are you taking care of business? Are you keeping in touch with customers the way you know you should? Are you getting in touch and spending time with people who can bring business your way? Are you keeping up with your blog and Facebook page?

Are you taking care of business?

Successful photographers may not necessarily be better artists or technicians than their counterparts, but they do know what they are selling and what it means to be taking care of business. What they are selling is a personal relationship with their customer, and that can’t be done sitting in front of your computer, no matter how late you stay up. They understand that taking care of business means getting up out of the chair and out the door.

Yes, your …

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Meeting Expectations You Didn’t Know Existed: Part 3

Part 3: Confusion & Poor Communication

How do you react to clients who have expectations that you are not aware of or expectations that you feel are unreasonable? Where do clients get these expectations?

In the past two posts in this series we addressed two of the 4 different sources these expectations come from:

– The Market Norm

– The first exposure to the type of product or service you offer

Today we will look at the remain two sources to discuss:

– Confusion caused by your business’ complicated structures

– Poor communication between you and the client

Confusion: When pricing and offerings are complicated, it confuses the client and he/she will have different expectations than what you actually laid out.

Example: A client receives your price-list that explains your vast array of packages that contain different album choices, design options, and photographic print types. As the client is selecting the package she wants to purchase, she does not realize …

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The Pro Photographer’s Guide to WPPI

Headed to WPPI this week and next? Like 15,000 wedding and portrait photographers, you are headed to one of the biggest gatherings of people from our industry, that you’re ever likely to encounter. Whether you’ve been a dozen times, or are headed out for your first time, the entire experience can be a bit overwhelming (to say the least). Between the platform classes, master classes, impromptu classes, shooting experiences, mentoring, and of course – the parties – there’s a lot happening. Want to come back in one piece?

Here are my WPPI Survival Tips:

1. Don’t try to do everything. You’ll hear this a lot from many people who have been there, but seriously – DON’T try to see everything. You can’t. It’s too big, and you’ll end up robbing yourself of the benefit of what you DO take in. Be picky about where you spend your time. You’ll get the most …

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Tips for Staying Organized and Staying Sane

I caught Jared Platt on his cell phone, hopping into a rental car at the Miami airport and preparing to drive to Key West for an engagement portrait shoot in the Dry Tortuga islands, 70 miles from Florida’s southernmost town.

How does he handle his two-pronged photography-lecturing business on the road, balancing being the breadwinner for a family of five with constant creativity?

The answer? He’s a really organized guy. Here are his tips for staying organized and staying sane. What he suggests will help you, whether you’re a road warrior or a homebody!

Know your mantra.

“The first and great commandment for my business is ‘Outsource everything,'” Platt says. “I’ve never had enough work to warrant having someone there full-time doing something for me,” so a full-time employee isn’t a good fit. But because he has a wife and three kids at home, he needs to be “as profitable as possible.” That means …

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Adoption Stories Told Through Pictures

Whitney Hempsey spends her working hours with parents and their new children, and when she’s done, she goes home to her own three kids.

A maternity-birth-newborn photographer based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Whitney has found joy in a personal project volunteering for an organization called Red Thread Sessions. The group gives photographers suggestions and connections to enable shooters to offer free photo sessions for adoptive parents and their new children.

Whitney was adopted – as was her mother – so as soon as she heard about Red Thread a bit over a year ago, “it was a given that I would be involved in it.”

There are three basic types of shoots Red Thread suggests photographers offer:

The most common type, in Whitney’s experience, has been regular family portrait sessions, within three months of the adoption, focusing on the connection between the parents and their new child. A homecoming session for a child adopted …

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Meeting Expectations You Didn’t Know Existed- Part 2

Part 2: Getting the First Exposure

How do you react to clients who have expectations that you are not aware of or expectations that you feel are unreasonable? Where do clients get these expectations?

In my last blog post, I addressed that these expectations come from 4 different sources:

– The market norm – The first exposure to the type of product or service you offer – Confusion caused by your business’ complicated structures – Poor communication between you and the client

In the last post, we took a look at Contending with The Market Norm. Today we will look at the second source: First Exposure.

First Exposure:

When a consumer has limited knowledge about a product, the first information they receive about that product often becomes their expectation for their purchase.

Example: A mother books you for her family portrait session. She doesn’t ask for many details as she values her friend’s recommendation of you and …

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Using a Camera as Your Voice

When did photography become just a job?

Have you ever asked yourself this question during the dark hours of morning when you’re in a drowsy dream state? Do you want to tap into the power of personal projects, using a camera as your voice? You’re not alone. Many creative people who turn their passion into a profession ask themselves this same soul-searching question. 

Ji Lee, former creative director at Google Creative Lab, summed up this frustration: “I really wanted to not only think about ideas but also make something happen!” For photographers, making something happen means using a camera as your voice.

To explore the power of personal projects, The Photo Life is publishing a series of posts from photographers who have embraced risk and pursued long-term personal projects.

Rebecca Kiger knows exactly how terrifying it can be to speak your truth privately, much less openly to the world. But just as surely, she knows two …

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Monitor Calibration: Are Your Prints Too Dark?

Calibrator

Are Your Prints Too Dark?

If your answer is yes, then improper monitor calibration is probably the reason. Have you ever wondered why when you get your WYSIWG (what you see is what you get) prints back from the lab they look darker than they do on your monitor? As professional photographers, we have a responsibility to make sure our monitor’s profile “matches” or is in “sync” with our primary print lab provider.

Your computer, monitor and printer are all connected by cables tethering them to each other. This allows your printer to recognize your monitor profile. It should print accurately because of this. But what happens when a lab prints images for you, and the lab is thousands of miles away? In many cases you get prints back and they appear a little darker – or a LOT darker – than what you see on your monitor. This is most likely …

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