Best Business Practices – Part 7

Spring is here, so we’re sharing a series of Best Business Practice posts featuring the team of ACEs and select photographers who have integrated ShootQ and Pictage into their studios. Get to know these fantastic folks and learn tips and tricks that will streamline your studio and help you conquer busy season!

Today’s profile is Ashley Davis, above, owner and principal photographer at Ashley Davis Photography. As a professional photographer, Ashley seeks the human experience – authentic, organic, fresh – and a real connection with her subject. She photographs weddings and portraits across the country.

When not shooting, you can find her hiking, gardening, or doing yoga in the foothills of Boulder, Colorado with her husband and dog.

Q. How long have you been using ShootQ? 

A. Five months.

Q. What were you using to manage your business before ShootQ?

A. Nothing really. I ‘handmade’ my own system over several years of business to help me stay organized, but it wasn’t very efficient. Handmade is good …

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Why Your Business Needs Kick-Ass Competitors

Photo by Dove Wedding Photography

Competition is like fuel. It can catalyze progress or cause an explosion.

The thing I love most about being a wedding and portrait photographer is the community. I have fun and have wonderful friends who are also wedding and portrait photographers. I would be fooling myself though if I didn’t admit that I compete with colleagues in my community.

Do you ever notice that you’re competing against other photographers who you admire or even call friends?

Competition is easy to notice when you’re looking at businesses that are similar to yours. It becomes REALLY obvious when you’re competing against a similar business that you dislike. How we handle competition defines how successful our business will be.

Unhealthy Competition

When the word “competition” comes to mind, most of us think of unhealthy competition. When I think of strong business competition I often think of ruthless fighting or unethical acts. Sadly, this type of competition does exist. Most …

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The Truth about the “Rockstar Economy”

Photo by Spencer Lum

Here is a fundamental truth: Nothing is equal. No actions, no thoughts, no ideas. Certainly no two people.

I would be lying if I said what works for me won’t work for you, but the more important and accurate statement is that what works for me won’t work the same for you. Not in the long term. In the short term, we may not see the differences, but over the course of a career, results will always vary, and not always in the way we want.

I could rattle off 5 tips to improve your business now. If they’re the right 5 for you, they’ll do something. But there are no ruby red slippers in real life, and there is no secret sauce. There is ability and the decisions you make. There are the thoughts racing through your mind in the middle of the night and the beat of your heart pounding …

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Best Business Practices – Part 6

Spring is here, so we’re sharing a series of Best Business Practice posts featuring the team of ACEs and select photographers who have integrated ShootQ and Pictage into their studios. Get to know these fantastic folks and learn tips and tricks that will streamline your studio and help you conquer busy season!

Today’s profile is Denise Birdsong, above, owner and principal photographer at Modern Love Photography. Denise’s studio specializes in weddings, beauty and boudoir with the goal of creating gorgeous evocative imagery.

Q. How long have you been using ShootQ? 

A. I’ve been using ShootQ for about two years.

Q. What were you using to manage your business before ShootQ? 

A. Shoe strings and some band aids. Really, nothing and it was a mess!

Q. What prompted you to move over to ShootQ?

A. Being the most disorganized person on the planet, when I took a tour and saw the possibilities for organization and streamlined workflows, I was smitten with ShootQ!

Q. What’s the biggest difference you’ve seen in your business as result of using ShootQ? 

A. As a …

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The Power of Personal Projects – Sin & Salvation in Baptist Town

Sin and Salvation in Baptist Town, © Matt Eich

Sometimes a simple assignment turns into a multi-year photographic project. Just as Shawn Reeder spent years creating a visual essay embodying the vast beauty of Yosemite National Park, Virginia-based photographer Matt Eich spent years documenting the rural Mississippi neighborhood of Baptist Town. For some photographers, subjects that start as mere curiosities turn into longterm fascinations.

Established in the 1800s in conjunction with the growth of the local cotton industry, Baptist Town is one of Greenwood, Mississippi’s oldest African American neighborhoods.

Eich initially focused his attention on Baptist Town, but then launched into a second chapter of the project about the adjacent area of Greenwood. His goal is to display the resulting images in both communities in an effort to actively engage residents in a dialogue about improving the lives of their neighbors. Eich explains, “These communities are separated by distrust and a history of exploitation. By visually introducing neighbors to one another in an …

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Best Business Practices – Part 5

Photo by Will Jacks

Spring is here, so we’re sharing a series of Best Business Practice posts featuring the team of ACEs. Get to know them and learn tips and tricks that will streamline your studio this season! As any ACE will tell you, you can’t do it all. Successful photographers understand this, which is why they partner with advisors and trainers who help them stay organized! This week’s featured ACE is Will Jacks, a guy who grew up wanting  to play centerfield for the St. Louis Cardinals, but wound up preserving wonderful moments as a photographer. As he says, “I deal in happiness, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Q. What’s your primary area of photography and when did you start shooting full-time?

Will: I began my career as a photographer in 1997. I didn’t know what type of work I wanted to do. I only knew that I wanted to be creative, be my own boss, and develop a body of work …

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“Range of Light” – The Power of Personal Projects in Timelapse!

Imagine spending years on a personal project.

That’s exactly what photographer Shawn Reeder did to produce his spectacular time lapse film featuring the grand wonders of Yosemite National Park. A true example of patience, persistence and passion, Reeder’s five-minute film is composed of nearly 7,000 unique photographs.

Expansive, explosive, energetic and enlightening are all words that leap to mind when viewing Reeder’s “Range of Light.” In fact, it’s less about viewing and more about experiencing.

By examining Yosemite in such deep detail, with each changing glint of light or hint of shade, Reeder produced a visual poem. It’s appropriate that the film’s title ties in John Muir’s legacy. Each individual photograph in Reeder’s film, strung together masterfully, completely conveys Muir’s sentiments,

“Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of …

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The Power of Personal Projects – Part III

The question deserves to be asked again: Are you balancing work that fills your bank account with work that fills your soul?

In the first two posts in this series, we heard firsthand from Dan Milnor and Dave Wittig about the power of personal projects.  In Dan’s case, a desire to pursue personal projects changed the trajectory of his career. Dave, on the other hand, discovered how personal portrait projects infuse his commissioned wedding work with passion and insight.

If you’re facing burnout, boredom or just a nagging feeling of “stuckness,” then maybe you need to embark on a personal project?

So how do you start?

First, you’ll need an idea. What interests you? What challenges you? What inspires you? What enrages you? Seek stories or subjects that make you feel something, preferably something personal. The more invested you are in a project, the better it will be.

Speaking of investment, how will you fund your …

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Out of Synch: Photographers vs the Music Industry – Part 4

During the last few posts, we’ve been discussing music licensing within photographic and video work.

Part 1 covered the value of music within photographic and video work.

Part 2 talked about the growing accessibility of legal, low cost music licenses.

Part 3 explained how licensing works and what approach you should take to fit your brand.

Now that you have the tools, I’d like to conclude by explaining what can happen if you choose to ignore the information that’s been shared in this series.

As photographers and videographers, most of us are aware of copyright law and what infringement means. Still, the question that circles in our professional community is, “if I use unlicensed music, will I really get caught?”

Over the years, the RIAA has pursued people who have large amounts of illegal downloads on hard drives. Many of these people lost in court and then went bankrupt. Was it worth it?

Record labels, publishers, and …

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To Sell More, Think More Like Your Customer

Q. How do you educate your clients about Pictage and the process for ordering after their event?

After our initial meeting with potential wedding clients, we send them a link to a recently released wedding.  Ideally, the wedding will have some commonality with the wedding they are planning whether it be venue, color scheme, or the couple’s personality. This gives our potential clients an idea of our process and specifically shows the detailed categories we employ for each event. It also clearly shows our pricing structure for reprints, enlargements, specialty products, etc.

Q. Do you release the Pictage event directly to clients or to both clients and guests?

We release to both clients and guests unless the client specifically requested it to remain private. While we realize this goes against the optimization guidelines from Pictage, we had too many confused clients when we released only to them. We would find out weeks later that …

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