Five Tips for Dramatically Improving Reception Photos

When I shot my first wedding in 2007, I was lucky! The reception was pretty bright (and my camera was worthless above about ISO 400, so that was a good thing!) Since then, I’ve learned – sometimes the hard way – that not every wedding reception is inundated with light, and you know what? I love that.

Bright is great, but dark is full of endless possibilities. Consider a wedding reception outside at 2 p.m. under a clear sky (I know, not common, but play along). There’s not much you can do with that light, right? Your hands are pretty much tied; you’re not competing with a cloudless sky with the speedlights that most wedding shooters have in their bag!

Now take a pitch black 9 p.m. reception. Much more common, right? “Oh crap, the bride’s making her grand entrance in 5 minutes and it’s ISO, 12,800 at 1/2 a second in here!” …

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Pinterest for Wedding Photographers

Continuing the social media theme this month, The Photo Life team is sharing another helpful article about how photographers can use Pinterest to market their business and engage with their clients. Many photographers have asked us to keep sharing info about this new social network that’s spreading like wildfire! Special thanks to Wendy Roe and Matt Herron for their contributions to social media mega month!

The social media to-do list gets longer every day. Between Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging it seems like there are a lot of platforms on the modern wedding photographer’s daily list. Well, get ready, because there is one more to add – Pinterest.

Since Pinterest hit the social media scene it has become hugely popular with home decorators, exercise and beauty buffs, and above all, brides. It’s the new “place to go” for wedding inspiration, so wedding photographers in a moving marketplace should get familiar with the platform quickly …

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How Social Sharing Can Improve Your Photography Business

You say your work speaks for itself.

But does it?

In an age where every website that matters is connected in some way to social media, is your work strong enough to speak for itself? On an internet saturated with photographs, how do your photos get attention?

Do you want the truth? Even if you win the National Geographic Photo Contest, there’s a good chance that announcement will be drowned out by social media noise. People would rather look at ‘LOLCats’ or tweet about Justin Bieber. Guess what was trending on Twitter when I wrote this? #OnlyGhettoPeople and “Happy Chocolate Day!”

Your work can’t speak for itself anymore. Not on the Internet, anyway. Too many people are talking, and you can only “Like” yourself on Facebook once.

So how can you make social media as useful for your photography business as it is for asinine trends? Get your fans to speak for your work, too!

1. Connect Your …

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The Mashable Movement Part 2

**Great news! We’re hard at work updating this guide and will be re-releasing it shortly. In the meantime, check out The Photo Life Social Media Guide!**

What if Photographers Stopped Trying to Combat Change and Embraced it Instead?

It’s a question worth asking again and again. And again! That’s why this Dispatch seems familiar to you. It is. Re-releasing “The Mashable Movement” is a challenge to you to consider this inescapable question and find your unique answer.

What if YOU stopped combatting change and embraced it instead? What would that look like in your unique business?

Let’s take a look together.

What’s Inside:

A challenge to look at your photography business in a different way, to see your clients as collaborators rather than consumers. Inside you’ll also find practical tools for identifying the collaboration methods that work for your business.

Take a Look:

Collaboration can’t be formulaic, which is a good thing because neither can your business! In …

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What’s Pinterest and How Can I Use it for My Marketing?

If you haven’t been introduced to Pinterest, you’re in for a treat!

It’s the newest, hip social network that cracked the top 10 of popularity…while still being INVITE only!  Inspiration boards of styles you like, goals for your future, books you want to read, cute DIY wedding ideas have always been around but up until Pinterest, they were created with paper, scissors, tape and poster board – I know, we’ve all been there!

Pinterest is a gold mine for photographers, especially wedding photographers, because brides-to-be are there, pinning images from their favorite websites to showcase ideas while categorizing their favorite wedding cakes, details, dress and even their ‘something blue’ for crying out loud!  As photographers, we supply images that they pin (you can pin ANY web image and brides are scouring wedding websites and blogs for new images). Then, their followers and friends see our work...and boom…in comes a job lead!

Things to …

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Lifestyle Baby Photography Part Three: Overcoming Insecurity

Real life is beautiful.

We established that in Part One of this series. But although this philosophy sounds wonderful, it can be hard to follow through with, particularly when it’s personal. In my last installment in this series, I explained that I believe there are two major barriers to overcome in Lifestyle Photography – ignorance and insecurity. I outlined ways that I work to combat ignorance by cultivating true relationships with my clients. Once the barrier of ignorance has been removed, and people become aware of Lifestyle Baby Photography, we are still left with their insecurities. Even if my potential clients embrace the concept that Real Life is beautiful, in a global sense, they have probably not truly grasped that their Real Life is beautiful. My job is to prove this to them. I have to help them see beauty in their own everyday experiences.

My clients are amazing customer evangelists. (Side note: …

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Ditching the “Day” Job: Lessons Learned Going Full Time

Photo by Ned Jackson

I began my photography career while working in corporate America. Eventually, I transitioned to teaching high school history (a job I loved) and worked concurrently as an educator and photographer for six years. Despite my best attempts, working two jobs was not sustainable. Here’s a few lessons I learned along my journey:

Believe it or not, your “day” job is an asset: use it.

Now, don’t get me wrong…working two jobs was one of the most stressful and difficult times of my life, but one thing I always understood clearly was that my “day job” was a powerful asset that allowed me to build my photography business exactly how I wanted. In other words, because the bulk of my income came from my teaching career, I was able to establish my wedding pricing at the level I wanted rather than setting the bar lower in fear of not booking enough.

Having other income …

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FInding Success in Photography. It’s Up to You.

Photographers get no shortage of advice. Some of it is good. Some of it is great. Some of it is – well – not so good at all.

There is no question that these are challenging times. It’s funny that we all seem to think that’s new. It’s not. The decision to enter small business is the decision to accept the challenge of going it alone. Like that ad on TV where the guy says he’s the ‘Chief Everything Officer.’ If you decide you want to be in the business of photography then that’s what you are, a Chief Everything Officer. (Now, go and have new cards printed up that say that!).

Much of the discussion today centers around the challenges of the photography industry. To be sure, too much supply and not enough demand is a big challenge. A photographer who wishes to succeed – and for purposes of my posts …

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Consistency is King

The wedding and portrait photography market relies heavily on referrals, and one way to ensure that each referral is just as happy as their family member or friend who sent them to you is to provide an equally consistent experience. If you’re unsure of where to begin, consider the following: Products:

Are you ordering from the same vendors each time? Are you creating consistent products, so that two clients would see no difference if compared? Are you following the same process for designing albums, with policies to refer to if necessary? 

Pricing:

Is your price range on your website the same as it is when you send your client pricing? Does it all end in .00 or .99? Pick one. Are there logical jumps in pricing, and are your packages clear and to the point? Are the products listed out in the same order every time? How often are you changing your pricing?

Emails:

Are you direct, clear, and concise …

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A Case for True Authenticity in Photography

As we crawl down the rabbit hole and the pursuit of the authentic reaches fever pitch, at some point you’ve gotta wonder how it is that so many authentic selves can look and sound so damned similar. This light, that composition. This kiss, that stare, and oh, those shoes. Do we all love photographing shoes that much? As we see more, do more, and push further, is there room to stand out in the increasingly hot and crowded space we call the wedding industry? Or is authenticity nothing more than a new twist on an old theme? A quick shot of empowerment to be followed by a Tequila chaser to keep us going on the treadmill.

At the heart of it all are two simple words. Trendy and timeless – bookends in the never-ending debate on substance, society, and self. Trendy, the pejorative cousin of stylish and fashionable, is change for …

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