The Power of Projection

Projecting your custom-created portraits for your clients is not new.

Back in the film days, photographers projected slides made from portraits prepared by their lab.

When photography migrated from film to digital, the use of projectors came into vogue, especially now when the quality of projectors has improved dramatically as prices have plummeted.

So while this method is not anything new, it is still considered by many portrait experts (like Chuck Lewis) to be not just the best way but the ONLY way to share your work with your clients.

It may seem old school, or it may seem like an inconvenience to you and your clients. Those were some of my concerns about projecting when I started.

Boy was I wrong!

Now I’m a “true believer” in this method and think you will be too once you try it.

The Why:

Since you are reading this you are looking to distinguish yourself from your competition.

You are looking …

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Why I’m *NOT* a “High-End” Photographer

Life Long Studios Team

One commonly accepted concept in the wedding photography industry is that in order to be successful, you MUST aspire to be a high-end photographer, pushing your prices higher and catering to an affluent clientele. There’s a definite distaste for photographers who don’t charge “enough” and who don’t aspire to serve affluent clients.

Our chosen business model is shoot more to make more. Instead of targeting high-end weddings and affluent clients, we target mass-market brides with average budgets. Instead of projecting exclusivity, we aim to be the company that event planners see every weekend and that brides see on every vendor list.

How Our Studio Shoots More to Make More: Life Long Studios was a standard husband-and-wife company, photographing about 40 weddings per year. My wife and I took a long, hard look at where we wanted to be and what we wanted our studio to become. We knew we wanted a company that …

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The Images that Reflect Your Photography Brand

When I first started out, I was the photographer who didn’t think before clicking. I was usually pretty nervous working with clients during a shoot, and rapid fire just seemed like the easy way out. Months went by! I kept my trigger-finger pretty busy and soon enough I had amassed an incredible volume of images. It wasn’t until I stopped one day to evaluate my own work that I realized how random and unoriginal my photography truly appeared. There was little consistency in terms of style, and my work really didn’t seem any different compared to the photographer next door. Something had to change!

I immediately began to dissect my images after every shoot. Over time, I became much more critical of my work; asking myself questions like:

Which images was I really proud of? Why? Among these images, what seemed to work? Was it the location, posing, lighting? Would it be possible to …

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Capturing Authentic Emotion on the Wedding Day


A long while back, I wrote an article for The Photo Life about how to bring out authentic emotion in your couples.

In that article, I introduced the concept of Emotional Grounding, the idea of leading your couples into their core feelings for each other. It’s something Jeff and I have been developing and using with our subjects for a few years. While it’s not a revolutionary idea – we’re not the only photographers who engage with subjects emotionally – putting an actual name to this concept helped us identify and improve how we do it in practice.

My initial article covered part one of the Emotional Grounding concept, introducing an emotionally-engaging style of shooting at the engagement session. Now, I want to talk about part two of the Emotional Grounding concept, how we employ this style during weddings.

The Power We Possess

Since photographers spend so much time with the bride and groom …

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Thumbtack: The Theory of Goals, Systems, and Making them Stick!

Leeann is a ShootQ Accredited Consultant (or ACE). Contact her to schedule a custom ShootQ consultation!

You’ve taken the time to write down your goals, whether that be on your favorite little notepad, in an elegantly worded blog post, or in the back corners of your mind. These goals are where you want to be, and where you envision your business to stand in the next few months or years.

But how do you make them a reality? That’s always the tough part, isn’t it? Moving your big goals into realized dreams is one of the most difficult parts of being a business owner and entrepreneur, but it’s done over and over again by some of the most successful people in the industry. What’s the key? Or better yet, what makes them stick?

Thumbtack is the theory behind turning goals into realities. The tip of the thumbtack is your ultimate goal. It’s that …

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The Ultimate Sign of Credibility

Thomas Edwards just got engaged. If you know Thomas you’re probably engaged yourself or actively pursuing a path towards love (and lovemaking). A few days ago, we met up for drinks and I half-jokingly asked The Professional Wingman if getting married was “bad for business.” Without skipping a beat, he coolly said, “Being a product of your own service is the ultimate sign of credibility.”

A Choice of Trainers Using Thomas’ example: Let’s imagine you want to hire a personal trainer and meet with two prospects. Trainer #1 has an amazing physique, optimistic attitude and offers a personal story about how fitness is transforming her life. Trainer #2 is overweight, defensive when you ask about it and insistent that his fitness method is the best. Overall, credibility is our belief in the trustworthiness and expertise of the source.

While it may be easy to judge Trainer #2, I’d be surprised if you didn’t …

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On The Edge

On The Edge

Sometimes you should ignore the bride and groom.

I don’t mean ignore them completely, but remember to turn your camera’s gaze toward others attending the wedding. Many of my favorite photographs from weddings are of guests! My first commitment is to my client, but their loved ones are equally important parts of their wedding celebration.

One of my journalism mentors used to say, “always look around the edges of your frame.” What he meant was, keep your viewfinder poised to capture images on the periphery. Often these are quiet moments between ‘The Moments.’ They’re not the iconic first dance, or the obligatory cake cutting. They are poetic, unexpected, or funny glimpses into the personalities of your clients’ family and friends.

This photograph was actually made during the father-daughter dance at a recent wedding. While I was focused on the bride and her father waltzing sweetly, something on the edge of my frame caught …

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Getting Lots of Work: Is it Worth It?

Understanding Cost and Time

I love the start of a new year and the exciting possibilities that it brings for wedding photography businesses. With the new year comes time to re-evaluate business, create new marketing strategies, and hopefully book lots of new bookings!

As we evaulated our pricing this month and try to find ways to attract as many new clients as possible, it’s tempting to drive bookings by creating huge promos and discounts. We love the immediate results that can come from lowering rates and giving generous incentives. It’s very exciting to see the deposits come rolling in!

However, lots of work doesn’t always promise lots of profit. In this article, I’ll share two cases where lots of work wasn’t worth it and hopefully it’s something we can all learn from.

Understanding Time and Cost: When Groupon was introduced, we watched a number of portrait photographers close their businesses because of poorly planned sales. These …

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What Makes an Awesome Photography Portfolio

Creating an Awesome Photography Portfolio

I can still remember when I went in for my first real interview for a co-op placement in high school. All dolled up by my parents, I either looked like I was going to my wedding or I was applying for early acceptance to Harvard.

I’m not sure that the hiring manager noticed that the colour of my shoes matched my belt, or that I was rocking Helvetica on my resumé, but what I know they noticed was that I was well-spoken, and looked like I knew what the hell I was talking about.

You see, this manager had bad previous experience with co-op students, and hadn’t brought anyone on to help out in the last few years because of that. I, however, came highly recommended and so the proverbial door was opened for me to seal the deal.

Needless to say, I not only got the gig, but they ended up offered …

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How Can Light Create Mood?

Photography Lighting

As a photographer, lighting is everything to me. Light describes how I feel about an image and expresses to the world how I feel as a photographer. Light is to my photography as the air is to my lungs. My images can’t live without it.

Watching the way a shadow wraps around a woman’s body to accentuate her curves, or the way the catch lights are caught in her eyes is part of what I love about creating images. The use of light is more of my paintbrush than my camera at times, whether I want sun flare while outside or a hair light while in studio, it is the light that I am always looking for.

I was told a long time ago, in my first photo class, that a great image has mystery, ambiguity and contradiction. All three can be created with light. Shadows create ambiguity and have mystery if …

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