3 Keys to Effectively Monitoring Social Media (without losing your mind)!

3-keys-to-effectively-monitoring-social-media-without-losing-your-mind

Let’s face it: social media is an essential part of doing business today. But if you don’t want to waste hours on Facebook and Twitter, scheduling social media messages in advance is a smart practice for staying active on social media channels.

But if you’re trying to build real relationships with your audience of prospective clients, simply scheduling messages in advance isn’t enough. You’re not a robot after all and you’ll miss out on real time communication! Therefore, it’s also important to monitor your social channels for timely, relevant conversations.

But monitoring social media doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Start by setting aside thirty minutes at the beginning and end of your work day to monitor and respond to social media conversations. You might find that time to be sufficient!

To maximize the return you get on those 30 minute check-ins, it’s important to have a clear idea of how you want …

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Quantity of Light is not the same as Quality of Light: Part 2

quantity-of-light-is-not-the-same-as-quality-of-light-part-2

I’m here to dispel a myth. Quantity of light isn’t the same as quality of light.

There’s a common misconception that the more light you have, the better your photo will be. But an accomplished photographer knows the difference between ‘quantity of light’ and ‘quality of light’.

In my first post in this series, I shared some tips on using reflectors on your shoots. In this post, we’re going to talk about when to use flash. Get ready to break out your strobes. Here we go…

I once worked with a photographer who told me, “I never use flash!” His way of dealing with low light situations was to crank up his ISO and open his aperture as wide as he could – usually f/1.2 or f/1.4 in rooms with very little ambient light. Why is this a bad idea? Well, it depends on what type of result you want to get.

If you want …

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Quantity of Light is not the same as Quality of Light: Part 1

casey-fatchett-photography062

I’m here to dispel a myth. Quantity of light isn’t the same as quality of light.

There’s a common misconception that the more light you have, the better your photo will be. But an accomplished photographer knows the difference between ‘quantity of light’ and ‘quality of light’.

Here’s a great example of this myth in action: a client calls you to schedule a portrait session. Immediately, they think (out loud), “Let’s do our portrait session at NOON because that’s when there’s a lot of light!”

Of course, this is actually one of the worst times of day for portraits, because the direct overhead light is very harsh. Early morning and late afternoon (the ‘golden hours’) are much better, because the light is more complimentary and doesn’t cast harsh shadows on the subject’s face.

But how can you overcome harsh light in the middle of the day? Well, the easiest and cheapest way to handle …

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The Professional Photographer’s Guide to Content Marketing

free-guide-the-photographers-guide-to-content-marketing

Does your blog bring you real job leads, ideal clients and incredible shooting opportunities?

Well, it should! When you started your photography business, you heard that your blog could serve as a valuable marketing tool. So you’ve been putting yourself out there, and have been spending enormous amounts of time and energy to keep your blog active.

But building your blog and posting consistently isn’t enough.

It takes more than authenticity and consistency to convert blog readers to paying clients; you need a disciplined process and approach. This guide will help you successfully use your blog as an effective marketing tool. It’s a three step process:

1. Creating and freely sharing valuable content 2. Building authentic and relevant relationships 3. Guiding potential clients toward the purchase decision

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How to Avoid Burning out on Photography

how-to-avoid-burning-out-on-photography

This is what the last 30 days have looked like for me. The collage above is representative of:

• 4 weddings • 5 engagement sessions • 2 bridal fashion shows • 1 fashion/catalogue shoot • 6 museum exhibits photographed • 4 days photographing the Frieze New York Art Fair • Approximately 120 hours taking pictures • Approximately 8975 photos (after editing)

Sure, it’s good to be busy. I’m not complaining about that. However, it’s a heavy workload, which made me think: it’s time to address the subject of ‘burnout.’

Being ‘burnt out’ can take many forms – feeling tired (physically and emotionally), lacking enthusiasm about your work, experiencing apathy, irritability, and frustration. None of those things are good for your pictures, your business, or your life! And you don’t have to work a ridiculous number of hours in a short period of time to feel this way; it could be a prolonged process of constantly grinding away at your work and feeling like it never …

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How to Take the Pain out of Album Design

how-to-take-the-pain-out-of-album-design

Album design is the one task that I absolutely dread. And when I say dread, I mean loathe. I bet many of you can relate. I avoid album design like the plague.

Before we joined Pictage, I spent hours laying wedding photos out on blank pages, nudging them a little bit to the left or right, cropping a tad here or there. It was tedious; it was a massive time suck! I knew something had to change.

Then, I heard about Pictage’s free album design service from a friend. I was intrigued, but skeptical. First I thought, “Is this for real? For $49 per month, I get unlimited album designs and access to purchase directly through national album companies?” Immediately, I thought, “No way!” But if it were true, I was ready to sign up right then and there.

So that evening, I signed up for the free trial. I watched a few …

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How to Make Everyday Shoots Extraordinary

how-to-make-every-day-shoots-extraordinary

There I was with Beth and her family at Balboa Park in San Diego, their faces bursting with joy as they ran around being kids, playing games and laughing. But it wasn’t always this way; my early photos often showed people looking nervous, waiting for guidance on what pose to do next, with fake smiles.

Then, I decided to make a change. By encouraging people to make every day a celebration, the “UPA” (Unique Photo Adventure) was born! By taking the time to connect with my clients as they connect with each other, I can create images as if I wasn’t even there.

This is no traditional “portrait studio” appointment. Equipped with a variety of ideas, clients are inspired to make the experience all their own. Unique Photo Adventures allow participants to free themselves from being behind the camera, disconnect from their cell phone or other distractions, and really be present in …

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Why Every Photographer Should Lose “Weight”

why-every-photographer-should-lose-weight

If you do wedding photography year after year, the physical labor takes a toll on your body. Photographers often carry multiple camera bodies, along with multiple lenses, flashes/studio lights, tripod/monopods and other accessories. Wedding after wedding, we’re carrying fifity to sixty pounds of equipment – plus we’re on our feet all day long!

I remember carrying all my gear and hiking half a mile to a mountain-top ceremony in Muir Beach. It was exhausting, and I knew I couldn’t carry on like this for years. So, for the past few years, I’ve focused on shedding equipment weight and improving efficiency, while delivering the same quality (or better) results.

Here’s what my toolbox looked like in 2010:

Bodies: Nikon D3, 2 Nikon D700, D300, D90

Lenses: 24-70, 70-200, 17-35, 35, 50, 85, 105 Macro, 18-55, 19-35

Flashes: 3 SB-900, SB-800 and SB-600

Accessories: Tripods, monopods and other accessories

As you can see, I had overlapping lenses and camera …

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How to Use Keywords to Attract New Leads

Flickr User SuperBoreen http://www.flickr.com/photos/superboreen/

Photo by Flickr User SuperBoreen

In the online marketing world, everyone seems to be talking about keywords.

But they’re missing something.

Everyone is talking about search engines and the importance of SEO. And while it’s no secret that good SEO can go a long way in helping people find you, it’s not just about the search engines.

It’s about the people who are searching.

That’s where long tail keywords come in. Long tail keywords are very targeted search phrases that are usually easier to rank for and specifically focused on your niche audience.  For example:

“inbound marketing” = generic keyword “generate leads using inbound marketing” = long tail keyword

If you can focus on long tail keywords that YOUR target audience is likely to be searching for, you can avoid the slow months or years that it can take to see any meaningful growth in targeting a highly competitive keyword. Although you may not see the same …

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The Sandwich Method

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Want to hear about one of my favorite recipes of light? It looks like a million bucks, yet doesn’t cost much. And it’s yummy.

It’s called “The Sandwich Method.”

When I stumble on this kind of glamour lighting setup, especially in an abandoned railroad car, you might hear white- fronted capuchin monkey sounds like, “Ooo ooo ooo!” I admit, my clients don’t quite understand my ecstatic enthusiasm…until I show them their photograph in said lighting conditions! See? A picture really is worth a thousand words!

I discovered this natural-lighting scenario when shooting my clients’ (Scott & Alyssa) portrait session. What an awesome discovery! I couldn’t have set my Alien Bees up to make this look any better; that’s the beauty of natural light.

What amazed me most was the sheer quality of light, which was on par with a studio lighting setup, in an unsuspecting location. This is a great reminder to keep your …

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