Tools for Doing In-Person Photography Sales to Boost Your Income Stream

The post Tools for Doing In-Person Photography Sales to Boost Your Income Stream appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

in-person-photography-sales

It seems now many clients only want digital files, however, there are still photographers doing in-person photography sales and making more from their art than the shoot and burn photographer. You don’t need a lot to get started with in-person photography sales. You can add products, samples, and such as your sales increase. Learn the tips you need to get started by reading below!

What are in-person photography sales?

In-person photography sales are where you set an appointment with your clients to give them a personalized viewing of their photos and conduct a sales meeting with them at the same time.

You can set the date for the in-person photography sales appointment before the actual session or when the photos are ready to view. It all depends on how you handle and schedule your calendar.

An in-person photography sales appointment is for photographers who wish to sell products like prints, frames, and other specialty items. These have a set profit margin so you can make the most out of a portrait session or wedding.

Why have in-person photography sales to begin with?

When a photographer gives away their photos in digital format, the client is allowed to print outside of the photographer’s studio, resulting in a loss in money for the photographer. With in-person sales, you are able to offer your clients their most valuable photos of their family, or event, and get top-quality products in return.

Image: You can use a gallery mock-up like this to sell wall galleries, frames, or other products dur...

You can use a gallery mock-up like this to sell wall galleries, frames, or other products during the in-person photography sales appointment. It helps your clients visualize the final product.

In-person photography sales give your clients more personalized attention. It also allows them to get their photos off digital format and onto their walls.

Giving your clients this personalized attention will also make your clients feel taken care of in the most intimate way. This rounds out the whole portrait photography experience. You’ll have them come to you next time they need that personal experience again.

What do you need to get started with in-person photography sales?

To begin with, you need an action plan. You’ll need to determine how you’ll be conducting the sales appointment. Choose a location with minimal distraction and noise, so that you can tailor your sales appointment to have the atmosphere you want. It can be a shared space, a rented location, or even in your home or the client’s home.

You’ll also need some sort of device to showcase the photos from the session. This can be a laptop, iPad/tablet, or even a screen projector to showcase the photos large. If you have a studio space, you can choose a room or location inside that has a TV or computer to show their images.

Sign up with a professional lab

Next, you’ll need to make a catalog of the products you’ll be offering. Make sure to use a top photographic lab and not your friendly neighborhood Costco. While there’s nothing wrong with Costco for personal printing, they are not a professional lab with professional printers and top quality control.

Image: WHCC offers a program you can use on your iPad called Studio to create mockups of products yo...

WHCC offers a program you can use on your iPad called Studio to create mockups of products your clients want to buy.

White House Custom Color, Bay Photo Lab, Black River Imaging are a few of the leading professional photography labs, among many, many more. Find one that you like best and give them a try. All of them offer a variety of products ranging from loose prints to specialty items like tree ornaments, bookmarks, and even mugs with photos on them.

After you figure out what products you want to sell to your clients, figure out the pricing. Factor in shipping and the cost of the product. Only then can you determine how much of a profit margin you want. Depending on your market, you might be at a 40% profit margin or perhaps more.

Image: A digital catalog can help you showcase your products and pricing to clients without having t...

A digital catalog can help you showcase your products and pricing to clients without having to order samples. Some labs offer free product guides without branding or prices.

If you have capital, get samples of the products that you think will be top sells, and loose prints in various sizes. If you’ll be offering to frame, get the sample corners.

Each photographer has their own set of top sellers. With time, you can accumulate samples of those products. However, if you don’t have money to invest in samples, create a sales catalog in Illustrator or Photoshop. That way, your clients can see the products.

Image: Having sample albums in smaller sizes can help your clients visualize the final product.

Having sample albums in smaller sizes can help your clients visualize the final product.

WHCC has a site without any branding that you can use to get your clients excited about products. Many professional labs also offer samples at a discount so that you can afford some of the products to help you sell.

Payments

Sign up with a merchant account of some sort so that you can take credit card and debit card payments. You can get a card reader with some services like Square and PayPal to make processing credit cards and debit cards much easier. These also allow you to email receipts to your client.

Some gallery services like Instaproofs offer merchant services and invoicing to photographers right from the gallery. They can also provide direct printing straight from the gallery.

Figure out what works for you and which service offers a better plan for you. It’s really helpful when more and more people use these types of services.

To recap, you’ll need the following:

  1. Figure out your plan. Where will you have the in-person photography sales appointments?
  2. Sign up with a professional photography lab.
  3. Figure out the products and pricing you’ll be selling.
  4. Invest in samples or create a catalog of products to show clients.
  5. Get a merchant account, Square, or PayPal for payments with cards.
  6. Stick to your plan!

What are the benefits of having in-person photography sales?

The benefits are many in that you are giving your clients something that they won’t get anywhere else – your personalized attention throughout the whole photographic experience.

Tools for Doing In-Person Photography Sales to Boost Your Income Stream

By having an in-person photography sales appointment with your clients, you are showing them their beautiful portraits via slideshow or even just in the gallery one by one. You are helping them choose their favorites, and setting them up with products that they’ll treasure for many years to come.

When you hand over digitals via an online gallery, you are missing out on the emotion behind the whole experience. They download, print, and buy somewhere else – leaving you with a loss.

Image: Showing your clients what their photos can look like in their home is also a good way to sell...

Showing your clients what their photos can look like in their home is also a good way to sell products.

Even if you offer digital products, having an in-person photography sales appointment with clients is the best way to show them that you not only take great photographs but care about your clients. It shows then that you are there with your knowledge and expertise to find the right product, photo, and gift to make their photos stand out.

In-person sales appointments are a great way to end the whole experience and create a deeper bond with your clients that an online gallery or digital photos never will.

What if my clients can’t meet or live out of town?

Although it’s better to be physically face-to-face with your clients, sometimes you can’t, and that’s okay. Luckily, there are other ways to hold an in-person photography sales appointment.

Image: Even digital mockups of products can help you sell more to your clients. Show them on your la...

Even digital mockups of products can help you sell more to your clients. Show them on your laptop or tablet after you show your clients their gallery.

If they can’t meet with you in person, offer a video chat style of sales appointment that best fits into their busy schedule. It’s understandable that clients can get busy with their families, life, work, and travel, however, make it a point to have some type of face-to-face appointment with them.

Use Skype so that you can share your screen with them and show them the slideshow of photos you’ve prepared. You’ll see their reactions and emotions to the beautiful photos and can then begin the process of selling your products.

Image: On the left is a catalog unbranded from a professional lab. On the right is a digital mockup...

On the left is a catalog unbranded from a professional lab. On the right is a digital mockup of various products using my own photos.

Make sure to send your product guide/catalog to them before the meeting so that they are aware of what type of products you offer and at what price points they begin.

Make the most out of in-person photography sales appointments

If you offer digitals with your packages, don’t make them readily available to your clients before your sales appointment. Chances are, they’ll walk away with the digitals and forget to make or go to the appointment since they’ve gotten their digitals.

It’s best to schedule the sales appointment before you have the actual session. That way, you can set a time and day that works best for everyone ahead of time. Families especially need careful planning so that they can attend the sales meeting.

Set the tone for the in-person photography sales appointment. Even if you don’t have physical products yet, bring copies of your catalog. Perhaps offer drinks or snacks during the appointment and have the slide show and gallery ready to view. Make sure there is no need for an internet connection in all of your prep, just in case you meet at a place that doesn’t have wifi.

Give your clients an incentive for purchasing their photos. You could offer a gift print with purchases over a certain amount. Or if it’s part of your business plan, include a digital print of the photos that they get in prints or products so that they can keep that as well.

Offer a payment plan to your clients. Put their credit card on file with a payment date so that you can automatically charge their cards when the payment is due. This allows them to have the products that they want most. Sometimes, payment plans can increase your sales because they offer more flexibility to your clients.

Set about two minutes worth of favorite images to music and create a slideshow. After, have your order form, catalog or samples, and begin showing the rest of the gallery to your clients. This creates excitement around seeing the rest of the images.

In conclusion

Having an in-person photography sales appointment doesn’t mean you have to have a studio or even samples.  You can get started right away with a catalog of products and prices. You can use a rented or shared space, or even have the in-person sales appointment in your clients’ home or via video chat.

Either way, giving your clients this personal and handheld experience to get the most out of their photos will mean more income for you and wall portraits for them. This makes the whole photographic experience more meaningful!

Do you make in-person photography sales? What tips can you offer other photographers? Share in the comments!

The post Tools for Doing In-Person Photography Sales to Boost Your Income Stream appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jackie Lamas.

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

The post 11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

Stock photography is a tough industry to master. The competition is fierce and prices have been falling over the last decade. But if you are willing to put the effort in and have a long term plan, you can certainly reap the rewards. As a photographer who has been involved in stock photography for over a decade, I have certainly seen the highs and lows. So here are my top tips for shooting travel stock images and how to make money from it.

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1. Include people

Picture buyers are always looking for something new and fresh. Including a person can often be what makes your images unique to the thousands of others that already exist. Including a person in the shot also gives the image some context and shows more of an experience rather than just documenting a place.

Some scenes are busy enough that you don’t need someone to pose. But if you do need someone, don’t be afraid to ask a stranger. Rarely have I found that anyone says no. I always offer to send them a copy of the image to sweeten the deal. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the more generic-type shots. It more about maximizing your sales potential by shooting a variety of different images.

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2. Get a model release

So once you have included a person when shooting travel stock photography, it is a good idea to get a model release. If the person or people are mainly unrecognizable, or if you intend to sell your shot for editorial purposes only, you won’t require one. But be aware that some stock agencies will require a model release even if it is someone’s hand showing in a photo. Of course, there are times where it simply isn’t feasible, for example, if you are photographing a crowd of people. Getty Images have a great model release form that you download here.

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3. Shoot portrait and landscape

When shooting travel stock photography, you should always shoot a landscape and portrait version. Not all scenes work in both landscape and portrait, so sometimes it might not be possible. But if you can, it will come in really useful.

But not only portrait and landscape, try to capture some different compositions. For example, place your point of interest on the left or right. Leave room above and below. You are already at the location so you might as well cover as many possibilities as you can. You never know when a buyer will ask if you have that image in a different crop. Doing this will mean that for example, your image may get used as a double-page spread or a front cover.

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

4. Leave space for copy

It is important to shoot images with dead space to allow for copy or headlines to be put in. Sometimes this can mean breaking those all-important rules of composition you have spent years perfecting. But it’s worth it to make those sales.

As mentioned above, you can always shoot multiple versions of the same shot. Try to imagine where and how your image will be used in a publication (or even a website), and compose your shot with that in mind.

Image: There was plenty of free space at the top of this image for the copy to be placed.

There was plenty of free space at the top of this image for the copy to be placed.

5. Choose the right agency

This might be pretty obvious, but it’s important to submit your images to the correct stock photography library. If you shoot travel stock photography, then a specialist travel site is best. If you shoot still life, then an agency that specializes in this would be more successful.

Beyond that, spend some time researching the agency that you are thinking of submitting to. For example, are you happy to see your images sold for a few cents? Consider what your commission rate will be as well as they vary greatly from one agency to another.

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6. Think carefully before submitting to Microstock

Every single person I have ever spoken to who submitted to microstock sites regrets doing so down the road. Of course, there are probably some photographers out there who are very happy with their returns. The problem is that you will need such a huge collection of images with a wide coverage to see any returns that will be worth your time. This is because microstock sites sell images for cents. Ask yourself, would you prefer to sell one image at $25 or 250 at 10 cents?

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

7. Find fresh angles

If you really want to make your images stand out and catch the buyer’s eye, photograph it differently! Every picture buyer has seen the classic shot of the Eiffel Tower, and it has been on the cover of hundreds, if not thousands, of publications. So the same is not likely to catch many prospective client’s attention. It’s not always easy, but if you can capture something different or unique, you might end up with a few sales from it. This could be as simple as photographing something from lower down or higher up.

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

8. Unique location

As well as finding fresh angles, find new locations. Iconic locations such as London or New York, are constantly changing, so there are always potential new places from which to capture photos. This could be from a new rooftop bar with a unique view of Manhattan or new art installation on the streets of London. Even if your location isn’t ever-changing, finding somewhere with a view that not everyone photographs can be very useful.

shooting-travel-stock-photography

9. Quality over quantity

This is often a bit of a contradiction when it comes to stock photography because stock photography is a numbers game. The more images you have, the better your chances of making a sale. However, the key is that they have to be quality shots that people would be willing to pay for. This is the reason that it will take most stock photographers a few years to get a wide enough coverage of images to see a decent return.

Try to always shoot the best locations at the best possible time of day. More often than not, this will be sunrise or sunset, but you will need to assess each scene individually. Your aim should be to capture each shot in a way that you can sell it.

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

10. Stay local

Shooting good travel stock photography doesn’t always mean jetting off to far-flung locations. You can often produce great travel stock images a lot closer to home. If, like me, you are lucky enough to live near an iconic place (for me it is London), then you already have endless photo opportunities.

Shooting locally has other benefits as well.

You can revisit locations easily if the weather wasn’t great. You don’t have to worry about the additional travel expenses that eat into your profits. In fact, you will probably find that your local shoots end up having a far better ROI (return on investment) than traveling to other places.

11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money

11. Do something different

Another way that you can try to capture different types of images is to use different technology. For example, drones have now been around a while and can offer a completely new and unique view of something that may have been photographed a lot. But there’s no denying it’s getting harder and harder to fly drones in many places. So if it’s something you are interested in, it’s probably a good idea to get a license. But drone images do sell pretty well, so it is worth considering.

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Conclusion

For most people stock photography will never be the main source of income. However, with some preparation and planning, you can certainly make some extra money from your hobby or profession. The key to being a successful travel stock photographer is to treat it like a business as much as possible. Keep your costs as low as you can, and shoot as often as you can.

Do you have any other tips you’d like to share? Do you make money from shooting travel stock photography? Share with us in the comments!

 

shooting-travel-stock-photography

The post 11 Tips for Shooting Travel Stock Photography to Make Money appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us?

The post Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

Price tends to be one of the biggest points of contention with photographers. What is too low? What is too high? What’s just right? Running a profitable business is never easy. Whatever price you set, someone will likely have an opinion or two about it (solicited or not). Which leads to the biggest elephant in the room… do cheap photographers who price low take business away from those that price higher?

Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us?

My answer?

No.

And here are 6 reasons why:

1. There is a client for everyone

Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us?

This is business 101 that we often forget (and I am guilty of forgetting sometimes too!). Artists tend to be very emotionally tied to the work and the service provided, and photographers are certainly not exempt from this fact. As such, losing or not obtaining a client can feel like a personal jab even when it has nothing to do with us at all. You have to remember, there is a client for everyone!

This rings especially true in the tumultuous price debate. A client who is focusing on the price will not be looking for an expensive photographer. Likewise, a client who is focusing on high quality will often assume that cheap photographers cannot provide the quality that they seek. A Lamborghini is not concerned over the lower price of a Honda Civic because the Honda Civic buyers are not looking for a Lamborghini.

Alongside this, often price equates to years of experience. Photographers who are brand new may be absolutely fantastic and have beautiful quality images but aren’t able to charge the same as those that are seasoned professionals. Likewise, some clients do value quality work but simply cannot afford a seasoned professional. These two tend to find each other and work together well.

2. Client priorities are not always the same as yours

cheap-photographers-take-work-away

As photographers, we naturally (and rightfully) value professional photographs highly. From capturing memories to creating beautiful new stories, photographs are essential. However, the priorities we hold as photographers may not always ring true for the subjects in front of our lenses.

Some clients would rather invest their money into something else – something that holds more importance to them. Whether you agree or not, that’s not your decision to make. Some clients look for less expensive photographers because their finances are tied into something that they find to hold more worth to them (and thus receive what they have paid for). And that’s okay – let them.

3. Some clients will eventually understand the price versus value point

cheap-photographers-take-work-away

This is something that tends to happen to me often. A client will go to a very low-priced photographer, end up unsatisfied with the experience or the end result, and quickly learn the general value of the price. They then come to me and ask to shoot their concept once more. This does happen quite a bit. This is why staying firm on your policies and pricing is important (and tends to command respect).

Wait, wait.

This is assuming that the low-priced photographer has a quality that doesn’t match that of the higher-priced ones. What if a great quality photographer prices low? Doesn’t that cut into my jobs? 

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Some photographers have a different business model than the rest – known as the “low price and high turnover model.” This model works on the idea that you charge low, service many, and turn over a profit much like a photographer that charges high and services one.

However, what many don’t see behind the scenes, is the reason this model works is much of the process is automated or simplified. It allows the photographer to have a lower output of effort that matches their price. This service is not individualized, and generally not specifically tailored for the individual. It’s the difference that is similar to “ready-made” versus “custom-made” clothing. But this doesn’t work for all clients. The clients this does work for are likely not your clients if you have a traditional photographic business model.

Many major brands have a high-end and a low-end to their business. Take the car company Toyota, for example. Their high-end line is called Lexus – a luxury brand of car. Their consumer-grade line is just good ol’ Toyota. Both cars are great, hardy, and will get you where you need to go in comfort. A Toyota is not worse than a Lexus. The Lexus is just intended for a different kind of buyer.

Well, now that’s said…how do I justify my price? 

4. Express your value and stand by your worth

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First and foremost, confidence speaks volumes. If you set a price and are confident about it, stand by your worth and be firm.

That being said, every price needs something to justify it. Show the client what the value in investing in your work is versus someone else’s. Do you do something unique and different? Is your client experience above and beyond what the rest do? What do your years of experience or high-quality gear bring to the table? Do you have any awards or honorable mentions? These are all important topics to cover with your client when explaining what you offer and how much you charge for your offering.

5. Find your demographic and market to them!

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Marketing is what makes or breaks a business. If people don’t know about you, how can they book you? Marketing is extremely important, especially in the social media age. Marketing is the act of spreading awareness about your business, whether it be through digital advertising, partnering with local businesses, or launching billboards!

If you’re finding that the clients you are marketing to keep choosing a photographer that prices lower than you, that is a big sign that this client base is not the right demographic for you. Demographics are particular sectors of a population that are divided by factors. For marketing purposes, factors tend to be interest, age, location, income, and more.

As a business owner, you need to find the demographic that relates to the service you are offering. Look at income levels that tend to align with your price point, and for clients with interests that may be more aligned with your offering (e.g., pet photographers will look for clients with interest in animals), and age group can also be a big factor. If you’re a family photographer, look for moms and dads, or youth sports – keywords like that!

Remember, you must segment your population based on more than one factor to find the right demographic. Filling out location and interests in the minimum is a good starting point.

6. Stop worrying about what others are doing and charging

Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us?

Everyone has a different ideology when it concerns their business. They use the business model that suits them, dependent on variables you likely do not know about. As such, the running of their service (and what they charge for it) does not apply to you. It’s best to stop concerning yourself with what others are doing and focus on what you are doing for you!

The industry is changing, and society has changed its view on the value of art.

Conclusion

Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us?

You’re not losing jobs because your competitors are cheap photographers, you’re losing jobs because you either haven’t found your right client base or you need to get better at expressing your value.

Focus on your business and what you can improve in your work, and the right clients will come! The world is not as small as it seems; there are thousands of potential clients out there for you.

Do you agree with this or do you think cheap photographers do take work away from us? Or perhaps you have some other valuable points to share? Share them with us in the comments section.

 

cheap-photographers-take-work-away

The post Do Cheap Photographers Take Work Away From the Rest of Us? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

There is nothing quite like when you sell a travel story to a magazine. Seeing all your hard work in print gives you a great sense of satisfaction. Editorial work has changed a lot over the past few years, and you must prepare yourself for some rejection. However, if you follow this simple process of selling a story, and don’t give up, you will reap the rewards.

Also note, once you have built up a few relationships with editors, things get simpler. Once editors know and trust you, they will be far more receptive to your pitch for a story.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Publication research

Once you have an article idea, it’s always a good idea to research the type of magazines that may be interested in printing your story. Magazines differ significantly from one another. To give your story the best possible chance of publication, aim to pitch it to the right place.

For example, if your story is about walking, then pitch it to magazines that specialize in hiking or outdoor activities. Go to your local shop and flick through the magazine you intend to pitch to and see if it would be the right fit.

Also, research their submission process. Many publications have clear guidelines on how to submit work.

Image: An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

Find a fresh angle

When you have your list of possible publications, ensure your story is fresh and unique. You don’t want to pitch ideas that are the same or similar to articles already recently published.

Most publications publish their articles on their website too, so check that what you are pitching is different. Also, remember to check upcoming articles as well. It may be that your article idea is set to feature in the next few issues.

The publication’s media pack is usually a good place to search for this sort of thing.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Destination research

Now that you have your angle and a list of preferred publications, it is time to research your topic. Researching your topic is one of the most important aspects of any shoot, and one rarely mentioned when discussing selling a story to a magazine. Many photographers will have you believe everything just comes together out in the field. But the reality is very different.

If your story is on the best museums in a certain city, then make sure you have a list of the museums you plan to visit. Write down everything from the best times to be there to the most important exhibits. If your angle is about hiking, then plan your walk to factor in the best times at viewpoints for photography.

The more you research, the better your shoot will be.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Prepare for rejection

If you want to be successful in any industry, you have to accept rejection along the way. Even as a pro with years of experience behind you, not every pitch will be successful. If only it was…

The key is not to take rejection personally. Don’t let it discourage you from pitching a different story to the same publication. If you are lucky and the editor gives you some feedback, take note of their suggestions, and work on these areas. Never get angry or burn your bridges with anyone as you will have an impossible task to win them round again.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Shoot plan

Once you’ve got your angle and completed your research, its time to start putting a shoot plan together. Your shoot plan should be more than just a list of locations – think of your shoot plan like an encyclopedia of your shoot. Include anything relevant like opening times, best times to shoot (sunset/sunrise), and logistics of getting to your required shoot locations.

Make a note of other potential locations you can visit. It’s also worth putting together some contingency ideas in the case of bad weather or unforeseen closures. The key to a good shoot plan is to make it as easy as possible to capture the shots you want to take.

The last thing that you want to be doing is rushing around, wasting valuable shooting time.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Image variation

The reason that a shot list is so important is it ensures you cover the shots that you need to capture, and will also give you variety. Your images should include a range of details, people, buildings, landscapes/cityscapes, food, and anything else that would be relevant to your story.

The more variation and options you can provide an editor, the more chance you will have of selling your story.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Tell a story

The big difference between a story and just documenting a place is the story you are trying to tell. You want to try to make sure your piece isn’t just a photographic list of places. The key is to take the viewer on a journey with you. It is also important to take notes of all the necessary information that accompanies your story. People’s names, places, names of food dishes – you never know what might be needed.

The final piece should be a coherent story that has a variety in the shots.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

The pitch

Some people prefer to pitch their idea before embarking on their journey. While this is a safe option in regards to knowing you wouldn’t be wasting money unnecessarily unless you already have a relationship with an editor, it can be difficult. Even if an editor does like your idea, it is very unlikely they will offer you a commission straightaway. Any agreement will usually be on a speculative basis so they will not be under any obligation to buy your article afterward.

I personally believe you are best to pitch a finished piece that’s ready to go to press. Whatever approach you decide to take, the pitch is the most crucial part of the process. You’ve put in all that hard work and investment, so it’s important to get your pitch just right so you make a great first impression.

Your email should be direct and well thought out, showing off your knowledge of your subject. It should be backed up with the credibility required to give the editor confidence in you and your work. Take your time composing your pitch email and run it by friends and family for feedback. It’s okay to send a follow-up email a couple of weeks later but don’t keep pestering the editor. If you haven’t heard back after a couple of emails, assume it hasn’t been successful.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Submission

If you do get that great bit of news that your story has been accepted, make sure to follow all submission guidelines. Otherwise, your piece will more than likely be rejected. Your text should be proofread to avoid any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Even if you are just providing images, typos make you look unprofessional.

The majority of publications will also have strict guidelines for images, so be sure to follow these. It’s a good idea to read these before you start your edit as there will usually be guidelines on color space, sharpening and even cropping. Many publications prefer to do this in-house.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

What next?

So you’ve sent your pitch and nothing even after the follow-up. You can either try another publication or go back to the drawing board with a different story. However, even if your story has been successful, be sure to go back with other ideas. Even if it takes time, going back to the same editor might be a little easier now that they have seen your work.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Publications have limited space for freelance photographers to pitch stories. Inevitably there is also a huge amount of competition for any available space. The best way to give yourself a chance is to really research the publication and pitch something that would be too good for them to turn down.

Do you have any other tips about how to sell a travel story to a magazine? If so, share with us in the comments below!

 

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

There is nothing quite like when you sell a travel story to a magazine. Seeing all your hard work in print gives you a great sense of satisfaction. Editorial work has changed a lot over the past few years, and you must prepare yourself for some rejection. However, if you follow this simple process of selling a story, and don’t give up, you will reap the rewards.

Also note, once you have built up a few relationships with editors, things get simpler. Once editors know and trust you, they will be far more receptive to your pitch for a story.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Publication research

Once you have an article idea, it’s always a good idea to research the type of magazines that may be interested in printing your story. Magazines differ significantly from one another. To give your story the best possible chance of publication, aim to pitch it to the right place.

For example, if your story is about walking, then pitch it to magazines that specialize in hiking or outdoor activities. Go to your local shop and flick through the magazine you intend to pitch to and see if it would be the right fit.

Also, research their submission process. Many publications have clear guidelines on how to submit work.

Image: An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

An example of a travel article in 360ºMagazine by Jennifer Bell.

Find a fresh angle

When you have your list of possible publications, ensure your story is fresh and unique. You don’t want to pitch ideas that are the same or similar to articles already recently published.

Most publications publish their articles on their website too, so check that what you are pitching is different. Also, remember to check upcoming articles as well. It may be that your article idea is set to feature in the next few issues.

The publication’s media pack is usually a good place to search for this sort of thing.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Destination research

Now that you have your angle and a list of preferred publications, it is time to research your topic. Researching your topic is one of the most important aspects of any shoot, and one rarely mentioned when discussing selling a story to a magazine. Many photographers will have you believe everything just comes together out in the field. But the reality is very different.

If your story is on the best museums in a certain city, then make sure you have a list of the museums you plan to visit. Write down everything from the best times to be there to the most important exhibits. If your angle is about hiking, then plan your walk to factor in the best times at viewpoints for photography.

The more you research, the better your shoot will be.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Prepare for rejection

If you want to be successful in any industry, you have to accept rejection along the way. Even as a pro with years of experience behind you, not every pitch will be successful. If only it was…

The key is not to take rejection personally. Don’t let it discourage you from pitching a different story to the same publication. If you are lucky and the editor gives you some feedback, take note of their suggestions, and work on these areas. Never get angry or burn your bridges with anyone as you will have an impossible task to win them round again.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Shoot plan

Once you’ve got your angle and completed your research, its time to start putting a shoot plan together. Your shoot plan should be more than just a list of locations – think of your shoot plan like an encyclopedia of your shoot. Include anything relevant like opening times, best times to shoot (sunset/sunrise), and logistics of getting to your required shoot locations.

Make a note of other potential locations you can visit. It’s also worth putting together some contingency ideas in the case of bad weather or unforeseen closures. The key to a good shoot plan is to make it as easy as possible to capture the shots you want to take.

The last thing that you want to be doing is rushing around, wasting valuable shooting time.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Image variation

The reason that a shot list is so important is it ensures you cover the shots that you need to capture, and will also give you variety. Your images should include a range of details, people, buildings, landscapes/cityscapes, food, and anything else that would be relevant to your story.

The more variation and options you can provide an editor, the more chance you will have of selling your story.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

Tell a story

The big difference between a story and just documenting a place is the story you are trying to tell. You want to try to make sure your piece isn’t just a photographic list of places. The key is to take the viewer on a journey with you. It is also important to take notes of all the necessary information that accompanies your story. People’s names, places, names of food dishes – you never know what might be needed.

The final piece should be a coherent story that has a variety in the shots.

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

The pitch

Some people prefer to pitch their idea before embarking on their journey. While this is a safe option in regards to knowing you wouldn’t be wasting money unnecessarily unless you already have a relationship with an editor, it can be difficult. Even if an editor does like your idea, it is very unlikely they will offer you a commission straightaway. Any agreement will usually be on a speculative basis so they will not be under any obligation to buy your article afterward.

I personally believe you are best to pitch a finished piece that’s ready to go to press. Whatever approach you decide to take, the pitch is the most crucial part of the process. You’ve put in all that hard work and investment, so it’s important to get your pitch just right so you make a great first impression.

Your email should be direct and well thought out, showing off your knowledge of your subject. It should be backed up with the credibility required to give the editor confidence in you and your work. Take your time composing your pitch email and run it by friends and family for feedback. It’s okay to send a follow-up email a couple of weeks later but don’t keep pestering the editor. If you haven’t heard back after a couple of emails, assume it hasn’t been successful.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Submission

If you do get that great bit of news that your story has been accepted, make sure to follow all submission guidelines. Otherwise, your piece will more than likely be rejected. Your text should be proofread to avoid any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Even if you are just providing images, typos make you look unprofessional.

The majority of publications will also have strict guidelines for images, so be sure to follow these. It’s a good idea to read these before you start your edit as there will usually be guidelines on color space, sharpening and even cropping. Many publications prefer to do this in-house.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

What next?

So you’ve sent your pitch and nothing even after the follow-up. You can either try another publication or go back to the drawing board with a different story. However, even if your story has been successful, be sure to go back with other ideas. Even if it takes time, going back to the same editor might be a little easier now that they have seen your work.

How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels

Publications have limited space for freelance photographers to pitch stories. Inevitably there is also a huge amount of competition for any available space. The best way to give yourself a chance is to really research the publication and pitch something that would be too good for them to turn down.

Do you have any other tips about how to sell a travel story to a magazine? If so, share with us in the comments below!

 

How-to-Sell-a-Travel-Story

The post How to Sell a Travel Story to a Magazine and Help Fund Your Travels appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kav Dadfar.

5 Top Tips for Marketing Your Photography Business Successfully

The post 5 Top Tips for Marketing Your Photography Business Successfully appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

Marketing is something that often falls by the wayside for photographers. We push it aside when we’re busy, only to find the clients aren’t there when things slow down.

The best marketing efforts are those that are organic and purposeful. There is no quick fix. Promoting your work is not as simple as “build a website and they will come.” It takes consistency and effort to keep your name out there, no matter how long you’ve been in the business.

Here are my five top tips for marketing your photography business the right way.top-tips-for-marketing-your-photography-business-the-right-way

1. Curate your online portfolio

As a professional photographer, you need an attractive, well-curated website to highlight your work.

Your website will brand you as either a professional or an amateur. It will serve as the first impression of you and your work. You need to pay attention to every detail, from the template you choose, to how your images flow together to create a cohesive narrative of who you are as an artist.

Put only your best work in your online portfolio, but try to approach your images as a potential photo buyer might. It’s easy to get emotionally attached to certain photographs, but sometimes your favorites are not the ones that are going to resonate with your target market. Create galleries that organize your photos into a grouping that make sense. Pay attention to the colors, shapes, and lighting that flow well together. Create an experience for the viewer as they move through your body of work.

If you feel you can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes curating your work, hire a photo consultant who can give you an unbiased and expert opinion.

Starting an online portfolio from scratch? You might want to choose a web builder made for photographers, such as Photoshelter or Format, as they also offer various tools to help sell and distribute images.

Squarespace is popular with a lot of photographers because of their beautiful, minimalist and modern templates. Wix is also another site that has improved in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. It is highly customizable and unlike some of the other options, offers tons of different templates to choose from.

5 Top Tips for Marketing Your Photography Business Successfully

2. Print your work

The demand for digital imagery is huge, however, print is not dead.

If you’re a commercial photographer, having a print portfolio is essential for meeting with clients. Showing up at an agency meeting with an iPad to show your work will make you look like an amateur.

In the commercial and advertising world, agencies want to see how your images hold up in print because any flaws become much more obvious. It’s important for them to see how your work translates into print before they hire you.

Creating a top-notch portfolio can be very expensive, but there are several sites like Artifact Uprising and Blurb where you can have good quality photo books printed at a reasonable price.


top-tips-for-marketing-your-photography-business-the-right-way

If you’re looking for commercial work and want to work with ad agencies, design firms, or magazines, you’ll also need to send out printed promos to your target market three or four times a year.

It’s said that it takes an average of seven contacts with someone before they buy from you, so this tactic may not pay off immediately.  However, never underestimate the silent watchers.

If you work on the retail level, such as in wedding photography or portraiture, it’s still useful to have printed work to show prospective clients. People love to see something tangible, something they can hold in their hands that will help them experience your work in a more direct way. The photographers who make a lot of money in these niches print out their photographs to show to clients in-person, which drives sales exponentially.

5 Top Tips for Marketing Your Photography Business Successfully

3. Create a quarterly email campaign

Do you have a ‘subscribe to email list’ on your website? If not, you should. Nothing converts like email. An engaged list is far more important than any form of social media. The changing algorithms and whims of companies like Instagram and Facebook can leave your business incredibly vulnerable if you depend on them.

By sending out a regular newsletter or a PDF mailer to your past clients and other relevant business contacts, you appear busy and relevant. Fresh content helps you connect to your audience.

Research whom you want to work with, and regularly make contact with them. Keep track of these contacts via a spreadsheet or CRM (customer relationship management), so you know who has received your previous mailing.

Hire a designer that can create a template for you. This will allow you to swap out pictures every time you do a new campaign with new work. Include your logo on the front and a short bio inside, along with your contact information. Alternately you can create a promo “newspaper” or magazine through a company like Blurb or Newspaper Club. 

Your email promo should look as professional as possible. The email campaigns should go out to your target clients every quarter to keep you top of mind when they’re looking for a photographer.

Even if you send out printed promotions, you should also send out email campaigns.

Printed promotions are expensive, which means you can only send them out to a select group of people – your most ideal clients. But with email, you can send out a promotion such as a PDF mailer to hundreds or prospective clients.


5 Top Tips for Marketing Your Photography Business Successfully

4. Use social media strategically

Everyone is complaining about their love/hate relationship with social media, but if you’re using it for business, it’s non-negotiable. The keys to success are your perspective and using social media the right way.

It’s best to pick one or two social media channels and concentrate on bringing up your visibility there. Start by asking yourself what you want to achieve?

Do you want to:

  • Drive traffic to your site?
  • Connect with agencies and brands?
  • Connect with potential brides or portrait clients?

Put aside time every day to post and engage with your target market by leaving thoughtful comments. 

Know that the path from a “like” to any “purchase” is a really big leap. Social media should be part of a wider strategy of creating visibility and engaging with a community. It’s great to follow other photographers and support one another, but most of them won’t be your potential clients. Avoid the big time suck of social media and focus on the people that are likely to hire you.

top-tips-for-marketing-your-photography-business-the-right-way

5. Write a WordPress blog

I’m always going on about writing a blog. I think most photographers should have a blog.

One reason is that if you have a WordPress blog connected to your site, you can get a massive boost to your SEO. Updating the blog regularly will get you a higher ranking in search results.

Writing a blog will also help you connect with your audience and build trust. Your clients will feel like they have come to know you.

If writing is not your strong suit, you don’t need to write a lot. In fact, your posts should have lots of images instead. You can share about a family or personal branding session. You can share shots and a short narrative about the latest wedding you shot or write about how you recommend clients dress for their personal branding session.

However you decide to approach it, make sure that your content adds value for the people reading it.

5 Top Tips for Marketing Your Photography Business Successfully

 

To sum up

Marketing gets a bad rap. As an artist, you may feel like a used car salesman when you’re trying to sell your services. However, think of marketing as a way of putting yourself in front of people and letting them know you’re there.

The most successful photographers are those that demonstrate that they can add value and solve a specific problem.

By taking a more curated, thoughtful approach to promoting yourself, you’ll be able to build a business that stays strong in the face of trends and stands out amongst your competitors.

Do you have any other Tips for Marketing Your Photography Business? Share with us in the comments!

 

top-tips-for-marketing-your-photography-business

The post 5 Top Tips for Marketing Your Photography Business Successfully appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

What is Royalty-Free Editorial Stock Photography and Can You Earn Money From It?

The post What is Royalty-Free Editorial Stock Photography and Can You Earn Money From It? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

Photographs of just about anything can be sold as royalty-free editorial stock photography. How they are licensed is defined as either editorial or commercial. An image sold with an editorial license can only be used in news or general interest publications like;

  • Blogs
  • Textbooks
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
Royalty Free Editorial Stock Photography - What is it? Poi Sang Long Festival in Thailand

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

An editorial stock photo cannot be used to directly promote anything for profit.

Photos sold by a stock agency with an editorial license are more limited in how they can be published. Commercially licensed photos can be more broadly used, but there are more restrictions on what they contain.

What’s the difference between editorial and commercial stock photo licensing?

Editorial stock photos do not require model or property releases.

You can submit photos of individuals or whole crowds for editorial licensing and no model release would be requested. If you submit any photos of people for commercial use, signed model releases are required. Whenever a person can identify themselves in a photo, a release is required if the photo is to be sold with a commercial license.

Royalty Free Editorial Stock Photography - What is it? Crowds During Song Khran Festival in Chiang Mai

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Commercial licensing prohibits the inclusion of any copyrighted elements in your photos. Any branding or products must be removed from the photos. This also goes for people and private property. These things must be accompanied by an appropriate release form. If they’re not stock agencies will not accept the images into their collections.

Editorial licensing allows visible branding, products, people and property. However, no manipulation of the content is permitted.

Royalty Free Editorial Stock Photography - What is it? Market Tattoos

I would not be able to submit this for sale under an editorial license because I have removed a logo from the man’s shirt. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

If you have a photo of something containing a logo or company name, you can remove it and still license the photo with a commercial license. When uploading editorial photos, you will be asked to state that you have not manipulated the photo in any way. Editorial stock photos must depict things as they really were when you took the photo.

Most stock agencies have disclaimers attached to editorial licensing of photos. The buyer is in control of how the photos will be used and must be made aware of the restrictions and their responsibilities. Stock photo agencies make it clear they are not liable for how the purchaser uses editorial photos.

Are there restrictions on the types of photos you can upload?

Most royalty-free stock agencies don’t have many restrictions. So long as you are uploading photos within the bounds of common decency, you won’t have any problems. Check with each stock agency where you wish to submit photos. They will be able to provide you with their company policy on what they want you to upload.

The law in most countries allows you to photograph anything you like from a public space. However, in doing so, you must not infringe on the rights of others or abuse their privacy. Photographing military facilities, power plants and other important infrastructure can sometimes get you into trouble. Check with local laws before you do.

Don’t just upload any old pictures. Make sure to only submit your best images. The market has become so saturated with photos that it’s increasingly difficult to make sales. Make sure your pictures stand out from the crowd.

Royalty Free Editorial Stock Photography - What is it? Woman with a SLR Film Camera

I do have a signed model release for the woman in this photo, but because of the branding on the camera I could only sell it with an editorial license. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

How do you know what photos will sell?

You really don’t.

Predicting how well editorial stock may sell is very difficult.

If you have a good photo of a spectacular event or happening of international significance, it will likely sell well. If you were the only photographer to capture this amazing occurrence, then it will certainly sell better. However, these type of situations are extremely rare.

Carrying your camera with you wherever you go will increase your chances. It will also sharpen your awareness of what a good editorial image can be as you learn to focus your attention. If you leave your camera at home, it won’t happen.

Upload a variety of images and build up a large number of your photos in a stock agency website. Doing this gives you practical experience of what will and will not sell. There are many variable factors involved.

If you can build up a solid base of your own photos, you will be able to analyze which ones sell more consistently. You can then use this information to plan what you will photograph.

Royalty Free Editorial Stock Photography - What is it? Checking Their Messages

Annual events can make good subjects for editorial because the can be used year after year. © Kevin Landwer-Johan

Once you have this information to work with you can decide on a niche or two to concentrate on. Look at which of your editorial stock photos sell the best and which of them you enjoyed making the most. This is what you will be best to focus your efforts on.

Royalty-free stock agencies boast collections of millions of photos. They contain photos already of pretty much every subject you can think of. You need to take better images than the ones they are already selling.

Browse these collections for ideas. See what others have done and come up with a new angle. If you see that there is a number of similar images that sell well, and you can produce photos of the same subject, do so. Don’t just copy. Improve on what’s already been done.

Update images you find that might be out of date. Has your city’s skyline changed recently? There may not be many new photos of it online yet.

Has there been some big news recently that you can illustrate with a stock photo? This will have to be ongoing news, or you’ll need to produce and upload your photos quickly so as not to miss the moment.

Royalty Free Editorial Stock Photography - What is it? Flower Parade Float

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

How many agencies can I upload my editorial stock photos to?

You can choose to upload exclusively to just one agency or to as many as you have time to service.

Signing an exclusive contract to supply just one agency has certain benefits. However, you are restricted to only their customers buying your photos.

Supplying to many agencies takes time. Each stock library has its own requirements and contracts, and you must understand these and follow their terms closely. If you don’t, you may find you’ll have many of your photos rejected for one reason or another.

Royalty Free Editorial Stock Photography - What is it? China Girls at New Year

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Conclusion

Do your research and understand what’s required before you start uploading photos to sell as editorial stock. You will probably find you have a huge number of images on your hard drive you can upload.

If they’re only stuck on your computer, you’ll never make any money from them. Uploaded to a stock agency, you won’t get rich overnight, but you will earn something over time.

Taking a business-like approach to stock photography is best if you are serious about it. Treating it too casually, not paying attention to what’s working and what’s not, will not bring you success. You’ll need to stick with it and consistently upload to make a really good go of it.

The post What is Royalty-Free Editorial Stock Photography and Can You Earn Money From It? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

12 Tips for Overcoming Common Wedding Day Setbacks

Weddings are filled with love, laughter, and a lot of pressure. Brides and grooms put a lot of thought into every detail of their day and even the most perfectly planned wedding can encounter problems that can affect you, the photographer. There are no two weddings alike, however, there are common setbacks that can happen at any wedding or event that you may be photographing.

wedding portrait couple on by the ocean

1. Running short on time

The photography timeline is set out so that everyone involved can stick to a schedule. That allows all of the important details and people to be photographed. Unfortunately, running late or short on time because of any reason can be a cause of stress to everyone involved. 

wedding day photography - groom getting ready

If you are caught with less time, the first thing you should do is to assure your client that everything is okay and these setbacks are really common on the wedding day. Make sure that you mention you can make up time later and offer suggestions to the problem.

For example, if the bride has taken a little longer than was originally planned to get ready and now you only have 10 minutes for family photos, suggest to the bride that you can snap a few in that 10-minute window and also after the ceremony.

wedding day photography - 2 bride photos

If you are waiting for someone to arrive for photos, make use of the time and photograph details, other people with the bride and groom, individual photos, or more photojournalistic photos. It’s important to keep taking photos no matter the setback, this will keep the bride and groom calm knowing that you aren’t missing any detail and it can distract from the problem.

Usually, you can make up the time later and get the photos you need either during cocktail hour or during the reception. You can photograph details, portraits, and even get some interesting lighting using flash during the reception.

bridal party - wedding day photography

Photos of the bridal party during the reception because we ran out of time beforehand. You can always try and take photos later in the day if the time runs short.

2. Having too much downtime

It is rare to have downtime when photographing a wedding but it can happen. Having downtime usually occurs during the getting ready phase, waiting for the bridal party, or reception parts of the day. It’s okay to have downtime, however, there is nothing worse than seeing vendors, especially photographers, sitting down and waiting it out during these times.

Sure, it’s perfectly fine to use this time to go to the bathroom or take a snack break. Your break just shouldn’t be more than 10 minutes.

wedding dress hanging up - wedding day photography

Make sure to use the downtime wisely. Prep for the next round of photos, check batteries or set up off-camera lighting. You can also do test shot in the next location where you’ll be photographing.

Even though you’re waiting for the next event to come, never stop photographing any and all of the little details. In short: there is always something to photograph and do while you’re waiting.

3. The bride is full of emotions

I will not use the term “bridezilla” because I don’t believe it’s fair to the bride. Wedding days are high pressured days and brides are usually nervous and full of emotions before walking down the aisle.

It doesn’t matter if the couple is doing a first look or are getting ready in the same room, some brides are more nervous than others.

bride and her girls having fun - wedding day photography

If this is the case, don’t mention anything! Even if the bride is nervous, anxious, or even angry, just redirect the focus on something else like her dress or that she looks beautiful. Reassure her that everything will be okay and tell her to just enjoy the moment now.

As the photographer, it’s your responsibility to help the bride relax and feel very natural as the day unfolds. Always keep a positive attitude and try to transmit that same vibe to the bride and groom. If they feel like you are there for them, it will make all the difference in the photos. If you’re excited about the wedding, then they’ll be excited.

4. Family telling you how to do your job

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been photographing weddings, you will encounter a family member or friend who wants to tell you how to do your job at least once.

wedding couple in the grass - wedding day photography

When you encounter this type of setback, don’t make any negative or sarcastic remarks. Thank them for the idea they offered and move on. You can also comment that you’ve been photographing weddings for X number of years and are experienced in taking photos. Better yet, just go along with what they are saying and don’t say anything in return.

If they are asking for a particular photo, take the photo. If you already have, kindly let them know that you got the shot earlier in the day. This will keep them at bay knowing that you are taking all of the most meaningful photos.

wedding rings and hands - wedding day photography

At the end of the day, the guests will remember you more than you realize and if you make snarky or sarcastic remarks it may result in a negative view of your professionalism. You are there to photograph your bride’s day and that also means tending to the requests of her guests (they’re well-meaning).

5. When there is no planner or coordinator

If the couple has opted to not have a planner or coordinator, it is up to you to make sure to assist the couple during the wedding day.

Technically it isn’t your responsibility, however, helping with putting on boutonnieres, adjusting centerpieces, and placing the veil will always help you to capture the best photos possible.

girls wedding party - wedding day photography

Work with your couple before the wedding to make a schedule of the most important parts of the day that you’ll be covering. This way, everyone knows what time the family photos are happening, what time the dance starts, and what time you’ll be photographing the dress. Knowing when and where all the events will take place will give your couples peace of mind.

Having a schedule, or itinerary, will also help to move things around. For example, if the bride is late for her bridal party photos, you can take photos of the people who are there so switch to the groom’s family photos.

wedding couple leaving the church - wedding day photography

Photography is service based and as such, you should always strive to give your clients the best service possible. If that means acting as coordinator for the day to capture the best photographs possible, by all means, do it.

You can also have a family member or member of the bridal party to help to coordinate and fix any problems that may come up during the day.

6. Vendor Meals

There is nothing worse than working a wedding and having to eat a vendor meal during dinner. Everyone works differently, yet vendor meals can be a huge setback, especially if it consists of a sandwich and an apple. 

You can prepare for this by taking snacks or even a full meal. Pack an icebox or lunch bag with your favorite snacks and perhaps a little something more just in case you will be having a vendor meal.

wedding day photography - wedding cake

Try asking the couple if they are okay with you taking an empty seat during the reception or getting in line for the buffet at their event. Most guests won’t mind because, by that time, they will have seen how hard you’ve been working all day. Luckily, most couples now invite their vendors to eat dinner or make sure that they’ve had something substantial.

In any case, take your snacks and water because you’ll need them throughout the day, whether you get a vendor meal or real dinner.

7. Little time with bride and groom

Sometimes, wedding day timelines can get a little compressed leaving less time for the most important photos (next to the ceremony). However, you can create stunning photos of the bride and groom all in one spot without having to move them to different locations.

To achieve this, download 10 of your favorite poses for couples onto your phone and photograph each one from different angles. Take individual photos of the bride and groom, including details of their wardrobe.

6 wedding couple poses - wedding day photography

Without moving the couple very much, you can get many different poses and photos in a short amount of time.

When you take advantage of posing in one spot, you can get lots of different photos from different angles in less time. Subtle changes to posing like facing the bride toward the groom and then facing the bride away from the groom can offer more variety.

Using one location can maximize the time you have for photos because moving from one location to another can often waste time. This way you can focus on them and getting great expressions.

wedding couple - wedding day photography

For example, pose the couple in front of a plain wall, facing each other, hands around the bouquet. Take one photo of them in this pose full length. Take another mid-shot asking the groom to kiss the bride on the cheek while the bride smiles and looks down at her bouquet; that’s two photos.

In this same pose, get close and take a photo of the kiss. Next, go behind the couple and photograph mid-shot. Still in the same pose, get a close-up of the groom’s hand around the bride’s waist from behind the couple; the makes five photos without moving the couple.

After you have worked through one pose, choose another and work through it until you have all possible photos. This technique will ensure you get the most photos out of each pose in little time, without moving the couple.

8. Rain

Depending on where you live, what time of the year you’re photographing, and weather conditions, it could be that you get hit with rain on the day of the event. If this does happen, maintain a positive outlook and always try to help find solutions to work around the rain.

wedding day photography - b/w bride

When rain strikes, switch to an indoor location or a location with covered walkways.

Change locations for photos. If you were going to do the family photos outside of the church, try moving the family inside the church or better yet, to the reception location. Look for options where you have awnings, covered walkways/breezeways, and inside a home or venue. 

two wedding photos - wedding day photography

Sometimes, the weather clears and you’re able to go outside for the remaining portraits.

You can also take advantage and get creative with the wedding photos. Ask the couple if they are willing to pose in the rain under an umbrella. You might be surprised how many are willing to get something a little different!

9. Drunken guests

It’s not uncommon for wedding guests to want to start the party early. Work with the coordinator or the bride and assign a family member to take care of the drunken guest. If they are part of the family, try and keep them away until it’s time for them to be in photos.

shot of alcohol - wedding day photography

Try as best as you can to be nice and not comment on their state of being. Drawing attention to their behavior can upset the couple more and ruin the time you have for photos. Be really direct in posing and communication and always stay positive.

10.  Clashing with the wedding coordinator/planner

Although it is rare when vendors don’t see eye-to-eye during an event, it is really important to stay close to the couple. If you need something particular make sure to run it by the couple first. They have the final say on everything that goes on during the day.

couple poses - wedding day photography

Always maintain a high level of professionalism and make sure that you aren’t seen being rude or speaking rudely to the other vendors. If the clash worsens, tell the bride that you and the coordinator/planner have differences and suggest options to help maintain order.

Communication is key and it’s always best to go to the couple if you experience backlash or trouble with another vendor.

11. Other photographers/weddings at the same portrait location

This is probably the most common setback in the wedding industry. Many couples tend to choose the same locations for the portrait session.

If there are other photographers at the location before you arrive, simply introduce yourself and let them know that you’ll also be photographing a wedding. Ask them if they plan on using another location for photos and if they’d be willing to switch it up after a certain amount of time.

wedding Pasadena - wedding day photography

This location in Pasadena, California is really popular for bridal portraits. There were at least 3 other photographers there at this time.

If there are a lot of photographers and events, simply choose a spot at the location that is free of people. Staying clear of other photographers’ background and watching out for people walking into your frame will keep the portraits clean.

12. Guests taking photos during the ceremony

Keep in mind that the wedding guests are an important detail in the couple’s day. Each was given an invitation to share and be a part of the wedding.

Having said that, some guests will take it upon themselves to take photos of the most important parts of the day, namely, the ceremony.

lady taking a photo at a wedding ceremony - wedding day photography

When this does happen, gently tap the guest on the shoulder, with a smile and motion to them that you need the spot in order to take a great photo of the couple. Most guests will move out of the way and not be bothered by this gesture.

This also asserts that you are the main photographer while staying positive and professional with guests. This non-verbal gesture also works with other vendors like videographers.

bride's maid and bride selfie - wedding day photography

It’s also a good idea to let the guests take their photos first and then position yourself to take the profession photos afterward. This way, you’re letting guests take and share their own shots but also letting them know that you need to take these important photos as well.

couple kissing - wedding day photography

The more photos the couple has of their day, be it from your camera or from their guests, the better. They’ll appreciate you for letting guests enjoy themselves by taking their own photographs.

In Conclusion

couple dancing - wedding day photography

Wedding photography is the most important take away from a couple’s wedding. However, it is not free from mishaps during the day of the event.

Each wedding can have one or more setback, it’s up to you the photographer to work around them and find solutions quickly. Maintain a positive attitude and always reassure the client that everything is photographing beautiful.

Have you experienced any of these or other setbacks at a wedding you photographed?

The post 12 Tips for Overcoming Common Wedding Day Setbacks appeared first on Digital Photography School.

4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

Sooner or later, almost everyone has to sit alone in front of a camera for a grad portrait or professional headshot. It is almost always an uncomfortable experience for portrait clients. But it’s easy to forget this as photographers.

When I great people for their portraits they often confess things like, “I’m terrible with photos,” “I feel sick,” or “I hate my face.”

Perhaps because I’m so empathetic, I’ve developed a knack for making the most nervous and hopeless people shockingly excited about their photos.

In this article, I’ll show you how I do it so that you can make even your most uncomfortable portrait clients happy with their experience.

Black and white head shots - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

I am personally drawn to black and white portraits.

1. Simple Light Setup

Since everyday life already throws you a heavy load of distractions and difficulties, I always encourage photographers to keep their projects as simple (but meaningful) as possible.

No matter how you choose to light your portrait subject, I recommend you do it as simply as possible. The point is to put all your focus on the person you’re photographing, not on equipment.

I either use natural light (a window and a reflector), or a one light setup inspired by Zack Arias.

Window Light

The benefit to natural light is that there are no flashes of light or large umbrellas to make the person feel as though they are at a high-pressure professional photo session. Your subject’s imagination is filled with the photo shoots they’ve seen on TV and you should relieve that pressure for them.

Natural light studio setup - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

This is my natural light setup.

Window light portrait - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

This is a portrait taken with that window light studio setup.

Using natural light and a silent shutter with a mirrorless camera allows the photography part to be as invisible as possible.

One Speedlight

My one light setup includes a speedlight with a 60-inch umbrella and a reflector.

One Light Setup - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

This is my one light setup. It’s one speedlight with a 60-inch umbrella.

One light portrait - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

This photo was taken with that one light setup.

Once set up, you should forget about your gear (the window, speedlight, and the camera) and focus 100% on your subject.

2. How to Focus

This isn’t about your camera, but focusing on your subject in order to make the best portraits possible.

If you are at all self-conscious as a photographer, it is absolutely critical that you do not focus on yourself.

Perhaps you’re nervous because of a lack of confidence, or because you’re worried they’ll hate their photos. Forget all that and just focus on your subject.

Small talk

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” — Edward Steichen

Female head shot - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

You can use small talk to distract the subject from their own nervousness and self-consciousness in front of the camera. Talk about their business, their kids, or the last trip they went on. Anything that will distract them from being camera shy.

Warm up

Feel free to warm up with some “test shots,” even if you don’t really need them. Have your subject sit in front of the camera for a few shots where you’re doing nothing but “testing the light.”

Direct them a little bit, but nothing too serious. I sometimes transition into the real photos by saying something funny like, “Okay the light is perfect, now let me see a cheesy smile.” It can often lead to some laughter and the first candid photo.

Female headshot, laughing - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

Candid portraits are the most joyful part of a portrait session for me. You don’t have to be a comedian to make people laugh. Just connect over something in your life and laughter will eventually flow.

Male headshot with suit. 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

I’ll often try to match the expression with the clothes my subject is wearing. I think a softer expression is more suitable for formal wear. But I’ll try everything at the moment and decide what looks best later.

Candid portraits

“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” — Robert Frank

Yes, even a professional headshot session should include some informal candid photos. Candids are real, and even if you’re after a posed photo, candids are the path to discovering who they are when their guard is down.

Female headshot laughing - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

When people can laugh together there begins to be a comfortable connection.

Female headshot - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

We often laugh because of the tension created by a joke. But even real-life discomfort or tension can lead to the eventual release through laughter.

3. Finding Soul

“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” — Yousuf Karsh

I don’t care whether I’m photographing real estate agents, future lawyers, high school grads, or “mompreneurs.” I treat everybody like an executive, valedictorian, or royalty during their portrait session.

We’re all much deeper than our occupation, even though it may be a deep expression of who we are. Fill your sessions with lightheartedness and true human connection. When you look through your photos later, you should be able to see the moment that your subject finally became relaxed.

Once relaxed, you’ll find the “real” person that was trapped below the surface of fake smiles and self-consciousness.

It may take you 10 minutes or more to get there, but it is the point in the session that you can move through your creative vision with your subject. You can show them how to squinch (Peter Hurley’s famous technique with the eyes), strike more advanced poses, or move in for close-ups.

Female headshot - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

Once I know I have made the portrait that the subject needs, I move on and try other things. I love this very soft expression and the way that her hair creates a frame around her. This won’t likely appear on her business card, but I think it’s a wonderful portrait.

4. Completely Candid

“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.” — Paul Caponigro

Being inspired by photojournalism and the idea of capturing truly raw, candid, spontaneous photos, I decided to try a portrait session with no posing. All there would be was conversation and pictures.

Here are some of the results, which I love.

Close up female headshot - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

This photo is all about the eyes, and whatever is going through her mind makes me want to laugh!

Female soft light headshot - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

A completely candid photo portrait session means taking a lot of photos. Some of them looked posed, but it was a matter of quickly noticing something that looked right and capturing it before the moment passed.

Window light headshot - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

I used a window as a natural light source. There were moments of silence during our conversation when she just looked out the window. Those were wonderful chances.

Portrait of a mother and her son - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

Leave room for surprises in your portrait sessions. You may find yourself thinking, “Did this client dare to bring their kids to a portrait session?” True, they’ll tear your studio to pieces and distract her from her professional portrait session. But along with a little chaos comes life and surprisingly human moments. In the middle of it all, her son came up to be nursed. Maybe this is what Robert Frank meant about the “humanity of the moment.”

Mother hugging son portrait - 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

The portrait session was supposed to have been for her. But who she is on her own isn’t who she is completely. We’re all much deeper than ourselves and are who we are partly because of the people around us.

Portrait of a mom nursing her baby. 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session

Perhaps you know your subject has reached their maximum level of comfort when they can nurse their baby even while the camera is still clicking. I’m thrilled to photograph people one on one and make portraits that they’ll use as authors or business people. But I’m even more thrilled when those portraits become intensely human moments.

 Get Comfy

The next time you greet a nervous portrait client, remember that the experience has been hyped up in their mind. Distract them from their discomfort with small talk, warm them up with “no pressure” test photos, and make laughter a part of your session.

Include the candid photos when you deliver their photos. Even if they don’t use them for business purposes, they may be the photos they (and you) love most.

I’d love to hear what else you do to help people get comfortable in front of your camera. Let me know in the comments below.

The post 4 Tips for Helping People Feel Comfortable During Their Portrait Session appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

If you think that bridal portraits are a thing of the past, you are greatly mistaken. Bridal portraits have taken on new life in the wedding photography industry and are every bit as important as they were before.

bride in three poses - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

What are Bridal Portraits?

Bridal portraits were once taken in a studio, and subsequently when faster and lighter cameras were made available, on location. This is where the bride dresses up in her day-of wedding dress and poses alone. Sometimes the groom would join her.

The photographer would then take several poses of her with her bouquet and veil. So basically, it’s a chance for the photographer to take their time and photograph the bride in many different poses.

Tips for Better Bridal Portraits - two photos of brides in a pink room

This bride was in her home next to a big sliding glass door that let in light even though it was raining.

Now, bridal portraits are taken during the wedding day, thanks to digital photography. Usually right after the bride is done getting ready or during the bride and groom portraits.

It’s a good idea to take portraits during both times to get a more diverse set of bridal portraits, especially if each location is different than the other.

bride on location - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

Same bride as the one above, this time at the location we photographed the bride and groom photos. It provides a different feeling and look than the ones taken in her home.

Ask the bride to have a little more time during the getting ready and bride and groom portraits so that you can focus on her. She will appreciate the gesture, knowing that you are going to capture her as a beautiful bride on one of the happiest days of her life.

Why are they important?

Bridal portraits are such an important part of the photographic timeline because each bride takes a lot of time to find the right dress, the right look, and choose just the right bouquet for her wedding day. As the photographer, it’s your job to photograph these details with a lot of attention if they hold a particular meaning to the bride.

bride near a window - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

I used window light through sheer curtains in a hotel room to create a soft light on the bride’s face.

For example, her something blue might be a ring that her mother wore and gave to her on her wedding day. There might be something special on the bottom of her shoes or tied to her bouquet. All of these details are important during bridal portraits and you need to get detail photos of each.

bride by a window, her shoes and bouquet - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

Bridal portraits are also a great time to get the bride completely alone so that she can have some breathing room before the big day starts.

It’s a great way to quiet the nerves and focus on her and how happy she looks.

bride reading a letter b/w - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

A special moment in between posed portraits. The bride reads a letter the groom wrote for her.

Bridal portraits aren’t just for the bride alone, though, sometimes the groom will join in as well. This gives you the opportunity to create really solid portraits of the couple together on their wedding day without anyone else present.

bride details - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

bride holding her veil - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

When you take bridal portraits on the day of the wedding, be sure to ask your clients for extra time so that you can make sure that you get enough of the bride alone, the bride and groom together, and all of the important details the bride and groom will be wearing.

Bridal portraits inside

Brides usually get ready inside a hotel or in their home. If this is the case, carve out some time before she has to leave to get the bride alone.

Take her to another room where there is sufficient window light. Window light is the best, in my opinion, because it gives you enough light but also casts off into the room allowing for shadows to define silhouettes.

Sit the bride down on the edge of a chair and have her face the window. Change it up and have her stand full frontal toward the window. The poses and variations are endless and you’ll have beautiful soft light to give her a glow.

bride 3 photos - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

Use window light and if need be, fill flash bounced off the ceiling to create a soft light on the bride’s face.

In some cases, especially in the home, you can take the bride to other rooms or locations within the home that offer more options. Like the photo above, where I took photos of the bride in her living room in her house. I did use flash to bounce light since it was raining that day, however, she is calm and relaxed.

getting ready - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

Here we see a detail photo of her dress as well as the bride sitting below her grandparent’s wedding photo.

Don’t be afraid to move furniture if you have too. It’s best to move furniture than working around it and missing the opportunity for a great photo. Just make sure that you put it back as you found it.

On location

When you’re out photographing the couple’s portraits, don’t forget to get individual portraits of each, especially the bride. On location may offer better opportunities to get the full dress from both front and behind.

Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

Take individual portraits of the bride and groom if they opt to have the bridal portrait session together.

If the bride has a long veil, you can play with lifting it into the air and dropping it to get some really interesting photos. Having her hold her bouquet and getting up close makes for a great photo.  Capture her shoes in action as well, especially if she has put something special on the soles.

outdoor bride - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

Being on location gives you more room as well to have the bride walk, turn, spin, and have fun. Photograph her in different types of lighting and backgrounds. Experiment with close up photos as well as full-length photos.

Try lifting and having the veil blowing in the wind. Letting the bride move around a bit can loosen nerves and get the bride comfortable in front of the camera.

Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

Bridal portraits before or after the event

As important as bridal portraits are on the day of the wedding, sometimes you’ll have the opportunity to photograph the bride before or after the wedding. Many photographers call this a “day after session” or “trash the dress”.

Tips for Better Bridal Portraits - hawaii

These two photos were taken during the wedding day.

couple on the beach - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

The same couple as the previous photo but the day after their wedding. The photos are more relaxed at a different location, and with different styling.

Bridal portraits are important on the day-of because of all that day’s details, however, portraits taken either before or after the day of the event can offer clients a chance to have a more relaxed look.

The bride may wear her hair differently and use perhaps a different dress altogether. Giving you more opportunities to pose her differently and add to the photos taken on the wedding day.

Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

Photos were taken the day before the event.

Taking the bridal portraits before or after the wedding can also give you the opportunity to photograph in an entirely different setting than that of the wedding day. Giving you more creative freedom while the couple is more relaxed.

sunset beach photos - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

Two photos were taken the day after the event.

It’s not just about the bride

More often than not, the groom may join the session as it gives you more time to create more portraits of the couple as well as individually. Focus on taking details of both the groom and the bride.

couple kissing - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

When the couple poses together, you have more time to allow them to just be themselves, especially if you are doing a before or a day after session.

couple with antique classic car - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

Try offering the couple something more of a stylized photo session so that you can use props to tell more of the story. This will give them an entirely contrasted look compared to the one that they are going to have on their actual wedding day.

couple near lily pond - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

In conclusion

Bridal portraits are growing in popularity both on the actual wedding day and before or after the event. Having this extra time to photograph the bride alone can add to the collection of photos that you will deliver to her allowing her to remember how she felt that day.

couple by Hard Rock cafe - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

In addition, bridal portraits offer the opportunity to capture all of the important details that the bride took so much time to choose. Bridal portraits let you capture the bride in a more intimate way both individually or with her groom.

couple on the beach - Tips for Better Bridal Portraits

Take advantage of this time and allow your creativity to flow so that get some really amazing photos of the bride either before, on, or after her wedding day.

The post Tips for Better Bridal Portraits appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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