This is the blog for More Than A Snapshot's Online Photography Classes. In these blog posts I will give photography tips, tutorials, and show images.
At its core, photography is about making the ordinary look extraordinary.
But the business side of professional photography involves more than just a passion and creative eye for photography. Yes, running a photography business can be a great way to earn a living while working on your craft.
But, like any other entrepreneurial craft, professional photography has its own unique set of challenges. Aside from your technical proficiency with your tools, there are business legalities and operating costs to consider.
Whether it's lifestyle photography needed in London, corporate photography in the United States, or an experienced food photographer in Dubai, understanding the finer details of the business side of photography is important.
One of the most important ways of delivering a constant stream of income rests with word of mouth marketing. Your clients are your biggest advertising tools.
Managing your clients’ expectations is key to consistent work. When they’re happy with the end result, they become your biggest tool in garnering more attention and business to your company.
With that in mind, here is a list of the top three tips on client management.
1. Communication and meeting client expectations
Communication is the key to building long-lasting relationships.
In the same way that composition, lighting, and its ability to evoke emotion are important factors in a good photograph, successful photographers know the value of relationships for client management.
Long before a shutter clicks, you should ensure you’ve managed your clients’ expectations. A happy client is free advertising. And in the age of social sharing, clients who share your work through their social networks can potentially lead to new business.
Communicating before the scheduled event or photo shoot is the perfect time to clarify the nitty-gritty and any fine print. Miscommunication can only lead to a perceived misrepresentation which can, in turn, lead to catastrophic disappointment.
When communicating with your client, be crystal clear with the basics of your work. These can include:
Delivery of the product
When and what to expect from the shoot
This will not only prevent misunderstandings but also protect you and your business against any potential lawsuits if disappointment does occur.
Show your clients your portfolio and photography gallery. Examples of your work are fundamental talking points between you and your clients. They can convey your artistic style and allow your clients to understand what to expect with the final product.
Whichever way you do connect and communicate with your clients; whether it's through social media, email, or phone, communicate in a professional and formal manner.
2. Scheduling and contracts
Clients who are clear on their expectations are clients who are happy with your work.
And just as important, clients with clear expectations understand the timeline of your creative process. Clarify the complete process. From booking to deposits, and the delivery of the final product, a clear contract manages expectations on both sides.
Schedule multiple consultations so nothing is missed and ensure both you and your client have copies of the agreed upon contract. Anything agreed upon between your business and your client should be done in writing. Your contract will include the important details you can refer back to when necessary. This should include the agreed-upon prices, turnaround times, studio policies, etc.
An outline of the process helps both your client and your company. Just as well, discuss your company’s overtime policy. On the day of your scheduled event or shoot, unforeseen problems may arise. It’s just a matter of fact. Shoots have and will continue to run beyond the previously stated end time. Be clear with your overtime policy during your contract agreement.
This will limit surprises on the day of the big event, especially when your client’s timeline extends beyond the hours you talked about.
3. Licensing and copyright usage
One of the biggest hurdles your business will encounter will be the unauthorized use, reproduction or amendment of your photographs.
Many clients simply won’t understand how copyright infringement works. At the end of the day, they’ll be so happy with your work that they’ll share it with their friends through social networks. And the technological advances of digital formats means there are more gray areas in copyright infringement than before.
To ensure you don’t lose potential income through copyright infringement, include your copyright and usage rules with your contract. Always put business legalities in terms that are easy to understand so there is no confusion later down the road.
Your finalized contract should clearly define ownership of your work. If you’re happy to sign the copyright of your photographs over to your clients, do so in writing.
Client management is fundamental to the continued success of your business. The better you foster a relationship, the easier it becomes to conduct business and generate revenue. Your clients are a crucial entry point to nurturing the success of your company. Be sure to do all the behind-the-scenes work beforehand. This way, when the big day comes, nothing will come between you and your subjects.
Barry Morgan is the creative force behind Barry Morgan Photography, which is a corporate photography company based out of Dubai. Firmly believing you should love what you do, to do your best. Originally hailing from a background in advertising agencies he now brings his business experience to create exceptional and effective marketing photography to help businesses achieve their goals.
Memories are forever. In the case of getting married, your photos will be your lifetime treasure. These photos will remind you of the love you share not only with your significant other but also with the people closest to both of you.
Reminiscing about your Big Day will be all the sweeter when you look your glowing best. Who wouldn’t want to shine and look like a billion dollars on their wedding photos? That is why it is essential to prepare and make sure that you hire the top wedding photographer — the best that you can find.
Here are some tips that will help ensure that you will have photos to cherish all throughout your wedding journey:
Before “I Do”
1. Do your homework.
If possible, do your research right after you get engaged. It doesn’t matter if it’s a long engagement or a whirlwind romance as long as you get a move on the wedding preparations as soon as you can.
Aside from the obvious excitement of getting tied to your sweetheart, preparing for your wedding early will ensure that you will have all your bases covered. Careful not to turn into a Bridezilla — the wedding preps will allow you to avoid cramming and making hasty decisions.
Set the date, decide on a theme or look for your wedding, and envision how you want it all to be. Set ground rules for yourself and for your partner (e.g. “we should try not argue about everything”) as it would be easy to get caught up in all the preparations.
Ask friends and family who already tied the knot. Get their recommendations and suggestions in terms of the venue, the suppliers, and other “insider tips.” Window shop for all the possible people who can provide top-notch services for your wedding. This includes your caterers, your make-up artist, and your wedding photographer.
2. Set a budget
When you have looked around and checked the whos, whats, and wheres of your wedding, then it is time to set a budget.
For your wedding photography, you need to check if the photographer you have in mind will fit your financial considerations. Because of the demand for photographers, their professional fees can range from the most affordable to exorbitant. They say that you get what you pay for, but also keep in mind that cheap does not also mean ugly.
The best way to go is to look through their portfolio and find out if their style meets yours. Then set a meeting for each photographer you think you can work well with and try to check how you can both work within a certain parameter. Some photographers are offended when you ask for discounts, but some masters would even work for free if you ask nicely.
It’s not a matter of cutting down on costs, though. It is more of getting value for your money while achieving the vision of having your dream wedding preserved through photos.
3. Sign a contract
When you’ve finally chosen the master behind the shutter, then it’s time to sign the dotted lines. Make sure both parties are clear on the details – time, date, venue, specific shooter for the day, how many photographers, and other details.
You can also indicate if there are other services included such as:
· On-site presentations
· Pre-nuptial and/or post-nuptial photo sessions
· Wedding album production
Go through the contract together so you can be sure that everything is covered and agreed upon. It is always wise to read the fine print and make sure that everything is clear.
4. Schedule a pre-wedding shoot
Pre-nuptial photo sessions take the wedding up another notch. Most couples nowadays spring for a pictorial session before the wedding. This is either because they want to use the photos for their save-the-dates or invitations, or simply because they want to have a more relaxed and carefree demeanor in their photos.
Having your prenuptial photo session (or prenups) is also a good way to establish rapport with your photographer. Some grooms, particularly, tend to be camera shy and this preliminary shoot will help ease him gently into the more click-heavy moments during the actual day.
Some couples tend to take the prenups to a whole different level – even going as far (literally) as doing shoots abroad or having fantastic themes. Couples can indulge in pre-wedding photos as far as their imagination (and resources) can take them, from elaborate, movie-inspired themes to “trash-the-dress” fashion editorials.
Other couples also grab this chance to take decent, more formal versions of their on-the-day photos, as the wedding day itself can be a harried experience. They can opt for outdoor or indoor portrait photography while already wearing their actual wedding clothes. This way, their photos are more relaxed and well put together.
5. Prepare a shot list
For the wedding, sit down with your partner and discuss which moments you would want to be highlighted. There may be crucial moments that you really want to be included, such as a tribute to the parents or, perhaps, a special number from the entourage. You can also discuss specific shots, in confidence, with your wedding planner and photographer, especially if you have a surprise planned either for your spouse or for the guests.
You do not have to list down every single shot as you also need to allow the photographer creative leeway. Candid shots can add a very heartwarming touch to any wedding album, so make room for those.
Another way is to break down the shot list to different “segments” of the day.
For example, you can ask your photographer to take shots of:
1. On-the-day wedding preparations: This may include details of the wedding like the invitations, ring shots, the clothes, etc. This can also include the bride being made-up, the groom dressing up, the entourage’s “wacky” prep photos, family portraits, and the like.
2. Ceremony photos: These are the photos taken during the ceremonies which may include the walk down the aisle, the exchange of vows, the “first kiss,” and other such moments.
3. Reception snapshots: These will include anything and everything about the wedding reception – the usual cake-cutting, toasts, dances, and the party that ensues after. Group photos with friends and family can also be taken here.
4. Others: Some couples also want to have “in-between” photos taken. These are editorial-ish shots that are taken in between the ceremony and the reception. Considered to be the “first photos” as husband-and-wife, the in-between shots can be more intimate and may include their first married couple portrait.
Some couples change into a different ensemble for the reception, so this pictorial session can be a memento of the more “formal” first attire.
The Big Day
Relax and smile
Since you have prepared well for the wedding day – events all organized and managed, both of you all scrubbed and pampered, your pearly whites all ready to flash a megawatt smile, and both your faces glowing with love and exhilaration -- all you need to do on the day itself is to sit back, relax, and enjoy watching the movie of your life unfold.
If you allow yourself to be stressed, your photos will also reflect that. Designate certain responsibilities to trusted people like friends and family if you do not have a wedding coordinator. The key to having the perfect photos of your wedding day is to have a wonderful time experiencing the moment.
When you are having a good time savoring every second of your wedding day, it will naturally show. Trust your photographer to capture these moments.
Happily Ever After
Some couples also schedule a post-nuptial photo session (postnups) with their photographer.
This session could be another chance to take portraits of the couple that was not possible to be taken during the day (because of unforeseen circumstances like weather) or it could be a whole separate thing entirely.
Much like prenups, postnups can be as elaborate and imaginative as possible. Especially for destination weddings, postnups can be a more intimate photo session of the couple as a married pair. It can also already show them on their honeymoon or enjoying the after-wedding party with friends and family.
Getting married is a milestone in life that deserves special attention. The precious moments captured on camera can be a testament to love that you can revisit and reminisce afterward. Investing time, money, energy, and resources into creating picture-perfect moments on your wedding day can be a gift that you can give to your children and your children’s children.
Linda Pasfield is best known for her skill to capture emotion on film and expression in an art form. Linda has had 20 years of experience photographing weddings, portraiture and documentary. She is an award winning photographer and Linda's career has taken her worldwide, photographing for Olim Aid International, Worship Centre and Cross Rds, and numerous other organisations. Photography is Linda's passion and "capturing the true feelings on the day, blending creativity and lighting in the right way is a joy."
Why is this image so expensive, because right after I took it, disaster struck. I found this great scene and I was working it for all it was worth. I had that great swirl in the water and some fantastic fall color in the background. I decided that the image could be even better if I used a polarizer to remove some glare from the leaves and water. Photographically this was a great decision but it caused me to fight with the filter holder which caused me to unlatch the tripod head. Then I got my shot, but I forgot about the tripod head and when a picked up my tripod a heard a big splash. My Canon 5D M IV and my Canon 17-40 mm lens were completely submerged. I was able to retrieve them and I tried to dry it out and I sent it to Canon and they were both a complete loss. Luckily the memory cards survived and I was able to get the images and my insurance should pay for most of the loss and as it turns out this image won second place in my camera club, so I guess it was all worth it in the end.
Slideshows can easily be created with Adobe Lightroom, however, you can have more options and media choices if you make your slideshows with Photoshop. I made this set of tutorials to show you how you can use Adobe Photoshop CC to make simple slideshows with just still images or mixed media slideshows that can include animation, video and text.
Here are some of the important steps in the process along with screenshots.
- Export Images from Lightroom at 1920 x 1080
- Photoshop: Click File>Open
- Open one image
- Click Window>Timeline
- Click create video timeline
- Click add Media to add more images
- Drag images around to re-order them
- Drag the edge of images to change the length of time they will be displayed
- Add transitions between images
- Add animations to individual images
- Add a black background for images that may not be 1920 x 1080
- Add Sound and adjust sound options
- Click the hamburger menu on the right side of the timeline > Render video (see video #2 for more information.)
On Day 3 of my Adirondack trip I photographed this sunrise time-lapse. This is also where I learned that I should bring a second camera and tripod when shooting time-lapses because there were a lot of great shots happening behind me that I couldn't shoot because my camera was busy shooting this time-lapse.
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I recently traveled to the Adirondack Mountains to photograph the fall foliage. It was workshop put on by Mark Bowie and sponsored by my camera club. On the first night, we photographed the night sky from the backyard of our Inn. The lights from the inn lit up the trees which allowed us to capture the fall colors and the night sky. Here are some of my images from that night along with a short time-lapse video.