Are you shooting enough???

When you are taking pictures are you shooting enough images of each pose? I have the privilege of seeing a lot of AMAZING images that people bring to me to print.  I have seen pictures from just about all the local photographers and many national and international photographers.  I have to say that some of these pictures are beyond amazing!  One thing that I am seeing more and more with photographers is the lack of shots of various poses, a photographer will set up an amazing photo making sure everyone looks perfect and that the lighting is perfect then they will only shoot one or two images of that pose.  Now in reality there is nothing at all wrong with that, it is the way we did it when we shot film, we did not have the freedom to shoot 5 or 10 pictures of each pose so we would only shoot one or two.  But with digital it costs no more than a few seconds to fire off a couple extra frames of each pose.  Now before I go further I am not talking about setting your drive to warp speed and taking 200 images of every pose, that is going to the extreme the other way.  What I am talking about is taking 4, 5 or even 10 pictures (if you have a large group) to make sure that you get perfect expressions.

Last week I had a lady bring me in her daughters images on DVD as she wanted some prints.  To say that they were good is an understatement, the worst ones on this disk were better than 99% of photographers best images – I would have loved to add any of these images to my portfolio except for one thing.  The posing was perfect (ZERO room for improvement), lighting was amazing (On the entire disk I saw 1 with lighting that was not 100% perfect), lens selection was fantastic and the expressions were okay – and this is where the problems were.  Just about every image the expressions were off, like the people were caught before they had a chance to smile or they were caught just after smiling, and the worst part was that for each amazing pose there was only one image to choose from.  Every picture that this lady wanted printed she asked “Is there one with better expressions?” And there was not.  It was sad seeing this as I know that a couple more images shot of each pose and they would have been 100% perfect, and the prints would have been amazing.

This is not an isolated case as the same day I got to see another photographers work that was also great.  The client had over 100 images to select from but there was only around 25 images in total, the photographer made a B&W, a sepia, color and a color with reduced saturation of each image.  So the client kept asking me if there were better smiles and I had to say that sorry they only had 25 images from a huge family shoot to chose from and the rest were the same just different colors.

This is also something in shooting nature images that I see a lot. A photographer goes out and finds the perfect location for a picture then waits and waits for the perfect lighting to happen and they only shoot one or two images before moving one.  If you have taken the time to do all this why not try different angles, lenses, crops and exposure settings instead of only a couple images.

Again don’t go overboard when doing this but make sure that you are getting a selection from weddings, families, nature and wildlife so you get the best image possible!

 

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Marketing your Photo Business Part 3

It has been a while since I wrote anything on Marketing your photo business as things have been so busy but over the past several weeks I have been seeing a trend that I have to address.

As you probably know if you are starting a photo business you are competing with dozens if not hundreds of other photographers. Many may have more experience and possibly many have more business knowledge.  One trap that I see so many fall into is that when trying to set themselves apart they do it using negatives, statements like “cheap photos”, “new photographer looking for subjects”, “low prices” and many more statements that do nothing to impress the client.  Yes these statements are setting you apart but in what way?  Do people look at you as a cheap newbie looking for victims to photograph and unless they are related to you will never call?  Are they looking at your pictures on Facebook or Kijiji and saying “these look like a cheap newbies work, why would I want them to photograph me or my family”.

So how do you market yourself?  Look for the positives that you have to offer, statements like “creative black & white photographer”, “artistically oriented photographer” or “photo journalistic wedding photographer” say a lot more positives about you than the negatives. BUT, and this is a big but, NEVER EXAGGERATE YOUR SKILLS or try selling something that is not true!!! Saying “have done dozens of weddings” when you have never done a wedding will come back to hurt you.  Saying “family oriented photographer” when you only shoot cars is going to cause issues. Lethbridge is a small area and people will find out, sometimes quicker than you could imagine!  Also be very careful listing statements like “award winning photographer”. we all know that you can get awards from may places, some less than honest (send $25 and an image and we will award you with one of our exclusive photo awards) is not a honest way to get an award.  Or it is not truthful to say “award winning wedding photographer” when the award that you have is for a picture of a tree and the award says “awarded 117th place in trees of America”.  It has nothing to do with weddings or does it mean anything in the grand scheme of things in relation to a photographers wedding skills.

Before you post any ads think VERY carefully about how you word your ads, before posting photos look over your images and be very critical before posting.  If you are not portraying a very positive truthful image then STOP, you are doing more harm than good.

 https://www.firstchoicephoto.ca/

Who are we……….

Paterson Photography offers a variety of courses, workshops and adventures around Canada.  From our classes at our Lethbridge studio, (our one on one classes and  group classes), adventures, workshops and expeditions and more you will love learning your camera. Visit our web site, E-mail or call for more information.

Paterson Photography is the only custom photo printer in Lethbridge and area.  We offer prints from wallets to 44″x100″ on a variety of media.  No cheap, poor color poster prints – all our printing is done on archival media at the highest resolutions. We print for individuals, companies and groups that want quality prints.

Paterson Photography has operated in Lethbridge Alberta since 1985.  We are proud to offer wedding, graduations, personal portraits, commercial and industrial photography and more.

 

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The business of photography – Part 2 – Marketing: Prints, Web Sites and Email

Well now that you have gotten through part 1 of the business of photography and my less than encouraging comments lets move on to something a little more encouraging, Marketing.

This is a overlooked area when starting a business.  People think that if they take some okay pictures that word will quickly spread and clients will come beating down the door.  Well in some industries that is what would happen if you have a good product, but in photography it does not happen.   Why? Just look on advertising web sites at the number of people that are doing the same thing as you are.  So what should you do?

1 – Display Prints: First you need to set yourself apart from the crowd.  If you want people to call get some amazing prints and start showing them around.  Put them on web sites, find display space, show them to every potential customer.  Now when I say AMAZING prints I am talking about the best of your best.  Don’t show okay prints.  Don’t have any amazing prints?  Get some.  Start shooting pictures that take time to set up, use great lighting and great subjects.  For the nature people that means get out first thing in the morning or late at night to get the exceptional light.  Everybody else is showing prints shot at 1 in the afternoon with flat light, go for the amazing!

Southern alberta windmills with a full moon
Full moon rising

For the wedding and portrait photographer find poses that will blow the clients away, work on lighting and shoot, shoot, shoot. As for the size of your display prints?  A good saying to go by is “You only sell the sizes that you show”.  I have proven it time and again to people that if you only show 8×10 prints that is the maximum that you will sell, show bigger sell bigger.  People do not want to buy a large print if they do not know you can print that size.

2 – Get a web site and a real E-mailI am not talking about a Facebook page, but a real web site that you can design and modify as you like.  Facebook is not a real web site and limits a lot of what you should be doing.  Nothing wrong with having a Facebook page and your web site but you need to show clients that you are serious and not just a fly by night operation that did not even bother to spend on a real web site.  (Whoops sorry about the honesty again 🙂 )  In addition to a web site get a real E-mail address, not mike99684a54545@yahoo.ca but one that advertises your web site and shows people that once again you are a real business, one like mike@firstchoicephoto.ca shows people that you have a web site and you have taken some time to set up a business.  Whenever I get an E-mail from a company trying to sell me something the first thing I look for is do they have a real E-mail address, if it is Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail (now Outlook) I am VERY cautious about the company.

Question – Should you spend money at this point to market you web site?  I have to say at this point no.  There is a lot more to do before you should be spending money on SEO and other marketing for your web site.  I would make sure that ANY thing you send out about your business has your web site address on it and you are letting people know about the web site but wait on the marketing of it.

 

 

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Black & White Printing

Black & White Printing

Well some things I miss from the olden days (food that tasted like real food, being able to talk to someone without them texting, etc, etc.), some things I do not miss (having to find a pay phone to call home when on assignment, dial up Internet, etc).  One BIG thing that I do not miss is darkrooms.  Sure there was some fun in getting a perfect print after a lot of experimentation, but it was a lot of work to mix chemicals, wash prints and hang them to dry.  One thing that I have heard from many people was that they could not get a good Black & White print with digital.  Well no more!!!  Last year I did a lot of testing with our new printer and have come up with some amazing b&w settings and media.  I found a high gloss media that makes amazing b&w’s.  True blacks (no yellow or blues mixed in), GREAT contrast and details so amazing that I do think they pass the quality of old darkroom prints.  If you want to see some samples stop by the Lethbridge studio, I have a couple printed and am working on some more samples.

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