Photography Business – The Print

The print is the secret!

People have been asking me how to improve their photography business, simple it comes down to the print! The past couple of weeks I have had a chance to sit down with a number of photographers.  I have been hearing a lot of the same things from these people and I thought that it would be worth sharing with others. The main issue is how do you impress your customers, set your business apart from others and improve your sales?

Several points keep coming to the forefront

The print
Set yourself apart with the print!

1) For those that do shoot & burn weddings (shoot the wedding and burn the digital files to disk or USB for the client) I have been hearing a number of photographers mention that their customers are complaining about bad prints.  Their clients are taking the images to a discount lab to get prints made. When they get the prints back they are coming back horrible.  Most times the photographer does not know how their client feels as they don’t hear about the bad prints. The clients think it is the photographer ~ because the lab says it is not them.  If the photographer hears it is through a third party and the bad printing has damaged the photographers reputation.

2) Many photographers have seen a drop in the number of assignments they get.  A couple photographers actually inquired of past customers and received some feedback.  One of the biggest points is that clients were not happy with the final prints. Many clients mentioned that it was a pain to go and get the prints done themselves. All had mentioned they were having prints done at a discount lab.

The common statement went something like this…….

“…. the photographers service was great”. “We were not happy with the way the final prints looked”.  “The prints looked like the ones that you get from a one hour lab ~ not professional prints”.  “It took me a week to get a couple pictures done properly. It was a HUGE waste of my time”. One photographer actually brought me a couple of files to print. Their customers had them done someplace else. They wanted to see what their client thought. The response from their client was “These are amazing, we never thought that the printing would do that!!!!”

3) Many of the photographers also mentioned that they needed something to add a WOW factor to the services that they were offering.  They have been giving clients 4×6 & 5×7 prints. The small prints were not impressing their clients.

The consensus

In just about all the comments one thing was clear. The photographer’s clients want/demand something more than a cheap 4×6 or 5×7 one hour print.  I have been saying for years that if photographers want to survive that they need to set themselves apart. Something more than what uncle Bob is doing ~ usually for free because he is a relative and wants to be helpful.  Uncle Bob can have the nice camera. Many times he is handing the wedding couple a disk and that is it.  Or he is printing some prints at the one hour place and handing them to the couple.  The problem is if that is what the “professional” photographer is doing we are not setting ourselves apart and WOW’ing our clients.

So what should professional photographers be doing?

First, every client should be getting a WOW picture.  Something that stands out like a 16×20 or 20×24 portrait fully finished!! Second you should be providing your clients with some professionally printed images that they can show friend’s and family so they can see what a great picture looks like.  Prints that they cannot get at the local one hour!

Finally if you are handing over the disk to the client make sure they know the difference in the printing that they will get.

Remember we need to set ourselves apart for the positive. One of the best ways to do this is with professional printing!

To help with giving some wow to your photography we are offering a coupon for a discount in printing that you can give to your client to get professional printing.  That way they will get the best image possible from your files.  Drop us an E-mail and we will run off some discount coupons for you!

Lethbridge River Bottom

The Lethbridge river bottom, lots of shoots close to home. Staying home can be a good thing some days! 

March 4, 2018 saw me needing to get out and take some pictures and after a huge dump of snow the Lethbridge river bottom seemed like a good place that was close enough to home to get to.

The good thing with shooting close to home is that if the subjects are not cooperating you have not spent a lot of time and money driving. The other nice thing is that you can go back easily if you find a sweet spot. Sometimes we just feel that if we are not driving a long distance that it is not as exciting.

Male Pheasant in The Lethbridge River Bottom
Male Pheasant – The Lethbridge River Bottom

Read moreLethbridge River Bottom

Color Balance – Printing

Getting that amazing shot, color balance
Secrets to getting that amazing shot

Today I want to address a little about color balance. I’m not talking about corrections that we make to our photos to make them look more natural. Or corrections that we do to enhance the colors to make them look more pleasing to the eye. Things such as warming the color of an image. I am talking about color balance as it effects the print that we hang on the wall.

Read moreColor Balance – Printing

Humidity – not just another number :-)

Many things in life amuse me, many you really do not want to know. But this last cold snap I got amused by of all things humidity….. or in my case lack of humidity!!!!
Humidstat to measure humidity
Humidistat © Paterson Photography Ltd. Lethbridge

Read moreHumidity – not just another number 🙂

Focus Test Chart

This is a repost of the focus test chart. I have people that are looking for the test sheet and wanted to bring it back up front.

Test Chart
Focus Test Chart © Paterson Photography Ltd.

Catch up time

One of the great things about this time of the year, especially when it is a blizzard, is that I have time to catch up on projects.  Yesterday after a shoot I did some research on doing a focus test on my lens and came across a great video about a different way of checking the focus on your lenses.  Now before I go any further let me say a couple things; one is that not all cameras can do what I am going to describe in that you can adjust the focus yourself and two I am not recommending the guy that is doing the video (I only watched this one that he did and it looks like he has done dozens) other than this is the best video that describes how to do a lens focus check that I have seen and it is explained perfectly.

Read moreFocus Test Chart

Getting an amazing shot

I’ve been involved with photography for over 30 years, and even with all the modern technology of digital cameras, editing programs, and all of the information that can be found on the Internet there are still some issues with photography that have been with us for years. One of the top 10 questions I get asked by my photography student’s has nothing to do with camera operation, but has everything to do with getting an amazing picture and that question starts with ” How can I make my pictures look better?”

A lot of people are disappointed in what their pictures look like, their pictures just don’t have that extra special quality that they see on the Internet or in books.  Many students want me to tell them what the secret is to get these amazing photos, some think the secret is in the camera body that you use, others think it is in the lenses.  We’ll really there’s only one secret and that is to shoot, shoot and shoot and to shoot in the lighting conditions that will enhance your images.  If you are just a weekend photographer that takes one or two pictures when it is convenient to you you’ll never improve your photography and get those amazing images.  Likewise if you’re one of those photographers that only shoots during the afternoon when you have some extra time, your pictures will never have that amazing lighting to set them apart from the average everyday pictures.  The biggest thing that any photographer can do to improve their images is to take more images when the light is outstanding and to look at what the light does to enhance the images.

I often tell the story of National Geographic photographers and how they would get the amazing pictures that filled their magazine for years.  These photographers would show up at a location days, weeks or even months before they’re actually going to take the image.  They would scout out the location, they would learn about their subject, they would check out the lighting, and they would take test shots to see when the best time was to take the images.  Only after all of this research would the photographer actually take the image that would appear in the magazine. Today many photographers, including myself, try rushing through taking an image.  We will drive someplace and see something that we find interesting, stop the car and take what we hope will be an amazing picture.  So many times after taking the image we are disappointed because the lighting just does not do anything to enhance the photo, and many times will do a lot to destroy the image that we saw in our mind. So what should we do to improve our photography?  Well it is very simple we need to take time to check out a location and to see what the light does to that location to make it look amazing, and only after checking the location thoroughly we should take our images. Yes this takes time, yes this takes commitment but only by doing so will we ever improve our photography.  So next time you’re driving around and see that amazing picture take a minute to figure out what makes it so amazing.  Is it the actual light that is striking the subject at that minute, or is it your mind telling you that this could be an amazing subject if the lighting was a little different?

Getting that amazing shot

The above image of the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton is one of those images that many people photograph, but not a lot of people are really happy with.  I have driven by this hotel tens of thousands of times. I must have photographed it hundreds of times.  Each time it just did not have the look that I was looking for.  It was either backlit, flat lit or just plain did not look right.  I knew the lighting that I was looking for, and many times I tried getting there to capture the perfect lighting and many times I failed.  Then one day I was driving back to my campsite after photographing some elk early in the morning and I saw the perfect light just starting to light up the hotel.  At the time I was more interested in getting something to eat than getting a picture of the hotel but I knew that after so many attempts I better take the opportunity to stop and get the picture that I’ve been looking for. I stopped and shot 100 or so images before the light softened and ruined the look that I wanted and the look that I saw in my mind so many times.  I’m so happy that I took that opportunity, since that date I’ve not seen the exact lighting on this hotel that I wanted so those few minutes worked for me to get the perfect image that I wanted.

So next time you want to take some amazing pictures make sure that you’re getting out when the light is working for you.  A little planning and a little luck and you will be able to take your images from the everyday to the amazing!