The Assistant’s Manual: Building a Family with Alissa Zimmerman

October 2nd, 2015


The Assistants Manual: Building a Family with Alissa Zimmerman


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“When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching—they are your family.” –Jim Butcher


Over the years with Team Cincotta, I have learned a lot of very important lessons—about business, life, working hard, and never forgetting to reflect on where you came from. I think the most important lesson I have learned on this journey is that when you set out to conquer the world, you can’t do it alone. You need a team.


But it’s so much more than just a team you need—you need your people. Your people are the ones who are there with you to celebrate the triumphs but, more importantly, never leave your side through the seemingly impossible times when the weight of the world is caving in on you. Your people will go to hell and back with you. These people are your family. And what better way to spend the rest of your foreseeable future than to wake up every morning and go to “work” with the people you love and trust the most? (I put work in quotations because, let’s be honest, can we really call this life we live actual work?)


Finding the right people is, without a doubt, the number-one challenge we have faced (and continue to face) as a company growing at such a rapid pace. We have tried it all when it comes to the interviewing process—what to ask, what red flags to look for, etc. When we first started hiring for our design team, we sought perfection, people who could hack it for the long haul. We were very particular about the type of person we were looking for. In fact, we were too particular—we were in the pursuit of perfection right out of the gate.


It took us almost eight months to finally hire a junior graphic designer at one point, and that only happened because Sal got tired of wasting time. We were in a team meeting, and about two minutes before the candidate walked in for the interview, Sal turned to me and said, “I don’t care anymore. Does she have a decent portfolio? No, never mind, it doesn’t matter. If she has a pulse, hire her.” And with that, we finally had a second designer on staff—but she never quite made the turn.


Making the turn. What does that mean? What kind of employee was I during my first year? I was a worker bee. I took direction and did my job, but never really went outside of what was asked of me. I took initiative, sure, but was never able to see the bigger picture—to step outside of the bare minimum and start proactively proving myself and taking on tasks without having to be asked. It’s a strange phenomenon around here with this team—you either get it or you don’t. We like to refer to it as “taking the red pill,” to borrow the famous phrase from The Matrix. Once you take it, there’s no going back—you’re fully aware, you’ve seen the light and it’s as if the world really is just a simple math problem.


Now, how do we get our people to finally make the turn from being an employee to become part of this insane family we have built? Like I said, the actual formula and science behind it is still a phenomenon to us. I believe the following key factors are what got the switch to flip for me.



Build a family structure with your team.


We all have fairly specific roles on our team: Sal, CEO, is the quarterback, and we, the employees/partners, are his teammates, providing support and/or defense for him as he runs toward the flag.


That’s huge for us: setting a flag and everyone marching to the same beat in reaching that flag. Sal’s flag last fall was to get Shutter on the shelves of Barnes & Noble. The team sat down and listed the steps we’d have to take. We had to first get the magazine to print, then market the crap out of it, then continue pushing to build our subscriber base—all of which had to be done before we could reach out to Barnes & Noble.


Your team leader, the head of the family, if you will, is the member of the team who designs your strategies and plays, a plan of attack to reach your flag. From there, tasks are delegated and executed until your unit has reached the end goal. For some, that means the end of one mission and time for relaxation. Those who are as insane as we are know there is a very short window for celebration before the next 10 flags have been recognized.


Learn each others strengths and weaknesses.


As an owner and/or CEO, you will find the most success from your team if you manage to the strengths of each employee. To help him find the strengths in each team member, Sal uses the Clifton StrengthsFinder personality test, which measures for 34 unique “talent themes.” Clifton defines these themes as “people’s naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied.” Sal, our quarterback, has these top five themes: focus, achiever, command, strategic and communication. All of which play a large part in his leadership role within the family, as he is able to take control and make sure we all stay on the path to the flag. His bottom talent theme? Adaptability. Coincidentally, that theme is found in the top five of the remaining members of the family. We are able to quickly adapt when things go sideways to ensure we continue moving forward in execution of the family’s plan.


Another point to the strengths and weaknesses of your team: Make sure to pinpoint each other’s strengths. Build on them together; work together and encourage one another to be the best versions of yourselves. A team is only as strong as its weakest link. And when it comes to family, no one is ever left behind.


Build your family on honesty and respect.


What’s worse than constantly being told no? For our team, it’s having those around you always agree with you, no matter how bad your idea is. This is where Sal’s second-generation Sicilian-by-way-of-Brooklyn personality really shines for our team dynamic. Outside of Sal and Laurin, the core team consists of a bunch of hormonal, emotionally driven females. Without brutal, raw, mostly pretty painful honesty, we would never be able to get out of our own way.


But how can you expect to grow as a person and together as a business without knowing right from wrong or a good idea from a bad one? It’s simple: You can’t. And you never will. During my first few weeks on the job, Sal told me something I’ll never forget: “Suck it up, Zimmerman. Time to put on your big-kid pants—this is business. Nothing I say to you regarding the business will ever be personal.”


With that honesty, however, comes the most crucial part of this whole family equation: respect. Respect for your boss, respect for your peers, your employees, your partners and coworkers. Most of all, respect for yourself. If you can’t look yourself in the mirror and have respect for the person you are and the decisions you make that impact the success of the family, you’ll never succeed. The same goes for the other side of things: If you can’t look one of your teammates in the eye with respect, you’ll never really be on the same team—so you’ll never even be on the same playing field.


My team, my family—we’re a fast-paced, well-oiled, borderline-insane machine. We each make up our own strategic part of that machine, and when one part stops functioning, the entire mission comes to a grinding halt.


As a family, you never give up on each other. And as long as you have a group of people that much in sync with one another, you’ll forever be an unstoppable force.


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From the Hobby Level to the Pro Level with Craig LaMere

October 2nd, 2015



From the Hobby Level to the Pro Level with Craig LaMere


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One of the coolest parts of photography is its huge variety of genres and disciplines. There’s an endless supply of subject matter out in the world to fulfill your creative needs. It’s actually a little overwhelming for people who want to take their shooting from the hobby level to the pro level. This month, I share three things to consider if you’re thinking of taking the leap—or if you already have.


Never Too Late to Start


This coming January, I will have been shooting for six years. Before becoming a photographer, I had been a very unhappy commercial insurance agent for 10 years. I knew I wanted out of the business—it was the most unrewarding thing I had ever done. I had always been a creative person, and I was about as fulfilled doing insurance as a rocket scientist who only lights bottle rockets.


I needed a creative outlet from insurance. Because I had always liked photography, I decided a camera would be my outlet. So I went to Costco and bought a Canon Rebel kit that came with two lenses and a bag. And with that, at the age of 39, I began my incredibly amazing, badass photography journey.


I hear all the time from people who feel they are running out of time to make their mark or to really do well in our industry, and that just never rings true. Photography is one of the few industries that are age proof as long as you can produce sellable images. Some of the most respected shooters in the industry are well into their forties and beyond. Do not feel because you are a certain age that becoming a professional shooter is out of the realm of possibility. It’s like anything else: If you start a little late, you just have to work a little harder to catch up. It can be done. I can attest to it.


Find Your Subject as Fast as You Can


Since I had absolutely no formal training or knowledge, I put my new camera on the green “P” and I shot rocks. OK, I shot sagebrush, trees, and mountains as well. I didn’t have a clue about genres, so I just kept shooting what felt right at the time, hence the nature images. Then, after a while, I started shooting buildings and other things that had cool angles. I was happy with how things were going, but I knew neither subject really was totally for me. One day I got really brave and decided it was time to point my lens at a human. As soon as I started photographing people, I knew that was for me; I was totally bitten by the photography bug.


Portraiture was my genre. But I soon realized I did not have the skills set to shoot babies and kids. I couldn’t relate to them—or their parents. After shooting a few terrible sessions, I decided my time and energy were going to be better spent focusing on subjects I could do a good job with.


When you are a hobby shooter, you have the luxury of shooting anything and everything that strikes your fancy. When you make that move to shooting to pay your bills, the focus has to be much more precise because your recreation just became your occupation. Finding out what I was super bad at shooting was one of the best lessons I learned early on. It allowed me to excel at what I did well.


Choosing the Right Client for You


A lot of people think any and all business is good. Actually, any and all business can be the worst thing that can ever happen to you if it is the wrong client for you and your business. I know firsthand of the train wrecks that occur when you say yes to clients you know you should say no to.


Just like in regular life, you are drawn to certain kinds of people you want to spend time with. You’re not a good match with every client. Maybe your client is way more conservative than you. Maybe you’re too wild for them. Whatever the circumstances, trying to fit a square peg in a round hole can be the worst idea ever.


The Prebooking Consultation


The very best time to find out if a client is the right one for you is during the prebooking consultation. I have a few goals in mind with the consult. I go over locations and clothes, show them my product lines and, most importantly, find out if we are a good match.


When I meet my prospective clients, I wear what I typically wear on shoots, which means very casual—unless we are meeting about a wedding (believe it or not, I do wear long pants to shoot weddings). I’m dressed in my official Moz uniform, which is flip-flops, shorts and a Moz t-shirt—which means my prospective clients get to see both of my tattoo-covered arms.


Turning Away Clients?!


Nine out of 10 of my consults go just fine, and we book and have the best time ever. But there is that rare 10 percent where I feel I will not be able to deliver what prospective clients are expecting, or I feel they are going to be far too demanding than I want to deal with, and I decide not to take them on. So I don’t. When I turn clients down, I thank them for the opportunity to meet with them, then tell them I do not feel I can provide what they need. Because of the investment they’re making, I want to make sure they get what they want. I offer to refer them to other shooters who might be a better fit.


The consult is not a one-way street, by any means. There are also those times afterward when I hear, “We will get back with you.” Which means I just got fired.


The jump from hobby shooter to professional shooter can be a scary one. I knew it was for me when I decided I was going to be a professional portrait artist. I hope these tips help smooth your transition and give you some good food for thought as you start your professional journey.


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

There’s More to Growing Your Family Business Than Great Images with Blair Phillips

October 2nd, 2015



There’s More to Growing Your Family Business Than Great Images with Blair Phillips

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

A few of my most prized possessions are my family photo albums from childhood. One of the few things my family was diligent about was having our photos printed. It is really frustrating to see a monumental event in kids’ lives being recorded with a cell phone. It’s better than nothing at all, but not many parents get those images printed. They just spend their life embedded in a phone’s memory. Fewer and fewer children will be able to reflect on physical photo albums of their lives. This has begun to drastically lower the importance of professional family portraits.

There are several things you can do as a professional to continue to grow your family portrait business.

The Session Begins at the Front Door

Parents don’t often look forward to going to a studio for a session. There’s the stress of uncooperative children and unenthused family members. I’ve been able to diminish this stress by allowing extra time before the session. I sit in the front of my studio and watch for my clients to pull into the parking lot. I greet them at their vehicle and offer a hand with children and clothing. This gives them the feeling that I am here to help with more than just taking pictures. When we get inside and get settled, we come back to the lobby. Then I take 10 to 15 minutes making small talk with each individual. My goal is to make everyone feel like a valuable part of the process.

By showing patience, parents are put at ease, and that’s good for when they share their experiences with friends. Most business transactions are very rushed and lack genuine customer service. If you provide comfort during your family sessions, your business will grow by word of mouth alone.

Family portrait sessions and images have become very creative in the past few years. It is very easy to get caught up in the race to reinvent the family portrait, but I stick to a few basics.

My Family Portrait Formula

I have three different styles I shoot for in a family session. This helps ensure that I capture something to please almost everyone.

I begin with very casual posing to loosen everyone up. Families that may not be very emotionally close prefer this look.

Then I take the family outdoors for some environmental portraits. I style these similarly to a high school senior session, which means an edgy look. Many of my families never knew they could look so amazing. They love the results.

The last look I provide is one that has stood the test of time. That is the formal family portrait. This is often the one they choose as the main wall portrait. Everyone thinks you have to do everything so different in order to succeed, but formal will always be a great seller.

Clothes Can Make—or Break—the Portrait

Nothing can deplete your photographic mood and ability more than terrible outfit choices. You can create an amazing image only to see it completely ruined with the wrong clothing.

It has been a long-standing tradition that everyone should match for family portraits. Some families have a tendency to match too much by wearing the exact same thing. That looked really good in the 1980s. I tell clients to bring way more outfits than they will need. If they bring a couple of suitcases full, I have a better chance of helping them find something that works.

I always send them examples of the kinds of outfits that work. That acts as a style guide. If your families are showing up with uninspiring outfits, you are not educating them properly. Educating your clients secures huge dividends during the sales appointment. You get out of it what you put into it.

The Importance of the Family Portrait

I hear families say all of the time that they cannot remember the last time they had pictures made. We seem to be getting busier and less emotionally connected. We have a duty as photographers to raise awareness of the importance of family portraiture. I feel like a politician in a constant campaign to encourage families to preserve moments they will never be able to create again.

When I meet potential clients for the first time, I ask questions about them and their family. This helps pave a road of opportunity that will lead them to my business. The more I remind people that I am here, the more business I create for myself. If you do nothing to promote yourself, you will most likely end up with nothing. One of our responsibilities is to keep the dream alive for future photographers. Think of it as paying it forward to them.

Parents are so busy that they have less time to enjoy their day-to-day lives. Use the time you have with them to remind them why they started a family in the first place. You may be the only person who can bring them close together for at least an hour or so. During that hour, they are disconnected from the outside world and can really focus on being a family. Maybe they are a little dysfunctional, but they are still together. Encourage them to put aside their differences and remember that time together is invaluable. When family members put down their guards, they help you create images that tug at their heartstrings.

Family portrait work can also lead to growth in other avenues of your business. Family members will become high school seniors, get married, have babies and build families of their own one day. Through the experiences you help build, you will become a household name that families attach to some of their most cherished times together.

Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

5-Part Workflow With Lightroom CC Part 3: Processing Files with Dustin Lucas

October 2nd, 2015



5-Part Workflow With Lightroom CC Part 3: Processing Files with Dustin Lucas


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.


After the shoot is done, files are stored and backed up, catalog and previews rendered, it’s finally time to process all those files. Get comfortable now. Lightroom CC has made many of our lives easier with the intuitive hotkeys, ease of cycling between images and syncing adjustments. I have to be honest, though: No matter how fast you are at culling and editing in Lightroom, getting 5,300 images down to under 1,000 is rough. I’ve done it five days a week for years, and I still push myself to increase efficiency and quality.


I don’t want to compare culling in other programs or batched styles of editing in this article. I am a Lightroom guy, and I am sticking with it. Working with Evolve, I have seen various workflows and mechanics from hundreds of professional photographers. I learn as much from them as they do from me. You have to trade secrets in this industry. That’s what I am here to do.


Library Module


This module can be accessed by striking the “G” key. I refer to it as the grid mode because I usually have the images displayed this way. In this view mode, you have the ability to filter the previews by text, attributes and metadata. If these filters aren’t visible, strike the backslash (“\”) key. These options become more useful for culling and editing your images once we get there. From the menu bar, choose View > View Options, or hit CMD + J to adjust the details for each preview cell. I prefer to see the file name, attributes and badges. To quickly remove this data, hit Shift + CMD + H.


The more useful view mode for selection is loupe mode. These view options can be adjusted in the next tab within the View Options dialog box. I prefer to keep the camera info visible. For viewing individual images, I find that leaving the side panels and film strip visible is very distracting; plus, the image needs to be larger. To drop the side panels, hit the Tab key; to remove all three panels, hit Shift + Tab. You will notice when your cursor scrolls over these panels that they automatically appear. To keep this from happening, right-click next to the arrow and choose Manual. You have total control over the panels with the Shift and Tab keys.


Selection Process


Using attributes is essential when selecting images. These attributes include flags, color labels and star ratings. Hotkeys bring a new level of efficiency for going through thousands of images. Add a flag to an image by selecting the “P” key. Reject images by selecting the “X” key. To unflag an image, strike the “U” key to reset it.

Color labels are much simpler to add by using the number keys 6 through 9. The color tags ascend by striking 6 for red, 7 for yellow, 8 for green and 9 for blue. Hitting these same keys again removes the attribute. Lightroom even allows you to customize this feature: From the menu bar, select Metadata > Color Label Set > Edit. You can rename what keyword the color labels are referred to as. For example, I changed the green label to Samples, yellow to Revised, green to Deluxe edit, blue to Premium edit and purple to Signature edit. Then click in the presets drop-down menu to save the current settings as a new preset. In order to see these keywords, make sure labels are a column for metadata filters.


Star ratings are a great tool for adding levels of importance when selecting. Number keys 1 through 5 add stars, and 0 removes ratings. You can also use the “[“ to increase and ”]” option to decrease ratings. My normal process is to select images worth delivering to the client in 3 stars, then select impact images to edit with 5 stars. This averages a total delivery of 1,600 digital negatives, with 800 of those as color-corrected proofs.


Moving into selection, mechanics can be the difference between culling through 2,000 images in an hour and taking way longer than needed. Following Sal’s workflow and developing some tricks along the way has gotten me to that one-hour mark for 2,000 images. I start in grid mode by filtering the images by camera serial number. Assuming most images taken are by the principal shooter, I begin there. Using different sort-by modes becomes important when viewing all the images together, but for a single camera, it can remain on Capture time. Double-click the first image and remove the surrounding panels using Shift + Tab. Then hit the “l” key twice to isolate the image. I want the least number of distractions in my selection process. I put my headphones on and go to town.


Once in the isolated loupe mode, I use the arrow pad to cycle through images quickly. Images load quickly because the Previews have already been rendered. Check out my previous article “5-Part Workflow With Lightroom CC Part 2: Catalog Management” for more on this. To apply a flag, strike CMD + Up Arrow; to remove it, hit CMD + Down Arrow. To reject it as an unusable image, strike CMD + Down Arrow again. I recommend using the least complicated method to reduce thinking about how to select, and just hit the correct key. Flags are very simple, but so is hitting the 6 key to add or remove the red label. You just need to apply an attribute to create a selection.


Develop Module


Once you’ve selected the images and applied the attribute filter, let’s start the editing process. Normally I apply a preset in grid mode to shift the images slightly from SOOC. This is my first step in editing. My article “Efficiency With Lightroom Presets” talks about creating and using these.


There are a couple of options for editing at this point. If you have adjusted capture times appropriately, we can edit all the images together. This is more time-consuming but ensures a once-over consistency. Another option is the “divide and conquer” method. There are many ways to divide or filter your images, but the popular way is based on camera serial number. You can go as far as filtering by lens as well. For now, I will filter by camera serial number.


I move into the Develop module by striking the “D” key. I am only interested in the History panel on the left hand side. This is the only panel I have dropped down during the second step of the editing process. I also strike the “Y” key to bring up my before-and-after preview mode. It helps to edit side by side with your SOOC to see how far to process it. At a second-step editing level, do not get stuck in the little details. You need to create consistency, not a stylistic or print-ready image. Think of second-step edits as proofs for a preview.


Editing Process


I begin by dropping down the Basic and Camera Calibration panels. Adjusting your camera profile is significant at this stage; if you don’t have a clue as to what I am talking about, read my article “Color Space Part 2: Getting Control With Your Color.” You need to change from Adobe Standard, especially if you have created a custom profile for your camera. After you have adjusted this, let’s move into the Basic panel and make adjustments to white balance, brightness and tonality.


First, I adjust the exposure to balance the brightness on the skin. From here, I adjust the tone sliders and move to white balance. I have a few options. The most basic way is to hover the cursor over the sliders and use the arrow pad to increase or decrease the effect. This works well on a laptop, and I find it to be the least mentally exhausting at a mechanical level. Good mechanics save you time.


You can purchase midi boards and expensive software to create a cinematic editing workspace. There is a cult following for this stuff—just Google it, and you will see. Along with this comes various keyboard shortcut customization software packages that can fine-tune your mechanics as well. Lightroom has default hotkeys for editing with the “,” and “.” keys to cycle between individual sliders in a panel. Increase and decrease the adjustment sliders with the “+” and “-” keys. To add or subtract half the adjustment value, hold down Option and “+” or “-,” respectively. Now toggle the right arrow to advance through the sequence.


Syncing images can be a huge time saver. Select the custom edited image and then select similarly shot images in a set. Strike Shift + CMD + S and choose the settings you wish to apply to the others. The images can then be fine-tuned. This gives them a specific direction to shift toward. If syncing the images makes them worse, it’s CMD + Z to the rescue.


After the entire job is edited, I walk away from the computer for a bit to reset my eyes. After returning to the catalog, I go to grid mode and proof the work. This is where Quick Develop settings can be applied to large sets of images that need global settings applied. Using the Shift key with the arrows allows only half the effect to be applied. For example, when you click the 1/3 exposure boost with Shift held down, it adjusts it +.17 instead of +.33, making it a 1/6 stop exposure increase. The same can be done with contrast, highlights, shadows, etc.




When it comes to processing images, efficiency in your workflow bridges that gap between less time spent and maintaining quality. Following strict mechanics and learning to let go of tiny details in this stage is the difference between seven straight hours to process this job versus two days of frustration. Trust me, I’ve spent more time processing a job than the event lasted in real time. There is work on the front and back end not accounted for, but this seems to be where the majority of time is spent.


Build a music playlist, grab some headphones and isolate yourself for a few hours to see the difference.


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

Starting Over: What to Do When Your Partnership Falls Apart with Jewels Gray

October 2nd, 2015



Starting Over: What to Do When Your Partnership Falls Apart with Jewels Gray


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.


Starting over—the thought of it sounds overwhelming. Imagine all the things you did to get your business going. Sometimes it can take years. Last year, I had no choice but to start over, and as daunting as it seemed, I’m here to tell you it can be done. You just have to be motivated to kick yourself into gear.


It sounded like a great idea at the time—famous last words. My husband was a photographer, but not necessarily good at the business side of things. I, on the other hand, had experience with business, marketing, and an office environment, and was also an artist through and through. So, after we got married, we decided to go into business for ourselves and start shooting weddings.


Of course there was a lot to learn, a lot we didn’t know, and a lot we didn’t do right. After struggling for five or so years, I found Sal. He and Taylor came through Denver, and I took their seminar. I thought to myself, “Finally! Someone willing to show me the ins and outs of the business, and in a way that I want to do it.” I was hooked immediately. Some of you out there know my story. After being on CreativeLive two years ago, my life has changed in so many ways.


My husband/partner and I had struggled since we started, continually wondering what we were doing wrong. I started implementing Sal’s business model, and I was ecstatic with the results. Finally, our numbers were headed up. Unfortunately, my husband was not as thrilled. I won’t go into the dirty details, but let’s just say we weren’t seeing eye to eye, and it created a big wedge between us. This is where things started to unravel. We tried balancing our work/life. We took classes on how to be in business with your spouse, and even went to counseling. It overlapped into our personal lives, and, after 13 years together, 11 years of marriage, eight years in business, and two beautiful children, we divorced last year.


Just because our marriage ended doesn’t mean our business did. We had contracts for 2015 we still had to honor. Sure, we could have returned all the retainers, but we were both dependent on those funds. We decided to remain friends and work together until the last contract was fulfilled. No matter what, we couldn’t risk tarnishing our brand. Our clients didn’t deserve that, and we wanted to keep the energy positive. As far as they were concerned, nothing had changed. I was still the point of contact for everything, and to this day, I handle all sales, meetings, product orders, delivery, accounting, taxes, etc.


When we decided to end it, I had to get my personal affairs in order. That’s when I started freaking out. How was I going to support myself and two kids? Where were we going to live? How would I be able to afford this break?


So. Many. Questions.


I sat down and went to work. I had no other choice. Even before I started packing, I started from zero on my new business, and hit the ground running. I didn’t have time to throw a pity party and feel sorry for myself. Failure was not an option. It all was exciting and terrifying at the same time.


Sure, I have some skills and things to fall back on, but I decided that the best path for me was to continue in the wedding photography industry, because I love shooting weddings. I took a leap of faith.


Since I did all the business stuff, I already had a good handle on what to do. It started with the logo, then came the website, setting up my S corp., business cards, and it went from there. I made lists—big ones. First, I contacted my friends in the industry and let them know I was available to second-shoot, do hair and makeup, anything.


I took another leap of faith because I didn’t want to meet clients at Starbucks, store my equipment in my tiny apartment, or have hair and makeup clients coming to my home. Of course, sometimes you have to do these things, and that’s OK. I just wanted more. I found a space in an up-and-coming neighborhood in a co-op warehouse, and prayed I could afford it.


Investing most of my savings and maxing out my credit cards on new and replacement equipment, studio samples and furniture for my new little studio was extremely stressful. I worked and worked on every aspect of my new business like a busy little beaver, and the inquiries started coming in. I was elated and relieved.

It’s now been a year since those leaps of faith. I am happy to report that not only did I match the goals that I had with my ex, but I exceeded them. In fact, as soon as I went out on my own, my business more than doubled. I have my theories as to why my business is doing well now, when before it was just maintaining, but I don’t know if I will ever know for sure, or if it even matters. I am in love with my brand and happy with my work. My clients are excited to work with me, and have tears in their eyes when they see their photos—this makes it all worth it.


But I still had to learn the side of the business that I didn’t do: editing, equipment, workflow, technical stuff. My partner was always in charge of these things. I have had my share of issues, but I’m working through them and learning how to streamline every little detail of my business. I have made some mistakes. Thankfully, they weren’t detrimental enough to shut me down, and I learned from them. I still struggle with workflow, but Evolve Edits (shameless plug, and no joke) has helped me out tremendously. In fact, I don’t know how I could have done it without them.


A few of my colleagues tell me how amazed they are at how I’ve done it all. How I just charged full steam ahead. How I didn’t look back. How I didn’t waste any time. How they couldn’t have done it. I just smile and say, “I just didn’t have any other choice—and yes, you could too.”


The bottom line is that if you’re not happy doing what you’re doing, do something else. If your partnership isn’t as strong as it used to be, then try to fix it. After all, you went into business with this person for a reason—what was it? Has your perspective changed? How are you going to address the issues?


If you’re unhappy, stop it right now—life is too short. If it seems as though the end is inevitable, figure out what to change. It’s not easy. It’s exhausting. It’ll leave you doubting everything. But do not let that hold you back. Have faith in yourself. Be strong and don’t let anything stand in your way.


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

Start Your Video Business Today with Joe Switzer

October 2nd, 2015


Start Your Video Business Today with Joe Switzer


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.


You know you need to get started with video and you passionately want to, but you don’t. You can’t use the excuse of not having the correct camera and lens. Almost all camera bodies record video, and they do it well. It’s a matter of pushing the record button instead of the photo click. Many of you don’t use video because you’re afraid. Fear of capturing interesting video and then editing it keeps you from trying. Fear should not trump the benefit of being a standout in your market by offering a combination of services that virtually no company is doing. It’s time to offer both photo and video to your clients.


Keep an open mind. Today is the day. Adding video to your business can double your revenue.


You don’t start at the top by filming a Hollywood movie. You can dream big, but you’ll have to pay your dues along the way. You will have to work your way up before you can be picky about what productions you want to shoot. Keep it simple. Our company started with slideshows, followed by transferring VHS to DVDs, and eventually recording video and syncing it with music. Even today, the bulk of our business is pairing video content with music. Maybe your style will be using audio with video to tell a story. Our approach has always been to produce short videos, two to three minutes in length. People don’t want to spend more than a few minutes watching videos online, so why spend a day or two editing 20-minute videos?


Keep it simple and say yes to everything in the beginning. You will develop a style and attract the right clients in a short period of time.


Where should your videos live? Facebook. This network is on its way to becoming the biggest company in the world. Video is a big part of its success and future growth. In Facebook’s most recent earnings release, video continues to be some of the richest and most engaging content for people and publishers. Facebook is focusing on getting more video in your news feed. The average Facebook user spends 46 minutes a day on the Facebook/Messenger/Instagram platforms. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t upload videos to YouTube, Vimeo and your website, but if you had to choose one for now, Facebook is simple and gets excellent results.


Companies you work with are not going to be advertising on television and radio like they have in the past. Here is your chance to get into the video content producing game and help your clients maximize brand exposure. It’s not complicated to upload and promote posts. Facebook’s Pages app makes it simple to upload and promote content with your phone.


Time and Money


How much time and money is this going to cost you? You can spend no time at all by hiring a video person, or you can take video yourself and hire a photographer to take your place. Give video a try, and if you don’t have the passion for it, then be the best photographer you can be and hire someone who does have the enthusiasm for filmmaking. Our Switzerfilm business is roughly 40 percent weddings and 60 percent corporate. On almost all of our shoots, we capture both photos and video, which saves us time.


How? Instead of photographing 50 weddings, you could do 25 and bring in the same amount of money. You will find that both wedding and corporate clients prefer working with one company that is in charge of both photo and video.


Don’t worry about spending a ton of money to get your video business started. It doesn’t cost a fortune to acquire the tools for filmmaking. You can get started with the basics for under $1,000. Start with a small video track, monopod and a tripod from eBay.


Basic Photo + Video Process


Let’s walk through a past job. We had two photographers and two filmmakers for a wedding. Our goal was to produce a compelling three-minute music video.


Your clients trust you, and know you have their best interests in mind. We consider ourselves only as good as our latest project. Because we film only about 20 weddings a year, we are very excited on these wedding days to create something special.


The journey I’m taking you on is our same-day-edit wedding video that we filmed over two days, edited and presented in San Francisco. We did a photo/video bridal shoot two days before their wedding, and then filmed on the wedding day. The video shoots were captured with a monopod, tripod, track and Glidecam. On the bridal shoot (which we call “Rock the Dress”), we began with a monopod to capture close-ups of faces.


We usually try to get the close-ups done while the bride has perfect hair/makeup, and we want her groom to be sweat free and fresh. After a few monopod shots, we got the tripod and track out to give us some variety. We use foreground to add motion when we can. For the track shots, we put the camera on the ground and on objects we were surrounded by, allowing us to move more quickly instead of using the tripod with the track for each shot, which takes a few minutes to set up.


We were able to go to two more breathtaking locations where we spent all our remaining time capturing our couple having fun. For both of these locations, we focused on getting wide, super-wide and mid-shots. Our goal is to always capture variety and make sure we all get our photo and video shots before we move to the next scene. We have photos go first, and then track shots, followed by motion with the Glidecam. It’s always easier to take the wide motion shots last. We don’t have a formula for the number of locations to film and photograph, but if a spot looks good, we capture all the footage we can.


Know Your Locations and Schedule


Have a clear plan for where you want to take your clients. We had scouted long before the day of this shoot. We gave ourselves about eight hours for this Rock the Dress session. This allows time for driving, breaks for the couple and unexpected traffic or weather issues. Video takes more time for setup than photo. You have more tools to carry, so always give yourself extra time.


For the wedding day, we start as early as we can. We offer unlimited hours, and our couples know that we are in charge of our hours. We arrive and leave when we feel it’s time. On average, we spend an hour on groom prep and about three hours on bride prep. For this wedding, all the bride and groom prep was filmed with a monopod and track. We had a dedicated filmmaker for the guys and another for the ladies. We started with wide shots in the room and worked our way closer. We’re constantly trying to find all the interesting angles in a room. If we can, we turn the lights off and move our subjects into natural light. We were limited with this bride prep shoot because we had about 40 people in the room who all wanted to see each other and not just sit in darkness. For the bride’s prep, we get extremely close to her as they put on the finishing touches with 50mm and 100mm macro lenses.


Next up is the wedding ceremony. Other than the unmanned safety camera on a tripod in the back of the church, we use two other cameras and filmmakers. One filmmaker spends all his time roaming the church with a track and Glidecam/motion stabilizer focused on mid and wide shots, while the other filmmaker uses a monopod and tripod and remains in the front of the church to focus on close-ups. The roaming filmmaker covers all the angles. Always think ahead and position yourself for the exchange of vows and other key parts of the ceremony. For this wedding, we were able to make it look like we had a dozen cameras documenting all the angles because we moved around. Don’t get lazy and think you have nothing exciting to film. There is always something to capture or prepare for.


The reception was very easy for us because we didn’t film highlights with tracks or a stabilizer. It’s difficult to fit reception moments in the video when it just happened only a few minutes ago, so we are always up front with brides and grooms by letting them know the same-day edit does not include any highlights from the reception. Couples are OK with this if you’re straight with them from the beginning. We did film full coverage, with two manned cameras on tripods capturing the speeches and some dancing. Most of our couples purchase our full-coverage add-on, which is about an hour or two, and shows the ceremony and reception virtually unedited. This way, the wedding couple can go back and see any speech or watch the vows in their entirety.


Toward the end of this reception, we announced that we were about to present the video. Guests surrounded the couple and watched the three-minute video with tears of joy and a standing ovation.


Maybe producing a same-day-edit wedding video is not your style. Maybe documentaries, corporate production or video self-promotion excites you. Remember that you already have the camera and mindset for this. You know what composition and lighting do for photos. The same rules apply to video. Your clients will have new reasons to follow and engage with your company. Start today and have fun with video while doubling your revenue along the way.


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

Photoshop Actions: Work Smarter, Not Harder with Kristina Sherk

October 2nd, 2015



Photoshop Actions: Work Smarter, Not Harder with Kristina Sherk


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.


Working in Photoshop can easily lead you down the rabbit hole. It’s often a time-sucking vortex. “I’m just going to fix this one last thing, and then I’ll move on to retouching the next headshot.” Uh-huh. Then you look at the clock, and somehow 45 minutes has just disappeared into thin air. Poof.


We want to make our clients happy by giving them an image in which they look their absolute best. This can be a slippery slope since it’s so hard to know when you’re truly done retouching a shot. The longer it takes you to retouch images, the more your hourly rate plummets.


That’s why learning to use Photoshop efficiently is so important. The software’s automation features are extremely powerful, and can save you tons of time. This translates into a higher hourly rate and less time in front of your computer. That’s a win-win.


Actions are a series of steps that you record to an image, and once you’ve captured all of the steps on one image, you can apply (or run) the same steps to any other image. Kind of like running your image through a Photoshop assembly line, where it gets prepped with all the different layers that you might need during your retouch. Instead of doing all of the steps yourself (like creating adjustment layers or adding masks), you allow Photoshop to do it for you. Then, when you sit down to actually edit your image, you’re not wasting time creating all of those layers on every image.


There are a few things that actions won’t record, like freehand brush strokes and some drag and drop commands. A good rule of thumb is to make sure every step you add to your action has a menu command that coincides with it. One way I protect myself from this is to have my History window open while creating actions. Each command that you add to your action (when recording it for the first time) should have a coinciding item that shows up in your History list.


Let’s create a short action step by step. Here’s an image I recently shot of a good friend.


If you can’t find your Actions palette, go to your Window dropdown menu and make sure Actions has a checkmark next to it.


I want to create an action that will tone down the highlights on her face, so the first thing I do is press the “new action” icon in the bottom of my Actions palette.


Let’s name it “Tone Down Highlights.” Then hit the record button. From this moment on, anything you do in Photoshop will be recorded by the action, so be concise about your clicks.


Now I create an empty Hue/Saturation layer by clicking the Hue/Saturation icon in my Adjustments palette. I double-click the name of the layer and change it to “Hotspot Removal.” Then I change the blend mode of my Hotspot Removal layer from normal to multiply in the upper left corner of my Layers palette.


This should make your entire image turn slightly dark. Next, we need to tell Photoshop (and the action we’re creating) which areas of the image we want this effect to shine through on (and thus darken those parts). Click on the white mask on your Hotspot Removal adjustment layer, and then click on your Select top menu and choose Color Range.


Inside the Color Range Dialog box, use the Select fly-out menu to choose Highlights.


Make sure Detect Faces is unchecked, and set your fuzziness to 20%. Slide the Range arrow almost all the way to the right so it previews only the brightest highlights in her skin. For this image, my Range slider was set at 191. Press “Ok.”


(A note on skin tone: It may make sense to make two or three of these actions for different skin shades. The highlights on darker skin tones may not fall into the same value range as Theresa’s. So if you created your action on a person with light skin and then ran the action on a person with dark skin, you may see no difference after the action is done running.)


You’ll notice that the mask on your Hotspot Removal layer has gone from all white to almost all black.


The last steps are to decrease the opacity of this Adjustment layer to about 30% in the top of your layer’s window, and then feather the mask using the Feather slider in your Properties window. I gave my mask a 5-pixel feather.


(A note on file size: Unfortunately, the feather command is not a “smart” command, meaning it is not relative to the size of your file. This means Photoshop will still feather the selection the same amount, 5 pixels, whether you’re feathering a selection on a 5-inch by 7-inch web image at 72 dpi, or a 20-inch by 30-inch Nikon D800 Raw file at 300 dpi. As you can probably guess, the feather amount on these two files would look completely different because of their different sizes.)


You can now stop recording your action. In the bottom of your Actions window, click the gray square to the left of your red record button.


In this shot, you can see the left side of the face has far fewer bright highlights than the original (the right side of the face).


To make sure your action works, delete the Hotspot Removal layer and run the action again. You should get the same result.


As you can see, we consolidated 10 steps into one button click that you can now use on any image in the future.


If you’re looking to find an action you can use as a retouching “outline” to help keep you on task and not get distracted while retouching portraits, I’ve created a mega-action that does just that. You can download it free at my website ( My Portrait in a Pinch Action gives you everything you could possibly need to retouch a portrait without lifting a finger. There are over 250 commands in this one action. The only thing you have to do is brush in the effects wherever you like.


Now that these folders have helped me retouch in hyper-speed, I can actually be productive and fly through my retouching. This edit took me four minutes and 30 seconds. Here’s the before and after.


Here’s a split view of the final retouched headshot. Not too bad.


There are a million applications for speeding up your retouching using actions. I guarantee they’ll help you become much more proficient and productive in your everyday retouching work.


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

Standing Out: The High-End Portrait Experience with Lori Nordstrom

October 2nd, 2015



Standing Out: The High-End Portrait Experience with Lori Nordstrom


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.


Everyone’s a photographer now. We all have a camera in our hands all day, every day. We’ve got creative apps that make our images look snazzy (and get the likes we all crave), and willing subjects everywhere we turn. I feel badly for those just getting into photography who want to go pro. It’s scary out there. There is always someone willing to do the job for cheap or free, so how does the professional photographer survive? How does she quit her “real” job and take care of a family doing what she loves?


The number-one problem professional shooters face today is being the same as every other shooter. We check out what others are sharing and the products they’re selling, and do what we can to be the same or even just a bit less expensive. So how do customers choose from among so many identical photographers?


The solution I’ve seen many successful photographers take is to offer a high-end portrait experience. Let’s look at what that means and how you can achieve it.


The high-end experience starts with planning. Creating systems for your business allows you to be confident working with clients. You get to decide how you will do business, and I encourage you to think through the entire client experience and write down your processes, the language that you’ll use with clients, answers to the questions they’ll have, how you will conduct sales and more.


Marketing and Networking


How will you get the word out about your business? The quickest way to reach the clients you want is to partner with other business owners who are already in front of the people that I want to work with. Do some planning. Think about who your target client is. Who do you want to spend time with? Who do you want talking about working with you? Once you’ve determined these things, start researching other local businesses and well-connected people who are already working with your perfect clients. Make a list of 10 of these businesses/people with dates on your calendar to contact them to ask for a meeting. Start building relationships and brainstorm ways to partner together to reach out to potential clients. When people learn about your business through a trusted vendor, they are much more likely to remember your name and keep you in mind.


“Since there are so many different platforms for people to market themselves these days, you have to find ways to cut through the white noise and get noticed,” says Ivan Misner, Ph.D., author of Networking Like a Pro. “If you can find it, a third-party endorsement will give you a powerful edge. It makes you stand out and lends you credibility.”


The First Phone Call


Once you’ve gotten the word out about your business, your phone will start to ring. The conversation that you have during that first phone call will set the tone for the rest of your relationship with that potential client. During this call, ask a lot of questions and get to know your client. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to assess her needs, answer her questions and solve her problems.


You’ll also want to let her know what she can expect in terms that are beneficial to her. Tell her you’ll be customizing her experience by personally designing wall concepts, albums or any other products you specialize in. I want to sell wall groupings, so I ask the client during this initial call to walk through her home and take snapshots of any wall she would consider hanging her portraits on. I ask her to text these over as quickly as possible, while it’s still fresh on her mind. I tell her I’ll be showing her my ideas for her home during our consultation call. After scheduling the portrait session, I tell her a little about the consultation call, the session itself and how she will view and order her final portraits.


In each of these steps, build up the experience and expectations for the beautiful home decor that she will enjoy every day.


The Consultation


I upload my client’s wall snapshots into PreeVu and create some wall concept ideas. (The session hasn’t happened yet, so these are going to be blank frames or canvases on her wall.) I then text my client something like: “Hi, Amy. I’m so excited to show you what I’ve designed for your home. How quickly could you be on Skype for our consultation?” Clients are excited to get on the call and see what I’ve created. If they can’t do Skype but want to meet quickly, I email over the designs and go through them over the phone. During the consultation, we discuss the wall designs as well as pricing for each. I share my vision for the grouping, which helps shape our plan for the session.


At this time, I answer any pricing questions and help them narrow down their selections to the walls and groupings I’ll be shooting for. This process is a game changer for when it’s time for the sales appointment. Big decisions have already been made, and clients are excited to choose the images in their groupings.


The Session


During the session, talk about things that are important to your subjects. You’ve asked a lot of questions and gotten to know them better through the first phone call and consultation. You can even do a bit of research on social media. Write everything down, or log it in your management software so that you can review before the session and again before the sale. The portrait session should be an experience in itself. Always be thinking about the memories your clients are making during the session. I want families to tell silly stories and talk about the things they love about each other. I ask parents to tell me their favorite character trait of each kid. They will tell you stories about each child that will lead to more stories, laughter and sometimes happy tears. All of these things will be remembered when they see their portraits, and the value has just been raised.


Another thing that keeps your sales in forward momentum is to chat about what you’re creating and why: “You all look so amazing. This is going to be perfect for that focal-point piece in your living room.” “This is going to make such a great conversation piece in your office.” You’ve already determined where the portraits will hang, so reminding them as you work together helps solidify those decisions.


The Sale


The order appointment is the funnest part of my job. I get so excited for my clients to make their selections, and that attitude is infectious. By being excited and positive throughout the sale, and making suggestions, my clients stay positive as well. Even when they say, “Oh, how will we choose?” I can answer, “This is the most fun for me. I loved creating your wall designs, and I’ll definitely give you my input on the images that will work best.”


The very best part about planning through the consultation and selecting their wall groupings in advance is that the sale then becomes all about the images. They have already made all of those difficult choices about where their portraits will go and even how much they are going to spend. After having followed this process for many years, I can’t imagine getting to the order appointment and expecting clients to make decisions without my help along the way. By the time they narrow down their images, it’s just too much. By making those decisions in advance, the sale stays upbeat and fun, and it goes quickly. I like to have my client’s orders completed in under an hour, and that includes chatting and snacks.


By putting a plan and system in place, you can ensure a high-end experience for your clients that they won’t get from most photographers. This allows you to attract the right clients, charge and profit more, and get those clients talking about you to still more clients.


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.

Family Values and Portraiture with Melanie Anderson

October 2nd, 2015



Family Values and Portraiture with Melanie Anderson


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.


I’m writing this month’s article at the beach. I took a few days with my oldest daughter, Sarah, to soak in the last few days of summer. I tell you this as a reminder to take time for you. Always take time to recharge. I find peace and clarity at the beach. It’s a place to refocus and regroup, allowing me to be all things to all those who need me.


This month’s issue is all about children and families. I am blessed to work with my two oldest daughters. In this article, I share my experiences working with them, as well as several tips on photographing children and families and the equipment I use. I hope you find this article inspiring and resourceful, and a reminder to keep family first.


Sarah and Emily


Sarah, 19, started assisting at the studio three or four years ago. Her role was to hold the reflector, greet clients and keep the studio clean. Last year, she took on more of a marketing role. Since she was the age of my senior clients, she was a valuable resource with her intimate knowledge of what seniors wanted in a photographer. This past summer, she took on the role of associate photographer. She shot 10 senior sessions, a family session, a few volume sports clients and anything else I needed.


Emily, 17, continues to assist at the studio. Over the next few years, she will be training as an associate photographer.


By encouraging my daughters to be a part of the studio and take ownership of their roles, I have given them skills above and beyond others their ages. I am challenged daily with clients, staff, marketing and finances. I include my children in the blessings and the burdens of running a full-time retail studio. It’s important to me that they hear any conflicts and understand the resolutions. These are what I call teachable moments. They have prepared them with life skills that will carry them far.


Family and Children Portraiture


Our studio here in Hagerstown, Maryland, is known for creating portraits of families and children. My favorite style is urban, either on location or in studio, and both modern and traditional. Our equipment includes reflectors, strobes and constant lights (ringlights and sweetlights).


There are a few reasons I like the urban style. First, my studio is located in the downtown arts and entertainment district. We are surrounded by alleyways, stairwells and brick walls. That’s why I chose this location. I love the textures and colors.


My location enables me to complete an entire family session in 15 minutes. My process is as follows: I shoot the entire family, siblings, mom/dad and then the kids individually. I have a system and style in place so that I can move quickly and efficiently. The images included in this segment were shot with a reflector.


My next favorite style of portraiture is on location at a park or in a field. Here I will demonstrate two styles, one using a reflector, the other with a strobe.


When photographing on location, there are a few things we need to think about. The first is the environment: Are we on private or public property? Where’s the sun? Because my choice of lighting is a reflector, I am always looking for open shade. But we need to be prepared for any circumstance. I haven’t always scouted out the location ahead of time; in fact, most situations I walk into, I have no idea what it looks like. I’m OK with that. I like to fly by the seat of my pants. So with that mindset, I always bring a strobe too. This way I can overpower the sun as needed, or add a main light to the ambient light. As I stated in the video, sometimes this choice is dictated by whether or not my power supply is actually charged. I need to be able to improvise.


When photographing families, take the time to showcase the bonds between siblings, spouses and parent/daughter and parent/son. These are such precious times to capture, and will add to the experience for the client and to your sale with additional portraits.


Get creative. Create collages and wall art with scripture or inspirational verses.


My least favorite style of photography is in-studio. Maybe because it seems so posed, maybe because I like fresh air and I feel more creative outside. Maybe it’s that I’m just not a fan of studio photography. It’s just not my strength. Regardless, as professionals we need to cater to our clients’ needs and be able to create any style of image they want. For generational portraits, I do like studio lighting, which is traditional and timeless.


In-Studio Modern


I like this style because it allows for more creativity. I use a space upstairs in my studio that is painted all white with huge windows and beautiful light. I have gorgeous hardwood floors that give a timeless feel and provide additional creativity.


One of the action plans I want you to implement this month is to photograph your family. When is the last time you had professional portraits taken with you in them? I do this once or twice a year during family gatherings. I love looking back and seeing the changes in the children. Some of these images were taken with the camera on a tripod using a remote trigger. For others, we asked a random stranger to “click the button.” Do what you need to do to capture this time with your family. Don’t delay. Trade professional services with another photographer if you need to.


In closing, let’s discuss some ways to get the word out about your family portraiture business. In previous months, I have discussed becoming part of your chamber of commerce, setting up displays and networking as much as possible. Create $100 portrait credits to pass out to anyone you feel would be a good fit for your studio. Think about people at church, friends, neighbors and marketing/networking groups.


3 Action Plans

Photograph your family. Trade services with another photographer if needed.

Photograph your pastor/minister/priest/rabbi, etc. Bless them with the gift of family portraiture.

Create and pass out 100 $100 gift certificates, good for a portrait credit in your studio.


As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, and keep me posted on your action plans.


Be sure to check out this month’s video segment, in which I walk you through my equipment and much more.


Want more information on this article? Get access to video content and additional supporting images. Launch the October issue of the magazine by logging in or signing up for a free account by clicking here. Shutter Magazine is the industry’s leading professional photography magazine.