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ShutterFest Educator – Bambi Cantrell
-Tell us a little about yourself and studio?Let’s start with the obvious: Yes, my real name is Bambi.
I’ve been a professional photographer for over 25 years, and own a wedding/portrait studio called Cantrell Portrait Design, Inc., which is located in the historic town of Benicia, California.
-How did you get into photography?
I’ve known since I was five years old that I wanted to be a photographer. When my husband and I got married, our wedding photographs were taken by an amateur with a good camera. That was a very poor decision. Our wedding photographs were terrible, and I was completely devastated. I’m the kind of person who always tries to look for the silver lining, and in this case, there was one. That experience made me realize I wanted to specialize in wedding photography.Log in to read more.
Blair Phillips – Pricing Your Way To Success
The constant pursuit of success is a common denominator that most of us share. Success can come to us in several different ways. There is no step-by-step handbook. One important way we measure success is by our profit margins. Money is not the only thing that we measure success by, but success seems so much more enjoyable with an influx of profit. Most successful photographers have spent years tweaking their pricing to pave the way for their success.You have to know your place in your market. It is very easy to assume you should charge a certain price for your products and services. I like to generally start with my needed profit margin and work my way backward. If there is no chance to reach the needed profit margin, your answer is right there in front of you. It is important to evaluate your pricing for all the products you sell and buy each year.Log in to read more.
Craig Lamere – Constant Fluorescent Lights
There are a million light sources and a million options out there today for shooters when it comes to studio and location lights. This month, I’m going to talk about one of my favorites: constant fluorescent lights.When I started out, I shot on the cheap, which meant using good old sunlight on location. Here in Idaho, you can’t really shoot outside between December and April, so I knew I would have to figure out a way to light inside. At that time, the only artificial light I was using was a speedlight, which I really didn’t understand other than to put it on my hot shoe and hit a button. I had not used strobes or anything else, so I started to research what I should get. I started reading and studying some of the different light sources: strobes, tungsten and fluorescent. I narrowed down my choice to either strobes or constant fluorescents. It was easy to rule out tungsten “hot lights” after learning how they could melt your modifiers and burn your skin, and because they take hours to cool down after shoots.Log in to read more.
Dustin Lucas – Efficiency With Lightroom Presets
In my past few articles, I stressed efficiency in workflow. Whether you are outsourcing your editing or painstakingly punching the keyboard all night, you need to take into consideration the time spent between the event and delivery. What’s your turnaround time?Without getting heavy into business practices, I want to focus on the digital side.After loading all your cards, backing up files and culling your favorite images, you are ready to begin the hours of editing, right? This is the time for your artistic abilities to shine as you treat all your images as separate works of art.So your question at this point should be: What’s the solution for editing artistically and efficiently? The answer: Lightroom presets!Log in to read more.
Joe Switzer – It’s All About The Music
Music. It’s all about the music. Let’s look at how to pick your soundtrack and how to edit to the rhythm of songs. Many of you have editing frustrations, like finding the song that matches your video. Some of you have trouble agreeing with clients over song choice. You might be the person who just picks a random song and lays it down at the end of the edit. I hear from many of you that you just dread trying to find music. In this article, I’ll show you how our studio goes about choosing that perfect song for every project. Finding the perfect song should be easy, fun and very rewarding.First, avoid letting your client choose the song, which can set you up for failure. Clients will likely choose the longest and hardest-to-edit song, which might be wonderful for listening to but a major challenge to edit with. You need to help your client choose the song. Secondly, licensing your songs from music websites that have limited music selections and genres can be a mistake. You need to be able to use everything from the newest indie music to instrumental, cinematic and popular music. The freedom to choose the best song that matches your project is of most importance. Lastly, waiting until the last minute to pick your song can ruin your edit. Wedding companies have told me they don’t care what song they use. This leads to a final edit that looks less professional because the timing of your edit doesn’t flow with the rhythm of the song.Log in to read more.
Lori Nordstrom – It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you! Networking for business success
The new year should hold promise, right? Why does it sometimes feel like the promise of ruin? For Eileen and me, during the early months of 2014, the future looked as bleak as those dark February nights when I began to wake up in a cold sweat. We had just come off a year of record profits, photographed two weddings in Europe, won awards, appeared on CreativeLive and were preparing talks for conferences, including ShutterFest. I should have felt on top of the world. Instead, engagement season came and went, and we had only three weddings on the books.Not 23, as expected. Three. Worse yet, we’d just poured our lifesavings into a beautiful house-studio combo, with an extra bedroom intended for a son; we had finally begun our adoption. Suddenly, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to feed the two daughters we already had. On those nights, I would migrate from the clammy sheets and onto my knees beside the bed, looking for direction and grace. For a while, it seemed I just got humility. I think God knew that’s what I needed.Log in to read more.
Michael Corsentino – Hard Light vs Soft Light Smackdown
Hard light and soft light are all suited up and ready to rumble! They’re both strong contenders, but at the end of the day, I think you’ll agree they’re both winners. They’re at opposite ends of the spectrum, one edgy and dramatic and the other soft, willowy and open. This month, we’ll explore their differences and how they’re created, and jump into the studio for a few examples of what’s possible with each.As you’ll see, they’re both beautiful in their own right, each with unique qualities, distinct flavors and emotional impact. Let’s start by defining the qualities of each type of light.• Hard light creates a rapid transition between highlight and shadow. Its hallmarks are dark shadows with crisp edges.
• Soft light creates a gradual transition between highlight and shadow. Soft light’s signature look is very diffuse, with soft-edged, open shadows.So what’s the real difference between hard light and soft light in practical terms? Shadows—that’s the whole ballgame! The slower the transition from highlight to shadow, the softer the light. Conversely, the faster the transition from highlight to shadow, the harder the light. With hard light, the transition from highlight to shadow is crisp and well-defined, and casts deep, dark shadows. With soft light, the opposite is true, with the transition from highlight to shadow happening very gradually, creating shadows that remain light, soft and open.Log in to read more.
Phillip Blume – Viral Social MarketingThe new year should hold promise, right? Why does it sometimes feel like the promise of ruin? For Eileen and me, during the early months of 2014, the future looked as bleak as those dark February nights when I began to wake up in a cold sweat. We had just come off a year of record profits, photographed two weddings in Europe, won awards, appeared on CreativeLive and were preparing talks for conferences, including ShutterFest. I should have felt on top of the world. Instead, engagement season came and went, and we had only three weddings on the books.Not 23, as expected. Three. Worse yet, we’d just poured our lifesavings into a beautiful house-studio combo, with an extra bedroom intended for a son; we had finally begun our adoption. Suddenly, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to feed the two daughters we already had. On those nights, I would migrate from the clammy sheets and onto my knees beside the bed, looking for direction and grace. For a while, it seemed I just got humility. I think God knew that’s what I needed.Log in to read more.
Sal Cincotta – How I Got The Shot
Last month we debuted “How I Got the Shot.” This month, we continue with the February cover shot featuring my model Heather. All right, let’s dig in.ConceptIt all starts with a concept. I get asked all the time where I find inspiration. It’s everywhere. You have got to be an artist and start thinking like one. Be curious. I love to look at images, movies, advertisements, painting, etc. And from there, figure out how you can put your own spin on it.
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Skip Cohen – Building Blocks
This series is called “Building Blocks” because, just like that dream studio you might build someday, each component of your website is another important structural element.Sadly, my frustration with many of your websites takes me right back to The Three Little Pigs. Too many of you have built your house of sticks and straw instead of bricks. You’ve built your site too fast because you knew you needed a website. That would have been fine, but you never came back to fine-tune the components.So, we covered demographics, design and your galleries last month. Let’s start with your next critical tab: your About page.Log in to read more.
Stacie Frazier – Go Big By Going Small
Whether you are already a busy studio or just getting your feet wet in the world of boudoir photography, mini-sessions can be a great way to help market your business, while generating extra revenue. These sessions (we call ours Haute Shots Petite Sessions) help tell the story of your brand, and also engage with a demographic that may have been previously neglected for a broader range of clientele.Why mini?Mini sessions can help build or boost your portfolio during slower periods. They generate buzz during time-sensitive events (like holidays), or can introduce a new studio set or location. Offering these themed sessions makes them more special. When creating a theme, take into consideration what you would like to portray or offer—for example, a special bed set that reflects a holiday like Valentine’s Day or Christmas, or even a general season like summer or fall. During nonholiday periods, promote a set that isn’t normally in your boudoir routine, like shower shots, artistic/implied nudes or sheet shots. If you are hip to trends, consider something that reflects a hot topic, like a sexy movie that is about to be released, a top television show or even a best-selling book.Log in to read more.
Vanessa Joy – Shake It Up: How to Head Off Marketing Stagnation
It’s natural this time of year to look at what marketing efforts worked last year and decide what to use again this year. It’s a good practice. The beginning of the year is always a good time to evaluate your marketing efforts and figure out what’s working and what you’re wasting time and money on. When we continually do the same things over and over, we simply get bored with what we’re doing—even if it’s working fine.There’s a fine line in marketing that tell us we need to stick with what works but at the same time keep things new, fresh and interesting. As photographers, we see that two-fold with our marketing efforts as well as in our photography. We need to keep consistent to keep our brand recognizable, but we need to shake things up a little to stay on top of the game and to make sure that our work and business aren’t getting stale. Staleness is death to a photographer.Log in to read more.
Kristin Korpos – Understanding Copyright
As a photographer, it is important to understand how the copyright to your images is protected. It is equally important to educate your clients so they understand what your copyright means to them.What is copyright?Our copyright protections all started with the United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, which states:The Congress shall have power to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.In plain English, this means that copyright is an exclusive right that is granted to the author or creator of an original work. This includes the right to copy, distribute and adapt that work. When a photographer captures an image, she is authoring a work, and becomes the owner of that image. As the owner of the image, she has the exclusive right to exercise control over that image.Log in to read more.