Photography Business

Maximizing Facebook as a Wedding Photographer

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Running a successful Wedding Photography Business involves marketing and promoting your services to get more clients. Love it or hate it, Facebook is an important element to use in a well-thought-out marketing plan. In our How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business Guide, we dedicate a few pages to Facebook alone. Because it can be so powerful, there are many documented ways to use Facebook for your business, and we have 5 ways that will maximize your Facebook experience as a wedding photographer. [···]

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Our Secrets of Blogging Webinar with Jeff and Erin Youngren

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Attract more clients through your blog with the best kept blogging secrets! Come join us for this FREE webinar, supported by WPPI and hosted by our President Jared Bauman and Blogging Pros Jeff and Erin Youngren! During this blogging webinar, Jeff and Erin will unlock the secrets of successful blogging to generate more clients. They will share the tools they use in their systematized blogging workflow that helps them blog regularly and effectively. Some of the topics include: [···]

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Fast Turnaround Time makes you Money

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We live in a world loaded with information and innovation. Our lives have changed drastically in the past few decades with the increase in technology and available data. And nothing has changed more than the photography industry. On the journey from film to digital, everything from gear to capture to edit to share has gotten faster. At ShootDotEdit, we believe the faster we return your images, the faster you can get them back to your client. The faster the client receives their images, the happier they will be, and the more your business will benefit. We believe Fast is Best for your wedding photography business.

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Which Annual Plan is Best for You?

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At ShootDotEdit, we know that your photography business is as unique as the images you shoot. No two businesses, like no two weddings, are the same. Because of this, we offer multiple pricing plans so you can choose what’s best for you and your business! In order to fully explain the features, advantages, and benefits of our plans, we have gathered insights and knowledge to share with you from our clients: wedding photographers just like you. These professional photographers have partnered with us using our UNLIMITED and our Rollover plans, and they have all agreed that it has saved them both time and money, provided greater image consistency, and even offered them peace of mind! [···]

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6 Fast Ways to Improve your Workflow Speed

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At ShootDotEdit, we believe Fast is Best. We polled our post-production specialists and trusted professional photographers to find 6 ways to help you improve your workflow speed.

1. Use Photo Mechanic for culling

As mentioned in our “How to Grow your Wedding Photography Business” Guide, Photo Mechanic is a great tool for viewing and culling through your images quickly and efficiently. Touted as the “fastest view for digital photos,” it can save you hours from your culling time and can then be exported to your editing program of choice.

2. Use Lightroom 5 with Smart Previews for Faster Upload & Download Times

The Smart Preview technology that was introduced in version 5 of Lightroom is revolutionary. It allows you to create a Library and render Smart Previews from your full resolution images. Smart Previews allow you to share your library and rendered previews without having to worry about attaching the large source images. Because of this, the Smart Previews can be sent to a trusted partner like ShootDotEdit in a fraction of the time.

Related: A Simple Checklist to Help You Integrate ShootDotEdit into Your Workflow

The Smart Previews can then be edited here at ShootDotEdit and sent back to pair with your high resolution images for export to clients. The upload and the download back can all happen in under an hour, compared to a full 8 hour overnight upload/download (or even longer in some cases)! Jared Platt does a great job explaining this further in our Lightroom webinar.

3. Use Quick Develop to Add Edits on Top of a Group of Images

When you receive your images back from ShootDotEdit, we always encourage you to add your own Signature Style on top of the custom color correction. Using the Quick Develop module in the Library tab in Lightroom allows you to make these signature changes to a group of images relative to the edits already made. You can make these changes much more quickly with Quick Develop than you could if you had to edit each individual image in the Develop tab.

4. Create Presets for your Actions and Workflow

If you utilize the same actions and/or edits over and over, you should create presets to help streamline the process. You can create presets in most editing programs, but we highly recommend utilizing Lightroom to create and use them. Combining the power of the Quick Develop module with custom presets can allow you to work at the fastest speed possible, all while maintaining your unique style and vision.

5. Keyboard Shortcuts & HotKeys

While we highly recommend editing in Lightroom 5 for speed, you can find Keyboard Shortcuts and HotKeys in all editing programs. In our Aperture webinar, Sara France gives a great description of how to create your own customized shortcut guide for Aperture. In Lightroom, you can find the Shortcuts under the menu “Help -> Lightroom Module Shortcuts.”

6. Take Fast is Best through your Entire Client Workflow

By choosing to partner with ShootDotEdit, you know the custom Color Correction portion of your overall client workflow will be back in as fast as 48 hours. Take our Fast is Best mentality and extend it throughout all of your tasks. Assign specific time limits for yourself. Consider the different tasks within your client workflow, and assign each of those tasks a specific time limit. For example, after a shoot, give yourself one to two days to cull and submit to ShootDotEdit. Once you receive your images back, allocate one day to add your Signature Style, 3 days to upload to your proofing site and deliver to client, and then one week to blog. You know how great it feels to get your images back from ShootDotEdit? Your clients will be just as thrilled with that fast turnaround time. Because nothing makes clients happier than getting their images back. The faster, the better.

RelatedHow Fast Turnaround Times Create Client Evangelists

Becoming a Fast Is Best business starts with finding ways like this to speed up your business workflow. Once your workflow is optimized, stick to it for every client. You will be amazed with what a consistent system will do to make you and your clients happier. You will immediately see the benefits of doing quality work fast.

Discover additional ways to create a fast workflow with our Guide, 27 Simple Hacks to Transform your Wedding Photography Business!

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Top 5 Tips for your Aperture Workflow

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ShootDotEdit is the only post-processing company to offer a fully integrated workflow for Apple’s Aperture professional photo editing software. Recently, ShootDotEdit hosted a webinar with Sara France outlining the finer points of Aperture and how to use it in conjunction with ShootDotEdit. Sara, on top of being an amazing wedding photographer, is an Aperture expert, sitting on the Apple Advisory Panel for Aperture. In addition, she designed the ShootDotEdit Workflow available for download. She shared her Top 5 Aperture tips below.

1 – Referenced vs. Managed Libraries

Whether to choose a referenced library or a managed library is a hotly contested issue within the Aperture community. Sara explains how a referenced library is created: by choosing to store files “in their current location” when importing images into Aperture. A managed library is created by choosing to store images “in the Aperture library.”

Sara highly recommends using referenced files both for ease of use and overall speed. She recommends using a referenced library when working with images that are to be sent to ShootDotEdit for color correction. When you package a referenced library and the corresponding previews for submittal, you can choose to include the high resolution files separately. Then, when ShootDotEdit has completed the color corrections, the library and the previews are sent back to you without the large image files. This saves you time on the return download. Then, utilizing the merge feature in Aperture helps you to sync up your high resolution images on your system with the returned library and preview from ShootDotEdit in almost one click.

Sara further offers her recommendations and preferences of using a referenced library in the webinar. If you currently use a managed library, she also does a great job of showing you how to work with a managed library to get the images out and over to ShootDotEdit. Sara also explores how to change a managed library into a referenced library and vice-versa.

2 – Merging Images in Aperture

As long as you have not changed the file names of the images since your submittal, the merge feature can be done in just a few steps. Sara explains that after downloading and opening the ShootDotEdit library, a dialogue box will appear, asking to connect the previews to the actual images. By selecting all of the preview files and matching them to their original high resolution files stored on your system, Aperture will do the rest of the work to merge the libraries together! The ShootDotEdit library with the color corrections will then be available for you to view and modify.

Related: ShootDotEdit is the only place for Aperture Users

Be sure to check out this section of the webinar to see a merge in action. If you happened to go in and make some changes while the library was out for post-processing with ShootDotEdit, Sara gives some great advice on what to do if a pop-up box appears asking you to choose your edits or the ones made by ShootDotEdit.

3 – Using Smart Albums to customize a Template for your Aperture Libraries

Aperture allows you to modify existing templates and duplicate them for use in every job you do. Sara recommends first downloading the ShootDotEdit Aperture Library template and using that as a starting point for your own customized library template. Using Smart Albums, you can build custom albums that auto populate when you mark images with any combination of flags, stars, or rating. A great example Sara uses is this: create a Smart Album called “Featured” and then set it to populate with any images that you rate as 1 star or above. Smart Albums can even use tags or EXIF data to build custom collections of images based on your wants. By customizing these Smart Albums and adding them to the ShootDotEdit library template, you can customize a robust structure to use in your workflow over and over again.

4 – Adding your adjustments over ShootDotEdit’s Custom Color Correction

Once you have received your color corrected images back from ShootDotEdit and merged them into your library, Sara recommends adding your signature style on top of the ShootDotEdit changes for your featured images. Sara believes in the 90/10 model of outsourcing: let ShootDotEdit do 90% of the work, knowing that Aperture will allow you to do the final 10%, the important personal touches. The possibilities are truly endless, allowing your style to shine through.

5 – HotKeys & Shortcuts

A valuable tip for all Aperture users: Sara reveals how her favorite shortcuts and hotkeys make her more efficient at culling and editing in Aperture. She even recommends customizing hotkeys, allowing you to create your own unique workflow. This can allow you to work as fast as your own shortcuts will allow!

She also offers her custom shortcut keys with purchase of her extensive Aperture 101 class with Creative Live. We recommend watching her Creative Live class if you need more Aperture exposure beyond the great tips she offers in our one hour ShootDotEdit webinar.

Bonus – Time Syncing

Of course, we couldn’t leave it at just five. Sara recommends using a Smart Album to time sync multiple cameras quickly and easily prior to doing any culling or editing! This is a great thing to learn if you have more than one shooter at an event and need to sync everyone together. You can filter by the camera’s serial numbers and then sync during one special moment. (Sara recommends the kiss at the end of the wedding ceremony, since it is the point where all cameras should be aimed at the same place at the same time.)

Related: Sara France’s Aperture 101 Creative Live class

This is only a short list of the many tidbits of information presented by Sara France. Whether you are a seasoned Aperture user with a set workflow looking to speed up your editing or new to Aperture and looking to start fresh, Sara has something for everyone to learn.

For more tips on how you can improve your business this year, download our updated guide, How to Grow Your Wedding Photography Business: 2015 Edition!

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Our FREE UNLIMITED PLAN winner – interview with Katy Gray

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In January, we were so excited to partner with ShootProof and offer a free year of the UNLIMITED plan as part of a joint giveaway. Katy Gray of Katy Gray Photography won our portion of the prize, and we had a chance to sit down and talk with her to learn more about her business and how she is enjoying working with ShootDotEdit.

Katy lives in Jackson, WY, with her husband and two boys, ages 5 and 2. She runs a busy household while maintaining a successful photography business. Katy tells us that her summer wedding season runs from the fourth of July until the end of September, because in June and October you run the risk of snow interfering with the traditional Jackson Hole outdoor wedding! Katy lives and breathes weddings in the summer and enjoys the snow in the winter and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Describe a day in the life of Katy Gray.

“Get up and get the kids ready and fed and off to preschool and daycare. If it’s winter, maybe head out to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and snowboard a little. If it’s summer or if I have an off season wedding to work on, sit down and spend the afternoon culling or working on album design. Then get the kids, eat, family time, bed! “

What was your initial reaction when you discovered that you won FREE and UNLIMITED editing for a year?

“Disbelief. Followed closely by excitement!”

Now that you have free UNLIMITED editing for a year, what areas of your business do you plan to focus on?

 “Honestly, I’m looking forward to the extra time to spend with my family! Business-wise, though, I’m planning on networking heavily, really pushing images out to other vendors and encouraging them to use my (watermarked, of course) images on their blogs and websites.”

Katy had used another company prior to making the switch to ShootDotEdit. She was worried about the time commitment needed to change her workflow to add in ShootDotEdit but found that the ShootDotEdit Color Consultants and Customer Experience team were wonderful in helping her get working fast.

“It was a bit intimidating at first, but we got a system worked out, and I was super pleased with the results. I got the first DotPreview back from ShootDotEdit, and I was really happy with it! There were some challenging images in there—blown skies, lots of snow and shadowed faces, and ShootDotEdit did a great job.”

How long does it typically take you to edit a wedding?

“Using Photo Mechanic, I cull a wedding in 2–3 hours, maybe less once it’s fully into the season and I’m back in editing shape. Then when I get my edited files back from ShootDotEdit, I take a run-through in Lightroom, making sure there isn’t anything in there that shouldn’t be and doing some micro adjustments. I convert to black and white at this point as well. Since I outsourced, I probably spend 6 hours getting a wedding ready to show to the bride and groom and another 4 hours working on their slideshow and album.”

What inspired you to become a wedding photographer?

“My own wedding photos. I had just graduated with my photography degree the year before and didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my degree until I saw our photos and realized how fun it could be to photograph people. So I pestered our wedding photographer to let me second shoot with him at a few weddings, shot a few for friends, and have been all systems go since then.”

If you could be any super hero, who would you be and why?

“Definitely Batman or Ironman. They’ve got the coolest gadgets.”

If ShootDotEdit were a super hero, who would they be?

“DOTMAN!!!!”

We do have a super hero mascot—and we call him DOTMAN! Here is a picture of DotMan at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro with another ShootDotEdit Photographer, Corrado Amenta.

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Thank you, Katy! We are so excited to partner with you on your post-processing for this year and hopefully beyond!

Are you interested in seeing how UNLIMITED editing can help your business? Click HERE to learn more!

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How to Book your Dream Client

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every wedding you shot was with clients that you felt you had known forever? If each of these events could have been taken right out of your dreams? Building a successful photography business doesn’t mean you have to work with just anyone who will book you. Engaging with your dream clients can become a reality in just a few easy steps.

Visualize

It may sound strange, but before you can find the perfect client, you need to know who you are and what kind of photographer you want to be. Reflect on your passions, on the things that you truly love. Imagine your perfect work day. Really think about the details of what you love to do. Identify what you do and don’t want to do. Think critically about who you want to work with and why.

Photographer Kellie Coughlin shares:

“I’ve found that I have to BE my dream client in order to attract my dream client. Whenever I am in the position as “consumer” or “client,” I make every effort to treat that vendor exactly how I want my dream client to treat me. And when I have a client who I find less than dreamy, I take time after our interaction to really meditate on what made that client someone who I didn’t want to work with.”

Specialize

Author and specialism guru Jeff Jochum says in his book, Work Happily Ever After;

“Anyone can copy what you do; no one can copy who you are. In truth, it’s not magic, though to outsiders it probably looks like it. The essence to making Specialism work for your business is that you must stand for something other than ‘making money’ to make this happen. Your WHO becomes your primary differentiator, and the real value of your business. We call this ‘YOUniqueness.'”

If you love the outdoors and love shooting outdoor ceremonies—go after it. If you’re an editorial city-lover, focus on that clientele. Don’t think of specializing as limiting yourself—think of it as channeling your passion into what you do best. Doing so allows you the best opportunity to work with people and places that you love. When you enjoy what you are shooting, your clients will notice and refer you to their like-minded friends and family.

Publicize

Once you’ve identified who you are and what you want to photograph, make sure to advertise the point. Have an “About me” section on your website that discusses your passions. Talk about them on your blog. Reach out to other related sites to network. If you love weddings that feature a dog as the ring bearer, perhaps do a guest spot on an animal shelter blog about how to structure the day to be best for the dog. Most importantly, show the kinds of images that you want to shoot in all of your marketing. Becoming known as an expert in your particular niche will attract like-minded people into your life.

Sarah Roshan, a wedding photographer based in Colorado shared how she has used these steps to book her dream clients:

“Booking the perfect clients started becoming a priority for me for about a year and a half ago. I was booking great clients but not at the price point that I wanted.

Specialism was key for me. I declared on my website that I only photograph romantic mountain weddings for carefree couples. Sounds great, but it was real and authentic to who I was. I am a mountain girl who sees the world through rose colored romantic glasses. I changed my bio to state only what I stand for and who I am instead of what I do, and something amazing started happening. It started bringing me exactly the type of clients I want.

The game changer for me was understanding that the only thing that makes me different than every other photographer in the world was that I am me. No one can be me. People generally want to work with people that are similar to themselves, so by putting myself out there authentically to the world, the absolute right people began to call me and book me, most of them in a twenty minute conversation over the phone.

I was attracting such a specific client that I ended up with 2 brides that had the same tattoo within the same year. The tattoo: the directions to Neverland—a perfect example of my ideal, romantic, carefree client. Both couples paid my fee with no questions or push back, and I had an absolutely wonderful time working with them.

Declaring who I am on my website has been life-changing. I have become more of who I want to be, and my clients help make me more of who I want to be too. I am working happier, with amazing people who appreciate me and my work.”

Following these key concepts will help you to identify and attract the perfect client for you and your business. Are you ready to get started? We’ve compiled some questions that will help send you in the right direction.

  • Identify five features or traits that exist within your Dream Client.
  • Determine three areas that are essential to who YOU are, the elements that construct your YOUniqueness.
  • List three action steps that you can start working on immediately to personalize your brand and begin booking your Dream Client.

Booking clients to your wedding photography business is the best way to grow your business! To learn more marketing tips and tricks that will intrigue your clients, download our Guide to Marketing for Wedding Photographers!

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3 Reasons you haven’t considered in partnering with a Specialist

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Deciding to partner with a Specialist in your wedding photography business is a big commitment, and not one to be taken lightly. In previous articles, we have shared some reasons why you should trust a Specialist. We’ve also shown a glimpse at how ShootDotEdit in particular, has been able to streamline other wedding photographers’ workflow and to help them run a more profitable business. Other than the most obvious reason of saving time, here are three additional reasons you may not have considered when choosing to bring an outside partner into your business.

Specialized Focus

When building your photography business, you made a choice in your specialization. You took the time to get to know what story you love to tell through your images and created a business around it. This was a strategic decision to increase your productivity and your profitability. Not to mention, you may enjoy shooting weddings far more than portraits or products. Now, think about that logic with your post-production work. Specialists are trained in the science of color correction. This is something they have chosen to excel in.

You may dread spending hours working on editing your images, but the experts at a company like ShootDotEdit can help to ease this pain point. By using their expertise and knowledge, especially of the science of color correcting, it will get done faster. This will allow you to reduce your overall client turnaround. Then you can spend those hours invested in your specialty and let them invest in theirs.

Artistic Freedom

If given the opportunity to spend 8 hours capturing beautiful images, or 8 hours working on color correction… what would you choose? It’s not really a hard question. As a professional, your time is valuable. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed especially in the busy season, feeling that creative spark dimming slightly in the face of how much work there is to be done. By finding a specialist and sharing the load, it can free up your time to do what you do best. Invest in others to be able to profit from the freedom that their help will offer you!

Increased Consistency

You probably don’t really think consistency can be a reason to work with an outside partner. Many photographers can change styles from one click of the shutter to the next! But being able to deliver consistent quality, every time, and the ability to have all of your images match your brand is a big benefit that you might not notice. ShootDotEdit’s color corrections are complete and custom, and by utilizing the 90/10 method it allows you to focus on that part of the process that you do best: the artistic edits and finishing touches that bring the images to life.

The bottom line is that your business, like your photography, is unique. You bring your own signature style to your customers and that’s what makes them want to hire you. Partnering with a Specialist, finding ways to streamline your workflow and maximize your time, can help you devote more of yourself into your passion for photography and build the business of your dreams.

Download our free guide to learn all the different areas a Specialist can help you in your business!
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