Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rechargeable Battery Tips

Do you know if you're helping or hurting your rechargeable battery's life? Different batteries behave differently and need to be treated differently in order to get the most out of them.

I'm not usually a person to go into the techie "tool" stuff - there are plenty of blogs out there for that! But, I feel like this is one of those things that might make your life easier if you knew a little more about it, so here we go!

NiMH: Nickel-metal hydride

The most common rechargeable battery when it comes to standard AAA and AA batteries. NiMH batteries come in a variety of mAh (milliAmp hours = aka power time), the higher the number, the more battery life you can get out of them. Some of the best mAh on the market right now for a standard AA rechargable battery is about 2700mAh- look for this info, usually clearly marked on the battery, before purchasing because it will make the biggest difference in how long you can use those batteries during a single charge.

When it comes to getting the most life out of NiMH batteries, you will want to use these batteries until they are completely drained, and then only charge them immediately before they are going to be used again. If you can't completely drain them, than simply let them sit uncharged until you need to use them again. If you charge them 24 hours before they'll be used, you should get a decent battery life out of them. If you try to charge them one week before they'll be used, you'll find that significant draining has occurred and lessened the battery life. The first few times you use this battery, it's strongly recommended that you let it completely charge and completely discharge a few times in order to get the most out of the battery.

Li-ion: Lithium Ion

This battery type is often found in cell phones, small digital devices, and professional cameras and video cameras. It is not currently available as a rechargeable battery in standard (AA) battery sizes. It has a higher capacity for mAh, and can produce a higher voltage than the NiMH batteries. Li-ion batteries are also much better at holding a charge over a long period of rest. When properly cared for, these batteries can last a very long time.

Li-ion batteries perform best when they are not fully drained. These batteries like to be charged regularly and perform best when maintained at a full to medium charge. Li-ion batteries do a MUCH better job of holding a charge over a long period of time, but only if they have a partial or full charge left before leaving them on the shelf to sit. If you do let a Li-ion battery fully discharge and then let it sit for a long time, you may find that it is unusable after it has been discharged below it's safe level. Li-ion batteries don't tend to develop a "memory" in the way that NiMH batteries do, therefor it is not necessary to fully charge and discharge this battery regularly, but it is recommended to complete the cycle from time to time.

All Rechargeable Batteries are affected by extreme temperatures and different types of chargers. It is recommended that you use a medium speed charger in order to prevent your battery from overcharging or undercharging too quickly. Rechargeable batteries should be replaced when their performance life has significantly decreased. If you have a device that is only used sporadically, you may prefer the life of a Li-Ion battery (even if it isn't rechargeable) over that of a NiMH. However, rechargeable batteries are ultimately better for the environment and for your finances when well-cared for.

*Special thanks to my Dad, aka "Battery Dave" for helping me pull together this info.

If your house gets taken over by your need to charge many batteries the night before a wedding, check out this awesome battery and charger storage and organization solution featured on Laura Eaton's blog! Click any image to see the original post..


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

lovecat party poll

Are you interested in a lovecat party in Vegas? Please respond using the poll below:



WPPI is the Wedding & Portrait Photographer's International Convention held in Las Vegas from March 16-20, 2008. See more details about WPPI here==> www.wppionline.com

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Subscribe by Email!

Now you can subscribe to this blog by email and get photo lovecat posts in your inbox! If you're reading this in a feed reader, CLICK HERE to visit the actual blog and use the email subscription form on the right to get new posts emailed to you!

I love using bloglines as my feedreader, but lately I've been so busy that the only things I've been looking at are the things that come through my inbox. Also, many of my own clients don't really track various blogs through a feedreader, so an email subscription is perfect for them because they get the blog content delivered directly and automatically to their email. The only email feeder option I've found to accomplish this with tons of additional features is FeedBlitz.com.

If you're a sporadic blogger (like I am with this blog, even though I'm very active on my personal blog), or if you find it difficult to keep a blog and a newsletter, this could be the perfect option for you and your readers! FeedBlitz.com has a lot of different options for customizing your feed and making it look more like a newsletter. You can also specify which posts get subscribed to by limiting a subscription to only certain tags.. for example, you could only have items tagged "personal" sent to a friends & family subscription, or only items tagged "portrait" sent to your portrait clients. You can also decide how frequently your blog gets emailed- if you post daily but only want to send an email to your clients once a week, you can set the frequency with which the posts are emailed. You can also track when your feed has been forwarded to others, and you can check click-through rates all within FeedBlitz! There's so much more, but I'll let you read about it on your own:



I'm just using the free option right now (which includes ads)- so you're welcome to see what it looks like by signing yourself up for new posts from this blog, and then you can unsubscribe safely whenever your heart desires! (Of course, I hope you'll love me so much that you won't... but I hate unnecessary email as much as the next person!) Check it out and see if this is something that will make life easier for you & your blog readers!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Free Resources for Small Business Owners

A lot of creative people don't go into business to run a business. They go into business because they want to make a living from their art, their passion. Well, if you're making a living from your craft, than you need to get real with yourself and face up to the fact that you are, in fact, a business owner and that your ability to make a living is dependent on the ability of others to pay for your product or service. Unless you've hired a manager, publicist, and secretary - YOU are the manager, publicist, AND secretary all rolled into one! So, what? Why am I making a big deal about it?

By becoming a business owner, you have joined a new "club" of people who enjoy working for themselves. Running a business certainly isn't the easy way out, but the more you know about business, the easier it becomes. In order to survive as a small business owner, it's important that you stay on top of the latest business trends, news, and information. While it's important to know about the latest innovations within your craft, many of the daily issues you face in your business are common challenges that all small business owners face, and your ability to handle those challenges will determine your success. Some of the best ideas for new ways to overcome challenges, market or brand your business, or create innovative products can be found by simply keeping up with the general business world at large and by staying current with the latest books and trends OUTSIDE of your own industry, because the clients you serve are being affected by the trends of the larger business market as a whole. The more you know about your client and the messages they're receiving from the overall market, the better you'll be able to identify and communicate what makes your service and product important to them. The economy is changing, not just financially or globally, but the decisions people are making and why they are making them is changing as well. To understand these changes and to find resources for running your business, I've put together a few links for you to check out...

Web Videos, Blogs, and Forums for Business Owners
Small Business Television
All Business Advice & Forums

Government Sponsored Web Resources (yes, your tax dollars pay for these!)
The IRS's Small Business and Self-Employed One-Stop Resource
U.S. Small Business Administration

Non-profit Small Business Resource Websites
SCORE: Counselors to America's Small Businesses
America's Small Business Development Center
Tool Kit

Online Magazines for Business Owners
INC
Entrepreneur
Fast Company

Blogs from Business Authors & Motivational Speakers
Tim Sanders
Seth Godin
Duct Tape Marketing

Randomly Interesting Things for Trend Spotting
Digg
Boing Boing

It's much easier running a small business when you know you have people you can talk to about your business challenges. See if you can find a local group of small business owners, perhaps through your chamber of commerce, who you can meet with on a regular basis to talk about these challenges. Sometimes it's easier to find business support outside of your industry, since people are more likely to share information when they feel as though their personal business won't be threatened by the competition. You may also find more creative and abstract solutions to your problems by simply talking with someone who looks at things in a very different way. Having a community of support will help you keep your business on track, and pull you through when times are tough.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Make It Easy for Clients = Saving Time & Money

I'm not one to normally rant, but yesterday I had a string of experiences that really frustrated me. What frustrated me the most was how time and money were being wasted because companies didn't make it easy enough for their clients to get what they needed, when they needed it. I guess part of this frustration has been spurred on by listening to The Long Tail, which talks about serving more niche customers in more immediate ways. Here are some of my recent frustrations, with proposed solutions. Hopefully one of these can directly benefit some of you out there, or at least encourage you to evaluate ways in which you can make it easier for your customers to get what they want, when they want it.

1. Be accessible
Someone buzzed my studio because it was the first one listed in the building directory. They wanted information about renting space in the building. I gave her directions to the landlord's location, but she probably didn't make it there. The landlord should have had their contact information clearly posted in the lobby of the building so that anyone would be able to get in touch with them immediately about renting space. They may have lost a potential client because they didn't make their contact information readily available, and they frustrated me- a current resident, by turning me into their personal secretary. They could even go one step further and post the current lease rates for their space so that only the interested parties would contact them directly- saving them time and money on potential inquiries that weren't eligible.

2. Give all the information up front
I received a notice in the mail about paying the balance on an account. The notice didn't say how much was owed, only gave a phone number and address. I called the phone number and it was busy. I called the phone number later and it was busy. I called the phone number the next day and it was busy. I shouldn't have even needed to call. If they had put the information about what I owed in the original notice, I could have simply written a check and mailed it off. Instead, I ended up in a series of frustrating phone calls with no response. I'm guessing that all of those busy signals were from other people trying to get the same information I needed. If they put the amount in the original notice, they could have saved their staff time spent on the phone, and maybe they would have had an open phone line to deal with more serious questions.

3. Be easy to navigate
In order to make a payment, I needed to go to a particular building so that I could talk to someone in person and find out what I owed. I get to the building and there's no signage to point me in the right direction. I'm trying to give them MONEY, and they make it difficult by not making it obvious where people need to go to talk to someone. I stop at the first door I see and bother someone who's in a completely unrelated department in order to find out where I need to go. I wonder how many times a day THAT happens! If you aren't going to have a receptionist in your building, at least have really good signs so that people get where they need to go without feeling embarrassed or like they're an inconvenience to someone else. Better yet, if you're in a building with a lot of other studios and there's no directory, but maybe there's an intercom- meet your clients at the door and escort them where they need to go.

4. Eliminate chances for confusion
When you're giving someone a count, always count down.. 3-2-1. If you count up 1-2-3... the people you're counting for won't know what number they need to be ready for (unless you tell them ahead of time) and you may have to start over. No one gets confused when you count backwards.

5. Pictures sell better than words
Pictures are quick and easy, words are only meant to provide additional information. I can't tell you how many product websites have completely lost my business because they didn't have a picture of what they were trying to sell. How in the world am I supposed to know if your product is one that appeals to me if I can't even see it!? If you don't have a picture of a product easily available to your customers, don't expect to sell that product. Help your customers make decisions quickly and easily by giving them as many visual references as possible. We don't all speak the same language, but we can better understand something if we can see it.

6. Speed up decision making with suggested packages/items
It never fails- I take forever to make a decision about what I want to eat when there are too many items on the menu. The more choices, the more time I spend pouring over the various aspects of each dish and how they may or may not appeal to my palette. Inevitably I ask the waiter what they recommend and hope to make a decision from that. It's nice to have options, but it's also nice to have a small selection of suggested items - like the daily specials to help narrow the selection and give me an idea of what's recommended by the chef/food expert. If you find that your clients aren't able to make decisions quickly about hiring you, or that they need more time to think about what they want, than you probably haven't made it easy enough for them to make a decision quickly.

What can you change to make things easier and more immediate for your clients?

Revised: Kim Kelley offered a GREAT suggestion in the comments below and I thought it was so important that I wanted to make sure it was included in the post!
"What's even more frustrating is when you offer feedback to the business, but then have to wonder if they even care what you think. I guess I would add, encourage feedback from your customers and actually listen when they offer it."

Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years in the corporate & non-profit world before pursuing her passion for photography. When not behind the computer or camera, she can be found exploring the world with her husband. Follow her on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Efficient Email Management

Managing your email efficiently is one of the small ways that you can improve your customer service as well as your time management in your business. I created a demonstration that provides some valuable tips about how to process your email by using some of the Getting Things Done principals. Click play on the video below to watch...


Here are some additional tips to help you manage your email and save yourself time...

1. Create draft emails, or signature templates for common responses.
For example, here are some emails that I have standard responses for: availability, pricing info, referrals for other photographers, pictures are ready, how to use online shopping cart, payment received, getting to know you questions, vendor information, etc. About 50% of the email I receive every day can be handled in less than 10 seconds by simply using one of my signature responses, yet it would take me about 3-5 minutes for each email if I did not have these signature responses in place.

2. Set a schedule for answering emails & turn your email software off at other times.
I'm incredibly guilty of answering emails as soon as they come in so that they don't pile up in my inbox, but I know that over the course of a day, each one of those emails is an interruption to other, more important work that requires concentration and focus. By simply setting a schedule in which I answer emails from, say 8-10 am and from 5-7 pm, while turning my email off during the other times (or by setting it to only retrieve email manually- when I want to check it), I am able to effectively eliminate one more set of distractions during times when I need to stay focused.

3. Delete, Archive, & Quick Respond.
If you know it's something that doesn't require your attention, simply delete it and get it out of your inbox so you can stop looking at it over and over again. If it's something that you're kind of interested in, but can't deal with at the moment and doesn't require action from you, archive it to look at later when you have more time. If it's something that requires a quick response or a signature template, just respond to it right then and there rather than filing it and creating a task for it later. JUST DO IT - get it done with, and get it out of the way.

4. Get to ZERO
Make it a goal each day to get your inbox down to zero emails (even if it means filing some). If you dedicate yourself to this concept, you will spend less time on things that aren't important, and work more efficiently on the things that are. At first it may seem like a lofty goal, but the more you practice it, the easier it becomes!

One of the best talks about Inbox Zero (it's an hour long, but worth the listen)...



For more great tips on managing your email inbox, visit... 43folders.com

If you have great tips to share about managing your email, please leave your suggestion in the comments below!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Lovecat: F-Stop Beyond

Ron Dawson recently started a new blog called F-Stop Beyond where he interviews the people behind the lens in photography and videography. His questions lead to inspiring stories about his interviewee's journey through life, art, and business. His first few guests have included:

Jasmine Star & Dane Sanders
,

Jules Bianchi


and Sara France


It's so inspiring when people take time out of their busy lives to give back to others while asking nothing in return, so I applaud Ron and his guests for their contribution to our community of artists and business owners. I can't wait to see who he features in the future and I hope you'll check it out for yourself!! CLICK HERE to visit F-Stop Beyond

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lovecat: Pay It Forward

Normally I wouldn't dedicate an entire post to just one other blog - but when Bonnie Creevy told me about the Pay It Forward Photo Blog, I felt as though it was definitely worth it's very own post since we share the same philosophy about helping others: to give freely, while asking nothing in return. ;-) The Pay It Forward Photo Blog is full of FREE photoshop actions, design templates, downloads, inspiration contests, interviews, etc. An amazing resource of freebies!!

Here are some of the recent downloads that were featured on the blog...
Swirly Border from Lindsey...


Christmas Card from Renee...


Chocolate Action from Heather....


What are you waiting for?! Visit the Pay It Forward Photo Blog now!! And if you happen to find it useful, hopefully you'll be able to give a little something back to those who helped you!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Graphic Design Templates for Photos

You spend so much time making your images perfect that there's often little time to also come up with graphic designs that will really make your work stand out! Thank goodness there are graphic designers out there who understand photography and are offering templates and designs so that you can just plug your images into something that's already simply fabulous!! Whether it's a holiday card, baby announcement, save-the-date, wall collage, graphic mat or border, marketing brochure, or even album templates, the following links are full of great ready-to-go design templates! I'm sure there are MANY more options out there, so please feel free to share great resources you know of in the comments!



Thanks to Jennifer Driscoll and ilovephotography.com for help with acquiring these resources!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Blog updates!

CLICK HERE to visit the actual blog if you're reading this in a feedreader!!!

I just wanted to draw your attention to some things that have been popping up on the right side of this blog, which won't show up in feedreaders...
1. Who are you Poll....
2. List of recommended readings to help improve your business
3. Photographer Blogroll - this is my BIG FAT HUGE list of photographer blogs, seperated by region.. I'm always adding to this as I discover more!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Leaping from Hobby to Profession

"When Free Is No Longer “Freeing”
written by guest blogger Lynsey Peterson

Most photographers have been there. So excited to have someone—anyone, not only willing to let you photograph them, but maybe even excited about it. Heck, maybe they even asked you to! Little old you with your yet to be determined business venture and your brand spankin’ new camera. You strap on your portfolio-building boots and head out…..again…..and again…..and again. But when is enough, well….enough?
I was talking to a friend of a friend the other day about pricing. Wait, backtrack: I hired a friend of a friend the other day. She is an interior design student who will graduate in the fall, has no “real world” experience, and no portfolio to speak of, and yet she quoted me her hourly fee without batting an eye. I have been a “professional photographer” (whatever that means) for 3 years and I still find myself doing freebies here and there. Why the difference?
In an effort to understand this, and myself, better, I soul-searched and came up with possible reasons. Why was she ready to charge people and I still struggled to know if I should, or even could?


  1. Confidence. Sure, I don’t know if she is any good. I mean, I haven’t seen a speck of her work. I suppose I could judge her based on her outfit choice. I mean how different could picking out clothes be from picking out say, a sofa, but even as I eyed her plain and pretty t-shirt and stylish crop pants, I couldn’t really figure out what makes her totally qualified to take my checkbook and do the shopping for my home that I am apparently not qualified enough to do. What did make me think I should take her seriously? The fact that she was going to charge me. The fact that she showed up with a figure in mind. Honestly, the figure could have been half or double—it was that she walked in saying “this is what my time is worth” that made me believe: hey, she knows what she is doing and she must be good at it.
  2. Which leads me to…..Knowing what your time is worth. I can appreciate that she took time out of her busy life to take on my project, why do I struggle to appreciate and value my own time? She arranged for a sitter, gathered supplies, put time and effort into my ideas before even walking in my door, and probably stressed, worried, and otherwise thought about it about as much as I do every time I leave my house with my camera bag on my shoulder. No one can put an exact dollar figure on their every minute, but I can respect that she had the forethought to think “this is what it will take for me to get enough out of it to be interested in doing it.”
  3. Self-Respect. Skye Hardwick recently said on a bludomain chat that she charges everyone except her parents and grandparents, because that is the only way they will respect her work and her as an artist. A very interesting way to see it. Here I was thinking that I was earning respect by basically donating my time and talent to the few people who were so bold to ask for or expect the donation. When you look at it like that, it’s hard to think that anyone who really valued your work, took interest in your talent, and wanted you to succeed, would ask for the quintessential freebie. And why do I want to work with people who don’t?
  4. To Make A Living. This is pretty basic. My interior designer/student/friend of a friend counts on these kinds of jobs to make her living. Her having an income is what makes her able to do what she needs to do to work: hire a sitter, purchase supplies, afford the time to work on it, and flat-out live. Even though she is just starting out, she understands that a job, no matter where you are at in your training, is still a job. Another photographer once asked how I got by with my pricing so low, and then offered the old you-don’t-really-work-to-earn-a-living-cause-your-husband-does. I have been fortunate to be in a place where I could start my business gradually, or even at all. But as I sit up until midnight editing, only to wake at 5am to care for kids who don’t go to daycare because I “don’t have a real job”, I can’t help but wonder, did this become a real job while I was busy working?


I don’t have the answers. I don’t know when a photographer’s work is “good enough” that their time and talent has monetary value. I don’t know at what point you have enough of a portfolio to hang your shingle and call yourself a full-fledged business. But I can offer this: I have started charging. Everyone. Prices that once seemed totally unreasonable for me to actually charge, and more importantly find people willing to pay, are now what you see on my price list, and I expect to raise my prices again before the end of the year. When my friends have babies or get married, I don’t offer to do it for free—I wait for them to call me. I stopped giving discounts, just because you know a guy I kind-of know. And you know what? My phone rings more than it ever did. Can’t help but wonder if everyone else was waiting for me to take myself seriously.

There are huge advantages for both me and my clients when I change. The biggest? It allows them, be them friends or not, to expect better work from me and me to know that I have to deliver the best I have. Do I work harder when I know it’s “real”? Honestly, yes. Do they make requests they may not feel they could if they were not paying me? Yes. Do I do everything I can to make sure that they are getting their money’s worth? Yes. Three years later I have decided that I’ve paid my dues, had great experience, learned how to produce a great product, and now can absolutely know that when I accept my fee, it is a fair exchange for valuable product.

But as my mom waited in my beautiful newly redecorated living room the other day for me to total up her print order, I found it in my heart to take 20% off her total."

If you aren't sure if what you have is a hobby or a business, please refer to this statement from the United States IRS:http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=169490,00.html


Special thanks to Lynsey Peterson for contributing her thoughts and experiences!! Visit her blog to see what she's up to next!

Monday, August 27, 2007

How to Outsource with Independent Contractors

In order to take your business to the next level and free up your pesonal time, you will at some point need to outsource part of your workload. You may need to contract the services of a second-shooter, editor, retoucher, graphic designer, or errand-runner but you won't want to pay their income taxes or social security benefits if they aren't your employee. You also won't want to do anything that could later be audited and determined as illegal. The solution? Two very simple tax forms. I know what you're thinking... simple + tax forms = oxymoron. It really is easier than you think, and it's totally worth it to keep your business legit.

First, you will want to collect a W-9 from whomever you pay for their work. It's as easy as printing out the form and making sure you have a completed copy from someone before you start paying them. Here's the form:
W-9: Request for Taxpayer Identification Form. If you are currently paying someone under the table, I would highly suggest asking them to fill out this form before they receive another dollar from you.

You should also make sure that the two of you have a signed agreement concerning the expectations or deadlines of the job as well as any individual or company privacy rights or protections. I may have samples of these for you at a later time, but for now I'm just focusing on making sure you're legit with the IRS.

All year long you should be keeping a record of how much you pay each individual. At the end of the year, if the total amount paid to one individual is more than $600 than you need to fill out a 1099 Miscellaneous Income Form for each individual and provide them with their own copy at the end of the year. (You need their Tax ID, which is why the W-9 form should be collected in advance of payment.) All of the instructions are included within the form and there's always additional help available directly from the IRS.gov website.

Why is it important to document this pay with the IRS? So that you can legally deduct the income you pay independent contractors, so that you don't end up paying income tax on money you never actually earned! Especially when you could put those extra tax dollars into your retirement fund!

There you have it! Two not-too-difficult forms and you've taken care of your responsibilities to Uncle Sam and relieved yourself of paying someone else's taxes! Why didn't anyone tell you how easy it was before? Now go out and get the extra help you need!!

*Special thanks to Carol Drake, CPA; and Nate Reynolds for their contributions to this topic.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Become a Google Business Rep

A few posts back I talked about listing your business locally online. Well Google has decided to take it to the next level by recruiting people and paying them ($10 per verified listing) to help build their online local business directories. This would be an interesting way to meet your local business neighbors as well as a chance to introduce yourself and your business! Check it out --->http://www.google.com/services/local-business-referrals/repfaq.html

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Great Website Templates for Photographers

As a follow up to my post about the Golden Rules of Great Websites, I thought it would be valuable if I mentioned a few companies that are producing template based websites that make it super easy to create and maintain a great website. A great website is an investment in your business, and whether you choose to create a custom website, or something based on a template, a great website can make the best or worst first impression of your work. The following list are companies who have built their business around providing websites that are easy to update and manipulate, giving owners greater control over their presentation without requiring knowledge of web coding or programming.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Protect Your Rights when Giving Files

As it becomes more and more common for photographers to offer high resolution files and digital negatives, it also seems to become more common that photographers are willing to completely give up their rights to their own images! You should never give away your copyright to your own work - unless you're selling it for a very hefty price and it's work that you don't need to be recognized for (as is the case with some stock or commercial work). In the case of portrait and wedding work, which you may want to include on your website or in your portfolio, you need to maintain your copyright protection on your images if for no other reason than to prevent others from claiming your work as their own.

One of the easiest ways to protect your rights is to include a Creative Commons License on the disk with your images. There are several different levels of the creative commons license which are customizable for different situations. My preferred license looks like this: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. By providing this license instead of a full copyright release, I am able to protect my own rights to the image, while still allowing my clients the ability to print and display the images for personal use. As an added level of protection, you can easily embed your copyright information in the metadata for each image upon import or export with programs like Bridge or Lightroom.

While all original work is automatically protected by copyright laws upon creation, there may be times when it is necessary to register your copyright. For example, when submitting your work for publication, or when photographing a celebrity or historical event in which your work may end up being widely distributed or highly sought after.

It would also be nice if we, as a community of photographers, could agree on some common language when referring to these different types of files made available to the client. In an effort to establish some kind of consistency, here are my proposed definitions along with some benefits and drawbacks to offering each to your clients:

Digital Negatives - these files are straight-from-camera files, exactly as they were captured, with no color correction, editing, or cropping. If files were captured in RAW, they are delivered in RAW. If files were captured in JPG, they are the original files as captured in sequence. By providing this type of file to your client, you are providing an unfinished work which can be both good and bad. On one hand, a client may realize that they are unable to process and print the images on their own (as could be the case with RAW files) and will need your assistance before creating any prints, on the other hand a client may take your unprocessed images and present them to others as a final work, which may in turn degrade the overall perception of your work.

High Resolution Files - generally considered to be at or above a resolution of 1200x1800 pixels, these files may be color-corrected, toned, cropped, etc. and are saved in a print-ready format such as JPG, GIF, or TIFF. Since these images are print-ready, there's a lesser chance of them being altered in an unfavorable way, however you still cannot control the calibration of the monitors or printers that your client is using to view or print the images.

If you're going to offer either of the above options to your clients, it is very important to educate your customers about the differences that can result when printing from uncalibrated monitors and printers, as well as the difference in quality between the products you provide and the products that they may purchase on their own. I highly suggest making sure that your clients are receiving finished prints or an album BEFORE receiving their files. This ensures that you've had a chance to print a product to your expectations before your client produces something on their own that may be a substandard product. You work hard to create your art and it is up to you to make sure it is being presented in the best possible way.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Build a Referral Network

Are you taking advantage of the referral network in your area? Are you linked into other photographers who are sharing their leads?

Every job that I can't take, I give to someone who can. About 50% of the clients who contact me are actually referred to another photographer because I'm already booked. I feel like I've disappointed a client by telling them I'm not available, so I want to make sure that I'm referring them to someone who IS available. Going out of my way to provide this extra service to clients insures that they will be taken care of and that their future referrals will stay in my referral network.

I wanted an easy way to know who was available. In the past, I had to visit several different websites or email photographers just to make sure I wasn't sending the client to a dead end. How depressing for a client to be rejected twice in a row! But now all I have to do is check my calendar online and I can see the availability of many different photographers all at once! I can easily see who is and isn't potentially available, making it quick and easy for me to send a referral onto the client. I'm 10 time more likely to refer someone who is linked to my calendar over someone who's not linking their calendar to mine. The important part of sharing calendars online is that it is quick and easy to make a referral.

This is a win-win-win situation. The client wins because they get great service from me and they find another great photographer to work with who will take care of them. The other photographer wins because they get a highly qualified lead that has a greater chance of hiring them based on personal referral and a new urgency to book soon. I win because I have just kept a potential client in my network of friends, knowing that future referrals from that client may come directly back to me! This is why your biggest competitor should also be your best friend- especially if their style is most similar to your own. The more people you connect with, the more you will see that there's plenty of work for everyone.

If you're already part of a local photographer's group, than you already have a great group of people to help you start a shared calendar network. If you don't have a local photographer's group, or would like to start sharing with another photographer in your area whom you've never met, I suggest making your first contact with that photographer a request to send business to them. You have to be willing to give referrals, not just receive them, in order to have a strong network. If they aren't sure about the idea, send them the link to this post. ;-) While most referrals will be shared with people who have a similar style and pricing, it never hurts to link with people who are above or below your price or who have a different style in the event that the client would be much better suited to someone different from you.

I've tried several different calendar sharing solutions and I've found Google Calendar to be the easiest cross-platform solution to use, with options for syncing to your cell phone, ipod, outlook, and ical. It also has an incredible amount of privacy protection allowing you to show full details or just availability, and to make it public or only available to those you invite to view it. To link into other photographers already using this network, first set up your calendar.google.com by importing your photography calendar from a program you already use, or by entering the information manually. Once you're ready to make your calendar available to others, simply add their email to your shared calendars list! Then, to keep your google calendar update without any effort on your part, use Spanning Sync to update it for you whenever you change your ical.

I hope that you find this useful - maybe in the future I'll add a video tutorial on using google calendar, but for now I really just wanted you to start setting up a referral network with the other photographers in your area!! This is a great time to get started since your 2008 calendar is likely to still be young in its development!

Also posted on: OSP & DWF

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Email Newsletters

Brand loyalty is often talked about in large retail companies, but it is just as, if not more, important to a small specialty company. Your past, present, and future clients are one of your biggest assets because they will help spread the word about your business and attract new clients in ways exponentially more powerful than any of your other marketing efforts. When a client falls in love with your business - they WANT you to succeed and they want to celebrate in your successes!

Newsletters have been a powerful business building tool for a looooong time. The coolest thing is that through the power of email, we no longer need to spend valuable resources on printing and postage to communicate visually with our client base. Wedding photographers are in a unique position because we are hired so far in advance- we have ample opportunities for building trust and loyalty in our brand before the wedding day even begins! One of the quickest and most effective tools is through email newsletters. But isn't that what my blog is for?? While many of your clients may keep up with your blog regularly, some are simply too busy to keep up with it as often as they'd like, which is why email newsletters are still just as effective as ever and can be a great way to sum up specific information you'd like them to know about. There may also be information which you'd like to share with your clients but not with the general public, which can be communicated through newsletters as well.

Here are just a few quick tips for how you might use email newsletters to help your business...
• Monthly updates featuring your latest work and favorite images to build trust with future clients
• Announce sales and promotions to generate additional income
• Run contests to drive more traffic to your website or blog
• Personalized newsletters for clients to forward to friends and family with links to purchase their images
• Share awards and publications to increase excitement about your service
• Create polls for feedback and suggestions to help evaulate your business strategies

In order to have the most impact, a newsletter needs to be visually appealing with minimal text (stick to headlines and short, easy-to-read paragraphs) and maximum images - especially if selling images is what your business is all about!! Here are a few great email newsletter services that can help add impact while streamlining your newsletter marketing efforts. One of the things that makes these services so effective is that you can actually track who opened, clicked, forwarded, or unsubscribed to your newsletters- giving you maximum feedback over the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Also, many of them make it super easy to get started by allowing you to upload a file of exported emails from your current address book. This is by no means a definitive list of services, but rather a few that I have found attractive. Each service is slightly different, so I suggest shopping for the one that will work best for your needs. If you need help understanding some of the terms, check out this wikipedia entry on email marketing.

Constant Contact
IntelliContact
Vertical Response
MyNewsletter Builder
JangoMail
My Emma

Here are some questions to think about before choosing a service:
- What is the fee and what is included?
- Do I want to use templates or have a custom design?
- If I'm using templates, how much customization of each template is available and is it easy to customize?
- What kind of support services are available if I have questions?
- Does the name of the email service show up in the email? How does that affect my presentation?
- Are the reports and statistics easy to read and obtain?

Perhaps using an email marketing service isn't the right answer for your business. You may find it easier to create your own html email or pdf documents from the software that you're already familiar with, which is entirely possible - though you may not be able to guarantee that all of your client email serviers will display it properly. Charles Bordner recently started selling .pdf style templates for customization if you need a little help getting started.

Let's not forget- sending a printed newsletter isn't dead!! While it could be potentially more costly, it can also be something which sets you apart, like it has for LaCour. Click play to see how they've used mini-magazines to build buzz around their brand...


Sunday, May 27, 2007

List Your Business Locally Online

In this world of instant access through online search tools, it is vital to list your business locally online. As gas prices continue to skyrocket, consumers will be less and less likely to travel a great distance or to pay for someone to travel to them and will instead be relying more and more on local services and doing more of their local shopping online before making a decision or stepping foot out the door to meet with someone. Aside from making it easy for someone to choose your services before meeting with you, you should also make it easy for them to FIND your business online (and your website)!! Search engines realize that they are taking the place of local directories, and they are changing their listings to reflect local directory access first when a city and state are listed in combination with any other search terms. If you haven't already done so, set up a FREE business listing with the top search engines! Here are some links to help you get started:

Google Local Business Listings
http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter

Yahoo Local Business Listings
http://listings.local.yahoo.com

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Golden Rules of Great Websites

1. MAKE A GREAT (BIG) IMPRESSION
No matter what you're selling, you'll sell more of it if you can show large, beautiful images of your product. Lucky for us photographers, the images are our products- so make sure that your images are large and wow the eye. The first impression should be biggest and best- which will set the tone for how the rest of your work is interpreted. When working in restaurants, I can tell you that undoubtably, the food that was pictured on the menu almost always outsold the food that didn't have a picture, or had a much smaller image. Is your competitor outselling you simply because they have bigger pictures and make a bigger impact? One word of caution - make sure your pictures aren't too big- just for the sake of being big. If a client has to scroll around in a standard screen resolution (1024x768 - 1280x1024) just to see one image, than it's probably too big.

2. SHOW WHAT YOU WANT TO SELL
While it is essential to show what you have done, it's even more important to show what it is that you want to do more of in the future. This means that the first impression you give the viewers of your website should suggest what you want to do more of. If you want to do more children's photography- put an image of a baby first or up front, if you want to do more weddings, make sure wedding images are the first things people see on your website. If you don't have any images of what you want to sell more of in the future, go out and make some- even if it means giving away a free session or hiring a few models. Just make sure that the first images a client sees on your website are consistent with what you want to do more of in the future. And if nothing else, get rid of any images that "old" or "outdated." If you have a hard time telling which images fall into these categories- have a teenager or college student look at your website and tell you.

3. MAKE IT EASY TO FIND INFORMATION
If there's one thing that has the greatest impact on a website- it's navigation. All of the beautiful products and images in the world cannot make up for a site that's difficult to navigate. Make it quick and easy for clients to get to the info THEY want to see. If you make it intentionally difficult, you have to make sure that you don't mind losing the attention people who don't have the time or patience to wade through everything to find their answers. This also means making your menu items easy to decipher. For example, I put "investment" instead of "pricing" on my website for a while and you can't believe how many people I had asking me for info about my pricing. What I thought was fairly clear and straight-forward was obviously not for the people viewing my website. If you find that you get the same questions over and over again from people who view your website, make the answers easy to find on your website so that you can save yourself time by not answering redundant emails. When it comes to pricing- if you don't want to lay it all out there, at least give a starting price and/or average package price to help clients determine if you're even in their budget.


4. TELL US WHERE YOU ARE

Your photography or products may be phenomenal, but if potential clients don't know where you're located because nothing on your website gives reference to your location, than you could be missing out on clients who are right in your backyard. That doesn't mean you'll miss out on destination gigs, just list where your business is based and that you're available for travel. Also, some people feel like they can trust you more once they know where you're from, which leads to my final point...

5. TELL US WHO YOU ARE
If your clients didn't care who took their picture, they would have gone to Walmart or JC Penny, and they wouldn't be searching through website after website to find the perfect photographer. They need to be able to trust the person behind the lens because they are putting some of their most prized posessions- the ones they save when there's a fire- in the hands of someone they may have never met. They are also going to be shelling out a large sum of money to hire you- so the least you can do is tell them a little something about yourself on your website. This applies even if you're a large studio, or a studio with multiple photographers. People just feel like they can trust you more if they know something about you in advance, or can find something that they can connect to, which serves a basic human need to feel safe. You don't have to share your whole life story, but you do need to be human and make sure you include a great, recent picture of yourself. If you want to get really fancy, you can even put a whole video interview on your website.

While many of these things seem quite obvious, I continually see photography and small business websites that fail to acknowledge one or all of these five golden rules. Don't let that be you!! Make sure that you revisit your website from time to time to make sure that you are constantly giving the best first impression possible. If you don't make a great first impression, you may never get a chance to make a second.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Royalty Free Music Resources

Before you use any resource, always make sure you check the usage rights so that you understand the limitations of each agreement.

Triple Scoop Music - a fairly large collection of great music from around thet globe, including popular musicians and grammy winning artists.

Stock 20 - search by genre, latest upload, or even featured artists

Red Beard Music - a site for more popular music artists to offer their music for a limited annual license at a very reasonable price.

StockMusic.net - searchable database of royalty free music, available by individual download or as a discounted set

Pump Audio - from Getty Images comes great artists and music for purchase and download

Royalty Free Music - subscribe, download tracks, or buy a CD of royalty free music

ShowIT Music - David Jay is passionate about finding and offering cool music that is royalty-free for photographers and videographers to use professionally

Soundtrack Arcade - a growing archive of royalty free music for a variety of genres

Granite Audio Pro - dedicated to professionally composed royalty free music for photographers and videographers

Music Bakery - a one time subscription with unlimited downloads

TrueTone Productions - pay per song acoustic instrumental tracks

PD Info - royalty free music library arranged by genre and ideal uses

Pod Safe Music Network - one of the largest collections of creative commons liscense music and artists

Pod Safe Audio - unsigned artists share their music for download

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How to Get Published in Magazines

To help me put together some advice on getting published, I turned to someone who has been published many times in more publications than I can keep track of: Joe Photo. Click play to see what he has to say!


Joe also has a great blog called "Cup of Joe", which he updates daily with inspirations and photos.

Amy Squires also gave me some great advice:
• Send the magazine editor a link to one of your best events to get them interested
• Make sure the event has great details and is fashionable
• Send a CD with a selection of images- but not too many
• Make sure the images are already corrected to your tastes
• Include a printed proof sheet of the images with reference numbers
• There's no money in submitting images to magazines

Granted, both of the photographers above are speaking of wedding publications, but there are some basic principals that can be applied to almost any publication. I've also learned a few things along the way from my mother who is a former editor, copywriter, and still acts as a publicist in her current position.
• Think about the type of person you want to attract and what publications that person would be most likely to buy and read
• Think like an editor and take a close look at the magazine you're interested in and the types of images that are being chosen by the editors for publication
• Submit current work and avoid anything older than 1 year
• Include contact information for the bride & groom as well as any other relevant details
• Include your business card and make sure your name and phone number are on the actual CD
• Make sure photos are 300 dpi, at least 5x7 resolution
• Choose the publication wisely and do not submit the same images to multiple publications
• It may take up to a year before your images are published
• Local magazines will have less competition for publication versus national magazines
• Photographers who advertise with the magazine are more likely to be published with that magazine
• Show them something they've never seen before
• Make it a habit to submit your work regularly

Now that you have lots of great information about what to submit for publication, the how should be pretty easy to find. Most magazines list their submission guidelines somewhere in their publication or on their website. In magazines, check near the table of contents or in the rear index. It's often in very small print with little more than an email address. If an email address is all you get- make sure that your first impression has plenty of positive impact and concisely requests any release forms neccessary. When you're looking on a website, look near the bottom of the page for a "contact us" link or an "advertise with us" link. Then look for submission guidelines.

Once your work has been accepted, make sure that you read release forms very carefully. You may not want to agree to all of the terms a publication puts in place. If you find something that you don't agree to, simply cross that part out when you send the release back. For example, consider the following:
• Will you be given credit by name for the work you're providing for free?
• How long will the publication have the rights to publish your images? (advice: make sure it's a year or less- especially in case of a divorce!)
• Are you giving the publication the rights to use your images in their own advertising?
• Are you positive that you will be maintaining the copyright and not transferring it?
• Are there any terms about exclusivity and not using the images elsewhere?

While submitting images from one entire wedding seems like the most logical thing to do, also consider creating a type of editorial out of images with a common theme. Perhaps there's a very inventive florist in your town who you would like to team up with and produce commercial images for, which you could then submit for publication. Think like an editor and create a compelling story with images that would appeal to both your ideal client and the publications they would read.

If you use the advice mentioned here and end up getting published, please leave a comment with a link to your published work so that we can celebrate your success!! Likewise, if you have any additional advice to add, please share it in the comments as well!! If you're a member of the following forum, you can also use the following link to view more throughts on this topic: DWF

Monday, April 16, 2007

Conducting Research

Just wanted to let you know that I haven't updated in a while because I've been doing a bit of research on a few different topics that people wanted to know more about! I'm in the middle of getting permission to use some material, which I hope to share with you soon! If there's something you're interested in reading more about - please leave a comment below so I can add it to my list of topics to research!

Note: I've updated several previous posts to reflect new resources and links!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Psychology of Pricing

It seems like the question of how to price photography packages and services comes up over and over for many people - even people who have been established for quite a while, so it seems like something we should really have a conversation on. Here are some of my thoughts - I'd love to hear yours!!

1. Understand the buyer you want to attract (aka target market).

    I can't tell you who your target market is because it's different for everyone (at least it should be), but I can give you some questions to help you think about how to price for your ideal buyer. Print these questions out and write down the answers. Yes, it's hard work and it's time consuming, but these are things you should think about in your business.
  • How will your ideal buyer find you?
  • Will anyone else have an influence over their decisions?
  • Are they bargain shoppers who will analyze each item and price?
  • Are they all-inclusive package people who want to pay for everything up front?
  • Are they likely to negotiate?
  • How much research will they do, and how will their research into other photographers affect their expectations of you?
  • What level of service do they expect (do they just expect you to show up, take pictures, and hand over a disk... or do they expect you to help them plan their wedding and make decisions)?
  • What does THEIR referral network look like and does that have an impact on the pricing they expect?
  • How important (honestly) are your services to them? (it's very easy to fool ourselves on this one... make sure you do a reality check)
  • What do their other purchases say about their values and how they make decisions?


2. What does your pricing say about you?

  • A la carte pricing tells the buyer: Do-it-yourself, include what you need, you can add on later (or not), my profit is built into my shooting fee and the rest is bonus
  • Package Pricing says: I'll help you decide, all-inclusive, pay up front, profits are built into the package as a whole.
  • Lowest Price Says: This is the minimum I'll work for.
  • Highest Price Says: If you wanted to get everything I think you should have, this is what it would cost. (This SHOULD be a dream number that most people don't actually pay. If your clients are booking your highest package- you need to raise the price on it.)
  • Middle Price Says: Just right- not too much, not too little. If you have several middle packages, you will spend more time helping the client decide which on to choose.
  • One Package Price: this is what I need to make it worth my time and this is what I think you need to walk away with, there's room for negotiation. (Be sure that you are comfortable with the negotiation process if this is your structure. Some people like it, some don't, and you need to make your pricing fit with your personal style of doing business.)
  • Retainer Fee: will your ideal buyer be able to have the amount in their bank so that they can cut you a check at your meeting, or will they have to save for a while in order to simply secure your services? How much of a commitment/risk are you asking them to take on securing your services so far in advance?
  • Payments: Can you take ANY form of payment to make it easy for the client to hire you? Do you allow flexible payments over time if the client is stretching their budget for you? Do you accept all of the money before the wedding day? Do you take part of the payment after the wedding day? Do you require any payment on the wedding day? What do those answers say about your level of service or the risk you expect your clients to take in trusting you?
  • Market Comparison: Where are your prices in comparison with your competitors? Do your prices reflect the quality of work and service that you provide when compared to your competitors?


3. The REAL costs and the REAL profits.

  • What are your COGS (cost of goods sold)? You NEED to know exactly what it costs for each product you offer before you can decide what the price needs to be. Generally, your costs should be no more than 33% of the price. Cost does not neccesaily include the time it takes to create the product.
  • What are the service costs associated with providing each product (goods)? (if it is something you currently do on your own, what would it cost to outsource it if you were ever too swamped or injured to do it yourself?)
  • Did you include tax, shipping, and packaging into your figures? Do you expect the client to pay those in addition?
  • What are your costs outside of your goods? How much do you spend on education, professional organizations, advertising, marketing materials, accounting, legal fees, phone, internet, travel, promotions for clients, photo contests, studio space, equipment upgrades, emergency backup services, etc. Add up the annual costs for these items and divide them by the number of jobs you want to take in order to find out how much of each job goes to your overhead.
  • How much money do you REALLY expect to make in reprints (after you've subtracted your COGS, shipping, packaging, and the cost of your time)? Could you sell a DVD of the images for that amount or more? Would the profit margin be higher? What would that say about you & your services?
  • How much is your time worth? How much is time with your family or friends worth? Are there tasks in your business that you're taking care of which could be done by someone you could pay less in order to free up more of your own time to work on things that only you can work on?
  • Are you REALLY the only one who can complete the project or task? Can you train someone else to do it if you had the time? If so, than you're really not the only one who can do it- and you have to consider how valuable your time really is if taking care of that task prevents you from doing other, more important things that only you can do- like making decisions about your business or building relationships with clients or vendors - or being a mom, dad, or friend to the people who love you.
  • Write down the list of tasks in your business that make you happy (or in your life for that matter) . Then write down the list of tasks that bore you or frustrate you. Then think about how much it's worth for you not to take care of those boring or frustrating tasks and where you might find someone who is happy to do the tasks you don't like, who may even do them better because they are happy doing them.
  • How much do you need to make in order to live the lifestyle you want? How much do you want to work in order to live the lifestyle you want? In other words, how does your overall cost of living get divided among the amount of work you want to take each year? How much net profit do you need from your gross income to take care of everything outside of your business?


I'm sure I've left out a lot of questions and things to think about - but hopefully this will be a good starting place. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well so that we can have a deep discussion about the issues at hand. Posted on OSP 3/14/07

Update: 11/8/08 Check out this great blog on the psychology behind why customers buy:
http://www.psychotactics.com/

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Painting With Light

Check out this awesome SPM video on Painting with Light, by John Michael Cooper (AltF).








Here are the basics of the technique:

  • A completely dark room
  • Low ISO - 100 ISO
  • Tight aperture - f13+
  • Long exposure - 15-30 seconds
  • A "snooted light" created by wrapping a dense and dark material around a lightsource to avoid light leak out the sides (like Sticky Black Craft Foam Sheets)
  • A handheld light such as a video light or flashlight
  • Tripod or table - whatever you need to make sure the camera doesn't move
  • A subject that can stay still (doesn't work so well with pets)




Once you've mastered the basics, play with the light in different ways:

  • Use different colored lights, or create a gel for your flash light by using wax paper and colored permanent markers
  • Turn the light off, move the subject in a different location and turn the light back on, all within the same exposure for a double exposure effect
  • Try using the light at different angles to create different effects and highlight different parts of the image
  • Vary the intensity of the light in different places by being closer or farther from the subject with the lightsource
  • Create spotlighting or selective lighting by turning the light off when moving from one part of the scene to another
  • Create shadows and silhouettes on walls with objects off-camera
  • Draw pictures with your light source
  • Have fun with things like sparklers, glow sticks, and other light emitting goodies


Check out the cool things that Polite In Public has done with light painting!


View more inspiration on the Light Paint and Light Painting Flickr Groups!

Share your experiments on your blog and post your link in the comments section below to improve your Search Engine Optimization and to share your mad skillz with others!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Professional Photographer Album Resources

Professional albums can be one of the most overwhelming things to figure out because there are so many options out there. My biggest advice to someone wishing to carry albums is to keep it simple. Find an album that works best with your style and stick with it (provided they have good turn around times, customer service, and quality). Most clients aren't concerned with which album maker you use, because they trust you are providing them with a quality product. If you're going to offer several different albums, make sure you know why you're offering those options, and what they say about you and your business. It may be a good idea to offer an inexpensive coffee table album if you're dealing with clients who are on a budget, and it may be a good idea to offer something that's highly customizeable if you're dealing with clients who will pay to have something unique. Know your clients, know your style, and choose your album(s) based on that knowledge. With that said, here are some album resources for you! I'll update this list over time as I learn of new resources. Feel free to leave comments about your favorites as well!

BINDING
There are several different types of binding which will have an effect on how your images appear in the album, as well as how your clients will handle the album. (Please note: the terms used below are not standard book binding terms.)
  • Pinched Glue Binding: double sided printing on single pages are stacked together and glued down one edge creating a "pinched" binding. Parts of the image will disappear into the center of a two-page spread and the book will not lay flat when it is opened. This type of binding is most common with paperback or softcover books as the pages need to be glued to the cover to reinforce the strength of the binding. People tend to hold this book in one hand, and then flip throgh the pages with the other - similar to how they would view a magazine. (This can also be referred to as a "perfect" binding.) It has become more common to see in hardcover books recently, but due to the binding, it may come apart more easily in a hardcover book.
  • Stiched Book Binding: most often used with hardcover library books is a stiched binding which clumps multiple pages (double sided and printed as 2-page spreads) together and then stiches them with thread to a binding tape. These books may lay flat when open if the cover binding is structured for that use. Depending on the size and weight of this book, it is either handheld or laid flat with pages turned one by one- faster or slower depending on the perceived delicacy of the pages.
  • Folded Page "W" binding: pages are printed on a single side as a two-page spread, are folded, and then bound together by gluing each page to the next. Reinforcement is given to the spine by gluing the spine to a binding tape which gives the pages flexibility to lay flat when opened. These books are often a little too heavy and stiff to simply hold and flip through, so they are often laid out flat and viewed as full spreads.
COFFEE TABLE ALBUMS These albums have images printed directly onto a double sided, flexible, thin page. Most common printing for a coffee table album is CMYK or InkJet. Binding is either stitch book binding or pinched glue binding. Advantages: very affordable, lightweight, thin page thickness allows for many pages. Disadvantages: less durable over time, colors may vary in printing, clients have easy access to similar albums which may affect their perception of the overall value of this product.
Here's a video from The Wedding Travelers on the difference between a Coffee Table Abum (Asuka) and a Flush Mount Coffee Table Album (VisionArt)... FLUSH MOUNT COFFEE TABLE ALBUMS This is somewhat of a hybrid product in that its pages are thinner than a flush mount library album, but are thicker than a coffee table album. The printing is often done on either true photographic paper or on a dense fine art paper. Each page is printed one sided and is then scored and the pages are glued together to give each page more strength. Advantages: accurate photographic color, medium page thickness allows for more pages. Disadvantages: images may deteriorate over time in the scored creases.
FLUSH MOUNT LIBRARY ALBUMS This album most often consists of photographic pages which are permanently mounted to a dense cardstock or plastic page, resulting in very thick pages. Photographs can be split in the center of a spread to avoid creasing distortion. Advantages: very durable pages, books are more likely to lay flat when open due to binding. Disadvantages: number of pages are often limited due to the thickness, albums can be very heavy (this could also be perceived as an advantage when considering perceived value of product.)
Here's a video from Lori Compass on YouTube, showing an example of a Flush Mount Library Bound Album with a collage design... MATTED ALBUMS Even though we group all matted albums together, there are actually different types of matted albums for you to consider. There's a slip-in matted album which allows you to order your mats and album in advance and you simply fill in the holes with your images, and then there's a mounted matted album which requires you to send the prints to the album maker who then mounts the prints into the mats for you, or creates custom mats for your images.
CUSTOM ALBUMS These album makers don't exactly fit into one of the boxes above. They provide custom products for clients who value originality and customization and are willing to pay extra for that luxury.
SELF-MOUNT Self-mount albums can either look like matted albums or flush mount albums, but the basic principal is that you actually mount the images yourself. This is a product which you can purchase in advance and then create a custom album almost on the spot for a client.
Here's an example of a self-mount album, with slip lock pages.. ALBUM DEALERS
ALBUM DESIGNERS
ALBUM DESIGN SOFTWARE
PHOTOSHOP ACTIONS & TEMPLATES FOR ALBUM DESIGN
ALBUM DESIGN DVD TUTORIALS
DIY ALBUM CONSTRUCTION w/ John Michael Cooper The example shown is how to create a flushmount coffee table album.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...