read along as I learn the art and business of wedding and portrait photography
First of all… if you have a website you should be using Google Analytics. It will help you see how visitors are finding your website. For example, it told me that somebody found my page after searching “child photographers st louis“.
Curious to see how many pages down the list this person clicked to find my link, I went to google and did the search myself. This is what I found on page 1:
How cool is this?!?!?!?!
I don’t know how this happened so fast!
I can’t say enough about Facebook and social networking either. I got a call on Thursday from a guy who saw my pictures on another friend of mine’s profile. It’s a genius marketing tool for photographers.
Instead of typing it twice, I’ll just link to the post I wrote about the guy who called and what I did with The Studio.
Here’s a picture too:
Also I’ve been working on my first Album…. benjamintrevor.com/album-test-page. I’m designed it to be made by Irisbook. Abbie Rudolph and Katherine Corea gave me some super special tips and suggestions (which I have yet do anything with… I’ve been busy with the studio this week).
And finally, benjamintrevor.com/animoto-test-page. I’d heard of Animoto before, but I gotta give Bart Lillie props. After I saw what he did with it, I had to give it a try too.
That’s it for today.
Thanks for reading!
About a year and a half ago… long before I decided to get into photography professionally I purchased my current monitor.
Sure, it looked nice. It was big. Shiny. And it wasn’t too expensive. It’s a Samsung. They make nice TVs. Why not?
As I started to take photography seriously and realized the prints coming out of my printer did not match what I saw on screen. So I got a ColorMunki… but things still weren’t right. The colors were close but the brightness was WAY off.
Obviously a print is going to be darker by nature (it doesn’t EMIT light)… but it was bad.
Then I started having my prints done at a pro lab… could be the printer right? (even though I used the ColorMunki on that too).
Still too dark. WTF? I spent damn near 500 bucks on this stupid calibration tool and my prints still don’t look right.
Then I started to notice something while sitting at my computer… if I changed my position relative to the monitor, the image would shift in brightness. To the left, to the right, up, down… it wouldn’t take much, inches really, to see a shift in luminosity and color.
So… until I can afford a REAL monitor, this is the angle that I have to put my monitor at in order to get the prints to match what I see on screen:
Now, I’m not that tall. My eye level while seated is directly across from the screen’s center.
Lesson: Do not purchase your monitor for photo editing at Best Buy.
I’m pretty good with computers. I have Windows machines (but I do love the Mac) and I know my way around them fairly well. Often, I’m the guy friends and family turn to when they have problems with there computers. Like web design, I know just enough to get me in trouble. When I say trouble, I mean I can figure most things out it just takes me a LONG time.
For some time I’ve been wanting to access the hard drives on my desktop computer over my wireless network with my laptop. I’ve also wanted to find a better anti-virus program other than Norton. All of this stuff is no big deal, I could figure it out if I wanted to spend the time to figure it out… but I don’t want to spend the time.
So, Lisa Mandel recommended her computer guru Kenton Klein of HealthyPC. He came over and in less than one hour networked the drives I wanted, dumped Norton for a FREE anti-virus system called avast!, pointed me to Casper to backup my hard drives with, and cleaned up all the junk programs that start up every time I turn on my computer. My laptop is running like new again.
So, my point is… FIND A COMPUTER GURU AND PAY HIM/HER TO CLEAN UP YOUR SYSTEMS. It is worth it, trust me!
If you live/work in the St. Louis Metro Area, I highly recomend Kenton. Here is his contact info:
Kenton [at] thehealthypc [dot] com
Scout Bourne hosted one of the classes I attended at Imaging USA in Nashville a few weeks ago. He was one of the few speakers not selling anything… workshops, training DVDS, books, etc… (no offense to the speakers who were).
I don’t have time to go into too much detail right now but two of his recent posts are particularly interesting to me right now:
Give them a read and subscribe PhotoFocus.
St. Louis Bride Magazine hosted a bridal show at Windows Off Washington last weekend. I didn’t have a booth but I stopped by to do a little networking with other vendors. My good friends Liz and Kristie of L Photographie had a super fun photo booth set up for all the brides-to-be…. I might not be getting married but who am I to pass up an opportunity to wear a Tiara and white boa? Not to mention have my photo taken with/by two of the best photographers in St. Louis!
This is my new business card. I just picked up the order yesterday from Diversified. 250 shiny new mini-ads for me to hand out all over St. Louis.
Lesson #476 – Do NOT submit business card orders at 2 AM… when you’re tired… the last two digits of my studio cell number were completely wrong. Totally my fault. I fixed it already (the image above is correct).
I am so smart!
As photographers, we spend a lot of time in our car driving around to location shots and consultation meetings. All that mileage needs to be tracked. I tried out the mileage apps for the iPhone: MileBug, FYI Mileage, and Shansa File-A-Mile.
MileBug is by far the best. It may seem complicated bit it’s pretty easy to use. There is a free version which has a 10 trip limit. But full version is only $3.99. They have a website too: www.milebug.com
You can track trips by separate category (business, personal, medical, etc), you can change the mileage rate, track expenses (tolls/parking), and more. The app will export the forms below directly from the iPhone (if you have email enabled). You can just cut-n-past the following tables into excel. It’s pretty sweet. You can even export ONLY the business trips or only the Medical trips. You can have the data sorted in different ways too.
Shansa File-A-Mile uses the iPhone’s GPS, a great idea, but it was mileage was “as-the-crow-flies” not actual driven miles. And the export systems isn’t nearly as awesome.
FYI Mileage was pretty good but it’s export function isn’t as cool as MileBug either.
I swear I don’t work for these people. I’m just a new photographer who likes helpful technology. I think they made a great product that can help save us money in deductions and an IRS headache down the road.
Benjamin Trevor Photography
I know I have a lot to blog about after the Imaging USA conference last week but I want to get this out there while it’s on my mind. It seems many photographers have dropped offering 4×6 Proof Prints (or at least don’t include them in the standard packages) and only offer online proofing. Initially, this was going to be my plan too but I’ve decided to include 4×6 Proofs in all my packages.
Before Christmas I took some portraits of my friend’s family. A few weeks later his family and my family got together for a holiday dinner. I thought it would be nice to bring some prints from the photo shoot to share with everyone. I printed about 20 4×6 prints at home and brought them to the dinner. They were a hit. As I watched their faces light up as they thumbed through the prints and passed them around the room, I realized they wouldn’t have the same experience if they had to crowd around a computer monitor to see the proofs.
On top of that, his wife took the prints with her to work to show off her baby. A woman she works with has since gotten in touch with me to photograph her family. I HIGHLY doubt this would have happened if I just posted them in a gallery online. Of course, an online proofing, sharing, and ordering system is indispensable but the cost of the prints is easily offset by the tactile and emotional experience of sitting around a kitchen table with your family choosing your favorite shots. (Not to mention the advertising it brings when those proofs are shared with friends.)
So there’s my pitch on a nice set of 4×6 proofs in a nice box included in every wedding and portrait package.
Thanks for reading!
I had a GREAT weekend in Nashville at PPA’s ImagingUSA conference. I will write more about it later but for now, here is a shot of all the hand outs and stuff I walked away with. I certainly learned a lot
Thanks to Paul Nordmann and Kurtis Hall of Nordmann Photography for driving me around and putting up with me.
Extra special thanks to Lisa Mandel of Lisa Mandel Photography who invited me to join her conference.