Intro by Skip Cohen
Photodex makes some amazing products, but they're far more than just a great software company - they believe in helping you raise the bar on your skill set and your marketing efforts. I found this post on their blog and got approval to share it with you.
I've worked with Amanda for a lot of years and while she could have written this post entirely by herself, she chose to contact some of the best wedding photographers in the business. There are five outstanding tips in this post, but there are more. Let me know what you do to "wow" your clients and we'll add it to the Photodex list.
In the mean time, check out the ProShow Theater for some incredible examples of great ways to add more "wows" to your client relationships.
Amanda's Profile: Amanda works in Photodex's marketing department and heads up the company's pr and events efforts. She loves photography, living in Austin and making slideshows.
We're right in the heat of wedding season! So, we reached out to a handful of seasoned pros and asked them to share what they do to go the extra mile and really ‘wow’ their wedding clients. Read their advice below!
1. Be More Than Just Photographers
One of the ways we wow our wedding couples is to just do all the little things better, not just be photographers. We show them that we really want their day to be the best ever. That means being there for them when things don’t go as planned. Maybe the groom could use a hand with cuff links or his tie. Maybe the cake table doesn’t have dishes and forks when it’s time to cut. Maybe the bouquets could use water when they are placed at the wedding party table. Maybe we nudge the DJ to get things going when we sense the guests are getting bored. It’s all the little things that add up. The better the wedding, the better our pictures will look. As photographers, we’ve seen lots of weddings, we know when it’s time to step in and give a hand. – Stacey Chance, Discovery Bay Studios Wedding Photography
2. Under Promise and Over Deliver
Brides are extremely excited about the work and anxious for everything. The worse thing you can do is promise something and not deliver on time. For example, we like to post a sneak peek on Facebook shortly after the wedding but when the bride’s asks about it, we always say it should be a few weeks after the event. Usually, it’s a few days! That’s the same for delivery of the proof set, products, you name it! It’s not a matter of lying or making up things – be realistic about all of the things that could go wrong with your business (or god forbid your personal life) and take that into account before making promises! – Steven Somfalvi, Artage Pictures
3. Surprise Them
Similar to under promising and over delivering, always have some surprises ready for your client. It definitely enhances their experience with your studio and it reconfirms that they are important to you. It can be a free print, product upgrade – really anything. We advertise in a national magazine and they send us a box of them to hand out. Every bride who comes through the door gets one and they just love it! – Steven Somfalvi, Artage Pictures
4. Create Excitement at the Reception
We produce same-day slideshows at every wedding. It’s a total surprise to the couple. The bride, groom and their guests are totally floored and I’ve booked weddings of bridal party members because of them. I use ProShow Producer to output to MP4 on to a flash drive and loop it on an LCD flat screen TV at the reception. – Joe Pulcinella Photography
5. Be Passionate
My secret to wowing the bride and groom and the complete wedding party is being passionate about the wedding day. To me, a wedding day is the most important day in a couple’s life, just after giving birth to their child. I want the experience to be memorable. Quality of photography is very important to bring to the wedding, but your personality is the secret to making the day more memorable. I never demand anything from the wedding. I work with what I got and I make the magic happen. Ego and attitude should never be part of a wedding photographer’s personality. – David Zumaya, Weddings at California
Intro by Skip Cohen
Over the years I've written a lot about entering prints in competition. While it's not something that appeals to everybody, it's something I wish I could convince everybody to do a few times. Here's why...
First, it gives you an opportunity to focus on your passion for imaging. Your bread and butter, for example, might be high volume school photography, but your passion might be landscapes. Entering your work in competition is similar to the importance of special projects. It helps keep you focused on your creativity, instead of the necessity of your business. For some lucky people, those are the same, but for most of us, there's another aspect to our love for the craft that doesn't necessarily pay the bills.
Second, feedback on your work is so important, even to the most established and seasoned professional. Actually winning and having your work recognized is terrific, but there's a lot you'll learn along the way. And, whether you agree with the opinions of the judges or not, it's simply another experience I believe can help you grow as an artist.
Steven Churchill is responsible for the Art of Photography Show and we first met many years ago. Since then I've watched the show continue to grow and over the last few weeks I thought it would be great to share his perspective on artists competing.
Entering prints in any kind of competition isn't for everybody, but even the most conservative and guarded personalities will typically find that little adrenaline rush you get, when sending off an image for competition, a kick.
I first met Skip many years ago, at about the same time we began the Art of Photography Show. I appreciate him suggesting that I share some thoughts about this project.
The Art of Photography Show is an international photography competition, with the exhibition occurring each fall at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park. Now in our ninth year, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the competition is that our judge is always a highly acclaimed museum curator. Most photographers feel that having their work exhibited in a museum is the ultimate goal. Yet, getting exposure to museum curators is normally very difficult. This project provides that opportunity. We’re very excited that Julia Dolan is our judge this year, the Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum. In this era of "online exhibitions," we feel it's very important that photographers exhibit their work as "objects of art" in physical galleries. The San Diego Art Institute is a very elegant 10,000 square foot gallery, right next to the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Photographic Arts.
A key point of the show is to provide a forum for independent photographers to exhibit and sell their work. The Opening Reception on October 12, 2013 will be attended by over 1,500 people (for free). That evening we will announce the award winning images and give away $10,000 in cash prizes, including $2,000 for first prize. And we'll be giving away thousands of copies of the Show Catalogue, which will feature the images and information about each of the exhibited artists. On the morning of October 13, Julia Dolan will give a curatorial presentation, talking about some of the work she selected and about contemporary photography today. There will also be several artist talks during the five week exhibition, similar to what we did in 2012. This document provides additional information about the show.
Marketing and promotion for the Art of Photography Show is extensive, with numerous cross-promotions, tens of thousands of announcement cards, as well as promotion to thousands of fans and friends on social networks. We will be sending a personal invitation to our list of over 25,000 collectors, luxury consumers and art connoisseurs to the Opening Reception and to all of our special events in the gallery. The purpose for all of the above activities, events and efforts is to promote the selected artists and to sell their work. And we truly love photography, so we are diligently working to elevate and promote this art form.
Just to share a few additional thoughts, we answer every phone call, reply to every email, review portfolios, share sincere feedback, speak at schools and art classes, and do everything we can to assist photo artists -- young, old, aspiring or established. You can read lots of testimonials from artists and attendees of our previous shows here. And please check out this short document by our Associate Producer, Lisa Smith, titled "So what's it really like? If my work is accepted, what happens next?"
The 2013 entry deadline is June 10th at 11:59 pm. Our Prospectus contains all of the information about how to enter your work. We are encouraging each photographer to submit images which are a unique expression of you, your vision, your creativity. No limits, no boxes you need to fit into. Though the title of the show is evocative of what the exhibit is about: The Art of Photography Show.
Introduction by Skip Cohen
The fun of this industry is the common love we all have for the craft, but there's a second aspect that always amazes me. It's the willingness for so many great photographers to help each other and David Maynard sets the stage for that point with this guest post, along with helping me make one more terrific point...
It doesn't matter what your specialty is, the challenge is having the skill set when you need it. You might be a wedding photographer and having no interest in chasing a red eye tree frog, but there's a need to shoot macro at every wedding with scene-setters of the flowers, cake, wedding rings and the list goes on and on. You won't get the shot without understanding the technique or great glass!
David is definitely somebody who should be on your radar. You'll find a lot of stunning images on his website and some great videos on his YouTube Channel. Check out his macro video in the Tamron Theater and this month the Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD is the featured lens of the month!
As a life long macro and nature photography enthusiast, I can tell you that if I were asked to compile a list of all the tips, tricks, techniques, and possible gear choices for good macro photos, it would likely turn into a rather thick book pretty quickly.
But recently someone who is just starting out asked me to strip the gear subject to its core, and describe what I personally consider to be the most important choice in gear for macro work.
My answer was of course, “it’s the glass”.
No matter how well practiced the techniques, or how good the supporting gear, I believe that if the lens is sub-par, the odds are stacked that your images will be sub-par. This is true in all genres of photography really, but in the macro world where everything is small and highly magnified, the shortcomings or faults of an inadequate lens are greatly magnified as well.
After my years of trial and error with numerous types and configurations of gear including the typical adapters, stacking diopter rings, etc., I have found what delivers the best macro images for me and my style of work, is a prime dedicated macro lens.
Currently, my go-to and heavily favored lens for macro is the Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC 1:1 Macro lens. This is so for many reasons, not the least of which is that the lens is a Di (Digitally integrated). Tamrons Di lenses are specifically designed to be used with our digital sensors rather than film as many others still are. Macro photographers tend to obsess over a deeper focus (Depth Of Field) already, because with the super close macro shots the DOF can be paper-thin. The last thing we need is an unnecessary softening of our images due to using a lens designed for film. To me this seems like buying a high performance Porsche, then pulling it with a pony.
Of course this lens also offers me an insanely fast focus, and strong stabilization, (VC - vibration compensation) which helps dramatically when chasing down a critter for a close up, tack sharp handheld macro image.
The three images in this article were captured handheld, using my Tamron 90mm Di VC on a 5D Mark ll body. The Red Eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas) and the Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix) photos were both lit with a Nissin MG 8000 flash with a Rogue Flashbender XL for diffusion, lighting off camera. This gave me an exposure of F/11, 1/100th sec and F/20, 1/40th sec respectively. The Red Eye is approximately 1.5 inches long, and the young Milk Frog was around ¾ inch long.
The tiny Jumping Spider (Family Salticidae) was lit with a Nissin MF18 Macro Ringlight attached to the Tamron 90mm and set to TTL metering for an exposure of F/20, 1/60th sec. The Spiders actual size is around 3/8 inch.
Of course, the lens consideration is just the beginning. Your next consideration could be using/mastering light to take control of your DOF and create sculpted macro images. But that is a discussion for another time. For now, get out there and capture and enjoy the beauty of nature.