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3 Alternatives to Photo CDs

3 Alternatives to Photo CDsDisclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means Photography Awesomesauce receives commission if you make a purchase using affiliate links.

It’s 2016. CDs are old news. Now people buy their movies on iTunes, own their music digitally and keep photos in digital format too. What inspired me to write this post is the surprising amount of photographers who are still proving a disc of images to your clients. If that’s you I want to encourage you to look to other alternatives, which I’ve listed in this post. Here’s why. In the last couple years many computer companies have stopped creating computers with a disc drive at all. Even though you can purchase one separately it’s likely that we’re now in an age where discs are going to become outdated, if they haven’t already. However you provide digital files to your clients, whether they’re included or you sell them separately, make sure you’re at the very least giving them in a format that will be working in the future.

It doesn’t matter to me how you decide to include digital files in your business and I know there’s still a lot of animosity in the photography industry about terms like “shoot and burn” or “shoot and share.” I’m not here to tell you what’s best. I think there’s a lot of great options for a variety of business owners, who may all like to operate their businesses differently depending on their needs. I’m just here to tell you that CDs are out…and these methods are in…

  1. Online Digital Downloads – One of the quickest ways to give people their digital photos is through digital download and companies like Shootproof make that super easy. They also give you all kinds of ways to control the downloads too, so you can limit it to certain people, or sell them, or include them in the session fee. It’s up to you to decide how you want to do it, but the nice thing about Shootproof is that it’s easy for your clients to download and there’s no risk of a disc getting lost or damaged in the mail. Plus, you can also sell prints – so it increases your profit opportunities. Shootproof has an automated email reminder system that can push out reminders to your clients to download before an expiration date, or remind them to purchase prints. There are lots of choices in companies if you want to do an online download delivery, but here are 9 Reasons Shootproof is the Best.
  2. USB Drives – USB/Flash Drives are the best option if you want to give your clients their digital files in a tangible format. In fact, there are all kinds of amazing ways to dress them up, personalize them and really wow your clients with them. One of my favorite ways is by sending a handcrafted wood box (which you can even engrave), with a few prints and a beautiful USB all wrapped up. Ryan’s Denn is literally my new favorite place for this. Their Luxe boxes are simply divine. I don’t say the word ‘divine’ ever, but I’m telling you their boxes are DIVINE. You can order boxes through them and USB drives.

    Ryan's Denn Handcrafted Photo Boxes
    Photo Credit: Ryan’s Denn
  3. In-Person Sales – In person sales might mean that you don’t provide digital downloads at all, or maybe you still do. But instead of just putting ye olde CD technology in the mail, consider getting together with your clients in person and trying to sell them all kinds of tangible prints, albums, canvases and other goodies that they can hold in their hands and pass down to generations to come.

Just whatever you do – no more CDs. If your clients still ask for them? Offer them a USB instead.

If you want to learn more awesome behind the business stuff like this make sure you subscribe to our weekly newsletter below, where we’ll be giving out extra special discounts and a few free products only for subscribers this Winter. You can also join our Facebook group, follow us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and even follow me on Pinterest where I love to pin social media, blogging, business, and photography tips from all over the web! If you subscribe to our newsletter you’ll need to head on over to your email after you hit the submit button here to confirm your subscription. If you don’t see a confirmation check your junk/spam!

 

Don’t be a Photography Trend Victim

Don't be a photography trend victim

Can we talk openly about photography trends?

I feel like I’m always hearing:

“Ewww, my client wants me to do [SPOT COLOR/DINOSAUR/OTHER] edits.”

“What new PRESETS should I buy?”

“I can’t believe she put a baby in THAT?”

“How did I ever think that [PRESET/INSTAGRAM FILTER] looked good?”

“Milk baths are [AMAZING/GROSS]”

“Are those TRAIN TRACKS?”

It’s the good, the bad, the ugly,  and the unsafe of photography trends. Many trends are followed by the masses only to be shunned a few years (or even months) later. One photography trend might have most of the industry in agreement while another is the subject of hot debates.  And then – if you are new and don’t know that a particular trend has now become a faux pas – you might find yourself blasted in an open photography forum by a mob of people who forgot what it was like to just be starting out.

Well, let me tell you a little secret I’ve learned about photography trends: they come and go in cycles.

The super popular trends we are doing today may be the “selective color” of tomorrow and then who knows? The trend may come back in vogue in a decade. Spot coloring has been around for 50 years, at least. Double exposure has been around for over a century. But the popularity of these techniques rises, falls, and returns in new ways. Half those people who are blasting that “fauxtographer” for [insert photography trend of choice] have or will fall victim to a photography trend at some point in their career.

I fully admit it. I have participated in many a photography trend over my years doing this. Some were trends I really loved and others I jumped on for no reason other than I saw others doing it and I thought I should, too.  In 2006, I was all about that selective color. By 2010, I was split-toning photos with yellow highlights and blue shadows. Now I process with a little matte, but even that is evolving in how I use it.

I’m totally willing to cop to it. I just have to look back and ask myself “Okay, did I do it well or poorly? What did I learn from that experience?” Instead of being embarrassed by the trends we followed that are no longer hip in the industry, we can embrace them as part of our growth and journey to where we are now.

So how do we avoid being photography trend victims in the future? Well, this is the reason some obsess over creating images that they consider “classic” and “timeless.” But even then we may be subconsciously following trends in our posing, our composition, the types of props we incorporate, or even the clothing we advise our clients to wear.

I want to experiment.

I want to be free to be creative.

I want my images to reflect the now.

I don’t want to constantly worry about what others think about the techniques I use or trends I might decide to follow or not follow.

You too?

So how can we do those things and still be true to ourselves and our work?

Here I’ve compiled some simple reminders for helping us own our work without being a “victim” to trends.

  1. I don’t have to be afraid to take risks. Try new things.

    The only way to learn, grow and become better at our art is to try new things. Why let someone else’s opinion of a technique prevent us from trying it? This is part of the growth process. We don’t have to put everything we try in the portfolio. We just have to get ourselves out there and learn new things so we can be better artists.

  2. After I experiment with a photography trend, I will reflect on it and whether it’s right for me.

    Does this technique work for my shooting style? Do I feel a connection with this type of work?  Does it fit the vibe of my brand? Does it match the message I want to convey to my clients?  For me, this means that I am currently on board with techniques like matte processing, prisming, free-lensing and in-camera double-exposure because these fit with my style and brand, but I still do them in moderation. There are other trends out there I enjoy, but they don’t fit my business. And conversely, the techniques that work for me may be a bad fit for you. Learning to be discriminate about the trendy techniques we use and committing to doing them well will set us apart by keeping us true to ourselves. When you find a trend that works for you, do it with purpose.

  3. Just because a client asks me for something, doesn’t mean I have to do it.

    I think the photography trend of wedding parties running away from dinosaurs is super awesome, but it doesn’t fit my style and brand so I don’t offer it. However, I once had a client ask for a fake snow effect even though that’s not something I normally like or offer. It was important to her and I figured out how to do it in a way that fit my style and was able to make a long time client happy. Some things to consider when evaluating client requests are: how it important it is to my client, am I okay with it potentially being out there with my name attached to it, and am I prepared to deal with requests from others to do the same thing if it’s not something I want to offer.

  4. If a technique isn’t working for me, it’s okay to end it.

    An on-going photography trend that I love [when other photographers do it] is the cake smash. Because I am primarily a family photographer, I thought that I needed to offer cake smashes because that was just what family photographers do. The problem was that the popular studio-style cake smashes don’t really fit my style or my brand. It finally occurred to me that just because I photograph families, does not mean I have to offer cake smashes. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with cake smashes. They just don’t work for me. So simple yet so profound. If something isn’t a fit for me, I don’t have to do it!

  5. I will be kind to others even if I think their use of a technique is awful or dated.

    In other words, I’m not going to be a jerk. This doesn’t mean I have to tell everyone I think their work is amazing if I think it needs help, but I want to be mindful of back to when I was a new photographer and what helped me. If someone is committing a photography faux pas, there’s no need to mob them with criticism. I just don’t understand why people gang up on each other about these things. Why should it matter if my fellow photographer loves using selective color or [insert faux pas technique of choice here]? Does his choice ultimately affect me? If that person asks me for CC, then I will take it as a compliment that they respect me and give them criticism that is actually constructive – like why is their use of a technique ineffective rather than just saying that I don’t like that technique. It will make us better photographers for it.  Plus karma.

  6. I will own my journey.

    We are only victims if we don’t own it. Let’s not be ashamed of who we are or how we got here.

5 Reasons Fundy is Going to Change Your Photography Business

PHOTOGRAPHYAWESOMESAUCE.COM-2Back in October at United 2015 I had the pleasure of meeting Kate from Fundy. United had a mini vendor expo and Fundy had a booth. I kind of casually walked by and was like, “meh I don’t really do albums” because I don’t, but Fundy has changed me completely since then.

I have never pushed sales for albums because I’ve always pushed sales for canvases and wall images since they’re my favorite. Plus albums are such a pain to design. Let’s be honest clients can take forever to get back to you on proofs and then they’re a pain to design and ugh…by the end of it I hate doing albums.

Fundy completely changed everything for me. They got me hooked with Blog Collage, which is a better version of Blog Stomp (just in my honest opinion). Now I’m in love with the entire thing, the company, all the people, and I thought I should tell you why!

 

 

 

  • Blog Collage – This software is very similar to Blog Stomp. I have been a user of Blog Stomp for years – literally years. Unfortunately the service and quality I was receiving wasn’t my favorite, I just didn’t know there were better alternatives. I always struggled with getting the output quality right on Blog Stomp, but Blog Collage is seamless, easy and great quality. Blog Collage is a similar price point to Blog Stomp, so if you want to invest in a company that’s as invested in you – I highly recommend getting Blog Collage.

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  • Automated Album Design – Fundy is about to release version 7 of its design software, which features automated album design. Like automated as in…you pick the photos and voila it puts it in a layout for you. You can go in and adjust a few things here and there if you want to, but OH MY GOSH the time saving this will give photographers! I’m sold.
  • Gallery Designer – Gallery designer is the wall designing software from Fundy. You can design awesome examples of print and canvas layouts for your clients. This is such a great tool to show clients how sizes work and how bigger always looks better in the home.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 7.41.33 PM

  • Customer Service and Community – One thing I’m always looking for with companies I invest in as a business is great customer service and community. Fundy has that. I love the idea of investing in a company that’s also as invested in you. These guys are run by amazing people and they’re huge advocates for photographers. They really build products based on what you want and you can’t beat the feeling that you’re loved when you meet them in person or encounter them online. They truly are invested in learning and creating products that make photographer’s lives better and help you generate more business.
  • Direct Album Ordering – One of the best album design features is being able to send your design right to your favorite labs right in Fundy. That makes it so much easier to order albums. You also have proofing tools if you need them before ordering, but this makes the entire album design process so much easier!

Just wanted to tell you guys about one of my new favorite companies I’ve had the pleasure of working with recently. I wasn’t paid to write this post and I get no kick backs. I’m just sharing about good stuff that I think can help you make your business better!

 

If you want to learn more awesome behind the business stuff like this make sure you subscribe to our weekly newsletter below, where we’ll be giving out extra special discounts and a few free products only for subscribers this Winter. You can also join our Facebook group, follow us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and even follow me on Pinterest where I love to pin social media, blogging, business, and photography tips from all over the web! If you subscribe to our newsletter you’ll need to head on over to your email after you hit the submit button here to confirm your subscription. If you don’t see a confirmation check your junk/spam!

 

Culling/batching in Adobe Bridge and Camera Raw

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImdxRuEPLTw&w=560&h=315%5D

Hey Everyone!

This is a little video tutorial of  how to use Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw. It will also show you how to batch edit your images in Adobe Camera raw for a quicker workflow process.  I know there are probably a million ways to do this but this is just how I do it and thought I would share.  If you love working in Photoshop but the tiring process of opening images one by one and editing them is wearing you out… you need to learn how to use Camera Raw. I will walk you through what each button does in Camera Raw so you know, as well as, show you how I edit 10 images in about 5 seconds.  As a busy mother to a 2 year old and running a full time business, my time is very important to me. For that reason, I use Camera Raw to sync my edits quickly and then utilize the batch and automate options in Photoshop to take it a step further.  I know I talk quickly and I swear I said Umm a million times but hopefully this video will help you! If you are already familiar with Camera Raw but want to learn about batching, skip to the last 4 minutes of the video!

Thank you!

 

 

 

How Not to Follow the Photography Masses

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned photographer, watching social media and not getting jealous of other photographers is hard.  I’ve done it.  I’ve been there but they are them and you are you.  Remember that through this entire post!

PHOTOGRAPHYAWESOMESAUCE.COM

When I first started out, I’d see all these gorgeous images flowing through my newsfeed, all these photographers with 5000,10,000+ fans on their Facebook pages and them posting that they were booking left and right.  I was jealous, not gonna lie.  I was jealous of someone I didn’t know, jealous of someone that I only “virtually knew” and jealous of someone that wouldn’t recognize me if I ran into them at Target but I would sure as hell know who they were.

You know what?  It didn’t matter.  It didn’t matter at all.  I was all caught up in wanting to be the next best thing that I was losing focus on MY business, on making my brand kick ass, on making my business about me.  It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t going to be the next rock star and you know what?  I am totally okay with that, TOTALLY!  I’ve met some of the rocks stars and they aren’t all that “rock starish”.  I’ve made some of the best photography friends with like minded people and not trying to be the next best thing.

My clients love me for the crazy things I do, they love me for laying all over the ground to get a shot, for stealing candy from the candy bar, for meeting at the bar for their consults, the list goes on.  My clients don’t hire me for having 20k+ likes on my business page, they hire me for my work and my personality.  My personality.

You are your business.  You are the face that the client sees and the one that they interact with the most.  Be you.  Laugh, joke, hell even cry, I have but most of all…BE YOU!