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Angels, Mermaids, & Ballerinas: What do these 3 things have in common?

This past weekend, on August 5th and 6th, I held my very first compositing workshop. I can't even explain the feeling of excitement and nervousness I felt leading up to the big day. I could hardly sleep! 

Thankfully, my background as a teacher helped prepare me to conduct the in-person workshop, and I'm happy to report: it was phenomenal! I'd like to share a few of the highlights with you here so those of you that couldn't make it can get a behind the scenes glimpse of what it was like to attend. 

We kicked off the Workshop with a meet and greet dinner in charming downtown Manassas. This gave everyone a great opportunity to network and get to know each other before the busy workshop began. Afterward we took a nice stroll and snapped or first group photo. 

As a side note: If you want to be part of the next workshop's group photo, sign up for the November Workshop here

 

Compositing Workshop Day 1: Photography & Photoshop Concepts and 2 Model Shoots

I...

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6 specific ways photographers can target clients using Facebook ads

facebook ads photography Jul 19, 2017

Facebook now has more than 1.5 Billion active users per month. With so many people voluntarily adding their likes, interests, and personal information to their Facebook profile, businesses and marketers are left with a sea of opportunity to target their ideal clients and customers with Facebook ads, based on user-provided data.

Whether you think this is creepy or cool– it’s happening. And if you own your own business, it would be foolish NOT use this information to your benefit. Photographers running their own business are no exception.

As you can imagine, you can use Facebook ads to target users based on their location, gender, age, and interests, which is in itself quite useful– but Facebook ad targeting goes so much further than that.

The following are 6 specific ways photographers can target clients for their business using Facebook ads.

1. Find people with an upcoming anniversary

Since many Facebook users have a tendency to add important dates, like their...

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6 Things You Need To Know About SEO for your Photography Website

business photography Jul 05, 2017

"The best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google search."

—Anonymous

In today's world, consumers have more choices than ever before. Shopping is no longer about the business that is down the street and around the corner. The store your mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother went to is no longer relevant for that fact alone. Nowadays it's all about Google ranking. If Google thinks a business is good enough to be featured as a top result, then they are good enough to trust with your money.

Getting a top-ranking position on Google has become a major challenge for new and small businesses to overcome. And it can be especially true for the image section of Google search. Photographers in particular face an uphill battle when it comes to moving their business website to the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages). SERPs display a list of both organic and paid search results.  

The following are a few SEO tips that will help your photography...

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The Top 3 Reasons Why Your Images Aren’t Sharp Enough and How to Fix Them

One of the most frustrating moments in a photographer's career is when you think you got a perfect shot, only to see that the image you captured is blurry. Moment ruined! 

There are a few reasons why your images are coming out shaky and out of focus. I'm going to cover the top 3 causes of fuzzy images and what you can do to fix them. 

Camera Blur

Cause

If you find that your images contain a camera blur, you can most likely blame it on an improper grip on your camera that’s keeping you from holding it steady. Also, tapping the shutter rather than pressing it down firmly will cause a vibration that results in blurriness.

Fix

A monopod or tripod will greatly benefit photographers with naturally shaky hands, especially when working under low light conditions. If you prefer the freedom of shooting without one of these helpers, practice your camera grip. I personally find that inhaling when focusing and exhaling while pressing the shutter greatly improves any camera blur...

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A Step-by-Step Guide for Launching your Photography Website

Are you a photographer who is having trouble getting new clients?

 If so, do you have your own website?

 Now, that doesn’t mean a Facebook page. A Facebook page is great for getting yourself out there and engaging on social media, but it doesn’t reach your entire potential online audience.

Why? You may ask.

Because potential clients and followers want to be able to visit a professional website to learn more about your brand.

You see, many people in your Facebook audience aren’t ready to book your photography services yet. They may ‘like’ your photos and posts, but will still want to know more about you before they are ready to pay to hire you.

If you think having your contact information on your Facebook page is enough to convince clients to book with you, you’re leaving behind a large portion of your audience. This is where a professional website comes in.

Your website should be an extension of your social media accounts, and vice...

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Profit First: A smart accounting model for your photography business

business photography Apr 06, 2017

Have you ever felt like you had a profitable work month only to look at your bank account and wonder where all the money went?  

I have a friend who owns a business that takes in $12,000 a month, and after she checked her monthly expenses, she said she had only spent $4,000, but still couldn't figure out where the other $8,000 went.

I know I've miscalculated my gains and expenses before, more than once. Many business owners tend to think that Sales - Expenses = Profits, but that's not the case

It's common for most of us to have one checking account where all of our money comes in and out of. But when our income is so closely linked to our expenses it can get confusing to track where your money went at the end of the month. 

Last month I read a book that revolutionized the way I organized my business accounts, and I'm so happy with this model that I'd like to share it with you. The book is called Profit First: Transform Your Business From a Cash-Eating Monster...

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DIY Ring Light

photography Mar 13, 2017

Grab some scissors and a cardboard box, y’all. You're about to save yourself a ton of money in exchange for a little sweat equity.

You see, I'm a very passionate hobbyist when it comes to photography. Unfortunately, passion doesn't cut me a check for my equipment, so DIY hacks are often necessary. Today, I'm going to show you how to make your own ring light for about $30. It won't be fancy, it won't have bells and whistles, but it will add a pretty little ring around your pupils in photos—and that’s the goal. 

To get started, you’ll need the following tools:

-Tin foil (regular or heavy duty)

-20-inch wire wreath frame. Michael’s carries these for $2-$3.

-20-foot LED rope light. You can find these on Amazon for $25-$29.

-Thick cardboard box

-Box cutter or scissors           

Note that Michael’s was out of 20-inch wire wreath frames when I went there, so I had to choose between an 18" or...

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From simple to spectacular: How to turn a boring backdrop into a custom piece of art

compositing photography Mar 08, 2017

One of my favorite things to do with studio shots is customize my backgrounds. When you customize your backdrop you have the benefit of:

  • Saving money and the trouble of having to buy a number of different backgrounds
  • Freeing up storage space since you won’t have to keep tons of backdrops in your home or studio
  • Shooting faster and more fluid sessions because you won’t need to keep pausing to change the backdrop
  • Tailoring each background to your models and what they are wearing

For the image above, the model’s hair was adorned with butterflies, so I knew that I wanted to do something whimsical and sweet with the backdrop. I chose to shoot on a cream-colored paper backdrop because it matched well with the color of my model’s top. Any backdrop color will work, but my favorites for shooting are white, cream, gray, and black.

After the photo shoot was complete, I pulled the image into Adobe camera raw and did my initial adjustments to the raw file. Next, I...

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10 Must-Have Mobile Apps for Photographers

Being a professional photographer means you likely wear many hats in your entrepreneurial role as business owner. From accountant to photo editor, office manager and marketer, keeping up with all of these tasks can get overwhelming. Fortunately, for today’s expense tracking, sun seeking, money-making photographer, there are a number of mobile apps that can make our lives much easier. I’ve put together a list of 10 mobile apps photographers should have to be more productive and elevate their photography business to the next level. 

 

1.  Social Media  

Recommended: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest

This one’s kind of a no brainer. We use social media everyday in our personal lives, and as photographers we can greatly benefit from the use social media in our photography business. From promoting our businesses to connecting with clients and networking with other professionals, social media gives you a platform upon which to speak and reach...

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What's in my camera bag?

photography Feb 08, 2017

I get a lot of emails from photographers saying that they want to get started with their photography career but they don't have the funds to buy all of the equipment. I want to share what I have in my camera bag so you can see that it doesn't take a lot of fancy equipment to capture amazing photos.

Cameras: 

-Nikon D750, full frame           

-Nikon D7000, crop frame

First, I'd like to mention that it doesn't matter what brand of camera you have. Some people are diehard Cannon fans, while others swear by Nikon. What does matter is how you use lighting and composition to capture an image and the editing techniques you use in post. 

My Nikon D750 is my main camera and absolutely love it. I use the Nikon D7000 as my backup camera. When I first started out in photography, I shot with a Nikon D3200 and a kit lens for about two years. That just goes to show that you can start small with your equipment and work your way up with time.

Lenses:  

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