Florida Photographer 2013-5
Florida Photographer 2013-5
Contents Cover photo: Cloaked in Wonder by Rhea Lewis
THE FLORIDA PHOTOGRAPHER is the official publication of the Florida Professional Photographers, Inc. Permission to reprint contents on this publication is granted to similar publications of the photographic industry, provided that the author and THE FLORIDA PHOTOGRAPHER are recognized as the sources. The opinions expressed in any article or column are those of the author and does not necessarily represent the official position of the Florida Professional Photographers, Inc. The Florida Professional Photographers exists solely for the good of its members. The association provides tools and educational opportunities for its members to achieve their business and artistic goals. It is committed to an ongoing exchange of information and experiences between all members in an open and friendly atmosphere.
FPP, Inc. Board of Directors
FPP Section Web Sites
Track Your Summer Images With Lightroom
Membership Categories & Dues
The Cheapest Employee!
3 ways to use your database to keep you booked in the slow season
The Benefit No One Talks About
To Move Your Photography Forward, Start At The Back!
The Photographerâ€™s Game Plan
Florida Professional Photographers See membership application at FPPonline.org
President’s Message Marybeth Hamberger has also been a long serving friend. As Florida School Director she once again has arranged an amazing line-up of speakers for next year. She works very hard to make sure that she offers something for everyone. I encourage you to see her update and if you haven’t already done so sign up for school. The payment plan makes it very affordable. Friends and Family “What would you think if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me. Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song, And I’ll try not to sing out of key. Oh I get by with a little help from my friends, … Mmm, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends!” Ringo’s only song. Many have tried to read more into the words but the message is simple. When you have friends supporting you anything is possible. As we approach the end of another year, and the holiday season is upon us, I hope this issue finds you, your families, and your business’ in good health. Thanks to Carol Walker for arranging another wonderful fall seminar with help from our friends at Daytona State College. Stacie Frazier was informative and the packed room learnt a lot about boudoir. If you missed it, you missed a lot of great information. See her article later in this issue about wonderful speaker and program she has arranged for the Spring Seminar. As many of you may have seen, one of our longest serving friends has decided to retire. Luis Melendi served the FPP for almost 4 decades in the capacity of President, trade show manager and magazine editor. This truly is an end of an era. He will truly be missed. However we must also thank Chuck Vosburgh for stepping up as interim Magazine Editor and Vice President Jackson Koontz for agreeing to be the interim Trade Show Manager. Both have difficult tasks ahead of them.
It is a busy time of year for many of us, families are home for the Holidays and it’s the perfect weather for outdoor family portraits. Portraits for cards, presents, or more importantly to capture these family moments and memories as only we can. Here in North Florida we have a small window of fall colors before the first frost turn the landscape grey. I hope this is a profitable and busy time for you all however what’s more important than what we have, or get, are the people around us. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t like the sweater Aunt Marge gave us what matters is that Aunt Marge was there to give it to you. The FPP is my second family and I hope it is yours too. As our industry changes, and we struggle to stay in the game, our network of friends is even more important. Most important to me is the confidence that my friend network provides me with, and technology has made this all possible. Not only has a caring ear been within reach whenever I’ve needed it, but just knowing that it’s available has given me the strength to continue. My friends and family have not been a crutch that carries me when times get rough; rather, they are a motivating force that pushes me to be all that I can be and enjoy the new adventures that await me in the coming year. We all need friends and family. Take the time this holiday season to reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. A phone call or a card from an old friend goes a long way. Finally spend time with the people you love. Enjoy your family and don’t let the seasons hurriedness get in the way. Happy Holidays, Martin Gudz
FPP, Inc. Board of Directors President Martin Gudz, FSA,FED 2014 6174 SW CR 360 Madison, FL 32340 850-973-6376 firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President Jackson Koontz,III, FSA,FED 2015 PO Box 6878 Ocala, FL 34478 352-369-4257 email@example.com
Secretary Treasurer Cindy Strickland, FSA,FED 2016 5750 CR 12 Tallahassee, FL 32312 850-545-3110 firstname.lastname@example.org
Directors Gary Hughes, 2014 2815 Riddle Dr. Winter Park, FL 32789 321-279-0077 email@example.com Britney Kirby Fullgraf, 2016 302 E. Belvedere St. Lakeland, FL 33803 863-686-4980 firstname.lastname@example.org Carol Walker, FDPE,FSA,FED 2015 7925 4th St. North St. Petersburg, FL 33702 727-577-5626 email@example.com Patrick Van Dusen, FSA 2015 3539 Bareback Trail Ormond Beach, FL 32174 386-677-4897 Dutchdaddy@aol.com
Robin Adams, 2016 565 Hickory St. Monticello, FL 32344 850-591-3364 firstname.lastname@example.org
Past President Sandra Pearce, FDPE,FDAE, FSA,FED 2014 1122 S.W. 15th St. Okeechobee, FL 34974 863-763-2684 email@example.com
FPP Office – Executive Director Kaye Newsome, FSA,FED Florida Professional Photographers, Inc. 11738 N. Dale Mabry Hwy. Tampa, FL 33618 813-760-1933 firstname.lastname@example.org
FPP Section Web Sites Bay – BPPA,
Ft. Myers – SWFPPA,
Gainesville – PPNCF,
Jacksonville – JPPG,
Lakeland – PPGMF,
Melbourne – SCPP,
Miami – PPGF,
Ocala – OMCPPA,
Orlando – PPSCF,
Palm Beach – PPGPB,
Pensacola – NWSFPP,
Tallahassee – TPPG,
Tampa – TAPPA,
FPP Managers Convention Mgr. Debbie Alcorn 727-481-9329 email@example.com Interim Trade Show Mgr. Jackson Koontz, III 352-369-4257 firstname.lastname@example.org Competition Mgr. Robin Adams 850-591-3364 robin@robinadamsphotography. com Florida School Director Marybeth Hamberger 954-426-2562 email@example.com
Guest Editor This month, Florida Photographers was put together by guest editor Chuck Vosbugh, CPP. Chuck is a member of the Tampa Bay Professional Photographers Association and has been in business since 1986. A native of Saint Petersburg, Chuck bought his first camera at the age of ten with money earned mowing yards. A makeshift darkroom ion the backyard tool shed soon followed and his path was set. After graduationg from commercial art school, Chuck worked as an art director/photographer and eventually put his focus entirely on photography. This year, Chuck is Tampa Bay Professional Photographers Associationâ€™s Professional Photographer of the Year. Chuck also teaches and conducts workshops across the U.S. and is the editor of LightingIsEasy.com, a free lighting tutorial blog. You can see Chuckâ€™s work at ChuckVosburgh.com.
Keep up with the latest news at FPPonline.org
Keely Deuschle 904-403-9553 Britney Kirby Fullgraf 863-686-4980 Marybeth Hamberger 954-426-2562 Gary Hughes 321-279-0077 Kevin Newsome 813-968-2810 Sandra Pearce 863-763-8684 Robin Phillips 863-682-6958 Kim Warmolts 727-934-4456
Track Your Summer Images With Lightroom By Marty Grivjack, Cr.Photog., FSA
A feature that appeared in Lightroom 4 last year is the Map Module [Cmd+Opt+3 // Ctrl+Alt+3]. But since travel season is upon us, you might have some fun tracking your adventures usisng Lightroom. It’s easy. Map allows you to “geotag” your images at the spot they were taken…meaning it will place your photo on a map at the exact location you took it, anywhere in the world. However, in order to make full use of this neat feature, you need to know a few things about how it works.
There are several ways to place your images on a map. One, the simplest, is to drag your images to the location on the Map in Lightroom, and it places an orange tag at that spot. I’ve been doing that with images I’ve taken over the years, and the result is this map based on what I’ve place so far:
The caveat here is that this is inexact, and you need to pay attention to the location where you took the image, and not the location of the subject. Fortunately, Map also gives you other more precise ways to place photographs onto the map, and they involve using GPS (global positioning system) data from your camera, smartphone or GPS device.
Geotagging images used to be the stuff of high-tech, deep pocketed photographers Geotagging images used to be the stuff of high-tech, deep pocketed photographers, requiring expensive and cumbersome camera add-on gear and fancy software, but not any more. If you already have Lightroom 4 or above, you can do it for as little as $1.99 or even for free if you have a smartphone with a GPS tracking app that can record a GPX track log file. The process is straightforward if you’re importing from your smartphone…the images are already geotagged if you enabled GPS Tracking on the phone. Just open the Map module and there they are. Here’s how I did it using a non-GPS camera. Below is a GPS track log of a hike I took this spring in the Adirondacks. To get to this result in Lightroom, I used my Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx hiker’s GPS to track the mountain journey and create the GPX file needed to display in the Map module. The blue line is the hike, as mapped from the GPS data in the GPX file, and the orange indicators are where the photos were taken and how many. You can hover over the orange tags and they’ll lead you directly to the photos in your catalog. I had to set my camera date and time to the exact same time as on the GPS and then went on the hike with the GPS active, tracking my movement through the daffodil-laden Adirondack wilderness<play wolverine howl and rattlesnake sounds here>. The GPS recorded my position every 2 seconds, and as I photographed, my camera time-stamped each image as it normally does. I think you can see how this works already.
I imported the images into Lightroom and made a collection. Always make a collection after you import. Then I imported the GPX file from my GPS device, and clicked on the TrackLog button in the Toolbar (circled) to get the “Load Tracklog” option.
“Load Tracklog…” lets me navigate (pun intended) to the GPX file I downloaded from my GPS. When Lightroom reads it, I see the blue line showing my trek (see the previous graphic). The last step is to let Lightroom place the images where I took them. So I “Auto-Tag” the images, and that is simplyhighlighting the images I imported from the Lightroom filmstrip [F6]) and selecting “Auto-Tag x Selected Photos” from the TrackLog button pulldown(see the graphic). Lightroom automatically places the images in the proper locations on the map. Voila! Florida Photographer 9
Interestingly enough, the images photographed with your smartphone may already have the GPS data embedded in them. To determine that, import images from your phone into Lightroom and see if they have the GeoTag pin badge on the thumbnail in the filmstrip. If they don’t, you may have to visit the Location feature in your phone and activate it, as some phones arrive with this feature off.
An important consideration to geotagged photographs is whether to export the location data with the image. For obvious reasons, you should think about this and act accordingly. When exporting, you can check the “Remove Location Info” box in the Metadata pull down part of the Export dialog box. I’m talking to you, Anthony Weiner.
Membership Categories & Dues
All Membership Dues include the 2014 Convention Registration Fee!
All members are of Legal Age and are entitled to all the Benefits of the FPP. Certain Privileges are restricted based on Type of Membership Florida residency required for Professional, Associate, and Non-Professional Membership Types Benefits include: Attend Activities and Service (fees may apply as determined by the Board); Service on Committees; Participation in Photographic Competition; Ability to earn Degrees; & Web site ‘Member Directory’ Listing Privileges may include: Voting rights; Holding office; FPP Logo use; Photographic Awards; Scholarships; & Web Site ‘Photographer Search Listing o $210 PROFESSIONAL – Operates/Employed by a legally established photography business in Florida. Required to submit Sales Tax Certificate Number. Entitled to all FPP benefits and privileges. o $195 ASSOCIATE – Employed by a FPP Professional or Life member. Entitled to all FPP benefits; Privileges limited to Voting rights, Holding office, Photographic Awards, & Scholarships. o $210 MEMBER – Individuals who do not yet meet the requirements for any of the other categories. Entitled to all FPP benefits; Privileges limited to Photographic Awards, & Scholarships. o $135
STUDENT – Currently enrolled full or part-time in an accredited degree/certification program at a postsecondary school. Does not include continuing education courses or non-degree seeking students. Proof of enrollment required. Entitled to all FPP benefits; Privileges limited to Photographic Awards, & Scholarships.
o $205 SERVICE – Individual or business that offers services and/or sales to professional photographers. Entitled to all FPP benefits; Privileges limited to FPP Logo use, Photographic Awards, & Scholarships. o $195 NON-RESIDENT – Employed outside of Florida. Entitled to all FPP benefits; Privileges limited to FPP Logo use, & Scholarships. FPP Bylaws; Article III - Membership
FLORIDA PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS, INC. 11738 N. Dale Mabry Hwy. Tampa, FL 33618 www.fpponline.org 813-760-1933 Florida Photographer
The Cheapest Employee! Bert Behnke, MPhotogCr, Hon.M.Photog. 2014 Florida School Instructor
Have you ever prepped for an appointment only to have your client fail to show up? Or maybe you showed up to do a portrait session at 5pm only to have your client tell you they had it set for 7pm? This has happened to me and I’m sure almost everybody, it’s usually a matter of writing it down wrong or failing to confirm it with your client. Our studio used to employ a receptionist whose duties included scheduling appointments, getting our schedule to us every day and confirming appointments to avoid no-shows and wrong times. We paid a salary, taxes, benefits and had to scramble to replace her when she called in sick. So figure the cost, maybe $25,000 to $50,000 each year, depending on your area and duties assigned. A few years ago we were approached by a company offering an online appointment book, I thought this would be a waste of my time. I had used my Daytimer appointment book for what seemed like a hundred years, why would I need to change? It worked, I could always call back to my studio to have my receptionist check the book and type out a
schedule of upcoming appointments. So, reluctantly, I said I would try this online appointment system. Within a week, I knew this was something I NEEDED! It was easy, inexpensive and most importantly.....efficient! I could access it anytime, anywhere via a computer or my smartphone and it never called in sick!
What’s more, every day at 5:00am, I receive an email that lists all of my appointments for the next 10 days. I get this EVERY day, no matter if it’s a holiday, weekend or a day my old receptionist would not have been working. This same information also goes to my wife and son who share the business calendar with me.
I am sure there are many options for something like this, but the one I chose was Brown Book, let me tell you why. When a client calls, we go over what we offer and what they are looking for. When it comes time to schedule their appointment, whether it’s a consultation, a portrait session or an order pick up, we get their name, address, phone and email address. It goes into BrownBookIt and when we hit enter, it adds it to our appointment schedule and to our database, and sends an immediate email to our client to confirm their appointment. Then 48 hours before the appointment and the morning of their appointment, the client receives email reminders. No more excuses for getting it wrong or the client forgetting their scheduled appointment!
Now if you think that is a big deal, let me tell you what else I use it for. I chose the multiple schedules option. With this I have made schedules for my studio, a personal calendar, and a promotional calendar that reminds us when we need to create or execute our various promotions. I also created calendars for family events, convention commitments, and other businesses I run. I have heard that others have created individual schedules for each of their family members so they know who is where, like when dad has a business meeting, mom has a portrait session, your teenager has to work, your youngest has music lessons, now you can keep it all organized. Besides all of these great scheduling benefits, the program also al-
lows us to collect our clients email addresses since it is required to schedule their appointment. We can export that list to our e-marketing programs to stay in contact and offer future portrait opportunities to them. The program also has a feature that can allow the clients to book their own appointments AND pay for them when they book. We have used this for some of our mini-sessions like PPA Charities Celebration of Smiles Day. We set it up for every fifteen minutes and promote it by sending our clients to the site where they can book. If you offer any quantity type promotion, it saves you a lot of time and effort. To say we have been pleased with this new way of scheduling and tracking our appointments is an understatement. We can schedule, change or remind our clients from anywhere in the world. The program never takes a day off, hasnâ€™t asked us for medical insurance or required us to file taxes for it, it really is our cheapest employee!
New Members Joni Johnston
Florida Professional Photographers See membership application at FPPonline.org
If you would like to know more about the system we use, go to www.brownbookit.com. If you are still not sure, try the demo, then when you see you canâ€™t live without it, let them know I sent you there. We will be discussing this and tons of other great business ideas at my class at Florida School this year. I promise if you sign up it will be fun, informative and a great investment in your career. See you in June.
3 ways to use your database to keep you booked in the slow season By Sarah Petty, New York Times Best Selling Author: Worth Every Penny: Build a Business that Thrills your Clients and Still Charge What You’re Worth Owner, Sarah Petty Photography and Joy of Marketing When business is slow it can be tempting to do things you never thought you’d do. Desperation sinks in and thoughts of running a ½ off sale or a Groupon start to look good. I get it. You have bills to pay! The first few years in my photography business I wasn’t expecting the slow down after the busy holi-
day rush. It was scary! But I quickly figured out that I didn’t need to resort to discounting to get cash coming in. I had a goldmine of relationships that could bring me a steady stream of paying clients even in the slow season. But I needed to work to reconnect with them and give them a reason to get photographed because they weren’t thinking about photogra-
phy at this time the year. That’s where my database came to the rescue. Your database is your little black book. It is where you organize all of your important relationships – from business associates like your dry cleaner, dentist and dog groomer to your clients and their birthdays, anniversaries, kids ages and occupations. You
Miami South Florida
PPGF, The Professional Photographers Guild of Florida (Miami- South Florida) is the South Florida Affiliate of PPA (Professional Photographers of America) www.ppa.com and FPP (Florida Professional Photographers) www.fpponline.org. We serve professional photographers, aspiring photographers and photography students in Broward, Dade and Monroe Counties of Southeast Florida since 1955.
Check out our www.ppgf.com Calendar of events
Find PPGF South Florida on Facebook and Meetup http://www.facebook.com/groups/52723332126/ http://www.meetup.com/The-Professional-Photographers-Guild-of-Florida-PPGF-COM/ We promote the Certified Professional Photographer degree. We offer CPP exams in South Florida typically 4 times a year. www.certifiedphotographer.com Contact CPP Liaisons Joe Gallagher or Ed Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org for information. PPA has special membership for students! The Student Photographic Society www.studentphoto.com. Join us as PPGF Members for $120 per year for Active and Associate Members. You can join through Pay Pal as a monthly subscription. Attend our monthly educational seminars as guests for as little as $10 per meeting. Students are welcome with discount rates of $5 per seminar or 3 students for $10. Discount Studio Memberships are available. We typically meet the third Wednesday of the month. Sponsors and Speakers please contact us for opportunities.
For more information: Robert Stolpe, 2012-2014 PPGF President 954 224-8122 email@example.com
use your database to keep tabs on your friends and family as well as potential co-marketing partners, prospects, VIP clients and the media. A strong database will get you through the slow season because it tells you what opportunities you have to get business RIGHT NOW with people you already know or have contact with. Here are just 3 ways you can tap into your database to help you turn your slow season into a busy one.
2) Send Gifts. Did you gift your VIP clients over the holiday season? If not, now is the perfect time to reach out and give them an unexpected gift letting them know you appreciate them. It not only puts you top-of-mind for them so that they are thinking about you if they need portraits again, but it also is giving them a reason to talk about you to their friends. Here are a few of my favorite gift ideas you can use. I love to provide a Sticky Album of favorite images to my VIP clients of last year’s session. At the end of the album, I include an offer for 25 free continued on page 23
1) Partner up. Businesses that see heavy traffic due to Valentine’s Day are great to partner with – florists, jewelry stores, gourmet chocolatiers. Good potential partners are looking for ways, other than price, to have their business chosen as a gift. Look at your database of potential co-marketing partners you’d like to work with whose clients are similar to yours. Hopefully you have been sending them marketing pieces from your business and staying in touch with them, but if not, start that relationship now. Offer to include a gift certificate for a free session redeemable only in your slow season to any of their clients who make a purchase over a certain dollar amount. This would be at no charge to the co-marketing partner and ensures you get client traffic. The business owner not only has a great incentive to get people to choose his business, but he also looks like a hero for adding a second product in with the purchase and it costs him nothing!
The Benefit No One Talks About Booray Perry
I had just finished shooting a sunset beach wedding and was walking across the parking lot to my truck when I noticed another photographer loading her gear into her minivan. She stopped what she was doing, walked over and introduced herself. “I’m Carol,” she said, “Have you ever heard of the Tampa Area Professional Photographers Association?” “Sure,” I said, “I’ve been to a couple of meetings.” “Really? I don’t remember you.” she said. “It was a while ago,” I said. “You should come back,” she said, “It’s a great organization.” I had heard about T.A.P.P.A. a year earlier and had gone to a couple of meetings just to check it out. It was a little awkward for me to suddenly be in a roomful of people I didn’t know. It was obvious that a lot of the photographers in the room had known each other for a long time. They were laughing and joking and seemed so at
ease with one another. I sat by myself, pretending to be very interested in something on my phone. I felt intimidated because I didn’t know anyone and didn’t know if I was good enough to be there.
If I just went to meet people and didn’t care about impressing anyone or guarding my secrets (trust me, there are no secrets). What would happen if I just made friends?
After running into Carol in the parking lot I thought I might give it another try. She seemed nice and really enthusiastic about the guild. So I went to another meeting. This time, the president of the guild noticed me and came over to introduce herself. She was bubbly and engaging and she made me feel welcome. The best part was, she made me want to come back again the next month.
That was three years ago and I’ve barely missed a meeting since.
After a couple more meetings I began to evaluate whether or not being in the guild was worth my time. What’s in it for me? I wondered. What could they teach me and what could I learn? Like a lot of photographers, I was focused on trying to grow my business and worried that someone else would take my business from me. I decided to change my approach. I wasn’t going to go to the meetings anymore because I was hoping to get something out of it. What would happen, I wondered,
I meet a lot of photographers and every time I meet someone new I encourage them to come and join the guild. There are lots of great reasons to join the Professional Photographers Association and lots of great reasons to join your local guild. The problem is that I think people don’t talk about one of the very best reasons to join. It’s not the education, it’s not the competition, it’s not really the networking.
It’s the fellowship. After World War II, a generation of Americans returned from the war. They had been in the military for years. They had been in regiments, battalions, units, platoons. They were always being put into groups. So, when they came home to the states, they joined groups. The Elks Lodge, the Masons, the
Lions Club... After World War II there were hundreds of social clubs. Everybody was a member of at least one. Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners was a member of the Raccoon Lodge. Fred Flintstone was a member of The Loyal Order of Water Buffalo.
But not anymore. Now, we get all of our social interactions online. Facebook is the new social club. In some ways that’s a good thing because it’s better to have an online social club then no social club at all. But it’s also a bad thing because people just don’t join anymore. Especially young people. I know because I never join anything. I hate to commit. After three years in the guild I have dozens of friends who are photographers. I went to Imaging USA for the first time this year and met even more photographers. Here’s what I have noticed: My Facebook friends whom I’ve actually met in person interact with me a lot more than the people I’ve never met. There’s a connection. There’s value in face-to-face interaction. Now, every month when I go to a meeting of the guild I look to see if there’s anyone new sitting at a table and that’s immediately the table I want to sit that. I want to meet them, I want to talk to them and I want them to feel welcome. There are photographers in my Guild who have been shooting since I was in elementary school and yet there they are, every
month, at the meeting, meeting new people. They have a fuller and richer life because of it.
“I’m Carol,” she said, “Have you ever heard of the Tampa Area Professional Photographers Association?” So, if you haven’t joined your local guild, do it. Set a goal for yourself that you’re going to meet someone new every month. Go to the meetings, go to the picnic, go to the Christmas party. Do something with people who share your interests. Do something with photographers. And, if you don’t have a local guild, start one. Kevin Newsome started our guild in his studio back when they had this thing called film and he’s still there every month. When I got a chance to bid on a big event job, I called Kevin for advice. When I needed to hire some extra photographers to work the gig, Kevin told me who to call and what they would expect. When I decided to start competing, Kevin helped me pick out my images.
said, I’ve already eaten but I’ll go sit with you. Suddenly I wasn’t all alone in Atlanta. My guild was there. When the Photographer of the Year asked me to lunch, I thought, This is great! I’m really making friends! Then, over bread and pasta he asked me to photograph his wedding. It’s the only wedding I’ve ever worked where I knew a lot of the guests. They were guildmates. When one of our members had a robbery at his studio, he had more replacement equipment then he needed within 24 hours. When a guildmate called me from a wedding and said he was feeling sick, I volunteered to come take over. I recently called a guildmate just to chat on a long drive back from a gig and he said, Im’ on vacation and I usually don’t answer my phone but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a photography emergency.” I can pick up the phone and call any one of a dozen photographers... just to talk. I couldn’t do that three years ago. I was all alone in the wilderness. One day I turned around and realized, I have a lot of friends. That’s the benefit of joining your local guild that no one ever talks about and for me, it’s the best benefit of them all.
At Imaging USA I ran into a guild member on the first day, around lunch time. When I said I was going to eat lunch by myself, Melissa
To Move Your Photography Forward, Start At The Back! by Steve Kozak, M. Photog, CR, PPA Certified
Selecting the right background for your outdoor and locations sessions can be something of a challenge. This assignment is designed to help you discover what makes a great background and how to use you background to create images with impact. While you will be completing this assignment in a few days, the process of finding new and interesting places to photograph will continue throughout your career. You should develop a variety of locations to photograph to compliment a variety of subjects. The larger your library of scenic places to photograph, the better you can serve your client’s needs and desires for unique and interesting photographs.
Getting Started Begin by spending a few hours driving around your area with the sole purpose of finding places to work. You will need to change the way you look at the world around you. Quit seeing literally and start seeing with a creative eye. Learn to see designs, shapes, patterns, lines, angles, and natural movement in various settings. Drive
through neighborhoods, city parks, downtown locations, industrial parks and rural country sides. Look for interesting porches, walls, graffiti, bridges, windows and doors, landscaping, textures and colors. Also scout around various scenic areas such as lakes, rivers, canyons and state and national parks.
Quit seeing literally and start seeing with a creative eye. While many locations you find will be open for public access, there will be locations that interest you that are on private property or residences. Try to meet or make contact with the person who can give you permission to photograph on the property. If it is a great location, offer a complimentary session and wall portrait to the owner if they will allow you to return from time to time with clients. Be sure to take some business cards.
What Makes A Great Background? Think the 5 D’s: Darker - Generally, I like a medium to dark background. This way, the subjects will stand out from the background. This is not to say that you cannot have light color backgrounds - you need those too, but a darker background will give you great results with less finishing work. Depth - Try to see your background as something other than a one-dimensional backdrop, but rather a three dimensional location with depth. See if you can spot foreground, middle ground and background in the locations that you scout. Dense - Try to find locations with dense foliage so as not too see through it. Avoid backgrounds that reveal hot spots of sunlight and shadow. Design - Look for leading lines, patterns and diagonals in a location. One dimensional backgrounds such as a wall can work great if there are architectural or
decorative designs. Diverse - You will not really want to drive all over town photographing, so try to find locations that offer three or four unique perspectives during a session. Getting variety from a single location is important when you have a limited time for sweet lighting.
I try to select backgrounds that bring artistic merit to my photographs. Become A Student of Light
For A Great Background, Go Home! Just as the setting is an essential element in literature, I feel it is an equally important aspect of the photographic story. I try to select backgrounds that bring artistic merit to my photographs. This is why I often work on location and in the client’s own home. Utilizing the subject’s home and surroundings helps capture their style, personality and status. Most of my clients homes are far more beautifully decorated with furniture and decor than I can ever provide in a studio setting. While I am in the home, I can easily photograph the family in the living area where the largest portrait will be placed. This is
great because the colors in the image will match the tonal values of the room. I can then easily move throughout the house and photograph the children in their own rooms.
Beauty And The Beast One of the great themes in photography throughout history is “contrast”. A portrait of a beautiful woman in an alley filled with graffiti and other elements up urban decay places her in a setting that is out of context, however, it separates her from the harsh background so that the focus is on her in much the same way as using a shallow depth of field. continued on page 19
As you begin your quest to find great backgrounds and locations, look first for the elements of a great background, but your job is not yet done. You now have to decide when the best time of day is to work in each location. For many locations, you may find the lighting is best in the morning or late afternoon, while other locations will only have a few minutes in the day where the lighting is suitable. You will also discover seasonal changes in the lighting. Some locations photograph great in spring and fall but lack great lighting in the summer. Try to find the time of day where each location has its’ sweet lighting.
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Sometimes, I just love a background that is offbeat and unpredictable. Contrasts in backgrounds may include contrasts is tonal values, design, and color. Look for brightly painted doors and walls. Look for architectural designs with strong vertical or horizontal lines. The triangular composition of a bride in her wedding dress provides a striking contrast against a strong background of repeating vertical columns.
A Final Thought A simple background is usually a better choice than a busy background. What you DON’T see is often as important as what you DO see. Try simplifying your backgrounds by taking a bit of a higher camera angle to crop out distractions. One of the common “killers” of a great background is allowing a portion of a bright and vacant sky
to show in the image. Remember, the eye goes to the brightest part of an image with darker tonal values. Watch your backgrounds and take a second look to see if you are including any unnecessary sky. If so, try taking a higher camera angle so that the viewer’s attention is not pulled from the subject’s face. Often times, the difference between a bad background and a great one is just one step away.
Convention & Trade
August 9-11, 2014 Rosen Plaza Hotel Orlando. Registration is included in with your FPP Membership. Visit FPPonline.org for details
Pro Tips •M etal buildings, overhead • S cout around churches doors, vents and stairs can provide great background opportunities Try to work in your locations when the lighting on the background is the same lighting on your subject.
and universities for interesting places to photograph Take your 200mm lens when you are scouting and look for different perspectives through the camera
• A good background will
•H igher camera angles will help eliminate bad horizon lines and distracting backgrounds.
• C onsider “safari” sessions to other great locations out of your immediate area.
often make an interesting image even if no one is in the scene.
The Photographer’s Game Plan by Steve Kozak
Going into the photography business in today’s economic climate is certainly a challenge, but for those who jump in without preparation, it is like a professional sports team facing an opponent without a game plan. The result will most likely be a lop-sided victory for the competition and the unprepared team will go home perhaps battered and bruised if not humiliated. Don’t let this happen to you!
Cameras take pictures... photographers create images. I f you are relying on the automatic features of your camera and eTTL with your flash, you are hoping and guessing and playing a game of “trial and error”. Professionals understand and master the tools of the trade. This eliminates insecurity and keeps you from having to look at each and every image on the back of the camera. Confidence is a winning approach!
bines training with natural talent to perform at a high level. For photographers, this is where we combine the fundamentals with the art of capturing great images. We develop our vision and use our creativity to produce images that go beyond a simple capture of a person’s likeness. We are now capturing images that tell stories and capture personality. We interpret what we see and find unique ways to present our vision.
Establishing yourself as a professional photographer takes conditioning, practice and an investment of time in the preparation and execution of a thorough game plan. If you are considering taking the leap from the stands and getting onto the field, be sure that you are up to the task and ready to face an opposition that is poised and ready to take you down.
In baseball, each pitch carries the result of what the pitcher delivers. For the photographer, each image represents the artists’ command of the light. Every photographic image begins with the presence of light which can be measured, manipulated or redirected depending on the photographer’s ability and skill. It is this control of the light which keeps a pro producing work at a very high level. Photographers who are not in control of the light will soon find themselves out of the game like a pitcher who can’t throw strikes. Demonstrate command of your “pitches”.
Can you imagine the results for a team that took the field without a plan for both the defense and offense? It would not be pretty! This is what happens when a photographer goes into business without a business plan. It is not enough to simply take great images, it takes marketing and branding to put your business on the offense and get you moving forward. It will not matter how wonderful your images are if you don’t have fans willing to pay for your work.
As with any sport, success begins with a proper execution of the fundamentals. For photographers, the fundamentals include a proper understanding of exposure, lighting and posing. These are the very foundations of our craft and are the basis for the creation of a quality image.
Once you have mastered the fundamentals, you can begin working on the nuances of the game. This is the stage where an athlete com-
In today’s economy, we can no longer wait for clients to call us when they are ready to have photographs created. Our marketing has to create the need and the desire for clients to own what we
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offer. Savvy photographers know how to create marketing pieces that appeal to the heart and speak to the emotions. “Buy 1, Get 1 Free” and “half price 8x10’s” does not move a client to desire images. We have to show images and tell stories that connect us with our clients. Connect with your fans! Even with the great protection offered by PPA’s Indemnification Trust, you still need to invest in a personal liability insurance policy for those times when disaster strikes. Injury to a client or damage to property is a very real possibility when you are in business. It is only wise to protect yourself and your personal assets with inexpensive insurance coverage for those unexpected mishaps. Protect yourself! Know the fundamentals. Establish a game plan for running your business and growing your income. Protect yourself while you are out competing and you are ready for the major leagues of professional photography.
Valentine’s cards with a minimum purchase if they come back in during the month of January for a session. It’s an easy way for them to share their images digitally (they have already ordered and received their prints) and gets them thinking about coming back in for a session this winter. Another idea I love for my kid / family / pet VIP clients but that also works great for past wedding clients if you’re a wedding photographer is to gift my favorite clients 25 press printed note cards or Valentine’s from whcc with an image from their session last year. Of course my logo and contact information is on the back. When they have these cards in their hands, how can they not put them in front of their friends who are potentially in my target audience? Each time I do this, I pick up another client or two – which more than pays for the cost of my investment to gift my VIP’s. 3) Write notes. People are busy. And like it or not, needing photography is not top of their mind during this time of the year. Just because you haven’t photographed them in a few years, doesn’t mean they have chosen another photographer or were unhappy with you. Now is the perfect time to scour your database for clients you haven’t photographed in a year or more. If you’re just starting out, business associates or friends / family who may not know that you’ve started a business are great to reach out to. Send a personal note to recon-
nect with these folks you’ve fallen out of touch with. Find a reason to say hi – you know they have a birthday or anniversary coming up, the youngest is now in kindergarten, a new baby is on the way, etc. you saw their favorite football team made a bowl game and it made you think of them. You can find this information if you don’t have it by looking on social media. Bring up something new you have going on in your business that they may not know – a new set or product they may not have seen. When I send personal notes (which I do every week), I always book at least one session from every note-writing efforts. Most of these ideas to get you clients in the slow season cost you little to no money. They key to making them work is knowing your clients well and keeping tabs on the important information you need to know about them. Like with a good friend, you expect to hear from them from time-totime to know they care and not just when they need something. Having a strong database shines a bright light on the opportunities you may not otherwise realize you have and helps get you through the slow season when clients are thinking about photography. If you don’t have a web-based database program you’re using now, you test drive the one I use for free for 14 days at www.joyofmarketing.com/marketing-program-overview. My database software also includes a yearlong continued on page 26
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marketing coaching program that gives you tips like these all year long to keep your calendar booked.
About Sarah Petty. SARAH PETTY owns Sarah Petty Photography in Springfield, IL, one of the most profitable studios in the country and is the co-author of the New York Times best seller, Worth Every Penny: Build a Business that Thrills Your Customers and Still Charge What Youâ€™re Worth. She is the founder of Joy of Marketing, (joyofmarketing.com) where she and her team teach photographers how to build a business that doesnâ€™t rely on discounting to attract clients.
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