Saturday, March 31, 2012

Another soldier and his dog...


Watch this soldier being greeted by his dog after being away for 8 months... hard to tell who is happier.

(Really (really) sorry if you have to watch a commercial first (not my doing), but trust me, it will be worth every second of the wait.

<a href='http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/ecstatic-dog-welcomes-home-soldier/1jr5653in?videoId=4e546771-d102-4503-ae1c-091ce9509424&from=&src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='Ecstatic Dog Welcomes Home Soldier'>Video: Ecstatic Dog Welcomes Home Soldier</a>


Friday, March 30, 2012

Review of the Flashpoint Remote Flash Trigger Kit...




We had the pleasure of getting our hands on the Flashpoint Remote Flash Trigger Kit and started falling in love as we were unpacking it.

Once we began actually using it the love was complete.

Here are just a few things that we really like about it.

1. The receiver comes with 3 firing options, a hot shoe, a PC sync socket, AND a 3.5mm mini jack which gives you with multiple options/choices for firing flashes. You can put a flash on the hot shoe and have it fire your other flashes, or (what we did) we put a flash in the hot shoe, attached a cable to the PC sync socket followed by a "Y" cable that allowed us to run cable to two different flashes so every time the transmitter fired so did all three flashes. Every single time.




2. On the bottom of the receiver you'll find a standard female 1/4-20 thread so you can attach it directly onto the top of a light stand or a tripod, another option is to attach the shoe mount that comes with it so you can mount the receiver onto a flash bracket (like this Speedlight soft box) or cold shoe adapter (like a Frio locking cold shoe).



3. You can use these for to fire Speedlight's (or any small flash) as well as for firing standard studio strobes.

4. It has OVER a 500 foot firing range.

5. It comes with a nice variety of cords and accessories so you can start using it right out of the box, you don't need to go buy anything else.

6. And I liked the price, the complete kit is just $99 (which includes free shipping).

Below is out video review, I think I screwed up and said something about a "AA" battery, but in fact this kit uses 3 "AAA" batteries, 1 battery in the transmitter and 2 batteries in the receiver.

Keep in mind these are strictly for triggering your lights, there is no TTL option, so you will manually be adjusting your light levels (which is exactly how I use my fancy shmancy Pocket Wizards). If I was starting all over and looking for flash triggers, this is what I would own.

If the video doesn't come through with your subscription notification you can head directly to our YouTube channel and watch it there.




Thursday, March 29, 2012

Part 3 of the series "Web Marketing Workflow"...


Just in case you you are coming to the part late here are links to the first three articles in the series, part 1 "Naming and Branding Your Images", and part 2 " Web Marketing Workflow Guide to An Individual WordPress Blog Post".

Here is part 3: "The Protocol To Announcing and Releasing on Facebook Timeline"

Congratulations, you've made it to Step 3!

That means you're halfway there to integrating web marketing into your already productive photo workflow. If you're picking this up for the first time, be sure to review Step 1 (link to Step 1) and Step 2 (link to Step 2) before reading on. Today, we're going to chat about releasing your blog posts to Facebook. It's easy to think, hey...I know that...that's easy! You may already be doing this but just in case...read on.

Over time, Facebook has limited the ability to tag personal pages (or your clients in this case) to just images. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that feature never goes away too. I remember when you could tag clients in your status updates as well but those days are long gone.

Moreover, because links inundate the news feed and photos capture more of your readers eye, the system I'm going to lay out utilizes the most eye capture combined with the most reach.

First, in your brand page status update, choose 'Upload A Photo' and pick one of your branded blog images to be your main preview image. Because of the new Timeline layout, having an image where the subject is in the center of the frame works best but they do allow you to reposition the photo after upload if you want too.

After you've selected your image, create an eye-catching or entertaining update and a text link to the full blog post. For example: "BLOG POST: See where Jack proposed to Jill at GasWorks Park! We revisited their special place for their engagement session. See the location and all the images at: http://www.yourcompany.com/blog/jack-jill-gasworks-park-engagement-photography-seattle-wa." Here, you can see we've identified what the status update is, "BLOG POST:" or "FEATURED:" or "COOL LINK" or whatever you want to post. Then, we've created some entertaining text to showcase what to expect when they click on the full blog link. That text may also include tagging other business pages if you shot at another venue that has a business page. Remember, extend your reach as much as possible. Lastly, we've given them the link to click.

The only remaining thing to do is to click on the image after you publish the status update and tag your clients.* (*I'm assuming that you've already friended your clients on Facebook!). Once you tag your clients, you can also add the location of 'GasWorks Park' and voila! Now you have a Facebook post that gives you the most reach (your clients and their friends will see it on their profile) as well as the most eye candy (your image, or images if you create an album).

From there, feel free to 'highlight' the post (thus creating a double column highlight and turning your image to a pano - see Example 1) or 'pin' the post, which puts the post at the top of your feed for 7 days in the traditional single column layout. Play around with both to pick which is best.

Because the goal is to drive traffic to your website and blog, it's my recommendation that Facebook is always used as a teaser instead of redundantly posting the same images on your blog as you do Facebook. Grab them with a Facebook teaser and direct them to your blog...then at the end of your blog, direct them to your website to book a session. It's a beautiful, well-crafted tap on the back to drive them through the door.

Now that you've mastered the new Facebook Timeline announcement of your blog, it's time to move on to Step 4: Adopt and Promote Pinterest Pinning. Stay tuned for the next post which covers the highly debated use of Pinterest for photographers.

Example 1


That wraps up Part 3, see you next week for part 4 "Adopt and Promote Pinterest Pinning".

You can contact Wendy for a 1 on 1 coaching session, purchase her e-book or just stop by and say hi on Facebook!

Wendy Roe has spent the last 10 years ingrained in all things web marketing – from design/development to search/social media. In May 2010, she decided to quit the corporate life and join forces with her husband, Byron Roe, to shoot full-time one of life’s ultimate highs – weddings! She now focuses on business development and her role as a second shooter for wedding photographers, Byron Roe Photography, based in Bend, Oregon.

She is the co-author of "55 Smart Web Ideas for Photographers” e-book, a 2-time speaker at WPPI Photographer’s Ignite, and has traveled through west coast speaking and consulting with photographers on web marketing. She’s known as an "interpreter", changing technical language into easy to understand information. Above all, she’s an educator at heart and believes: “Web marketing and wedding photography are two passions that drive bringing the best out of beauty and brands.


You have until noon tomorrow...




Tomorrow (Friday 3/30) is when we will draw the winner for the book "Black and White: From Snapshots to Great Shots" by John Batdorff.

If you would be so kind as to hit the "thumbs up" on our new "Facebook Like" option that can be found in the right-hand side menu column (directly under Adorama) we'll say thanks in return by giving one of you this book.

Not that we need the ego boost, but by doing so it increases our visibility on Facebook, which in turn makes it easier for other people to find us.

And if one of those people (who "Like" us) will be chosen at random to receive this book, why not you?

Would you like some free film?




Seriously, it's free.

I have 8 rolls of assorted color film that I am happy to give it to one of our readers.

If there are a couple folks who want it I will split it it between them.

Should there turn out to be a significant interest I will put everyone's name in a hat and draw a "winner".

Just drop me an email and I will announce the films new owner(s) on Monday.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yes, it's another "Wedding Wednesday"...


And this week we have the distinct pleasure of having a guest blogger today, wedding photographer extraordinaire (and very good friend) Stacey Kane.

Stacey started out in photography like so many other folks, taking pictures of her children... then taking pictures of her friends children... and today she travels the world with her camera doing what she loves, capturing life.

But you can listen to me ramble any day, so let's get to why we are here, my fellow photographers.... Stacey Kane:



All photographers have a style that is uniquely theirs. For some it happens at the click of the shutter... for others it's in post processing. Some photographers have a very defined look. You can identify their images immediately. Other photographers have more of a "hodge podge" collection.

Neither is right or wrong but to be successful, and equally as important (if not more so) happy in your work, it is crucial that your style and approach match the expectations and desires of your clients.

If you were asked to pick just one image that defines your work could you? If you asked someone else to pick an image of yours that they think best represents your work would it be the same image?

Here is what I consider to be one of my "signature" (wedding) images:



Think about what this image says to you. If you were a bride looking for a traditional photographer... posed formals, etc... would I be on your short list? If you love the "vintage" processed image trend would I be your first choice?

I hope not.

This is important to understand. It shouldn't be about filling shoot dates on a calendar. I am not the photographer for the client that is looking for that style. They are not the client for me. Neither of us would be happy working together. It's ok. There are other photographers that would be a perfect match for them. Both would (and should) be rewarded by the other.

The client that should embrace and react to this image is one that wants a more editorial/documentary approach from their photographer. Someone that wants their photographer to capture moments, relationships, personalities, emotions, etc.... A photographer that is less of a participant in the day and more of an observer. This client wants what's real... funny faces and all.

The image above is the foundation upon which my bio(s) were written and my website and blog were designed. It is one of the signature images of my "brand".

Here is a bio that was written about me:

Any discussion of Stacey Kane's wedding photography should begin with an acknowledgement of her integrity and her knack for producing heaping helpings of laughter. She brings an intensely fresh style to capturing your event, but under no circumstances does she bring anything that feels forced or rehearsed.

Stacey's career as a photographer was borne of a varied, multidisciplinary path that produced a style best described as "photojournalism with a sense of humor." In just about any wedding scenario one can imagine, her demeanor and ease are welcome relief, but she's never stoop to crack a joke just to capture a bride or groom's smile. No, it's her emphatic belief that she's there to document you and your wedding, something she achieves largely through a finely-honed photographic instinct. That instinct has won her major awards, helped her garner the trust of celebrity clients, and given her significant exposure in well-respected publications.

However, what's most important to Stacey is simply this: Emotions are inherent to the traditional nature of weddings, therefore, they needn't be coaxed or conjured - only beautifully presented.

Does the image above match up to this bio?

How about this sketch and tagline featured with that image on my website and on my business cards?



Here is what I consider to be a "signature" image for my portrait work along with the accompanying sketch and its tagline:


(click on any image to view larger & in a new window)


Do they evoke the same thoughts and reactions regarding my work?

It doesn't matter what type of a photographer you are.....landscape, commercial, wedding, portrait, etc..... find your signature image and build on it. Choose key words or statements that describe your style. Make sure that everything is cohesive and not in conflict. If you need help ask others to look at a portfolio of your images and see if they can find a common thread that emerges. Go back through the images and choose the one that best matches it. If your style runs a wider gamut choose a series of images and market yourself to a broader audience.

Present yourself honestly and without apologies. You'll attract the clients that will appreciate you and you'll be a happier, more successful photographer because of it.

So.....what is YOUR image? We'd love to see it!

Thanks Stacey for taking the time to share this with our readers, and yes, we would love to see you "signature" image (and share it with our readers), so please upload it to our Flickr group or email it to us.

If you wanted to see some pretty outstanding images from Stacey be sure to checkout her website and her blog.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Can't see the forest for the trees...




I saw this image and the accompanying story and found it amusing for several reasons.... one of which is I can see this happening to me.

There has been a time or two in my life when I was so engrossed in what I was doing that I "lost contact" with what was going on around me.

This is a great lesson in both photography AND life, every so often we should take a step back, and look around.

You can see the original post here, where you will also find a link to a horrible story of another photographer not paying attention to his surroundings.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Check out this Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod...


(click on any image to view larger & in a new window)


This Manfrotto is a great tripod, it's strong, it's lightweight, it's well made, AND it comes with a ball head.

I know these things because it's a Manfrotto 7322YB M-Y with Carbon Basalt Tripod Legs and a Ball Head, and just so happens to be the same tripod I use and love.

I bring it up not to brag, but because it's on sale for almost half off. The sale runs through this Friday (3/30) and the price is just $129 with free shipping at Adorama.

All you need to do is enter the coupon code "S1299330" during checkout and the price will miraculously drop from $229 to $129.

So you have until Friday to become a proud owner of a great Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod at an outstanding price.



In the past several folks have said they had a difficult time finding out where to enter coupon codes so here's a screen shot. When you "Proceed to Checkout" you will find the spot to enter your coupon code right under "Payment Information".

Hope that helps.



Another sale item you might be interested in is a 16GB Lexar compact flash card. It's the 200x Platinum II High Speed Series, are only $29.95, and they too come with free shipping.



Something else I use (and love), is the Hakuba digital media storage wallet that holds 4 compact flash cards. I LOVE these wallets and you can read my review (and everything I put them through during testing) right here.

Once you've read it you'll understand why I have been using these media wallets for years and have no plans on using anything else.

Sadly they are not on sale, but they are only $8.50 and worth every single penny.


Would you like this book for free?...




Seriously, because this book could very easily be yours.

We are giving away "Black and White: From Snapshots to Great Shots" by John Batdorff this coming Friday (3/30).

We have added a new "Facebook Like" option that can be found in the right-hand side menu column (directly under Adorama).

If you would be so kind as to hit the "thumbs up" it would be so greatly appreciated.

Not that we need the ego boost, but by doing so it increases our visibility on Facebook, which in turn makes it easier for others to find us.

And one of those people (who "Like" us) will be chosen at random to receive this book, so why not you?

And our reader reviewers are...


Yup, finally picked the six folks who will be participating in our first series of reader reviews, and yes, there will be more to follow.

So, here they are and what they will be reviewing for you, the rest of our readers:


Nick Van Zanten - Off-Camera Flash Techniques for Digital Photographers by Neil van Niekerk

Jerry Weber - Storytellers: A Photographer's Guide to Developing Themes and Creating Stories with Pictures by Jerod Foster

Melissa Johnson - Adventure Sports Photography: Creating Dramatic Images in Wild Places by Tom Bol

Maureen Hamilton-Graessley - Wildlife Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Laurie Excell

Matthew D. Kauffmann - Mastering Adobe Photoshop Filters: Learn by Video with Olaf Giermann

Eliot R. Rosenkranz - Digital Photos from Concept to Completion: Learn by Video with Tim Grey


The packages will start going out today and as soon as we start getting the reviews back we'll begin sharing them with you.

And remember, if you submitted your name but were not selected for this round of reviews, we kept everyone's contact info and you will be in the running for the next time around.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Join the Adobe Photoshop CS6 public Beta...




Yesterday Adobe announced the public beat of Photoshop CS6.

The CS6 beta includes all the features available in both Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CS6 Extended.

Here are just a few of the things you can expect to find:

Content-Aware Patch — Patch images with greater control using the newest member of the Content-Aware family of technologies. Choose the sample area you want to use to create your patch, and then watch Content-Aware Patch magically blend pixels for a stunning result.

Blazingly fast performance and a modern UI — Experience unprecedented performance with the Mercury Graphics Engine, which gives you near-instant results when you edit with key tools such as Liquify, Puppet Warp, and Crop.* Plus, a refined, fresh, and elegant Photoshop interface features dark background options that make your images pop.

New and re-engineered design tools — Create superior designs fast. Get consistent formatting with type styles, create and apply custom strokes and dashed lines to shapes, quickly search layers, and much more.

Here is the link for both the Windows and Mac downloads.

In the video below Russell Brown will walk you through his 6 favorite features in Photoshop CS6 beta, the new capabilities of Adobe Camera Raw 7.0, the new adaptive Wide Angle feature, Field Blur, Iris Blur and Tilt-Shift.

If the video did not come through with you subscription, follow this link to watch it.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yet another "Wedding Wednesday"...



And this post has as much to about recovering images that weren't so good to begin with and how using black and white conversion can help salvage them.

They were both taken before I got my hands on a Nikon D3 and my camera at the time (a Nikon D300) really had zero high ISO capability.

If you look at these two images as they downloaded off the memory card they are not all that impressive (and that is being generous), but I knew that before I ever hit the shutter release.

Both were taken in non-ideal situations and I had to figure out what I had to work with at that moment and what I could do in post-processing.

In the first image the bride is standing in the doorway of the church with her dad while mom is behind her adjusting her dress. It's one of those shots that you don't have too much time to think about and certainly no time to fiddle with equipment or the moment will be gone as quickly as it came.

I am standing in a dark entryway facing the door, I can't use a flash to light her, and it is a bright sunny day outside (behind her). If I adjust the exposure for the bride that background is waaaaay blown out, and if I compensate too much for the outside I will end up with a silhouette of the people, so I opted to adjust the exposure between the bride and the bright outdoors behind her.

The exposure gives me some detail in the people and I know I am going to convert it to black and white to get back even more while at the same time keep the bright background from being the focal point of the image (as it is in the original).


In the second image the couple is at the altar and I was presented with several challenges, it was dark and what light we did have came from several different light sources (temperatures) making it difficult to get a correct white balance.

To get the shot (without using flash) I jacked up the ISO, but this added noise to my bad white balance, so things are going from bad to worse.

Black and white to the rescue again, it gave me back more details, overcomes the bad white balance, and the noise simply makes it look like an "old time" black and white.

Noise can be much more easily overcome (or explained away) in black in white than it can in color.

Are they "perfect" images? No, far from it, but it can still end up being a treasured memory for the client.


(click on either image to view larger and in a new window)


These images are over three years old and since then software has greatly improved (as have my editing skills), so assuming they were taken today (but still) with a camera without a high ISO option, we have better noise removal and certainly better black and white conversion tools that would result in a better outcome.

It doesn't change the fact that we should get it right in camera, but sometimes circumstances just don't allow for that, so this could be considered a "fall back" plan.


You like me... you really, really like me...


At least I hope you do.

We have added a new "Facebook Like" option on the right-hand side menu column (directly under Adorama).

If you would be so kind as to hit the "thumbs up" it would be so greatly appreciated.

Not that we need the ego boost, but by doing so it increases our visibility on Facebook, which in turn makes it easier for others to find us.

And just to sweeten the pot next Friday (3/30) we will randomly select one of our new Facebook friends and send them a very cool prize.

Thanks everybody.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Part 2 of the series "Web Marketing Workflow"...


Wendy Roe has spent the last 10 years ingrained in all things web marketing – from design/development to search/social media. In May 2010, she decided to quit the corporate life and join forces with her husband, Byron Roe, to shoot full-time one of life’s ultimate highs – weddings! She now focuses on business development and her role as a second shooter for wedding photographers, Byron Roe Photography, based in Bend, Oregon.

She is the co-author of "55 Smart Web Ideas for Photographers” e-book, a 2-time speaker at WPPI Photographer’s Ignite, and has traveled through west coast speaking and consulting with photographers on web marketing. She’s known as an "interpreter", changing technical language into easy to understand information. Above all, she’s an educator at heart and believes: “Web marketing and wedding photography are two passions that drive bringing the best out of beauty and brands.”

Just in case you missed part 1 "Naming and Branding Your Images" you can find it here, otherwise let's join Wendy Roe for part 2 "Web Marketing Workflow Guide to An Individual WordPress Blog Post".


WordPress is hands down the best blogging platform on the market. Pending the fact that you're already using WordPress for your photography blog, I'd like to share some insider tips on optimizing your posts to align with your web marketing workflow. Part 1 covered naming and branding your images and prepping them for online usage. Today, we'll be reviewing how to utilize those for your blog!

Keyword Focus

Before we begin a blog, we need to focus on what the purpose of the blog post is. I always like to identify a keyword phrase that I would like this post to rank for in Google for SEO before I start writing. If I'm blogging a session, I focus on where the session took place (venue, landmark, park...anything that people would be searching for) as well as including 'engagement photography' or 'family photography' or 'wedding photography' as well as the city and state. Putting those all together, I would get a blog title similar to, "Jack and Jill; GasWorks Park Engagement Photography in Seattle, Wa."

SEO Items Within The Blog

There's 3 main important items to name with your keyword focus. The first is your blog post title, which if you have your permalinks (or URLs) setup correctly, should also act as part of your post URL (the second item). One plugin I use daily is the 'SEO All in One Pack,' (Example 1) which is a free plugin. This plugin allows on each post for you to customize the meta title and description (the third items) and focus your post on your keyword phrase. Redundancy is key, so it's super helpful to utilize the same information in all THREE of these places: blog post title, URL and SEO meta information (meta title and description).

So, let's review! We've created a post with a keyword focused blog title, URL and meta information as well as having images that are named with a keyword focus ready to upload to our post. The last item that's needed is blog content! The content needs to be readable and entertaining to your client and other visitors as well as....you guessed it....have a keyword focus! It doesn't need to be awkward but it's the last piece of the puzzle to sharing with your visitors as well as to Google what this post is about. Infusing your keywords in your content needs to be natural and not forced. We love to have 2-3 short paragraphs as an opener and then caption images to add more text to the post and make it fun!

Now that we've added the content, we need to just upload the images. Before I found the 'Faster Image Insert' plugin, I was spending at least 30 minutes a post manually entering individual images to the post - YIKES! This fabulous free plugin lets you upload and insert all at once. Now we have our blog writing from start to finish down to 20 minutes.

From there, choose your categories and if you want, tags (although less important for SEO) and BOOM, you're ready to publish!

Additional Plugins To Add

Outside of the blog content and individual posts, there's several things you can add to your blog posts that aid in continuing your web marketing and the conversation with your clients. The first thing would be to encourage, even bribe your clients with prints, for comments. Comments act as testimonials and will forever be linked to your post. Use them! We've also added a plugin called "Link Within" so that similar posts will be shown below the post with an image to encourage your visitors to spend more time on your site.

Moreover, having the 'Facebook Like' button installed on your blog will encourage visitors to follow you on Facebook. We've also recently added a 'Pin It' button below each image of our blog to encourage pins on Pinterest. Lastly, each blog post at the bottom should naturally have call to action buttons to draw visitors back to your site, to learn more about your services and to BOOK A SESSION. Make it big and obvious, like all good call to actions should be! Example 2

I know this sounds like a lot but talk with your web developer about adding these fabulous plugins to your blog theme. They will help your visitors learn more about you and your services, see more of your work and book a session by contacting you with ease.

SO! Now that you have your blog published, the next step is to announce that puppy on Facebook and other third party social media tools! Join us next week where we'll be reviewing "The Protocol To Announcing and Releasing on Facebook." As always, comments and questions are welcome, I'd be happy to answer questions via comments below.

Example 1



Example 2

(click on either image to view larger and in a new window)


That wraps up Part 2, see you next week for part 3 "The Protocol To Announcing and Releasing on Facebook Timeline"

You can contact Wendy for a 1 on 1 coaching session, purchase her e-book or just stop by and say hi on Facebook!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day memories...


I have shared this before but given that today is Saint Patrick's day I wanted to share it again.

Not sure why, but my three girls would get such a hoot about Saint Patrick's Day.

Maybe it was because we played it up for them, when the girls got up in the morning they would witness the results of what those mischievous leprechauns had done to our house during the night, like pictures hung upside down, grapes on the island with little bites taken out of them, rope ladders left in place that had allowed them to get to the higher shelves of food, cupboard doors left open, and once they even turned our milk green.

As the girls got older they really wanted to catch a leprechaun, so we would set traps using food and shiny fake gold coins (each year the traps would be more elaborate than the year before).

One year they had the brilliant idea of putting double sided tape on the floor in front of the trap hoping to stick one of them in place. That was the year I had to get very small socks and shoes to leave stuck to the tape, the girls were so excited thinking that they had come "that close" to capturing a leprechaun.

The first photo is a trap from the "early years", and the second photo is of a later, more "sophisticated" leprechaun trap. Notice the "come in free food" sign.


(click on either "trap" to view larger and in a new window)


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Very cool online lens selection tool...


Actually, it's both a lens AND a camera body simulation selection tool.

If you are considering the purchase of a lens, or just curious about the angle of view or focusing range of a given lens this tool is for you, regardless of what brand of camera gear you shoot.

If you shoot Nikon you can play even more with the ability to "play" with any combination of lenses and camera bodies Nikon offers.

This simulation tool allows you to select from both a DX or FX format, there are three images from which to choose, and you can zoom in and out to your hearts content to see if a certain lens and/or body is right for you.

If you come across a combination you like you have the ability to save it as well.

So give it a try, it's both fun and informative.

(click on image to view larger and in a new window)


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A (late) Wedding Wednesday...



Though the day is coming to a close, I did not want it to pass without posting at least a couple wedding shots, as I find myself rather looking forward to "Wedding Wednesday".

But alas, today there are not lessons, no "takeaways", not one single "TA DA!" moment... just a couple shots of one of last wedding seasons stunning brides.


(click on either image to view larger and in a new window)


Wait, maybe just a little lesson in these. Both of these images were taken with a "long" lens (Nikon 70-200 2.8), and both were taken during "down time".

The lens allowed me to be off at a distance and capture the bride in candid moments. Had I been too close she most likely would have been a little more "formal" considering there was some guy up in her face with a camera clicking away.

A 5 part series on "Web Marketing Workflow"...


I recently had the pleasure of reading (and reviewing) “55 Smart Web Ideas for Photographers” and was so impressed I asked both authors if they would contribute to Weekly Photo Tips.

Zack Prez wrote a post about how photographers can best use Pinterest, and today Wendy Roe is starting a 5 part series on "Web Marketing Workflow" for photographers.

Before we get to Wendy's first post "Naming and Branding Your Images", let me tell you a bit about her.

Wendy Roe has spent the last 10 years ingrained in all things web marketing – from design/development to search/social media. In May 2010, she decided to quit the corporate life and join forces with her husband, Byron Roe, to shoot full-time one of life’s ultimate highs – weddings! She now focuses on business development and her role as a second shooter for wedding photographers, Byron Roe Photography, based in Bend, Oregon.

She is the co-author of "55 Smart Web Ideas for Photographers” e-book, a 2-time speaker at WPPI Photographer’s Ignite, and has traveled through west coast speaking and consulting with photographers on web marketing. She’s known as an "interpreter", changing technical language into easy to understand information. Above all, she’s an educator at heart and believes: “Web marketing and wedding photography are two passions that drive bringing the best out of beauty and brands.”

And now, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Wendy Roe.

First off, thank you Scott for inviting me to partake in Weekly Photo Tips blog as guest poster. I'm excited to share some of my web marketing workflow strategies with you over a five part series.

These are NOT going to be conceptual (off in Neverland, out there) tips, they are going to be action oriented, important tasks to include in your regular workflow to maintain and continue to grow your exposure online. Web marketing encompasses so many industries: Design, Development, Social Media, SEO, Usability, Link Building, Analytics, Google Places (Local) and more - so it can be absolutely overwhelming, I get it.

So, here's an outline of what I'm going to cover in the five part series (just so you can't wait in suspense!) for the posts to arrive!

And I'm excited to finish it off with a podcast with Scott to wrap up the entire series. If you have questions, don't hesitate to leave comments on the post or contact me directly and I'll be sure to get back to you!

Web Marketing Workflow Series Outline:

Step 1: Naming and Branding Your Images

Step 2: Web Marketing Workflow Guide to An Individual WordPress Blog Post

Step 3: The Protocol To Announcing and Releasing on Facebook

Step 4: Adopt and Promote Pinterest Pinning

Step 5: Link Building Through Directories and Local Search Engines

--------

Step 1: Naming and Branding Your Images

Welcome to part one of the five part series on the web marketing workflow. We're going to jump right in with the first step by talking about naming and branding your session images with a purpose.

Branding your images (each and every ONE) is one of the most important things in your workflow. Whether you watermark them in Photoshop, Lightroom, or use a third-party tool like Mogrify for Lightroom (my personal favorite) or any other app, it's imperative that your images are branded by a watermark or border (again, my personal favorite).

Why spend the time you ask? Because one of the first things that clients do when they see a preview image or their blog post for the first time, or Google grabs the images for Google image search - whatever or whomever grabs the images needs to see your branding as a professional studio.

This is becoming all the more important with the onset of the Pinterest CRAZE. (EXAMPLE 1) Without the branding, your images can be easily tossed around without you getting the credit due. You are loosing new potential work if you are not branding your images because of the sheer likelihood that every image you share will be re-shared and indexed. It's just the way of world today and we have to adapt, get used to it, and work within those parameters.

If you are interested in Mogrify (donation ware), which is what we use, it's super easy to add the Lightroom plugin and customize the export to wrap a border around your image and place your logo on it. We have a separate collection for our blog/Facebook images and export those with the border to a blog/Facebook folder under each client. Easy, Peasy.

The next super important thing is to name your images with both your prospective client and Google in mind.

When we export from Lightroom, we have a preset to fill out for naming our blog/Facebook images that includes, 'Custom Name - Sequence', with the field default to: venue-city-state-wedding-photography-byronroephotography-1.jpg. (EXAMPLE 2)

For each client, we update the field with dashes so for example our images are named, 'sunriver-resort-bend-oregon-wedding-photography-byronroephotography-1.jpg.

Naming the image is so vital because Google is scouring the web for relevant images to place inside of a search result page when your future client is looking for Sun river Resort, Bend Oregon Wedding Photos.

Adding naming and branding to your Lightroom or Photoshop workflow before publishing online will help set everything in motion and that's why it's the first step to the web marketing workflow for photographers. Besides, who knows when your next fabulous wedding image will go VIRAL!?

So that wraps "Naming and Branding", stay tuned for part two that builds on this post: Web Marketing Workflow Guide to An Individual WordPress Blog Post.

Happy commenting,

Wendy Roe

(EXAMPLE 1) Who's using your images on Pinterest? Use the URL: http://pinterest.com/source/yourcompany.com to find out!



(EXAMPLE 2) Lightroom Export Preset:

(click on either image to view larger and in a new window)


See you all next week for part 2 "Web Marketing Workflow Guide to An Individual WordPress Blog Post"

You can contact WendY for a 1on 1 coaching session, purchase her e-book or just stop by and say hi on Facebook!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Review of Kevin Kubota's "Lighting Notebook"...




Let me share with you what I like so much about Kevin Kubota's "Lighting Notebook".

The first 6 chapters cover most of the important things you will ever need to know about lighting.

Chapter one - is a brief history of lighting that will actually walk you back to the 1930's.

Chapter two - goes over the "lingo of lighting". So as you read this book (or delve deeper into your lighting education) you'll understand what is being talked about, things like 2-point lighting, Rembrandt lighting, back-lighting, etc., if there is a lighting term, Kevin covers it in this chapter.

And just so you know Rembrandt lighting comes from, who else, Rembrandt and references the lighting style he would use when painting portraits, here is an image that is a perfect example of what this lighting style represents:

(click on any image to view larger and in a new window)


Chapter 3 - talks about metering, balancing natural and artificial light, high speed and rear curtain sync, white balance, color temps and more.

Chapter 4 - covers lights and lighting tools like softboxes, beauty dishes, umbrellas, triggering tools, etc..

Chapter 5 - will help you build your own lighting kit, selecting the kind of tools that will best fit your photography style and practice.

Chapter 6 - demonstrates creating light in software such as Lightroom, Photoshop, Bridge, and Aperture.

I know this is not the "fun & sexy" part of taking photographs, but you can't build a house without a solid foundation and these first six chapters are the solid foundation you will use to build your "house of lighting techniques" on.

It's once you have finished with the foundation that the fun truly begins, because what follows are 101 different beautiful photographs and everything you would need to know about how they were shot.

Each image is a two page spread and is set up like this:

On the left hand page is a key in the upper left corner telling you what type of lighting was used, be it Natural, Artificial, or a combination of the two.

It will also tell you if any assistants were needed, and if so, how many. Last of the keys is a cost key. It will let you know at a glance if the image was inexpensive, expensive, or somewhere in between shoot (related to the gear needed to make it happen).

The rest of the page has the finished image and a description of how the shot was setup and taken.

On the right page you will find camera settings, gear list, a lighting diagram, and two or three action shots of the photograph being taken.

If there is an alternative piece of gear that could be used to get the same results, you will find that listed here as well.



The Lighting Notebook is one of those books that is a true page turner, once you pick it up it won't leave your hands until you get to the last page, then again you may start going through it a second time before putting it down.

Just in case you aren't picking up my "vibes" the review is two thumbs way up for this book.

This is not the first thing from Kevin that I have truly liked, as I have been a big Kevin Kubota fan for some time and have posted about what he has to offer to photographers more than once (or twice) on Weekly Photo Tips. Like:

You will find my interview with Kevin Here.

I had the pleasure of attending his seminar in Vermont, which was HUGE fun.

In this post I shared his trick on how to correctly synchronize the capture times in Lightroom for images shot from 2 or more cameras, so they will all the images will appear in the correct chronological order.

And I have raved in more than one post about his Lightroom training DVD's, because they contain so much useful information, much more than just editing in Lightroom.

OMG, this kinda makes me look like a stalker!

;)

I am sure if you buy this book you will find it as educational and useful as I did.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I love feel good stories...


The kind of stories where a person does something not expecting anything in return (especially recognition), but they do it because it's the right thing to do.

Then they are found out, it catches on, and even more good is done.

There was exactly this kind of story recently in our local (Maine) news and not only did it catch on locally, it caught on nationally and a whole bunch of people got involved.

It took place in the little town of Dixfield, Maine, and it started when Ike Libby of Hometown Energy had several customers who simply didn't have the money to buy the oil they needed to heat their homes.

As anyone who has been to Maine in the winter knows, going without heat here is simply not an option.

So what did Ike do? He delivered oil to them anyway.

Somehow the New York Times got hold of the story, ran it, and since then Ike has received over $200,000 in donations to help pay for the oil for those who can't.

As Ike said, "Kind of makes you love America".

Sure does, Ike, sure does.

Here is the video of his story:



If for any reason you can't view the video, or it did not came through with your subscription, just follow this link view it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fantastic Flickr fotos...


Everyday I go over to Flickr to approve images that folks have submitted to our Flickr group and it never fails that I end up spending a good deal of time looking through the images that have been submitted.

It's really hard to pick the ones to post on the blog , because they are all so wonderful (and I feel badly leaving anyone out), but space is limited... here are a handful that I will share today.







Luca Rossi has done a series on shoes, and not only did he submit shoe photos, he also included a photo of the setup which I thought was pretty cool (check out the "shoe" series here, and his blog here).




And a few more beauties:




(click on any image to view larger in a new window)


If you would like to join our Flickr group you can find all the details here.