Looking for a new way to change up your portrait photography sessions? Get some great insight from a couple blogs and browse through some brilliant portrait galleries for inspiration. See what and how the pros do it to achieve their vision. Check out the round up below and start upping your portrait photography game!
Watch photographer, Beth Scupham’s family portrait images come to life in this wonderful slideshow using the popular “Wall Frame” styles from Effects Pack Portraits. Clean, stylish and modern – these instant slideshow effects have a classic look with a professional polish. You can keep the movement minimal with simple dissolves, or for more energy, mix in some push transitions, as shown in the video.
With 25 unique sets of effects, Effects Pack Portraits works with a wide array of subject matter. From weddings and holidays to everyday celebrations, there’s something for everyone.
Today’s guest blog post comes from photographer Kay Eskridge, owner of Kay & Co. Photography portrait studio in Phoenix, AZ. We’re thrilled to have her share her expert tips on getting started in maternity photography on the blog today!
If you have a passion for maternity photography or are thinking about adding maternity sessions to your photography business you have to remember the #1 most important thing…it’s all about ‘her’.
Her comfort, her desires and her connections.
If you can tap into all three of these points you’ll be well on your way to establishing a prosperous maternity division to your business. Here are three easy steps to learn, follow and get you started.
Let’s talk first about her comfort and the elements needed to make your studio (home office or retail location) a place where she feels she is being taken care of. The following are steps you need to consider:
Discuss her clothing comfort level in advance (fully, partially clothed or nude figure study?) via a pre-portrait consultation. My preference is to do this in person so she has an opportunity to come to the studio before the session eliminating anxiety the day of the session and stress from not being able to find our location.
Have a robe available for her discretion (thick and warm for winter / satin and light for summer)
Set air conditioning in advance of the session to a cool temperature and or provide a room fan (she’s a human incubator and will always be warmer than normal body temperature).
Stock clothing items ‘just in case’ she’s forgotten to bring something like tube tops, robes, satin/silk material for draping, loose fitting clothing like bathing suit cover ups, etc.
Have plenty of fresh, cool water available.
Snacks to nibble on to settle an upset stomach or if blood sugar drops.
Have skin sensitive or hypo-allergenic body lotion on hand.
Be aware of her constantly changing and highly charged hormone levels.
Powder to tone down a shinny face (mineral based in a few color options).
Don’t spray room deodorizer or burn candles prior to the session as their sense of smell is extremely sensitive (if home based do not cook food that has a lingering odor the night before).
Discuss posing and lighting techniques that will be most flattering to her growing figure prior to the session to reassure her that you have her utmost personal body challenges in mind.
Next let’s talk about her desires and what items you can offer to help your sales averages grow.
Images as Art for the Nursery
One of the most obvious items to present to your maternity clients would be images as ‘art’ for the nursery. Black and white images are always a huge hit as well as a ‘Watch Me Grow’ type option which would carry you into the Newborn and First Year baby years. You could include images from the maternity session, newborn session and the first year of the baby’s life. It is a ‘growing’ type of plan so images would be selected after each session occurs guaranteeing more sessions than just the maternity. These images can be designed as a collage, multiple album options and video slideshow (see a sample of one we put together below).
Beautiful Belly Albums
Another option would be to create and offer a ‘Beautiful Belly Album’ that would include images from just the maternity session. As a follow-up you could offer a second book from the newborn session as well as sub sequential albums from later sessions – creating a library of the baby’s life. Now you have an opportunity to make them ‘Clients for Life’ by introducing them to the many photographic opportunities you offer such as: My First Year, Birthday’s Rock, When I was one, two, three. A Day in the Life or whatever you call the specialty options you provide.
Creative Birth Announcements
Creative and unique Birth Announcements are also an option for you as the images you’ve captured now become a work of art the family would want to share with loved ones and friends. We use WHCC for their press printed products and LOVE the options provided for options of style and shape. The bottom line is that you have to continue the relationship you’re forming with them by giving them reasons to spend their money with YOU!
The third tier of this plan is to tap into her connections so you can reach other expectant mothers. You’ve made her happy and she’s hooked so now it’s time to ask her to refer you!
Many times we fail to do something as simple as this. ASK her for her referrals! Who is her pediatrician, her fertility specialist, where did she shop for her maternity clothes, where did she register for her baby shower… do you see where this is going? Tap into the places pregnant women frequent and that is where you want to spend your time and focus with advertising dollars to make it pay off.
Ask for the name of the owner or manager of the stores she shares with you and then use a letter of introduction with her name on it so you have a verified connection method instead of a cold call. Follow up with a phone call to arrange a ‘person to person’ meeting and then show them how this relationship will benefit both businesses. Talk to them about partnership marketing cards you can share as well as the option of displaying your work in their business. A Partnership Marketing Campaign is a win-win in today’s economy when everyone’s bottom line advertising dollar has become smaller and more guarded.
The next step is to ask your happy clients for referrals to their group of friends. Using facebook, Twitter and blogs you can post images and video slideshows that your happy moms will be able to brag about and send new clients directly to you. They’re proud of the blessed life they are now experiencing and if you can give them a photographic reason to share you’re setting yourself up for a gold mine of other expectant mothers.
As a wrap up, remember it’s her comfort, her desires and her connections. Hit all three and you’ve reached the tri-fecta of maternity photography. Implement them effectively and you’re sure to move this portion of your photography business into a successful direction!
A few months ago I was out on a walk with my niece and my sister and a beautiful light started to peek through an otherwise dull day. My adorable niece started giggling and dancing around and I just WISHED I had my gear to capture some images!
Reaching in my back pocket, I pulled out the only camera I had (my iPhone) and started shooting. The photos turned out great because of some basic techniques I was able to use from my training as a photographer.
With an impromptu backdrop and some great outdoor light you can capture beautiful outdoor portraits with only your camera phone. It’s no replacement for my full set up, but in a pinch I was ready! Check out my tips below.
Use a Great Camera App
There are a handful of camera apps I use consistently on my iPhone. Camera + and Camera Awesome both provide excellent quality tools and are easy to use. There are a ton of built-in effects, but I mostly stick with subtle brightness adjustments and cropping. Pick a great camera app and set it as your default camera on your phone so you don’t have to fiddle with starting it up each time you want to snap a photo.
Use a Simple Backdrop
Anything with a solid color or consistent pattern in the background will allow you to keep the center of focus on the subject of your photos. It’s also great for creating a series of shots for a video slideshow like the one I put together below. Everything has a consistent look and feel that adds a touch of professionalism to your images!
Avoid ‘The Pose’ and Shoot Candids
For Candids, cell-phone cameras score over the DSLRs by being unaggressive and friendly. The tell-tale sign that you’re lining someone up to photograph them is putting the camera up to your eye level. So if you don’t want them to think that, leave the camera low.
One way to be seen yet ignored is to take the time to blend into the background. What I do is find somewhere out of everyone’s way and stand or sit for a few minutes. It doesn’t take long before I become part of the scene. Less of a deception but relying on a shift of attention away from you is to wait till your subject’s attention is distracted by something else. Here it’s handy to have a friend engage your subject in conversation.
Work with the Light You’ve Got
Overcast day? Sun blaring down your subject? There’s not much you can do when mother nature is in the driver’s seat. Try different angles and move your subject around to find the best, most flattering light you can. Watch that your subject doesn’t get thrown into a shadow due to the sun being directly behind them. Try moving them to the right or left of the light source and see how their new position affects the photo.
My sister loved the photos we captured that day, so I turned them into a cute video slideshow that we’ll present to her over Valentine’s Day as a surprise!
Video slideshows are an excellent way to promote your photography, share your work, get referrals and make more money. See the top 5 ways photographers use ProShow video slideshows to grow their business.
1. Use a Video Slideshow as an Upgrade Incentive
Include a video slideshow in one of your higher-end packages to entice clients to purchase a larger order. Try delivering your slideshow in a custom folio or personalized USB drive to really amp-up the value. Polished packaging is key!
Whether you invite clients into your studio to watch a slideshow of their images for the first time, or you send a digital proof for clients to watch in the comfort of their home, one thing remains the same – clients are usually so emotionally moved when they view their images in a moving video slideshow set the the right music, they are often brought to tears…in a good way! Tap into that emotion and lead a proofing and sales session with a slideshow viewing.
3. New Client Referrals with Social Media
Post your video slideshows to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest with relevant keywords and always link back to your site. Tag your clients in your video slideshows on Facebook so their friends and family see the posts too. The more you post, tag and promote, the more potential clients will see your work. Videos are shared 12X more than links and text posts on Facebook alone.
4. Blogging with Slideshows
Video slideshows add an interactive element to your blog posts. Try embedding a client’s video directly in your next blog post. It’s likely to be shared, liked and viewed more than just still images alone. In fact, online retailers have found that customers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after seeing it featured in a video. Think about what this can do for your sales!
Add to your bottom line and sell the slideshows you make in ProShow directly to your clients, in the form of a DVD, Blu-ray disc, HD digital download or deliver a video on a custom USB drive. Once you make a slideshow with ProShow Gold, Producer or ProShow Web, it’s yours to share, distribute or sell however you see fit. ProShow Web users, simply make sure you’re signed up for a Premium account and you’re good to resell too! Wedding and portrait clients are great candidates to sell video slideshows to and often seek video slideshow services as part of a photography package.
What are some of the ways you use video slideshows to market and sell your work? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Today’s guest post comes from Erin McDonald Associate Photographer at Images by Kay & Co. She shares her expert tips for having a great experience at your next portrait session.
I get it! I’m a mom and so its my job to prepare the family for our holiday portrait…I know how difficult it is to get the kids dressed, the dog groomed, the husband away from the TV on a Saturday and get in the car! I get clammy palms just thinking about it. Even though it can be a pain, in the end, it really is worth it to capture your family and the portraits make great gifts!
Here are some ways to make the entire family photo experience a positive one:
Schedule NOW! Nothing will stress you out more than waiting till the last minute to set your plan in motion.
Set the photo shoot when kids are at their happiest. Usually, at least for little ones, this means 5 to 6 p.m. is not the best time. You can’t always get the time you want, but if you have any control over this aspect at all, I highly recommend working your appointment around your kiddos’ routines.
That said – lighting is important, so you may have to be flexible. Bright, high noon sunshine is not ideal, so oftentimes, we prefer to shoot outdoor photos either in the morning or just before dusk. You might have to go with the flow and let your kids’ schedule be a bit different that day, or schedule a in-studio portrait session!
Coordinate, but don’t match. This is just my opinion, as I know many families like to wear the same outfit for their portraits. But in my experience as a holiday photo card designer, photos look better when everyone blends well, but not too much.
Avoid patterns. It’s okay if one family member has a simple stripe or a basic design, but too many intricate patterns detracts from faces. If in doubt of what to wear, go with a simple, solid-colored shirt.
Pets. Our four legged friends are part of the family too! Give your pup some great exercise a couple of hours before your session to burn off some extra energy. Let the studio know you are bringing Fido, and arrive early so your pet can sniff around and settle down.
There are lots of tips flying around out there on taking good family photos, but I wanted to give you some gems that you might not stumble across as often.
1. Locations, locations, locations (yes, plural)
When scouting out a spot for family photos, be sure there’s a lot of variety. Though family photos at the beach sound great, having the ocean in the background for every single image becomes monotonous both during the session and when looking through the photos later. So, if you are at the beach, go toward the pier, an inlet or a grassy hill to vary the scenery.
I’m blessed to live in a neighborhood that has a farm, tons of conservancy land with wildflower fields, tree-lined paths, and some amazing rustic buildings and fences. Not only does the variety of locations bring diversity to the photos, everyone also gets a nice break while walking from place to place.
Think of how much stress everyone was under trying to look nice (and stay that way) to get to this session. I have so many families who arrive 10-20 minutes late because, let’s face it, getting young children and yourselves beautiful and into the car at a specific time just isn’t realistic.
Instead of telling people to smile, where you get the forced “cheese” grin and no light in the eyes, I tell people to take a deep breath and relax. I would much rather have a “no-smile” photo, than one with strained lips, eyes, and foreheads. After everyone is relaxed, and I get a few great shots that way, I inevitably do something to make a fool of myself (like a goofy dance celebrating the photo we just took), which brings out the real smiles. The camera comes back up to my face just then.
3. Watch out for that crazy sun
Yes, you can get great photos in the middle of the day! Here’s how: Find a location with bushes, trees or anything else dark in the background. Place your subject with their back to the sun anywhere from 10-100 feet in front of the background, but in the sunlight, not the shadow. The sun will cast a gorgeous halo all around them and your dark background will ensure they remain defined by that light.
Here’s an example, two hours before sunset, where I was shooting with the sun to my right instead of behind them:
But then I moved around so that the sun was behind them:
So much better, right?! There’s nice even light on their faces and a glow all around them. If you shoot like this close to sunset, you’ll also get some really pretty lens flare, but beware of your camera’s auto-focus acting up when you direct it toward the sun. Just be patient, and make some small adjustments in your position. It will come around.
4. Connect everyone together
Have mom lean on dad’s shoulder and daughter take mom’s hand. Let the little guy hug dad’s leg or sit on his lap. Make sure everyone looks included and connected. Heads should tilt slightly toward one another.
5. Remember why you’re there
When you do a family session, don’t forget the main reason why you’re taking the photos – to show the love and relationships between everyone in the family. Though a family is one unit, it is also made up individuals who each have a unique relationship with the other people there. Try pairing up people for photos to capture the bond between the two of them. How great would it be to have a photo of just you and your dad, no other siblings or people in it? That is priceless.
Watch this family’s slideshow for even more inspiration!