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Even accomplished photographers get down on themselves. Here’s how #ShootProofPro Tina J. Smith tackles her challenges by emphasizing her wins. (An interview with TINA J. SMITH)

Today’s #ShootProofPro: Tina J. Smith Photography

In Business Since: 2017
Tina’s Home Base: Atlanta, GA
Follow Her on Instagram: @tinasmiff (how cute is that handle?)
Follow Her on Facebook: @tinajsmithphotography

A portrait of #ShootProofPro Tina J. Smith

If a photographer tells you they’ve never made a mistake in their business, or that they’ve never struggled with self-doubt, the photographer you’re talking to is a liar. (Or just really good at spinning things in a positive light.)

Even talented, successful photographers like Tina J. Smith can find themselves in a tight spot. We asked Tina to share her methods for staying focused, inspired, and full of energy. Here’s what she had to say . . .

#1: Boost your creativity with fresh techniques.

Tina: “My very first purchase as a photographer was the 50mm f/1.8, and to this day I never go to a shoot without it! I also make sure to take a small piece of clear cello sheet with me. I like to use it in front of my lens to create some dreamy aesthetics and get creative.”

Photographs by #ShootProofPro Tina J. Smith #2: Respect your journey, and let your mistakes help you grow.

Tina: “When I first started my business, I did not use contracts! YIKES! I had to learn the hard way with this one.”

“I had a client who did not pay me for 6 months.

“This experience taught me that it was crucial for me to get all of my business ducks in a row. Having good communication [with] all expectations mapped out between both parties from the start makes life easier. Things run smoother when you’ve got a contract!”

Photographs by #ShootProofPro Tina J. Smith #3: Uplift others and you’ll uplift yourself.

Tina: “Whether it’s a lifestyle shoot with a beautiful family, or a personal branding session with an entrepreneur, I LOVE learning all about what makes my clients special so I can capture their true authenticity. Seeing them shine never gets old!

“I am the ultimate hype-girl! Whether it’s my client’s first time in front of the camera or they’re a natural, I love that we’re in this together.

“Encouraging them and making sure every session is light-hearted and fun is my favorite thing!”

Photograph by #ShootProofPro Tina J. Smith #4: Focus on your clients’ comfort.

Tina: “I always love to tell the story of a particular family portrait session I did recently.

“At the start of the session, the husband was not in the mood to capture photos. The kids were upset and fussy, and I could tell the mother was very stressed. I had known from our previous communication that the session may be a challenge as one of the kids was autistic. But I like a challenge!

“We met at a park, and I told them to just let the kids run and have fun and be themselves. The mood completely shifted!

“I made sure to take some shots of just the parents so they could have their own loving images. Later, after the images were delivered, the client let me know that I made their day, and that they had never had a photography experience like that before! She said the whole family felt beautiful, and that I truly captured the best part of who they are.”

Photographs by #ShootProofPro Tina J. Smith #5: Invest in yourself. It’s an investment in your future!

Tina: “Don’t get caught up on what gear you own. Learn and perfect your skills with what you have and as you grow and start making more money, then invest in new gear.

“Keep learning! It’s okay to reach out to other photographers and ask them for insight into the industry. Take the little pieces of information and put them into practice for you!

“Invest (time and money) into yourself! Investing can be learning how to edit better on YouTube, or putting money behind an ad special you’re running for graduation portraits. Investing is so important in growth.”

Photographs by #ShootProofPro Tina J. Smith #6: Use every tool in your arsenal so you can work less and create more.

Tina: “ShootProof has definitely helped me greatly with my photography business! I am obsessed with the ShootProof automated and the contracts and invoices layout. I love how simple it is to connect with the client and have everything in one place – streamlined.

“Photoshop classes at General Assembly helped me grow my skills.

“I also make sure to join Facebook groups for photographers. I’ve found community to be helpful to my success as a photographer! Being able to share insights with the group and ask questions or even being able to hire someone for a project has been so efficient.

Photographs by #ShootProofPro Tina J. Smith #7: What does #FocusOnWhatMattersMost means to you? (Do more of that!)

Tina: “For me, it means being intentional with what I’ve been given and be able to grow from that place. When I focus on that intentionality, I am able to serve those around me at a higher capacity.”

Share a story of your own! Struggle or success – both help make the photography community a healthier place.

Written by ANNE SIMONEInterview & photographs by TINA J. SMITH 

Learn more, stress less . . .

The post #ShootProofPro: 7 Stories for Days When You Think You Suck appeared first on ShootProof Blog.

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ShootProof Blog by Anne Simone & Rachel Lacour Nie.. - 6d ago

Do you know the best way to prevent chargebacks? And no, it has nothing to do with money. The simple solution is great for your wallet – and your clients! (Photographs by MADELEINE COLLINS)

Photo: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips
charge·back
/ˈCHärjbak/
a demand by a credit card provider for a retailer to make good the loss on a fraudulent or disputed transaction.

Chargebacks are scary. Even if you win the chargeback dispute, you’ll be on the hook for fees, and you won’t have access to your hard-earned money until the matter is closed. But chargebacks don’t have to be part of your life. Here’s how to prevent chargebacks, and – surprise! – it’s easier than you think.

Photos: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips This is what chargebacks are actually about . . .

Sure – when you’re on the receiving end of a chargeback, it sure as heck feels like a direct attack on your pocketbook. But resist the urge to immediately withdraw all your cash and stuff it into your mattress. To prevent chargebacks, don’t protect your money; protect your relationship with your clients.

You may be surprised to learn that only 1% – 10% of all chargebacks are the result of criminal fraud.

As much as 99% of chargebacks are due to company error, or more commonly, “friendly fraud,” when a client chooses the simplicity of a chargeback over the effort of contacting the business. For photographers, this means your chances of receiving an unavoidable chargeback is almost nil.

Photos: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips Even leading online payment providers have learned: poor customer relationships prompt more chargebacks than nearly anything else.
“These days with the increase in online purchases, you lose that sense of human interaction, so you’re more willing to send chargebacks along for all these purchases.”

– Kay Feker, Risk Program Manager at Square

These eight tips are your primary defense against chargebacks.

We’ve compiled eight common-sense business practices that play an enormous role in chargeback prevention. Here’s how to implement these practices in ways that are practical, legally sound, and seriously worth the effort if you want to keep the clients coming!

Photos: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips #8: Put your return policy in writing.

Wherever and whenever you sell products or services, you need to incorporate a clear, concise return and refund policy. If you’re using an attorney-drafted contract from the ShootProof Marketplace, you’re already setting clear expectations regarding liability and payments. Great job!

But what about customers who purchase prints and products online?

Draft your return policy and have an attorney look it over. Then add it to your ShootProof price sheets through Commerce > Pricing > select a price sheet > Price Sheet Settings. Here’s a great starting point:

All orders are custom-made and are therefore final. Prints, products, and digital download orders cannot be cancelled or returned. If you have any questions or concerns about your order, please contact photographer@email.com so I can make it right!
Photos: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips Include your return policy everywhere you sell.

It doesn’t matter if you sell prints through ShootProof, book mini sessions through Táve, and invoice clients through that ancient software your grandpa gave you on a floppy disk. Make it a point to publish your cancellation and refund policies everywhere you engage with clients.

When you clearly display your policies, you help prevent chargebacks and reduce the difficulty of recovering your funds should a chargeback still occur.

#7: Get all changes in writing.

Photography clients try to make changes all the time – to their albums and products, to their slideshows and session schedules. Listening to your clients’ feedback is smart, but changes can open the door to disagreements. That’s why you should document details – down to every deliverable – in writing, even if only in an email. Scroll down to see a sample email script!

Photos: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips
It was great chatting with you on the phone today! I’m excited to complete the retouching you requested. Here are the details of your retouching request: (details here) If you’re ready for me to begin the retouching, simply pay the retouching fee at the link below. Please allow up to (#) weeks after you’ve completed the order for your retouching to be complete. I will add the retouched images to your ShootProof gallery and email you when they are ready for download. 
#6: Verify that your potential clients are the real deal.

It’s tempting to respond to inquiry emails with a ready-to-sign contract and a payment link. The inquiry phase, however, is the ideal time to confirm exactly who you’re talking to. Hop on a phone call, schedule a FaceTime conversation, or arrange a meeting over coffee. Any one of these interactions can help verify that:

  • the client is who they say they are (not a scammer from the other side of the planet)
  • they understand your style and expressly want your unique approach
  • the client understands your pricing and is comfortable with what they’ll spend

These confirmations go a long way toward preventing chargebacks!

Photos: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips #5: Trust your gut.

Most importantly, honor your intuition! Did you get a strange vibe when you talked to a certain client over the phone? Did something a client said offhandedly strike you as particularly odd?

A ‘gut check’ is a survival mechanism. If you’re getting bad vibes, simply decline the shoot and move on to another opportunity. One will come along!

“This aggression will not stand.”

– The Dude, The Big Lebowski

#4: Get the details long before you send the contract.

Obtain your new client’s contact and event details before you send them a contract. A fill-in-the-blank contract certainly seems easy, however, blank spaces allow too much room for error.

Create client questionnaires with your studio management software, such as Táve, or use Google Forms to make free online questionnaires. Input these details into your clients’ contracts and invoices, then ask your them to review and sign.

Photo: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips These documents work together to ensure good communication, accurate information, and a terrific client experience – all of which help prevent chargebacks.

They also result in a highly effective paper trail in the rare instance that you need one!

Get Your Sample Táve Questionnaire Get inspired by this 100% customizable form! >>> Click HERE <<<
A #ShootProofPro True Story

“After delivering the photos from a particularly beautiful wedding, the bride emailed, upset that there weren’t more portraits of the groom’s family. I reviewed the signed family portrait list I’d obtained from the bride, and sent it to her with my deepest sympathy – and a reminder that I’d photographed every portrait grouping on her list. She recognized her oversight, and, years later, we continue to have an excellent photographer/client relationship.”

Photos: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips #3: Use a Third Party Payer agreement to prevent chargebacks.

Wedding photographers, in particular, frequently get paid by someone other than the wedding couple, which means the payer may even be someone you’ve never met or spoken to. It’s great when a generous family member gives their loved ones the gift of photography, however, things can get murky if they decide to charge back later.

The LawTog recommends that you use your standard wedding contract with the wedding couple, then obtain a Third Party Payer agreement from the payer. The Third Party Payer agreement is a separate document signed by the financially responsible party, and you can find it in the ShootProof Marketplace!

Photos: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips #2: Don’t send sloppy invoices.

Prevent chargebacks by sending detailed invoices that are easy to understand. This means:

    • itemize the tangible photography products on the invoice – each album, print collection, frame, etc.
    • your photography services should also be itemized. Don’t just list “photography.” Have line items for “eight (8) continuous hours of wedding day photography” and “one (1) hour of engagement portrait photography.”
    • create line items for FREE products and/or services as well. As in the image below, you can list the full value of the item then add an item-specific discount; or you can specifically list a “FREE GIFT: Mini Session (retail value $199)” with an invoiced price of $0.00.
Get Your Sample ShootProof Invoice See itemized products & services, discounts, and more! >>> Click HERE <<<
Photo: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips

When crafting an invoice, there’s one thing nearly all business owners agree on:

“Don’t charge a surcharge to your client. Charging any extra surcharge, convenience fee, or other extra cost (assuming it is legal in your state) also puts you at a disadvantage. . . Adding a surcharge is like throwing up an additional steeple-chase gate in front of a payment.”

– Claude Ducloux, LawPay

Instead of itemizing fees on your invoices, build credit card processing fees and other fees into your pricing structure. Then, you can choose to offer a 3% cash discount – much more appealing to a client than paying a 3% fee for using their credit card!

Photos: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips #1: Be accessible, available, and on your client’s side.

The most impactful thing you can do to prevent chargebacks is to be your client’s number-one fan.

Show concern and compassion for your client’s feelings, and demonstrate excitement when you deliver their photographs. Tell them, “Your photos are beautiful, and I can’t wait for you to see them!”

#ShootProofPro Tip: Don’t let distance drag you down!

If you photograph schools or sports teams, it’s hard to build personal relationships with your clients; you aren’t even likely to meet most of them! Overcome this hurdle with an intro video in each ShootProof gallery. This is a great way to help your clients see you as an approachable human – not just “the business that charged me $75 for a school portrait package.”

Photos: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips Clients and customers who feel seen, heard, and valued, are the clients who will trust you.

Don’t shy away from conversations about your pricing. Provide realistic timelines and booking restrictions, and answer your client’s questions without defensiveness.

Build trust, and you’ll prevent chargebacks, because a trusting client has confidence that their photographer will take care of them.

Photo: Madeleine Collins | Prevent Chargebacks with These 8 Tips Are you a relationship-focused photographer?

Share how you build and sustain healthy client relationships. Maybe your experience will help someone else in our community.

Comment below!

Written by ANNE SIMONE and RACHEL LACOUR NIESEN | Photographs by #ShootProofPro MADELEINE COLLINS via TWO BRIGHT LIGHTS | Special thanks to WILLOW FLOWER COMPANY, LITTLE DUCK CALLIGRAPHY, ALEXANDRA GRECCO, BOTEGA SALON GALLERY, BADGLEY MISCHKA, BHLDN, JENNY YOO

Get smart(er)! Keep reading . . .

The post The Sooner You Know how to Prevent Chargebacks, the Better appeared first on ShootProof Blog.

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Every successful brand photographer knows how to tell a story using four simple setups. Here’s what you need to know before your next shoot! (Photographs: MEG MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY)

Unlike straightforward headshots or pretty portraits, brand photography is all about story – your client’s story, that is. As a brand photographer, your job is to impart your client’s unique brand message through photographs of their product, services, and customer experience.

Are you ready to learn the four pose setups every successful brand photographer uses?

Once you have these down, you’ll  create fantastic images your clients love – every time.

#1: At-Work Images (the starting point for every brand photographer)

Clients get nervous. Even when they really shouldn’t be. For the best results, start with a setup that requires very little of your subject: pictures of them doing what they do best.

Image by brand photographer Meg Marie Photography

Take your client’s mind off your lens, and refocus them on their craft! Whether they paint, cook, surf, or have succeeded at professional napping, they need images of them hard at work. Begin with these fun photos, and set the tone for a terrific brand session.

Images by brand photographer Meg Marie Photography

It’s okay if you’ll take some of the action images later in the day. Find a way to start with on-location photographs that communicate what your client does – and how much they love doing it!

Image by brand photographer Meg Marie Photography

The only time you may need to give your client some guidance is if they look unhappy at their work. But instead of telling them to smile (like a mom giving her toddler the come-to-Jesus talk), engage them with light banter and fun conversation. For a smiling-with-laptop photo like the one above, key up a hilarious video or tell them about the time your former co-worker accidentally broadcast their “private video” on all of the company televisions.

#2: Practical Portraits (keep it short and sweet)

Every business owner needs a collection of simple, straightforward portraits. They’ll use these with press releases, in blog articles, for magazine features, and on their social media. Quickly make these portraits in a relevant location that imparts some aspect of your client’s personality or profession.

Image by brand photographer Meg Marie Photography

If your client seems at-ease, invite them to look this way or that way, to lean forward, to put their weight on one hip or the other, and generally to relax. This is an excellent segue into more informal, innovative portrait-making.

Image by brand photographer Meg Marie Photography #3: Get Close (abstracts are awesome)

Showcase your client’s creativity with a series of close-up images. These might be portraits, or they could be abstract images of the work they create. Images like these are stunning as a website background, on social media, or as part of a larger article about their work experience.

Image by brand photographer Meg Marie Photography

If you can photograph your client and their product or craft in the same close-up frame, you’ll score extra points! A personal brand is all about the person behind the brand, so include your client in as many product images as possible (unless they’ve requested otherwise.)

Image by brand photographer Meg Marie Photography #4: Move It, Move It (you can’t be a brand photographer if you don’t keep things going)

From at-work images to practical portraits to close-ups, the obvious next step is to capture some movement. Jump shots are cute if the brand is right, but there are many ways to incorporate movement into your work as a brand photographer.

Images by brand photographer Meg Marie Photography

Wide angles make for beautiful storytelling, with the environment taking center stage. Encourage your client to move through that environment, and you have a story on your hands!

Image by brand photographer Meg Marie Photography

Complex movements aren’t necessary. Focus on motion that looks and feels natural in a photograph. A dedicated brand photographer will get their client relaxed to the point that it won’t seem far-fetched when you ask them to spin, lean, walk, run, or attempt flight. (Though we don’t recommend that last one.)

Image by brand photographer Meg Marie Photography What are your go-to pose setups as a brand photographer? Comment below!

Written by ANNE SIMONE | Photographs by MEG MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY

Read on, photo friends . . .

The post Do You Want to be a Brand Photographer? Use These Poses! appeared first on ShootProof Blog.

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Photographing dads shouldn’t be stressful! Here’s how to craft moment-driven family photos with fathers at the forefront. (Featuring: KEVIN HESLIN, THE STUDIO AT DAISY HILL, & KNOT JUST ANY DAY)

Dads have a long-standing reputation for loathing the photography experience. But why? Perhaps it’s residual trauma from the all-plaid wardrobe commemorated in his family’s church directory photos? Or maybe it’s his recurring nightmare about the train barreling toward him as he lounged awkwardly on tar-streaked railroad tracks holding a “SENIOR” foam cut-out.

Whatever the reason, we challenged the assumption that photographing dads is an uncomfortable chore. Here’s how three photographers prompt memorable moments between dads and their kids, and take incredible photos that will last a lifetime.

Photo by Kevin Heslin Photographing Dads with Kevin Heslin | Costa Rica

Photographer Kevin Heslin respects his clients’ initial fear of being photographed.

“Like most people, [dads] feel awkward and stiff in front of the camera – and I bet it shows in all the cell phone photos they have of themselves!” jokes Kevin. “But photos are so important. Years from now, their kids [will] want to see these photos [of] when they were young and running around with their dad.”

Kevin employs a storytelling approach to photographing dads that ensures more than beautiful portraits; he’s documenting memorable moments.

Photo by Kevin Heslin Prompt #1: “You don’t have to do anything.”

Kevin knows camera-shy people can feel frozen by anxious thoughts, like, “I’m so awkward,” and, “Is it over yet?” A worried client, in Kevin’s experience, is an un-photogenic client, with expressions ranging from plastered-on smiles to grumpy scowls. These results only reassure the client that they are every bit as un-photogenic as they believed.

“I like to hang out with my clients before a photo shoot, and let them know that they don’t have to do anything at all for my camera. Before photographing dads and kids, I spend a good amount of time talking with them with my camera down so they can get comfortable with me. I let them know they just need to interact with their kids like they normally would, and I’ll be snapping away.”

– Kevin Heslin, Photographer

Photo by Kevin Heslin Prompt #2: Emphasize Activities, Not Poses

Kevin looks for genuine emotion in his images, and he achieves this by focusing on activities, not poses. He directs a kid to “sneak up” on their dad with a big bear hug, or documents a real-world interaction like building a doghouse or brushing a kid’s teeth. In short, for Kevin, the world is full of inspiration. Photographing dads gets Kevin as close to that inspiration as possible.

“Most stuff I usually just make up at the session. I find something in the environment–a log to jump up on, or a little hill–and try to think up something fun to do where they can [interact] with each other. Then they forget all about the camera and flash beautiful, genuine smiles.”

– Kevin Heslin, Photographer

Photo by Kevin Heslin Photographing Dads with Debbie McFarland, The Studio At Daisy Hill | Georgia

Debbie McFarland focuses on the kiddos to get great photos of dads. After all, as any parent knows, happy kids = happy parents! She doesn’t demand smiles or eye contact; instead, Debbie works hard to make her littlest clients forget about her altogether. She involves Dad in that process as well, and pretty soon parent and child are happily engaged with one another instead of worried about the camera.

Photos by The Studio At Daisy Hill Prompt #3: Stinky Toes and Other Silliness
“My favorite approach to photographing dads with their kids is to help them forget we are taking pictures. Get the kids involved [and ask] if Daddy has stinky toes, or [have] them tickle Daddy.”

– Debbie McFarland, The Studio At Daisy Hill

The more fun the family is having during the shoot, the more they’ll love their photos after the shoot. Remember: the best-loved photographs are associated with happy memories.

“I love when men say at the end of the session that they actually had a fun time,” shares Debbie. “We just have fun, that’s all.”

Photos by The Studio At Daisy Hill Photographing Dads with Steve Husted, Knot Just Any Day | Pennsylvania

Steve Husted fully embraces ShootProof’s motto Focus On What Matters Most and he brings his clients along for the inspirational journey.

“Poses never help me capture what matters most: the love we share with the people we keep close to us,” emphasizes Steve.

He describes one recent photo session as if it were a neighborhood picnic. “The time we spent together was more like a super-relaxed hang-out session than a portrait session. There was a fun game of tag, piggy back rides, and all of the laughter!”

Photos by Knot Just Any Day Prompt #4: Focus On What Matters Most

Finding the unique expressions of love within each family helps Steve create one-of-a-kind photographs that tell a meaningful story of joy and connection. When photographing dads, Steve looks for interactions and moments that occur naturally. These are the memories he knows his clients want on their walls.

“We like to have fun and we want to share that fun with everyone we’re with! If games of tag and Hide ‘n’ Go Seek are part of your life, they should be part of your family photos, too! We like everyone to be themselves so we can capture who they really are: fun-loving, incredible families and friends!”

– Steve Husted, Knot Just Any Day

Photos by Knot Just Any Day

Comment below and tell us:

What prompts do you use to make great photographs of dads?

Written by ANNE SIMONE | Featuring KEVIN HESLIN, THE STUDIO AT DAISY HILL, & KNOT JUST ANY DAY via TWO BRIGHT LIGHTS | Special thanks to GREETABL

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ShootProof Blog by The Shootproof Team - 2w ago

Chanel French sustains her thriving portrait business in Atlanta, Georgia, by crafting stunning styled shoots with impeccably-planned details.

ShootProof Talks with Chanel French A ShootProof Gallery by Chanel French “Describe your journey to becoming a photographer.” 

I’ve enjoyed taking photos for as long as I can remember.

I remember every camera I’ve ever owned from the time I was gifted my first Fisher-Price film camera. I was always the friend who made sure to have a camera around to capture the memories, and I have drawers full of photos from the past as proof.

– Chanel French

My dream was always to own a professional camera, but in the meantime I worked with what I had, asking friends to pose for me while I shot sessions for fun with my point-and-shoot. After graduating from college and securing my first salaried job, I was finally able to afford my first DSLR. Shortly after that, I became serious about learning photography and how to create better images. Now my focus is on continuing to build my skills, foster my creativity, and provide quality photography services to others.

Photo by Chanel French “What’s one challenge you faced while building your business, and how did you overcome it?”

One challenge I faced was having all the different aspects of my business spread out. I would send clients their contract through Google Documents, then have to check back to see if it was completed. I would send their invoice via Paypal then wait for the notification that it had been paid. And then I was using Pixieset to actually send my clients their finished images. That’s a lot of moving parts to track for one session.

ShootProof has helped me bring everything to one place that’s super-convenient and easy to keep organized. Streamlining and simplifying the process has saved me so much time.

– Chanel French

Photos by Chanel French “What’s one trait that helps you succeed and makes you stand out to clients? How have you developed that trait?”

I would probably have to say my attention to detail. When planning a session, I tend to leave no stone unturned. I love being involved in every aspect of the shoot and helping my client make decisions such as what to wear or what location they want to use.

Every decision made affects the outcome of the image, and I really try to emphasize that point to my clients.

I’ve worked to develop and strengthen this trait by setting up styled shoots that involve me planning out every aspect of the session.

– Chanel French

When you do something repeatedly it becomes second nature, and I definitely want that to be true when it comes to my eye for catching the little things that can make a huge difference during a session or in the resulting images.

Photo by Chanel French “Name ONE ShootProof feature that helps you give your clients an incredible experience and/or saves you tons of time.”

The contracts and invoicing features, for sure.

Photo by Chanel French “If you weren’t a photographer, what would you do instead?”

Something in the creative realm that involves design in one aspect or another.

I’ve worn many different creative hats throughout my life. I have been a dance choreographer, scrapbooker, jewelry maker, and fashion blogger.

– Chanel French

I’ve come to realize that what these all have in common, as well as one of my favorite parts of being a photographer, is the designing aspect of it. I love bringing all of the pieces of the puzzle together and seeing the finished results of my efforts. So if I weren’t a photographer I’d definitely have to be doing something that still allows for that type of creativity.

Photo by Chanel French “Outside of photography / other photographers, what inspires and motivates you creatively?”

I’m a big believer that you can find inspiration anywhere, you just have to be open to it and ready to capitalize on the moment when inspiration does hit.

A big source of inspiration for me is poetry. I follow a few poets on Instagram, but two of my current favorites are definitely Nayyirah Waheed and Eniafe Isis. I particularly find their words inspiring in my self portraiture, and you’ll often see me quoting them in my Instagram captions.

I’m also inspired by flowers and I know that sounds super random, but it’s just proof that you can pull inspiration from anywhere to fuel your creativity. Sometimes I’ll see a certain flower and start thinking of different ways I could incorporate it into a session in some way, then I’ll start working to bring my vision to life. Flowers are so versatile in that you can use them in flatlays, portraits, still-life, macro, etc. You’ll also see me use flowers a lot in my self portrait work in a variety of ways.

Photos by Chanel French “If you could only photograph in one location for the rest of your life, where would that be?”

Sope Creek Nature Trail, for sure.

I love all of the versatility within the one location. There are so many different backdrops along the trail and tons of hidden gems to be discovered. Every time I shoot a session there I end up finding a new way to use the same location.

Photo by Chanel French “Which photographer would you like to see recognized, and why?”

I’m nominating Samia Minnicks because she’s a photographer who captures people of color beautifully – especially women of color. She displays our queendom, joy, and all-around magic in the most perfect way.

Photos by Chanel French “What does it mean to you to Focus On What Matters Most?”

For me, it’s encouragement to focus on MY journey and growth, and to keep my eyes on my own lane. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing your work to other people’s, especially since the introduction of apps like Instagram has literally allowed us to be flooded with the things people halfway around the world are creating on a daily basis. You can begin to feel inadequate, or like you’re not doing enough.

Focus On What Matters Most means realizing we all move through life and grow at our own pace, and that it’s most important to water our own garden and celebrate what blooms there.

– Chanel French

Photo by Chanel French

Words and photographs by #ShootProofPro CHANEL FRENCH | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

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With complementary features and integrations, ShootProof and Táve share a commitment to empowering photographers to grow their businesses. Now with more resources to invest, the team is poised to scale, delivering deeper integrations and more powerful features to photographers.

Exactly how awesome IS this news?

Whether photographers are just starting a photography business or growing to serve more clients, ShootProof and Táve minimize busy work and maximize profits. The combination of the two gives photographers more access to tools to grow their businesses. Coupled with an investment from Providence Strategic Growth, the acquisition means access to robust features, tighter integrations, and the fantastic Táve team.

Táve has a powerful product, a great team and wonderful customer service, all reflected in the incredible loyalty of their customers,” says Colin Breece, CEO and Co-Founder of ShootProof. “We’re excited to offer our customers the benefits of a comprehensive solution as well as the continued flexibility to choose and integrate with other leading providers. It’s a great combination because Táve and ShootProof share the same deep commitment to customer success.”

Táve serves photographers from the beginning of their client’s experience to the end, managing everything from leads to proposals to financial reporting. ShootProof helps photographers share and sell photos in beautiful client galleries. They complement each other, empowering photographers from the moment they make the choice to start a photography business. In fact, thousands of photographers are already using ShootProof and Táve together!

“We founded Táve with the vision of helping photographers more easily run their creative business and achieve their dreams,” says Adrian Ziemkowski, Co-Founder of Táve. “Colin and the ShootProof team have been an amazing partner for us. Their powerful platform, incredible growth and large team will enable us to realize our vision at scale.”

Why are ShootProof and Táve a great combination for photographers?

Empowering photographers to build successful and sustainable businesses is more than a tagline; it’s a commitment. Fulfilling this commitment takes work–and lots of collaboration. By joining forces, the teams at ShootProof and Táve will be able to collaborate more, investing in deeper integrations.

“When my clients view their galleries and place orders through ShootProof, they instantly appear in Táve,” says photographer Nicole Belhumeur. “I can review orders and import them with a simple sales order, automatically created by Táve with all the information from ShootProof–it’s so easy!”

“Táve helps me book clients faster and manage clients efficiently by taking care of tasks like proposals, invoices, and contracts. As I grew my photo business and expanded into multiple brands with hundreds of clients, Táve grew with me,” says photographer Joe Dantone. “Their automations enable me to step away from emails and office work–the system works for me!”

Photo by Joe Dantone Photography At this point, you probably have questions. We want to hear them! Here are some FAQs. Please share yours in the comments. #1: What if I don’t use Táve?

ShootProof values community over competition. We believe every photographer is free to create, choosing systems that work for them. If that system is Táve, yay!  Using another integrated partner? We still support them – and you. If you’re using ShootProof invoices and contracts, you can tap into Táve when you need features like:

  • Questionnaires
  • Quotes
  • Lead tracking
  • Workflow automation
  • Financial reporting
#2: What if I don’t use ShootProof?

If you’re already part of the growing Táve community, we welcome you to try ShootProof. The platforms play well together and will set you up for success. Using another platform? That’s okay– we’re here when you’re ready to showcase your work with beautiful online galleries that match your brand and style.

#3: My business relies on both ShootProof AND Táve! What do I do now?

Get excited! From deeper integration to new features, there’s a lot to look forward to. Empowering photographers is what matters most to us. When you succeed by booking more clients, making more money, and enjoying more freedom, we succeed too. We are committed to helping you build the business of your dreams. In the meantime, reach out and let us know what we can build to make your business better.

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A wide-angle lens may be an unexpected lens choice for a portrait photographer, but when done right, the results can be stunning! (Photographs by LORETTA LEWIS PHOTOGRAPHY)

Walk into any camera shop, ask a salesperson to show you the “best portrait lens” for a full-frame DSLR, and they’ll most likely hand you an 85mm lens. (On 1.5X sensor or “crop-sensor” cameras, this translates to an approximately 55mm lens.) The 85mm and its equivalent are stunning lenses, it’s true. Without much effort, you can achieve gorgeous bokeh, beautiful background compression, and exquisite detail – all with little to no distortion, even with a close-up subject.

But what if all you have handy is a wide-angle lens? Or what if you’re shooting in a tight space, or trying to include the environment in your portrait? Here’s how to use a wide-angle lens to create gorgeous portraits.

Photographed by Loretta Lewis at 24mm, f/4 Use a Wide-Angle Lens to Tell a Story

Because wide-angle lenses showcase so much of the surrounding environment, they’re great for storytelling. A wider lens shows off the space your subject is in like no other, and it’s excellent for creating an in-focus image even at wider apertures.

Pro Tip: Get close!

If you want to get noticeable bokeh on a wide-angle frame, you’ll need to shoot really close-up. Even at, for example, f/1.6, a wide shot won’t give you that fuzzy bokeh vibe unless your subject is super-close to your lens.

Photographed by Loretta Lewis at 24mm, f/4 Create a Natural Vignette

Most wide-angle lenses introduce some level of vignetting into the image. Use this to your advantage by placing your subject in a beautiful spot of light, then enjoying the deeper shadows that surround them. Enhance this muted outer-edge by shooting with a wide-open aperture.

Pro Tip: Eliminate Unwanted Vignetting

“To remove vignetting in Lightroom, all you need to do is head into the Develop module and, under the Lens Corrections panel, select the Enable Profile Corrections box. Once this box is checked, it will remove the vignette [according to the profile of the camera and] lens you used. These profiles are built into Lightroom.”

First Man Photography

Both images photographed by Loretta Lewis at 24mm, f/4 Yes, You Can Shoot Vertically With a Wide-Angle Lens

Conventional wisdom tells photographers never to create vertical images with a wide-angle lens. This is often good advice, as most stories occur on a horizontal plane – e.g., stuff is happening next to your subject, not above them on the ceiling or below them on the floor. But a wide-angle lens is unbeatable when it comes to:

  • incorporating negative space
  • showcasing more of a vertical subject and/or environment
Pro Tip: Watch Out for Bigfoot!

The wider the lens, the more distorted your image will be. At a focal length like 24mm on a full-frame sensor camera, you’ll primarily see distortion around the outer edge of the frame. On super-wide lenses, however, you will see distortion impacting even the center of the frame – especially as you get closer to your subject. Pay attention to these distortions, or you’ll inadvertently make your client’s feet look huge or his forehead excessively tall!

Photographed by Loretta Lewis at 24mm, f/4 Emphasize Your Subject

With a wide-angle lens, it’s easy to bring architectural elements into your frame to draw attention to your primary subject. In the image above, Loretta brings our focus to the couple snuggling in their room by composing the photograph through an open doorway. A longer lens likely would have excluded the door frame; still a great image, but a totally different vibe.

Pro Tip: Shoot (Some) for Social Media

Photographs that can easily be cropped square are ideal for Instagram and other social media. Since our phones are vertically oriented, and most social media engagement happens on a smartphone, square or vertical images offer the most bang for your buck. Horizontal photos shrink to fit the available width, making them appear smaller. Photos like the one above are perfect for square social media crops!

Photographed by Loretta Lewis at 24mm, f/4 A Wide-Angle Lens Allows Room for Movement

When you’re in close quarters with subjects who are moving, a wide-angle lens delivers your best shot at catching the action while also putting the viewer right in the thick of things. Whereas you’d have to stand back quite a distance to photograph a pillow fight with a 50mm or 55mm lens, this 24mm frame gets you up-close and personal without losing a moment.

Pro Tip: Get In On the Action

Photograph action from too far away, and a wide-angle lens will diffuse the fun. The whole purpose of a wide-angle lens is to offer maximum story with minimum space restrictions, so don’t hold back!

Photographed by Loretta Lewis at 40mm, f/4 Find Your Focus

The center of the frame will always be the sharpest part of any wide-angle images. Be cautious placing critical elements at the edges of your composition; you risk distortion and lens blur. Shooting with a smaller aperture (such as 5.6 or higher) can help retain crispness throughout your photo, as can wide-angle lenses that incorporate aspherical glass, such as Canon’s EF 24mm f/1.4 II USM.

How do YOU use your wide-angle lenses? Comment below!

Written by ANNE SIMONE | Photographs by LORETTA LEWIS PHOTOGRAPHY via TWO BRIGHT LIGHTS

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ShootProof Blog by The Shootproof Team - 1M ago

Instead of an engagement ring, Jen Bilodeau was proposed to with a camera. This life-changing gift set her on a path to creative fulfillment as a full-time photographer, wife, mother, and storyteller. 

ShootProof Talks with Jen Bilodeau A ShootProof gallery by Jen Bilodeau “Describe your journey to becoming a photographer.” 

It’s hard to know when exactly my story began. For as long as I can remember, I have always been a girl with a camera – as a young child, taking pictures of my sisters and my dolls, in middle school with an old 35mm that I bought from a yard sale, in high school with my first SLR: a refurbished Canon that my parents bought me for my 16th birthday; then with my first digital camera documenting my post-college days.

However, it wasn’t until my amazing husband got me my first DSLR in lieu of an engagement ring that my journey as a photographer really got exciting. My Nikon has been my near-constant companion ever since.
Photo: Jen Bilodeau

Before taking my passionate hobby and turning it into my dream job, I worked for many years as a manager in accounting and corporate finance. I logged long hours writing corporate filings, financial budgets, and annual reports. All the while photography was whispering in my ear, although I didn’t fully hear it yet. I had gallery walls throughout my home, albums piling up on bookshelves, and my camera came with me everywhere, but I never thought to go any further with it.

Then one day, something within me shifted, and I began pouring myself into photography, learning everything I possibly could. I started shooting daily and worked tirelessly to perfect my processing and find my unique artistic voice. It wasn’t long before I decided to leave my corporate job to start my own business.

Photo: Jen Bilodeau

Today I own and manage Jen Bilodeau Photography, and I mentor and teach other photographers through both my own offerings and as a teacher for the online photography school, Click Photo School. I am still a CPA, and I love combining my two skill sets to help fellow photographers further their own unique journey.

With my work, I always strive to capture honest photos – photos that tell a story, that transport you.

This is my true passion. I yearn to freeze the precious moments of today so that they can be aged and savored over time.

Photo: Jen Bilodeau “What’s one challenge you faced while building your business, and how did you overcome it?”

In the first few years of being in business, my work evolved from what I thought my clients expected to what I knew I had to shoot to keep my heart and soul passionate about this job.

The major turning point for me was five years ago when I began my first 365-day photography project. In shooting every single day, I started to get to know myself better as an artist. I started seeing things differently. Details I may have missed in the past now jumped out at me as critical components of the story.

Photo: Jen Bilodeau

Capturing connection – between my clients, my children, myself – took on a new definition. As I started working these practices into my client sessions, I reached a new level of satisfaction with my work. I was shooting better, my clients were happier, and most importantly, I became much more deeply-connected with my own work.

In the beginning, I battled most with confidence. When I began taking clients I often felt pressured and conflicted by what I thought they wanted verses what I wanted to create. I knew in my soul that I wanted to shoot a certain way, but I worried that my clients would not want that.
Photo: Jen Bilodeau

I had a preconceived notion of what I thought they wanted, and I worried they would not be satisfied with their investment if I didn’t deliver that. It took truly trusting in myself and my vision – and being brave in my shooting – to break free of these fears and start capturing moments from the heart: the connection and details that truly speak to the moments of today that we long to preserve.

Now, I shoot with one goal in mind: to capture pure and honest human connection.

Today, my business has evolved to what I had always envisioned it would be when I began. While I may not be the photographer for everyone, my clients are with me because they, too, seek images that capture honest human connection and authentic moments. Together we create something beautiful.

So my advice to photographers just starting out is to always stay true to your vision. Trust in yourself and your craft. It’s okay to be nervous and a bit scared, but don’t lose your confidence. It is critical that you build a brand and a client base around work that
fulfills the vision that got you started. Write out your mission statement. Print it out. Read it daily. Let this be your compass, and the rest will all fall into place with time and hard work.
Photo: Jen Bilodeau “What’s one trait that helps you succeed and makes you stand out to clients? How have you developed that trait?”

I’m a very detail-oriented person. This comes through in my shooting, in the moments both big and small that I see and capture; and it comes through in my editing, in the way I will work an image to until I truly feel I’ve enhanced the best of what lies within that moment. I’m also detail-oriented in the way I run my business. I’m organized, and have created an efficient and streamlined process for my clients, ensuring they not only enjoy the art we create together, but also the entire client experience all along the way.

Photo: Jen Bilodeau “Which ShootProof feature helps you give your clients an incredible experience and/or saves you tons of time?”

I absolutely LOVE the labeling feature! Because I follow an online sales model, it’s essential that the ordering process is as simple and streamlined as possible. I offer a variety of products within my collections that I self-fulfill, and the labeling feature makes it quick and easy for my clients to let me know what images they want for their products. This saves so much back-and-forth over email! So not only do they go through and “favorite” the images that they want for their collection, but just as easily they can tell me which six images they want for their 10×10 framed gallery grid wall!

Time is my greatest resource, so anything that can put time back into my day is worth gold. ShootProof does just that for me through their amazing sharing and selling tools.
Photo: Jen Bilodeau “If you weren’t a photographer, what would you do instead?”

Right now it’s hard for me to imagine my life without photography in it. Aside for my innate passion for photography, I’m so thankful for the flexibility this job affords. I currently run a full-time business all while maintaining stay-at-home-mom availability for my three kids. My days are crazy, and we are so in-the-thick of everything that goes with having school-aged children, that I really can’t imagine what lies ahead or how life could be any different from the beautiful chaos that I live day-to-day.

What I know for sure is that photography has given me the opportunity to create a flexible schedule that allows me to be present for my family, all while doing a job that I love. Can’t get much better than that!
Photo: Jen Bilodeau “Outside of photography, what inspires and motivates you creatively?”

We all have that place where we feel as though we are in equilibrium with our environment. For me, that is the mountains. Well, it doesn’t even have to be mountains; woods, trails, hilltops… they all soothe my soul in such a beautiful way. I love to hike with my family, all of us out there together taking in the fresh air. It’s so restorative for me to step away from it all and simply be in the mountains. I’m a New England girl through-and-through, so I’m also inspired by the changing seasons.

With each change in the season a different side my my artistic soul is stirred.

From the hot, humid, golden summer evenings, to quiet, dark winter nights; colorful falls and wet springs; each phase of our seasons speaks to me in its own way, forcing me to grow and adapt in my art – which can be at times uncomfortable, but overall inspiring and exciting!

Photo: Jen Bilodeau “If you could only photograph in one location for the rest of your life, where would that be?”

A hilltop. As much as I would love to have the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, or even in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I’m just as happy on a beautiful hilltop.

All I need is some trees, a beautiful view to the west, a sunset, and a breeze, and I become flooded with inspiration.

While I absolutely love my corner of the world, Massachusetts is not known for it’s stunning landscapes! But with photography, you can do so much with something small! A simple field, a quiet hilltop… All I need is light, contrast, movement, and connection, and I have all the variables I need to feel inspired to create beautiful, emotive images.

Photo: Jen Bilodeau “Which photographer would you like to see recognized, and why?”

I am continually inspired by Jennifer Carr of Jennifer Carr Photography. Not only is she a stunning landscape photographer, but she is one of those people who is always giving to others in ways both big and small. She truly embodies the concept that when we lift each other up, we all win. Jennifer is such an asset to the photography community as a whole. It’s a combination of both Jennifer’s art and her heart that continue to inspire me.

Photo: Jen Bilodeau “What does it mean to you to Focus On What Matters Most ?”

Focusing on what matters most means never losing touch with what grounds me. With a full-time business and three school-aged children, life is crazy. This means making sure I leave space to simply be with my family. And it means finding balance. Certainly balance doesn’t always exist within moments, but I try my best to find an aggregated balance. Having solid systems and workflow in place really helps me to find and maintain this balance.

Of all the photography I do, what fuels me the most is my 365 project. I have been working on this project for a consecutive 5 and a half years, and this project is almost like meditation for me. It allows me to slow down, to notice the small things, to feel how fleeting time is.

My 365 project is all centered around unscripted moments of me and my family simply living life, in balance, together. This is what matters most.

Photo: Jen Bilodeau

Words and photographs by #ShootProofPro JEN BILODEAU | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

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We asked ShootProof photographers, “What do you wish your clients understood about your job?” See what they said, and educate your own photography clients! (Photos: SIMPLY KORSUN PHOTOGRAPHY)

A photography career may seem glamorous from the outside, but for the folks who actually wield a camera, it can be anything but. We asked photographers what they wish their clients understood about the hard work of being a photographer, and they didn’t hold back! Here are the most common photography misconceptions – and how to handle them with kindness and professionalism.

Photos: Simply Korsun Photography When your clients think you’re making bank…

“So much work goes into this – and money! To the clients, we are [just] shooting. That’s all they see.” – W.G., Georgia

“We invest a lot of $$ to run our businesses: insurance, [corporate filings], gear, etc.” – I.S., New York

“25% [of my work] work goes on before the session, [and] 50% [happens] afterward. [Clients] think the session/wedding day is all they are paying for.” – D.S., Tennessee

“We do not make ‘$500 an hour’ when we charge $500 for a one-hour session.” – S.H., Illinois

“[I wish they knew] how much I actually walk away with after taxes and CODB/COG.” – J.W., Washington

#ShootProofPro Tip: Don’t be afraid to say no!

There will always be someone who just doesn’t understand why their one-hour session isn’t $19.99. But for your more logical photography clients, don’t be afraid to say, “I can’t budge on my rates, as they’re based on my time, experience, and costs of running a business. But it’s important that you feel comfortable with your photography investment, so please look around at your options, then reach out to me again if you think I’m the best fit!”

Photos: Simply Korsun Photography When photography clients are too cost-conscious…

“[If] you go cheap, you’re not going to get the chance [at] a better experience… unless you remarry!” – L.F., United Kingdom

“Most people/phones can take a good photo in good conditions, but only a good photographer can take a good photo in poor/difficult conditions.” J.F., Australia

“My prices are based on my talent and costs. Not your budget.” – A.W., New York

“We provide true heirlooms that tell the story of their lives. What we create for [our clients] becomes their most prized possession, and the value transcends money.” – J.D., Oregon

#ShootProofPro Tip: Invest in your own brand and business.

You don’t want to say, “I told you so,” but it’s tough when you hear someone complain that their bargain photographer didn’t take a single in-focus photo. Instead of putting down photographers who charge less, focus on demonstrating the value of what you offer with professional web presence, and prompt, friendly communication.

Photos: Simply Korsun Photography When clients want a “famous” photographer…

“Having a camera (or worse, a phone) does not make one a photographer.” M.E., Pennsylvania

“Most awards are horse [poo] covered in glitter and then pooped out again…” – J.W., England

“It is not the camera that takes great photos. It is the photographer.” – M.S., Pennsylvania

#ShootProofPro Tips: Own your successes.

Some clients really like to know what you’ll be shooting with. To them, it’s a fun fact, or a way to confirm that you’re a “real” professional. So don’t knock it when your photography clients go gaga over an award you’ve won or the gear you’ve got. Proudly showcase your successes, and openly share, “I work primarily with professional Canon/Nikon/Sony/etc. equipment, but I never hesitate to incorporate whatever tools I need to get the job done!”

When “fauxtographers” get in the way…

“It’s not okay to stand behind the photographer with your own camera and take pictures. No, this is not a chance for you to bring your DSLR and shoot your own portraits of your kids on my set. This is not a workshop.” – J.D., Texas

“If you are at a wedding, stay out of my way with your phone or iPad trying to take pics, or, ‘Oops, sorry! i missed that kiss!’ ” – B.N., Indiana

#ShootProofPro Tip: How to handle over-the-shoulder shooters.

If the over-the-shoulder fauxtographer isn’t actually disrupting you, you may be better off letting them do their thing. But if your own work is being inhibited, it’s time to speak up. “I’m glad you’re excited about this session!” you might say, “However, I don’t allow other cameras in my studio” or “I prefer that other photographers don’t shoot over my shoulder.” Then, because everyone always wants to know WHY, explain, “It’s important that all eyes are on me with no distractions so I can deliver the high quality Client has commissioned me for.”

Photos: Simply Korsun Photography When your photography clients don’t value your time…

“Any changes [clients] request are going to take time – and probably have an extra cost.” – B.E., Mexico

“Don’t come to the review/design/order appointment by yourself if you can’t make financial decisions by yourself. [And don’t] send someone else, like your child. It just wastes everyone’s time.” – C.H., Texas

#ShootProofPro Tip: What would it cost you to hire someone else?

If you find yourself feeling guilty for charging for your time, consider this: if you were sick or injured, what would it cost you to outsource that same work to someone else? If you’re not making at least that much, you’re doing yourself a disservice (and taking a big risk!)

When you’re dreading the session…

“Weddings in the middle of summer are really, really hot.” – D.E., New Zealand

“[Winter weddings] are usually cold – and even icy!” – G.S., United Kingdom

“High-noon, after lunch is not best time to take pictures. Perhaps a convenient time, but…” – S.L., Minnesota

“If you are at the beach for vacation and pictures, don’t get sunburned. Pink people with shaded eyes… not a good look!” – M.B., Alabama

“if you are at the beach, your hair is GOING TO BLOW. If that’s a problem, you should have pulled it back.” – A.S., North Carolina

#ShootProof Pro Tip: Pick your battles and set some boundaries.

You can’t always control when or where you photograph – for example, with wedding photography clients. But when you can, don’t hesitate to assert your experience! It’s okay to say, “I only photograph on Fridays and Saturdays during the last two hours of daylight.” And if your client pushes back, remind them that these policies are what enable you to make the photos they love so much!

Photos: Simply Korsun Photography When they just don’t get “copyright“…

“Digital files are not ‘free!!!’ ” – J.F., Australia

“[There is a] difference between Copyright and Print Release.” – C.B., California

#ShootProofPro Tip: Educate your clients.

When photography clients ask for the copyright, but you know they really just want printing rights, take the chance to educate them on the difference! Try this: “I believe what you’re looking for is a print release, which will allow you to make all the prints your want from your digital files.”

When your photography clients are totally unprepared…

“If you are in a wedding, please smile. I may be taking your picture.” – M.B., Alabama

“Quit pushing your head back towards your shoulders when you smile. It makes you have a double chin.” – G.W., Wisconsin

“If you ‘expected’ something very specific [from your photography], you should have told me. I’m not a mind reader.” – J.D., Texas

“You have to comb your kids hair, iron their clothes, and wipe the food and snot from their faces [before getting photographed]. I’m going to have to update my client guide. I thought those things were implied.” – B.M., Tennessee

“If anyone in the family (human or non-human) is hungry or tired, you won’t get good photos. Everyone should be rested, fed, watered, and pottied BEFORE the session start time.” – L.L., Arizona

“Brush your d#%$ teeth!” – C.B., California

#ShootProofPro Tip: Find a work-around.

Client worksheets and questionnaires, in-depth conversations, and open communication can help prevent a major client faux pas. If you have photography clients who do show up wholly unprepared, consider whether it’s worthwhile to say, “I feel like this may be a bit of an off-day for you guys. Would you like to reschedule? I think you’ll enjoy your photos more if everyone is rested.”

Photos: Simply Korsun Photography When they make prints at the drug store…

“High-resolution PRINT QUALITY files and low-resolution SOCIAL SHARING files are not the same!” – J.S., Pennsylvania

#ShootProofPro Tip: Protect your printing.

Chat with an attorney about adding a clause to your contract, or simply incorporate this phrase into the product portion of your website: “I work with professional labs and makers to offer the highest quality prints and products. I cannot guarantee the quality of prints and products produced by other lab and manufacturers.”

When your photography clients are fashion-challenged…

“Choose thee to four main colors, and coordinate colors (including a neutral or two) with only a few patterns. [Don’t wear] matching outfits.” – N.F., Ohio

“Don’t have your whole six-member family wear the same plaid shirts.” – R.L., Ohio

“If you don’t feel comfortable in your clothing or don’t like how you look in it, don’t wear it! I had a senior who wore a cute little black dress for most of her session, [but] afterward they didn’t like a lot of the pictures because she didn’t like the dress!” – P.T., Wisconsin

“I always tell my seniors to take selfies in the mirror so they can see what their clothes look like before they show up to the shoot. That crop-top does not always look good in photos!” – J.G., Colorado

“Painful shoes may cause pained facial expressions.” – J.C., Illinois

Photos: Simply Korsun Photography When they have terrible timing…

“Don’t get your kid’s hair cut just before the shoot. A bad haircut is not my fault.” – J.D., Texas

“Brides: the shoot is not a trial run for your hair and makeup, or to see if your dress fits. If you don’t like your hair, you want like the pictures.” – J.D., Texas

#ShootProofPro Tip: Pinterest is your friend.

Use Pinterest to create “What to Wear” and “Hair & Makeup” boards for your clients. This is an easy way to share wardrobe tips for all kinds of sessions!

When clients ask you to “Photoshop it”…

“No, I really can’t ‘Photoshop this out later.’ Not everything can be edited in or out. Trust your photographer’s judgment when it comes to locations, lighting, props, clothing, hair, etc.” – M.G., Georgia

“Don’t come to a photo shoot with your kids face covered in food from breakfast. And when the photographer asks you to wipe it off, don’t tell them that it can be ‘Photoshopped out’!” – L.B., Australia

“Professional makeup/hair really gives you a glow and a polished look in your photos. Totally worth it!” – J.F., California

“Some facial lines offer character, dimension, and depth. It’s part of life. If they are all removed in [post-production], you will look like you have a plastic face.” – J.S., South Carolina

“I am photographer not a magician.” – A.K., Ireland

“I was doing lifestyle shoot of a woman who hated her arms; but guess what she wanted to wear? A [sleeveless] shirt. And [she] asked if I could ‘do anything’ about her arms.” – S.X., Minnesota

#ShootProofPro Tip: Know your retouching rates.

Go ahead and set an hourly rate for extra retouching – and don’t be afraid to share this with your photography clients! If you personally aren’t comfortable doing advanced retouching, there are plenty of online services who can do it for you. When a client suggests that you “just Photoshop it,” kindly respond with: “I do offer custom retouching services if you require them! Additional retouching begins at $50/hour with a one-hour minimum, so just let me know if you have any special requests once you see your photos.”

Photos: Simply Korsun Photography When they don’t get that you have a life…

“I can’t take the photos, edit, and deliver [them on] the same day.” – G.F., Florida

“Sometimes I cannot reply to your text or email the moment I receive it. Years back, I had a client email, call, text, and Facebook me at 9:45pm, and when I didn’t reply, she and her co-workers attacked my FaceBook business page. I corrected this by posting office hours everywhere: on FaceBook, in the signature of every single email, and [in phone reminders.] Now, if a text comes in after business hours, I reply with something like, ‘Hey, we’re not in the office right now, [but we’ll] get back to you during normal office hours tomorrow.’ ” – J.M., New York

“The photos aren’t ready the moment the session ends.” – A.S., Australia

#ShootProofPro Tip: Automate, automate, automate!

Automatic email responders are a great way to navigate needy clients. “Thank you for getting in touch! I’ll respond within 1 business day.” And don’t forget to turn on a vacation message any time you’ll be unavailable for longer than usual.

Photos: Simply Korsun Photography When the parents are hovering…

“I had a session where the parents gave their 3-year-old two toys [as bribes] during the session. Guess what wouldn’t leave her hands the entire time without a major meltdown?” – A.S., West Virginia

“Telling your kids to smile makes for the WORST expressions on their faces. I get the best smiles by telling them I don’t need them to smile!” – M.M., California

“Most children and teens do better if mom walks away and lets the photographer bring out the natural beauty and enjoy a great shoot.” B.N., – Indiana

“I photograph TONS of kids, and [I encourage parents to] bring bribes. [Small] candies or treats, specifically, [like] mini marshmallows.” – C.H., Texas

“As a pet photographer, I wish I could tell people to stop pointing at the camera to get their dog to look at me. Sure, the dog might briefly look at me, but your pointing and talking ruined the photo!” – S.A., New York

Photos: Simply Korsun Photography When stress has taken control of the session…

“Concentrate on what you do have – not what you don’t have.” – D.P., United Kingdom

“Stop yelling at your kids to smile at the camera!” – K.C., New York

“It’s more important to be present with each other on [your wedding] day, than to be worrying about a few stray hairs or messed-up makeup.” – T.E., Australia

#ShootProofPro Tip: Communicate clearly.

Before a session, have a final call or send a final email reminding your photography clients, “The most important thing you can bring to your session is a smile! If your kiddos cry or squirm, take the opportunity to tickle, tease, and smile MORE! If you’re upset or frustrated, your kids will be, too. So set the example by staying calm and happy throughout the session, and leave the posing to me!”

Simply Korsun Photography When you’re praying they liked their photos…

“After I send their gallery to them – I am anxious to hear back and look forward to their feedback!!” – S.K., Georgia

“Some of us need immediate feedback to affirm our talents and ensure we know you do not in fact hate us and/or our work.” – J.D., Georgia

#ShootProofPro Tip: Ask your clients for feedback!

When you send your photography clients their photos, include a little note saying, “I hope you love your photos as much as I do!Shoot me an email when you’ve had time to enjoy your images; I can’t wait to hear which photos are your favorites!”

Photos: Simply Korsun Photography How do you handle these questions and comments from your photography clients? Share your stories and advice in the comments!

Photographs by SIMPLY KORSUN PHOTOGRAPHY via TWO BRIGHT LIGHTS

The post This is What Photographers Think but Don’t Say appeared first on ShootProof Blog.

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We asked the ShootProof Community what they wish their clients understood about photography, and X common themes emerged. Read their responses below, then see how you can avoid this issue in the future!

“Why can’t I have my digital files?”

While some photographers embrace a “shoot and share” model that includes a selection of high-resolution digital photo files with every session, many others do not. If you’re a photographer who doesn’t include – or even offer – digital files, it’s important to help your clients understand why. 

Withholding digital files simply because another photographer does it isn’t a good reason – and your clients will see right through that

Consider using phrases like this one:

I believe professional photographs are heirlooms to be cherished, and I take care to print your photographs through hand-picked partner labs. To ensure impeccable color and contrast in every printed photograph I make, I personally archive every client’s photographs and oversee the creation of your one-of-a-kind products. 

You might also add:

Because I understand my clients’ desire to archive their digital negatives, I do include the print-ready digital file when you purchase a print sized 8×12 or larger.

Or:

If you want to manage your print-making, I can sell you your digital negatives for $$$ each, or as a set for $$$$. When I release the photographs to you for safekeeping, I no longer store them in my own archive, so you will want to create backups in multiple locations to avoid file corruption or loss.

“What kind of camera do you use?”

The question isn’t awful in and of itself. But when someone likes your work enough to contact you, you don’t expect them to care how you made the photos. All that matters is that they’re good, right?

For the client who simply must know the specifics

“Can’t you just Photoshop it?”

“Can you make me look skinny?”

“Why can’t we have our session at noon?”

“The kids are cranky because they didn’t get a nap.”

“We’ll be wearing matching plaid shirts!”

“SHOW ME YOUR REAL SMILE.

“I hate my photos because I didn’t like my outfit.”

“I printed that photo you put on Instagram, but it looks awful!”

“You must be rich. You make $500 an hour!”

“I hope it’s okay that we’re a little sunburned…”

“Can I get the copyright?”

“I wish you had done XYZ at my session. That was really important to me.”

The post Here’s How To Handle the Most Cringe-Worthy Client Questions appeared first on ShootProof Blog.

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