Monday, November 2, 2009

Blog Blog


Summary on "10 QUICK and EASY Ways to Improve Your Photography". The rest of this information will be posted on our Training Site.

1. Read Dane Sanders book, "Fast Track Photographer". It's $25 and can literally save your photography career from going down the wrong path.

2. Promote and Network! Tag, you're it. It's up to you to promote your photography. Shout it from the top of the world and let everyone else decide if they like your work. Share Facebook pages and "Suggest to Friends". Comment on blogs. Post your images. Tell your friends and family.

3. Constantly improve your portfolio

a. Consider your potential customer asking this question when looking at your portfolio: “Why should we hire you to capture our most important day?” Put yourself in the client’s shoes.

b. Are you jumping at the chance to improve your portfolio? Are you taking every opportunity to shoot and improve upon your work?

c. Have you submitted/uploaded your best work?

d. Use Lightscribe and pochettes (or similar) in your packaging. Impress your customers from the time they meet you to the moment they receive their long-awaited images.

e. Have friends, family and acquaintances review and edit your work. Ask them to take out five images from your portfolio.

4. Biography

a. Biographies and blogs help to break the ice. Potential clients like to feel connected to the person who will document one of the most important days of their life. They need to trust in the person who will give them their finest artistic representations of themselves.

b. Have you provided a bio; one that tells a story about who you are, what you believe in, what your photography style is and what’s important to you?

c. Give your potential customer the opportunity they’re looking for. They’re looking for a reason to connect with you. They want to feel safe and taken care of. Put yourself in the client’s shoes.

5. Survey, Listen and ask for Referrals

a. Don’t tell the customer what they need. Ask them what they need and simply listen.
b. It’s not about you. It’s all about them. You’re awesome…but they’re awesomer.
c. Referrals: This is the lifeblood of your business. Ask for it.

6. Attend Workshops

a. Learn from the pros, like Dane Sanders and Mike Larson!
b. These are FREE to TPG Photographers!

7. Professional Web Site
Simple, consistent, fresh, professional, easy to navigate, images come up quickly. Your web site will change many times over the course of your career. You will look back on your old web sites with disgust. You will ask yourself, “What was I thinking?”. Do not blaze your own path on this…too much. Do not get fancy. People just want to see your work, with a small amount of effort, in a short period of time. Review what the top photographers are putting up. There is a method to their madness. It’s simple, they load quickly, it’s easy to understand, it’s good for search engines, it’s clean, it’s not confusing in many aspects. There are some terrible sites from some of the top photographers. Use what you like, throw out what you don’t find necessary.

If you were to have the opportunity to shoot for a big time celebrity, for the President of the United States, for National Geographic, or a client who can appreciate your photography, would you be proud to show them your site…are you ready? If the answer is “no”, this web site is keeping you from getting the business you need. Same goes for the images you are displaying. Do not cling to images because of a personal attachment (i.e., we hiked for seven miles in the snow to get this shot).

You are showing your potential customers, in a few seconds, who you are and how much they should value your work. Where are you intending to get your business from? Your web site is your FIRST IMPRESSION.

8. Network and Promote your sites on Facebook. Don’t keep it a secret! SHARE ALL SITES YOU ARE ON WITH EVERYONE

a. Create a vanity URL: Any Fan page with more than 25 Fans can create a shortened URL for their page similar to PhotoBiz (i.e.

b. Remember that anytime you leave a link to your Facebook Fan Page (Or your Website for that matter) include the http:// of your domain so that it appears as a live “clickable” link rather that just text that you would have to copy and paste in the address bar. (i.e. OR

c. Be sure to spend a majority of your time on Facebook engaging on your BUSINESS PAGE, not your personal page.

d. Treat the Inbox at the top like it’s the inbox to your business email; respond appropriately and promptly.

e. Accept and deny causes, groups, pages, etc… as you want your customer’s to perceive you and your business (Religious, Political, and Controversial)

f. You can create a vanity URL by going to *NOTE*-You must have at least 25 fans. You will need to be logged in to Facebook and look toward the bottom. Once you have chosen your name, it CANNOT be changed!

g. Don’t Waste Your Time! – Efficiency

h. If you’re a mobile “data” user, download the Facebook App on your iPhone or Blackberry to help manage it.

i. Don’t get caught up in spending too much time on here as it’ easy to do and can be more “Fun” than Effective…

j. If you have a blog, use Social RSS to have your blog content automatically transferred to Facebook.

k. If you are a Twitter user, there are a number of applications that allow you to automatically update both with the same message. We choose “Selective Twitter Status”.

l. Be Human! Don’t be so business and promote your own products ALL of the time. This will get annoying and spammy to your fans. Mix it up a bit and throw some fun into it.

m. Utilize your ability to “Send an Update to Fans” wisely. DO NOT do this all the time or you will lose fans rather than gain. Include incentives and a lot of resourceful information.

n. Are you a part of Forums, groups, blogs, other Facebook pages, etc…? Tell people to become a fan of your page and you will return the Favor. There was a recent post on I Love Photography Forum with well over 100 posts and each person was cooperative in this.

o. Use the “FBML Application” if you are familiar with HTML to build custom tabs to your site at the top. You can designate a particular tab to be the landing page like Coca Cola (

p. Did you know that each Tab at the top of your Facebook Fan page has a unique URL that you can send people to? 1) Go to “Edit” your page, 2) Click on the Modify Button (Pencil), 3) Click “Link to this Tab”

q. Use the “TAG” feature. When creating a wall post, if you are mentioning someone, add @ before their name. This will allow for anyone to click on that “tagged” name and visit their profile or page (whichever you tagged) Viral Marketing!

...come back tomorrow for more!

Direct Mail from Photographers Is Making a Comeback — at Least on My Desk
Not long ago, e-mail marketing in the form of e-bulletins and HTML-based solicitations appeared to be a better choice for photographers than printed direct mail. After all, they were comparatively inexpensive to send, and they arrived right where your prospects would be sure to see them: on their computer screens. (more…)

Dane's Speaking Calendar

NEW: Photos from Yosemite and California's Eastern Sierra
I was away all last week shooting, and busy all this week processing the digital dross to present these photos. I've presented many of the original JPGs, DNGs, and JPGs derived from DNGs, which means that these are also the highest-resolution complete images ever published on the Internet. Previous science experiments may have allowed people to browse or scroll around larger stitched images, however this is the first time anyone has published complete files from anything with higher-than-DSLR quality.

Brandon & Kaleena {Rancho Las Palmas}
Located in the Palm Springs area, Rancho Las Palmas was a beautiful setting for this amazing wedding....

Photo of the Day

Things You Can Do With A Polarizer Other Than Darkening The Sky
Lots of amateurs tell me that a polarizer is to be used to darken the sky. They often don’t know that a polarizer’s primary duty is to cut reflections – which is why it darkens the sky. You can use a polarizer to show the true color of a leaf by cutting through the atmospheric haze that washes out the color in a fall foliage scene. You can reveal what’s hidden behind a window by cutting through its reflection. You can capture items below the surface of a lake, river or ocean. Polarizers can also do double duty as neutral density filters when you need to reduce the amount of light hitting your sensor. Just remember that polarizers have limited usefulness when reducing reflections caused by spectral highlights, such as those found on metal objects.

The Pushpin Masterpiece Frame

Inspiration Board for Brides

TIM GREY (Digital Darkroom Questions)
Tim Grey is regarded as one of the top educators in digital photography and imaging, offering clear guidance on complex subjects through his writing and speaking. He loves learning as much as he possibly can about digital imaging, and he loves sharing that information even more.

Tim has written more than a dozen books on digital imaging for photographers, including the best-selling Photoshop CS4 Workflow
and Take Your Best Shot
. He has also had hundreds of articles published in magazines such as Digital Photo Pro, Outdoor Photographer, and PC Photo, among others. He publishes the Digital Darkroom Questions email newsletter, as well as the Digital Darkroom Quarterly print newsletter. Tim teaches through workshops, seminars, and appearances at major events. He is a member of the Photoshop World Dream Team of Instructors.

Today's Question:
I've been using Smart Sharpen recently, based on your recommendation in a recent DDQ email. Can you explain though what the "More Accurate" checkbox does? Whatever it is, more accurate certainly sounds like a good thing, but I'd like to understand what it does and why I should turn it on.

Tim's Answer:
As you may have noticed if you have Tool Tips turned on in Photoshop, this checkbox claims to "produce a more accurate sharpening effect". But there is some ambiguity in that description in terms of whether it will affect only the preview or also the final sharpening effect. As it turns out, this checkbox does indeed affect the final sharpening effect applied to the image, not just the preview.

The effect of "More Accurate" is not what you would probably expect based on the name of this checkbox. Rather than affecting the accuracy of the sharpening effect in the image, it actually affects how aggressively the image will be sharpened. More specifically, it determines whether all edges (areas of contrast) in the image will be sharpened (if the checkbox is turned on) or only the most prominent edges in the image (with the checkbox turned off). You can think of it as being somewhat similar to being able to toggle the effect of the Threshold setting found in the Unsharp Mask filter, though there are differences in how it is implemented (for example, with Threshold you can actually adjust the effect with a slider, while with More Accurate all the math is being done behind the scenes and there's no way to adjust the effect other than to turn it on or off).

There are obviously a variety of situations that might lead you to choose one setting or another for More Accurate. If you are sharpening an image that contains a considerable amount of fine detail, for example, I recommend leaving the More Accurate checkbox turned on. For images where you're concerned about having sharpening affect areas you'd rather not emphasize (such as noise, smooth areas with a small amount of texture, and similar areas), you might want to turn More Accurate off. The key is to understand the effect of this setting so you can determine for a specific image whether you should have it turned on or off.

I cover sharpening (including the Smart Sharpen filter) in extensive detail in an article titled "Optimal Sharpening" in the upcoming issue (Autumn 2009, which will go out in the mail the first week of October) of Digital Darkroom Quarterly. If you're not already a subscriber to this print publication, you can get more details at, or if you're ready to order simply go to