My Fave Tools & Apps to Run my Wedding Photography Business
Tools & Apps to Run My Wedding Photography Business
Running any business requires organization, and having tools, systems and workflows in place is essential to achieving success and giving our clients a great experience with us. These are my personal fave tools and apps for professional photographers.
I’ll get into my workflow and systems more in depth in another post, but hands down my favourite tool for client services is Honeybook! It has pretty much everything you could want to help with your workflows, and is so in depth to talk about so I promise to follow up with a HoneyBook Highlights post sooon, but for now you can get 50% off a membership WITH a 14 day trial!!! http://share.honeybook.com/fQVbW
When it comes to sharing galleries, Pixieset still remains my fave. Its very user friendly for both the photographer, and for the recipient; and does have a store option that you can use to plug in all of your beautiful products that you offer, and choose self fulfill (where you look after their order), or lab fulfill. I choose self fulfill to serve my clients because I adore my professional Canadian lab, GTA Imaging, and they aren’t set up with Pixieset. Millers and WHC are I believe, which are very popular American labs. You can use passwords to keep your galleries private, and add a download PIN to make sure that only your client can gain access to the final files. Its clean and beautiful, and offers many stylistic choices to support your brand.
Image courtesy of Natalie Frank
I love to treat my clients to a slideshow to highlight the memories we’ve created, and for that I use Smart Slides. Smart Slides is another ridiculously easy to use program, that makes creating your slideshow project a breeze. It has a great, and always growing royalty free music selection, so you can share to public platforms without worrying about legalities. I also really like it compared to other software because of the LACK of cheesy transitions and backgrounds. I don’t use them, as I prefer to keep the photos the focus. I use Smart Slides to do sneak peeks for all of my clients, and also to reveal initial wedding album design.
To create these beautiful albums, I use Fundy Album Designer. A pricier investment, this album software is worth it if you design multiple albums a year. The team at Fundy is dedicated to keeping the software current and SUPER easy to use. I love that you can choose to edit a single image withing an album spread in photoshop, and when you have made your changes, its saved in the spread design! No need to reimport! Its just great, and I use it for every single album, including those Im commissioned to design by other wedding photographers. (For more on my wedding album design workflows, check out my upcoming workshop!)
Culling (Sorting/Discarding Images)
For culling I cant get enough of how amazing PhotoMechanic is… if you havent tried it – get it. It makes culling 1:1 images a snap – its lightning fast, and once you have your selections, you can highlight them and drag them into lightroom and get to work, having your first cull all done for you! Its the bomb.
Image Courtesy of Andrea Elizabeth Photography
Photoshop is limited to enhanced effects for certain things, or removing distracting objects in the final steps of creating art pieces, but the bulk of my edits are done in Lightroom. When it comes to exporting, JPEG Mini is a phenomenal plug in for Lightroom, that reduces file sizes WITHOUT compromising quality. This keeps my hard drives from filling up too fast, and also makes for quicker speeds when uploading to Pixieset. It is also a stand alone program, so if you want to go back and resize older work, or if you dont use lightroom, you’re still covered!
Camera and screen calibrations. I wont edit without calibrating my screens to match the prints I get from my lab. I use Spyder 5 Pro from datacolour to get my colours to match as close as humanly possible, and this gives me the confidence that knowing what Im seeing while editing is what my client will get when they open their albums or hang their art. I recalibrate every month or so. It’s a pretty quick step to ensure Im delivering the best possible products.
Camera calibration is another beast – but any professional photographer will likely fall into a situation where their shots start to miss focus. It blows when this happens, but when it does – FoCal to the rescue! You take photos of a target, the software reads the images and shows you on your laptop what is happening, and walks you through the calibration process step by step. Most of my lenses needed a micro adjustment, and when I go out to shoot I know that Im good to go.
Social Media Apps
Instagram is my favourite free app to share my work on. Its easy to stay in touch with my followers, but I do plan my content to a certain degree. To plan ahead so Im not always digging for content I use a free app called UNUM. It allows you to see how all of your photos will look as a curated collection, and even allows you to write your captions. I do a draft of 4-5 posts at a time, then write most of my captions in a block of time that Ive set aside for the week. This helps me not overthink things at the time, and also be intentional with the message I want to share. Of course there are exceptions were spontaneity is more important and suddenly a cohesive feed isnt a priority, but even with the curation aside, I find using this app I spend less time thinking and messing about looking for content.
Before I sort things out in UNUM, I will head to One Drive. This is where I keep all of the shots that I want to share, so after I am done editing in Lightroom, I choose One Drive as my location, and I have a folder called Instagram Shares that I navigate to, and export at 72dpi so that Im not bogging down my available space. Using cloud storage makes accessing my photos super easy.
To get things the right size when Im blogging I use Blogstomp. Its gets things just right, and allows you to change your image title too which is important for blogging. You can do the same thing in Lightroom, but if you want to have any diptychs or collages on your blog, having something like blogstomp is a huge time saver.
Photo Courtesy of Andrea Elizabeth
Reduce Screen Time
That’s a lot of screen time isn’t it! So after a long day of this, I try and keep my screen time to a minimum, and using the screen time settings on my phone can be a helpful reminder. You can choose to lock out certain apps at certain times of the day so that you don’t mindlessly fall down the scroll hole (we’ve all been there, no judging)
Tools and apps are meant to be a time saver, not cause us to do MORE work, so that you have more time to hit the beach. Or catch up on Netflix 😉
I hope you found this brief explanation of all the apps & tools Im currently using helpful. If you use a particularly helpful tool, app or workflow helper, send me an email or let me know in the comments below!
Cover Photo by Natalie Frank
Professional Photographers Album Design Workshop
Professional Photographers Album Design Workshop
Finally! After years of serving wedding clients and mentoring other Professional Photographers, Im excited to say I am launching my Album Design & Sales Workshop!
This workshop is geared towards wedding and portrait photographers who are looking to offer valuable printed products to their clients.
Gone are the days that clients will say they ‘only want digitals”, so prepare for the influx of customers that are looking for photographers who are skilled in delivering great products.
In this IN PERSON & Interactive workshop you will learn:
How to effectively tell your story in printed album form, with hands on opportunities to design a few spreads.
What products clients are really wanting.
How to price your albums for profit (and eliminate the feeling that sales is a dirty, slimy word)
Tips to transition from ‘shoot and deliver’ (digital images only) to a business that offers more value.
How to conduct a post wedding (or post session) sales session – in person or online
How to confidently deliver a stress free experience that will transform you clients into raving fans!
I’ll be asking for your specific questions in advance, to will ensure that you are learning what you need, and have you walk away feeling ultra confident to up level your game this year!
WHERE & WHEN
This workshop will be held on Monday March 25th from 12-4pmat my office located in Hanover On.
The workshop is limited to 5 people.
The fee to attend is $325 to attend, and will include a light snacks and hot and cold beverages.
Just a few quick easy steps!
Use the following form to get the ball rolling!
Hold tight while I send you the invoice
Once you’ve paid, I will send you the address etc
2019 Album Design & Sales Workshop for Professional Photographers
If this workshop date doesnt work for you, fill out the above form and for the last question, opt in to be added to our email list. If enough interest is there, I may host another workshop in April, or possibly host an online one. Alternately, if you have any direct questions you can email me using this form.
How I Edit Photos and Which Ones Make the Final Cut
How I Edit Photos and Which Ones Make the Final Cut
It’s the evening, first dance is over, the party is started, and there you are huggin onto your new husband, happy as can be. Im packing up my bag to head out with about 3000 photos to sort through, and being the story telling process. Will you see them all? No; as you shouldnt.
Part of the magic of story telling, is highlighting the moments that define the day. Every good story has a beginning, a rising action, a climax, a falling action and resolution. Depending on your day, and the style/feel you have going on, that could look like this:
Beginning: Girl gets ready, guy gets ready.
Rising Action: First Look under the willow tree.
Climax: Ceremony, rings, kiss – YOU’RE MARRIED YO!
Falling Action: (sounds depressing but trust me): Family Photos, some down time where you can finally breathe..
Resolution: Two happy lovebirds escape into the night through a tunnel of guest holding mason jars full of blinking fireflies.
So when I get down to business I don’t want to tell the same part of the story in 5 different ways right?
What I want to do is enforce the story and make it stronger by actually choosing less. Less is more. You know this.
What Stays And What Goes?
My rough formula for how I decide what stays and what goes, and what photos to include over all is this (roughly… every event will be different)
Styled Detail Shots (if requested*) – 3 of each item. No need for more than 3 photos of your dress or rings. I sometimes will style things as a group as a flatlay (shot from over head) also – one shot. *More and more couples are preferring their details shot naturally, or “details with a heartbeat” – earrings on her ears, cuff links on his shirt etc...
Flat lay of wedding day details
The best of the similar moments or poses. I like a good portrait sequence or run in an album, but the subject in the photos needs to have varying expression, and so any dupes are out. Best of wins. With documentary sequences that involve motion such as processional or recessional, grand entrance or grand exit (so grand!) I keep enough to tell the story; usually 5-6 or so, taking out any awkward expressions, and keeping the strongest shots. Same goes for first dance, although I usually have a harder time cutting these down.
Family Photos – the goal is one from each grouping, and sometimes we have 2 different compositions such as full length and crop. I zoom right in to look at eye balls here. If everyone had their eyes open (and on me) then I’ll pick the one that the couple looks their best in. If no one single photo is great such as Bride looks amazing here but groom is looking at a guest off to the left, and someone else is looking off in the next few, I will deliver 2 options that you can pick to keep or print/post, and gives us a chance to do a head swap at album time.
Candids – You like your candids guys! Cocktail hour and reception are chalk full of opportunity, but in effort to not overwhelm you with a million of the same person, and because I am not sure who is a plus one, or a VIP, you’ll probably get a mixed bag of ones you might never print and ones that you will absolutely cherish because it is a great candid. Just like with portraits, I do remove award unflattering expressions and never photograph people eating. No one likes that.
The Techy Stuff: The post processing workflow
The first thing I do is make copies of all the cards I shot on, or my associate shot on. Once everything is backed up. I then use a program called Photomechanic to review the whole day and “write my first draft”. This is called culling in the photography inustry. Some photographers “cull out”; I “cull in”. This is just a fancy term for selecting the ones were going to keep (instead of rejecting the ones we wont ever use).
Photomechanic is great because it lets me see the image at full size in lightning speed. I can check that everyone eyes are open and sharp, or choose an expression that is the best in a sequence of shots. I tag and select the ones I want to use, and then drag them over to Lightroom – where 99% of the magic happens.
Here is where we do colour correction, and creative edits that you see that match my current editing style. With a correct white balance, I prefer to enhance with rich, warm skin tones, ever so slightly muted greens (but not minty, or frosty… nothing against that style, but here we like to keep it kinda real YKWIM?) and overall a slightly darker, moodier vibe. Every wedding is different and sometimes I do brighter images, depending on the feel of the wedding – but that is where I ask for your trust in my creative story telling.
I edit one photo from a set of similar photos and then copy the settings I used to the other ones in that set. This is referred to as batch editing. I do this for the whole wedding: working in batches throughout. Once the whole thing is done I can make small tweaks to ensure everything is cohesive as a whole.
When Im confident Ive done the best job I can do, with both editing and story telling, I export the images at high resolution as well as web resolution. High Res allows you to print full sized photos with no quality concerns at 300 dpi. Web res is sized best to share on facebook, instagram, or email to family members, and are not suitable for printing sized at just 72 dpi. For the high res images I have a plugin installed in Lightroom called Jpeg Mini – and its purpose is to resize a big file, without loss of quality – so final sizing takes up much less room on your USB and computer. Its rather genius, and any photographers reading this should definitely get it.
In the end, you will have a beautiful gallery to enjoy digitally, and whether you are choosing to have a custom album made by me, or print your own, you’re sure to have a cohesive, strong story to tell, with options – but not so many that you are overwhelmed by the multiple choices.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for my next post in the FAQ series: Whats in My Bag – a Glimpse of The Tools and Gear I use at a wedding. You also might like my post on hiring a wedding photographer.
Photography Workshop Experience
Lighting, Posing & Business of Wedding Photography Workshop
I had the pleasure of participating in an amazing in person wedding photography workshop hosted by my incredibly talented friends, John & Veronica of John & Veronica Photography, located in North York, Toronto.
I can’t begin fully describe the value I got from doing this. At this time of year, with a stack of editing in the que, albums being designed and packages delivered; it’s sometimes difficult forwedding photographers to take time for themselves, let alone to plan for artistic development and education.
Our group had varying skill & experience levels, J & V kept the workshop very open, with questions and conversation throughout, which made fast friends of the whole group! I can’t say enough how much this enhanced the workshop – Im a big advocate of Community over Competition and this group was just so awesome and supportive of one another!
Im so inspired, motivated, eager to get out there and apply as much as I can, because its all exactly what I needed and what I was looking for. I feel confident to make some changes that wont just better my business, but will enhance my client experience!
For those that follwed my #BTS shots on my instagram stories, you’ll know that we had a ton of fun!
Without further delay,
Here are a few behind the scenes shots, of John and Veronica in action, my new friends and some of my final shots.
Thanks again to John & Veronica – Have an amazing wedding and honeymoon! xo
John setting up the elinchrom and profoto b1… we later began calling it the butter dish… because those skin tones though!
Finally to wrap up day 1 – bare speedlight behind the couple for this piece. I’m in love!
Loved this experience so much, and look forward to doing it again sometime!
Muskoka Photographer – Stephanie & Darren
Muskoka Photographer – Stephanie & Darren
Nothing beats a day in Muskoka. Nothing.
The breeze off the lake, the earthy smell of the forest, the peace and calm. Brings out my inner gypsy (hippy? maybe) everytime.
So when Stephanie & Darren invited me up to shoot at Darren’s parents house on the lake I was a little giddy. We were initially threatened by weather… rain… bah, I was ready for anything. I called up my friend Alex to see if she wanted to join me for this little road trip and asked her if she’d bring her film cameras!
I have been interested in shooting film for awhile; inpsired by some of my best photographer friends I couldn’t think of a better time to try it out! So alternating my full frame Nikon, and a Canon AE-1, loaded with a Fuji 400 film, I shot a film SLR for the very first time!!!
What I learned:
Film is FUN!!!! You have no clue exactly how its going to turn out so it feels like an adventure!
It slows you down… this was all manual focus; and since you only get 24 shots (instead of 2400) you pause, breathe, meter, pause, breathe, compose, pause, breathe, focussssss, snap.
The snap of the shutter! Its loud and took me by surprise! So fun.
You have to wait to process it. Film is making a come back, but its still a challenge finding local, or Canadian labs. So you wait, like a kid at Christmas for your prints/scans to come back.
Its EXPENSIVE! That is all.
Anyways, this whole shoot was super fun. Darren and Steph are a hoot – Darren is non stop entertainment which was awesome because Stephanie’s smile is radiant. Lots of love and fun captured!
They were joined by Lou – their 3-legged beagle, who was completely charming, with fantastic taste in beer.
Enough blabbing – here’s some engagement photos.
Lou has great taste in beer!
A little bubbly to really celebrate 🙂
Alex and I hit up Trillium on the way home <3
Amazing day all around!
Ill sign out with The Eagles, Live in 1977 – For Darren & his Dad.
If you’re looking for a Muskoka photographer, I am up for the adventure!
Directive Posing – Maternity Photos – Alliston Photographer in front of the lens
Twice now in the last couple weeks Ive had the opportunity to work with some Alliston photographer friends – this time in FRONT of the lens!
It’s a great experience and I highly recommend it to any and all photographers that they try this at least once.
Its a direct approach to getting an inside scoop at how your own clients might be feeling during a photo session. When another photographer directs you, not only do you get some new tips on poses, but you might also learn what works and how certain direction can come across!
Now Im lucky because I know some of these people so very well, that Im very much at ease with them – which of course makes everyones job so much easier. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; spending time with our clients, getting to know them; developing that relationship will end up with MUCH better photos!
So before I skip to the photos, here is my list of directive posing tips for other photographers for great photos and happy, comfortable clients.
Smile. Ok, not direction related – but your overall attitude and level of confidence will set the whole scene. Don’t miss the opportunity to greet your clients with positive energy!
Chat with your clients while your getting your test shots in. When your client arrives, they’re likely to be a little nervous. Compliment their outfit, hair, makeup, or ask them about their day. Think about what it feels like to be standing there!
Show them some shots! Some photographers wont do this; but I like to show my clients that they are looking fabulous – it usually eases their minds even more and you can dig in and start having some real fun.
Encourage them. Your words are critical, but the old saying it’s not what you say, “its how you say it” is so SO true! If something isnt working, instead of saying “This isnt working”, or “not a flattering angle”; try saying “Lets shoot over there, I have a great idea!” and just make the necessary corrections. Be sure to compliment them often. It’s so nice to hear that you look great, or that they’re a natural in front of the camera!
Mirroring. If you want a certain pose, sometimes its easier to SHOW someone what you want. So get your vogue on!
Recognize when your client might be getting tired. We as photographers get super excited as we pull off amazing shots and just know our clients will be thrilled, but sometimes we miss cues that it’s getting old for our clients. Keep shoots short, or provide multiple locations, that provide a brief intermission; escaping heat or cold, and get time for a drink or a snack, and everyone comes back recharged.
Directive posing without Overposing. AKA Organic Posing. Provide opportunity that will lead your clients into poses without dictacting their every move. This is an approach I use a lot with my engagements and couples. Example – Instead of `give me a little laugh`, I`ll ask him to whisper something naughty in her left ear. This gets his head I want it, and a natural, genuine expression from her! Check out Jonathan Suckling‘s approach to getting a natural, spontaneous reaction from his couples in this youtube video! Warning – extremely funny!
Of course candids are worth their weight in gold, so don’t focus too much on getting the exact shot you have in your mind, and let loose and have some fun!
Makeup and hair in the first series is done by the ever talented Alana Wagner MUA (Who also happens to be an equally amazing photography assistant!)
From my shoot with fellow Alliston Photographer, and close friend of mine
Kristin Peereboom Photography – ***Side note*** – Kristin and I have worked together numerous times, so I am at complete ease with her, we’re great friends, and honestly can be myself – even on that side of the lens. This is another reason why developing a relationship with your photographer is critical! I was able to more or less pose myself, and Kristin directed me to get the best light/angles/backgrounds. As you can see we make a stellar team!
I could go on about this session forever, as it was perfect – the temperature for early March, my secret location, getting to hang with my friend; the overall mood and organic fee… it was all on point. To see more of this session go to Kristin’s blog post here.
Thank you to everyone who sent me photos – likely my last baby, I truly appreciate the experience, and the love I recieved from all of you xo