ProStudioUSA

Providing photography equipment and expertise to amateur and professional photographers alike

The Dying Art of Photo Albums!

I have an artist/photographer friend that shoots a photo a day, every day. She posts it on Facebook. She is on year 4 as we speak. This photo turns into her personal journal. She prints these pictures into an album every year.

She chooses an album worthy of holding her honored images. Unfortunately, there are less options then ever before making it tougher to find the right one. There is a decline in clients wanting albums and photographers offering them. It may surprise you to know that even I as an album supplier am finding less options and harder to supply albums. Because everyone is selling less albums, our manufactures are making and offering fewer and fewer.

Just because the majority of consumers are not using albums doesn’t mean there is no longer a need for them. Photo albums are becoming a lost art. Because this artist has no intent on stopping her photo a day and wants a regular printed album she has found that she needs to change the album style almost yearly.

My thoughts for you lie in this direction: Is the album dying a good thing because it affects so few? Even here we have at times considered not carrying them. Is this just one of the things we have to let go of? It goes back to an earlier blog that photos need to be printed. Should that not be in an album? Somehow a photobook, a really nice one, does not seem cost effective compared to an album. You can easily go to a drive through book maker but is that really the quality you want? You can also spend a small fortune on a high class book. These books can reach hundreds of dollars to create.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject! Please share your ideas and what you’ve done in your photography business.

Non-Scientific Pole

A friend and I recently asked every photographer we knew if they ever enter photo contests and if so, how many. Many said they do and also enjoy it as a hobby besides their photo business. This was the case with most of the people we talked to. Most explained their professional photography businesses help pay for their hobby.

Analytics showed heavy response whenever we posted anything to do with contests on our Pro Studio Facebook page. We plan to continue announcing contests on our Facebook page  so make sure you’re following us on Facebook and our twitter feed for updates and more.

Here’s a quick approach to entering contests. Always research each contest thoroughly. Most of them will allow you to see previous winners. This is helpful in deciding if it’s a good match for your style of photography.

Review the timelines and terms. If a contest is a good match for you, you don’t want to miss the deadlines. You can set-up reminders in your smartphones for two weeks and 3 days prior to keep you informed. Keep track of award dates. It’s too easy to loose emails into spam accounts. You can also use a variety of colored markers to track contest dates on a paper calendar.

The terms of each contest are very important to consider. You need to see how the photographers picture rights are handled and what’s expected of you if you do win.

I make an effort to track the contests I’ve entered to be prepared again next year. If I receive an honorable mention or more I print the picture for a portfolio or album along with the award or mention. This is a very important part of the process. This is a resume builder and looks great when speaking to clients. Think of the confidence boost a client will have working with you if you can show them your “award winning” images in an album.

If any of you win a contest, please let us know with a twitter post on our feed. We’ll help you spread the word there and on Facebook. We have a reach of 10,000 photographers world-wide. Pro Studio would love to spread some love for you’re work.

Lighting

The challenges of studio lighting can be intimidating. So many factors go into lighting. But the most important one is the photographer’s ability to demonstrate their person voice. It’s all to easy lighting instructions on the internet. But they’re usually cookie cutter with little thought behind them. I would suggest you learn the basics but tweak them to create your very own style and unique voice.

Today, lighting can set you apart from the competition and bring you more jobs. Fine art photographers have known this and seek out specially lit images. They understand that light can create a dramatic look, or a soft look and more importantly, combine them into an extra special image.

Portrait photographers new to photography, usually default to a standard setup. They haven’t learned any other way. In this day and age we need to accept that “everyone is a photographer”. The camera manufacturers told them all they need is their camera. A more experienced photographer will have the ability to control their light in most situations. With a commitment to on-going study and learning they can perfect their craft and thus stand out in a crowded arena.

One suggestion can assist you in developing a lighting style. Learn to use your walls to bounce light off. You can use your existing walls or create some walls from foamcore or other materials. One of the more ambitious ones is drywall on wheels. A wood frame is built to your specs. and can be placed anywhere in your space. You can also add a slopping top that either adjusts or not.  By moving these panels around, you can control where your shadows fall and learn to sculpt your light for each subject.

Once you’ve committed to bounce lighting your fun begins so start experimenting with what works best for you. Some will devote a light unit just to this bounce wall. You should know how your light equipment function. View the additional piece as insurance that you have exactly what you need and it’s there when you need it. Pro Studio Supply sells a very affordable set of add-on wheels that can attach to your light stands allowing you to easily move them where you need them. Too many concentrate on the cost of their equipment and forget that their running a business. Your goal is to create quality images and the ease at which you do this is directly related to your financial success. The appearance and professionalism you display will bring more customers faster than cheap prices. We carry several lines of lighting and peripheral equipment at affordable prices. Call an associate for free advice and options.

Set yourself apart and that will lead to more clients. Each client wants their portraits to be special. Cookie cutter is no longer acceptable.