ProStudioUSA

Providing photography equipment and expertise to amateur and professional photographers alike

How to Brand Yourself and Your Photography

Photographers need to make an impression beyond their pictures and work. There needs to be a connection between you the creator and the work others see.

Branding makes this possible. A brand presents a photographer and their business to the world at large. A brand is you and your business’s identity and something that should be grown and cultivated for your photography business to succeed.

Logos

A logo is the immediately recognizable flag for your brand. It’s a go-to signal representing the intentions and goals of your business and ties together every part of your brand. McDonald’s golden arches logo, as an example, triggers your recollection of the food, service and past experiences you’ve had with the company. The logo says as much about you as your photos do, so you need to be very thoughtful how your logo looks. Fonts and designs convey a bevy of emotions, some are edgy or whimsical. If you focus on children photography, the use of playful designs and fonts immediately signal this. Likewise a wedding photographer whose style is more traditional can show this with traditional fonts and design. Be sure to use a professional designer who is skilled at making these connections.

Business Cards

Business cards are convenient tools for building a brand. Like logos, they represent your business. But unlike logos, business cards are far more informative and functional. Their purpose is to inform your client who you are, what you do and where they can reach you. For maximum effect, your card needs to leave an impression. Business cards need to work with your style and photography.

Did you know your business cards can be a mini portfolio of your work? Just make multiple versions of your card with different photos and you have great samples in your pocket.

Social Media

One of the best ways to gain recognition, even celebrity, is to participate on social media. Show your work on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. Comment on others’ work. Post photography advice via a blog and social media to brides and seniors. The more you engage, the more benefits you reap. You should have a website as well. Be sure to link your social media comments to your website.

 

Branding your business and promoting it is integral to your business. Make a professional logo, have memorable business cards and use the internet daily. Next to referrals, it’s how today’s professional photography business is done.

  

Pro Studio Supply offers several items you can add your logo or text to once you customer leaves with your prints! We can provide you with imprinted folders, imprinted photo boxes and imprinted folios just to mention a few. Review these links or call us at 800.558.0114 with any specific questions.

Tips for Portraiture

The portrait photography profession has been a lasting presence since photographs were exposed on glass plates. And since then, technology has advanced to the point where we can digitally capture images and store them on devices that can fit in our hands. But there are many challenges and obstacles involved in obtaining properly made images that show your subjects in their ‘’best light’’. Here are some tips for proper outdoors and indoors portraits.

Outdoors

The outdoors are great, and there’s nothing better than a portrait on a sunny day, but the lovely weather does present its own set of difficulties. Bright days make harsh shadows that produce too much contrast and the entire portrait loses important details to hotspots and shadows. There is little control over the light and the way it effects the subjects face and body.

A cloudy day is a much better option. It sounds unappealing, of course, but cloudy day offer many more advantages. For one thing, cloud coverage affords photographers a soft consistent light much like that of a studio softbox with detailed shadows and highlights that will be sure flatter your subjects. Let’s not forget that clouds add drama and make your photos interesting from top to bottom.

But if you’re your schedule doesn’t allow for waiting for clouds, here’s a few simple tips for shooting on a bright sunny day. First of all, don’t be afraid to use your flash as a fill-in; it’ll ‘’fill’’ the shadows that would usually cast unflattering on your subjects. Shoot in the open shade. If you don’t want shadows, move your subjects under a tree or in a building shadow. Pro Studio sells a variety of light reflectors that can direct the light into certain areas while in the shade or as important, be used to create a shadow practically anywhere the sun is hitting your subject. 

Indoors

Indoor Portrait photography, much like photography itself, has been around for over a century. So here are five easy tips for shooting indoors. First, shoot in their home. If a client commissions you to shoot a portrait, the clients will be more comfortable in their own surroundings. Second, find the room with a big window. Window light is one of the best sources because it acts as an auxiliary light source. Third, control your light sources. When you mix natural and artificial lights, white balancing becomes impossible, so your best bet would be to stick to one. Fourth, keep your backgrounds simple. A portrait is the center of the subject; complicated backgrounds are distracting. Pro Studio carries a nice variety of collapsible backdrops for use on location. They come in a variety of useful colors, the Twistflex are double sided and are easily transported and stored. But always keep it simple. And finally, explore! It’s imperative of all creative professionals to explore the world around them for opportunities. Check out your surroundings and seize the opportunities.

 

Portraits are formal acknowledgements of a subject’s existence; a way of saying “I was here”. It depends on both the subject and photographer to shape the portrait to their collaborative will. And with that comes difficulties from the environment and other factors. So be prepared.

Best Sites for Publishing Photo Books

Photo books have become very common today. Most consumers and pro photographers are using books for many uses. Consumers are using them to compile family events, parties and birthdays, while pros are using them for wedding albums, senior portraits and corporate events.

There comes a time in every photographer’s career where they have taken enough pictures to fill a book that they, well… fill a book. Photo books are great for photographers to show off their work as portfolios or personal work. Thanks to the internet, companies have formed with the express purpose of publishing photo books quickly and at very affordable prices. There are many small run publishers to choose from today, we just listed a few to get your juices running. Here are some sites for your perusal.

      1. http://www.blurb.com/ -Blurb specializes in high-quality photo books with high quality paper and offering free layout and creation tools from their site, not including the countless customization options already online. Feel free to use the code GATHER25 at check out for 25% off for any book you purchase from Blurb.

      2. https://www.shutterfly.com/photo-books -Shutterfly is unique because it caters to both professionals and customers by allowing for customizable layouts and readymade books for any occasion.

      3. http://www.apple.com/mac/print-products/ -For those who enjoy the convenience and ease of Apple’s integrated experience will be glad to discover that Apple also has made it possible to make photo books through the use of their iPhoto app and that they sell photo books from their company site, together creating the streamlined experience many Apple users have come to love.

      4. https://pinholepress.com/ - Pinhole Press is gear towards professionals and are dedicated to showing off photos. Along with their popular panoramic albums, they sell craft products, like magnets and flash drives as well as professional grade wedding albums.

      5. http://groovebook.com/ -Groovebook is a subscription service that allows you to publish your photos every month from your IOS devices for only $3 a month.

 

If you’re looking to make a portfolio, a sampler or just show off, a photo book is perfect for compiling your work and show to your friends and family.


The Benefits of Drone Photography

With the end of the wars in the Middle East, a majority of military technologies have been converted for use in the private sector. Amazon.com planned on using drones as a delivery service. But that deal fell through so filmmakers and photographers have picked up the slack, finding surprising advantages that have drastically changed the way we take pictures.

Unique Angles: A photographer can shoot a subject from a good number of angles with just their bodies and tripods. A drone adds elevation and distance, an opportunity for impossible shots like, oh I don’t know… A wedding ceremony from the sky!! Drones open a realm of possibilities for photographers to achieve the maximum potential in their capture. 

Compact and Mobile: Drones are small, relatively low priced and unobtrusive. Previously, aerial photography demanded the use of a helicopter and a pilot, both of which cost money and time to set up. Let’s also remember that helicopters are loud, expensive, not to mention large and unwieldly. Drones on today’s market are cheap, compact and as small as an iPad. Because of this, drones have the ability to maneuver through various areas without causing disruptions. Its mobility allows for genuine, candid shots of people without causing a distraction. 

Time calls for change and that allows for innovation. Photographers are only beginning to use and understand drones as part of their craft. I believe that, eventually, a majority of photographers will include a drone among their equipment.

Five Pro Tips for Shooting Concerts

Summer is here, ladies and gentlemen. And with it comes warm weather, trips to better shores and, more importantly, music festivals and concerts. Yes, with summer kicked into high gear, music lovers flock to open fields to hear their favorite artists jam out on stage in front of before thousands. Festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Glastonbury tout large crowds and endless obstacles that make it rightly difficult to get the shots you want. But never fear. We’ve talked to professionals to compile five tips for shooting live shows.

       1.     RESEARCH!!! Learn everything you can before start shooting. Know the times, know the stage, know the band.

       2.     Use fast lenses. Stage lighting is very low, which makes it hard to gain sharp pictures. Use a lens with a high shutter speed, like a 50mm lens with a 1.8 f-stop, a cheap lightweight lens built for low lighting conditions.

       3.     Improvise. Way back when, photographers were allowed to bring in all sorts of cameras and equipment. Today, however, DSLRs and the like are verboten for the general public. So instead, be prepared to use your iPhone smartphone or a mirrorless digital camera. They’re small and easy to carry and use.

       4.     More shots, the better. Music is always moving, and so are musicians. Be sure to use a multiple shot mode to get the preferred pictures. More recent smartphones come with this feature already built in.

       5.     Concerning Silhouettes. Silhouettes capture a dramatic tone that can add that extra “oomph” to your photos. Turn off you flash and take a wide shot for best results.

 And there you have it: five tips for shooting concert photography. We can recommend an item that can improve concert photos. Our Selfie Handle can be used to go over your head pointed at the stage. With it’s built-in Blue tooth shutter release you can reach way over the crowd.  As I mentioned in tip three, DSLRs have been drastically limited and strictly regulated. So be prepared to use alternatives. Have a good summer and happy shooting!

 

Is the Image OK to Use?

You’ve found the perfect image through Google images and for your presentation or post. Before you copy and paste, make sure you can use this photo. You don’t want to discover down the road that the image is owned by someone else who can threaten you with copyright infringement.

Forewarned is forearmed

Thanks to some creative and insightful individuals, it’s snow possible to find the image source and use information with the help of reverse search engines!

These sites work by submitting a chosen image to the site. They then compile a list of sites where that image appears, usually in different sizes. Using this tool saves you from having to deal with the minefield that is the Internet and fair use by getting as close to the source as possible. Save yourself the hassle of a cease and desist order and check out these links!

https://www.tineye.com/ -A popular and widely used engine. Limits at 1 MB.

 https://www.imageraider.com/ -Uses Google to work, but you’re able to submit multiple images and many other features.

 http://karmadecay.com/ -This image works exclusively with Reddit, great for preventing re-posts by digging through all popular Subreddits.

https://images.google.com/ -Obviously the most popular search engine on the planet, Google hosts the largest image database in the world. Nuff said.

 Found a cool image that you want to use? Find its source!

Wedding Photography – 5 things that have changed the look and feel.

       Brides are looking for spunk, new and fresh ideas for their wedding photography. A few things add to this. We explored these ideas because as a photographer you must stay on top of the trends.

      1. Viral Photos have caused a popularity contest. If a photo goes viral it must be good right? Or at least a new look. Take a look at these pre wedding photos that went viral in Tibet. They will end up being ageless.

      2. The Story that accompanies the photo is just as important now. In this story, it was a funny story that was taken badly publicly. The couple responded with kindness and love. That love and kindness resulted in even more photos being taken professionally.

      3. Selfies everyone loves the selfie look. Selfies have made their way into being a ‘’moment’’ for professionals to photograph. In fact, it might even be hard to not get at least one professional picture of selfies being made, as seen here.

      4. Social Media means instant sharing. Can you, as the photographer, provide a process for that? If you did, you might be a step ahead on sales points. Consider a simple cell phone being passed around a wedding to have all those pictures in one spot.

      5. Personalities are original and unique. People in general want to let their colors shine. Those same people want that personality to show through in their wedding photos.

All five of these items require is to adapt to the ever-changing bride. The days of truly classic posing is gone or drastically reduced. Recently and accidentally a picture became a sensation. It was tilted and one that many would have deleted. It cuts off part of the arms of the wedding party. The Happy Couple loved it. This could very well be the next trend. Either way, what we, as photographers, consider right or correct photos is not always what the bride and groom want.

 

Filters and the Four Surprising Affects They Have

Did you know that filters are being studied? Instagram has changed how we view pictures, part of that is because of filters. Arizona State University has been studying filters for over a year now. Filters dramatically change how people react to pictures. Some of us remember the days of screw on filters to add star bursts or warming effects, not to mention the multitudes of other filters available.

Here’s what we found in the studies. Serious photographers use filters to correct a problem.  Casual users use the filters to make pictures appear more artificial. My own experience is that there is a group of “serious” photographers who use filters to enhance photos in a creative way while not going too far. Things get interesting when you look at how viewers react. Pictures with filters used tend to get more interaction and reaction.

      Four things happen.

     1. There is a positive reaction to the warmth factor.

     2. Viewers seem to feel these photos have fewer flaws.

     3. Surprisingly, the “new” look of these photos is well received.

     4. People feel like the photo has a more professional look.

Here at Pro Studio Supply, we carry one of the most unique software with unlimited filter options, Tiffen’s FX Digital Filter Suite. It starts with 94 different filters and a host of other applications that can revolutionize your photography. Think about having digital gels, multiple layers of multiple filters or even making your client a cartoon for something fun. We know that filters are not new. The “new” idea behind filters is that they are better understood. Moreover, people like the look.

The idea that filters are being studied might be amusing to the seasoned photographer. One thing can be said as a professional photographer you can use filters to stand out from the crowd that has not yet embraced the digital filter.

 

How Photographers Can Avoid Upsetting the Bride

We scoured the internet looking at what brides dislike most about their wedding photography experience. Surprisingly it came down two issues, neither being the actual photographs. These are communications and presentation.

     Here is what a bride and groom expect from you.

    1. Deliver on time. Brides do not want to keep hearing you are busy, another week is needed, or any of those types of delays. Give the bride a date and stick to it.

    2. Direct the couple during the photography. You are the expert and should have the ideas. Offering direction begins in the pre-wedding discussions.

    3. Recognize the customer is always right. You should listen to the type of pictures the bride wants and stick to the shot list. The shot list should be agreed to in the pre-wedding discussions.

    4. Shoot in the style the bride wants. If you can’t or won’t shoot in the style she wants, be upfront with her at the get-go. Suggest other photographers who may please her more. You may not gain a client, but your colleagues will appreciate the referral and your reputation will stay intact.

    5. Make the presentation special. Photo presentation is as much as part of the event as the ceremony itself. Keep her feeling special by going the extra mile to present her wedding as a gift to her.

    6. No cheap CDs or jump drives. Cheap presentation makes your photography look less desirable. Photography is a big investment. Use a suitable-sized, well-constructed and elegant portfolio box that presents your work with pride. You can add branding these boxes for additional exposure. If you’re going to use a CD or jump drive, then use a CD/DVD presentation album or consider this style of the jump drive.

    7. Don’t half present your product. If you only have final photos but the prints and books aren’t ready, then wait for the books and prints.

Our advice is to go out of your way and make the photography experience as special as the rest of the wedding. You are providing the memories the couple will cherish.

Who Prints Your Personal Pictures?

­­­Who is printing your client’s pictures? The quality of your final prints can be a factor in how that photo will be handled. If you’re a professional photographer using Walgreen’s, Costco or even Sam’s club you are undermining your value! If you have pictures that are simple snapshots it might be ok. But quality photography deserves quality printing.

If you do not follow that practice it will be difficult to sell that concept to your clients. A print made from a pro lab will be better than those from a consumer retailer! They’re usually protected by a portfolio cover or stored more carefully in a portfolio box. If a lower cost print is damaged, they may be easier to replace, but a higher-quality print will be treated much better and cherished longer.

A higher quality print offers better credibility. People are more willing to invest more in them. Your eyes, your technical skills and your personal attention to details all add to your professionalism. People are more willing to pay more for quality.

As a professional, you can explain the importance of you’re using quality photo labs do result in better prints. If you are going to invest in a photo shoot, also invest in quality prints to honor the session. Your clients are worth the extra cost of high quality prints.

When they order prints, remember the importance of presenting them in a quality manner. A simple envelope may not cut it. Provide them with a personalized logo imprinted on a quality photo folder in a personalized photo box and they will generate referrals and more business. Professionals understand the importance of delivering their work in quality packaging. Pro Studio features a variety of photo packaging to choose from.

Color calibration doesn’t end before the print process. A good understanding of paper profiles used to match a printer model does produce higher color quality. Better quality papers inherently produce higher archival properties. Better papers are heavier and can stand up to more handling with out sudden bends and folds unlike cheaper papers. Finally, once mounted and framed, can and should last hundreds of years without deterioration.