ReBranding With Photography

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This was an interesting week.

An old friend and colleague reached out to renew a friendship and to discuss some epiphanies she had recently experienced.

Lunch was near my studio and it was with a bit of trepidation that I had agreed. While I think the world of this person, I also know that our working together can be fraught with frustration and no small measure of much needed patience.

I suck at patience, and life is too short to continually haggle with people. It simply is. We can be like water and oil at times… she with a close eye for microscopic detail, and with a heavy background in corporate people management, me with a ‘big picture’ approach, and eschewing nearly every corporate culture meme there is.

Lunch was always fun with her though… terrifically smart, very focused and with a zest for finding out everything about everything, she can match wits with most.

I was not expecting her exuberance to have faded in the last two years, and I was correct. But now there was something a bit different going on. She had found her voice, her ‘thing’ so to speak. That part of her that had made her so frustrating before was now morphed into a sureness and solidly focused professional.

“You were right,” she said almost at the beginning. “All the things you said I needed to do, were what exactly what I needed to do. I just wasn’t ready to commit to myself. I must have driven you crazy, huh?”

I smiled and brushed off the driving me crazy, although that nail was punched right on.

I had encouraged her to find her voice, find the thing that would make her, and her fledgling business, more unique and reflect more of her authentic person. Write like she speaks, be as personable on the page as she was in person. In short, be herself and stop trying to be what others thought she should be.

I am so proud of her now, that all of those frustrations are simply no worth thinking about. She has gone from a corporate ‘manager’ to someone who is confidently managing herself… and a whole slew of private clients that have been attracted to her systematic, well thought, and successful approach to her business.

We have set up a few projects together, and one of them involves an idea to share with you all.

One of the things we must remember is that what we package is sometimes not as interesting as HOW we package it.

Some of us older guys will remember the ads in magazines for the ability to “see through walls”… yes, this device would allow you to actually see through walls and doors. Like magic.

It was the little thing we put on our doors to see who is on the other side. He had purchased a warehouse full of them, and selling ‘door peepers’ just didn’t have the punch that “See Through Walls” did. He became a multi-millionaire.

Social Media, Personal Branding Photography is our package. And as of today, we have at least 5 shoots on the books for February. At a very decent rate for sure. (For sure I have mentioned it before… we have now been able to put a tighter ‘brand’ on it.)

What is included:
2 headshots: one ‘natural’ and one ‘professional’.
A full length shot to be used for purposes where that would make sense.
Two half length shots, and something with a strong environmental feel.

Uses:
Facebook header – need interesting wide shot.
A Twitter background – tall shot for left hand side of twitter page.
An About.me page.
A YouTube header.
A shot for their “About Me” web page.
Web Header images for their site.

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We are taking a full day for the photography, providing styling and hair/mu where appropriate. Most images to be shot on location, with only two images in the studio.

Well researched up front, I will know what dimensions their social media images must be, so I can shoot to “layout” so to speak.

All of the scheduled clients are entrepreneurs and business people who are discovering their social media impact and want their brand to be consistent across platforms.

And while shooting photographs of someone is not new, knowing exactly how they will be used and shooting for the disparate formats that they need them for is somewhat refreshing. No more cropping out or filling in areas on haphazard iPhone shots… we shoot FOR their social media and website presentation.

A professional and creatively presented, cohesive set of images.

A win for our customers and a win for us.

Just thought you would be interested… take it and run with it in your town if you are so inclined.

 

A Simple Tool for Shooting to Layout

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Sometimes we have to shoot to specific layouts or dimensions. Here is a very simple tool for working with layouts that may not be typical.

I use cardboard stock for making these little screens. And as I note on the video, I always give the shot a little breathing room.

BTW… you can also print the layout on acetate at the same size of your screen. Then cut it out and put it over the top of your LCD to see how type and headlines work.

SUMMER-SCHOOLMANY OF THE TUTORIALS DURING “SUMMER SCHOOL” ARE BY PROJECT 52 PRO MEMBERS EITHER CURRENTLY ENROLLED OR ALUMNI.

Book Ideas: “What If…”

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What if.

What if you created a magazine instead of a book? Told a story or two in the magazine, showed a subject in depth, then printed 10 copies for influential art directors in your town and offered all who came to the site a PDF?
(Blurb does magazines for as little as $10)

What if you wrote a novel and instead of describing the house where the family lived, you included a photograph of it. Not a photographic novel, but a novel that included photographs.

What if you made a diary of your travels, made small prints and pasted them on the pages and then scanned the pages into a book, and then wrote in the book with pen and marker? What if you made only twenty of those books?

What if you made a book of screen grabs from Lightroom thumbnails? Nothing but screen grabs of thumbnails on every page. Show the process.

What if you made ten big books at Graphi ($4000) and sold them for $1000 each? Collectors items – one offs – custom books. Art.

What if you made a book of every shot you did on a roadtrip? Just thumbnails, but every stinking shot.

What if you made a book, and included 6 small and numbered prints with each book? Hand signed, and in a limited edition.

What if you hooked up with an illustrator and a poet to create a hybrid book about the mythical beasts of Slot Canyons? Just askin’…

What if you worked with a band to create a story that was half images and half rock-opera? And what if you included the CD? And what if you included some of the score? An photographically illustrated rock opera with the music attached.

What if you hooked up with a MUA, three models, a stylist and some incredible wardrobe and shot a fantasy fashion story, then printed it as a small magazine or published it on ISSU?

Books are cool. Books can be amazing tools.

What are some of your ‘what ifs’?

My New WordPress Theme and Info Site

My New WordPress Theme and Info Site

WordPressThemesForPhotographers is a new site at the URL I used for selling my WP sites. We are no longer selling those sites, but will be offering customization and initial setups of WordPress Themes for photographers, designers, artists and small business.

I will be bringing and showing the best Themes and Plugins for Photographers that I can find. One theme per day, peripheral posts as they come along.

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I have been asked back to creativeLIVE to do a workshop on Table Top Product Photography. You can see more at their site. Dates are June 21, 22, 23, 24, 2012. Register for free and watch all weekend!

I was recently on creativeLIVE and have received some rave reviews of the workshop. If you are interested in taking a look at the workshop, you can find it on creativeLIVE’s web site here. I think it is a tremendous value and if you are unable to attend any of my workshops, this may give you a ton of information you will want to have to push your photography to the next level.

WordPress Themes that Rock: “Bloom”

WordPress Themes that Rock: “Bloom”

I love this theme from Theme Forest.

Bloom could be just what you are looking for. Clean, neat, responsive and full of custom features.

This is a theme that would be a comfortable fit for a photographer, a designer or an illustrator. It would work for a small boutique creative business as well. Show off the work, get people to engage with the site, show enough whistles and bells to make it fun and do it with a smart, modern feel.

The simplicity of the site would mean that some customization should be fairly easy. Change the fonts and colors if you want, or add a background graphic. The beauty of Bloom is that it such a clean theme that it needs very little to be a stunning portfolio for you.

Some of the things I like about this theme:

  • It is responsive, and re-configures for a beautiful smart device presentation.
  • It comes with a dark and light version (black with reverse type, and white with dark type). You choose what you like.
  • A very cool gallery tool that is “filtered”. This means that the visitor can search for the types of work that you have defined.
  • Just enough short codes to allow the site to have some real ‘pizzaz’ without going overboard.
  • Fixed navigation at the top is quite modern – and pretty hip.
  • The site is designed to look and feel like a single page site, with very fluid page scrolls from section to section.
  • Clean, smooth slider for home page.
  • Clean and modern typography.
  • Built in Blog.
  • A ‘website’ feel.
Here is a screen shot of the dark and light version.

Lightbox Galleries have a sophisticated presentation with understated forward/back buttons and mini thumbnails that appear upon mouseover.

The Portfolio is “filtered” to allow the visitor to find what they are looking for. Try it out, by clicking on the managed category tabs. Photographers could use the tabs for different portfolios, projects, folios, and stories. I like this type of presentation.

Bloom would be a good fit for a photographer with a wide ranging portfolio set, and a good number of personal projects, stories and folios. Fashion shooters, food and portrait shooters would be a good match. For designers, it is a no-brainer cool theme. Projects and design types can be shown with a clean, modern style and changing up the design wouldn’t be too hard.

All in all, I think Bloom is going to be a big hit for Themeforest. It is brand new, so if you are looking for a cool theme, this may be one you should take a look at.

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I have been asked back to creativeLIVE to do a workshop on Table Top Product Photography. You can see more at their site. Dates are June 21, 22, 23, 24, 2012. Register for free and watch all weekend!

I was recently on creativeLIVE and have received some rave reviews of the workshop. If you are interested in taking a look at the workshop, you can find it on creativeLIVE’s web site here. I think it is a tremendous value and if you are unable to attend any of my workshops, this may give you a ton of information you will want to have to push your photography to the next level.

WordPress Basics for Photographers: Part Four

WordPress Basics for Photographers: Part Four

One of the most powerful gifts of using WordPress is the vast amount of Plugins and tools that are developed for it. These tools help you increase your productivity and interactivity without having to learn how to code.

Simply push a button and install very powerful software that integrates instantly into your website.

I want to share with you some of the ones that I use, and why I use them.

Professional photographers are a special breed, and we need our site to do more than just be a platform for our images. We need to create a sense of excitement about our work and out clients. Keeping visitors coming back to our site is one of the more important goals.

Portfolios:

The default Gallery plugin that comes with most premium (and most free) themes is a great way to simply get your images online. WordPress automatically makes your thumbnails for you, and you choose how many columns you want to use to show them. The more columns you use, the smaller the thumbnails appear.

See the previous post for more info on gallery tools.

We may also want to be more involved with our SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I use “All In One SEO Pack” for my additional SEO. Website. (You do not have to download plugins from the builders websites, simply use your plugin page and search for the titles of the plugins for a quick installation tool.)

This plugin gives me the ability to create more SE friendly titles and descriptions that live in meta. This is a very powerful tool, and I suggest you learn all about it as you go about using it. The more you learn about SEO, the easier it becomes to drive traffic to your site.

I use “Easy Social” for my social bookmarking tool. Easy to use, you can place it at different places on the page depending on your layout. Website. There are a plethora of social bookmarking plugins out there, if you don’t like the one I use, you can find one you will like easily.

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