Get More Exposure for Your Work: Curate a Themed Gallery

Struggling to make a name for yourself as a (relatively) young photographer is quite challenging, as we all know. One of the main challenges of this convoluted process is developing your own voice. In an age where visual information seems to prime and the old cliché about a picture being “worth a thousand words” seems truer than ever, this shouldn’t be too hard. Unfortunately, against this apparent set of good premises, there are so many other aspiring photographers out there, that things are often harder than they seem to the outside world. This increased competition is precisely why developing a unique voice as an entry level photographer is crucial in securing a spot on the photography market and in transitioning from an amateur to a pro.

1

In the effort to develop a more unique voice, you need to secure yourself a photography niche; but in order to make your work more known within the field, you are required to invest a different kind of efforts. While the first task requires more artistic vision, in addition to a good knowledge of what other photographers in the game are currently doing and what the main trends are, the second task of promoting your work has more to do with marketing strategies. Indeed, knowing how to bring the right people’s gaze upon your work can be the key difference between a success story and an ordinary one. Today we will give you a hint on how to promote your work better, besides using social media and such: why don’t you try to curate a themed gallery of photos somewhere?

Yes, it might sound like a huge plan and a costly one too, or at least too costly for an amateur photographer aspiring to go pro. Don’t worry, while it’s true that a professionally organized photo gallery can require quite an investment, no one is expecting you to host one of those. On the plus side, you might even have more appeal by adding an indie charm to yours precisely by not making it a traditional established kind of gallery. The underground air of the whole thing will work in your favor, especially if you’re a relatively young photographer with a fresh approach or a controversial theme.

As to how exactly would it help you gain more exposure if you were to curate a themed gallery, this is how it works. You think of the theme in your photographs that you like best, or which is the most interesting and fit for a whole story; in other words, something which would qualify to put you into a certain niche. After picking it, you select 4 or 5 photos of yours that best illustrate that vibe and think of how you could highlight them when you’ll curate a themed gallery to be built more or less around those picks. Next, you launch a call for contributions to all photographers who may be looking for ways to become more visible as well. The only condition will be respecting the theme (and not asking for money from you, obviously, but you should make it clear that this is a no-profit event).

The rest are just organizational details which may seem prohibitive at first, but after you manage to relax you’ll see that they’re not so impossible to work out. So what if you can’t afford to actually rent a place to curate a themed gallery in? Do it at your place or a friend’s house, if it’s big and cozy enough. Heck, do it in an abandoned factory or a cool underground venture, whatever. Just make sure to send invites to all the people in the business and especially to photography magazines which you’d like to see featuring your event. Good luck with everything and don’t fret with the preparations more than necessary.

Why Photographing An Animal Will Make You a Star

Why Photographing An Animal Will Make You a Star3

Animals are the most genuine models a photographer could ever dream of. You know when you have problems relaxing and someone just comes out of the blue whispering: Just be. Nothing more. It’s that easy. Well it seems that animals are the absolute masters of presence or gurus of our perceived present. They can always do that, no matter the circumstances. However, trust me on this one: if you get to be in control of photographing an animal, you’ll become a true star! You’ll become widely appreciated, just like you’ve always dreamed of. No one will ever doubt your talents again. Because this is no piece of cake.

Let’s walk through the reasons why this is a praiseworthy deed. First of all, despite this obvious communication barrier, animals are better than humans. Why is that?

1.     Animals Are No Hypocrites

Why Photographing An Animal Will Make You a Star4

They are always themselves. Despite the fact that this actually means that they are never in the mood for photos, once you get the chance to immortalize something, it cannot be anything but genuine. Animals express their feelings and their moods without restraints. They don’t strive to be cute, they just are. They don’t strive to be fearful, they just are. What you see is what you get – no games played, no half measures, no fake smiles.

2.     Animals Don’t Care About Appearance

Why Photographing An Animal Will Make You a Star2

Not caring about how you look today means no useless obstacles, no secondary thoughts, no brakes, just sheer freedom and excitement. So go for it! Immortalize the instant, cease the moment and send emails to employers afterwards. That’s why everybody is so impressed by cute photos with furry creatures. They are authentic!

3.     Animals Don’t Care About What Others Think

Why Photographing An Animal Will Make You a Star5

Caring about exterior opinions usually refers to humans, not their animal friends. Parasite thoughts kill both freedom and creativity. And non-human models seem to have guessed that somehow, because no second thoughts interfere once they decide to start posing like there’s no tomorrow. They are relaxed, they are focused on what matters when magic happens – their own state of consciousness, and they simply mind their own business after all. And how fascinating that is!

4.     Animals Are Giving And Sincere

Why Photographing An Animal Will Make You a Star6

It goes without saying that there’s a special connection between humans and their animal models. Well at least with some of them. When it comes to the less friendly species, one should just hide in the bushes and hunt the moment. That’s the only way. Therefore I’d strongly advise you to start by immortalizing the species that live among humans, just to get used to the vibe. What I’m trying to convince you of is the fact that you should start your training in this way.

Unfortunately people are wearing masks all the time. In other words, whenever you photograph them they are likely to be wearing at least three. If you want to get an honest vibe, start with your pet. For instance, let’s take a photograph showing a man and a dog. The dog in the first place, and not the man, would always draw one’s attention. It’s a simple fact of life. Animals can just exist, can just relax, and can just enjoy a moment, a meal or a sip of water without any further complications. For us humans things are always so abstract, so multi-layered, so blurry, so bring, so old, so confusing. That’s why photos of the animal kingdom are so successful; because they are authentic, and powerful, and they can say so many things using a totally different language than ours. So take your camera, make a simple plan or just start chasing your dog. Photographing an animal will make you a star! Just get off the right foot and trust me on this one, will you?

3 Updates on Social Media Tools for Wedding Photographers

We’ve written about social media tools for photographers before, but here are some fresh updates for you, for summer 2014. The wedding season is upon us and we bet you’ll come out at the other end with some great new material to showcase all over the Internet. Check out our three tips, which will hopefully help you make the most of your work, in terms of branding and exposure.

Wow them with pictures

social-media-tools-for-photographers

These social media tools for wedding photographers have been hyped endlessly already, but this is one tip that bears repeating: you need to put your content out there on Pinterest and its wedding-focused ‘little sister’, Lover.ly. You can target your audience very accurately through these websites and bring traffic back to your website and blog. However, you will need to optimize your pictures, add credits to each image, and make sure your name is included in the file title. This tiny personal branding effort will go a long way in the long run. Pro tip: you will need to be relatively active, especially in the beginning, since these sites are already teeming with great content from your direct competition. Find a way to create content that stands out, such as color-themed boards, wedding guides in pictures, etc.

Follow the right crowd

Since we’re on the topic of social media tools for wedding photographers, we have to acknowledge that there can’t be any talk of social media without connecting, following, and accruing followers. Connecting with the right crowd can be a daunting prospect, especially for an up-and-coming photographer who doesn’t have much exposure. However, if you keep a blog, a website, or at least maintain a social media presence, you might want to get bold about it and reach out to some of the big names out there in the online wedding business. There are a few blogs and websites that we would recommend anytime, like Green Wedding Shoes, Bridal Musings, and Style Me Pretty.

What makes these blogs and websites great? For one thing, they are among the most important sources of images shared via Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook. For another, their numbers of followers are impressive to say the least. But, most importantly, they consistently feature great quality content – which is exactly what made them massive to begin with. If you can get them to showcase some of your wedding photography work, you can count on being credited and in seeing a traffic spike on your own website. And if your outreach efforts turn out to be less successful than you’d hoped, you can always promote your work on these websites via paid advertising. It tends to run cheaper than the standard promotional fees on Facebook and Google.

Pay for promotion

The debate on the efficiency of Facebook advertising continues to rage on. Some believe that the decrease in organic reach that the social network has imposed on its users will spell the site’s demise. They argue that Twitter and YouTube are still keeping social media promotion free – and they don’t seem to be losing market share; quite the contrary! On the other hand, another faction believes that Facebook is entirely right to capitalize on its paid advertising potential. After all, they say, “if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product”.

Debates aside, investing in Facebook ads might be one of the social media tools for wedding photographers to consider, if you want to increase your reach and score new sales leads. Yes, it can be expensive, but it’s also easy to refine, in order to reach very specific targets in the audience. You’ll probably need some expertise with CPC and CPM ad campaigns, as well as with SEO and keyword research. Experiment with the keywords that connect with your particular photographic niche, target people in your area, and also target audiences connected with some of the major wedding-focused websites we mentioned above. Throw in a sweet deal or discount for your first clients and you’re all set!

The Best Small Investment Tips to Become a Pro Photographer

A lot of young photographers to be are trying to make the transition between being just a passionate amateur to being a fully legitimate professional photographer. What separates the first from the latter isn’t necessarily the skill or talent and or even the experience; but more like an arbitrary convention that differentiates between a hobby and a business. In other words, if you get paid for it, or if you open some kind of official start-up, it means you’re a pro. If you just do it for pleasure, you’re an amateur. In a way, it’s completely unfair, because if you’re striving to become a pro photographer, the term “amateur” stuck to your current identity somehow implies that you’re not doing a really awesome job, but the truth is that you may be very skilled and talented, but you just didn’t get a paid gig so far.

Still, if you want to make that transition once and for all, either by founding a small photography start-up or simply by charging fees for your services, you need to do a couple of things first. The most important thing is to be really good at photography and to keep getting better, but we’re sure you’ve already got that covered. As a young photographer striving to prove yourself, it’s probably the main thing you’re working on when it comes to improving your odds of making it to the pro league. But the other thing you should pay attention to, in addition to simply improving your skills, is investing a bit in some essentials that would help you become a pro photographer faster. Here are our tips on what small investment you should consider, the matter is of course debatable, but our suggestions do make a fine starting point.

1

A tripod: We will not start this list with a good or professional camera, because it’s the first thing photography aficionados think about by themselves. Chances are, if you’re trying to become a pro photographer, you already though about it and invested in your camera by now. But our experience with aspiring photographers tells us not all think about getting a tripod as well, many preferring to just point and shoot. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider this approach.

2

A cheap old film camera: Nowadays everything has of course gone digital and that has become the standard for quality and everything. Vintage film cameras are, in consequence, very cheap now, and somehow regarded as being not so good. While it’s true that digital photography opens up a world of processing possibilities and filtering options and so on, film photography should not be despised by an aspiring pro. Not only would it help your overall skills and understanding of photography if you experiment with such a camera for a while, but it would also allow you to produce some wonderful pictures which current cameras couldn’t really achieve in the same way. Just look at the wonderful work people like Oleg Oprisco are doing and you’ll understand. Also, a vintage film camera looks really cool and makes you seem the master of all equipment. If you can create amazing images with that, you can do it with any kind of gear.

3

A high-power Monolight:  Professional lighting can make the difference between an amateur photo and a truly stunning and impeccably done photo. It would be a shame not to highlight your good camera and good skills with the proper accessory, and this one should be the first on your list. Why a Monolight, in particular? Because one of these can be also used indoors to create a studio-like setting, but it’s also portable enough to take with you outdoors as well (or to other locations). Until you can afford an actual photo studio, it will give you the best chance of shooting like a professional photographer and of impressing the people you work with as one. If you’re on your way to become a pro photographer, these three are the magic tricks you should have up your sleeve.

Expand Your Photographer Profile in Social Media: 3 Ideas

social-media-presence

Being a photographer can be a practical job choice, even though it usually starts from a spark of genuine passion (which is admirable, considering that most practical job choices out there probably get picked precisely for their practicality first and foremost). But managing to earn money out of your photographing of things (mainly people, since they’re the only subjects that afford to pay you for your work – just kidding, many other photography branches pay off as well) will take some time to happen. Building the credible profile of an employable photographer isn’t done overnight, but more like a goal to slowly work towards. As your skills improve in time, so will your portfolio, and so will your number of satisfied collaborators and your professional good name or renown. But to make sure your good work and polished skills don’t go unnoticed, especially in this time and age, it’s crucial to be as visible as possible in the realm of social media.  We’re pretty sure there’s no need to start with the basics and you already have a facebook account and a twitter fanbase and so on. But perhaps applying some unintuitive tweaks can refresh your online presence and give it a welcome boost. Here are 3 ideas to try in order to up your game.

1. Improve Your Online Portfolio

If you want to be taken seriously as a photographer, you probably already know that having a deviantart account will not be enough to count as an online portfolio. But beyond having a professionally looking profile, your main priority should be branching out. By branching out we mean creating a profile and a presence you remember to update once in a while on every platform that could offer you a fanbase, and especially every platform other photographers wouldn’t immediately think of. For example, consider being present in an online game community, like for a quiz app, as way to get publicity. You can promise some coupons for your services to the first 10 people who accomplish x points, or whatever else you can think of as a good way of reaching previously unreachable targets.

2. Promote Your Images in Video Format Too

Make a video out of your best images by compiling them in a visually powerful clip. Then upload it on your Youtube profile (time to make one, by the way) and make sure you optimize it in order to make sure your video is selected by search engines as a highly relevant return to those searches that might be interested in someone like you. Since we were already discussing the idea of branching out, going into video territory might seem counterintuitive to a photographer, but it will gain you the recognition you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.

3. Include Fans’ Voices in Your Social Media Presence

We’re not talking about the already done and overdone section of customer reviews and feedback, though an approach like that in your profile set-up is not only welcome, but usually even required. So while not encouraging you to forego it, spice it up with unexpected formats and content. The more you can incorporate the voice of your fans in your social media profile, the more you get content related to your name as a photographer without actually having to create it yourself, not to mention that the praise always helps. Furthermore, having a “human” voice speak highly of your skills can work wonders, as opposed to a cold voice of a corporate-like PR strategist.

As for ways in which you can do that, think about including feedback videos of you fans in your “what other say…” section. A video is a much more powerful message, and if you have many enthusiastic voices talking about how good you made them look, that makes you look good as well. Another idea is to promote the use of tags and check ins done by others which are linking to your profile (by offering bonuses to the first 20 to check in and so on). This way, you are present within the social media spheres of others and nothing gets you more viral than that.

YouTube Video Optimization for Photographers: 5 Tricks

youtube-video-optimization-for-photographersIf you’re a professional photographer, not only do you (hopefully) have an online showcase of your work, as well as a website and a regularly updated blog – but you are also active on social media and know a thing or two about SEO. Now, content optimization for search engines is neither brain surgery, nor rocket science, but it’s the sort of differentiator that can turn your business into a highly profitable one, when used properly. This is why today we bring you five ideas on how YouTube video optimization for photographers and videographers can bring you new business leads and help you grow your profit margin. They can be used both for branding, as well as for marketing purposes and are a great way to increase your visibility. So here’s what you need to do:

#1 Create a video

It goes without saying that the building block of YouTube video optimization for photographers is actually putting that video out there. Some photographers are camera shy, understandably enough: after all, your job is to stand behind the lens, not in front of it. But the thing is you don’t need to be on camera, in order to create your video ‘business card’, as it were. You can use a platform like Animoto to turn your pictures into a video – and you will definitely want to do that, since, in case you didn’t know, YouTube is the world’s largest search engine, second only to the web giant that owns it, Google itself.

#2 Tagging is essential for YouTube video optimization for photographers

All right, so now you’ve got your video ready to hit the intertubes – but before you upload it, there’s one essential step you need to fiddle with and perfect. That’s tagging, i.e. attaching tags to your work. They work like labels and are best employed as keywords that potential clients in your area are already searching for. They can be anything along the lines of “wedding photography in [your area]”, “[your area] wedding photographer”, or anything along those lines. Choose top targeted keywords as tags and make sure to enter them into the Details tab of the video’s properties, in the title, subtitle, target, and comment areas. In order to find the most appropriate keywords to use, you can always get some hints by using the Keyword Planner function in Google’s AdWords platform.

#3 Use a good title for your video

This one might go without saying, but it’s important to mention, since it’s the second step in our crash course on YouTube video optimization for photographers that needs to be performed before the video is uploaded. Use the top ranking keyword among those you’ve culled out to use as tags. Another important tip is to use the keyword in the beginning of the title, since this lends it more ‘weight’ in the eyes of search engine crawlers.

#4 Drive traffic back to you

The main purpose of YouTube video optimization for photographers is to lead potential business back to your main HQ, which is probably your website or online portfolio. For this purpose, you’re going to want to include a link to said domain as early on as possible in the video description. Use a clear call to action and make sure the link is visible, or else risk losing a business lead in the endless pool of distraction that is YouTube.

#5 Use GeoTagging

Chances are that, if you’re a wedding photographer, you’re going to want clients in your area to find you – receiving the admiration of viewers across the globe may be flattering but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t help lift those profit margins. So add Geo Tags to local videos, via the Advanced Settings option of your account on YouTube. Input your address, then get the precise coordinates on the map that pops up and remember to “Save Changes”. Presto – your vid is now optimized for local searches!

The One Trick to Get Your Wedding Photography Clients to Follow the Rules

Have you ever had to deal with those kinds of nightmarish wedding photography clients that you just couldn’t convince to follow the rules, no matter what approach you took? You tried sweet talking them and they just got even more relaxed about the rules. You tried to be more firm about your principles (think punctuality, clear-cut decisions about locations, make-up, etc.). They failed to take you seriously – or, conversely, gave up working with you altogether, because you had turned ‘dictatorial’. If such conundrums sound familiar to you, you’re probably also wondering if there’s a way out of them. We’re here to tell you that there is: you can get your wedding photography clients to become more rule-abiding, with the aid of this single simple psychological trick.

Reverse that psychology on your wedding photography clients

wedding-photography-clients-rulesIf you’ve ever visited Trafalgar Square in London, you may have noticed the big signs that say “Please, don’t feed the pigeons – they cause damage and nuisance to the square”. Even if you have, even if you haven’t, try to imagine what such a sign would rouse in you. Be honest about it. Would you be tempted to do the exact opposite of what the sign would ask you? If so, it’s not because you’re particularly naughty or have a penchant for disobeying: it’s because rules like this one tell you two things. 1. That it’s not good to do a certain thing. And 2. That a lot of people are doing it anyway. So, the basic takeaway from this lesson, is that if you want your wedding photography clients to follow rules, you need to word them right.

As the old adage goes, people are social creatures. If a group of people does a particular thing, chances are others are going to follow in their footsteps. It’s the principle of social proof, deeply ingrained in our mentalities, which tells you that if other people are doing it, you should probably be doing it, too. Psychology has countless examples in this sense: for instance, when the IRS announced it was hiking tax penalties because tax evasion had been rampant during a particular year, tax fraud actually increased the next year. Because, hey, “if everybody else is doing it, why can’t I?”, right?

How to formulate rules your wedding photography clients will actually respect

If you’ve been following this post up to now, it’s probably quite clear to you. Combine reverse psychology with the principle of social proof and you’ve got yourself a good rule on your hands, which people are going to want to abide by. Here are a few examples and counter-examples.

Example #1: Late bookers

BAD: Don’t book me two weeks before your wedding! It’s annoying, unprofessional and messes up my schedule!

GOOD: Most clients I’ve worked with successfully in the past had booked me right after setting the date. This gave us a lot of time to get to know and understand each other, figure out all the details and come up with great ideas for photos.

Example #2: Sharing photos with no watermark

BAD: Do not share my photos on Facebook without a watermark on them!

GOOD: All clients receive a set of watermarked images, which they are more than welcome to share on Facebook. In fact, I love it when wedding photography clients share my work, because this basically works as free advertising for my business!

Example #3: The chronically late

BAD: If you’re always late for shoots and appointments, I’m going to become really annoyed and frustrated working with you.

GOOD: Most clients do their best to respect the set times of our meetings and this helps us work better together, since we’re all more relaxed.

4 Best Practices for Wedding and Event Photography

best-practices-for-wedding-and-event-photography01During the past few years, the recession and economic turndown notwithstanding, it’s become ever clearer that event photography in general, and wedding photography in particular, have turned very competitive. It’s not just the fact that money is harder to come by generally speaking – there are now more hobbyists turning pro than before, since (semi-)professional DSLR cameras have gotten more affordable and accessible to handle. So we though a guide of best practices for wedding and event photography was in order, which is why we’ve collected some of the most essential advice on this topic that we could find on the web. Check it out and let us know if you think anything essential is missing from our list.

The selection is up to you, not the client

Events (and weddings in particular) are occasions for shooting non-stop. You fire away and, before you know it, your memory card is filled and you’ve got hundreds of photos to choose from. Curating the entire raw material and selecting the best photos might sound like a drag, a bore, and a chore, but you still need to do it. It’s up to the artist to select their best photos and present them to the client; allowing customers to wade through dozens of blurry, out-of-focus or otherwise inadequate pictures is entirely unprofessional.

Market yourself with deadlines

The above principle might sound counterintuitive, but it’s all about marketing your photography business properly in the digital era. You see, the Internet is altering purchasing mentalities as we speak – clients are much more prone now to put off a buying decision. However, with the right attitude and best practices for event and wedding photography, you can counter that. Set a deadline for yourself, create a special offer which expires after a certain date, and watch how your clients respond. Chances are many of them will react to this sense of urgency.

Business is business

Among the best practices for event and wedding photography is the fact that you need to remember you’re running a business. Sure, you may have gone into photography because it was fun, enjoyable, and you are passionate about it. However, at the end of the day you still have bills to pay, a studio to maintain, and equipment to purchase. Tailor your products and service cost planning according to your financial needs. Understand your market segment: take a good look at what sells and what doesn’t and always keep improving.

best-practices-for-wedding-and-event-photography02Build relationships

Photography is, to a large extent, a people-oriented field. If you work exclusively in non-wedding event photography, you probably already know how important it is to create a good relationship with your returning customers. The same applies for wedding photographers that regularly collaborate with a particular MUA, wedding planner, or wedding planning agency. So, what’s the best way to hone a successful professional relationship? It’s as simple as being personable, sociable, and friendly. Get people talking about you. Create word of mouth and work consistently toward building a reputation.

Looks like a pro, walks like a pro, talks like a pro…

Don’t dismiss the final item on our list of best practices for event and wedding photography as superficial. It’s important to present yourself as a professional photographer whenever you come into contact with (potential) clients. This means keeping your gear in good shape, having business cards prepared, and pitching your business – but not excessively and ad nauseam. What you want to achieve is to make (potential) clients understand that they need you. You will want them to seek you out, not the other way around, so do your research on trends, take part in wedding expos, and put your best foot forward, both in terms of professional attire, as well as in terms of professional portfolio.

Why Photography Contests Are Good for Business: 3 Arguments

photography-contests-are-good-for-business01Photo competitions have been around since the art of photography itself, but their history in itself doesn’t mean they are without detractors. On the one hand, there are those photo aficionados who tend to believe  that such contests are a sheer waste of time, organized by money- and rights-grabbing brutes with no real interest in the art. Yet, on the other, photo competitions do have value for the artists, since they prompt them to take an honest, objective look at their own work, cull it, curate it, and put their best foot forward. That’s why we at Virtual Photography Studio believe photography contests are good for business, no matter if you’re into wedding photography, glam, editorial, or photojournalism. They can help you carve out a niche and build a name for yourself and they can also do a whole lot more – join us as we explore three essential arguments in favor of photo contests.

#1 The money

It might sound petty, but one way to tell apart professional competitions from lame ones is the cash prizes. The winner of the International Photography Awards gets $10,000 in cash; the winner of the Deeper Perspective section within the same contest receives $5,000, and there’s also a $2,500 prize for the year’s best new photographer. If you win the grand prize of the Smithsonian Photo Contest you get $5,000 and there are also five $500 cash awards for the categories, plus a Readers’ Choice award worth just as much. The National Geographic Photo Contest awards its Grand Prize winner with $7,500 and each category winner with $2,500. Petty or not, when a serious chunk of cash is involved, one can’t help but think of how great money would be for making further investments into business.

#2 The exposure

Some photography contests are good for business even though they provide no actual cash prize, as is the case with the Photography Masters Cup. This competition asks for a $30 entrance fee and promises exposure in the PHOTO Paper Magazine, as well as several online media outlets. The above-mentioned IPA has had the work of its winners published on Buzzfeed, as well as on EYEMAZING. It goes without saying that some photo contests are great for exposure even only by sheer association (Smithsonian and National Geographic are two examples).photography-contests-are-good-for-business02

#3 The business leads

If you win the IPA, you get a trip to the prestigious Lucie Awards in NYC – and if you’re double lucky, you can even get your image selected for a 45-photo exhibition in the build-up for the show. And most local winners will get automatic exposure in local media outlets, irrespective of how prestigious the competition is – you can usually count on national/local pride to boost your prestige. Many previous winners of the contests mentioned above explained that photography contests are good for business because they allow you to become more connected with actual buyers in your niche. As such, winning the right contests is highly likely to ultimately boost your revenue.

Verdict: Top photography contests are good for business every time

Yes, we did say top photography contests are good for business – because the shady ones can actually be detrimental. Here are a few guidelines, if you’re looking to expand the notoriety of your wedding photography business by entering a contest and don’t know where to start:

-          Be wary of contests that charge entrance fees, but don’t offer any cash prizes. These are the money-hungry leeches we were referring to in the beginning.

-          Always, always read each competition’s policy on copyright. You do not want to give rights to your work for free, no matter how otherwise prestigious the contest sounds.

-          Make sure you enter the right category, when applying – and also check out the profile of each contest. Some are geared toward editorial work, while others tend to lean toward photojournalism more.

5 2014 Wedding Photography Trends to Watch out for

The year is well underway, yet many in the field of wedding photography are wondering what the most relevant 2014 wedding photography trends are. Read on to see our picks, which include online advertising, printed albums, and a whole new esthetic, in terms of actual picture-taking.

2014-wedding-photography-trendsFine-art photojournalism is in, vintage is out

‘Fine-art photojournalism?!’, you might exclaim. What’s that? Just what it sounds like: a blend of styles that brings together the candid quality of photojournalistic shots with just a dash of the impeccable style you would expect from fashion and editorial shoots. In other words, it’s the type of photography that manages to look both glamorous and unscripted. The vintage style, popular a few seasons ago, is reportedly falling out of grace with an increasing number of photographers, who are striving for a timeless look, instead of one that just looks dated from the get-go.

Truly professional photography

It was bound to happen, wasn’t it? On the one hand, we’ve seen a virtual boom of DSLR ownership among non-professionals over the past few years. On the other, an increasing number of photography hobbyists are going pro. These two factors combined bring us to one of the most interesting 2014 wedding photography trends. The experts predict this to be the year when the professionals will need to learn to set themselves apart from the non-pros. What’s the best way to do that? By finding a niche all your own and catering to the tastes of clients who know that a friend armed with a DSLR (no matter how expensive) is not quite the same thing as hiring a professional photographer.

Spectacular wedding albums2014-wedding-photography-trends02

In terms of 2014 wedding photography trends, one thing is for sure: much like in 2013, high-quality fine-art printed albums will continue to rule. Yes, yes, we know: these days everyone and their grandmother has Internet access and is dying to share digital wedding photos on social media. However, while providing your clients with a DVD of pictures taken on the big day will remain the standard, what will truly set the professionals apart is the energy they invest into creating a beautiful book of hard-copy mementos.

Stagnant pricing

The economy is ever so slowly recovering, but while this doesn’t justify price increases, the afflux of hobbyists turned professionals in the field of wedding photography warrants that prices will stay the same. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it means the clientele is getting used to the idea that access to professional wedding photography services is something that comes at a price. In brief, the clients are becoming educated – and this is happening thanks to a handful of professional wedding photogs who are standing their ground, even in the face of economic sluggishness. What they’re doing actually benefits the entire field, since it means that emerging photographers don’t have to start out from the very bottom, in terms of fees.

2014-wedding-photography-trends03Wedding photography blogs

They’ve been around for just about as long as high-speed Internet connections, but the experts in 2014 wedding photography trends say that they’re here to stay for this year. It’s all thanks to the increasing weight and importance of online advertising. Social media has a lot to do with it, but so do the hefty prices that photographers are expected to pay, in order to have their work exhibited in bridal shows. Print advertising overall is declining and that’s obviously because there’s no comparing online publicity to what money can buy offline. As numerous professional wedding photogs are saying, these days a massive part of their business is coming in from their blog – so if you don’t have one already, you’d better get to it.