Photographer’s Best Friend: Google Reverse Image Search

It’s all diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks when it comes to image usage and propagation online: while some photographers are happy to have their work featured on Tumblr, Facebook, various blogs, and media outlets, others are less than excited about it. Today’s post is for those who fall in the latter category, rather than the former. It’s here to teach you how to use Google reverse image search, in order to find your pictures all over the web. Perhaps you’re not happy with not being credited, or maybe your image is used in a context you don’t want to be associated with. Whatever your reasons may be, here’s the way to find those pictures and prevent further occurrences from happening.

How to start the Google reverse image search

Image search is a service provided by search engine giant Google, in order to help others find specific photos online; conversely, the Google reverse image search is what you do when you have the image already, but want to know who else has it and has been using it. There are two ways to start your Google reverse image search: one is by uploading your photo into the Google images search bar, and the other is by copying the photo’s original URL (say, off your own blog or website) and pasting into the search bar. As far as the first option goes, you can also simply drag and drop the image into the search bar, if you find this easier.

The Google reverse image search results

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Photo via Photo Shelter

The results that Google reverse image search delivers look much like a collage of visually similar pictures. Note that they may not all be precise and exact matches of your photo. However, chances are you will come across websites that have been using the photo without your explicit authorization. Another great feature that Google delivers at this point is a brief text-based description of your photo and the context in which it’s being used. Perhaps yours is not so much a case of being offended by ‘photo theft’, but maybe the website owner or blogger that’s featuring your work has misspelled your name or attributed the image to someone else by mistake. This feature will allow you to identify such errors and contact the people in question, to ask them to amend the issue. You can also use the advanced image search page to find your work online. Google can help you specify various words your photo might be used in context with. It will let you whittle down the results by image size, aspect ratio, colors, type, usage rights, and many other filters.

More Google reverse image search tips & tricks

-          Search for as many different variants of the same photo, even if the differences between them and the original picture are subtle – especially if you’ve uploaded more than one version of the same photo online. Some might be cropped differently or uploaded in other color schemes.

-          You might find your work online edited by third parties: cropped, rotated, in black and white, etc.. Try searching for differently Photoshopped variants of your own work by creating these variations yourself.

-          Don’t disregard smaller sizes of your image. Perhaps someone has resized an initially large photo and is using it as such. Google has a harder time spotting visually similar images in smaller sizes, because, the smaller the photo, the less data it has to work with. Resize the photos yourself and look for them like this.

In terms of what you decide to do with the results, the choice is entirely up to you. It all has to do with the way you license your work and whether or not the people using the pictures are making money off your back – case in which you might even decide to prosecute for copyright infringement.

6 Must-See Photography Portfolio Websites

You know that Virtual Photography Studio likes to keep you updated on all the latest trends in digital marketing and social media for wedding photographers. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and newer platforms such as Viddy are all great, of course, and they stand to help you increase your visibility, as well as your revenue. However, they’re not all there is to it. On this great, big Internet, which also includes business pages and blogging, there’s also a special niche for portfolio websites. And if you’re at all serious about wedding photography (or any other form of visual media, in fact) you have got to be aware of them. Of course, no one expects you to keep track of them all, since there are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands out there. That’s why, in today’s post, we’ve rallied up the top 6 must-see photography portfolio websites.

Behance

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By far the largest and best known of all the must-see photography portfolio websites, Behance is a free platform with millions of visitors at global level. You can easily customize your portfolio and there’s also no limit on how many creative projects you can upload to the site – be they photos, videos, or text entries. Another boon is just how seamlessly the site integrates social media tools, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and plenty of others.

Viewbook

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It’s been around since 2009 and was founded in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Its pricing scheme is subscription-based, with plans starting as low as $4 per month. While other sites on our list of must-see photography portfolio websites cater to various types of artists, this one is geared specifically toward graphic designers and photographers. The rendering for mobile devices that this site offers is incredible and it also comes with great social media support for Tumblr, Facebook, and other platforms.

Cargo Collective

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This portfolio website offers pricing schemes in a freemium regime, which essentially means that you can sign-up and use it with limited functionality for free. However, if you want access to all the features, you will have to shell out upward of $9 per month. On the plus side, Cargo Collective has got one of the best integration systems for communities – and its community really is active and vibrant. On the downside, it’s not as easy to customize your portfolio here, as it is on other sites. As such, if you know nothing about code, perhaps you might want to look elsewhere.

Wix

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Like Cargo Collective, on Wix you can sign up for free, but might want to pay for the extra features. A premium subscription will cost you at least $4.08 each month and the site is relatively easy to use. Unlike other must-see photography portfolio platforms on this list, this one is also accessible to artists who don’t have much experience with web development and coding. Also, the kind of website it creates for artists comes with an edge, compared to some of the other platforms: the sites are Google optimized.

Fresh.li

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Easy to use and optimize, as well as loaded with a lot of goodies aimed at optimization, Fresh.li costs EUR5.75 per month. You can alter the fonts, colors, logos, and many other things on Fresh.li and can even use a personalized domain name on this website. Another plus: you don’t have to pay up right from the beginning, as the website offers you a free 30-day trial, albeit with limited functionalities.

Carbonmade

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The “hassle-free online portfolio” experience offered by Carbonmade really requires no knowledge of HTML and the site is massive already. It hosts over 600,000 portfolios, most of which are owned by photographers or graphic designers. It may not be the best choice for videographers, but for a $12 monthly subscription, a wedding photographer could definitely benefit from being on this website.

A Little YouTube Inspiration For Photographers

Every once in a while, its nice to take a break and be inspired by something outside of your comfort zone. What are others doing in the world of photography? How can they motivate you to reach and grow and stretch beyond what you are currently doing with your own photography?

I recently ran across a few YouTube videos that provide inspiration to us photographers. Take a look and see what you think.

7 Checks To Make Sure Your Facebook Page Is Up To Date

Do you have a little extra time this week?

Then maybe its time to make sure you are taking advantage of all the latest Facebook features.

Its easy to get caught up in the day to day “stuff” that happens within our businesses. So much so that we forget about going back and making sure we can do all we can with what we have.

And if you’ve been over to Facebook lately, you’ll likely see additional changes all the time – have you noticed the changes Facebook Graph has put into play?

#1 Are you maximizing your cover image?

Facebook has updated its guidelines, creating more space in your cover image and loosening the restrictions on what you can display in the space. This is your prime real estate – the first thing people see when they visit your page. Make sure you display things that instantly say who you are – your award winning photos, calls to action, web address, logo and/or branding, and more.

The key is that text cannot exceed 20 percent of the cover image area.

Facebook Page Check for your Photography Page

#2 What does your profile image say about you?

Your profile image is used every time you post on Facebook and it’s the first thing people see when glancing their posts in their newsfeed. If you become value in their minds, they are more likely to stop and read what you have to say. The key is becoming recognizable.

Also, make sure you upload an image at 180×180 pixels – Facebook will size it down to 160×160, but this ensures you have a clear, recognizable image that looks good wherever it goes. If you load a large, rectangular image, you might not create the impression you are looking for.

#3 Review your tab thumbnails

Your tab thumbnails appear below your cover image and lead to the main tools on your page you want your viewers to spend time with. Make sure they capture attention.

The best way to do this is to think about what course of action you want your visitors to take, and use simple fonts, images and words to direct them there. Why do they visit you? Why do they trust you? Make sure you know why you want them there and what you want them to do once they are.

#4 Use a short description that tells people about you

Right below your profile picture is a section that can show a brief description of approximately 155 characters. This space is a great way to communicate your key ideas to your visitor.

While its important to define what you do in as short of space as possible, also consider putting your URL there as well – it’s a great way to connect people back to your site where they can get more information.

It’s easy to edit – use go to Edit Setting in your admin panel, then look for Short Description under Basic Information.

Facebook Page Descriptions

#5 Optimize your about section for search results

Many people head to their About section and type up a short description of their business without thinking much about it. This about section not only tells your viewers who you are and what you do, its also open and available to search results and can produce rankings for you as well. Focus in on your keywords and make sure you maximize them throughout the content areas. When it comes to the online world, whether its your blog, your Facebook account, or any other social site, remember to maximize information as much as possible. Your goal online is to be found, and it won’t happen unless you add as much information as possible.

#6 Choose a Facebook URL

Depending on how long you’ve had your account and how you originally set it up, you may still have a URL with “pages” and a set of numbers in it. You can update it to a custom name – and you should as soon as possible.

A customized page web address looks more professional and makes it easier for people to find your business on Facebook. If they know the name of your business and type it in to the Facebook search bar, do you come up? It also makes it easier to connect on all other online sites – and adds to your professional branding as well.

#7 Review your category

How did you originally sign up for your Facebook Page? Facebook offers a variety of category options, many of which are similar. As a new business owner, they may be a bit confusing, especially if you haven’t fully defined your business yet. Will you travel for business? Or do you primarily have clients come into your studio?

If you do have a brick and mortar studio, consider changing to a Local Business, which allows users to check into your location. Checking in raises awareness about your business to their circle of influence, and it also boosts up your search results as a part of Graph Search.

Why Facebook Hashtags Are Important To Your Business

Love Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or Pinterest? Then you’re probably use to #hashtags. And that’s the one thing that was missing in Facebook until this month.

Hashtags first started by Twitter, allow social networkers an easy way to insert themselves into real-time conversations. If you’re watching your favorite TV show and you use their Twitter #hashtag, you may see yourself coming across the screen. Attending a seminar or expo in your field? If they use a #hashtag, you can instantly provide feedback to all those following the feed.

Why Facebook Hashtags Are Important To Your Business

But why should you use this new Facebook feature? Think of it as a way of controlling traffic. Hashtags are searched, spidered, crawled and controlled more now than ever before. Hashtags aren’t just a Facebook thing – they are in all kinds of social networking sites. Meaning they are used cross-platform, meaning by using them in Facebook, you’ve now connected yourself to many other social platforms as well. Think of it as doing work in one area and having impact in many, many others.

Tips For Using Hashtags:

#The #First #Thing #You #Shouldn’t #Do #Is #Use #It #In #Every #Word
Now that hashtags have rolled out, I see people loading up their posts with hashtags – like this one.

Example of what not to do with hashtags on Facebook

Really? Does this look readable to you? Nope, and your followers won’t think so either. When you write, make sure you include one or two words per post, and use them interchangeably with real words That way as you have something to say about #photography, for instance, it flows as a real sentence. Using hashtags everywhere may seem like a good idea right now while its brand new, but in a very short period of time it’s the people that use it the right way that will come out on top. [Read more...]

Making Them Pay For Social Media

Don’t you just hate it when a client “lifts” an image that you’ve created for her to use on her social media sites? They simply don’t understand copyrights and assume its okay.

And what are you to do? You can ask them to take it down and pay you for the image. But then you have a very UNHAPPY client. And with social media, that could be a fire storm.

So you let it go … and lose money.

The problem is most of us think in the “old” world. We still think 8x10s and 16x20s.

We don’t think Facebook and Google+.

But what if we did?

Talk with a high school senior, and they want images for online use. They want a new Facebook profile or a Google+ cover image.

Talk with a business person and they want a photo for their latest website and a cover image to match for their Facebook page.

But of course, they don’t know how to make it professional. So they stick an image – possibly the one they bought from you scanned into their computer – and they plop it into their profile.

The problem is they don’t understand sizing or how to make things look great by following size guidelines. So they get this:

Social Media 1

Or this:

Social Media 2

Instead of this:

Social Media 3

What if you gave them a package of online graphics instead of a package with 8x10s? Create a social media package that’s fresh, creative, and perfectly proportioned for all online needs.

Start with perfectly sized graphics especially made for the top online social sites. Here’s a sizing cheat sheet to keep the dimensions on file:

 

How to use social media for your photography sales

 

Click to view the entire cheat sheet

Then create packages that your customers will want to buy.

  • Maybe a Facebook package that includes:
  • a Facebook cover photo that integrates perfectly with the profile picture
  • a Profile photograph
  • a Newsfeed image
  • an Ad image

All created to make adding to Facebook easy … and look great too.

You can create separate packages for each social site, or mix them up a bit and include different things from different sites.

You can create several packages and offer “discounts” if they purchase more than one social package.

You can give “discounts” when they purchase a traditional package with a social package. Use your imagination and have fun with it.

Really, the opportunities are endless.

And the more creative you are with your designs, the more you can charge. Look to these for inspiration.

 

Timeline cover 1

 

 

 

Timeline cover 2

 

 

What Do I Write On My Blog – Answering Your Customers Questions Before They Ask

The most asked question I receive from people when they are thinking of marketing with a blog is

What do I write about?

The first five or six are easy. But it quickly goes down hill from there.

So you start creating posts like:

What I Did For Spring Break

Or

My Weekend Trip To Ski Town USA

Nope, not going to help you.

But where can you get ideas? And what source can help you find out what your clients are thinking way before they know to ask it?

If you are there with content on your blog before they think it, you’ll be well prepared when they type it into Google and look for it.

The best place to go and do a little research is: Amazon. Yep, Amazon. Millions upon millions of books exist on every subject matter you could ever imagine. And with a little creative thinking, you’ll quickly discover things to write about, and in many cases, even find potential titles that your audience really is looking for.

Let me show you how it works with an example.

Let’s say we are a commercial photography studio, and our target market are art directors for creative companies. The creative director that would potentially hire us looks for photographs for two reasons.

1. She regularly puts together a catalog of her products to send out to potential buyers

2. She creates brochures, postcards and advertisements for a variety of sources

So she needs photography on a continual basis, depending on her new inventory and the focus of her latest ad campaign.

How do we know what she is looking for online?

To start, we know she is always looking for the latest and greatest information on how to make her “stuff” better. She wants a catalog, brochure, postcards and advertisement that bring more people in.

So we can head over to Amazon and start looking up concepts related to her interests.

Amazon Search Results 1

In this case, we have 1,249 results for our search phrase.

Amazon Search Results 2

Some will be more applicable than others. As you look through your results, focus in on the books that have the Look Inside! feature. With those books you can take a peek at the table of contents, and find out what things matter most to a person that is concentrating on developing a successful catalog.

Amazon Search Results 3

With this book’s information, you can find a variety of things to blog about.

Amazon Search Results 4

You could do a full post on “catalog photography”. Fill it with advice on the type of imagery you need to sell through a catalog – good lighting, close up images to show detail, etc.

You could do a post on page production, and talk about different image size, how images relate to copy, color vs black and white, etc.

You could do a post on catalog organization. The more you know as a photographer, the more you can photograph things together to build relationships as a person moves from page to page, section to section.

Your goal as a photographer – in this case specializing in commercial photography – is to give your clients 110 percent service and give them more than they ever expected, or received, from any other photographer.

If you know a ton of information about catalog production and creating advertising and marketing pieces that gain traction with their recipients – and can prove it with samples and case studies – who do you think your next prospect will pick?

If this seems like a lot of work, put yourself in your prospects and/or customers shoes. They have a job to do. They have money to spend. Yes, they might be looking for a deal, especially with budget cuts and economic problems. But they also want value. They are willing to pay a little more for someone who knows exactly what they are doing and can provide even more than they thought they wanted. They want the full experience of working with someone knowledgeable about what they are doing.

Use your blog to communicate and build that relationship long before they ever talk to you. If you can prove you’ll go the extra mile – if they find you by doing quick searches and stay with your site because they like what they see

10 Things You Should Be Reading About Social Media

One of the hardest tasks during your workweek isn’t keeping up with clients or handling your daily production … its keeping up with the latest information on social media.

Every day something new is released in the social realm. Facebook adds a new feature. Or Google+ promotes a new way of doing business. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you quickly find out you don’t.

The only way to stay on top of it all is to spend a few minutes each day learning something new. Reading about it isn’t enough – once you read it, implement it.

Here are 10 things you should be reading that will help you even better at marketing your photography business through social media.

1. Find out the state of the blogosphere

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Every year I head over to Technorati to read their latest State of the Blogosphere report and find out a little more about what people are thinking online. The 2013 copy is out and can help you plan how to grow your online presence by seeing what everyone else is up to.

2. Use Twitter when people are on Twitter

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Did you know 57 percent Twitter of users communicate with people near them? Meaning if you are trying to build a business in your local community, Twitter is a great way of letting them know what’s happening right now. This study will give you plenty of ideas on how to use your Twitter account more efficiently.

3. Sizing your images for social media

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Ever pop in an image into your Facebook header or your Twitter account, and have it all out of shape because its not the right size for the area? Use this Social Media Cheat Sheet to create the perfect size every time.

4. Think Instagram is just for mobile? Think again

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No matter where people are – sitting at their desk or on the go – Instagram wants you to have access to all of your favorite images.

5. Ever heard of the Facebook card?

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A new gift card has hit the scene. The Facebook Card is a renewable gift card that anyone can load up with funds from a variety of places – all on one reusable card. No more holding onto multiple gift cards from separate locations – everything is conveniently in one place.

6. Pinterest on the go

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If you don’t have the ability to use Pinterest on the go, make sure you get the latest Pinterest iPhone and iPad app. It makes everything from posting, to editing, to commenting a little easier. And it’s a great way of being able to do a little posting no matter where you are or how much time you have.

7. Share quotes, ideas and thoughts a little easier

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Love seeing bold, beautiful quotes come through Facebook or Pinterest? Give Boldomatic a try. This new app is a fun way to get your thoughts out there in a Bold way.

8. Video on Twitter? Try Vine

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Graphics make your newsfeeds. And with Vine, you can have a short, looping video to grab their attention.

9. Get more into marketing with Glyder

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Glyder is an iPhone app that allows you to share graphically pleasing marketing updates in an easy way. Use one of their predefined templates help share information, encourage them to check in, offer a daily deal, or even run a giveaway.

10. Use Panoramas on Tumblr

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Have a Tumblr account? Are you using the new Panorama feature? Just one more way to stand out from the crowd.

3 Things You Should Be Trying On Facebook Now

Have a Facebook account? Not sure how to use it to gain more traffic and network with more people?

The great thing about Facebook is everything you need (and then some) is built right into the system. Most of its for free, you just have to know what’s out there and how to use it.

If you have an account, you probably understand how to friend new people, build a page, and post content to your newsfeed. But do you know about these:

Using Survey To Get Your Followers Involved

Are you Nikon or Canon? Do you prefer indoor portraits or on-location?

With both of those questions, you had an instant thought run through your head. That’s an automatic process – everybody loves giving his or her opinion.

And while you can ask questions in your newsfeed, with Facebook Survey, you can do more with it. Post it to your timeline or build it into your page. Even add images or YouTube videos to make it more in depth.

Facebook Survey

Then make it a regular part of your marketing and post surveys all the time. Your follower base will become more active – and you can learn more about who’s following you and what they want from your business.

Inject Your Personality Into Your Page

Too many photographers think people follow them to see their images. While that may be a big reason – they want to “test drive” you before booking you – they also want to learn more about who you are. What do you like? What do you do every day?

In no way should your Page be the common chatter you share with friends – your religious beliefs, your political beliefs, what you had for dinner last night – you can share your personality without going over the top.

Have a fantastic view of New York City sitting in your favorite restaurant? Post a picture. So much better than a daily picture of the food you’re about to consume (unless you’re a foodie photographer that is).

Photographing an engagement image? While sharing an image or two is great, take a quick image with you hugging your clients. Have your assistant take a picture of you at work with the couple. Those images are just as important because it allows potential clients to see you in action. It puts a “realness” to who you are.

Then get creative with your cover photo. Don’t make it one large image – instead use a panel with multiple images. Spend some time in Photoshop building something that makes you stand out from other photographers. And really says who you are and what you do.

Use Your Facebook Insights To Make Decisions

When was the last time you viewed your Insights? Or maybe I should ask, Did you know Facebook has Insights?

Facebook Insights

With each of your pages, you can access Insights to find out more about how well you’re leveraging your content. You can use the overview to find out how well your page is doing at a quick glance. Or dive in further and look at the details. Insights will show every post you create, how many people it reached out to, what your engagement rate is, how many are talking about it and sharing your content. You can use these numbers to help you evaluate what is successful – and what is not – and help give you direction for future posts.

Whenever you are stuck on what to write about next, your Insights can be a valuable tool to help you out.

Appearing Like Your Social Media Savvy … Even When You’re Not

Time. It’s the one thing that always holds you back and gets in the way of creating your picture perfect business.

Appearing Like Your Social Media Savvy

When time is a factor, we all tend to drop the things we don’t enjoy. Or drop the things we feel like we don’t have enough information to do it the right way. And for many of us, that’s social media.

Sure you’ve opened up your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts. But where do you go from there? So your Facebook account becomes neglected, and your Twitter account sits dormant month after month.

While taking the “out of site, out of mind” approach is something we all fall into naturally, by doing so may actually hurt your brand down the road. A non-active account signifies to a potential customer that your business may not be running efficiently. If you can’t keep up with your social accounts, will your customer service really be much better?

The good news is you don’t have to be a social media expert to expand your presence with minimal effort. Here are six ways you can appear like your social media savvy … even when you’re not.

1. Only speak when you have something to say. Social media is a learned task. If you sit down and quickly try to decide what’s relevant in your life and how it pertains to your customer base, you’re likely to hit a brick wall. Start out small and think about what you’re followers would like from you. Make it relevant to your business – what you had for lunch will never motivate a client with a new baby. Talk about things important to them, and include things that will help them get to know you as a person and as a business owner.

2. Be responsive. The only way to connect online is to connect. If they comment or ask a question, answer it in a timely manner. Address every legitimate comment you receive and keep the conversation going from day to day.

3. Create a posting calendar. Everyone always asks what the key ratio of posting should be – should you post once a week or once a day? There really isn’t a correct answer. Instead, you should create a calendar that’s right for you. Can you post once every morning at 8am without much trouble? Then do it. Can you post several times per day with your mobile? Do that. Just make sure you are consistent from week to week, giving your audience exactly what they expect.

4. Automate your activity. While consistency is important, there are ways to automate the process, giving you even more flexibility in when you post. Tools such as TweetDeck and HootSuite allow you to feed in posts to all of your social accounts, and calendar them for a date and time that is beneficial for you. I love these tools because they allow you test your market without having to work 24 hours a day – maybe you’ll have more success by posting at 10pm on Thursday nights. You’ll never find out until you give it a try.

5. Find great content. The easiest way to post great content is to find it first. In every industry, there are a variety of sites that can provide you with things to talk about. Find active sites – chambers, portals, associations and news sites – that post content all the time. Then browse through them on a regular basis to gain ideas or links that you can spread through your own account. Remember, you should never self-promote all the time. Instead, you should be an information site that provides ideas and resources that are meaningful to your followers.

6. When all else fails, hire it done. As a sole business owner, there are only so many tasks you can complete in a day. Don’t think of it as a failure to hire someone to take over a part of your responsibility. Instead, look at it as hiring someone to help you grow. While you should always have a thorough understanding of what they are doing for you and monitor it along the way, keep in mind that an extra set of hands really can help you gain the business you are looking for.