7 Photography Management Software Programs To Make You More Efficient

Shoot Q

Shoot-Q

Shoot Q, a division of Pictage, is a cloud based software program designed to help photographers automate their businesses. Login online from any computer in the world. There you’ll have access to all facets of your business. Track your sales leads, recording information that will help you convert them into clients. Create the perfect pricing information and embed it on your site or blog. Book and sign up your clients online. Create and organize your daily to-do lists. Then use the internal analytics to watch how your business grows over the coming months.

Pixifi

Pixifi

Pixifi is a web based studio management system designed to keep you organized no matter where you are in the world. Start by keeping track of your leads and your referral sources. Design contracts your clients can sign online. Want to host your own workshop? Pixifi provides an easy way to manage the entire process. How events on a regular basis? Use the calendar feature to block off your availability. Invoicing, payment tracking, communication, client and task tracing all is easy to manage in this one stop management program.

SuccessWare

SuccessWare

SuccessWare is an award winning studio management software designed by photography industry experts. SuccessWare allows you an up close and personal look at your client list – track just about everything. You can even attach a photograph so you never forget what they look like. It manages your appointment calendar, provides details on every session you book, and allows you to take as many notes as you need to make your session a success. All of your paperwork, from sales to processing, is located in one place. Easy to get to, easy to use, and a great way to keep you on track with your business.

StudioCloud

StudioCloud

StudioCloud is a free desktop software that provides many of the tasks photographers do every day. From client management, scheduling, point of sale, bookkeeping, reporting, marketing, to project/event/order management, this is a great tool to start your business on the road of success.

StudioPlus

StudioPlus

StudioPlus has an entire suite of software designed for professional photographers. Start with the basics and add the functions you need. Choose from a series of robust desktop solutions, or take the same great features to the cloud for access anywhere.

Tave

Tave

Tave is a photo studio management program that helps studios with the entire management process. From quoting a lead, to contract management and signing capabilities, to lead tracking capabilities, and contact tracking and management, you’ll be on top of your daily business activities immediately.

Simply Studio

Simply-Studio

Simply Studio allows you to simplify your studio. This management program allows you to do many things, including invoicing and client management, scheduling and workflow tracking, online contracts, accounting and reporting, online proofing and selling, plus online help and phone support when you need it.

The Complete Guide To Choosing Photographic Paper

Guest post by Joseph Eitan

In the digital world we live in, there is no dispute that most pictures we take retain their digital form to be saved on a hard drive, cloud image hosting or social networking profile. Despite all odds, images are still been printed, in fact more than ever due to the impressive advance in printing and ink technology.  As a photographer, choosing the correct type of media to print your work is essential, as poor printing results will hinder all the work you have invested in capturing that perfect image.

There are a number of technical aspects in choosing photographic papers that as a photographer you should know.

Suitable Printer Technology 

The Complete Guide To Choosing Photographic PaperPrinting professional photos is done using Inkjet rather than laser technology.  While laser printers are fantastic in mass printing plain documents in a speedy and cost effective manner, they simply lack the required DPI and colour accuracy that high quality photos require in order to handle sub tones to their full potential.

To scatter ink evenly on the paper, laser technology use polymer based dust powder in CMYK range that undergoes hot fusion to become solid on the paper. On the other hand, Inkjet uses the same CMYK (and sub shades) range in the form of liquid ink (either Dye or Pigment base) that is microscopically dispersed onto the paper by way of an accurate jet (therefore it is called Ink-Jet). This delivery system allows for fine colour accuracy and wide tonal capability, making it the preferred choice for photographers.

Inkjet Receiving Layer 

Most individuals only distinguish various types of photographic papers based on the brand and maybe based on that brand’s model. If you look closer, a better way to evaluate quality photo papers regardless of the brand is by the type of chemical receiving layer that is used.

There are two types of Inkjet receiving layers, one called cast coated which tends to appear on budget papers and micro porous, PE coated, which is the preferred option of professional photographers. Cast coated photographic papers are based on normal printer paper that undergoes heating by way of metal rollers. This process gives the paper a glossy look, which is why cast coated are only available with a glossy finish. Because there is no barrier between the coating and the paper, the ink is susceptible to sinking deeper into the paper making the image appear a little duller than when printed on PE coated paper.

On the other hand, micro-porous or nano-porous receiving layer is based on PE paper (an amalgamation of normal paper pressed between two layers of polyethylene on both sides), a higher quality base that does not absorb humidity and is more stable overall. This coating holds the ink closer to the surface, making the image appear brighter and colours more accurate.  This coating also has a water resistance element and is very fast drying allowing immediate handling and multi-copy printing.  It also provides a better colour definition with a deeper, more solid black than the cast coated paper. Micro-porous and nano-porous papers are available in Glossy, Satin and Matt finish.

Photographic Paper Finish

There are three common alternatives to give the print a desired look. These three are measured on a scale of sheen from the most to the least. The choice of one over the other is often a personal one, though there are also some practical considerations to take into account.

Glossy - The most widely used is the glossy finish, which includes the highest levels of sheen. It gives the print a highly colorful look with a wide colour spectrum. However, when viewed from an angle in strong lighting conditions, the print may be harder to see due to reflection of the surface. In the right conditions, glossy finish can make the print look vibrant and a real feast for the eyes.  Glossy paper is also least suitable for framing behind glass.

Satin – You may come across satin as semi-gloss, pearl and luster depending on the manufacture. These are all essentially light sheen options that make viewing from angles in strong lighting conditions easier to view. In one word, satin is a more ‘flexible’ option.

Matt – Also referred to as matte, this option does not contain any glare and will rarely prove to be the preferred choice when a wide colour gamut is required. However, high quality matt photo paper with 15gsm of coating can help produce artistic looking prints, often when black and white photos are concerned.

Photographic Paper Weight – The last consideration is the weight of the paper, measured in GSM or Grammes Per Square Meter. In the not so long past, the higher the weight was, the better quality the paper was thought to be. We now know (and so do you) that other factors such as receiving layer are as important to determine quality. When incorporated with a suitable receiving layer, higher GSM will equal a print that feels heavy when held and pleasing to look at.

Enjoy your printing. If you have any questions, leave your comment below.

Workflow Resource – Give Image Finder A Try

On any given day, do you have a gazillion things running past you, and just as many windows opened up on your computer? I know I do.

So when you start in on a new client, or have someone call up with questions on images, your mind quickly scrambles to come up with where the image files are located and how to find them quickly.

You may want to try Fundy Image Finder – a brand new tool that makes finding and pulling images quick and easy. Its not a sophisticated program; just a simple workflow utility to help photographers pull images for print and album orders in the most efficient way possible.

(And best of all, its 100% free – so you have to go download it now!)

What it is

A simple tool for quickly finding a batch of images.

Why it rocks

Ever have a print or album order with a list of images you have to find?  We’ve made the job of finding them fast and snappy!  Image Finder was designed to do one very specific task, and do it well.  Like the name of the product, it finds images.  That’s it.

How it works

Cut and paste a list of image files into the finder window, and hit go.  It will search a folder and/or subfolders for the images and bring them up in the queue.  From there, you can open the files up in Photoshop or quickly create copies for editing.  That’s it!  It just takes a simple step in your workflow and makes it lightning fast. Watch this video to see just how fast it is.

How much is it?

Brace yourself.  It’s FREE.  Yeah, how cool is that?  Fundy Software is all about making the Photographer’s workflow faster and easier.  This was such a simple tool to develop we were amazed nobody had made it yet, so we busted it out and are making it available completely free.

Grab your copy of it here.

Photo Restoration Tips and Tricks

guest post by Leah Spencer

Modern digital restoration techniques and programs are excellent tools for restoring, preserving and archiving photographs. This way, the saved images are not subject to deterioration, water damage or aging effects that physical storage may otherwise cause. Here are some tried and tested tips that you may find useful while restoring old photographs.

Before Restoration:

After Restoration:

1) Use a good scanner

Scanning is the first step to successful restoration. It is important that you use a good quality scanner and set it to maximum resolution and color depth while digitizing your photos. Adjusting the lighting with your scanner will let you capture much more detail, and then use it for further improvisation using editing software. Also, scanning in color absorbs more information than black and white.

2) Work on copies

Before you begin editing your photos, it is advisable to make more than one copy of it. While restoring photographs, it is possible that you make some irreversible edits or errors.

3) Change to black and white

As far as photo restoration is concerned, black and white photos are generally considered easy to work with. If the photo is sepia, you may convert it to black and white using your photo editing software and then convert it back to sepia after restoration. [Read more...]

Display Your Work In A Mosaic Frame

A few days ago I introduced you to Moo.com. I love their cards and their ideas because they can make you stand apart from your competition, and make your prospects say, “wow”.

Today I received an email introducing the Mosaic Frame to their U.S. customers. If you order a pack of mini-cards, you can place 20 of them in any direction on to the frame. It’s a great conversation starter.

Stand Out From The Crowd – Create Unique Photo Cards

Want a unique way to stand out from the crowd?

A couple of weeks ago I somehow surfed my way over to Moo.com – a custom printer of business cards, minicards and postcards. Their homepage made me take a second look, so I started to take a look around. And I loved the opportunity they offer for photographers.

moo

Head over to Moo.com and click on the business card option. Then start designing your business cards. You can upload up to 50 of your images to display on your cards. Then choose what you want to say on the other side, your paper options, and hit the order button. You can have these vibrant business cards ordered in no time. IMG_0087

I loved their options, but to me what matters most is the quality. Since they had a “try before you buy” option, I thought I’d give them a try. So I uploaded 10 different images, and had my cards made. Five days later, the cards were in my hands. And I have to tell you, I love them. The quality will put your other business cards to shame. They are printed on thick paper, and the colors held true to what I expected.

The price is extremely reasonable –especially for the newbie. You can order a 50 pack for $21.99. (They do have other options if you need more.)

They also offer the same option for postcard and greeting cards. Want to include some of your prints in your marketing kits you hand out to clients? Order these high quality postcards. Again, I love the quality and it’s nice to be able to order a small quantity.

8 Album Software and Design Applications

As a high-end wedding photographer, I know the money isn’t in the shooting part of your business. It’s in the selling part of your business. And the easiest way to make a ton of money is to sell albums as opposed to packages and handing over the digital files.

For ideas on building and selling albums, you may be interested in Photographing By The Page – The Only Way To Shoot A Wedding.

In order to build and sell large albums, you have to design large album templates before the sale in order for your clients to see what you do, and picture the final product in their minds.

Yes, you can design each page in Photoshop. But when you’re designing over 280 pages on speculation the way I did, you have to have something that makes the process more efficient.

Here are 8 album design programs that can help you design albums on speculation quicker.

Fundy Album Builder

 

Allows you to design and create your own layouts instead of using pre-established templates. Works for both PC and Mac. Offers a free trial download.
Album DS

[Read more...]

What Do I Use To Manage My Photographs and Help Control My Workflow?

Every week I get a variety of questions emailed to me. Over the past couple of weeks, this question has come up several times.

“What Do I Use To Manage My Photographs and Help Control My Workflow?”

Every photographeracdsee has their own set of tools they like for studio control. But if you’re new to the industry, or are looking to make a change to a system that provides you with even more control, you may be ready for ACDSee.

We’ve been using ACDSee for years and love some of its features. Let me share just a few of the reasons we love this tool.

  • Photographing weddings means you have a ton of images. Though we did prefer to give our clients almost every image, there would always be a few that we would choose to delete. And of course the client would pick up on one being missing in the numbering system, and ask about that image. ACDSee allows you to rename your images easily, filling in the holes that normally exist with just deleting.
  • ACDSee has an organization tool that allows you quickly to look through your images, sorting and keeping only the ones you truly want to show your client. ACDSee has the power to make this a quick process, and also allows you to view up to four images at once, making your selection process a breeze.
  • Depending on how you shoot, ACDSee has some capabilities of enhancing your final image. We try to shoot everything as close to final as possible. Meaning we don’t have to enhance every image we take. While ACDSee isn’t Photoshop, it does have enough tools to allow you to transform your photographs into a final product.

Photo Albums; How To Make A Professional Presentation

What makes a professional photographer stand above an amateur? It’s the way they present their products and their services to prospects and clients.

Whether you photograph weddings, families, children or babies, adding a professional album to your list of services can showcase your photography in an elegant and impactful way.

With each of our weddings, it wasn’t just the photographs that made us special. It was the way we presented them. We would design multiple volume sets, and show a client an album design (via software) along with the digital proofs. We assumed they would buy albums – that was our service – and it was a strategy that never failed.

Imagine selling a four volume set to your client – each with 60-70 pages. What would that do to your bottom line?

Let’s look at 5 different album companies.

Art Leather
Iart leather professional photo albumst’s all about options. Art Leather can offer you a variety of different styles and looks. I’ve always been a fan of the flush mount albums. You create digital image collages in one size, and have them flush mounted in an album. With their high quality pages, you get a look that screams “professional”. I also like that they have a variety of add-on products, from gift albums, to folios, to image boxes. Image boxes were always a big hit. Place a selection of matted images in the image box. Your clients can display them, use them as signature frames, and have an elegant way of displaying them as well.  They are great for bringing along to coffee houses when you’re showing your clients your work.

Zookbinders
ZZookbinders professional photo albumsookbinders does a fantastic job with both their albums, design and customer service. We worked with the staff at Zookbinders for years, and loved everything about this company. They have a variety of products and styles to ensure you have something for every taste. Instead of offering your clients one item, why not give bonuses along the way? A two volume album earns you a discount on The PhotoBook. With a variety of lines, you can find many ways to create special offers for your clients.

Queensberry
Queensberry offers you a variety of options in album Queensberry professional photo albumsformat, and a wide array of sizing options. How about a 20×16 album – imagine the look on a prospects face just looking at these large images. We used a variety of sizes throughout our business, and size does matter when it comes to album design. If you give something out of the ordinary – something your customers’ friends won’t have – you’re sure to be a hit.

White Glove Books
White Glove Professional Photo Albums What attracted me immediately to White Glove is their take on albums – they don’t just produce albums, they produce First Editions. It’s not just what you create, it’s how you present it. White Glove allows you to present your images in a variety of ways, and choose from different layouts and cover designs. Each book is uniquely your own.

Albums Australia
Another thing that makes a professional photographer stand above the crowd is offering somAlbums Australiz Professional Photo Albumsething a consumer can’t get anywhere else. Change the size to something out of the ordinary – maybe an 11×14 album. Or give them the newest magazine style album. In either case, make a sample that shows your client what to expect, and what you can do that’s different from traditional and more available options. Albums Australia has great products for the professional, and gives you access to software to make your job of album design easy.

These are five of the great companies available to you as professional photographers. Get on their websites and take a look for yourself. I would recommend that you offer a variety of album companies in your product line. Different clients like different things. We had some clients who were vegan, and wanted a quality album that adhered to their vegan beliefs. Some love an artistic look, while others like a more traditional look. By offering several choices, you can develop a package that is perfect for your client.

Choosing An Album Company

Professional means not doing what the amateur can do.

I visited a “professional” photographer’s website today. She specializes in babies and children.

She photographs and provides the digital files for up to 50 images. Yours to keep.

If you choose, you iphotohave the option of purchasing a memory book that she produces from iPhoto – for an additional fee.

I doubt she sells very many of these. Why would she?

The person has already received a digital file with every image on it. She can very easily head over to iPhoto and design her own album.

I love the iPhoto concept. It’s fun and easy to throw together a quick album for a single event. Many other companies offer a similar product – Shutterfly has something similar, and also sells the kits out of Borders book stores.

Consumers love it. And retailers love it – it’s a way of increasing their profits.

But as a professional, you need to be supplying your customers with things they can’t get anywhere else. Even if they find it online, the company will only work with professionals.

When they see something magical that they can’t get anywhere else, it adds a sense of desire to your product line. And it sets you apart from your competition.

Professional album companies are also in business to help you grow your business. And because of it, many of their websites are designed to help send future clients your way. Many have special sections educating the bride on a professional album, and provide a way to connect the bride with you.

zookbinders

One of my favorite album companies, Zookbinders, has a special section just for brides. They educate them on the quality of professional albums, why hiring a professional is so important, and how to find a professional photographer.

Many companies will also work to get you your sample line. For half off, you can order sample albums to show your client. Clients buy what they see. This is a great way to show them your level of professionalism.

If you want to profit like a professional, you must build your business like a professional.