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My New Favorite Vlog

June 24th, 2015

Ted Forbes makes videos about photography. His career spans time as a professional photographer, a university instructor in photography, a photo exhibit curator for a museum, and most recently as a vlogger (video blogger) which he has turned into a full time job.

But what I like about Ted is the passion he has for photography combined with a rapid-fire, no-nonsense approach to providing information. Sometimes watching his YouTube videos is like drinking out of a fire hose.

If you like to spend your free time learning about both the art and business of photography, I urge you to watch one or two of Ted’s vlogs. My favorite one is below, titled “So You Want To Be A Photographer.” I think this video should be mandatory for anyone in the photography business.

Click here to see more of Ted’s videos or to subscribe to his YouTube channel.

Accepting Credit Cards: What You Need to Know

June 24th, 2015

credit-cardsSome photographers continue to resist taking credit cards because of the hassle and high fees associated with them. Frankly, they are right. Call your local bank and tell them you want to accept credit cards. After they run you through a gauntlet of paperwork, you can end up paying up to 5% of the total billed in transaction fees.

On the other hand, everyone uses credit and debit cards. Checks are on the decline. According to GoBankingRates.com, only 28% of Americans still write checks, and sixty-one percent of people age 18 to 24 never write checks. In today’s market, telling a client you don’t take credit cards is like saying you don’t use email.

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Use Instagram to Build Your Photography Business

June 16th, 2015

instagramMost studios treat Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook like a photo gallery. They serve as a place to post a picture of your latest shoot, but photographers rarely them to tell a story. Using Instagram, that’s what Kate Sigfusson did.

When she launched Babies4Babies on Instagram, she was expecting. She took the opportunity to share pictures and information about her pregnancy. She posted everything from pictures of herself pregnant to her plans to launch a line of premium baby products like swaddles. Her entire Instagram page chronicles her journey.

“By sharing the Babies4Babies story, specifically my journey as a new mother and entrepreneur, we have humanized the brand,” Sigfusson said in an article. “It makes the company more of a family rather than a product.”

Sigfusson says every business should treat Instagram in a similar fashion. As small business owners, show your audience the human side of your business. Show your audience pictures of you packing orders, heading to the post office, helping other customers and dealing with obstacles.

Get used to taking snapshots and “selfies” to populate your page with faces and images (best practices for image sizing) that tell your story, rather than just images of products. Use the platform to tell your story – one picture at a time.

Wedding Industry Trends

June 16th, 2015

wedding album for pro photographer by jd photo imaging labIf you are a wedding photographer, here are some industry trends you may find interesting:

1. In 2014, the average spent on photographer $2,556. Amount spent on videographer: $1,794. Source TheKnot.com.

2. Couples spend on average $1,661 for a wedding photographer, $325 for a Photo DVD, $421 for an engagement session, $234 for prints, and $449 for album(s). Source: CostofWedding.com.

3. “Digital-only” or “digital-plus” events accounted for more than 50% of wedding photography packages sold in the US last year. Source: TheWeddingReport.com.

4. Over 50% of couples will purchase a Photo DVD. About half will purchase an engagement session or prints. Only one-third will purchase an album. Source: CostofWedding.com.

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3 Tips to Save time on Email

June 9th, 2015

If you’re like me, you get dozens of emails every day. Sorting through the spam to find the important ones takes time. Sending emails back and forth to get something accomplished takes time. And looking for answers to previous emails takes time.

Here are 3 tips you can use to get that time back.

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JDLab2You and Pick-a-Pack Tutorials Online

June 3rd, 2015

training-centerOver the years, we’ve created many step-by-step tutorials to help you get the most out of our JDLab2You and Pick-a-Pack software. We’ve listed all these tutorials on our JD Training Center page.

Here you can find:

• Photoshop PSD layout guides for products, cards and album covers
• A “Getting Started” video that walks you through your first order
• Step-by-step tutorials for using the software’s features
• Advanced tutorials to customize your images or simplify your workflow
• Common error messages and how to fix them
• How to set up soft proofing in your studio

In addition, the Training Center also has training information for LabPrints and ImageQuix, our current product catalogs in PDF format, and a link to our lab calibration print.

If you have a suggestion for something you’d like us to add to the Training Center page, let us know. We’re here to help.

Moving your Studio Online

June 3rd, 2015

moving photographic studioMoving a studio online is hard. Moving to a new location, changing the studio name, or even changing your website URL are all considered “moving your studio” according to Google.

The problem is that there are hundreds of places your old studio name is listed online: Google, Google Maps, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, and MapQuest just to name a few. When your listings don’t match in these places, 2 things happen. First, potential clients may see your old location and get confused, and second, Google ranks your page higher when your name, address and phone (NAP) are consistent across the Internet (read more about NAP here).

If you change your studio name, address, or phone number, you need to make a plan to update your information online. I recently helped a friend move their business, and here is the plan I followed:

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Personalized Photo Cuff Bracelets Make a Great Gift

May 26th, 2015

photo cuff braceletsPersonalized photo cuff bracelets are a fun and stylish piece of jewelry that incorporates your favorite photos. These are especially popular with “tweens.”

Made from aluminum with a soft gloss finish, these will not stain or fade over time.There are 2 sizes of bracelet: one about 3/4 inch wide, and the other 1 1/2 inches wide. On both bracelets, the aluminum is flexible enough to change the opening for different size wrists. Different templates are available to drop in your images, or you can create a unique design that wraps around the bracelet.

All our photo cuff bracelets are $7.95 each in JDLab2You.

2015 School Photography Boot Camp

May 26th, 2015

school photography traingBack by popular demand, the 2015 School Photography Boot Camp will be held June 23-25 in Ashton, PA (Philadelphia area). The Boot Camp will provide you with almost 25+ hours of highly-targeted, intensive instruction designed to teach you the best practices in School Photography. This is the 10th anniversary of the Boot Camp and many Studio Owners come back year after year to stay on top of the latest developments, workflow and technology needed to be successful in this lucrative business model.

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PPA Offers the Lowest Rates for General Liability Insurance

May 20th, 2015

ppa-logoOne of the benefits of PPA membership is that members can purchase up to $1,000,000 in business liability insurance. Liability insurance covers you from any faults in relation to third-party bodily injury or property damage. This policy costs just $236/year, which is 10-30% lower than similar small business liability policies. For more information, click here.

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