Should You Jump Ship From Facebook For Google Plus?

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This is the question most photographers are asking right now.  I hear the buzz all over social media.

“Should I leave Facebook for Google Plus?”

And the answer is: NO. Don’t jump ship from Facebook. Just change the way you use it.  Times have changed — you may feel like less people see your images and posts, no matter incredible the photos or exciting the conversation. Facebook constantly changes their algorithm.  They need ad dollars to please stockholders, and unfortunately this leaves less space for the content you want to deliver and receive.

Here are some ideas on how to work with the Facebook changes:

  1. Create great content, share beautiful images, and post what your audience wants to see.
  2. Experiment. Each week design a plan and stick to it.  One week try the “post only once a day” and another week try to post every few hours throughout the day.  See what works best for your audience.
  3. Check your insights and see what types of posts do best and do more of them.
  4. Don’t take it personally – don’t measure your worth by your numbers.  It’s not you, it’s them.   If you start feeling down about yourself, take a step back.  Maybe take a few days off, or even have a friend post for you.  Seriously.  Your photos rock!  If you see a low percent of people seeing your posts and the decreased amount of interaction, remember that Facebook is holding back.
  5. The bigger your Facebook account gets, the lower the % they show your posts to organically.  So, consider finding your ideal target customers, not just bodies, to like your page.
  6. Be careful of “the experts.”  Much like an overweight person who wants so badly to lose weight, it’s easy to fall for the “free” webinars promising more fans and interaction on your page. Most are designed to lure you in to paid products. Since social networking changes constantly, I’m skeptical of people who coin themselves “experts.”  Maybe “experimenters” is a better name – they try and tell you what they think works at that moment in time.

 

What else you can do… The best advice I have for photographers!

DO NOT PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET!

This is the same advice I might give a kid on Easter.  If the wind blows and you drop your basket, you lose all the eggs. Start thinking in terms of diversity.  Sure, you can have a favorite social network.  Your heart may even still belong to Facebook.

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Ownership is everything! The most important thing isn’t what social networks you belong to, but that you take ownership of a website, a blog and a newsletter.   You control these 100%!

Then diversify your social networking efforts.  It may be impossible for your business to be on Google Plus, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.  But we recommend pick at least two or three so that you spread out and reach your customers where they like to socialize.

Now it’s networking time!!! Who wants to play….

Below, we listed all the places where you can find us. We definitely do not expect you to follow us everywhere, but we hope you’ll like us on any networks that you frequent.  We even added a description of each so you will know which are best for you.  Oh, and “networking time” – you may wonder what that means.  We want you to tell us where we and other MCP fans can find you too.  Just type your info in the comments section below.

OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS:

MCP Facebook PageWe share tips, tricks, and news related to photography and editing.
MCP Facebook Group  – Request your invite to connect with MCP customers around the globe.  Ask questions. Share your edits with our products.
Jodi’s Facebook Page - Get to know me better… A mix of photography, editing and personal thoughts…
MCP Google Plus PageWe share tips, tricks, and news related to photography and editing. See MCP posts that Facebook hides from you.
Jodi’s Google Plus Page Get to know me better… A mix of photography, editing and personal thoughts…
MCP on InstagramWe get a little more personal here – but also host a fun, photo a day challenge.  Come join us when you can.
MCP on PinterestWe share tips, tricks and news related to photography and editing – some from our sites and other stuff from around the Internet.
MCP on Twitter - Like your information in 140 characters or less.  Join us here for quick tips and links to new blog posts.
Jodi’s Facebook Page - Get to know me better… A mix of photography, editing and personal thoughts…
Jodi’s Google Plus Page Get to know me better… A mix of photography, editing and personal thoughts…

Beautiful Jodi 03 edit 450x675 Should You Jump Ship From Facebook For Google Plus? OUR WEBSITES:

StoreShop for Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets and editing classes.
BlogLearn photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and business tips and tricks.
MCP Show and TellSee before and afters with step-by-step recipes teaching how to get the look. Then share some of your own.
Weekly Newsletter Sign UpDon’t miss a beat. We deliver photography and editing tips and tutorials right to your in box.  Plus the occasional freebie and new product details.

 

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5 Tips For Getting in Spring Family Portraits (Share With Your Customers)

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Tips For Getting Ready For Your Spring Family Portraits

I’ll wager a bet that most of us are eagerly awaiting Spring. This winter has certainly been an extreme one! Between the subzero temperatures, snow blizzards and being cooped up indoors, we are ready for sounds of birds chirping, warmer temperatures and bursts of color everywhere. This is a prefect time to start thinking and planning for your Spring Family Portraits!

If you skipped taking Holiday Family Pictures either due to the busy holiday season or because you did not want to look like an Eddie Bauer Commercial (nothing against Eddie Bauer – I love their winter coats!), Spring Family Portraits are a great way to celebrate color! Better yet, take the session outside!  The lush greenery and blooming trees make an amazing backdrop. An added bonus is that the whole family can dress up in bright colors and shake away the winter blues. Below, are five tips to make the most of your Spring Family Portraits.

1) Plan Ahead

We all spend the last few weeks of winter counting days until Spring. The days start getting longer and suddenly our calendars seem to fill up very quickly. Plan ahead and start researching photographers in your area. Most photographers use the early part of the year to update their website and blog their recent sessions, which is a great way to check out their latest work and make sure their style fits with yours. If you have found a photographer you want to use, feel free to schedule a consultation and book your session months ahead. This makes the planning process much easier not only for you but also for your photographer.

2) Locations

Most photographers have a list of favorite locations that they like to use for family portraits. As photographers, we take the time to scout locations and test out lighting. However, if there is a location that you really like and want to incorporate in your family pictures, don’t be afraid to ask. Perhaps it is a park that you visited when the kids were young or a favorite family biking path that you want to revisit with the family. Photographers are generally open to suggestions.

3) Update Your Wardrobe

Spring is all about color. Be it pastels like pink and teal or brighter colors like orange and reds. Research the latest fashion trends and feel free to experiment. Start a Pinterest board and share it with your photographer. This will help them get to know you and your individual style even before the photoshoot and you can get expert opinions on what would work and what wouldn’t – a win-win for both parties!

Tips for Spring Family Portraits For Families Clothing Options 600x432 5 Tips For Getting in Spring Family Portraits (Share With Your Customers)
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4) Opt For A Lifestyle Photoshoot

Lifestyle Photoshoots are a documentary style of photography. It is a great way to capture interactions among families – simple, honest emotions that represent your true personality, like the tight grasp of a child’s hands, squeals of laughter as they play a game of tag, or blowing bubbles together in the park. These sessions tend to be more relaxed as the photographer captures the natural flow of your life. I find that Spring Family Portrait Sessions lend themselves more towards Lifestyle Photography.

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5) Keep It Simple

Spring photos tend to be simple and clean. Stick to the basics – wardrobe, location and activity. Don’t try to overdo the shoot by trying to plan many different things within the photoshoot timeframe.

Tips for Spring Family Portraits For Families Spring Colors 600x432 5 Tips For Getting in Spring Family Portraits (Share With Your Customers)
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I hope these simple tips help you in planning and making the most out of your Spring Family Portraits. Remember to get outside and have fun. You owe it to yourself and your family after surviving a brutally cold and dark winter! icon smile 5 Tips For Getting in Spring Family Portraits (Share With Your Customers)

Follow along for my next article – Tips For Spring Family Portraits Readiness For Photographers.

All images in this post were edited with the new versatile MCP InFusion Lightroom Presets!

Karthika Gupta, guest blogger for this article, is a Lifestyle Wedding and Portrait Photographer in the Chicago Area. You can see more of her work on her website Memorable Jaunts and follow her on her Memorable Jaunts Facebook page.

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Proof That Newborn Photoshop Actions Are Not Just For Editing Babies

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One question we get asked often is “Can I use Newborn Necessities Photoshop Actions on other images?”  The answer is “YES, it can be used on any images.”

The follow up question is often, “Why did you name it Newborn Necessities and market the actions for editing baby images?”  Great question. When we started working on the newborn actions in 2011, we wanted a product that would help the growing industry of newborn photographers. Editing baby images is tough.  Babies are so beautiful, but sometimes their skin-tones range from gray and drab to yellow and jaundice.  Often they have purple or red feet and hands.  At first, we aimed to smooth their skin and fix these issues. We ended up building the set around that foundation and added workflow and toning actions as well as finishing actions – we built a complete solution for retouching and dealing with hard to edit baby images.

 

Photo by: Blythe Harlan Photography

While we truly focused on newborns when we developed and started selling the Photoshop actions, we never really considered that they are a perfect solution for a light, airy, clean edit for all images.  Photographers who buy these rarely limit the use to just babies.  We’ve even considered changing the name or re-marketing it.  In the end, we’ve decided to just let people know that in can, in fact, be used on all kinds of photographs.  Here are a few examples. We hope you enjoy!

Newborn Photoshop Actions used on non-baby images:

Photo by Holly Stocks – she’s just been in business since mid last year.  Beautiful!

Photo by: Jane Atwell

Photo by Atina King Photography

The Next Two Photos by: Impromptu Photography

07 26 2013 Before and After MCP 1 600x800 Proof That Newborn Photoshop Actions Are Not Just For Editing Babies
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Photo by Jessica Dyck

Photo by Nicole Baldwin

Photo by Lauren Tomten

Photo by Jackie Scarpari

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Batch Editing in Lightroom – Video Tutorial

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Batch editing is one of the best benefits of using Lightroom as a starting point for your photo edits. It’s quick and easy! And once you’ve done all that you can with your photos in Lightroom, you can even open them into Photoshop in a batch for any final edits you’re looking to make.


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You have two options for batch editing in Lightroom.

  1. You can edit a group of photos at the same time
  2. You can edit one photo and retroactively apply the same changes to a group of images.

Note that any of the techniques I describe below work in both the Develop and the Library modules. We think of editing in terms of the features available in Develop, but in the Library module, you could apply keywords in batches, update metadata, or even make simple exposure and white balance adjustments.

 

How to Edit A Group of Photos All At Once

 

Start by selecting the photos that you’d like to edit. You can select contiguous photos by clicking on the first, holding down the shift key on your keyboard, and clicking on the last. To select photos that aren’t next to each other, hold down command or control while clicking on each photo you’d like to edit.

Once the photos are selected, look for the Sync or Auto-Sync button at the bottom right corner of either your Library or your Develop module. We want this button to say Auto-Sync. If it doesn’t, click on the light switch to toggle from Sync to Auto-Sync.

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When this button says “Auto-Sync,” any change you make to one image will be applied to all selected images. The Auto-Sync method is for great changing exposure and white balance on images taken in the same lighting conditions.

Retroactively Applying Changes from A Previously Edited Photo

 

Personally, I generally use the Sync method, when I’m applying creative looks to a photo. That’s not to say that you can’t Auto-Sync instead, this is just what works best for my personal workflow. To use this method, I’ll play around with one image until I’m happy with the look. And then, with this photo still selected and active for editing, I’ll add to my selection using command/control or the shift key. By adding other images to the selection, the photo you have already edited is primarily selected, as seen below.  You can see from this image that the photo on the right is “more selected” or has a brighter highlight than the others.  This means that I will sync edits from that photo onto the others.

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I’ll make sure that Sync is displayed on the button, and then click it. Clicking it opens this window:

 

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Using this window, you tell Lightroom which adjustments from your first photo should be applied to the photos you selected after editing. This method is particularly effective for photos that weren’t all taken in the same white balance or exposure conditions. I can tell Lightroom not to sync WB or exposure settings, but only to sync the tint I added through Split Toning along with Vibrance, Clarity and Sharpening.

Batch Edit with Presets

 

Everything previously mentioned above applies to presets as well. As an example, I’ll edit these 6 photos in one batch. Also, as mentioned above, I typed command/control A to select them.

filmstrip example Batch Editing in Lightroom   Video Tutorial
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And then I applied these presets:

Taking Photos into Photoshop in Batches

 

If you have photos that need extra work in Photoshop, select them together, as I described above. Right click on one of them and select Edit In, and then select your version of Photoshop. All of the selected photos will open for you to edit. Please note, however, that I don’t recommend doing this with more than 5 or 6 images at a time – it might take a long time with more images and tends to slow down the process.

Video Tutorial – Want To See This in Action?  Click the Video Below To See the Ins and Outs of Editing Photos in Batches Using Lightroom

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The 4 Best Tax Tips for On Location Photographers

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Being a self-employed photographer, filing income taxes can be stressful. Even more so if you are not prepared, or are just unaware of what Uncle Sam expects his cut to be, especially when you are traveling for your photography business. These four tips should help.

1. Track your mileage

Other than driving from your home to your business, you want to write down the miles you are putting on your car related to visiting clients, driving to an on location shoot, or other activities directly related to your business. At the end of the year, you can deduct 56 cents per mile, which is the 2014 standard mileage rate. The IRS recommends you keep a logbook in your car and write down the date, miles, and business reason for each trip. Also, write down what your odometer says at the beginning and end of the year. Keep in mind, that when you charge a client mileage, you are not excluded from claiming this deduction.

2. When traveling for your business, you can eat without keeping the receipt

Every professional gets paid per diem when they are out of town for business, but what about the self-employed photographer? Fortunately, you can deduct it. Better yet, you don’t need a receipt from every meal while you are out of town.  The IRS just requires you to “keep records to prove the time, place, and business purpose of your travel”. The deduction amount varies by location so look up the per diem rate of your destination at www.gsa.gov before recording it in your expenses. For example, if you travel to Los Angeles to shoot a wedding, your per diem is $12 for breakfast, $18 for lunch, $36 for dinner, and $5 for incidentals.

3. Don’t use your frequent flyer miles for business trips

If you plan to fly out to a workshop or a destination wedding, buy the tickets. When you have a receipt for traveling related to your business, you can deduct that expense in your taxes. If you were to use frequent flyer miles to get a free flight, you can’t deduct anything for it, since it didn’t cost you anything. Save your frequent flyer miles for vacations and other times you plan on traveling, which have no chance of being deducted for your business.

4. In general, keep receipts for business purchases over $75 (required by the IRS)

Even if you track your expenses in a software or spreadsheet, keep the receipts. The IRS suggests you keep receipts for four years after you file your income tax return. The easiest way to keep your expenses in order is to make a list of them for the year. Update the list with purchases as you make them, and then store the receipts in a file labeled “Throw Away in 4 years from…” whatever the date is.

Bonus: Get the Right Look from the IRS

Click here for a Guide filled with Tax Tips for Photographers

 

Nate Taylor is a small business consultant and the owner of PhotoAccounting, where he shares tax tips and tools with photographers.

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