I have really been enjoying the new MCP Inspire action set. This time of year is the busiest and I used this recipe on all of my outdoor fall portrait sessions. Give it a try and see how it works for you!
In the screenshots below, hopefully you can read it, you can see how I used used the actions and adjusted the layers to taste by using the masks and lowing the opacities. Anytime you run a action you should adjust the layer opacity and use the mask to paint off the effect in areas you don’t want. If you don’t know how to use layer masks check out this MCP post. I do a lot of selective editing, so using layer masks is a big part of my workflow.
MCP Inspire: Brilliant Base, Sun-Drenched, Epic, Multi-Matte, Light Painting, Classic Vignette and Shallow DOF.
Hand Edits: Went into quick mask mode to do selective editing and adjusted the selected areas based on the histogram in the levels layer, hue/sat to reduce red in the orange flower and overall levels layer.
Amanda Johnson, the photographer of this image and guest writer of this blog post, is the owner of Amanda Johnson Photography out of Knoxville, TN. She’s a full time photographer and mentor that specializes in Baby’s First Year, children and family portraits. To see more of her work, check out her website and like her on Facebook Page.
Our Thank You Sale is On!
As most of you know MCP doesn’t typically have sales. But once a year, we make an exception for our “thank you” sale. If you have a wish list, now is your chance to save. Have fun shopping!
We call it a Thank You sale. But since it runs now through Monday, you can think of it as a Thanksgiving sale, a Black Friday sale, a Small Business Saturday sale or even a Cyber Monday sale. At checkout, use the code: mcpthanks.
Be sure there are no extra spaces, and that the discount comes off before your final payment, as we cannot issue credits.
Buy Now – Pay Later – No Problem
If you lack the extra funds this holiday season, but want our Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets, or Textures, we have more great news! You can have up to six months to pay, interest-free, for orders $99+. Just use the Paypal Option at checkout and select “Bill Me Later.”
This offer is only open to US Residents and is subject to credit approval by Paypal.
Got a question about Bill Me Later? Call Paypal to learn more about it: (888) 221-1161
ADD MCP TO YOUR HOLIDAY LIST
If you are hoping to get Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets, or Textures/Overlays this season, add a MCP Electronic Gift Card to your list. Share this link with those who might not know exactly what to get you: http://www.mcpactions.com/mcp-actions-gift-card.html
<< Buy MCP E-Gift Cards Here >>
No snoozing…. Our next storewide sale is not until this time next year…
After posting the 5 Steps to a Successful Photography Business, there were so many questions on pricing collections and workflow, so today I’ll dive into those two topics.
Pricing is a critical component of your photography business, because pricing yourself too low is just as bad, if not worse than pricing yourself too high. In the “5 Steps” article, everyone asked what my pricing looks like, but what I quickly realized is that the wrong question was being asked. Sending you my pricing doesn’t help you figure out what your pricing should be. Please do some research and determine what your cost of doing business is, as this is how I structured my pricing. If you are serious about running your own business, you need to do the work. Working for yourself is hard work, and if you want to see the fruits of your labor, you need to put forth the effort.
The MCP Blog has many articles to get you started on pricing. Here’s a few of the most popular:
I currently offer four collections to clients as well as a Baby’s First Year package:
- The smallest package includes a few small prints and a handful of watermarked low resolution digital images. I think I’ve only ever had one person actually purchase this package.
- The second package includes the same prints as the previous package as well as one enlargement and three high resolution digital images.
- The third package includes the same prints as the previous package, a few mounted enlargements and five high resolution digital images. This package is the most popular for family sessions and cake smashes.
- The largest package includes the same prints as the previous package, but has all of the digital images from the session included as well. This package is purchased 99% of the time by my newborn clients. It also includes 25 custom cards or birth announcements.
Hopefully that helps you structure your Collections. Pricing for the packages will depend on how you’re priced, which is unique to every photographer. Collections are always a better value than my a la carte pricing. In fact, very few clients purchase items a la carte!
Several people asked about my workflow and how I manage a client from start to finish. This can and should very from person to person and photographer to photographer. For example, many higher end portrait photographers don’t even offer pre-consultation. They consider it to be a waste of time. Others do it by phone or Skype, but I prefer to meet with potential clients in person, usually at Starbucks (because I am iced coffee obsessed. Yes, even in the dead of winter).
1. Initial meeting. Meeting your clients before they sign on the dotted line makes sure we are a good fit for each other. I have turned clients down before based on fit and they have always appreciated it. For this reason, I have a number of local photographers who I can refer clients to if we just don’t seem to click.
If our meeting goes well, I schedule their shoot, take deposits, and have them sign their contract. Once I’m back at the office, clients are entered into my database, and confirmation email is sent to the client. I help with planning outfits, or with newborns, identifying themes. Unless it is a newborn session, location scouting is done a week before the shoot and session reminders go out three days before the shoot. Pro tip: I have four large parks with very different looking landscapes. I am comfortable with the light there, know what the light looks like at different times of day, and you’d never be able to tell that multiple sessions were shot in the same location. Do yourself a favor and find some gorgeous, diverse outdoor settings!
2. Next in the work flow is the actual session. Shoot times vary from one hour (family, cake smash, maternity) to three hours (newborn) and after the shoot, photos get pulled off the cards for editing.
- Sneak peeks are only done for clients who have pre-purchased all of their digital images or for sessions where the client was a newborn model for a mentoring workshop. I do sneak peeks the day after the session and let clients know once they are up.
3. In-person proofing. When sessions are done being edited (3 weeks), I schedule an in-person proofing session with the client. This gives me an opportunity to control the conditions under which clients see their photos for the first time. It also gives me the opportunity to help clients plan what size enlargements or canvas will fit in their space. I rarely do online proofing galleries for clients. I find it highly impersonal for such a personal experience.
4. Ordering prints. Prints are ordered after I am back from the proofing session and I give clients a turnaround time of 1-2 weeks, so I can quality control the images once they’re delivered to me. They’re wrapped and packaged once I check them and I’ll send clients an email to let them know their images are ready for pickup.
5. Follow up. I always follow up with clients about a month after their session and stay in touch, sending cards for anniversaries and birthdays. This keeps me in pretty much constant contact with them. I have a referral program for clients which entitles them to a percentage discount and a complimentary enlargement for referral a client. Clients LOVE referral programs. Make sure you have one in place, because you’d be shocked at how much additional business it generates.
I hope I managed to answer everyone’s questions from the original article. Remember, dreams don’t work unless you do!
Veronica Gillas is a natural light photographer in Portland, Oregon, specializing in newborns, children, families and seniors. When she’s not with her amazing clients, she loves to knit, challenge her 8 year old to a high stakes game of Mario Kart, play dress up with her 5 year old, tickle her 7 month old’s feet and snuggle on a picnic blanket with her husband. Head on over to her website or Facebook page and say hello!
Are you stumped when it comes to buying a gift for the photographer in your life? Whether you want to buy a gift as a token of thanks for the photographer who took your family photos or you want a gift for someone special in your life who loves taking pictures, we have you covered. Here are some fun ideas.
Mini Camera USB Hubs
Camera Dial Cuff Links
A Camera Necklace
A Vintage Camera Pencil Sharpener
A Camera Keychain
A Crystal Camera
Sure, they’d probably LOVE a fancy new camera or a shiny new lens, but for most of us, those items are a little out of reach. So we searched through a few of our favorite sites and gathered some fun novelty gift ideas, a few educational presents, and some helpful/useful gift ideas too. Rather than list them out as we had in past years, we made a “Gift Ideas for Photographers Pinterest Board” so you can easily pin and link to the ones you want.
What’s this talk about “FREE” goodies?
See how we “snuck” that into the title? Well, if you are all about free, we have a few Free Holiday Card Templates on our Gift Guide PIN Board. Here is a sneak peak of the cards:
Enjoy! In the comments below, tell us what gifts you want for the holidays. List a big one and a smaller one too.
Let’s keep things light today and take a quick survey. Which edit do you prefer?
Both are exactly the same, except the second one used two additional Photoshop actions (mostly on the background). I am curious to see if you see this image the way I do – but of course, there is no right or wrong answer.
MCP Inspire is at INTRO pricing, which saves you $20, for just a few more days.