Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Looking for New Sports Templates? Check out Ashe Design!

The search for templates for Team and Individual Sports Photographers can be tedious. Pro labs offer a decent variety, but experienced photographers don't want to use the same design over and over. Besides that, they also don't want the same look that is available to every novice sports shooter who happens to be a customer of the same lab.

Designing templates takes time and is hard work, especially for those of us who aren't gifted with the eye for graphics.

Then, when we finally DO find something that catches our eye, the price is steep. Sure, we all realize that quality doesn't come cheap, but isn't there a way to combine a unique look with an affordable price tag?

Now, you need to look no farther than the Ashe Design website and their $5 Friday specials. Each week, Ashe Design offers a selection of their entire template assortment for only $5 each! Best of all, these templates are layered PSD files so customizing them with your teams' colors or adjusting the layout to fit your needs is easy!

If you can't find anything in the Friday specials, the rest of the site is filled with great designs, priced right!

Check out some of the awesome designs we've used. We often tweak colors and placement slightly to fit our needs, but a minor adjustment is far easier than starting from scratch. (And seriously . . . for $5, how can you argue?)

Check them out for yourself at the Ashe Design website!

Have fun!

- David

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Are you deleting files in-camera?

A lot of photographers do . . . and it ends up causing trouble, just like the image you see here.

It's best to not delete in-camera. Here's how it was explained to me:

Think of your memory card like a piece of notebook paper. When you're taking notes, you can write on the lines and everything is easily readable from beginning to end.

Now you reach the end and there's not more room to write. You may write up the side, in the margins, or between lines. Perhaps you draw lines and arrows to connect things you've written down so that they make sense later. You may even erase something you've written in order to write something else in that spot. Erasing can rip the paper or cause confusion as you try to read what you've written over something else.

With a freshly formatted memory card, all the available space is clean and your camera can write on it easily, just like a clean sheet of paper. If you delete (erase) in-camera, there are now those little open spots where your camera can write in the margin. It draws an arrow to let it know where it left off, but sometimes erasing doesn't allow it to be read easily.

Format a new card before each session. Carry additional blank cards. This will keep you from worrying about deleting info you still need space.

Before a memory card goes into my bag, it needs to be clean and formatted. That way, if I put it in my camera and see data, I know not to use it because it's probably not been downloaded yet. Yeah, I carry a ton of cards . . . but I'd much rather be safe than sorry.

Finally, remember that memory cards do have a life expectancy. It's a good idea to number them and replace them every couple of years. Sure, it's an added expense, but we're in business. It's like having backup gear in your bag or backing up files to external drives or cloud servers. Figure it into your cost of doing business.

- David

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Speed Up Your Workflow with

What are some of the things you wish you could delegate to someone else? Cleaning your office? Doing laundry? Yardwork? Grocery shopping?

Sometimes we simply have great intention of getting things done but they get put on the back burner because life gets in the way. Having someone else to

The same is true in our businesses. There are parts of it that everyone loves to do; shooting, sales, delivering a final order. Yet, the bottleneck occurs on some of the in-between stages, such as file preparation, retouching, braces removal, clipping masks and more.

That's where outsourcing your workflow can save you time and money. Yes, I said "save you money." After all, what is your time worth? Are you more productive in the camera room or retouching an image? Where do you make your money; in the sales room or behind the computer?

I've used for a number of years. From retouching projects to clipping masks for compositing images, it's as simple as uploading the image and giving instructions. Turnaround is usually 24 hours (less, in some instances!)

Here's your chance to see it if works for you. Go to and open your account for free.

Get your life back and be more profitable.

- David

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Make the Leap from Shoot and Burn to Product Sales!

Every once in a while, people drop notes asking how to handle various situations. I received this one today from a photographer in a Facebook group. Is this a letter that you could have written?
Hi! I just saw a post on a Facebook photo group about charging $100 for a disk of images versus just offering prints and products I am assuming? She said that you had helped her convert... Well I am one of those photographers that offers sessions for $125 and they get to choose 10 poses for edit and receive a disk of the finished product... it works, but I am leaning more and more towards not offering digital images anymore. I guess the main thing holding be back is the fear of losing clients or not staying busy enough... I am still trying to get my name out there and grow my business and I wish I was busier the way it is... I feel like if I didn't offer a disk then I would slow way down as most of my clients come to me because they want a photographer that offers this. Do you have any words of expertise for me?! I would love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for your time.
- Scared to Switch
Dear Scared -

Thanks for your note and being brave enough to reach out. It's really difficult to make the leap, but the biggest obstacle is how WE think, not how our clients think.

Will you lose some clients by switching to a product-based model? Of course. There are people out there who want cheap. If you raise your prices and still give them the files, odds are they would leave you anyway in search of another $125 photographer. We simply have to get over the fact that these are our "starter clients".

With properly priced product, you WILL make more money. It's a fact. There are a number of photographers in the group who worked a shoot-and-burn model initially, then realized they were putting in hours of their time and talent and not reaping the benefits, emotionally or financially. Ask them; they simply won't go back.

Your fears are identical to theirs. They worried that they would lose clients. They worried that they would slow down. And yes, those things happened.

But then, a funny thing also happened. These same photographers began getting BETTER CLIENTS. Clients who valued the product the photographer produced, not simply the low price these people were charging. Suddenly, they became a good value in a high grade of clientele.

So, the decision is yours. Do the same thing and get the same results, or take the risk to change your model - and believe in it - and start making a decent living in this business.

It's not an overnight thing. You need to plan your pricing and prepare answers for why you're not $125 any longer. You can still offer files, but they need to be priced SIGNIFICANTLY higher.

Is it scary? You're darn right it is.

What's scarier is working as hard as you do for little or nothing.

- David

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Tiger Doesn’t Lose Sleep Over The Opinion Of Sheep

While winding down my evening, I actually found intelligent life on Facebook (or at least someone with the good sense to post this quote.)

"A Tiger Doesn’t Lose Sleep Over The Opinion Of Sheep."
You're thinking "What's so great about that?" Let me tell you why this is something photographers everywhere should embrace.

It seems that almost daily there are new photographers popping up everywhere. The photographers who are already in business often cringe and then make a comment about "mommies with cameras" or "wannabees" or something along that line. In many cases, they feel their own business is being threatened by someone who has moved into the area, purchased a DSLR and a copy of Elements or maybe even Lightroom, and is not telling people they're professional and undercutting the market with their pricing.
These new photographers often have minimal training or feel that since they've watch a class online, they now know what they need to do. Some are offended at the thought of raising their pricing to a decent level, championing the "I want photography to be affordable for everyone" cause, even though it will ultimately cost them their business.

The funny thing is, many of those who are complaining the loudest are the ones who were the most recent newcomers before this batch came along. "OMG, this new person is selling a DVD of images for $100!" (even though they themselves have just been educated to the point where they have stopped selling files and now sell product.)
You can almost watch the herds wander one way and then another, often following each other blindly. None of the "sheep" really know where they are headed, but there's always one who will garner enough attention to get everyone to follow them for a short period.

Now, notice how those who are established in business react. The experienced professionals go about their business in a steady manner, keeping a watchful eye on those around them. Because the tiger has his foothold in the jungle, he isn't concerned with the antics of those around him (unless it's another tiger.)
Jump into any Facebook photography group where this very thing is being discussed almost daily. The responses are nearly identical and come in chorus-like fashion.

"I can't compete with that!"
"Don't they know they're losing money?"
"Should I lower my prices to match theirs?"

Then someone with experience and the voice of reason will pop in and drop a pearl. 
"People make decisions based on quality as well as price. When you put these two things together, it's called 'value'. That's what good clients really want."

Set yourself apart from the sheep of the industry. Be the tiger and take care of your business first.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Selling Only a Disk of Images is a Disservice to Your Clients - Part 2 of 2

So . . . why do photographers say that selling only a disk of images is a disservice to your clients?

As long as we're on the subject of selling a disk of digital images, let me tell you a true story.

A funny thing happened to me last December . . .

I had a colleague from another FB group hand me a session he couldn't cover because he was going to be out of town. He'd told the client that he'd photograph her family and "give her the files" for $300.

During the session, I mentioned to her that I could honor his original agreement, or I could walk her through the ordering process the way I normally do.

Her first question was "What do I do once you give me the disk of files?"

This wasn't a dumb woman; this was a woman who is a corporate executive. However, she doesn't have access to the labs we do, she doesn't know about mounting or finishing. She just wanted a nice family portrait on the wall.

She and her husband returned to the studio to view the images. We went through the view and order process together . . . and $1200 (yes, twelve hundred) later I had an order. A framed wall portrait, some smaller gift prints and a boatload of greeting cards later, she walked out with a huge smile and I had a happy client.
The truth is, many people simply don't know what to do! We - as professionals - are doing them a HUGE disservice to hand over a folder of files. "Edited" or not . . . they have no clue!

It would be like going to a restaurant and having the server thump a raw piece of meat and some uncooked vegetables in front of you, demanding the price of the finished meal in the process.

Operating a service-oriented professional photography business does not mean shoot and burn! It means helping your client place the order and getting them the product they really want.

If you're not willing to help them with this process, who will? If it's too much work for us to do, how will someone who does NOT have the software and knowledge be able to figure it out?

Take the time to work with your clients and help them get to their ultimate goal . . . printed photographic products they can enjoy and display for years to come! 

- David Grupa 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Selling Only a Disk of Images is a Disservice to Your Clients - Part 1 of 2

Photographers everywhere say that selling only a disk of images is a disservice to your clients.
It's a daily debate in the professional world. Do I print photographs, or do I sell images on a disk?

Personally, I feel that any photographer who only sells digital files is doing their clients a huge disservice.

People will tell you they want the digital files "so they can save them." The fact is, they remain packed away or in this case, held captive on a hard drive . . . never to be seen by anyone.

My mom died last September. In the process of cleaning out her house, we found thousands of color slides and black and white negatives. Boxes and boxes were stuffed onto shelves . . . and what did we look at? The photographs that were already printed. Why? Because they were easier to view! We didn't have to pull out a projector for the slides or try and view the negatives on a light table.

Most insurance agents will tell you that the one loss people lament the most after a fire or flood is that of their photo albums. It simply robs them of their irreplaceable memories.

So . . . think about it for a minute. How many people do you know personally (not just the ones you read about online or see on the evening news) who have lost everything due to a disaster such as this? Maybe one? None?

Now, think about all the people you know personally whose hard drives have crashed. I'm willing to bet you can think of 3-4 right off the top of your head.

When I do a bridal fair, I bring along a crashed hard drive to illustrate this point. It sits on the table with a little tent sign saying "I'm going to put these images on my hard drive so I'll have them forever." I also have a 5 1/4" floppy disk (remember those?) with a little sticker that says "What if this was the only way for you to view your parents' wedding photographs or your childhood memories?" CDs and DVDs are on their way out as well . . . they'll be history within a few years. Apple isn't even putting DVD drives in their new computers.

The point is . . . whether they are snapshots or professional portraits, your images deserve to be printed and viewed, not stuck somewhere in limbo waiting for you decide if you want to do something with them later.

Print photographs! 

- David Grupa