business

The Art of the Printed Photo by Emily Margaret

The printed photo is not dead. It's true that digital images are convenient and what most people expect from photographers, and maybe it's because I'm a member of the millennial/hipster generation, but I believe printed photos will never go out of style.

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If you're like me, photographer or not, you probably have hundreds of photos currently sitting archived in your phone or computer, where you can't see and enjoy them. Digital images are convenient for sharing and offer the insurance of a backup, but there's nothing like having prints on your walls and a photobook in your hands.

When a client and I discuss the kind of collection that they want, the topic of digital images vs prints usually comes up. While all of my collections include digital images, I always encourage my clients to also choose a few prints or photobook of their session. I do this for several reasons:

  • Experience: which would you prefer- an intangible digital photo, or a set of prints beautifully wrapped and presented to you from the photographer who carefully created the images? With my business, I aim to build a relationship with each client to create an experience and invest in their story, rather than be like any other photographer at the local mall.
  • Integrity: professionally printed photos ensure the quality of the photo will not be compromised. Most budget printers (wal-mart, walgreens, target, etc) do not produce an accurate representation of the original image, while a professional lab will maintain the integrity of the photo.
  • Fun: there's nothing very fun about a digital file, but having professionally-shot images on the walls of your home or a photobook to show your family is. For example, my photobooks are popular with the parents of my high school seniors because they loving having something to show off to their friends and family, and it's much more fun to look at than an ipad. I've seen this also to be true in my own home, as we have a large family portrait near the front door that has been commented on my everyone who visits our home.
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When digital images first came on the scene, it appeared that physical prints would never be seen again, but lately with the growth of brands such as chatbooks and artifact uprising, this is definitely not the case. As more photographers talk about the value of the printed photo, I'm excited to see more people making the most of their images with physical prints. 

Is it important to you to have prints or books of your photos? Why or why not?

What I've learned in my first year of business by Emily Margaret

As I shared earlier this week, October 1 was the one year anniversary of my photography business. My little baby is growing up! In addition to celebrating my business' birthday with a mini session giveaway (which you can enter now through October 18th!) I thought I'd share a bit of what I've learned in my first year as a small business owner. (Beware, this is a wordier post than usual!)

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  • Starting a business takes a LOT of work, especially prep work before you even start the actual business. You have to learn about the national and local laws regarding the type of business, taxes, and other permits and licenses you have to have. Fortunately, the internet is a great resource and there are many website dedicated to photographers.
  • A photography business is 20% photography, 80% other stuff. The actual amount of time that I spend taking photos is very small compared to the other tasks that I do. Most of that "other" time is taken up by photo editing, with the rest being spent bookkeeping, emailing, blogging, managing social media/marketing, doing taxes, blogging, and planning for shoots. If you're thinking about going into business, photography or other, you have to be okay with doing all the other things that come along with it, not just the parts you love. 
  • Network (in-person). Sure, everyone is on facebook and instagram and twitter, but only having an online presence won't get you the exposure that going out and meeting people will. Finding local groups and events to be involved in will allow people to actually meet you and learn about what you do, and you'll create real relationships with them. I have a few upcoming blog posts that will expound on this a bit more.
  • There's always more to learn, even if you think you've learned it all.
  • Set boundaries or else your business will take over your life. Seriously. I have a job in addition to having my business and I also want to have a social life and time to relax. Before I gave myself limits, I was spending too much of my time outside of work on my business and was actually starting to get burnt out. Now, I set limits and have a few tricks to keep things at a more manageable level, like taking social media-less weekends, being an email ninja, and setting time limits for getting things done (like writing blog posts or editing a set of photos).
  • Create systems. Ever since I've streamlined my workflows, it makes things so much faster and easier to keep up with. I have a workflow for things like client inquiries, photo editing, and blogging, and it's cut down a lot on the time I have to spend on each of them. It took me awhile and several revisions to get to this point, but it's definitely been a good decision.
  • Don't put things off for tomorrow when you can do it today.

This first year has been lots of learning and trying, and I'm excited to see what year two will hold. What is something you've learned lately, business-related or not?

Why I blog by Emily Margaret

This spring marked my 2nd year of blogging and it feels like it's been so much longer. 

My first blog began as a way to share my early photography work with family and friends. I was in the midst of a slightly slower semester in college and was itching for a creative outlet, and not vary many people knew about my growing hobby. I had been an avid blog reader for several years and thought I could totally do that. Nowadays, I blog for so many more reasons.

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To share my photography
When I first started blogging, I was taking lots of photos but many of my friends and family didn't know because the images stayed in the depths of my hard drives. Now that I have my business, blogging is a way to share my work where prospective clients can see what I do, and to take part in the creative online community.

To market my business
By blogging, I can show what I do, share a bit of who I am, and talk about the why behind what I do. By actively writing and posting, I build credibility within my business. I also use my blog to let others know about any special offerings and events with which I'm involved. Personally, when I am looking to work with someone, I am many times more likely to choose someone who blogs, rather than someone who doesn't.

To meet new people and grow relationships
 One of my favorite things about blogging is the community. Through blogging, I've met new photography clients, become friends with other photographers and creatives, and connected with small-business owners. The blogging network allows me to connect with like-minded people and it's just plain fun.

To learn and share knowledge
I wouldn't know nearly as much about photography if it weren't for the bloggers who openly share their knowledge. While my blog isn't focused on photography techniques and tips, I hope to teach or inspire my readers in someway or another when they read one of my posts. Encouraging others to be creative in all areas of their lives and showing how they can use their creativity to help others is something I love doing and aim to do with my blog.

Are you a blogger? What is the why behind your blog?

My top 10 must-haves for running my small photography business | Behind the Scenes by Emily Margaret

I love reading posts about how other creatives run their businesses and what things they like to use. Today, I thought I'd share my top 10 must-haves for running my photography business.

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  1. My camera + lenses. I currently use a Canon T3i/600D and my 50 mm f/1.8 lens. The 50mm stays on my camera 95% of the time and it's my favorite for portraits because of the lovely bokeh it makes.
  2. Adobe Lightroom 5. My favorite editing program hands-down. I used to use Photoshop Elements, and still do occasionally, but Lightroom is so much faster and cuts my editing time way down.
  3. Google drive + Gmail. I store client contracts and other documents on google drive so I can easily access them and email them to clients. I love Gmail's  labels and categories, which help me organize my inbox. (Pro-tip: I'm a big believer in inbox zero.)
  4. Wave Apps. Wave is a free online accounting system and I use it to create invoices, keep track of payment dates, and general bookkeeping.
  5. Pixieset online photo galleries. I mostly deliver photos to my clients via USB drive but there are occasions when doing an online gallery is more convenient (like out of town clients or mini sessions). I can also offer prints and digital photos through the gallery, which is useful when my clients' family members want to order their own prints or digitals.
  6. My iPad. I use it to check my business and personal email and for listening to podcasts, Pandora, Coffitivity, or watching Netflix while I work.
  7. Squarespace - my website/blog host. I love love love Squarespace. From their clean + minimalist site templates to how easy it is to customize and use their websites, it's the perfect way to have a professional site or blog.
  8. My big white binder. I bought one of those generic 2" white binders from the office supply store and I use it to organize my client contracts, blog editorial calendars, client meeting notes, and other various business papers.
  9. Instagram. Yes, I'm including a social media platform in my list of business running must-haves. I'm working on a series of blog posts on why Instagram is my favorite form social media and how it's been such a great thing for my business. I use it for connecting  with clients, photographers, local businesses/creatives, and it's a great place for finding inspiration.
  10. Lotion and lip balm. I can't go anywhere without them. For everyday, I love oatmeal lotion, but when I want something with a fragrance I love philosophy's falling in love. As for lip balm, I have to be careful of which kind I use so right now I'm liking both the Say Yes to Coconut Naturally Smooth Lip Balm and Maybelline's Baby Lips Dr. Rescue.

If you run a blog/business, what are some of your top must-haves?