While we’ve had tutorial videos and archived webinars forever, today we’re happy to show you the latest additions to our library: How to Buy Prints & Downloads.
Two New Videos for You to Share
Pros have often asked us for tools that will help sell more prints, gifts, and downloads, because occasionally your fans need a little extra push. So we’ve created a long-format tutorial (7:58) and a short-format tutorial (4:52) showing your fans how to add photos to the shopping cart, understand those framing and cropping options, and check out. Here’s the short version:
We hope that you’ll share these with your clients, or even embed them into your site so that they’re viewable at any time. Tip: Use Customize > Customize Site and drop a YouTube video Content Block onto the page. You can get the video link above.
Here’s to smoother sales at SmugMug!
P.S. Did you know that we have a 100% guarantee on all items ordered through your SmugMug galleries? If you or your customer are not happy for ANY reason, we’ll fix it or replace it for free. We mean it.
Links you’ll love:
… and use your powers for good, not evil.
A quick update this morning for pros who use right-click protection to stop thieves from grabbing your pics: we’ve added the ability to customize the message that displays when viewers right click your protected photos.
This is something that you could do using CSS customization in Old SmugMug, but we think it’s such an important piece of building a great experience on your site, we wanted to make it drop-dead simple for you to do this in the new, beautiful SmugMug.
Get It Set Up
Visit your Account Settings and look under your Privacy tab. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see a brand new “Right-Click Message” field. Fill that out, save your changes, and test right-clicking on photos in your protected galleries to see how it looks. Here’s more help.
Tip: We recommend being firm but friendly. If you have prints for sale, ask them to look for the Buy button to grab one of your photos in a legit way.
A Word About Image Theft
As always, we want to share some helpful info about image protection and what to expect. After all, if you’re paying us for a pro-level account, you should get the best bang for your buck!
We hear a lot from ambitious pros who rely on tools like Right-Click Protection way more heavily than they probably should. Why’s this bad? Right-Click Protection is just a deterrent, and if someone really wants to download a free copy of your image, there are several things they’ll try. For example, they can snap a screen grab, so be sure to use the full suite of image protection tools if you’re really worried about this. Here’s a quick review of your options:
- Right-Click Protection. Displays a popup window when any part of the gallery is clicked. Fabulous when coupled with a warm, friendly message encouraging fans to buy.
- Display Size. Limits the size of the images viewers can see. Great for foiling screen grabbers.
- Watermarking. Logo or text placed over your display copies. Add your URL, enable sharing, and you’ve got yourself a ton of free advertising for your biz. The best bit? Your prints still print clean.
We hope this helps those of you who are new to SmugMug, are new to photography, or who just haven’t fiddled with your site lately and are looking to brush up on the basics.
And as always, be sure to let us know if you have questions, problems, or just need some advice getting your site working the way you want. We’re here.
SmugMug Pros in the UK and beyond, we’ve just added three new gorgeous products to your Loxley catalog! We’re so excited to finally deliver some of the newer creations from one of the most highly regarded print labs in the world, and a new way to sell them to your clients.
1) Acrylic Gallery
The Acrylic Galleries feature your print mounted behind crystal clear acrylic for a razor sharp, stunning effect.
2) Single and Dual Colour Desk Frames
Perfectly portable for your home or office, this modern alternative to the traditional desk frame gives you a dark or light option to complement any decor. Additionally, your image stays durable with a protective satin heat seal.
3) Print Wraps
Loxley Colour’s Print Wraps stand proud of the wall with a uniquely padded, tactile surface that is so much more interesting than the standard print and frame. It’s lightweight and laminated for durability so you can invite your clients to touch and feel the difference.
NEW! Price and Sell Packages Through Loxley Colour
Lots of SmugMug Pros wanted to sell Packages through Loxley Colour, and now you can. Packages let you set a single price on a collection of different print products, making it easier for clients to check out. Take a look at the complete Packages help page for more info, to see the customers’ experience, and to get started.
NEW! Invoices for VAT Registered Pros
We’ve made a few changes to the way you’ll deal with VAT if you’re a VAT registered pro. We’ll begin sending you and your clients invoices, so keep an eye out for those and be sure that your account information is present and correct. We’ve sent emails about this to all pros in the EU with more details, so please refer to that if you have specific questions about collecting VAT on your SmugMug pro sales.
Will these new print products take extra time to manufacture/process?
Acrylic Prints, Print Wraps and Desk Frames take an additional 3-4 business days for manufacture and processing, so please be sure to build in enough leeway if you or your clients need their prints by a specific date. Also, don’t forget to consider shipping times, too.
How do I set my pricing again? And what are the details on getting paid the money I earn?
Remember: With a Portfolio or a Business account, you can easily set a markup over our base print prices and keep 85% of the sale. We provide step-by-step instructions on how to manage your Pricelists, as well as everything you need to do to get your profits paid to you.
I’m in the USA. Can’t you add more products from your other labs?
We’d love to! We’re always looking to update the catalog of products we offer from our labs and we’ll update this space whenever we do. Stay tuned!
Any tips for me as a pro who wants to offer these new products?
If you’re new to selling or just need some fresh ideas, here are a few of our suggestions for adding these new prints to your lineup:
- Desk frames. You may be low on wall space, but we’re pretty sure you’ve got a desk. Because of their compact size, Desk Frames are a perfect way to brighten up even the tightest corners of any room.
- Print Wraps. These are so unique, it’s a no-brainer opportunity to offer your customers a fun, new way to display their memories. Despite their light weight, Print Wraps are ready-to-hang without a frame so we recommend that you keep your final (pro) price consistent with other finished prints of this size.
- Acrylic Gallery These gorgeous prints turn your photos into something truly show-worthy! They’re perfect for getting a completely upscale look for your walls. Again, if you already sell finished and framed prints to your clients, we recommend you price your Acrylic Gallery prints consistently with those.
We hope you love the new offerings through Loxley and will share your experiences with us, too. As always, talk to our Support Heroes if you ever have any questions about buying, selling or anything you can do on SmugMug.
Making the Leap from Mom to Pro
As the new school year creeps closer, it’s time for many of us to transition back from full-time parent to full-time pro.
This month’s SmugMug podcast features Clickin Moms’ teacher and mom extraordinaire, Alicia Gould, of Alicia Gould Photography. Like many professional photographers, she started out by taking photos of her family, then watched her hobby blossom into a successful pro business. We sat down and asked her about all the fun and hard work that many women experience when making the leap, and what issues you might face when you start your own new business.
You’ll hear answers to questions like:
- Do you need previous experience or an artistic background?
- How and why you should balance your time with your family?
- How do you judge success as a momtographer?
- What’s the most important decision you can make when starting your business?
- What are some unexpected mistakes you may end up making?
- What kind of equipment is in a successful family photographer’s kit?
Photo by Alicia Gould Photography
Download the podcast right here and have a listen while you put the finishing touches on your latest summer photos. We think you’ll be inspired to take your shooting to a whole new level!
Composing Images in a Natural World
If you prefer photographing trees to toddlers, join our upcoming webinar, featuring world-reknown nature photographer Steve Gettle.
We’ll focus on the many elements that make up the composition of a beautiful nature image, using hundreds of examples and practical, real world situations. You’ll learn the “rules” of composition as well as when and why to break them. You’ll find out how to see the picture, and how to work a subject to maximize the potential of every situation.
In addition, we will cover how to control such things as lighting, backgrounds, depth of field and perspective to enhance your composition.
Composing Images in a Natural World
Thursday, August 29th, 2013
8:00 PM ET, 7:00 CT, 6:00 MT, 5:00 PT and 1:00 AM BST
Photo by Steve Gettle
***UPDATE!*** You can watch the recorded webinar on our YouTube channel.
We hope that everyone out there has been having a great summer full of wonderful experiences… and the pictures to prove them!
These days, everyone has a website and we think they’re great. But how do you know exactly what your friends, family and fans are really thinking when they see it? And if you’re a pro making money from your craft: Are you sure that your site is doing everything it can to get you clients and seal the deal? How much business are you losing from silly mistakes?
After browsing tons of sites and hearing the advice from our marvelous team of Support Heroes, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you get the best, most effective and appealing website you possibly can.
1) Your Contact Information
Omitting or hiding ways for people to reach you is a grave mistake, one that you may not even know you’re making. Think it through: If someone finds your site and wants to talk with you, how would they do it? If you forget to include your contact information (or hide it several clicks deep), would you expect them to spend more than 5 minutes hunting for it before they give up? Chances are you don’t even have that long before they move on.
It’s true that putting your email address or phone number out in public can be risky. But there are plenty of great ways to let your fans reach out to you without throwing the door open to everyone that walks by.
What you should do: First and foremost, have a way to contact you either at the top, bottom, or in the navigation bar of your website. With SmugMug it’s easy to add a link using the Easy Customizer, plus we highly recommend that SmugMug Portfolio and Business users fill out the Customer Email info in their Account Settings. This way, anyone clicking the “Contact” link in your footer will get a safe, handy pop-up box where they can send you a direct message. You can even customize the text and place that link in your navbar.
The great thing is that everyone has a website these days, including you. But the downside is… everyone has a website these days. How will you stand out? The answer is: Be yourself! You have a personality and it’s completely unique. Use your witty language, goofy selfies or whatever it takes to show the world that you’re way more than just another link on the web. Talk about what drives you and why you’re so passionate about your work. They’ll absolutely love meeting you in your studio or your next gallery show.
What you should do: It’s hard to talk about yourself and it’s even harder to weed out what strangers want to hear (vs what’s TMI), but don’t be afraid to browse through some of your favorite websites and see what sticks in your mind about their bios. And what doesn’t.
3) Punctuality, Punctuation, Competence
Nothing looks more sloppy than a super-slow website with broken images and dead links. Even if you aren’t looking to make money through your website, you still want to look poised, polished, and perfect as any pro. Right? So do a regular audit of your site, click those links and update them regularly to make sure they work the first time, every time. When you’re logged out of your site and viewing like a guest, what do you see?
What you should do: On SmugMug, we already give you warp-speed page loads and unlimited traffic and sharing. So become as famous as you want. We can take it. Our Share button will generate handy share and embed links for all your photos, so you can be sure those images look beautiful every single time.
Your gorgeous photos may speak for themselves, but if your site’s a mess the message will still get lost. K.I.S.S. When you have house guests you clean up, so extend the same courtesy to your online space. No one needs to see (or trip and fall into) the photographic equivalent of your laundry pile.
What you should do: Curate a few examples of your very best work and make it easy to find via a slideshow, featured gallery at the top of your homepage, or a straightofrward link in your navigation bar. Similarly, create a clearly-labeled About page and a way for them to contact you. Love to archive? That’s OK. Just keep the rest of your photos neatly organized, too, so leisurely browsers can find their way around.
5) Your Brand
Panic not, weekend warriors. Even if you’re not a working professional, it’s important – but easy! – to give your viewers a unified look and feel that translates to a cohesive experience. Yes it sounds markety, but simply using the same colors and font size from page to page can keep your fans feeling grounded and sure that you’ve got your stuff together. And you do, right?
If you’re a pro, having your company’s name, logo and a simple set of colors can be all you need to say, “Yeah, I got it.”
What you should do: Customization on the new SmugMug is as easy as drag-and-drop. You can add your own logo to the top of your site, pick your own colors and even create your own Themes that match your brand. It’s easiest to just try it, but you can get an idea of how it’s done by browsing the articles on our help pages.
What you should do (for Legacy SmugMug): The Easy Customizer makes it easy for Power Users, Portfolio and Business SmugMuggers to add a custom logo graphic to the top of every page. Choose matching colors using the tools under the Background, Text, Boxes and Photos bars and you’re all set to go. Read more about our customization options here, and, pros, don’t forget about Order Branding, too.
6) Your Services
The key to making great sales is to do the thinking for potential customers so they don’t have to. The most basic way to do this is to be crystal-spanking-clear about what your specialities are and which services you offer. Whether you shoot BMX, babies or brides, making it obvious in your brand and portfolio is the best (and most efficient) way to make sure that the right customers are finding you. After all, if you’re a commercial fashion photographer, do you want to be fielding questions from the local high school sports team?
What you should do: Create a specific page on your site that lists out what services that you do offer, and give your fans a phone number, email address or other way to get in touch with you. If you just want a guestbook for comments, we recommend uploading at least one photo and turning on comments so folks can say hi. Check out FAQ 29 and 30 to see how to do this if you’re using Legacy SmugMug. Here’s a tutorial that shows you how to create a custom page in the all-new SmugMug.
7) Your Best Work
People are looking to see just what you’re made of, so this is your chance to sum it up and show it off. Curate a gallery that contains the best examples of what you do and keep it updated with fresh new photos as you take them. Choose images that really show that you love what you do, and show the full breadth of your abilities: Lighting, posing, serendipity, emotion… this is what people love to see! As an added bonus, you’re choosing the clients and fans who resonate the most with what you do.
What you should do: Take a swing through the photos that you remember best and that you think represent yourself. It can be hard, but you can always use Collect Photo to add a virtual copy to one gallery, then easily remove the ones that you don’t think make the cut.
8) Your Location
The web is a wonderful thing and brings people near and far to your doorstep, but this can be a setback, too. For example, it’s obvious to you that your town of Springfield is in New Jersey, but potential Googlers in Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon and Missouri may not be so sympathetic. Be specific about the areas that you serve so that you’ll score top search results by clients looking to hire locals like you.
What you should do: If you talk about your location in your homepage or About page, be specific about the state or country where you’re willing to work. You can also add those terms and keywords in your Account Settings > Discovery > Search section so that Google and other search engines pick you up ASAP.
9) Good Grammar
Need we say anything about this, really? Your website is a representation of you, right down to the words you’ll use. Please be sure you make sense, you’ve put in the effort to have it proofread by someone else, and that everything looks as clean and polished as you are.
What you should do: Write, edit, then get a second (or third, or fourth) opinion. Read the copy on your site out loud. Check your spelling. Sleep on it, then read it again. All the usual tricks of the trade will help you step back and get as much perspective as possible. The best part is that any- and everything is easily changed on your SmugMug site at any moment… so edit as much as you like!
We hope that these 9 tips come in handy the next time you’re spring cleaning your website. Got more great ideas for getting fans finding you? Please share!
- Account Settings and what they do
- SmugMug’s four fabulous account types
- Get a Link to share (with one click)
- How to feature slideshows and galleries on your homepage
- Get organized with Categories
- How to start branding with the Easy Customizer
- What are my customization options?
- Order Branding: The SmugMug pro’s secret weapon
- Leverage SmugMug to make the most money
- Copy-and-paste customization FAQ
- Collecting photos for easy portfolios
- SEO made easy on SmugMug
We talked with fashion photographer Dallas Nagata White the other week and she primed the pump for a great month of behind-the-biz fashion secrets. Our next post is an interview with two of the key elements behind every one of their shoots: the wardobe and hair stylist.
Tyson Joines has been dressing the some of the industry’s biggest celebrities for the past 4.5 years, including Bruno Mars, Kimora Lee Simmons, Kat Graham, Debbie Matenopoulous and Holly Madison. Hawaii native Mel Mariano sculpts show-worthy hair from the salon to the runway, transforming models into muses. Both have taken the time to shed some light about what it’s like to work with photographers in the fashion business, and just why it’s best to let pros like them handle the heavy lifting when it matters most.
With so many talented people working at once for the final image, who takes creative lead on the shoot?
Mel: I’ve noticed that the photographer is the “creative lead” in all the shoots I have done in the past. But what I truly appreciate is when they allow me (the hairstylist) and the makeup artist to use our own creative ideas to help bring their vision to life.
Tyson: If there’s a Creative Director involved on a shoot, then they would take the lead. From my experiences, on smaller projects that don’t have a Creative Director, it’s usually the photographer that takes the lead creatively.
What kinds of questions should the photographer consider for you before the shoot?
Tyson: Communication can be really natural and easy, or it can be like pulling teeth, depending on the team you’re working with. I have experienced both spectrums myself. Some questions I’d need to consider before the shoot are: What are the photos going to be used for? What is the concept? Is their pay involved or is it a trade shoot? If it is a trade shoot, how soon can I expect to see the photos? As a stylist, it’s also important that I know the models measurements, too.
Mel: If there are any changes to be made then communication on that part must be good and clear. I listen and adapt well to different ideas while still following the concept we discussed. So if there are any styles they want me to create, I usually am good in thinking on the spot if its a sudden change or a “spark” of a new idea happens!
How much time is needed to plan and execute a photo shoot? How much input do you have in crafting the mode’s look?
Mel: The makeup artist and I have a little system: I usually start and set up the hair, depending on the look, while she sets up her makeup. Once I have completely set up the model’s hair she then starts on the make up. Then once the make up is complete, I come back in and finish the hair style and mold it to desired look.
Tyson: The time span when planning a shoot really depends on the urgency of the shoot, and your connections when putting a team together. The stylist has a fair amount of say in the shoot; the clothes after all, are the first thing you notice when you look at a photo.
What are the tools of your trade?
Mel: I keep things simple, I don’t like complicated things. Using the right product for any job is key, as well as the technique in hand. Always want to “work smarter, not harder”. A simple setting of the hair can lead to various hairstyles I can create in the end.
Tyson: My tools as a stylist are really simple and accessible. A wardrobe stylist needs a steamer, garment racks, pins (clothes, safety), double stick tape, masking tape to tape the soles of shoes, garment bags, hangers, a sewing kit, and a retagging gun for merchandise tags.
How do you manage outdoor photo shoots and the dramatic Hawaiian weather?
Mel: Sometime we play things by ear, keep updated with weather reports especially if its an outdoor shoot. Or if worst comes to worst we change location. Not a difficult task since most of us are from the island we always have a “Plan B” location in mind already, or a default location/studio if available.
Tyson: Outdoor shoots are really tricky to execute. You obviously can’t control the weather, so you need to work with what you’re given. For instance with regard to wind, hopefully the models hair would be pulled back out of her face or in a similar style that works well with movement so she doesn’t have to fuss with it.
What happens on the day of the shoot? Walk us through a typical day on the job.
Tyson: Hopefully when the day of the shoot comes around, the stylist has already done a fitting with the model, and the photographer has scouted the location. On the day of the shoot, the make up artist and model usually arrives first to start hair and make up. The stylist typically arrives next, sets up their garment racks, and starts steaming clothes and picking looks to wear from his or her options. The photographer arrives last and shortly after shooting should begin. Once every look is finished being shot, the stylist will change the model into their next outfit, and the make up artist will do touch ups as needed.
Mel: We arrive on location for call time with the hairstylist, makeup artist, and model. Then we introduce ourselves if its a first time working with the model and typically we always compliment the model right away. A “good vibe” from the start is the best impression and helps keep the mood that way during the shoot. The model can produce great pictures if she feels good the whole time! Then I would get started on her hair, setting it with the curling iron and prong clips. Once that is done, the makeup artist can start on the makeup process. Then towards the end of makeup being done I start taking down the set I created and mold and style the hair to the desired look. If they will be photographing multiple looks, I can easily build those on as the look changes. And while the photographer is shooting, I step in when needed in-between shots to touch up the hair. Our goal is to make her look perfect in every shot!
What contracts, insurance and other business details need to be looked after?
Tyson: Typically more established stylists have some sort of business insurance. That tends to cover lost or damaged clothing which sometimes happens on shoots. The photographer may have a release form for the model to sign stating the stipulations of photo usage.
Mel: I am not too aware of contracts on my part, but if their is a model release form required by the photographer then that gets taken care of between them.
What is your opinion on Trade For Prints (TFP)?
Mel: TFP is basically working so that everyone involved will share the final images to use in their own portfolios. I have done a few for the purpose on building my portfolio, and I don’t mind doing it at all.
Tyson: I think TFP shoots are great in certain situations. If you’re just starting off, a stylist TFP is a great way to hone your skills and work with people who are at a similar talent level. I do think there is a time when TFP shoots need to be stopped. When you have a solid amount of work under your belt and after you have established yourself as a respected worker, it’s time to set monetary rates and launch your business!
What does the ultimate dream job look like for you?
Mel: Ultimately, I want to work on big jobs and big time shoots. Locations of the shoots would probably be all over the nation and even international private and popular spots or studios. Everyone would be so professional that I would only take 5 hours, tops, for multiple looks and shooting time.
Tyson: The ultimate dream job for me would be a really intricate high fashion shoot with a supermodel, and a world renowned photographer. I can just imagine the couture dresses that would be on set, and the amazing locations we would shoot at.
Is it generally expected that you’ll get copies of the photos to use for your own portfolio?
Mel: I always would expect to use the photos because it is always my work in the photo. I wouldn’t sell them for any reason but simply use them for my portfolio work. I always ask permission from the photographer first.
Tyson: If it is a TFP shoot, yes, it is expected (and pretty common knowledge) that photos will be provided to the entire team. If there is no monetary compensation, then photos would be my payment.
If you had to pick 3 things that you wish photographers would consider when working with stylists, what would they be?
Mel: Every photographer is different in how they direct, so it varies with most. If they aren’t thinking about any aspects of the shot except lighting and angle, then as a versatile hairstylist I look out for the overall look and appearance of the model. For example, if the hair needs to be fixed or out of the model’s face, if the makeup got smudged and needs to be blended out, or if the clothes are a bit off or look awkward then I would help out with adjusting that, too. The best part of working with a team is having that extra help, even if its not your job. I don’t mind at all.
How would you suggest up-and-coming photographers get started with finding a stylist to work with?
Mel: Work of mouth is the best way, and networking at the same time. For every shoot I do I make sure I pass out my business cards to everyone. You never know who may need my hair expertise for future work, and I’ll always be up to get more experience and meet more artists!
Tyson: If you’re just starting out as a photographer, you can find stylists on websites like ModelMayhem.com,lookbook.nu etc. Be sure to check with the other creatives involved in the shoot, (hair, make up), as they will probably have several references for you.
What are the benefits of hiring pro stylists for individual client portrait sessions?
Mel: Hair and makeup stylists know the vision and how to execute the desired look effortlessly. And when you fully trust in their knowledge and skill, it makes everything go smoothly!
Tyson: Hiring a stylist will really benefit everyone involved in the shoot from the client to the photographer. The client gets a shape flattering, (hopefully) stunning outfit, and the photographer gets his or her photo’s enhanced to the fullest visually. The outfit the client is wearing is one of the first things that will pop out at you when someone is reviewing your photos.
If there is anything else that you want to comment on about the the fashion world, working with models and photographers, or anything you’d want to suggest to up-and-coming portrait photographers?
Mel: Fashion is everywhere we go, everyone has a different eye for art and creativity. The one thing that connects us all together when working as one is that “creative eye.” All artists (hair stylist, makeup, photographer, stylist) need have an “open mind.” Once you close your mind to other artist’s ideas, you lose all possibilities of the work being even better than what one could imagine. Always have a good personality and keep it professional while having fun! I’m sure we all LOVE what we do, and thats what makes everything worth it!