Category Archives: Professional Photography

Does Your Website Work On Every Mobile Device?

Itai Sadan is the CEO of Duda, a do-it-yourself website builder for small businesses

It sort of goes without saying that nobody in the world knows the importance of aesthetics more than photographers. So I’m just going to assume that everyone reading this post already knows that your website needs to have an eye-catching, creative, clean and professional look, with examples of some of your best and most diverse work. However, though showcasing your portfolio online is critical, it shouldn’t be the only function of your website. It also needs to be a client conversion engine, and there are a few additional requirements to make that happen.

First and foremost, your site should be optimized for all devices; and I mean all devices. This includes desktop, tablet and mobile. All too often, people focus solely on desktop, disregarding that around 28% of traffic on the web today comes from mobile and tablet devices. So let’s discuss the three device types and best ways to approach each one.

Desktop

A beautiful header image is key, but it’s also a great idea to push your gallery of work right to the front. You may not know what type of event your client is in need of having photographed, so showing your diversity straight away can be a great way to get your site’s visitor immediately engaged.

photographer-website

Ideally, you also want to have some kind of call-to-action near the top. This can be presented as an online scheduling widget, contact form, special promotion your running or anything else you think we’ll encourage your customers to reach out to you.

After all, that’s the point of your website. It’s there to help you drive business.

Tablet

According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project , as of the end of 2013, 42% of US adults now own a tablet. Armed with this knowledge, if I were a photographer, I’d want to be sure the tablet version of my website was in tip-top shape. Though it’s okay that the layout might be similar to mobile, it’s important that as a photographer all the images displayed on your site are optimized perfectly for the tablets screen size. (This keeps them from looking stretched out and pixely.) Duda’s multi-screen website platform, DudaOne, makes tablets a priority along with desktop and mobile, not an afterthought. All of your images are displayed so that none of their quality is lost on each device. You can even customize the experience separately for desktop, tablet and mobile. Something like, making the entire homepage on a tablet an image slider…just a thought.

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8 Things All Photographers Should Have In Their Bags

When you’re out and about on a shoot, it’s important to be prepared for anything. You’ve already got your camera, lenses, flashes, memory cards, batteries, chargers and tripod – the basic necessities. Make sure you aren’t caught off-guard by any surprises by keeping these other important items in your camera bag.

1. Backup camera

While all of the other goodies are useful in a professional shoot, the camera is by far the most important piece of equipment you need to have. If your camera is not working for any reason, having a backup camera will help you continue the session seamlessly and smoothly.

Backup camera DSLR

Photo Credit: Digital Photography Now

 

2. Microfiber cloth

Essential for any professional photographer, a microfiber cloth is the best way to clean dust, dirt and smudges from your lenses and screens. In addition to keeping your equipment clean, a microfiber cloth can be very handy when it comes to wrapping up smaller items in your camera bag to avoid scratches and damages.

Microfiber cloth lens cleaning

Photo Credit: Screen Protective Film

 

3. Air blower

In the same vein as a microfiber cloth, you’ll want to have an air blower to dislodge dust and fine particles of dirt from your sensitive equipment. Naturally it is best to avoid direct contact with your gear to prevent scratching and damaging it, so an air blower is the perfect way to get the gunk out from the smaller crevices. After using an air blower, use a microfiber cloth to get rid of the rest.

Air blower clean camera equipment

Photo Credit: Vimeo

 

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10 Things A Photographer Should NEVER Do At A Wedding

As a wedding photographer, you play one of the most important roles in this couple’s special day. You are documenting this important occasion so that they can look at these images and reflect upon the emotion and joy that was present for years to come. You are providing beautiful memories that cannot be replicated, and you must maintain the utmost professionalism during the wedding day. Here are ten things that a photographer should absolutely never do or say at a wedding.

1. Do not drink alcohol

This should go without saying, but you are working when you are shooting a wedding and under no circumstances should you accept an alcoholic beverage from anyone. Not only is drinking while on the clock extremely unprofessional, but it could potentially impair your ability to produce the best quality images that the bride and groom are expecting from you. The only exception is at the very end of the night when you are certain that your services are no longer needed.

Alcohol champagne wedding

Photo Credit: Wild Basin Lodge

 

2. Do not let the wedding party know about technical difficulties

A wedding day is a hectic affair for the bridal party, and letting them know that you are experiencing technical issues with your equipment adds an extreme amount of stress and panic to the already stressful day. If you are having trouble with any of your equipment, take care of the problem discreetly and quickly so that you don’t cause unnecessary alarm for the wedding. As a professional photographer, you should already have extra cameras and lenses as a backup in case something does go wrong during a shoot.

 

3. Do not use unprofessional language

It may seem like a good idea to be more casual and colloquial with the wedding party and guests so that you can get more candid and relaxed shots, but it is important to remember that you are handling a business transaction and it is inappropriate to speak to your clients as if you are close friends. Use a professional yet conversational tone to help them relax, but don’t get too comfortable and absolutely never use curse words or anything that would be considered offensive.
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What Should Photographers Wear At Weddings?

Weddings are all very different. Some are more casual, with the bride and groom wearing less formal clothing, or even a nice pair of jeans! Others are as formal as they come with the bride, groom and bridal party all in tuxedos and designer dresses. The photographer plays a very specific and incredibly important role in the wedding process. Generally speaking, it’s important for the photographer to blend in, but this is accomplished differently for each and every different wedding.

General Dress Code

With regard to wardrobe for the photographer, it’s a very safe bet to say that men should always wear slacks and ladies should also follow in that direction. Don’t ever show up wearing shorts to photograph a wedding. Even if other guests are there wearing shorts, you should still avoid this. Remember that you are a professional and working in a professional role. While your job is not to be the center (or even off-center) of attention, remember that there are potential future clients at the wedding. Anyone looking ahead to another wedding will be taking notice of the logistics, including you. At even more formal weddings, remember that you need to be comfortably dressed, because you are moving around a lot more than anyone else. You aren’t expected to be dressed in a suit, but make certain that you look respectful of the general dress code. A tie is not a necessity, unless they ask you to wear one. At a formal wedding, ladies should wear comfortable, but dressier pants, with a nice top. Men should wear dress pants and either a button-up shirt and sweater, or possibly a button-up shirt and jacket. This allows you to look professionally dressed, but still able to move around comfortably.

Male wedding photographer outfit

Photo Credit: SLR Lounge

Blending In

Remember also the important concept of being a “fly on the wall.” You want to see everything, but go unnoticed. The wedding is not about you, as you well know, but you have to observe everything and be able to move around freely. This requires a certain degree of blending in. Try to wear more neutral colors or all black and don’t use this as an opportunity to try a wild new look. Be conservatively, but comfortably dressed. Comfort continues to be a driving force, because the photographer is expected to move a lot, and crouching and bending frequently are part of the job. It won’t be hard for people to figure out who you are and what you’re doing because you’re the person holding the camera and doing a lot of moving. But as mentioned before, blending in is essential. The wedding guests are not there to see you and while you’re serving a very important function by preserving the day for posterity, you must still be respectful of the event itself. Part of the reason to avoid wild colors and patterns in your outfit is because you don’t want to distract anyone at all. The click and flash of the camera will be quite enough of that, so don’t let your appearance get in the way even more. Avoid being in a guest’s way and if it’s absolutely necessary, make sure you apologize quietly and get your shot as fast as possible, then move to another location.

Female wedding photographer attire

Photo Credit: Mary Dougherty 

Shoes

Your shoes are also an important consideration in what you wear. Don’t under any circumstances wear a brand new pair of shoes to photograph a wedding. You won’t be doing your feet any favors to say the least. Because of your need to be on the move, make sure you wear a very comfortable pair of shoes that fits with your outfit. (Don’t wear your yard shoes with dress slacks in other words.) Also, please consider the soles of your shoes. A soft sole is extremely important. Wearing a hard sole shoe will cause a whole lot of extra clicking and clacking and is about the farthest thing from inconspicuous. Rule of thumb is that your movements should be as quiet as a mouse.

Professional photographer flats shoes

Photo Credit: Vogue Magz

These suggestions are general ideas and you should certainly remember to take your cue from your client. If they make a specific reference to what they want you to wear, you should always honor that as best as possible. This is your client’s day of course, and while yours is one of the most important functions at the wedding, you have to remember to be very discreet.

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What Every Photographer Should Know About Sales Tax

Many photographers run their own businesses and as small business owners, it is important to be knowledgeable and current on rules and regulations, especially when it comes to taxes. Sales tax can be a tricky subject as it varies from state to state, as well as from product to product. In today’s digital age, the rules of sales taxes become even more important as we differentiate more and more between tangible and intangible goods, such as physical photos and digital downloads. We delve into the details behind the basics of sales tax and when it is applied.

Sales Tax 101

Sales taxes are taxes imposed by the state and local governments (and oftentimes counties) on sales of certain goods and services. Usually the laws require the seller to collect the tax from the consumer when the purchase occurs within the state and to submit the taxes to the local authority. The rates and laws of sales tax differ significantly between states and sometimes even counties and thus have to be carefully checked according to the local laws. The rate of sales tax range from zero in states like Oregon and New Hampshire to 7.5% in states like California. The actual final tax differs by county due to additional local sales tax which can bring the total sales tax rate up to 10% in parts of California and 11% in parts of Alabama.

In general, sales tax is imposed on the sale of tangible assets like toys and clothing. In some states, however, some tangible items are exempt from sales tax, such as certain food products and prescription medications. Items bought from an out-of-state retailer are subject to use tax in many states, which acts as the equivalent to the sales tax from a local merchant.

Even though historically sales taxes were imposed only on physical goods, over time many states have added rules to tax services as well. This occurred in two main ways:

  1. Imposing sales tax on some or all types of services.
  2. Limiting the service tax exemption to exclude services which can be perceived as an inherent part of the final product which is taxable.

In general, manufacturing of a product cannot be considered as “a service” exempt from tax, even if this activity is done for a specific customer. For example, Texas law states:

Persons who are engaged in the business of fabricating, manufacturing, processing, or custom manufacturing must collect sales tax on the total sales price of the manufactured item …The sales price includes the cost of materials, labor or service costs, and all expenses that are connected with production” Source: Texas Administrative Code

The idea behind this is that the labor is so closely connected and integrated with the product that trying to separate the labor from the final product and title it as a “service” is artificial, which comes only to serve a tax avoidance purpose, and thus is forbidden.

Sales Tax and Photography

Let’s go back to the days of film photography. A family steps into a studio of a portrait photographer and has a series of photos done, and after an hour or two they give $2 to the photographer and walk home with a package of portraits. Of course what they bought was the photos; taking the photos was just an inevitable part of the custom manufacturing process of the product. This is also known as “fabrication services.

Portrait photography- fabrication services which require sales tax

sales-tax-for-photographersPhoto Credit: Talent Historical Society

Sales Tax and Digital Photography

When digital photography came around, things started to become a little more complicated. All the work going into creating a physical product (for example a gallery wrap) will be considered taxable, including taking the photo which will be considered fabrication services. Therefore claiming that taking the photos was “a service” which shouldn’t be taxed will be rejected.

But what if there are no physical goods, but just images on a DVD or flash drive as so many wedding photographers do these days? Here things become a little tricky conceptually but not in the eyes of the sales tax man. According to most sales tax authorities this transaction is clearly still within the realms of selling a physical good. The small 1 inch flash drive is the tangible asset that triggers the sales tax liability. Furthermore an attempt to split the fee between the photography “service” (let’s say $1500) and the tangible good ($500 for the drive) will probably be rejected as well, due to the photography being an inevitable part of the custom manufacturing process and fabrication services of the physical good (the drive in this case).

Now with the development of the “cloud,” there are simple solutions to deliver digital files without a need for a tangible good. Does this change anything?  Does such a transaction still require sales tax?

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