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Archive for January 2018

6 Things for Photographers to Tackle During the Slow Season

6 Things for Photographers to Tackle During the Slow Season

In nearly every genre of photography, there’s often a slow season — maybe because the weather has turned and none wants to shoot photos in the snow or maybe simply because that particular industry has a slow season. And while photographers should spend some of that slow season taking a much-needed break, there are other things photographers can do even when photo sessions are thinning out. Here’s six ideas to improve while in the middle of a slow season.

Update your website.

Updating the website often takes a backseat in the middle of the busy season — so use the slow time to catch up. If you’ve been good about getting new photos online quickly, you could still potentially find areas to refresh, like updating the home page or adding a page of new information clients have been asking for. Now is also a great time to integrate better SEO tactics to help more potential clients find you.

Brainstorm and plan seasonal shoots.

Get a jump start by planning ahead some of the sessions that usually happen during the not-so-slow seasons. Mark holidays that would be great for mini sessions, develop new specials for a holiday season or plan something entirely new for later in the year. Take the slower season to also slow down mentally — and open up ideas for new ways to improve when your brain isn’t so filled with all the demanding tasks of a busy season.

Clean your gear.

Hopefully, you occasionally clean off your lenses and such, but the slow season is a great time for a more thorough cleaning. Check your camera sensor for dust spots. Match each lens cap to a lens. Clean out your camera bag from the papers wrappers and other unneeded items that tend to accumulate. If you have photo gear that you’ve recently replaced or don’t need anymore, now is also a great time to clean that out and sell the used gear online.

Schedule social media posts.

Social media may be largely in the here and now — but there’s often a number of posts you can schedule ahead of time to keep your updates more consistent. Start a series about tips or other written posts. Create several #ThrowbackThursday posts. Pre-write those holiday posts wishing followers the best on the day.

Look for new places to publish.

Just because you aren’t out shooting doesn’t mean you can’t find a new spot for your pictures. Exactly what this process looks like depends on what industry you are in, but look for a new place to publish your pictures. Wedding photographers could submit to magazines, and many photographers can send shots that weren’t used to a stock photography platform, for example.

Learn something new.

As artists, there is always a way for photographers to improve. Take the slow season to learn something new. Identify what your weaknesses are whether that’s lighting or business skills and take an online class or pick up a book on the subject. Or, get out of a creative rut by experimenting with an entirely new genre or subject.

Working as a photographer often means an unequal distribution of work throughout the year — but that slow season can just be another opportunity for growth.

5 Trendy Custom Products For Printers in 2018

5 Trendy Custom Products For Printers in 2018

Thanks to technology like dye-sublimation and the internet, personalized products are both easy to find and on trend. Products with a personal touch — whether that’s a name, a photo or a business logo — are gaining in popularity. And print shops can grow their bottom line by jumping on the personalization trend. But what products should be added to that list, and what custom items are duds? Here are some of the trendiest custom products to offer in 2018 for businesses with access to dye-sublimation printers.

Mix the completely custom with local flair.

Products don’t necessarily have to be 100 percent custom to sell well — products catered to your region that are pre-designed can also do well. For example, photographers can sell a line of products featuring a landscape photo of a popular scene. Print studios can create items promoting a local sports team that’s harder to find than the national teams. Other popular options include products that use the outline of the state or country where your business is as well as other designs and saying with local flair. Along with offering these products directly from your business, you could also reach out to gift shops to sell those items with a local touch.

Create custom pillows and other fabric-based home decor.

While decor has always been a popular category for customizing, photographers and printing shops don’t have to stick with just the traditional wall art. Pillows are now easy to custom with a unique graphic or even a photograph. Sublimation printers make printing on pillowcases affordable, while for customers, the custom aspect is an unexpected way to spruce up decor. Other popular options include custom blankets. Sublimation printing can also add a twist to the traditional monogrammed hand towels as well as tea towels.

Decorate with yard flags.

Why not take that custom decor trend outdoors? Yard flags are popular particularly when customized to the area or even to say the family’s name. Local sports teams and other graphics that show local pride are on trend in 2018 and offer a unique aspect that customer’s can’t find just anywhere.

Toss it in a bag or add it to a t-shirt.

Wearables were one of Etsy’s top selling products last year — suggesting customers are looking for custom items they can add to their wardrobe. The best way to do this is to capitalize on local flair, such as designing a t-shirt with the state outline and name, or with a trendy phrase or image that’s growing in popularity, like quoting a new movie or noticing everyone in the area is going crazy for mermaids and creating a line inspired by that trend. Think about apparel items that work well with a printer, like t-shirts and tote bags.

Don’t forget the youngsters.

Kids have always loved custom products, but customization now goes well beyond those pre-made pencils with their names on them in gift shops. Offering customized products for kids is a great way for print shops to expand their lineup. Print custom onsies, for example, or the very popular birthday t-shirts following the youngster’s party theme. Diaper bags and custom blankets are all good options as well.

Dye-sublimation printers make it possible for printers to expand their list of options — and choosing popular products help grow profits too.

How to get the best black and white conversion in Lightroom

How to get the best black and white conversion in Lightroom

Black and white photography is classic. Timeless. And yet, there are so many different ways to create a black and white image. There’s the one-click options. The Instagram-like filters. While these are great for speed, there’s another option for photographers that want to get every shade of gray perfect. By using the HSL panel in Lightroom, you can control how each color converts for the most control over the final results. Here’s how to get the best black and white conversion in Lightroom Classic.

Step 1: Get the exposure right first.

First, correct any exposure errors in the basic panel by adjusting the exposure slider. Having a good exposure from the start before you’ve even converted to black and white will help you make the best decisions on how to convert each color. You can always come back and continue to fine-tune (and probably will).

Inside the basic panel, make sure the color options are untouched, with the white balance as shot and the vibrance and saturation sliders set to zero.

Step 2: Convert to black and white in the HSL panel.

There are multiple ways to convert to black and white, but the HSL offers easy, yet custom control over the way the colors convert. Scroll down to the HSL panel in the right-hand toolbar and click on B & W. Lightroom will then convert the file for you.

Step 3: Control each color channel.

Inside the B & W section of the HSL panel, you can now control how each color converts, making each channel lighter or darker in the conversion. By controlling how each color converts, you can add contrast or create a matte look, make skin tones pop or allow a certain object in the photo to stand out more (or less) from the background.

Lightroom has two different ways to control each color. First, you can use the sliders dedicated to each color, pulling to the left to darken or to the right to lighten and previewing those shots in real time.

Another option is to use the targeted tool, which tends to work better if you aren’t  sure what color channel to adjust for a specific area.. You can find the tool by clicking the circle icon in the upper left corner of the B & W sidebar. Now, you can control the conversion with your mouse instead of the slider. As you hoover over areas of the image, the corresponding color slider will be highlighted, allowing you to see what colors are in that selection. Click that area of the image and drag the mouse up to lighten or down to darken. Just like using the sliders, only that color channel (or channels in some cases) will be affected.

Adjust each color channel until you have achieved the desired look — and remember, Lightroom is non-destructive so you can go back and make changes again later.

Step 4: Finish the edits.

Editing a black and white image doesn’t have to be done only in the B & W panel. With the colors converted, you can continue editing the shot as you normally would — just avoid the controls typically associated with color like saturation and white balance. You can fine-tune the exposure, create even more contrast using curves, apply local adjustments such as a dodge and burn, or sharpen the image.

Black and white photographs are often powerful images, but in order to harness that power, you need to control the conversion. Thankfully, black and white edits are both simple and versatile inside Lightroom.