The Top Ten Headshot Photography Questions Answered with Peter Hurley
Go out and start taking headshots! Join Peter Hurley as he brings you the answers to the top 10 headshot questions he gets asked the most. In this class you’ll learn how to chill out your subject, how to get started with a limited budget, how to make people look their best, and how to fix all kinds of things that come up during a shoot. From gear choices to working with clients, Peter doesn’t only provide the answers, he demonstrates how he works with live subjects, so you get to see it all from start to finish in a series of shoots with a variety of people. To really get the most out of it though, you’ve got to apply it, and by the end of the class you’ll be ready to get started.

In Case You Missed It
Mastering Headshot Photography isn’t about the technical aspects of lighting or gear, instead it’s all about learning how to pull expression out of your subject. It all comes down to the communication between you and your subject, and you’re the one responsible for making it happen. Join Peter Hurley in his studio while he works one-on-one with a variety of different subjects and teaches you his favorite tips and techniques for connecting with your clients, building their confidence in front of the camera, and bringing out authentic expression.This is a must-see course for any portrait photographer!

Photo by Levi Sim

If Your Goal Is Income from Photography, Your Approach MUST Be to Learn and Evolve —
That’s Why I Teach Video for Still Photographers

A lot of pro shooters who are making their living with still images, along with shooters who are looking at photography as a source of income, can get discouraged with income potential these days. Sure, a bunch of people are making a good living, but it’s not as easy as it used to be.

A big part of the challenge is because so many people take pictures with their phones. And another challenge is that affordable DSLRs available at big box stores can capture some amazing images. There are all kinds of automation and intelligent algorithms in modern DSLRs and that help average shooters grab some really solid shots. Some could even pass for ‘professional’ images.

It’s no secret that making money as a photographer requires professionals to bring something extra to the table. There’s technique. Customer service. Unique style. Post processing skills. And there’s no question that an understanding of lighting can make your images stand out, especially if you know how to use speedlights or constant lights, and you have a real understanding of photographic principles like depth of field and composition.

Larry in a training video for Canon USA

The problem is human nature; how we want to learn and understand something and even “master” it, and then we want it to stay that way because we’ve mastered it. Look at the school system… You go there. You learn. You get a diploma or a degree. You finish learning. And then you get a job.

Things don’t work that way. They always change. And if you really did stop learning instead of making lifelong learning a part of your life, you will limit your potential and probably put yourself out of work.

I’m thrilled by all the learning that’s available online these days. — No, this isn’t a commercial for KelbyOne, where I have some excellent classes about lots of camera models and DIY money-savers for photographers. ;-) — It’s really my belief system. And it’s the reason I worked at Kelby Media for a decade, and now I’m out on my own, continuing with online training. I see the things that can be done to help photographers be better. To make a great living at photography. And I get EXCITED!!

I happen to believe that simple videos can be added to a still photographer’s business and make clients happier while future-proofing business for photographers. Whether or not you decide to go down that path, you need to do something to keep learning, growing, and staying ahead of the masses. You need to keep learning so you can always be better and smarter than (or at least as smart as) your competition, so you can stay in business and thrive. Lifelong learning will future-proof your success.

Before you freak out and start yelling at Scott’s blog, “Hey Becker!! If I wanted to shoot video I’d go to film school!!” Just slow down for a second and hear me out…

I’m not talking about crafting a film, or learning cinematic camera angles, or cinematic storytelling, or even editing. I’m talking about flipping the toggle on your DSLR while you’ve got a standard portrait setup, and just grab a few minutes of your subject talking. Granted, you’ll need to use constant lights instead of strobes, and you’ll need a better microphone than the one that’s built into your camera, but there’s not much more to it than that.

There’s a kind of very simple video still shooters are uniquely prepared to capture, and it’s in super high demand. In fact, you’re BETTER prepared to do this kind of video than a video production company is. And if you’re a photographer with a modern DSLR and a little experience with headshots, you have almost everything you need to add a simple, profitable service to a regular headshot session. No camera moves or film school techniques.

It’s no secret that video is a HUGE part of web based online marketing and social media. And just about every business out there, small and large, knows that they need professional looking videos for their online marketing. They understand that they can’t get away with smartphone shaky-cam videos.

What those businesses DON’T know, is that you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars hiring a video production company, to get talking-head videos. And most still shooting photographers don’t know that this kind of video is incredibly easy to deliver, and that you can charge hundreds of dollars for a little extra shooting time, tacked onto a standard headshot session. And whatever you charge for your headshots can more than double when you do this kind of video work.

What’s Really Involved and What Can You Charge?
First you need to know what kind of video I’m talking about, and what kind of videos I’m NOT suggesting. Then I’ll give you the details so you can add it to your services list starting next week.

The videos I’m talking about are simple promotional videos for your business clients. Videos that are short and can be posted to a company website or social media or a YouTube channel. There are a handful of simple formulas or templates you can follow, to create something your clients will love.

And what I’m NOT suggesting is traditional video production. Things that require camera moves, multi-camera shoots, actors, capturing scenes, or anything approaching cinematography. My guess is, if you wanted to be a videographer, you’d start with film school training. The challenge is that there aren’t many sources of training out there that are designed to help still photographers understand simple business video capture without starting down the slippery slope toward film school.

Some of the formulas/templates you can follow to start making videos are talking headshots, product promotional videos, customer service solutions, and the incredibly powerful Facebook video ads category.

Talking headshots are essentially a standard portrait session with constant lights instead of strobes. Go ahead and do your regular portrait session, and then clip a lapel microphone on your subject, flip your camera dial/switch to video capture, and record the person talking about their business for a minute or two. There’s no need to spend more than $30 on the microphone, and if you already have some nice constant lights, all you need to do is capture your client with video. It’s pretty straight forward.

Larry on the popular FocusEd Training series from B&H

With product promo videos, you don’t have to be especially fancy. Start by shooting a bunch of good product stills. Then use those stills as visuals during a narrated description of the product. The key with video is movement, so you take one simple step beyond narrating a slideshow. The video should slowly pan or zoom with each image. This is called the Ken Burns effect and it’s a simple, engaging way to craft a professional looking finished video, by using your still shooting skill set.

Customer service videos are “gold” to some businesses. If you’re working with a client who has customers with a common question or problem, you can create a video that answers the question or solves the problem. Typically businesses have FAQ sections on their websites, but if you can create a video that uses the same ‘moving still images’ style as the product demo we just covered, customers will be happier. People are much quicker to watch a video than plow through a bunch of FAQs or a “knowledge base” on a website. And your clients will appreciate the drop in human resources needed to answer all those common questions.

And yet another simple style of video, is to create Facebook video ads. Consider that 70-80% of Facebook videos are watched with the sound off. That means still images with interesting pictures, paired with text on screen, are an incredibly effective style of Facebook video ad. And because of how people consume Facebook ads, photographers are once again positioned to gather the materials for great Facebook ad campaigns.

So what can you charge for these videos? Generally, hundreds. Assuming you charge over $200 for a typical headshot session, go ahead and add 150% to it. Consider that the going rate for professionally captured and produced video from a video production company is well over a thousand dollars, sometimes several thousand, if you charge less than a thousand, that’s a big savings for your client and solid income for you.

The only thing we haven’t covered here is editing. This is a lot easier than you might think, but you don’t have to do it yourself if you don’t want to. In the same way that some photographers invest in expensive, wide printers… large format printing could be done in-house or it can be handled by a company like Bay Photo, MPIX, Millers, etc. The same is true for video editing. But since learning video editing might take a little while, start out by using a hired editor while you look into whether or not you want to do your own editing.

I’d suggest looking for a local freelancer or someone online to help. And I’d suggest that you stay away from local video production companies because their prices will almost always be cost-prohibitive. They come at video from a much more involved perspective.

Larry hosting NAB Show Live

Should YOU Really Add Video to Your Mix?
Maybe. If you’re primarily a landscape photographer, your clientele may not be in the market for video. If you have a style of still shooting and a reputation for a particular look, and that’s drawing a solid client base, there may be no need to add video to your mix. But if you’re a portrait shooter, or product shooter, and you have business clients, and you’re trying to stay ahead of the competition… adding simple videos that follow a standard template, could do great things for your bottom line.

Something I Learned from Scott A Long Time Ago – FREE Stuff
When you look at online business, it’s getting more common over the past few years, but as long as I’ve known Scott, he has been doing this… To build a following, you have to give away good information. Scott does this all the time on this very blog. There’s The Grid. There are webinars and YouTube videos. KelbyOne is built on a foundation of helping people and I wanna be like that when I grow up.

With that in mind, I’ve started a website, YouTube channel, Facebook page, etc. all hoping to reach out to small business people who need help doing their own videos. And along those same lines, in December I launched a coaching service for professional photographers, to help them do professional videos for their clients and improve their bottom line.

Here’s A Bunch of Free Stuff on the Topic of Simple Business Videos
I want to give you links to all kinds of stuff you can use to get going with video. This first set of resources has to do with simple video creation for promotional purposes. These documents and videos aren’t specifically targeted at photographers. Rather, they’re targeted at any entrepreneur who knows they need simple promotional videos and they want to tackle those videos themselves, in-house.

Here’s Even More Free Stuff that’s Normally Paid Content…
In December I launched a small private coaching program to help photographers. This included a lot of personal Skype coaching, editing services for shooters who didn’t want to edit their own video editing, and some other stuff. At this point, there aren’t any more openings for this group PLUS, I don’t want this guest blog post to be a commercial for that group. But there are some great resources I created for this group that can be really helpful, and I want to give you access to some of this training for free. No strings attached. The link is below, but just a few things before we get to that.

The main training video is all about helping photographers create their own promotional talking headshot video. The idea is to help them (and you) do exactly what you need to, in order to capture a great promotional video for yourself, and then later turn that experience into a guide for when you capture clients on video, and coach them through their own promotional talking headshot.

There’s a section at the end of the video, that is dedicated to telling my clients how to package and upload their videos for editing. This won’t really pertain to you, so you can stop watching at that point.

Finally, because there are links on my clients’ page, to special resources for them, I’ve created a separate (similar) page on my site with the links I can share to the public, so you don’t need a password to access anything. So to get the training video and the other cool links, just go to LarryBecker.tv/kelby.

You can see more from Larry at LarryBecker.tv, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Above: Sadly, it has been a few years since an obvious clerical error or database corruption had the AARP accidentally sending me this card much earlier than was appropriate for someone of obvious youth. Of course, I quickly disregarded this travesty, but I must admit, for someone my age, that zip-away shopping tote offer was mighty tempting. 

Now that I am apparently “Officially Old,” I thought it was time to share some of the Photohop secrets that I usually just share with other folks like me while having dinner at 4:30 pm. Here we go:

Note: Please read the headers (shown in red below) in “grumpy old man” voice:

The Fonts are too darn small!!!
Go to Photoshop’s Preferences panel (on Mac, it’s under the “Photoshop” menu; On Windows it’s under the Edit menu — and shown above), and in the list of preference on the left choose “Interface.” Where it says ‘UI Font Size’ Small — click and hold on that menu and choose either Medium or Large, and now Photoshop’s own font will appear larger and easier to read throughout the program.

I can’t see my layer thumbnails!!!
Go to the Layers panel; right-click in any space below your Background layer and from the pop-up menu that appear, choose “Large Thumbnails” as seen above, and it triples the size of the default thumbnails.

There’s too many darn tools!
Go under the Edit menu and choose Toolbar. When the window appears (shown above), drag any tools you don’t want to see again from the left column to the right column. When you’re done, click done.

I can’t remember all these keyboard shortcuts!
To change the keyboard shortcuts to ones you’ll remember, go under the Edit menu and choose Keyboard Shortcuts. Click on the little triangle to the immediate left of the menu that has the shortcut you want to change (this reveals all the items under that menu). Double-click on the one you want to change and type in the shortcut you want, based on people you play Bridge with (like Command-M for ‘Mildred’).

OK, there’s probably more, but I’ve gotta go — it’s time to go watch reruns of ‘Golden Girls.’ ;-)

Tomorrow on the Grid
Join me and “old guy” Larry Becker at 4pm. We’ll be talking about Fiber and how to get senior discounts at McDonalds.

Have a great Tuesday!

-Scott
Disgruntled AARP Rejector!

Hi gang, and happy Monday to ya!

Last week I did a post about how to avoid a common mistake that could make your portfolio weaker. Master concert photographer and bestselling author Alan Hess wrote a great comment about that post, adding another thing to watch out for, and I felt it deserved a wider audience. Alan wrote:

“There are two things I see all the time that takes a good portfolio and makes it weaker. The first is exactly what you have in this post. the same seven [shots of a model] or in my case the same band or musician.

The second is to [include] good (not great) shots because you like the subject matter, or you think there is some type of name recognition. I am in the middle of revamping my portfolio and it is tough. Is the shot of the unknown guitar player from an opening band a better choice than the famous guy? What about acts I have shot multiple times? I have great Bieber shots from the last 3 tours.. (I know it sounds weird to say great Bieber shots…) So difficult to stick to the rules when there is an emotional attachment to all the photos.”

So true, and thanks for sharing that Alan — some really great advice there. :)

More on Building Your Portfolio
If you’re into this type of stuff, we just released a class last week from Stella Kramer — she’s a New York City based photo editor and one of the most sought-after portfolio consultants in our industry (I hired her myself to help me with my portfolio), and her first class with us is on Editing and the Sequencing (order) of the images in your portfolio. I can tell you this — it is already one of our most highly-acclaimed classes — Stella is simply amazing and shares a perspective and insight you don’t often hear.

Hope you found that helpful, and here’s wishing you a week full of discovery, great images, and fun. :)

Best,

-Scott

Hi gang — I’m pretty excited about this one — it’s called “Grids” and I’ve been using for about a month now and I’m totally and hopefully in love — mostly because every other desktop Instagram solution I’ve used has always had a “gotcha” — some key thing that was missing that made it pretty much unusable and I always wound up going back to the Instagram App until now.

Here’s what it looks like on your computer:

Above: When you launch the app it shows you your feed, but really nice and big (much larger than you’d see on your phone or even your iPad — it’s really beautiful and the best way I’ve ever seen to experience Instagram). Of course, you can access your own profile and images (like mine above). You access things like posting from your desktop from the pop-down menu to the right of your profile photo.

PLUS: when you’re looking at your main feed, it shows Instagram Stories across the top, just like the app. But bigger.

Above: When you choose “Add New Post” here’s the posting window that appears. You can drag and drop your photo onto it, or click the Choose Photo/Video button to navigate to it. You type in your Caption here, too.

Above: You can add your caption info; tag people; add a location (it brings up a pop-up search where you type in a location like you have in the Instagram app), and you can crop your image Square, Rectangular or crop by dragging out over the area you want to appear, like I’m doing here. When you’re done, hit post. Boom. Done.

Is there anything missing?
Well…there’s just one little thing. It’s minor, but if they added this, it would be 100% — it doesn’t suggest #hashtags or show recently used hashtags like the Instagram app does. You can still type them in like always — it just doesn’t help, or share stats of which hashtag are most often used. Outside of that small nitpick — this app is gold. Gold I tell ya!

Cost: Free download for viewing Instagram on your desktop, but there’s an in-app purchase for $7.99 for posting from the desktop and other “pro” features. Worth every penny and then some!
For: Mac and Windows

I am super digging this — so happy to finally have an Instagram Desktop app that really works, and it’s free (or really cheap, depending on which features you need).

Download it here.

Hope you found that helpful (and hope you’re following me on Instagram where I share my travel photography images – I’m @scottkelby).

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Yesterday I got a new Porkpie “Little Squealer!” snare, and it sounds absolutely awesome! Saw rave reviews online about it, and they were right. Took it home last night and couldn’t stop playing it! Just the best (especially for the money). Here’s an iPhone pic of it when it came in yesterday. 

 

Editing and Sequencing Your Work: Learn to Let Go with Stella Kramer
Become a better photographer through editing and sequencing! Join Stella Kramer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo editor, as she teaches you how good editing and sequencing can help to do a better job of telling a story with your work. You’ll learn the basics of editing and sequencing, the importance of knowing your objective, how to deal with critique, why you should stand behind your work, and the value in letting go. Stella brings all of these points home in a series of live edit and sequencing work sessions with three different photographic projects.

In Case You Missed It
It’s all about the edit! You’ve just had an awesome photo session and now you need to narrow it down to just the best ones. How do you do it? Join Peter Hurley as he walks you through a series of live headshot sessions and then talks through his editing process with the subjects at the end. Peter is joined throughout the class by Scott Kelby, and together they edit through multiple different shoots that Scott has brought in. Editing is all about narrowing shots down to just the ones that will go into your portfolio to help you get more work. Learn how to develop this muscle and find your own shabangs!

Close