November 2020 // The Business Edition


Shelley Franklin F R A N K L I N S T U D I O S

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S H E L L E Y F R A N K L I N ’ S P R I N T E R O F C H O I C E O R D E R N OW A T :


12 3 Tips for Being an Innovator in the Photography Industry with Sal Cincotta


Drop Your Excuses: Leveling Up Your Creativity with Toni Shaw


Product Spotlight with N-Vu In-Person Sales Tools

Building the Foundation For a Successful Photography Business: Part 2 with Michael Anthony 36


Product Spotlight with the SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art lens


Ways to Create Word-of-Mouth Marketing with Vanessa Joy


The Business of Food Photography with Chelsea Kyle

72 82

Crafting a Luxury Experience with Jai Mayhew

Brand Consistency On Instagram with Jonathan Tilley

94 102 1 1 0 126 136 146 154 172

Top 5 Tips For Outsourcing Your Edits with Dustin Lucas

Making the Switch from Shoot and Burn to IPS with Andre Brown

Reevaluate, Restructure and Reap the Benefits with Jessica Robertson

Side Hustle: Real Estate Photography with Kirk Voclain

Find a Real Connection With Your Boudoir Clients with Ayla Quellhorst

A Photographer’s Guide to SEO Fundamentals with Myrna Daramy

How to Grow Your Business With IPS with Gary and Kim Evans

Inspirations from Our Readers


The Art of Audio Correction and Sweetening with Rob Adams


Final Inspiration with Monique Hoppe
















P U B L I S H E R S a l C i n c o t t a

E D I T O R - I N - C H I E F A l i s s a C i n c o t t a

D E S I G N E R E l l i e P l o t k i n


C O P Y E D I T O R A l l i s o n B r u b a k e r

Shutter Magazine ’s focus is on photography education. Our goal is to provide current insightful and in-depth educational content for today’s professional wedding and portrait photographer. Shutter uses the latest technologies to deliver information in a way that is relevant to our audience. Our experienced contributors help us create a sense of community and have established the magazine as one of the leading photography publications in the world.


C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R S A n d r e B r ow n Ay l a Q u e l l h o r s t

C h e l s e a Ky l e D u s t i n L u c a s G a r y & K i m E v a n s J a i M a y h ew J e s s i c a R o b e r t s o n J o n a t h a n T i l l e y K i r k Vo c l a i n M i c h a e l A n t h o n y M y r n a D a r a my R o b Ad a m s S a l C i n c o t t a To n i S h aw Va n e s s a J o y


Shutter Magazine: By photographers, for photographers.

It’s all business now. If you want to survive the aftermath of Covid, you need to get back to basics and focus on the actual business of photography. This month’s edition is filled with business topics that will get you on the right path for 2021. - Sal Cincotta


THE COVER TITLE: red nectar PHOTOGRAPHER: jai mayhew CAMERA: canon 5d mark iv LENS: 50mm 1.2 EXPOSURE: f/5.6 @ 1/125 iso 100 WEBSITE: LIGHTING: the main light is a gridded beauty dish aimed at the model’s face with a cool gel over the strobe. a second beauty dish is below the main to fill the shadows. two strobes with reflector dishes are behind the model and aimed towards the red background with red gels on them to further saturate the scene.

MODEL: marylyn phan HMUA: jennifer lee

ABOUT THE IMAGE: I was inspired by the color red for this editorial and relied heavily on the use of gels during this shoot. To create a visually interesting image, I gathered every red item I could find but also painted quite a few objects to create a unique and visually interesting portrait. As reds frequently desaturate under the flash of a strobe, I used gels to not only saturate the scene but to also add a pop of cooler tones to an otherwise vibrantly warm image.

with Sal Cincotta

3 Tips for Being an Innovator in the Photography Industry | Sal Cincotta

There has never been a more crucial time in our lives. Covid has wreaked havoc on our economy, lives, and businesses. So, as small business owners, we are all sitting here wondering if we will survive. As a small business owner myself, I'm growing concerned for many of you and for all of us as a collective. These are tough times. I know. I get it. But I'm seeing an incredibly concerning trend.

It's called Retraction. (I'll explain.)

I get it—Covid threw us all for a loop and it’s still a concern. Of course it is. Businesses are struggling with safety concerns, state regulations limiting your operations, and just an overall lagging consumer confidence. This is uncharted territory for ALL OF US! But you have a choice in front of you. You can either go into defense mode, which I promise you WILL ULTIMATELY FAIL, or take the offensive and look for opportunity to grow. I get it, right now you are thinking, "Is this man nuts? Grow as we are in panic mode?!" Yes, I'M TELLING YOU—GROW! Sports, military tacticians, etc. all know sitting still and trying to play out the clock is a horrible strategy. It's no different in business. The best defense is a good offense. Right now, as a business owner, if you don't take the offensive, you might never recover. Here is why... A defensive mindset is one of paranoia. A defensive mindset is constantly looking at and reacting to the negative. A defensive mindset is waiting for the other shoe to drop daily. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. A defensive mindset in business begins the death march of cash hoarding. This fear will cripple your business and lock you into a strategy that is devoid of any real growth opportunity. For example, if you are losing customers or your customers are going out of business, if you are in defense mode, the only way you can recover is for your EXISTING customers to return... A very slow process that may not work in time. However, an offensive mind is looking for new opportunity. Opportunity to grow. Opportunity to pivot. Opportunity to rebuild your business. Opportunity to redefine your customer experience. Opportunity to win new customers. Opportunity for a new and exciting product offering, etc. This strategy requires you to spend. It requires you to LEAN INTO THIS! It will position you as a leader in whatever emerges after we get back to the new normal. We have to rethink how we do business. We have to rethink where our customers are coming from. We have to rethink what our NEW customers want. This requires a more optimistic and more aggressive approach. No one is going to hand this to you. You have to get up and GRAB IT! The worst thing you can do right now is take your foot off the gas pedal. Now is the time to floor it! Not only is your business at stake, but your personal future and that of your family and employees (if you have any) depend on it as well.

So, where do you get started?

3 Tips for Being an Innovator in the Photography Industry | Sal Cincotta


Surely they are failing. They have to be. Not because we are wishing the worst for them, but because the reality of the situation dictates that not everyone will make it through this unscathed. We need to do this recon to help us navigate things moving forward. Through failure comes success. By understanding where the gaps are in the marketplace, we will be better positioned to understand where we can step up and fill in those gaps. That is where the opportunity lies. No one knows what the new world will look like post-Covid, but you have to be committed to not quitting. We have to be genuinely committed to the process of trying to figure out what will emerge and what the market is looking for. Once you do that, you are armed with the information you need to truly begin chasing this new opportunity.


Knowledge is power. We have heard that saying repeatedly in our lives. It’s more than a cliché. If you are focused on where your competitors are weak and struggling, shouldn’t you be asking yourself the same question about your business? Where are you struggling? Where can your business improve? No matter how you answer, the result will require some retraining and education. Don't underestimate the importance of education during times of crisis. If you do what you have always done, the results will be the same. And when the world of engagement is changing around us daily, it requires us to change our own tactics, which will require retraining efforts. Here is the thing, don’t be afraid of change. This is what is paralyzing your competitors. They are afraid of the unknown. This is where you have to rise above the fear and use it to your advantage. Yes, be afraid of failing. Yes, be afraid of making mistakes. Yes, be afraid of losing money. This fear keeps you sharp and that sharpness is your competitive advantage. See, fear can paralyze you into indecision. That’s what happens in every aspect of life. Successful business owners are all afraid just like you, however, they push through it. Call it a leap of faith if you will. Bottom line, sitting still will only result in more of the same. It is those that leap that have a chance of succeeding. Isn't a chance at success better than no chance?


At this point, you can either be consumed by fear and indecision or you can just do something. I'm telling you, it comes down to execution. Those who get out there and do something, yes, there is a risk of failure, but even in failure, they will learn. Knowledge comes from failure. They will then use that knowledge to ensure they don’t make the same mistake next time and the cycle repeats itself. This is the pattern of a successful business owner. Fail fast has always been my motto. I know mistakes are part of the equation, they are inevitable. But if you can fail fast and learn from it, you start to realize that failure is part of the equation for success. Over time, you will use that fear to your advantage and it will help you make better decisions and make fewer mistakes. The path forward is the only way out of this. Sitting still is not an option. So, are you going to sit still and wait for the tragic end of the story or are you going to stand up, move forward, and rewrite a new history for you and your business?

Join me on the new path.

Sal Cincotta is an international award-winning photographer, educator, author, Canon Explorer Of Light and the publisher of Shutter Magazine. Sal’s success is directly tied to the education he received in business school. He graduated from Binghamton University, a Top 20 business school, and has worked for Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble and Microsoft. After spending 10 years in corporate America, Sal left to pursue a career in photography and has never looked back. website: instagram: @salcincotta

Drop Your Excuses: Leveling Up Your Creativity | Toni Shaw

with Toni Shaw

Drop Your Excuses: Leveling Up Your Creativity | Toni Shaw

One of the most frequent comments that I hear as a photographer is, “I don’t know how to be creative!” Or, I will sometimes hear, “How can I be creative?” The immediate feeling that I get when hearing this statement causes me frustration, and sometimes sadness. I understand that some of us struggle with ways to be creative, but I think we let it consume us so much that we gain mental blocks that are hard to get beyond. As a teacher, I immediately want to take that photographer out to a “venue” to show them my workflow and how I approach my creative process. What we all continue to hear are many excuses: I don’t have a studio, what if it rains, I didn’t like what the client had on, I don’t have the right equipment. The list of excuses goes on and on.

The first thought many photographers have about being creative is clothing, makeup and hair. All of these are important, but it does not mean it will give you a creative edge. My first thought is the environment and places I can utilize because 1. It makes my job a little easier; 2. I can provide something new to each client; 3. I know I can find an area where I can add elements via Photoshop or it can be a strong image by itself. We have to determine if we are going to be our obstacle, if we are going to let others be an obstacle, or if we are going to ignore the negative thoughts and push ourselves to be problem solvers and learn to grow from every shoot that we do. Ask yourself: What do I keep doing and why do I keep doing the same thing? Why am I afraid to try something different?

Drop Your Excuses: Leveling Up Your Creativity | Toni Shaw


As a rule of thumb, the farthest thing on my mind is that I have to find a “pretty” place.

I live for unconventional venues. The best areas to find that can help you be more creative could be shrouded with bushes and leaves, and concealed from the average person’s eye. I urge you to look beyond the trash to find the environmental canvas to work with. Get in your vehicle and drive! You must get out of your bubble and look around for hidden jewels, or you will never find an entirely new world of options and opportunities to be great! Do not be afraid to pack your car for an hour drive in a direction that you have never gone before. Look at these areas at different times of the day and you will be surprised at what inspirations you will have. Finding driveways, parking lots, hallways, schools, mechanic’s garages, long dirt roads, hotel lobbies and conference rooms are just a small sample of areas that can help you create some of your best work. When searching for a venue, I make an effort to think completely opposite of what my client would consider as a place we can do a fun, creative, or even a business shoot. Usually, the first concept for your client would be “the local park.” While taking photos in a park is perfectly fine, I have yet to find parks that make me feel like I could not ask for anything better.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when searching for a unique venue to help you with your creativity. • What type of shoot is it? • Will my client be willing to go to any area that I find available? • How many types of looks can I get from the area? • How much unwanted traffic will be in the surrounding area? • Is it an area that is permissible and needs no permit? • Are there safe areas to park? • Is it near water or areas that are infested with mosquitoes or other unwanted bugs or animals? • What time of day looks best for the image I am trying to obtain?

Making the best out of the areas that surround you can push you to be your absolute best. Seeing beyond an “ugly” venue can help jumpstart your creative quest to be different.

Drop Your Excuses: Leveling Up Your Creativity | Toni Shaw


Now that you know a few ways to look at possible venues differently, let’s take a look at other areas of photography that can also be an asset to your quest for creativity. Looking at a venue and seeing its potential is awesome, but seeing how it can benefit you creatively can be another challenge. I do not know many photographers who have a fine art background, but I find that those that do have an easier time seeing unconventional scenes transition to a “magical” backdrop. Here are some tips that can help you see in a more artistic way. • Find out what you like about other photographers’ work you admire and figure out one part of their work that you can make your own. • You may be a natural light photographer, but learn how to shoot off-camera flash. Off-camera flash may not be your thing, but it can provide you multiple looks and moods with ease once you get comfortable with the process. • Focus on the client and not solely on the technical aspects. Sometimes the work of photographers that are strictly technical from beginning to end exemplify images that have little or no emotion. Do not forget your client is more important than that “technical or creative” image that you are trying to create. • Learn how to use Photoshop and Lightroom (for adding elements and removing distractions). •Take your backdrop outdoors! People may have questioned Richard Avedon, one of the greatest photographers of all time, on why he had a backdrop outdoors. Drag a backdrop outside and have fun trying different types of lighting.


Everyone will have their own way of determining what creativity means to them. But trying to find that perfect gauge to get you in that creative zone can be a little frustrating. Here are a few thoughts and pointers on how to hone into your creative side. • Write down your ideas and continue to add to each thought, idea, color or emotion that you may have. You must seek out inspiration by not doing the norm. Do what is uncomfortable, set it aside for a period, and come back to revisit it by adding items that could be in relation to the image. • Definitely use location as a starting point. Predictable locations can be a factor in blocking that creative vibe. • Be willing to get help. Find someone who will listen to your thoughts and see if they have ideas that can play off your creative energy. • Change your scale, your focal points and your perspective. Get down and dirty. You may find a gold mine looking at things in a different way. • Use Photoshop and Lightroom. Scan through the hundreds of presets, actions or other tools in these applications and tweak your image to your taste. Do not feel like you have to be original, just be you and add the things that make you and your client excited that you are the artist you are.

Drop Your Excuses: Leveling Up Your Creativity | Toni Shaw


I encourage any artist to invest in themselves by taking art classes. It is important for you as an artist to understand the many areas of art so that you can be more creative and become stronger in your craft. Having a background or at least a small interest in fine arts can help you as an artist to see and conceptualize your work in a better way. You will be able to add some of the artistic values that I consider for every shot that I take. Below are some suggested areas that will certainly strengthen your work.

• Drawing and understanding the use of shadows and light as they are related to drawing. This helps you see and understand the importance of learning how light falls on a subject and how it can work for or against your image. Learning about highlights and shadows is also essential when you are learning how to do composites. • Color theory is important to know because you can visualize what will or will not work before you even come on set. In post, you will be able to see colors that will strengthen or detract from your image. Each color affects the human senses in different ways, so for you to convey your message, you need to know what those colors mean and look like. • Gain an introduction to the fundamentals of drawing in a variety of media. Exploring the elements of art, the principles of composition, perspective, and the development of observational, motor and creative skills will help you answer those burning questions you may have before and after the shoot. • Boosting the saturation in an image doesn’t mean you are adding “pop” or creativity to your work. The art elements, color, expression, concept and a strong visual feel will give your work a better impact. When planning your sessions, understanding the art elements will help you be more aware of what colors will or will not work for the shoot. It will also play a major role in helping you fix, improve or enhance your images in post. Knowing how and where to add that “pop” can come from taking a few community art classes.


I need a studio, I don’t know Photoshop, I am afraid of Photoshop, it’s raining, I can’t find a location, I don’t have the right equipment, I don’t have a model. I am certain you have heard these and many more verbalized obstacles from some of your fellow photographers. If you want to be able to function as the photographer you say you want to be, you must stop looking at things just one way. You must make valid efforts to get out of the normal thought processes and practices to venture into areas that you may be uncomfortable with. It will either work or not. You will not know until you try. Our growth comes from repetition. If you do not practice, try new skills, or look for new places and opportunities, you will continue to stay in the same space you are in today.

Drop Your Excuses: Leveling Up Your Creativity | Toni Shaw


We must push ourselves to accomplish many of the goals that we want to obtain. We can’t expect our work or creativity to magically get better without making an effort to make our work more creative and impactful. There are so many other areas to consider.

Here are some of the most important things that help me strive to be a better, stronger, more creative photographer. • Have and know your self-worth. When I say self-worth, I don’t just mean money. We seem to be in a world of monetizing everything. But know that you are important and the job you have as a photographer is valuable to that next client. You will never know whose life you are documenting and how much it truly means to them. • Focus on putting time in to teach yourself something new. It will help enhance your work in many ways. • Always consider the emotional content of your image. It can have a positive family impact. • With their permission, use clients to try one thing that is a little different than your norm. • Increase your knowledge base by following other photographers and genres. You can learn a lot about how • Slow down. Make notes, reference what you need to reference, wash and repeat until it becomes second nature. • Stop trying to compare yourself to others. Build your portfolio based on your skillset and revisit your portfolio frequently. Your work should reflect your growth every year. You must start with something. You can’t just sit and think about it forever. You must sometimes encourage yourself and do what may seem uncomfortable—I know you can do it. tools others use can be an unlikely asset for your photography bag. • Focus on building a cohesive body of work that exemplifies your brand.

Toni Shaw is a contemporary photographer who has gained both critical and commercial recognition for her unique and intense colorful photographs. She is a free spirit but also an eclectic soul and this can be seen through her work. It is through these ambiguous and eclectic photographs that Shaw has developed a distinct signature style. website: instagram: @theshawphotographygroup

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Product Spotlight | N-Vu In-Person Sales Tools


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WhyN-Vu In-Person Sales Tools?

In-person sales doesn’t have to be scary. If you’re shooting and delivering your clients' images on a thumb drive or simply posting their images online hoping for a gallery sale, we are here to tell you this: You are leaving a ton of money on the table. And who doesn’t want to make more money? N-Vu is your all-in-one solution for all things IPS (in-person sales). Whether you need a client gallery, a mobile app, a way to showcase your clients' images on the walls of their home, or even a way to do remote IPS in these uncertain Covid times, N-Vu is the tool for you!

Some of our favorite features include: · Modern and clean image galleries · Easy-to-use mobile apps · One single image upload for all tools · IPS sales tools · Room-Vu

· Dual-Vu · Live-Vu · Wall collections · And more!

Check out N-Vu today to learn more about making more money from in-person sales!

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| Building the Foundation For a Successful Photography Business: Part 2 with Michael Anthony | Ways to Create Word-of-Mouth Marketing with Vanessa Joy | The Business of Food Photography with Chelsea Kyle | Crafting a Luxury Experience with Jai Mayhew

36 48 58 72 82 94

| Brand Consistency On Instagram with Jonathan Tilley | Top 5 Tips For Outsourcing Your Edits with Dustin Lucas

| Making the Switch from Shoot and Burn to IPS with Andre Brown | Reevaluate, Restructure and Reap the Benefits with Jessica Robertson | Side Hustle: Real Estate Photography with Kirk Voclain | Find a Real Connection With Your Boudoir Clients with Ayla Quellhorst | A Photographer’s Guide to SEO Fundamentals with Myrna Daramy | How to Grow Your Business With IPS with Gary and Kim Evans | Inspirations from Our Readers

102 110 126 136 146 154 172

Building the Foundation For a Successful Photography Business: Part 2 | Michael Anthony

with Michael Anthony

Building the Foundation For a Successful Photography Business: Part 2 | Michael Anthony

Last month, we discussed the foundations of building a successful photography business. We talked about reframing your mindset to start seeing sales as an opportunity to add value to each client that comes into your world. If you began putting the ELEVATE method into action, you are probably already beginning to see how it can change your entire world by helping you to build a tribe of loyal customers that will continue to come back to you for years to come.

But what happens next? Now that you have the business plan and sales foundation that will drive your marketing, how do we ensure that the growth you will experience will not tank your business?

This is where infrastructure comes in.

I will admit it, when I work with a photographer entrepreneur that comes to me asking for help with their business and I can tell that they are willing to hustle, I get excited. But for some of them, I don’t worry about their commitment to success… I worry about what happens when they find it. See, I had this same issue in my own business back in 2014. I was so focused on growth that I ignored building a scalable foundation. Race car drivers know that whatever you keep your eye on, that is where the car will go… The same thing happens in business. If we are so focused on obtaining that next client, eventually we will figure out the formula to do it, but if we don’t keep our eyes open to the next turn, we will crash.

So that being said, let’s talk about all of the things you need to scale your business up.

Building the Foundation For a Successful Photography Business: Part 2 | Michael Anthony


Efficiency is absolutely key in your business. Running an efficient studio will allow you to employ fewer people and run through your processes real quick. In order to do this, we HAVE to leverage modern technology. The first investment that you should make in your business is a good client relationship manager (CRM). We use Tave in our studio, but also recommend Sprout as a very solid option for photographers looking to learn more about their business.

A great CRM allows you to figure out your conversion ratios, lead sources, and best selling items.

In simpler terms, a CRM gives you data that you can leverage. Remember, what gets measured gets improved.

A CRM will also give you more functions that save you time. You can send and monitor contracts and questionnaires, and utilize advanced automations and email templates. Once you have your CRM in place, the next thing you need to invest in is a project manager. A project manager will allow you to not only track initiatives and projects in what is almost like a glorified to-do list, but it will also allow you to track all of your production. We utilize project management solutions in our own studio and it helps us to stay organized in every endeavor from creating marketing campaigns to preparing for bridal shows. We use Notion to manage all of our projects, and I have found it to be incredibly flexible and easy to tailor to our business.

I recommend setting up boards for print and album production, as well as marketing campaigns.

Now that you have these two elements in place in your business, it’s time to begin to automate your marketing. I highly recommend automating your campaigns for a variety of reasons. First, automating your marketing allows you to remove the human element from the process, thereby reducing errors and inconsistencies. You can automate things like lead response, scheduling, and email marketing.

All of these things are very easy to set up, and once they are running you will be able to use them over and over.

In order to do this, you will need an email service provider. Almost all of them have similar functionality, but I recommend ActiveCampaign as it has built-in text marketing, Facebook custom audience integration, and other features. I recommend picking one, building your sender reputation, and sticking with it. Email marketing can help your business be incredibly successful. In fact, it’s been the tool we have used to scale our business by rebooking old clients over and over again.

The key to successful email marketing is to constantly be in contact with your audience. If you are always working to keep your audience engaged, they will remember you when the time comes that they need your services.

Building the Foundation For a Successful Photography Business: Part 2 | Michael Anthony


There comes a time in your business that you have to scale beyond just yourself, and knowing when to do that and how is going to be essential for your business. Typically, on your path to success you will see a time where business comes quickly, but the problem with scaling beyond your current capacity will be the fact that you are responsible for much of the daily workings in the business. When you get to that point, then it is time to look at hiring someone to help with the essential tasks. Now, I have written in-depth articles for Shutter Magazine before on how to hire your first employees, but as a brief reminder, your first employee should be a competent studio manager. A studio manager can help with sales, communication, and organization. They will help you do the things in your business that are taking up much of your time, and you could even have them help with assisting and production in the beginning. Our studio manager wears many hats to this day, and has been along for the ride with Jen and I as we have scaled our business to its current level. But once you hire a studio manager, you should look to grow from a job to a business, and this is where you will want to start hiring and training other photographers. The first step to this process is to really ask yourself if it’s something that you want to do. Hiring outside photographers to work for your business brings about many challenges, and some of the headaches you may encounter along the way may not be worth the time that you have to put into it. I will say, however, that having a solid team of associate photographers can also be very rewarding if done right, so you will have to come to that conclusion on your own. The one piece of advice I can give you is to make sure that you are properly vetting your shooters. If you choose the wrong people to work for you, it can lead to problems with customer service, which ultimately will reflect on your brand, so make sure that you choose people who share your values to build a team that cares as much about your clients as you do. The last piece of advice that I can give you is to document the processes in your business as you are building them. Documenting the processes in your business will lead to a much faster onboarding process for new employees. It will allow you to get an employee trained with a lot less input from you and give you the confidence to know that you have a repeatable process in place for training new employees.

Building the Foundation For a Successful Photography Business: Part 2 | Michael Anthony

Once you properly vet your team, you will be able to effectively grow your business utilizing a process of hiring, training, testing, and then repeating Training at some point will become your entire responsibility, but when you finally do figure it out, you will reach the point in your business where much of the work can be done with little involvement from you. This is where the entrepreneurial spirit can come into play and allow you to begin new ventures. From here you can replicate the model you created with your photography business and apply it to other lines of business as well.

So there you have it. These are the foundations to building a healthy business and making sure that you will have long-term success in photography! For more information, check out the video that goes along with this article.

LEARN MORE . Click here or check us out at

Michael Anthony is a wedding and portrait photographer based in Los Angeles, California. Michael is a monthly contributor to Shutter Magazine, and has spoken at international conventions including WPPI, Imaging USA, Photoplus Expo, and ShutterFest. Michael is an educator and founder of Elevate Photography Education, a company created to help photographer entrepreneurs achieve their goals and dreams in the photography industry. website: instagram: @michaelanthonyphotography

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Product Spotlight | SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art lens


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Why the SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art lens?

When most people think of macro lenses, they automatically think of close-up photos of a flower or an insect of some sort. Macro lenses are not only great for these types of tight detail shots, but are also perfect for portraits and details on a wedding day. The SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art lens is the first prime macro lens designed by Sigma exclusively for full-frame mirrorless cameras. This lens offers 1:1 magnification (life-sized) at a 5.5-inch working distance with internal focusing, and it is available in Sony E-Mount and L-Mount formats. Exceptional focal plane sharpness with minimal aberration is achieved through a new optical formula featuring 17 elements in 12 groups with one SLD element. The lens design also features excellent peripheral brightness for pleasing bokeh, complemented by nine rounded aperture blades. The Hypersonic Motor delivers smooth, quiet, confident autofocus in both close-up and portrait-distance settings, and the three-zone focus limiter switch allows for even swifter response when focusing exclusively in either the macro or more distant range.

Our favorite features of the SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN Macro | Art lens: ∙ Life-sized magnification (1:1) short tele macro for full-frame mirrorless ∙ Dust and Splash-proof construction ∙ Completely new optical formula for exceptional sharpness and pleasing bokeh ∙ Hypersonic Motor optimized for both contrast and phase detection autofocus ∙ Clicked and de-clicked aperture ring with Aperture Ring Lock Switch ∙ Focus Limiter switch for macro, portrait, or full range autofocus ∙ Available in L-Mount and Sony E-Mount ∙ MSRP: $799

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Ways to Create Word-of-Mouth Marketing | Vanessa Joy

with Vanessa Joy

Ways to Create Word-of-Mouth Marketing | Vanessa Joy

You always hear that cliché, don't you? The best marketing is word-of-mouth. Well, sure, not having to pay for marketing is great. But how do you get people talking about you without paying them to do it? At a not-so-recent photography conference panel I was on, someone asked Prince McClinton, the founder of an amazing Instagram account called Art of Visuals, how to get clients talking about you. His response was so simple as to seem obvious: “Be amazing.” On the surface, that's just as vague as people telling you to go out and get word-of-mouth advertising, isn't it? But when you really start to think about it, those two words tell you everything you need to know to figure out this whole word-of-mouth thing. What does it mean to be amazing? How do you stand out from the next photographer? That's what I want to talk about in this article. And I bet if you think about it yourself, you'll come up with some ways to be amazing that I don't even mention. Because you know what? You are amazing!


A lot of people want to hype themselves up to clients. They think this is the best way to close the sale. Maybe it helps that sale, but it doesn't help the longevity of your business. When you oversell yourself, you are likely to underwhelm the customer. Even if you promise them the moon and somehow manage to give it to them, you've only succeeded in matching the expectations that you yourself created for them. That's why it's important to do the opposite. Under promise, and then over deliver. Let's say you know that you can get photos delivered to a customer in two to three weeks. Tell them that it will take four. You know you are going to get it to them faster, but they don't know that. They'll have their expectations set low and you'll exceed those expectations for them every time. Of course, you must be intelligent with this strategy. If you tell them it'll take a year to get the photos and deliver them in two weeks, they'll probably be happy, but that happiness isn't going to overshadow their initial disappointment at your ridiculous time frame. Like most good things, practice this tip in moderation.

Ways to Create Word-of-Mouth Marketing | Vanessa Joy


Being amazing is about being unexpected. Delivering in two to three weeks when you said four is unexpected. You can take that a step further by doing something that goes above and beyond what is expected of a photographer. You are your own person and should find the thing that fits your personality, but what I like to do is give the client little gifts. I give them a gift when they first book, one before the wedding, and another as we say our goodbyes. People love swag. Even large companies like Amazon give away swag when they are holding events or pushing their branding efforts. These types of tangible extras create word-of-mouth in two ways. First, they make the client go, "Wow! That was amazing!" and get them talking about you that way. But they are also the type of thing that ends up on Instagram or other social media accounts. "Look what my photographer gave me!" Now your name is out there in one of the most viral forms of media. Friends are liking and sharing and your name is flying all over the internet as a photographer who goes above and beyond. We are long removed from the days when word-of-mouth had to come from the mouth. Now, just as often, it comes from pixels and algorithms.

Evona over at has revolutionized my business gifting practices. At first I was giving away things that had my logo on them, but she taught me that wasn’t the way to go. Since she switched up how I give gifts, I’ve had about double the social postings about them from my clients. It’s about giving them something that they find special and unique, versus you throwing your logo all over the place.

Ways to Create Word-of-Mouth Marketing | Vanessa Joy


People love convenience. They will pay for it. They will rave about it. "Oh, working with so-and-so was so easy," they'll say. Nobody wants to hire someone and then be saddled with a laundry list of homework to be done in order to receive what they've paid for. By doing as much of the work as possible for a client, you are giving them the convenience that people crave. Of course, this doesn't mean you should go off and make decisions without them. They won't rave about that. They may rant about it though. You want the words coming out of mouths to be good words. Being convenient doesn't mean stripping the client of all control, but rather ensuring that the process of decision-making is as easy as possible. If you can get that right, you'll have plenty of happy customers that are willing to pay a premium and give you free advertising on top. Both of those things will make up for the extra work that you take on to make it happen.


Everyone is always talking about how you need to be on all the social networks. Including me! I just did it, like two sections ago. Sure, be on Instagram (almost too obvious for photography, right?), be on Twitter, be on TikTok, be on Facebook, and LinkedIn and MySpace. Okay, maybe not that last one. But social networking isn't just about sitting behind a computer desk typing at your friends and followers. It's about, well, being social. The best way to make important connections is through industry events. Events like ShutterFest or countless other photography events that go on all over the world. On social media, you don't know who you are connecting with. At industry events, you know you are meeting people in the industry that you are trying to become known in. And you aren’t just meeting colleagues, you are meeting people from large brands and big companies. People from other creative industries that are related to photography. The type of people who may need your services or know someone who does. You can't make yourself known if you don't put yourself out there. So go out, have some fun, and meet some people who can help you further your career.

Ways to Create Word-of-Mouth Marketing | Vanessa Joy


Maybe after reading this, you think, "Wow. That all seems so obvious." It kinda is obvious, isn't it? It took me 1200 words or so to say what Prince McClinton said in two: Be amazing. Whether it is said in two words, 1,200 words, or an entire book, word-of-mouth advertising is about putting yourself in front of as many people as possible and making sure to wow as many of them as you can. If you make it your goal to do that, to always go above and beyond, and to always be looking for new people to meet and new eyeballs to get on your work, the word-of-mouth advertising will follow.

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Vanessa Joy has been a professional wedding photographer in New Jersey since 2002, and an influencer in the photographic community for years. Since starting in 2008, she has taught photographers around the globe at almost every major platform in the industry ( Vanessa has been recognized for her talent and business sense at the renowned industry events CreativeLIVE, Clickin’ Moms, WPPI and ShutterFest. Her peers love her informative, open-book style of teaching. website: instagram: @vanessajoy

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The Business of Food Photography | Chelsea Kyle

with Chelsea Kyle

The Business of Food Photography | Chelsea Kyle

The business of food photography is not as simple and straightforward as some may think. Like with fashion, sports, and still-life photography, there are areas of focus that food photographers specialize in that distinguish them from their peers. How you focus your imagery, the teams you enlist, and the tools you use all determine how you create success and a style in food photography. Regardless of what path in food photography you choose, the success and longevity of your career depends on how you price and negotiate your rate based on which type of job you’re pursuing.


Beyond just commercial, fine art, and editorial lies a balance of creating desire and centering around something people ingest. Food and drink photography can be documentary, illustrating a recipe or a type of meal. It can be abstract and have little context and solely serve as a prop, and it can be commercial or made with the sole purpose of advertising and creating hunger or thirst for a product and/or the lifestyle that goes with it. How specifically you capture food and drinks needs to be honed to set yourself up for success in each niche that you wish to photograph. I always say you shoot for the client you want to get, learn from the ones that you don’t, and display the work that falls in line with what you most want to be hired for.

The Business of Food Photography | Chelsea Kyle


The main purpose of the imagery is to illustrate a recipe, method of cooking, or story around a particular food or recipe. While this can be uniquely stylized, the most important feature of the imagery is to be literally illustrative. Unlike more classically known commercial food photography that can be exaggerated, editorial food photography must be representative of the ingredients and outcome the reader would have. If an ingredient is shown in the image that isn’t in the recipe, it can hurt the integrity of the recipe and the recipe developer. Publications like New York Times Cooking , Food and Wine , and well-known publications all organize teams of photographers and food and prop stylists that have experience in this type of imagery. While the creativity of the image with setting, mood, and lighting can vary a lot, the food is the main focus of the image, usually consisting of more than 50% of the frame. Photographers who succeed in this area of photography often know how to light and photograph food to look most appetizing and real, working in tandem with a stylist and knowing how to create a story. If a publication has a supporting story or context to a recipe—for example, Christmas dinner—the photographer needs to know how to direct a scene representative of that look and feel, and often in a different season due to how early publications shoot content for print media. In most cases, the flexibility of editorial allows photographers to be creatively involved in the execution of these styles in terms of illustrating the story. Due to the publicity it offers the artist to be published in these magazines and the lower budgets that magazines often have, it is industry standard that photographers are credited with a byline in magazines and digital outlets. This allows a lot of photographers to use editorial to show other potential clients how they would execute imagery in other areas of photography, kind of like paid personal work.

The Business of Food Photography | Chelsea Kyle


It is worth differentiating between editorial fine art food photography and recipe food photography because photographers can be hired by magazines not focused on the preparation or delivery of food to consumers. Magazines often have the liberty to be more abstract and over the top when creating enticing art to sell a story. These photographers excel at being technically sound still-life photographers and find clever ways to photograph food that create a unique way of telling a story. These photographers are often chosen by photo editors of publications for their ability to create dynamic sets, dramatic lighting, and recognizable creative styles, all of which would be reflected in the artist’s portfolio.

The Business of Food Photography | Chelsea Kyle


Commercial food and drink photography creates a picture of a product and lifestyle that is for sale. These contracts are often a small part of a hiring company’s greater overall ad campaign with a predetermined look and feel. Bids and proposals are often a laborious first step to obtaining one of these contracts and require prospective photographers to have advanced technical skills and know how to work within a budget to create and source the ideal team required to complete the shoot. When different advertising usage is involved, knowing how to structure your pricing around them in the bid is a must.

A photographer’s unique style and creative execution are often equally important when being considered for one of these advertising jobs. Agencies hired by the brands, equipped with this knowledge, present photographer options to the client based on who can achieve the technical and aesthetic look they are going for. For example, two photographers can excel at technically shooting a liquor bottle, but if one uses a consistent style that is more sleek and shiny with hard light, that photographer might land a job with a brand that fits that same vibe.

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