Posts by Grace Jones | StompSoftware
All Posts By

Grace Jones

Rock your first live video!

By | Tips & Tricks | No Comments

So I had my first EVER live video chat with Cyrissa from Sparkle Society at the end of last year (Chip usually does them and he’s THE MAN). It was so nerve-racking! I didn’t know what to do at the start. Wasn’t sure where to look. It’s funny looking back on it.

Anyway because I found it interesting and nerve-racking, Cyrissa from Sparkle Society has put together this awesome post for y’all. This will hopefully help you to rock it.

———

Unless you’re living in a cave somewhere, there’s no way you’ve missed the influx of live video across social media. Facebook is playing favourites with posts containing live video and… as the savvy business-owner you are, I’m sure you know you need to play along. How does that make you feel, friend? A little nervous? Unsure? Kind of like you want to jump the social media ship all together? I feel you. I really do. Live video isn’t for the faint of heart. It is LIVE after-all. There’s always a chance that you fumble your words; get a little digital stage fright or commit some other involuntary act of embarrassment right before the masses. I’m here to tell you-you don’t need to worry! I have some super helpful tips that will help you feel confident and ready to do your best on live video – even if you’ve never gone live before! Ready?

Plan ahead

Planning is an essential part of the live video process. You don’t have to prepare cue cards, but you should have a topic planned with related bullet points. Keep it on a screen in front of you or somewhere else at eye level to prevent yourself from looking down/away from the camera. This will help keep you on track and avoid awkward pauses in your presentation. Get more tips on planning from this post.

Extended planning
Get yourself into the routine of producing regular live videos with a social media content calendar that includes live video topics that correlate with your blog posts and social posts.

Create a click-worthy title

No one will spend their time watching a live broadcast that looks boring from the get-go. Create a catchy title that will leave your viewers intrigued and cause them to click on. You may brainstorm some ideas ahead of time and share a few with friends to see which would spark the most interest.

Prompt your audience

A great way to boost engagement is through audience activity. When you sign on, introduce yourself and ask your viewers to share the post; thank your audience for tuning in and then get them in the game! Make sure you ask questions during the broadcast and give your audience simple ways to answer {ex. type ‘1’ if this / type ‘2’ if that / drop an emoji to say you’re with me…etc}. The more comments, replies, shares, etc. the more Facebook will see that you have super-engagement. If you have super engagement, they will make sure more folks see your pretty face in their newsfeeds.

Stop worrying about #s

Remember, it takes a little while for viewers to pop-in and engage with your live videos. But…if you record it, they will come! Remember, Facebook gives special treatment to posts with live videos. While your viewers may not catch you live every time, they will catch the replay. So, don’t despair, dear friends. With some consistency, people will start seeing your videos and you will be Facebook famous in no time.

Rock it, then re-purpose it.

Don’t let your live video die! You can keep re-using your live video to extend your reach. Use your video for a better client experience. You can also use your video to create the oh-so-helpful backlinks as well as ad content. Check this post for detailed info on how to let your live video live on!

Now you’re ready to confidently and creatively rock your first live video! Need more help? I’d love to have you join myself and hundreds of other creative entrepreneurs in the Sparkle Society – a free online community that educates, informs and empowers photographers just like you.  Plus, I like to spoil all my new Sparkles with a FREE mini-workshop of their choosing!  So come join the party and let me help you shine online with social media!

 

Set the mood with Music

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
Happy New Year!!!

To kick off 2018 (I know it’s a few weeks in 😄) we’re giving away a UE MEGABOOM!!! The UE MEGABOOM is the ultimate companion to any photographers bag of tricks. Whether you pop it in your camera bag along with your camera and lenses and head out for your shoot, or you keep it stashed on your desk in your office. Either way, you will want to win this to add your shot kit.

On a shoot!

The UE Boom has become my favourite thing to take on shoots this season. We all have the usual bag of tricks like jokes, epic dance moves and go to poses up our sleeves to get our clients to relax during the sessions, but music has been a great accompaniment. Either play it from your phone, studio speakers, your laptop or the awesome MEGABOOM that you might win.

Bridal portrait sessions work great with music. The classic dance songs like Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi or Thriller by Michael Jackson will surely relax your bridal party and get them moving. Everyone can’t keep still when those classics come on, the urge to tap your foot at least is too strong. Just wait until “WOAH” starts playing in Living on a Prayer, no one can resist the arm going up and singing to the sky. Living on a Prayer also works for group photos too because every generation knows it 🕺

Family sessions are also a great session to take music along to. Create a playlist that has the latest kids music. Parents might cringe at you because they’ve heard it a thousand times already, but the kids will love it. When music plays children love to shake their tushies, it also provides laughs for the parents, helping them to relax as well.

Derrick Ruf says “shooting without music is like starting your day without caffeine”. You can check out the awesome article he wrote on Fstoppers explaining the benefits of music on a shoot.

Photo by @kristinemay

In the office!

As a creative, it is a guarantee that music will be playing while you are working. Be it while you’re editing, doing your accounts, updating your website or emailing your clients, music seems to keep you from procrastinating on Facebook (will it does for me). It sets the tone of the office and can either invigorate you to do more or make you want to go and have a nap, so choose the right playlist :).

A few photographers have public Spotify playlists that you can listen to. Ben Sasso has a playlist called “Shoot”. This is the playlist he plays while shooting, and so many other photographers have benefitted from it too. He also has a playlist called “Me With You” which has inspired some of his work. Jonathan Suckling’s “The ultimate wedding dancefloor playlist, results guaranteed” is an upbeat playlist which is great for getting through your editing, it’s my go to playlist at the moment.

So get your music playing and head to our Facebook and Instagram pages to enter the draw to win the MEGABOOM, you know you want it 😉 Also if you purchase one of our products before the 25th of January 2018 you will get an extra five entries in the draw.

Happy Stomping!!

Last Minute Gifts for Photographers! 🎄

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

With the holidays just around the corner we’re doing a wrap up of last minute gift ideas for photographers!

Sometimes you may find the hardest person to buy for is your loved one who is a photographer. So we’re doing a list to help your purchase a gift if you haven’t got one just yet. (But you totally should have because it’s only 3 days until Christmas!)

BlogStomp, AlbumStomp, AlbumPrüfr

Such a great idea! BlogStomp will help them blog their sessions easier, and size them correctly to make them look sharp and beautiful. AlbumStomp will enable them to design an album in 20 minutes instead of 4+ hours! They then can sync it to AlbumPrüfr and send the proof directly to their client without leaving AlbumStomp. These are MUST haves ☺️

Camera Straps

Camera straps are a must for photographers and their are so many to choose from. Some photographers will prefer the standard camera supplied strap. I personally hated it and thought it was chocking me.

Camera Scarf Straps
I LOVE these, super comfy and so stylish as well. They don’t choke you and they add that extra element to your wardrobe. I own two from The Original Photoblocks Props 🙌

Camera Harness
These have become very popular in the last few years and I still need to get one. Instead of having your camera hanging from your neck, it’s supported by a harness that goes over both shoulders, reducing neck and back strain #ftw because every photographer will at some stage come across these issues with being hunched over a computer and carrying heavy camera gear around. Cyrissa from Sparkle Society has a GORGEOUS pink one.

Now camera straps will not arrive in time for Christmas but why not purchase it and make a gift card 🤷🏻‍♀️ they’ll love you a long time.

Camera/Camera Lens

You will never go wrong it you buy them a new camera or lens (unless you buy a cheap kit lens 😂). Find out what camera or lenses they are dreaming about, I’m sure it won’t be hard to fit out. The new gear list is never ending for a photographer. The Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fuji, 35mm, 85mm, 135mm 100mm macro are all great! But they are expensive…

Holiday!

Every photographer would LOVE a holiday, time off, a vacation. Take them somewhere where they won’t have to think about their clients, blog posts to write, social media accounts they need to keep up with, booking clients, getting work. It will be super refreshing for them especially if it is somewhere sunny ☀️

Spa/Massage

Oh this would be bliss! Somewhere to relax, someone to work out the knots in your neck. This is the MOST REQUESTED present from photographers. After photographing a wedding, then editing the whole thing, blogging it, uploading to galleries, designing albums, proofing albums, shipping products and then multiply that by 20, no wonder photographers need some pampering. Treat them they will love you for it. Head to your local spa or hotel and get a gift voucher for it. You won’t go wrong.

Camera Bag

Every photographer needs one and the more gear you have the bigger one you will need. Consider multiple bags. And go for one that don’t look like camera bags, there are some functional and hip ones out there. I own TWO gorgeous Kelly Moore bags. I absolutely love them. The Libby carries everything for a wedding shoot for me. The Westminster is my travel one, looks like an everyday handbag but fits my camera and other stuff.

The camera bags may also not arrive in time for Christmas but still purchase it.

Gadgets

Now gadgets are fun and can be anything from a lens for your phone (the moment ones look great, anyone used one?), to a Go Pro 6. Or if you want to help them out photography wise why not look at a Palette Lightroom Controller. This will enable them to edit faster and spend more time with you! Who wouldn’t love that?

Happy Holidays & Happy Stomping!!

Two Pass Sharpening

By | | No Comments
Basic Sharpening

This is simple and easy to use.  One slider from ‘a little’ to ‘a lot’.  At both ends of the spectrum you’ll see that there is plenty of range from soft right through to overly sharpened.  Adjust the slider and hit ‘Refresh’ to preview changes.

Expert Sharpening – or Two Pass Sharpening

The Expert Sharpening feature offers two passes of sharpening, each highly configurable.

This mechanism is similar (but not the exact same) to the Unsharp Mask (USM) function in LightRoom or PhotoShop.

If you’ve used USM then you can easily map your settings in LightRoom or PhotoShop across to BlogStomp (just copy the values), and get pretty close – you might have to tweak them a little to get it looking spot on.

Often with two pass sharpening, you can have a wider but softer reach for the first pass, then a narrow but more intense reach for the second.  The defaults we’ve set for Expert Sharpening mode reflect this.

Now all that may not make too much sense to many people, so feel free to stop here, because it’s about to get geekier. We’d suggest just diving in and having a play around with the new Expert Sharpening settings.

The three variables to Unsharp Mask are explained below – with a lot of help from our good mate Wikipedia:

  • Amount: This controls the magnitude of each overshoot (how much darker and how much lighter the edge borders become). This can also be thought of as how much contrast is added at the edges. It does not affect the width of the edge rims.
  • Radius: This affects the size of the edges to be enhanced or how wide the edge rims become, so a smaller radius enhances smaller-scale detail. Higher Radius values can cause halos at the edges, a detectable faint light rim around objects. Fine detail needs a smaller Radius. Radius and Amount interact – reducing one allows more of the other.
  • Threshold: This controls the minimum brightness change that will be sharpened, or how far apart adjacent tonal values have to be before the filter does anything. This lack of action is important to prevent smooth areas from becoming speckled. The threshold setting can be used to sharpen more-pronounced edges, while leaving subtler edges untouched. Low values should sharpen more because fewer areas are excluded. Higher threshold values exclude areas of lower contrast.

Happy Stomping!!

Black Friday Sales!!! 😱

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We put together a list of some of our friends and their Black Friday Deals! 😌 You might want to go shopping!!!

———

This Thanksgiving you can get 40% off BlogStomp, AlbumStomp and AlbumPrüfr. Or buy the All Inclusive pack!! Our range of Apps help you to get out from behind your computer faster, and enjoy the things you really want to do in life #Happy Stomping. Purchase today from the Store!!

ShootProof offers gorgeous galleries, contracts & invoices, integrated print labs, cloud archiving, mobile apps, and MORE – all with no commission fees! #FocusOnWhatMattersMost and let ShootProof do the rest. New customers save 40% on yearly plans and existing users get 40% off plan upgrades. Plus, receive a FREE studio success bundle packed with templates, how-to-guides, and more. Offer ends 11.27.17. Check it out here!

Design Aglow, Everything you need for a successful photography business. Stock up on your packaging and album needs for the new year before 2018 pricing kicks in. No exclusions, no limits! Nov 22 – 24. Just head to Design Aglow and apply the following codes during checkout: Packaging & Albums: THANKS20 and Sample Albums: THANKS30. 

DVLOP is a new platform for editing, built from the ground up. We have reimagined presets as they should be – a tool that not only speeds up workflows, but one that also spurs creativity. From Wed, Nov 22 – Mon, Nov 27, all DVLOP preset packs will be 40% off ($45). Purchase from https://dvlop.com/shop

Iris Works. Get your business in order with Iris Works, your new assistant. Iris is the simplest studio management system made for portrait photographers. Don’t miss out on the biggest sale of the year. Save 30% off any annual subscription for your first year with the code BlackFriday30 valid 11/24-11/27. You don’t want to miss this opportunity! Sign up today!

Palette is made for creatives. Quickly sort & develop photos, edit & color correct video, create the perfect audio tracks – all with intuitive physical control. Receive a bonus dial with an Expert kit purchase, and two bonus dials with a Professional kit purchase. Expires 11.27.17 at 11.59pm. Buy Now!

Swift Galleries makes In-Person Sales simple, intuitive and profitable for photographers around the world. Purchase The Black Friday Business Bundle. Save $502 on everything you need to get great clients and sell more prints in 2018! You also get 21 Days to Your First In-Person Sale” IPS course, your “Social Spark” social media marketing course from Immerse Workshops, your $50 lab credit from Artsy Couture and your “Olivia” Pricing Guide Template from Fotovella! Expires Nov 27, 2017.

Studio Ninja: Get 50% OFF our user-friendly studio management software! Studio Ninja is an all-in-one photography business software that streamlines your workflow, frees up your time, automatically keeps in touch with your clients and makes sure all your jobs stay on track! Sign up at www.studioninja.co and use the promo code BLACKFRIDAY17 to get 50% off.

SLR Lounge take control of your photography career with the best education for wedding and portrait photography. $100 Off SLR Lounge Premium. All of this education is valued at over $1,500, but with Premium, you can access it all for $348. Additionally, the Black Friday sale gives you $100 off your annual subscription, so you only pay $248. Existing Annual Premium Members – You can use this code for your next billing cycle! 30% Off All Workshops and 45% Off Select Specialty Workshops. Check it out here!

The Law Tog protect your business with 20% off photography contracts. business tools, education, and more in TheLawTog® Shop! Sale begins Wednesday, November 22, 2017 and ends Monday, November 27, 2017 at 11:59pm EST. not valid on consulting services, online courses, prior purchases, or with other discounts/offers. Use code STOMPBF20 at the store https://thelawtog.com/shop

The Life Boss Society. You didn’t become a photographer so that you would have to spend all of your time on blogging & social media. Photographer & best-selling author of Blogging Brilliantly, Christine Tremoulet will help you put together a marketing plan that will enable you to book more clients & have the success you desire! Includes a six week course, live Q&A sessions, mini-courses, guest speakers, a community for support, and more! 27% off the regular price thru Tuesday, Nov. 28. No code required. Join today!

Thirst Relief is changing the world through clean water. We encourage you this Thanksgiving to give a little towards Thirst Relief. We’re really grateful for access to clean drinking water and love how we get to support this charitable organisation. Share the love around and donate some of your savings through Black Friday sales to help Thirst Relief with their mission 🙂

Survive Summer as a Wedding Photographer

By | YOU!, Tips & Tricks, Help! | No Comments

Photographing a wedding in the heat of summer requires some planning, so we’ve put together a survival kit to get you through those long days in the sun.

———

Shoes!!

Everyone LOVES shoes (or maybe that’s just me), but they are a huge key to surviving wedding season!

Yes, they need to look good, but they also need to help you survive those 8-10+ hours on your feet. From standing in one place during the family photos, to running around like a crazy person during the bridal photos – especially if you’re Jonathan Suckling, – or dancing up a storm at the end of the night, (if you have the energy).

When I'm on a mountaintop in Queenstown how could I not lose the beanie and do a Suckling Special.

Posted by Jonathan Suckling Photography on Monday, May 1, 2017

I love my converse shoes and my “fancy jandals“. I swap one for the other when we get to the reception so that my feet can kind of relax. I also have my Ugg Boots in my car which are super comfy to wear driving home, it’s like my feet are in clouds.

Tom and Amy Hoffer from Hoffer Photgraphy, Sean and Melanie Flannigan of A Fist Full of Bolts Wedding Photography, and Doug and Jackie Treiber from Doug Treiber Photography, all spoke to FStoppers about their shoes. The general consensus between all were Toms, Sperrys, and Converse. Vans — the classic style, Havaianas (the classic Kiwi jandal), and Adidas sandals were also musts – however as a Kiwi gal, Havaianas are the summer/beach go to jandal, so unless you are at a casual beach wedding, they might be too casual; get the sandal version instead girls. Vince Camuto sandals are a go to for Jackie when a more formal attire is required, and well, Doug loves boots, so the Zamberlan Sella’s are a must! There’s a list to get you hunting! I’m off to check out Sperrys and Toms, anyone know if there’s cheap shipping to New Zealand?

One thing I do recommend is that you get good gripped shoes, or just don’t go walking on a concrete boat ramps, because well, you might do what I did and have your feet slip out from under you. Your camera wont appreciate it 😉

———

Clothes!!

Light colour clothes are the key, well that’s what they say! However you are an extension of your brand; a walking advertisement, so maybe add some colour?

As a wedding photographer you also need to blend in with the guests. You don’t want to turn up to a formal church wedding in blue jeans and sneakers while everyone else is in a suit and tie.

I love wearing dresses or skirts, but you HAVE to make sure that the only flash guests see, is your camera one. My favourite one last summer was my Augustine dress (left image), it hid my love handles, was a great length, and comfier than my skinny jeans – no plumbers crack 😀

Samantha Spector, founder of Milk & Honey Special Events told Brides.com that if you don’t want the sweat marks showing through, then you should wear an undershirt as well. This may or may not work depending on your location, because, let’s be honest, you might just sweat through them both. So invest in some good quality anti-perspirant and deodorant (mine lives in my camera bag).

Sunglasses are also super helpful! Make sure you get polaroid ones, they ease eye strain and stop you from squinting too much. However if you ask your guests to remove them, make sure you do as well, otherwise that’s just rude.

———

Fluids, Food, Sunblock & Insect Repellant!!

Stay hydrated! No one wants a photographer passing out from dehydration. If you’re not a water drinker, take other fluids. My favourite is Powerade (I believe Gatorade is the US version?)! It’s a massive helper! You don’t want to get the wedding hangover, so keeping the fluids up is a must.

You also might get hungry; especially at the reception. If you have dumb clients or a contract that doesn’t get you food at the reception, you will need to take muesli bars or lollies with you as a pick me up. I’m usually surviving on adrenalin until the reception ,and then I start to flake, so dinner is always a lifesaver. Lollies are a must for me, I have one on and off throughout the day, the sugar boost is good and is really needed on the drive home after the wedding.

Sunblock and insect repellant! They are a must to have in your car and camera bag, (especially in NZ with our deadly sun)! You do not in any way, want to become a red hot chilli pepper. If you have sweet blood, you won’t want the mozzie’s and sand flies biting while you’re trying to take photos, you might just start dancing and slapping too much. Also burns and bites are not fun to deal with when you’re trying to sleep after a long day photographing.

If you have any other tips and tricks let us know! Sharing is caring 🙂

5 Steps to Master Your Workflow

By | YOU!, Help!, Tips & Tricks | No Comments

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”
– Thomas A. Edison

If there’s anything we can glean from these words from serial inventor and notorious hard-worker Thomas Edison, it is that elbow grease is important, but more important is working smart, working intentionally, and not wasting time on repeatable, menial tasks. As a photographer we can streamline our workflow and get out form behind the computer faster by following these 5 simple steps.

———

Step 1 – Shoot Intentionally

For the most part, when you or I arrive for a shoot, we know what sort of images we *have* to deliver. No matter the type of shoot, there are always the “must have” shots. As much as possible, execute those quickly and early, so that you can free up your attention for the candid, unscripted moments that are so very important.

Shooting with the end result in mind can help you focus, help assure you get the photos you need, and free your mind and your attention to be aware and attentive in the moment to capture the moments your clients will love forever. And it will also help with Step 2…

Step 2 – Sort Immediately

Sometimes our photo sessions keep us out into the wee hours, and can be entirely exhausting. It’s tempting to crash out and call it a night as soon as you get home. But whether it’s the same day, the next day, or within a set number of days after the shoot, sort your images from the shoot as soon as you can. Your memories of the event will be clearer and you’ll be more strongly drawn to the important images.

Wedding photographer Ginny Corbett has a pretty solid system in place :: “Wanting to get a jump start on my post processing, I will start to download cards and begin the sorting process during the reception. While the bride and groom and guests are eating dinner I’ll download the cards from the early parts of the day and will start to sort in PhotoMechanic. Throughout the night my second shooter and I will take turns taking photos on the dance floor and downloading/sorting. We’ll shoot all the important parts (cake, first dances, tosses, exit) together, but during the “open dance” portions one of us will shoot and the other will download and sort. 

“By the time I get home from the wedding the only thing I’ve got left to sort is the reception, and I do that while the image files are transferring onto my main hard drives. I love going to bed with images sorted, renamed, and ready to send off for post-processing!”

If you’ve shot intentionally as described in Step 1, sorting through the “must have” images will be a breeze since you made those photos early in the shoot, or systematically throughout the session.

Sorting immediately after a shoot or an event will help make the next steps a breeze.

Step 3 – Send Images

Processing every shoot can be a laborious part of your workflow. Especially if you are a wedding photographer balancing hundreds of photos in dozens of lighting scenarios, ensuring your photos have a consistent, professional quality look can take hours or days of your life. Many photographers choose, instead, to rely on the pros for this step. 

In the past several years post-production houses have become an integral part of many a photographer’s workflow. You upload your RAW photos or your Lightroom Smart Previews and a team of image pros makes them look just the way you want them to, based on the preferences and style you’ve established with the company. In just a few days you get your processed files or previews back, and once you sync them up with the files on your computer, you’re done! Some will even upload the processed JPG files to your online gallery for you if you want.

Some folks look at this type of situation with the attitude of “Why would I want to pay for that when I can do it myself?!” The answer is that there are a distinct number of tasks that only you can do for your business, and you have a finite number of hours in your day to get them done. Outsourcing your initial post processing is a fantastic way to free up hours or days of your time so that you can do the important work that only you can do, and get back to doing the things you love faster.

Sending images out to be processed will help you prepare for this next step.

Step 4 – Share Incrementally

Once your images are processed and ready to share, it’s important to maximize their reach online. Sharing photos on your blog is only part of the equation, and a thorough social media strategy is vital to your business’s success. 

Start with your blog. Encouraging web traffic to your blog is paramount. Keeping a consistent stream of content to your blog will help boost your Google ranking and will keep your regular blog viewers coming back frequently. 

Facebook is also a fantastic way to gain traction, and the ability to tag your clients (and their vendors, family, friends, etc.) in the photos takes it many steps further than you’re able to do on your blog. The trick with Facebook is remembering what exactly its purpose is in the world. Facebook is a social connection site, not an image sharing site. They honestly don’t want your images on their servers, so they compress them *dramatically* upon upload to make them as small as they possibly can. This will affect your image quality. So it’s important to remember that Facebook will never be the place where your images look their best online. But the importance of using Facebook is in the breadth of reach it offers. So use Facebook to share images, but make sure you’re pointing people back to your website where your images will look much, much better. 

Instagram and Pinterest are other places to consider sharing your images online. After Facebook, Instagram has the highest engagement in the 18-34 demographic, meaning that your clients spend an insane amount of their time there. Dropping individual images from a shoot or event over time and pointing back to your blog post will keep your website traffic and engagement high. And a recent study from Think Splendid reveals that “Pinterest is (still) the most used social media platform among wealthy brides and grooms. (Instagram is number five. Yes, really.)” [hat tip to Christine Tremoulet for pointing that out to us]. While Pinterest may not be experiencing such explosive growth now as it did in 2013/2014, it’s impossible to deny Pinterest’s importance to your clients and potential clients.

Since every social media platform has its own unique requirements on photo size and shape, it can be frustrating to try and prep the same set of images 5 different ways for use on these platforms. You can always use the same photos for each, but then you’re allowing the likes of Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest to control the resizing of your images — not a good plan. This is where tools like BlogStomp prove their value. BlogStomp allows you to create different Styles unique to the destination, so you can ensure the photo you send up will be optimized specifically for that platform and will represent you the best. It even incorporates tools like an Instagram crop tool that will crop to square or even add “padding” so the entire image shows in your IG grid. And BlogStomp’s FreeStyle Mode allows you to make tall, slender collages of images, perfect for your blog and for Pinterest, both of which love this format. 

Click *HERE* to give it a look. 

Sharing your photos early and often will excite your clients, increase your website traffic, and will result in more inquiries coming your way. 

Step 5 – Ship It!

We often make it our top priority to share images on our social channels. Collecting likes and comments is addicting, and while it can help promote our business, serving our clients should come first. Getting your clients’ images into their hands should be the number one goal of our efforts. Whether you present your clients’ images in person or online, offering digital downloads or printed photos, make a priority of delivering your images. There are companies who make beautiful presentation boxes that you can brand with your logo, add your clients’ name or names, and even include little keepsake items they will be eager to show off to all their friends and family.

Making sure your clients know they’re your priority from the first contact through final delivery will ensure they will sing your praises far and wide, giving you many more opportunities to “wow” the future clients they send your way.

———

There’s no “right way” to structure your business or your workflow, so it’s important to arrange a system that is right for you. But following these steps can help to keep your workflow in check, freeing you up to meet with potential clients, maintain relationships within your market, and spend time doing the things you love to do rather than forever chasing a post-production to-do list. 

The right mindset and the right set of tools in your toolbox will give you freedom of time and peace of mind to ensure your business’s success.

Happy Stomping!!

Image quality from BlogStomp

By | | No Comments

If you’ve had even the most cursory conversation with anyone from our team over the last several years, you’ll know that image quality is of paramount importance to us — the biggest priority we have is ensuring your images look their best online. But when it comes to examining image quality, there are some factors that come into play that can skew one’s impression of an image or set of images.

Item 1 – Bitmap Files

Bitmap files are pixel-based image files (unlike Vector files, which are not pixel-based), they are made up of individual squares of color that become more and more visible as you zoom in.

This becomes most apparent and most important when you’re viewing your images. Jpeg files can be displayed smaller than their actual size and larger than their actual size, but viewing a Jpeg file at any size other than 100% will skew your perception of the sharpness or quality of the image.

Item 2 – Resolution

The RAW photos that come out of your camera do not have a fixed resolution. The resolution is assigned to the file when you export them from Lightroom (or similar). Most print labs require a resolution of 240-350 dpi (dots per inch) for printing, so it is common to export your photos with a resolution setting in that range.

When you share or view photos on an electronic device, however, the resolution is much lower than that. Historically 72dpi has been the norm, but advances in monitor technology has increased that number in the last several years. The truth, in fact, is that resolution does not register on the internet, and pixel count – not pixel density – is the only factor that is considered.

Since electronic monitors have lower resolution than printers do, sizing your photos will display their best at a much smaller size than your original capture. This means that your 5100px wide image won’t display its best online at full size. You’ll want to size it down to, say, 1000px wide for the web.

When comparing a print-ready image with a web-ready image, keep in mind that the web-ready image likely has 1/6 to 1/10 the number of overall pixels that the print-ready image has, so optimal viewing conditions will differ for the two images. 

Item 3 – How you view your images

As important as any other element in examining image quality is how you’re viewing your images. It is imperative to asses the quality of an image at a 100% view and not zoomed in any further than that. Any bitmap file zoomed in to 200/300/400% will look bad, with the square outlines of the individual pixels beginning to become apparent. This can make your image look soft (out of focus) or as if the file is degraded (some say “pixelated”). File degradation is a big deal, but often people assume degradation when the real issue is the zoom factor at which they’re viewing. This gets more complicated when your computer monitor and viewing software are lying to you. Read below…

Item 4 – Retina and UHD/HiDPI monitors

To make all this even more confusing, monitor manufacturers have decided to confuse the issue of image size representation by creating new rules and terminology. And many photo-viewing software tools have been slow to adapt.

A Retina screen has about 4x the amount of pixels compared to a traditional screen. This presents sizing issues because photos would look very small on a Retina screen if displayed at their actual size.

To combat this, Retina will by default scale images to a bigger size (in lots of apps, web browsers, Preview, PhotoViewer, etc) equating a 2px by 2px grid to one “screen pixel”. This is a big problem when you’re looking at a web-ready Stomped image. You’ve downsized your high-resolution image for the web, then your monitor and operating system are scaling it up again – this will make images look pixelated.

As evidence of this, try this little experiment. If you’re on a Mac with a Retina display, take a screen shot of your desktop using SHFT+CMND+4 and drag a rectangle that is 500px wide by 500px tall (the dimension will be shown to you where your cursor is). Once the screen shot is saved to your desktop, right-click it and select “Get Info” and you’ll see that the screenshot has a dimension of 1000px by 1000px. What?!? Even Apple can’t decide how to indicate what a ‘pixel’ is. Crazy…

Using the Preview app is confusing because the default behaviour will display image scaled to 200% – making it look not-so-nice.

If you view the smaller Stomped images in (current versions of) Photoshop at 100% you will like see them appear smaller than you are used to (but not pixelated). The size shown in PS will be shown at actual size without scaling. This is also the size you’ll see in BlogStomp3’s preview (unless otherwise indicated).

The web has similar issues, because many websites and blogging platforms don’t account for the higher pixel density of Retina monitors, so they use sizing based on the 2×2-pixels-equal-one-pixel maths.

So you can’t trust your software or your operating system – What are you to do?

As time goes by and software companies catch up to these image viewing issues on UHD/HiDPI and Retina displays, they will build in smarts that will help combat or alleviate the issues altogether. In the meantime, your best defense is to recognize what you’re seeing when you’re seeing it, and make the best decisions possible in resizing your images for use online.   

If you have images you’d like for us to take a look at with you, please feel free to email them to info@stompsoftware.com and our image experts will have a look and talk things through with you.

Happy Stomping!!

For All The #MomBosses

By | YOU! | No Comments

This year for the week leading up to Mother’s Day, we wanted to pay tribute to the hard-working mums out there who also run a business.  It’s the two hardest jobs on the planet, and many of you ladies do them both week in and week out.  From all of us here at StompSoftware, we see you, we appreciate you, we celebrate you.  You’re true heroes.

———

Katie Lamb – Katie Lamb Photography

@KatieBethLamb

“Being a work-from-home mama of little ones isn’t easy; however these are some ways I have found to allow me to be a full time, 100% present mama and also run a successful and sustainable business.”

Scheduling

I only book sessions Mondays, Wednesdays and (a few) Saturdays. Mon/Wed daytime is for office work. Tues/Thurs is for editing, and Fridays are my packaging and “catch up” days to finish anything I didn’t throughout the week. My pricing is specifically set in a way that allows me to profit what I need to contribute to my family and allow me to only shoot 2-3 days a week in order to leave enough time to ensure my clients are served well, deadlines are always met, and I can stop on top of the business end of things. Weekends I am off from any work (besides the occasional Saturday session).

Working

My twins nap for 2 hours every day. This is my time to work as I always want to be 100% present with them when they are wake because they come first. I also work for a couple hours after they go to bed at 7pm. I try to do most of my house work early in the morning before they wake.

Programs

I have streamlined my editing and presets to allow me to edit sessions very quickly, and I have incorporated various programs into my business workflow (like BlogStomp and AlbumStomp!) to make things work more efficiently for me. I also love 17hats which is such a time saver! Everything about my business is handled here: accounting, bookkeeping, taxes, scheduling, emails, client records, invoicing, contracts, marketing plans, to-do lists, etc.

Grace

There are days that can throw my work schedule off: a baby is sick, teething, or just needs some extra mama-time for whatever reason. It’s then that I have to extend grace to myself and not be burdened with feeling like I have to do it ALL because babies don’t keep and work will still be there in the morning. <3

———

Chenin Boutwell – Chenin Boutwell Photography

@chenin_boutwell

I became a better photographer when I became a mom.

This little lady, Finley (left photo), gave me a run for my money at her session. Terrible twos, combined with a serious case of the “hangries,” made for a challenging shoot. Baby girl was tired, hungry and totally freaked out by the session. Finley was just NOT having it, but I knew it was important to her mom that I capture some portraits of her at this stage. As I started to lose light and panic set in, I remembered to think like a mom. This photo is my favorite from her session. What it doesn’t show is the bag of goldfish in one hand and her mama just outside the frame 😉

———

Heather J. Keys – Blossom and Bloom Photography

@heatherjoslyn

Single Parents … 

No! You Can’t Do It All, Find Your Tribe! 

I’m sure like most single parents, I often struggle wearing so many hats. I absolutely love being a mom who works and has her own business. I feel like my daughter has really turned out, thus far, to be a well rounded person with a firm grasp on what being successful looks like. 

No lies here, I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t possibly be at every school event, bake sale, fundraiser, jog-o-thon, gymnastics practice, choir performance, and there’s often times I can’t be there when my daughter is battling another ear infection. 

With that said, it’s so important to have a tribe! Lord knows, I couldn’t do this life without my tribe. 

What’s A Tribe? A tribe is a group of people you can count on for just about anything and they can count on you too. 

Most of the time my tribe helps me by giving me healthy sanity checks, as I’m often burning both ends of the stick at the same time. They help keep an eye on my kiddo when I get a call from my client that she’s in labor. They take me to doctors appointments when Ive gone 2 weeks with walking pneumonia and haven’t stopped to get better. They even help me crack open a bottle of wine and relax (this happens maybe once a month if I’m lucky).  

You can do it. Don’t let being a single parent stop you from living your life and pursuing you goals. They don’t need to go on the back burner. Push them right out front, see them and achieve them. What you dream about, you can bring about. Don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise, you’re one badass babe and I know you can do it. 

———

Kate Duckworth – Duckworth Interiors

@kateduckworth

Funny story

Sometimes I have to bring my kids along when I need to run by a job site. Recently, when visiting a multi-million dollar residence, my two year old stripped off her clothes, including her diaper and ran through the house naked as a jay bird! 

Funny story

It’s always a struggle to keep our house relatively clean. Recently my two year old was looking for a specific toy and I said, “Go look up stairs in the playroom.” She started climbing the stairs, turned to me and said, “Pray for me, mom.”

Mom tip

When it’s time to pick up the kids and I still have work to do for the day, I’ve stopped trying to get anything done while we’re home together in the afternoons. They go to bed early enough that I just pick it back up after bedtime. I want them to remember the fun we had together, not me being glued to the laptop. That’s worth the late nights for me.

———

Janica Boles – JBO Photo

@jbo_photo

My mom-heart is split tonight because I can’t be two places at once.

Thrilled to be here to watch Bailey’s choir sing, but there’s a part of me at Parker’s school watching his theater competition one-act play. (he is “just” an understudy and won’t actually be on stage…but I still hate missing a chance to see what he’s been putting so much time and effort into.)

I hope all of my kids’ directors, coaches, and teachers will consult me first before scheduling their future events, please and thank you.

———

Alexis Sassard – www.alexisreneesassard.com

@alexisreneesassard

Working from home seemed ideal. I loved the thought of flexibility and answering to myself. What I wasn’t prepared for were the ups and downs of productivity. One kid has a fever, and the other needs a snack right this second, and you forgot to wash your husband’s work clothes for the next morning and now it’s midnight.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom because I get to witness every first milestone and I’m the one who gets to ask how their day was at school, and if we have a leaky faucet I’m always available for the 9-4 time slot the plumber gives me. But balancing it all can be tricky and flat out overwhelming. Not losing yourself, the woman you were before you became a wife and mother, in all of the responsibility that comes with not having a job outside of the home is hard. I’ve failed more times than I can count.

But with every breakdown there’s a breakthrough and somehow you learn the give and take of life until it becomes part of your daily dance. I chose to make me a priority also and do the things that fill my cup. I started my own small business and have managed to keep it afloat between breastfeeding and tantrums. There are many days when I feel defeated but those are quickly overshadowed by the ones when I get a lot accomplished. No two days are ever the same and I think once I learned to accept that, balancing motherhood, and housework, and business became a lot easier. 

HTTP Errors in BlogStomp

By | | No Comments

Have you just received this pesky notification and you don’t know what to do?

Well that’s ok because we’ll give you a quick rundown and let you know what the next few steps are 🙂 Hold tight though it’s a little geeky.

When an HTTP error is returned from your server, BlogStomp will simply relay the message. These types of errors aren’t ‘inside’ BlogStomp, we’re the messenger in this case.
The error you’re seeing is a server error, and the only ones who really know what it means or why it was triggered is your web host. (For a general idea of the error code meanings, check this wikipedia article out)

What we need you to do is to reach out to your web host and ask them to look for any instances of this error code on your website logs, and to identify the cause.

Here’s an example we’ve drafted for you.

Hi there,

I’m having trouble uploading a blog post to my blog. I use a desktop publishing tool (BlogStomp) that posts via WordPress’s XMLRPC API.

I’m getting a http error [error code here, eg. 502] when uploading to xmlrpc.php, can you please help me resolve this?

Thanks,
[your name here]

If you still have issues and need extra help CC’ us into your email with your host (we can speak geek ;)).

If you could you please launch the app and go to “BlogStomp > Help > Send settings to Support” (on a Mac) or “File > Help > Send settings to support” (on a PC)? That’ll allow us to take a closer look at our end.

Happy Stomping!!