StompSoftware

Survive Summer as a Wedding Photographer

By | Help!, Tips & Tricks, YOU! | 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 | Help!, Tips & Tricks, YOU! | 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!!

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. 

Of Fires and Foxes

By | Blog, Tips & Tricks | No Comments

Anyone out there use Firefox as your web browser?

#EmbarrassingConfessionTuesday (is that even a thing??)

I do.

I use Firefox. I use it all the time. And I know I should stop – a buddy of mine refers to it as “Netscape Navigator” every time it comes out that I still use it regularly. I know that it’s lacking and that there are much better alternatives out there like Chrome or Safari, but I still use it. All the same. Well, for some things, anyway.

But there are a small handful of things I definitely don’t use it for, and one of them is a pretty big deal.

I will not use Firefox to view images online. 

I mean, overall it’s a decent-enough browser. It will open a website and help you cruise Facebook like the rest of them. Text renders nicely, just like any other browser. But for viewing images online, it is literally the worst. Here’s what I mean ::

In all these images below, the left-hand side is a screen shot of Firefox and the right-hand side is a screen shot of Safari.

In a few of these examples the difference may be subtle. But very much of the time, using a browser that isn’t color managed will have unpredictable (usually negative) results. To ensure your images look their best online, it is best to use a browser that has their color game on point.

For a more thorough look, click up this article from Arnaud Frich.

Happy Stomping!!

I’ll Do It Tomorrow

By | Blog | No Comments

“I’ll do it tomorrow

.”

I literally said that to myself yesterday, in regards to writing this post.  So much for my resolution to stop procrastinating…

For many, January brings thoughts of a new start – initiating new, healthy habits and retiring old, destructive ones.  It’s a noble notion – expected, really – but it can be difficult.  The allure of broad, sweeping life changes or “Mt. Everest-sized” goals or resolutions can sometimes do more harm than good, as lofty, unattainable goals can lead to disappointment and back-sliding.

Changing the way we spend our days – even a small portion of our days – can be daunting.  Here’s what we’re doing to make sure we stay on top of things ::

  • Set manageable, realistic, and time-bound goals
  • Read said goals first thing each day, well before the distraction of email and/or social media
  • Share goals with a few close friends or colleagues who will help with accountability
  • Ask each other weekly how things are going
  • Celebrate the small victories

So let’s head into 2017 together and with purpose.  It will be exactly what we make it, so let’s make it awesome!

Happy Stomping!!

Whatever It May Hold

By | Blog | No Comments

It’s the last week of the year.  In 6 days we will write a new number at the end of the date.  On one hand, it’s about darned time – 2016 gave many of us some fits!  On the other hand, so many moments of 2016 were so very rich and sustaining for my soul that I can barely stand to see it go.

There’s a quiet this week, like that moment between the shifting of the wind, when leaves still and waters calm.  What was boisterous in the world a moment ago is now at peace, and the hustle of the new year has not yet begun.  We find ourselves between acts, processing what we’ve just seen and expectant about what is to come.

One of my favorite movies when my kids were younger was Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. At first glance it’s a fun, silly little film about a mysterious toy shop proprietor played by Dustin Hoffman and his young assistant played by Natalie Portman, whom he is grooming to take over his business.

But it’s the depth of the dialogue – specifically from Mr. Magorium to his apprentice – that struck the deepest chord with me.  Never one to pass up an opportunity to impart wisdom, he speaks truth to Molly Mahoney even in the unexpected moments.  In one exchange, just after they’ve set all the clocks in a shop forward to strike noon at the same time, Mr. Magorium speaks to this “between acts” time.

Mr. Magorium :: “37 seconds.”
Molly Mahoney :: “Great. Well done. Now we wait.”
Mr. Magorium :: “No. We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. 37 seconds, well used, is a lifetime.”

Here in this last week of December it’s easy to let this week slip away without much attention.   For some, the temptation is to simply wait for the stroke of midnight this Saturday – to coast into the new year without purpose or intent.  For others the much stronger temptation is to plan and list and arrange and stress about everything which has not yet come.  Perhaps the proper approach is something different.  Perhaps the best approach is much more “Magoriumian” in nature.

And so we wait.  We breathe, we pulse, we regenerate, we beat, we create, and we ingest.  One week, well used, is a lifetime.

Which brings to mind one last Mr. Magorium quote to close :: “We must face tomorrow, whatever it may hold, with determination, joy and bravery.”

So bring it on, 2017.  In just short of one week’s time, we’ll be ready for you.

Happy New Year.

Hi! We’re the Girls!

By | Blog, US! | No Comments

Did you know that females work here too???

Shock horror right!

Since we haven’t introduced ourselves before we thought it was high time we did so now.
Hi I’m Jeanette!

I didn’t realize that my degree in Psychology would lead me to work at a software company but here I am. I have a green thumb and I love my dogs more than most humans. I have three kids, including my hubby and I like to bake for them when I can find the time. I get to party while I photograph weddings with my husband here in Texas. I drink dark coffee like the developers I work with and I think that is key to my current success.  If you write in with a question or problem you will most likely hear from me at some point.  I am never more happy than when I get to help others.

nette_short

Grace

Hi I’m Grace!

I’m a Kiwi girl from a small country at the bottom of the world called New Zealand (PS. the fruit is called Kiwifruit, Kiwi’s are people and birds, just saying). I get to work with Danny in his cave, it’s an experience for sure :). I’m a graphic designer and a photographer, which is pretty handy for working here. At high school I received excellence in calculus, really left field considering I’m a creative and probably only use basic math skills now. 1+1=window! (draw it). I have this weird love for trees and clouds, especially overcast about to rain clouds, they’re so dramatic and look awesome in photos! Someone once told me that that’s the romantic in me but honestly how many girls go looking at rain clouds?