Featured Vendor + Giveaway: StickyAlbums

We are thrilled to welcome our friends at StickyAlbums back to the Rock the Shot blog today! Take a moment to learn more about StickyAlbums and their custom branded mobile apps they offer for photographers, and don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a free one-year membership to StickyAlbums, PLUS… a one-year membership to StickyApps ($727 value).  How SWEET is that?!

Addressing Your Business Challenges

We all have different reasons for why we became professional photographers.  Our businesses are a great way to let us practice our craft, but there are things that get in the way of shooting.  Whether it be seasonal revenue, competition, booking new clients, or making more money, there are challenges in our business that make it hard to focus on having the time to do what we love.

StickyApps was developed to help you make more money and expand and strengthen your photography businesses, so you can focus more time on doing what you love.

Small Businesses Need Photographers’ Help

Did you know that more than half of the more than 26 million small businesses in the United States don’t have a website?

And for those small businesses that do have a website, a lot of small business websites aren’t good.  Many of the small business websites look terrible on mobile, and worse yet, are littered with bad images.  At the same time, 67% of consumers say that clear, detailed images carry more weight than product information or customer ratings.  So great images for small businesses is a must.

To add fuel to the proverbial fire, earlier this summer Google announced it would start penalizing businesses with websites that are not mobile friendly in search results, which has left small businesses with outdated websites scrambling for a solution.

That said, small business owners want to focus their energy on the parts of their business that they are best at. Just as they hire someone to do their taxes and accounting, they would prefer to hire someone to build and manage their website. Unfortunately, the incredible demand for web developers and designers has pushed fees to an all-time high and out of reach for most small business owners. As a result, many have tried the do-it-yourself options and end up stuck and frustrated with something that doesn’t reflect their brand.

Photographers can help.

StickyApps Gives you Tools to Work with Small Businesses

With StickyApps, we provide templates, simple drag-and-drop tools, and live preview to empower photographers to easily build gorgeous websites that look great and showcase a small business’ images and content.

Check out a StickyApp yourself – to get a sample StickyApp sent to your phone, text keyword STICKY to 313131.

When you get the sample, you’ll see that StickyApps are actually mobile web apps, which are HTML5 responsive websites that can not only be saved to a mobile device similar to a traditional app but also shared via a link like a website.  That means that a StickyApp is flexible enough to serve as a small business’s’ website and at the same time be classified as “Mobile Friendly” by Google’s new search requirements.

Included with StickyApps is a payment platform, StickyPayments, which is another win-win for photographers and small business partners. Most small businesses cannot afford thousands of dollars up front for a new website, plus the additional expenses that come with it.

With StickyPayments you can offer affordable monthly payment options to your partner to pay for their StickyApp bundled with your photography services. In return you will have increased stability and peace of mind in your own business with predictable recurring monthly income all year round. Finally, StickyAcademy, also included with StickyApps, provides online courses and accountability.  We have doubled down on our commitment to education and taken it to the next level with classes, homework, templates and support to give you everything you need to hit the ground running.

Special offer for Rock the Shot Members for Limited Time

As a special offer for Rock the Shot members, save $150 off the usual $499 StickyApps price through Friday July 10th.  To redeem this offer email support@getstickyapps.com by midnight July 10th and mention the Rock the Shot special offer, and we will get you setup.

Learn more about StickyApps by visiting www.getstickyapps.com or emailing us at support@getstickyapps.com.

About the Team: As a photographer, educator, tech maven, and entrepreneur, Nate Grahek is passionate about helping others do more of what they love. He founded StickyAlbums.com in 2012 to let all photographers easily create custom branded mobile apps for each of their clients, increase their word-of-mouth referrals, and grow their business. This year, the launch of StickyAPPS strengthens his commitment to helping all photographers build stronger businesses.

Adam Birnbaum is COO of StickyAlbums.com and Co-Founder of the new StickyAPPS.  In his role, he enjoys identifying new, innovative ways for photographers to use mobile and other online technologies to book more clients.  He received his MBA from the Wharton School, and uses his business background to create education to help photographers to improve their businesses.

Visit StickyAlbums at their WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | GOOGLE+ | INSTAGRAM pages

Enter the Giveaway for a chance to win a free one-year membership to StickyAlbums, and a one-year membership to StickyApps.  Total value of $727!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hurry! Giveaway ends on Tuesday, July 14th.  Winners will be announced on Saturday, July 18th.

LEGAL STUFF: This promotion is in NO WAY sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You will NOT be notified publicly via Facebook if you are a winner. You MUST be 18 to participate. By entering this giveaway, you are providing information to Rock the Shot and NOT to Facebook. Prizes do not have cash value. There will be no returns/exchanges on any of the items. Giveaway is open to US/CA residents only.

 

Congratulations to Stephanie Burt Hillyard for winning the giveaway! Email me at kathy@rocktheshotforum.com for your prize information!

Improve Your Outdoor Photography by Using Lines to Your Advantage

by Guest Contributor Brooke Martin

Sometimes it is hard to photograph outside where there are unpredictable backgrounds.  Have you ever taken a photo that you loved (like, really loved) only to find out that there is a random branch behind your subject that looks like it is poking them in the head?  Or, didn’t notice a distracting object in the background until it was too late?

We’ve all been there.  Mother nature doesn’t always play nice. However, there are ways to make the outdoors work for you.  Placing your subjects in the perfect spot so that the lines and curves that are in the shot work to draw attention to what you want.

Let’s look through some examples:

Mimic What You See

Take note of the trees.  Notice their shape and the way they curve.  When photographing couples, mimicking the lines of trees can dramatically change an image.

By placing these couples below or between these trees, we are able to frame them in.  It’s like creating your very own picture frame with branches.   By doing this it draws our attention to the couple and their unity within the frame.

With these two trees, it mimics the look of the two figures as they walk into the sunset together (how romantic, right?).  By copying what the trees are doing, the attention is brought to the couple.

Instead of posing the couple side by side, I had them come in close to each other.  Look at how the main tree branch is arching over them.  This line is similar to the line of his arm around her.  The branch is hugging them, and he is hugging her.  These curves draw you into their intimate moment together.

When you are told something twice, you know that is must be important.  So, you pay attention, right?  By copying that curve, you tell the viewer the same thing.  It appears twice – they know it must be special!

Shoot Between the Lines

In perspective shots, people will naturally follow the lines with their eyes to see where they will intersect.  It’s like an arrow saying, “Look here!”

Place your subject right where those lines meet and your viewer will automatically focus on what you want them to.  Lines of a bridge or building will quickly become your friend.

Let’s look at this frame together.  First of all, how cute is she?!  I know, I can’t handle it either.  Secondly, check out those lines!  We have the yellow line under her that draws us to the focal point: her.   There are also lines from the bridge that lead directly to her face.  All lines lead directly to where we want the attention to go.  The first thing we see when we look at the photo is her face.

I put this senior smack dab in the middle of these lines.  The line from the top of the fence disappears right where his head is.  On the right side, the lines of the building draw the eyes into his head as well.  To accentuate this look, I had him grab his glasses.  This connects those white lines with his face.  So, we not only draw attention to his face, but we specifically focus on his eyes.  Even better!  By placing the subject in the middle of the lines, we get the viewer to focus on what we want them to.

Play With Lines

There are several lines in this photo.  The curve of her arms supporting herself, the lines of the railroad track, and the straight lines of her body – each of these lines are doing something different.  Be creative with the lines and see what happens.

Try it on yourself!  Look through photos and see where your eye naturally goes.  Pick out the lines and curves that entice your eye to go to that spot.  Once you nail that down, implement it into your outdoor shoots.

Pay attention to the lines and curves that are at your disposal and use them to their full advantage!

 

About the Author: Brooke Martin is a lifestyle and wedding photographer in Denver, Colorado.  With gorgeous mountains and nearly constant sunshine, Brooke specializes in natural lighting and outdoor photography.  Being a Colorado native, she adds a warm, laid back, fun, and natural ambiance to her shoots all around the country.

 Visit her WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM pages here

Photographer Spotlight + Celebrity Mentor: Jimmy Bui

We are so excited to welcome the amazingly talented Jimmy Bui to the Rock the Shot Blog! Take a moment to learn more about his amazing wedding and conceptual photography, and be sure to visit his website Jimmy Bui Photography.

The best news… Jimmy will be featured as our “Celebrity Mentor” in the Rock the Shot Forum for the entire month of July so come on over and ask him anything you like. Thank you so much Jimmy for taking the time to share your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I’ve always been the creative type, but I didn’t really start getting serious about photography until about 4 years ago. I was an elementary school teacher for a few years but during the height of the recession in 2009 I was laid off, even though I won teacher of the year that same year. After that I felt it was a good time to change things up a bit. So I decided to change careers and try and pursue a career in photography. It was tough, and my transition into a new field wouldn’t have been possible without the love and support of my wife. She was my inspiration.

How would you describe your photography style?
There are two genres of photography that I focus on – weddings and conceptual portraits. My wedding photography style is modern and very vibrant in color with an emphasis on environment. My conceptual photography is highly processed but still maintains an organic and elemental feel with a somber or dark mood. Environment is also highly emphasized. I shoot 95% in the landscape position, so incorporating the environment in portraits is all about my style.

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I enrolled into photography school in Southern California, and after half a semester I dropped out. I didn’t feel like I was being challenged enough, plus my ADD was a real roadblock to learning in the classroom.  So instead I learned from established photographers that I admired in the field by being an assistant or second shooter. I studied the technical aspects of photography online, and I practiced new techniques everyday. I learned at my own pace and concentrated on things that mattered to me.

What brand/model camera do you shoot, and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot with Canon cameras, namely the 5D Mark III and the 6D. As far as lenses go, I love Sigma, especially their Art series. My favorite lens would be, hands down, the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art. It’s the perfect lens for environmental portraits, which is my specialty.

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
I’m always on location, so finding light is incredibly important. For me, I’m always looking for ambient light that I can use as a backlight, and I would use either an external flash/strobe or reflector to fill in the shadows. I like to look for light peaking through trees, bouncing off different surfaces, or penetrating through any sort of natural diffusion.

What is most challenging thing about photographing weddings and conceptual shoots?
The most challenging thing about wedding photography is how quickly a lighting scenario can change from one situation to the next. For example, I could be following the bride and groom outside in the bright sunlight into a dimly lit reception hall during their grand entrance or be shooting at an outdoor venue where there are large spots of super bright light and spots of really dark shadows. For wedding photography, knowing how to shoot in manual mode is incredibly vital because the camera’s auto settings simply cannot adapt to these fast changing lighting scenarios in a manner that you would want. So, quite simply, the way I would handle the first example I mentioned is that I would keep my aperture and iso to a fixed value and the only thing I would change is the shutter speed as I’m walking from a bright area to a dark area. Of course, I could shoot in aperture priority mode, but the camera is not going to know if I want a silhouette look or an over exposed look or whatever.

In the second example, I would expose for the highlights, and bring up the shadows later in Lightroom. For my conceptual shoots, my problems is always about budget. I have these grandiose ideas stored away in my head, but often times I have little or no budget to help these ideas come to life. So it’s forced me to think creatively on coming up with cheap solutions to create these art pieces.

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
One of the things that I learned this year about my photography business is to never underestimate the power of social media to advance your business. Marketing is incredibly important if you want your business to survive, and one of those things that you may want to incorporate in your marketing strategy is having a social media presence. I’ve gained new clients through Facebook and Instagram, and I’m building my seo using Google+. Those platforms are constantly changing, especially when it comes to organic reach, so as those evolve I’m evolving too and keeping up with the changes.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
I would definitely encourage new photographers on becoming masters of light. When you do that, your confidence as a photographer will sky rocket. You will be able to handle any tough lighting situation and you’ll grow less dependent on what kind of camera body you have.

What do you love most about being a photographer?
Hands down, what I love most about being a photographer is the creative freedom. My clients trust me completely to give me the freedom to be as creative as possible and it has allowed me to grow as an artist and photographer. I also love the collaborative experiences that I’ve had with other artists and combine my aesthetics with someone else’s to create some really cool images.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I hope to still be a wedding photographer. I absolutely love weddings. The once-in-a-lifetime moments you can capture from a wedding is priceless and totally fulfilling when captured right. I would, however, like to shoot less weddings by that time and make more room for my conceptual work. I would love to be a creative director for a major advertising firm or be able to create movie posters for big budget films. No matter what though, I’ll still be shooting.

About the Artist: After a successful career as an elementary school teacher, Jimmy Bui switched careers to pursue his passion in photography. He specializes in weddings and conceptual portrait photography in the Southern California area. His inspiration is drawn from his wife and daughter, and when he’s not shooting he’s spending time with his family and showering them with as much ice cream and trips to Disneyland as they want. His office is located wherever a shoot is happening, and if he’s not editing at home, you may find him editing at a local Starbucks with empty coffee cups strewn around him.

Visit Jimmy at his WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER pages

And don’t forget, you can ask Jimmy anything you like in the Rock the Shot Celebrity Mentor Forum for the entire month of July!!

New “Members Only” FREEBIE Packet {V49}

YOWZA!!!  The newest “Members Only” FREEBIE Packet {Volume #49} is now available for download in the forum!!  This month’s packet is filled with the most FABULOUS goodies from our amazing vendors!  We want to extend a HUGE thank you for their generosity and support. Special thanks to Eleo B Paints, Maria B Paints and Pink Honey Design for this month’s contributions to Rock the Shot Forum members!

You can find the download link in [the Forum] under “Freebie Packets”. New members, don’t forget to download the other available issues of our “Members Only” Subscriber Packets as well! You’ll get HUNDREDS of dollars in FREE photography products.  Hurry, these packets are only available for a limited time!

Not a member of our forum yet?? JOIN TODAYand get exclusive access to all our FANTASTIC FREEBIES!

And now….on to the goodies! You will receive the following freebies:

Sweet Rhombus Senior Album Template from Eleo B {$32 Value}

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

Eleo B. is a lovely Photoshop Templates Shop for Photographers. You can find easy-to-use and high quality designs for your business: cards, albums, studio mags, forms & much more! I design my products trying different techniques, focusing on geometric patterns, fresh ideas and nature inspiration. Hope you will enjoy this lovely freebie in collaboration with Rock The Shot.

Senior Template Bundle from Maria B Paints {$55 Value}

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

Maria B. Paints creates custom, hand painted, watercolor logo designs and templates. Stand out of the crowd with an elegant design that’s all you!

Set of Four Newborn Announcement Templates from Pink Honey Design {$32 Value}

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

We’re so excited to extend our online e-commerce site into etsy! Our small business was founded online in 2010, and after 5 years, we’ve decided to bring these amazing products to you on etsy. We work out of our offices in Chicago, Montana and Oregon. Our passion is creating products that will save you time and also allow you to have some fun, too. All of our products are INSTANT downloads. So, as soon as they’re purchased, they’re yours to start playing with. We offer incredible support here on etsy as well if you should have any questions. We’re inspired by the talent we’re surrounded by, and hope you’ll come back often to share your work, and see our latest releases at Pink Honey Design!

Not a member of Rock the Shot Photography Forum yet? Come on over and JOIN our fun and friendly community TODAY! 

And… don’t forget to stop by these wonderful vendors websites and Facebook pages and check out all the FANTASTIC products they have to offer. Remember to download all of our currently available packets in the forum. Here is a list of all the fantastic freebies available for download.  Hurry, these packets are only available for a limited time!!

Volume 48:

  • Modern Diamond Pricing Template from Charlie Lou Designs {$15 Value}
  • Senior Template Bundle from Lucky Star Templates {$32 Value}
  • The Big Day Wedding Magazine Template from Sweet Sawyer Designs {$24 Value}

Volume 47:

  • Set of Basic Photography Forms from Click Chicks Design {$15 Value}
  • Summer Mini Session Marketing Set from Fotovella {$32 Value}
  • Lovely Studio Marketing Set from Laurie Cosgrove Designs {$55 Value}

Volume 46: (Expires on July 3, 2015)

  • Set of FOUR Birth Announcement Cards from Lovely Days Creative {$20 Value}
  • Photography Marketing Brochure from Posy Prints Design {$74.99 Value}
  • Six Blog Board Templates from Tiramisu Design {$15.99 Value}

Featured Vendor + Giveaway: Shootproof

We are thrilled to welcome our friends at ShootProof back to the Rock the Shot blog. Check out all they offer, and don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a 1 year free to their 15,000 Photo Plan ($300 value). About Shootproof
Here at ShootProof, we empower photographers to focus on what matters most. As a small team of photographers, developers, engineers, perfectionists, and customer service fanatics, we work to give our photographers a beautiful platform with which to share and sell their work. Our belief is that photographers’ sales are the result of their hard work, so we allow them to set their own prices and keep 100% of their profits: we’ve never charged a commission-fee and are proud to say we never will.

Because we listen to our photographers and strive to build long-lasting relationships, our services go well beyond client proofing and print sales; we provide invoicing, contact management, and mobile apps, and we deliver top-notch customer service. We believe in simple, intuitive design and freedom of choice for photographers. Tens of thousands of photographers in over 30 countries are now sharing and selling millions of photos with ShootProof. We continue to strive to be the most supportive service available for our clients and the online hub for photography businesses around the world.

Visit ShootProof.com to learn more and sign up for a 30 Day Free Trial. Also, you can reach our team via 866.516.5130 or support@shootproof.com with any questions. We look forward to supporting your business!

About the Team: These are the friendly faces of the ShootProof loyalty builders. Chris, Tracey, Parker, Katie and Michael are the folks who are here to answer phones and questions for our awesome clients. They also love knock knock jokes and prank calls (just kidding. they really don’t.)

Visit Shootproof at their WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | GOOGLE+ pages

Enter the Giveaway for a chance to win 1 year free to their 15,000 Photo Plan ($300 value)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hurry! Giveaway ends on Tuesday, June 30th.  Winners will be announced on Saturday, July 4th.

LEGAL STUFF: This promotion is in NO WAY sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You will NOT be notified publicly via Facebook if you are a winner. You MUST be 18 to participate. By entering this giveaway, you are providing information to Rock the Shot and NOT to Facebook. Prizes do not have cash value. There will be no returns/exchanges on any of the items. Giveaway is open to US/CA residents only.

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