In 40 years will your client’s grandchildren know what to do with that shiny metallic mini-frisbee? What about the little card with metal prongs or shiny teeth? Where will they plug it in and how will they view the contents? Given the exponential rate of technological advances, they likely won’t. Do you think they will know how to open a book cover and turn the assembly of pages from one to the next? That has much more potential!
Pages and prints endure and so will the memories of moments in time captured and displayed on them. We all know the scenario…hard drives crash, disks get scratched, special dogs eat flash drives. As a photographer, you have the opportunity to educate your client about the longevity and practicality of pages and prints, enabling you the opportunity to earn more money through added sales of books, cards, and large prints. If you haven’t added press books to your menu yet, now is the time! We will help you navigate the world of press products if you need support.
In order to make your life a bit easier, we recently released a new free software program called POP that allows you to easily design and create press books, cards and calendars and have them professionally printed and assembled by Pounds Labs using state-of-the-art digital press technology. If you haven’t already, now is the time to tune into POP! Don’t forget, May is the month to try out this new program because we have a special promo on 10×10 Hardcover Press Books and 5×5 Softcover Press Books. Just enter promo code PB513 when you order through the end of May and receive a 20% discount at the time of billing. These pages will endure as treasured keepsakes for generations! No additional technology needed! Well, maybe some bifocal technology for some of us. Make more prints!
Boudoir photography is booming. Brides may have been integral in launching boudoir photography but women in general have embraced this empowering form of self-expression. They’re requesting these sensual candid shots for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations of change in their lives. It’s the biggest growth area in the photography field. Is it right for you? We talked with one of the best boudoir photographers in the country, Dallas based Lynn Michelle, to give you a little insight into this burgeoning part of the industry.
Pounds: What prompted you to become a photographer?
Lynn Michelle: I was getting a computer science degree at the University of Texas at Dallas when they highly suggested that the students get involved in campus activities. I guess I’m always one for following the rules so I decided to join the school newspaper. I was interested in being a writer, but the editor was looking for a photographer. From there, my friends got married, and then their friends got married!
Pounds: How did the boudoir photography come about?
Lynn Michelle: A client that was already married contacted me. She was interested in having a special gift made for her first wedding anniversary. I was familiar with studio photography, so I thought boudoir would be easy, I was so wrong. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do as a photographer. I had to really focus on my lighting, my people skills and especially posing!
Pounds: What percentage of your clients opts for a boudoir session?
Lynn Michelle: About 20% of my own clients request boudoir as part of their wedding photography package. Some of my clients are having wedding photography done by another photographer who doesn’t do boudoir photography. Others have found me by word of mouth and want a session as a one-year anniversary or 25th anniversary gift for their spouse.
Pounds: Boudoir photography seems to be gaining popularity, what is your take on that?
Lynn Michelle: I believe that more women are familiar with it and think it’s a really sexy thing to do for their significant other. They see the images that are produced and know they are sensual, not “dirty”.
Pounds: Can it be tricky getting your subjects to relax?
Lynn Michelle: I think the secret is to talk a lot and really connect with your client. I also share many of the images from the back of the camera throughout the session. This allows the client to see what I’m getting and understand what the final images will look like.
Pounds: What’s your advice for photographers thinking about expanding their services into boudoir photography?
Lynn Michelle: Boudoir is definitely more difficult than it seems. I think that a photographer should be comfortable in their posing, directing and lighting before tackling boudoir – all of which come from many years of experience. I don’t believe it’s an area to jump into quickly and hope to succeed.
Pounds: Talk us through a session from the moment a client walks in.
Lynn Michelle: Once the client arrives, we talk about package options and go over the contract together. We also take care of the payment and discuss where and how the images will be shared on the blog. From there, we go over the wardrobe changes and how much nudity the client is comfortable with. Makeup and hair (if added) are next. We talk about everything from her excitement about the session to her fears. The first outfit is the most covered one and we spend time talking about posing and smiling. I pose every inch of her body and talk through the whole session. Sometimes I make jokes to get her to smile and some times I say provocative things to make her blush.
Pounds: Are there wardrobe changes?
Lynn Michelle: Yes. My starting package includes two wardrobe changes. I suggest that my clients bring as many outfits as they would like and we go through them together to choose the best ones. An average session has 5 options as well as some nudity, if the client desires.
Pounds: Do you have professional hair and makeup available?
Lynn Michelle: Makeup is included as part of every package because it’s so integral to how the images turn out. Hair is an option and can be added to any package. I have an amazing girl who does the hair & makeup and she brings the Va Va Va Voom to every woman!
Pounds: Do you suggest clients bring along a bottle of wine or champagne to relax?
Lynn Michelle: I provide one glass of champagne because I want them to be comfortable and not too tipsy. Some clients turn red after alcohol consumption so we have to be very careful.
Pounds: Do you draw a line at nude photographs or are they considered a standard part of the session?
Lynn Michelle: I have no problem with nudity or implied nudity, but I make it clear that I do not shoot pornographic images.
Pounds: Do you see the business for boudoir photography on a steady increase?
Lynn Michelle: More and more people are seeing what boudoir photography is and sharing it with their friends, the market is definitely increasing steadily.
Pounds: Do you generally shoot these sessions in the studio or at a client’s home?
Lynn Michelle: I have shot only one session in the client’s home – it was a special body painting session that she wanted shot at her ranch. All of the other sessions have been in studio.
Pounds: You have a great pre-shoot prep list on your site. Do people come to you with tear sheets of looks they’d like to achieve?
Lynn Michelle: I generally do not get tear sheets. Most of the time they reference images on my blog. I feel like in general my clients feel comfortable with me providing a variety of looks and poses for them but I do not discourage tear sheets, I just tell them that we will take them as ideas and go from there.
Pounds: This seems like a really fun and exciting genre of photography. What do you like most about it?
Lynn Michelle: I love the swagger that a woman gets after a session. She feels empowered and amazing and I was a part of that! However, my favorite part is getting the email after they see their images! Boudoir is such an amazing experience. I did my own set of images a few years ago and it was more empowering than I could have ever hoped. The right photographer will help you feel comfortable in your own skin and walk you through posing so that you never awkwardly looking at the camera wondering what to do next. I highly encourage every woman to consider a boudoir portrait session, or even a glamour session where they can wear their favorite dress. This type of photography really brings out your inner goddess and every woman should remember that sassiness that is deep inside from time to time!
Lynn Michelle Photography: We Shoot Fabulous People
www.lynnmichelle.com | 972.824.5519
Marion Hughes makes life easier. His official job is “Photo-Technical Assistance and School Division Support at Pounds Photographic Labs”. Whew. He does all that but he does so much more! He breaks down the confusing, reduces the complex and researches the confounding. Then he makes it all simple and straightforward. Of course the end result for you is profitability! We are always turning to Marion with questions about things we find on the Internet or come across in our travels and of course Marion finds out about some pretty amazing products because he’s the sort of guy that’s always “in the know”. We asked him to tell us what products, hands down, are just great deals or essential for a photography studio. Marion personally tested each of the following items so you know they’ve got to be good!
Focus Testing Target FREE
Pounds Labs has developed a simple tool to test your lens and camera for accurate focus. The Focus Testing Target is photographed at a 25 degree angle at f/5.6. The scale will tell you if the camera focused on, ahead or behind the target. The target is a free PDF available by request. Contact Marion Hughes
Strobe-O-Frame Flip Bracket
With many tripod heads, the camera is not over the center-of-gravity when used vertically. Good flip brackets that will correct this problem by rotating the camera in place, can be expensive. This item is actually a portable strobe bracket assembly that cost less than the tilt mechanism alone. The tilt device is held to the bracket by two screws. Take it off the bracket and attach the flip base to the quick release on your tripod. Presto…a $60 flip mechanism for $35! Learn More
High Desert Photo Shoes and Clothing (formerly bama-buzzard)
This American manufacturer builds unpainted wooden props at a reasonable price.The chaise lounge for babies is absolutely inspired! The workmanship is very good and these items are built to last. You also might find a pair of shoes you like! Learn More
Labeled Lens Caps Lenzbuddy
These are just plain cool and one of those items that make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Simple and smart, Lenzbuddy saves you from the tape and sharpie ID system! There’s a Lenzbuddy for every lens, allowing you to easily identify each one. They’re manufactured in Dallas by Impact Photographics and you can get even them branded with your logo! We hear there is going to be a price increase soon, so grab them now! Learn More
Tether Tools has several excellent items for the photographer who directly connects the camera to a computer. The two main drawbacks to tethering have been broken USB and FireWire cords and USB plugs that don’t fit well when the camera is vertical. The JerkStopper, protects the delicate plug and port at the camera and prevents image corrupting disconnects.
The TetherPro Mini B USB Left Angle Cable Adapter redirects the wire to the side allowing vertical tipping of the camera without crunching the wire. With your tripod head this 900 plug may or may not be necessary. Believe me; if you need it, you really need it. These products pay for themselves in one replacement wire or one lost image. I think they are a must for those of us who tether. Learn More
TetherPro Mini B USB Left Angle Cable Adapter
Light Weight Foldable Posing Stool (Elementary only)
These 18” Stools are available at Sears on-line for about $12. Learn More
Westcott 9×20 Green Screen (The ideal green screen)
These are without any doubt the best green screens available at any price! The 9-foot wide versions have the best color. These suckers are getting harder to find so if you don’t have one yet, we’ve found three suppliers that have them in stock.
A New Version of the Westcott green screen is being released and may well be in stores now. It’s the same great material but in a 5×7 foot size. This will take up less room in school-day photography. The model number is #579 and should be priced at about $50.00. This is the green screen material only.
Here are three suppliers where you can find the great Westcott green screen!
Showcase Photo & Video
Midwest Photo Exchange
Da-Lit Background Stand System
Add a background, not a stand with a pair of studded clamps! They allow you to mount more than one background at a time. Learn More
40” White Interior Umbrella
Adorama is selling good quality 40” white umbrellas for less than $12 each. They are great for softening and diffusing light These are true white, not satin and are perfect for green screen photography. Learn More
4 Channel Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger & Receiver (Radio Slave)
This is a good 4 channel wireless trigger (radio slave) on sale now for $22 a set! Get the NPT-04. Learn More
Heavy Duty Spring Cushioned Light Stand
This is a light stand suitable for the main and fills lights. It is 8’6” high and cost under $21. Choose model 896. Learn More
Premium 12’ Heavy Duty Spring Cushioned Light Stand
This is a larger light stand suitable as a background stand or for hair lights. It’s 12’ high and around $ 32. Choose model 806D. Learn More
Samples are essential for every studio sales presentation and we have a wide variety to help you create an excellent resource base. Clients have to see and feel products to truly appreciate their quality and the value you offer. We realize how crucial samples are to the success of your business and that’s why we created the Studio Sample Program. If you’re not familiar with this great program it’s the most valuable tool in your marketing kit! Running for eight months, from January through the end of August, you save 30% on some of our most popular products as well as finishing services. This program makes it easy to plan your marketing pieces, studio samples and displays. It includes Prints, Gallery Wraps, Pic-A-Pac’s and novelties as well as Flush Mount and Bordered Album Pages. You’ll also save on every single ChromaLuxe and Metal product, Press Books and Panoramic Books and of course Press Cards. Everyone needs Press Cards! Ours are available in a 4 Card Sample Pack and we advise you order one set of cards in each size.
Greeting Cards are one of the profit cornerstones of any photography business. Our Greeting Card Sample Book allows your clients a full understanding of how images can be used to create cards, gifts and other seasonal items.
Another item essential to your senior market is our Senior Graphics Sample Collection. We have Spiral Bound Sample Books with graphics for separate products. You can also order the “Entire Senior Collection” sample book so your seniors will have every possible graphic choice at their fingertips!
Sports photographers will need to order our sixteen-page Sports Promo Catalog in bulk because you’ll go through a lot of them! These are created without pricing and with only your studio branding to enhance the credibility and visibility of your business. That branding includes an option for customizing the cover of the catalog. Leave your catalogs with principles, league administrators and coaches. Seeing your studio name and branding on the cover of these catalogs will serve to reinforce your visibility on a daily basis!
Don’t forget our Paper Sample Book, a great portable fan deck of papers, print colorizations and coatings. It’s a good idea to order several of these. Keep one with your marketing sales and presentation items, one in the studio and another in the car. You never know when a parent at game or senior sitting for a portrait on location is going to say, “Well what’s the difference between Pearl and Linen?” Treat Press Paper Packs the same way. These include samples of Photographic Press Book and Press Card papers in a square format and those are free! You can’t beat that!
The best kit to keep on hand in your studio has to be our Press Sample Kit with fourteen different items! It includes a press paper sample package and spiral bound calendar. You can check out all of the different items in this sample kit on the Pounds website under Marketing Tools.
We’re always interested in hearing from you, so let us know how your Marketing Kit is working!
Marketing is a year round process. It never stops and that’s always hard to think about when you’re busy! It’s important to create a marketing kit whether you’re just starting out, creating new systems or increasing the studio’s profile in your area.
Pounds started Special Promos as a way to keep you thinking about consistent marketing. Every two weeks you get email reminders about great savings on products your clients love. It’s one of the easiest ways to keep up with marketing. In addition to Special Promos we have a wide variety of products designed to keep you in front of your clients.
Without a doubt, you need Business Cards. Think about how often you go through an order of cards. Whatever time-frame that is, three months, six months or a year, set a reminder to place an order so you’re never caught short. The next vital marketing items you need to stock are Gift-Promo Cards. Create them to coordinate with our Special Promos and send them out in advance of each promotion! It’s a very easy way to remind clients you’re always thinking about them and of course they’ll be thinking about you!
There’s going to be a point in your career when you showcase your talents in a trade show or community event. This is a perfect place to have a Banner that will promote your business. It’s easy to create Banners. Simply choose an image and drag it into PROS and we’ll do the rest! You’ll be easy to spot at any event!
Referrals are vital to every photographer’s business. Rep Cards are the perfect size to hand out to clients who will in turn hand them over to friends and increase your business! You can make Rep Cards in PROS. Just upload an image and your referral information on one side and your studio branding on the other.
Promo Templates are another great way to market your studio. These are branded product flyers that allow you to showcase your own product images or you can always use a special set of Pounds Product Images easily downloaded from the catalog page on our website.
Utilizing all of these great marketing tools will keep visibility and recognition factors high and keep you in mind when anyone needs photography in your market! So put your marketing kit together today and let us know how it goes! Check back with us next week when we’ll have more great ideas for you!
Oscar Matlock of Matlock Gutier Signature Portraits in Dallas, Texas won our “Swing into Success with Pounds” competition at TPPA this year. Not only does Matlock have a sweet swing, he’s got a sharp eye and a kind heart. In business just two years, Matlock and his partner Daniel Gutier were looking for an opportunity to use their photography talent to give back to the community.
Searching out local charities for their annual calendar project, the duo found Safe Kids Dallas. “It looked like a perfect match since we specialize in children’s portraits,” Matlock said. Little did they know Safe Kids Dallas was part of something big.
Founded in 1987 as the National SAFE KIDS Campaign by Children’s National Medical Center, this is a global network of organizations working to protect children and to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability in children under 14.
When Safe Kids Dallas said they wanted to do something magical and enchanting, Matlock and Gutier came up with a great idea. “We decided to photograph the children dressed up as fairies,” Matlock said. The portraits are captivating and look exactly as if they belong in the pages of a storybook.
Over a period of three months, the studio photographed 190 children, donating the session fees to Safe Kids Dallas. “We raised $4,700, then we opened an online voting contest to select the children to be featured in the calendar,” Matlock said. At a dollar a vote, an additional $1,050 was raised. “The calendar was released on October 25th and was featured at Children’s Hospital’s annual Red Balloon Run and Relay. To date, Matlock Gutier has helped raise $23,750. and still has over 1,400 calendars available for sale through the studio and the hospital gift shop. “We are so grateful to be part of this event and help raise money for a great nonprofit organization. We can’t wait to do it again next year,” Matlock said.
Thanks to their dedication and support the project was a great success,” Jesus Aldrete, Safe Kids Injury Prevention Coordinator, said.
Matlock Gutier have decided to help other photographers give back through charitable marketing by creating a complete program they will release in January and feature at Imaging USA at the Virtual Backgrounds booth. So how about that golf swing? “Beginners luck,” Matlock said. “I’m not a golfer but it was great to win the prize!”
“This is one of the best new products I’ve seen lately,” Jim Tibbetts owner of Creative Image Studios, said. Tibbetts has been a professional photographer for thirty years, so he knows a good product when he sees one! “New products are what separate the professional photographers from the rest,” he said. When Tibbetts saw Pounds Wall Clings, he immediately ordered two 11×14’s, one contour cut and one full image. “I have them in my travel bag and take them everywhere”. When he’s not traveling, Tibbetts keeps the Wall Clings in his Chickasha, Oklahoma studio and shows them at least 3 or 4 times a day.
Tibbetts shoots a wide variety of subjects but has a special place in his heart for photographing seniors and sports. “I get excited when I get behind the camera, almost like a sugar high. I have the ability to do corrections in my mind as I trip the shutter, and then explain to my customer what I have in mind. They get excited, and become more relaxed. When you praise someone for what they have done, (allowing me to take a good photograph of them), it begins a friendship. I see many of the kids I’ve photographed when I’m out shopping around town and a lot of them remember me. We wave and do high fives. It makes me warm inside. You truly have to have a passion for what you do. Passion is not something you learn, it’s something you have, “ he said.
When Tibbetts saw Wall Clings for the first time, he realized immediately that they would be the next “big thing”. “I can see parents decorating the kid’s rooms or the den with a cling.” Clings would also be great on a garage door or for team party decorations. Tibbetts uses an image of a third grade football player to showcase clings. “The clings are very durable, kind of like wallpaper but repositionable, he said. Pounds clings are also tear-resistant, waterproof and won’t damage underlying surfaces.
“I think another great use of clings is as a way to display the family when they can’t all be together for a portrait,” Tibbetts said. “You know new products separate professional photographers from the crowd. I now have over 50 competitors in my area. I stay a step ahead by always offering the latest products and, with great items like Wall Clings, Pounds helps me stay there!”
Leather never goes out of style. It’s classic, timeless and it just took on a new look. Now you can combine the luxury of leather with your favorite photographs. Pounds introduced an extensive line of Leather Accessory Products this year that ranges from key fobs and compact mirrors to bags and iPad cases. There’s something to captivate every client in every price range.
We think these new products have the potential to be an excellent stimulus for your business. Existing clients will be excited to see fresh innovative items that can solve gift giving dilemm as and the leather line will draw new clients into your business who want to deal with a studio that stays on the cutting edge.
“We saw a consumer interest in photo bags and the imaged leather bags,” Chris Oelker, said. Oelker is the head of product development and marketing at Pounds and knows a thing or two about what consumers will purchase. “There was an opportunity to provide a high end quality product that photographers could offer to a wide rage of clients. We thought leather was a perfect addition.”
New Mexico photographer, Patti Hogue agrees. She saw the Weekend Crossbody and Ring Tote and realized they would be just right for her clients. “ The Ring Tote is perfect for football games,” she said. “It’s easy to carry all the things you need as well as a water bottle.” Hogue ordered samples of both bags and carried them with her to the games she photographed. They certainly got noticed and Hogue is posting photos on her Facebook page. She also had a brilliant idea to give a couple of bags away to community leaders. When people see them they’ll know to turn to Patti Hogue Photography!
Juan Deleon is a wedding and portrait photographer in Houston, Texas. He also shoots a lot of professional sporting events and is always keeping an eye open for products his clients might enjoy. “I saw an email about the leather products being offered. I’d never seen them anywhere else so I was excited! I immediately got on the website and placed an order.” Deleon ordered the Framed Card Keeper and French Wallet. He realized how often he changes his own wallet and that everyone needs a nice business card holder. The items were practical and beautiful.
“I can’t say enough about these products,” Deleon said. “Clients like the look and I’ve already had requests for purses. In fact I’m going though my photo archives now so I can order more samples. I was so impressed with the clarity and the detail, I posted it on my Facebook page! I have been very impressed. I think leather is going to be big!
So do we Juan!
It’s time to bust out the Santa Hat, crank up “Jingle Bell Rock” and jump into the holiday groove because we just heard the elves have started polishing the sleigh!
Remember most clients want their cards mailed by Thanksgiving. That means you’re working on an eight-week timetable between mid September and mid November to order samples, create holiday packages, schedule sittings and orders placed! The holid ays are generally a highly profitable time of year for the industry. It makes sense to be prepared.
Pounds offers one of the most comprehensive selections of holiday greeting cards you’ll find anywhere. There’ s really something to suit every style and taste. Our design team has just added new options for cards and gift tags that you won’t want to miss.
Enhance your card orders with our holiday products and create memorable packages that will keep your customers talking! Gift Tags are an essential add-on and our Holiday Funpacks are always a big hit. Holiday Wallet Magnets make absolutely terrific stocking stuffersand are a great client give away. One of the most exciting holiday products is our Pewter Ornament. This is a beautiful, memorable, personal item and it’s durable! Remind your clients that it’s a good idea to order several, so when they’re faced with an unexpected holiday guest they’ve always got a gift solution on hand!
Press Books and Metal Prints are extremely popular seasonal gifts. Contour Metal has just been released and is bound to be a runaway hit! Be sure to look through our entire novelty line. You’ll find creative gift ideas and great stocking stuffers.
Our new leather line will make holiday shopping even easier with a wide range of products to suit everyone from grandma to the babysitter. If you have not seen these terrific leather items yet, order a sample today. You won’t believe how beautiful they are until you see them!
Pounds offers one stop shopping for your clients and everyone on their Christmas list. Why bother with long lines, crowded parking lots or spending hours online looking for the perfect present? Pounds can solve every gift need. Make this your best season yet, and make it easy on yourself with a little holiday help from Pounds!
Don’t forget the great thing about getting organized and on top of the season is that you’re able to take advantage of the Pounds Holiday Promo that runs until September 30th!
Carl Clark has been leading the sales team at Pounds for 26 years. While his title may be Sales Executive he should really be called Senior Product Mentor or Guru of Big Reveals! Carl gets to show off our products all over the country and he knows more about them than almost anyone you’ re ever likely to meet. If you attend a guild meeting, trade show workshop or convention, you’ll see him, because he’s the man who takes Pounds on the road!
POUNDS What do you like most about your job?
CARL I really enjoy helping photographers solve problems and grow their business. It’s very rewarding to see them implement marketing ideas that work and help them become more successful. Diversity is very important in today’s economy.
POUNDS How much do you travel?
CARL I spend approximately 25% of my time traveling to guild meetings, convention trade shows, and workshops. Most of my travel is in central and south Texas. I do naturally travel out of state for the Imaging USA and the WPPI convention each year.
POUNDS Do you have favorite shows you really look forward to attending?
CARL The WPPI is probably my favorite trade show because it’s the largest and I get to visit with a more diversified group of photographers. I look forward to hearing ideas from around the world and then sharing those ideas with photographers here in our marketing territory.
POUNDS Do you return from conventions with ideas for products?
CARL We always try to come away from a convention with new ideas. Sometimes the idea comes from a photographer on the other side of the world and sometimes it’s from a photographer right here in the “good ole” USA.
POUNDS What’s the feedback you’re getting about our products this year?
CARL Professional photographers are always looking for new and exciting products that amateur photographers cannot get. That’s one reason Pounds is constantly developing new products.
POUNDS It seems almost as if you really don’t have to “sell” people on Pounds’ products, is that accurate?
CARL Sometimes you’ ll need to explain to a photographer how they can incorporate a product into their packages to help them se ll it.
POUNDS Is there a phrase or a statement you hear pretty consistently when people come to the Pounds booth at a show?
CARL “You guys have the widest variety of products and the quality of your books is great!”
POUNDS How do you keep presentations “fresh” for new and returning clients?
CARL We always present new products at every show that they’ve never seen before.
POUNDS Is there a hands down favorite product that you find photographers comment on at every show?
CARL Wavy Metal. It’s a product that no other lab can duplicate because one of our own employees built the machine to create this very unusual product. We always hear “ This is so neat,” “ I’ve never seen this before,” “Nobody else has this,” and of course “ I love Wavy Metal”!
POUNDS There is a lot of competition out there. How do you feel Pounds stands out from the crowd ?
CARL We have the most unusual products like Wavy Metal and Story Metal. Our competitors just don’t have these unique products!